Three times a day, every day.

A little over a month ago as a result of Parkinson’s Disease my bladder quit working. Now I have to catheterize myself 3 times every day, every 8 hours. At first I came close to fainting every time I did it, then it got better so I just sweated a lot and got nauseous, now it is slightly more of a nuisance than brushing my teeth. It is a bit of an ordeal so I have to plan my day around those 3 “pit stops”. I recently decided to add a 20 minute prayer time to these interruptions in my day. The Old Testament Saint Daniel prayed three times a day so I thought I would give it a try to add more meaning and purpose to these forced breaks in my day. I have a long list of things to pray for in my iPad so finding enough to pray for is no problem. I have been doing this for just a short time, but already I noticed a marked increase in peace and joy in my life as well as a growing sense of God’s presence. I have been praying that the 10 years between my 65 and 75 birthday’s would result in more accomplished than the previous 38 years of ministry. It might well be that this forced interruption in my life is God’s answer to that prayer. Crazy huh­čśä

Thanksgiving

The hardest goals to make for my life are character goals. The reason is that a good goal must be measurable if it is going to be effective in helping to bring about change. The more precise a goal is in describing the Bulls eye, the target the more motivational it will be. So how do I write a goal to be more thankful, more grateful to God and others? I could simply say, “I will be more grateful”, but that is extremely hard to measure progress in. We all tend to be blind to our flaws in this important area of behavior. I can see a grumbler and complainer easily when I am around them, and they can annoy me to death, but how do I ┬ábecome super sensitive to my own words of fussing and whining, and change to a person who rejoices always?

i think I will write my goal this way, “I will ask one person in the first week of January, 2015 to give me a score on my habit of rejoicing or grumbling from 1 to 100 and to give me specific examples If they can. I will explain the reason for the question and encourage them to be very honest because I very much want to grow in this discipline, habit, and character trait. The second month I will ask the same person plus one new person, the third month the same two plus one more continuing on that system to the end of the year. I will write down the names of the 12 people I will eventually ask for this grade before January 1st, and I will pray for them before I ask them for this ┬ápersonal evaluation asking God to help them be honest and gracious and for me to be responsive and not defensive.

I am not sure how it will work, but I think I will give it a try and see what happens. I can see that the success of this goal will be in the wisdom I have in the people I ask to point out my blind spots, and in my ability to be humble enough to hear clearly what they say and then to work on changing. Whooooeeeee, this could end up being more painful then putting a catheter in­čśü

Seeking

Have you ever lost something that was very important, and you couldn’t find it even as you desperately looked for it knowing that it was somewhere close. I lost my passport and I had to have it to get my visa for the trip we recently took to Vietnam. The plane tickets had been bought, I had to find that passport, I always kept it in the same place, this was crazy! I did find it after much searching and frantically racking my brain trying to remember where I had put it.

God tells us in His Word that if we would seek for wisdom frantically we would find it, but if our seeking is casual we wouldn’t. I think that I am casual or lazy in my seeking for wisdom when I don’t really think I need it, when I have it all figured out. But then there comes that situation that pushes me into a corner, and I have no clue what to do, what to say. Then I seek desperately for wisdom. But it would be so much better if my seeking for wisdom was an every day attitude of humility, desperate need, and faithful discipline.

Anger

I used to have a major anger problem. I lost my temper mostly with my wife Patty and my kids, the most important people in my life. Strange that it would be that way, but I have discovered as a pastor that many people have anger problems, most men do, and it is usually directed at those closest to them. I can honestly say that I haven’t gotten angry, not even a little irritated for a long time now, at least a year and hopefully for the rest of my life. Anger is a really big problem in many relationships, and needs to be overcome if there is going to be growing love and joy in that relationship. ┬áI am going to start a study and support group ┬ájust for men using the book, “Getting Anger Under Control” by Neil Anderson. I have room for a couple more guys. Send me an email deefduke@hotmail.com if interested.

Going home from Vietnam

Tomorrow we get on a jet and head home. Seems like we have been here for months instead of 10 days. Most of today as we were all over the city of Hanoi I was very reflective about my own life. When you are in a place like Vietnam where there is so much poverty and where the probability of hearing the gospel is so small it causes me to think about my own life and all the blessings I have and know that I don’t deserve them any more than most of the thousands of people I have seen here. God’s grace is a mystery to me, but I have experienced it for sure, and I am determined not to take it for granted, but to live my life in a constant state of gratefulness and to serve Him with all my might because I love Him with all my heart.

Great food in Vietnam

image imageWhile prayer walking along the streets in Vietnam it is fun to eat some of the food that is offered in little shops on the street. The safest food to eat is fruit that needs peeled and food that you watch cooked well. Best food is that which is on a stick so no one’s fingers touch the food as it is roasted over the fire. These little roasted birds were only one US dollar. You will have to guess if I ate one or not­čśä

Hanging out

imageIt is fun just to hang out with a group of Vietnamese people for awhile attempting to talk to them and them to us. They enjoy practicing their English on us and teaching us some Vietnamese words, though their language is so “tonal” and I am so hard of hearing that I mostly just create a lot of laughs. This group of school kids were especially friendly and talkative.