Ok, so there’s this proverb that says to go to the ant, consider her ways and be wise. (Proverbs 6:6) I’ve been “blessed” to have much occasion to practice this. I’m overseas right now and often entertain the little critters.
Did you know that there are ants in every continent? In fact, the only way to escape them is to go to certain parts of Antarctica (ironic, right?). 😉 As one brother here pointed out recently, the above-mentioned proverb is addressed to sluggards, and God knew there would be lazy people all over the world. So He used the ant as an illustration that all could see! I’ve actually been learning good stuff from their principles of work and discipline. But this evening I gleaned a different lesson.
I’ve been having a problem with a strange-looking bee in my bathroom lately. He started building a nest behind the hot-water heater. When I would get up to get ready for work, he’d already be up and working. You can laugh at me, but I’d go to brush my teeth and then run out and shut the door fast when I heard him buzzing. I’d finish brushing in my bedroom, pop back in to spit and then hurry out again! (Wondering what in the world this has to do with ants? Just wait.)
Finally I got around to telling someone who could help. They came while I was gone for work today. When I came back to my room this evening, the nest was effectively destroyed, but the place was crawling with hundreds or thousands of tiny ants! Some of them were after the prize of what I think was the remains of the dead bee. I’m not sure what the rest were doing. So I started sweeping, focusing on getting the treasured bug-remains out of the way. (In my dealings with ants, I’ve learned to remove what they’re attracted to. Then they’ll leave on their own.) They scattered and things calmed down. I was pretty happy with myself. And since I was already into it, I decided to clean the bathroom.
All of a sudden I realized that the stubborn little things hadn’t actually left. “Aiyo!” I said, using the local exclamation roughly translated, “Oh man!” The ants had migrated to a corner connecting two walls and were all concentrated there. They looked like they were strategizing about how to react to my original attack. Now what? I didn’t want to sweep them to the floor because it was now wet since I was cleaning. (Besides, I really don’t like them crawling on me with their ticklish feet!) I thought about drowning them (sorry to any insect fans out there), but was a lot of ants to send down the drain. Too many. Again, laugh if you will, but I started blowing in the direction I wanted them to go (out). The airstream scared them and after the ensuing chaos, they eventually all left.
After all that, here’s the lesson. It has to do with something I read yesterday in a chapter of Incredible Christian by A.W. Tozer. He writes, “The devil’s master strategy for us Christians then is not to kill us physically…but to destroy our power to wage spiritual warfare.” In other words, the enemy doesn’t necessarily want us to be dead, just out of his territory. Like I didn’t care so much about killing the ants – I just wanted them OUT! So, I removed their motivation and put pressure on them to leave. The devil uses similar tactics. He makes us think that there’s no reward. We feel dry spiritually so we considering quitting. We don’t want to keep trying. Or pressure comes; circumstances discourage us and make us want to leave.
Unlike those pesky ants though, we do have a reason to stay in the battle. Glory and honor await those who do. Keep going, it’s worth it! I will conclude with Tozer’s closing thought; “the cost of quitting will be a life of peaceful stagnation. We sons of etenity just cannot afford such a thing.”
The more I’m involved in ministry and other people’s lives, the more I am desperate for time with the Lord. I was told “KISS” is an acronym used in the military: “Keep it simple, stupid.”
When I was younger, I had to live vicariously by playing “pretend” because I wasn’t old enough to do the cool stuff. But now that I’m older I’m not limited to my own backyard. This world is full of new things and the majority of it is marketed at our age group. That isn’t bad on its own, but I’ve found that if I don’t guard my time it’s wasted on something trivial, and I easily become overloaded and unable to function.
I have always been enamored with God’s simple, majestic beauty in nature. It’s one avenue for me to escape the city, pressure, and constancy of the world. I find it refreshing and freeing to re-center on God’s heart and calling on my life.
Clear your schedule. Leave your iPod and cell phone behind. Grab your Bible and a notepad, or just take a walk and talk to God. Let’s blaze a trail into the awesome depths of His love and promise for our lives.
A few weekends ago, I had the privilege to go camping with some other Gospel For Asia staff members. It was an awesome weekend and I learned a lot, and in some ways that I never expected to learn them. Here’s what I learned.
Some of us went fishing. The patience required is much like when you’re waiting on the Lord. You cast your line, in faith, and you wait. You don’t know what’s next, or what’s going on below the water. You just have to be prepared for what could happen next. God’s given us a whole book of instruction, and we even have the instructor living inside of us! We need to be ready and prepared to act when God says to go. Back to fishing… If you get a catch that’s like an answer to prayer, you need to then reel it in so it doesn’t get off the hook, Likewise, even if you don’t get a catch, that’s yet another answer to prayer, you then have to reel in your line and re-cast. God knows what you need, when you need it. So don’t be disappointed when you don’t get the “catch” you want, and when you want it…
I also learned a lot about trust. During the weekend, we went rock climbing and ended up stranded on top of a 35 foot rock formation in the dark. So I learned to trust people that I don’t know very well and it was scary at first, but after a while I learned that I am safe with the rope and harness and someone who knows what they’re doing up top. God’s provided us with all that we need for the tasks He gives to us. He doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle in His strength. That’s like our rope and harness, and God’s up top knowing exactly what He’s doing, all He needs us to do is sit back, and trust Him to get us to our destination safely.
God is good isn’t He? 🙂
Every single night as we stand in the bathroom brushing our teeth, we see geckos on the bathroom window. There may be one, or two, and sometimes even three.
For some reason, the consistent sight of their underbellies through the glass reminds me of God’s faithfulness.
Not only that, but he uses the delightful sight to help me remain disciplined; the only way I get to see His handiwork is if I floss my teeth every night.
I am thankful that I serve a God who is able to use the silliest things to remind me of His constant presence and provision in my life, and that He has a sense of humor.
September 17th-19th I had the opportunity to go camping with the Bales family to the piney woods of East Texas. It was so nice getting a break from the city and getting to enjoy the outdoors. I love camping. It’s refreshing and a wonderful time to get out and spend time with Jesus in the woods. God showed me something on this trip and that was through some visitors we had. They were Walking Sticks. Walking Sticks are like the coolest bugs ever! These cool bugs were all over the place and we sure were entertained by them all weekend. But I started thinking about these bugs and God showed me something about these bugs as I observed their charecter and just how much they do look like sticks. I observed these bugs up close and oh man they looked like little twigs. These bugs would even freeze to make themselves look like a stick or a twig. We’d have fun with them and move one of their legs up and they’d just be stiff and frozen. It’s amazing that they look like sticks and even know to protect themselves by making themselves stiff and looking like a stick.
I started thinking and realized that this proves that there is a God and it proves all of those theories that scientists have come up with to be false…it proves that there is only one true and holy living God whom all men can know through Jesus Christ! To me, something as simple as a stick bug gave evidence that the One True and living God is very much real and who He says He is! How can evolution or a big bang creat a bug that so happens to look like a stick and who knows to defend himself by looking like a stick. Just think about it for a moment. It’s amazing. These creatures amazed me. The only way these creatures could have created to look like a stick was for God to have creatively created it. God wanted variety and He wanted to creat a bug to look like a stick and God even gave him the defense and protection to stiffen up and pretent to be a stick when threatened. Just think about this. God is amazing and this simple bug proves the existance of the God whom we can know. It’s not that we need this bug to prove to us God’s existance ( We just need child-like faith and to simply believe everything God says), but it sure does add to my faith and helps confirm it and reassures me that God loves me and wants to have a personal relationship with each of us.
Anyways this is something God showed me on this camping trip. He always shows me something new when I go camping, even if it’s simply through a Walking Stick bug. Ah! This gives me such great joy in the Lord!