Having traveled on several mission trips, there are some places that are more difficult than others. The difficulty usually involves the water supply. God has allowed me to travel to Africa a few times. Our location did not have water we could drink safely unless we boiled it. For it to be useful to us we needed to remove the impurities. However, there are many places around the world without clean water even for the indigenous. The weakest members of communities and villages are the most vulnerable. Every day, water-related diseases claim the lives of 5000 children under the age of five. Millions of people are stricken with preventable diseases because of the lack of clean drinking water. The Straw conveniently hangs around one’s neck and provides him or her the necessary clean water to survive for an entire year. Water straws provide a filter for the water that lasts one year for $10. Falls Creek Conference Center is host to 8 weeks of youth camp each Summer involving over 50,000 people. During this Summer, a collection was taken to purchase Water is Life straws and over 3500 were purchased!
Since our theme for the summer was “THIRST” I thought it would be a great connecting point for students to draw the parallels between a physical thirst and a spiritual thirst. Providing filtered drinking straws for students in Ghana (via WaterIsLife.com) was a way to engage students in meeting the needs of physical thirst for those in need of water. When we taught them how to share their testimony, we were giving them a means to meet people’s spiritual thirst.
Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness. (Proverbs 25:4, 5 ESV) This scripture teaches us an important lesson. A silversmith needs pure silver or the vessel is weakened and compromised. This is easy to understand after reviewing the Water is Life website. When a child who is already malnourished drinks contaminated water they get sick and die. Our lives are like that water or silver. We need to have the impurities removed in order for God to use us effectively. Because we are indigenous to this culture we may not see the dangers so clearly. Like the little child who will go to the pond/lake/puddle and drink the water but fails to recognize the manure and animals in it and will likely get sick because of bacteria and other contaminates, so can we who fail to see the contaminates all around us. How can we live pure? How can we stay clean? How do we manage in this world but keep an eye on the next? Here are a few suggestions.
Awareness – we must become aware of the contaminates around us. Take a moment and examine with God’s perspective in mind. Are you aware of what those lyrics really just said? Are you aware of what you are wearing and what is showing? Are you aware of the liver damage by alcohol and the mental damage by marijuana? Are you aware of you 5 closest friends and whether or not they are leading you closer to Christ? Are you aware that the money you just dropped on lottery tickets could have paid your electric bill? Are you aware of the disrespect you just showed your spouse? Are you aware that your kids are not even home? Are you aware? I fear that we keep going to the ponds of media, gaming, and escapism and are unaware of the effects.
Accountability – share your struggles and concerns. Find someone who has wisdom, experience, and a close relationship with Christ. Talk to them. Share what you have discovered in becoming more aware. Ask them to pray over you. Ask them to help you become more responsible. Be honest with them when they ask. Admit the mistakes to God and come clean before Him too. Confessing before God and conversing with a friend will move you ahead in this process. If we hold back on either we are just hurting ourselves. Holding back is hindering your progress like cheating on a diet and wondering why you don’t lose weight. Holding back is like cheating on your spouse with porn and wondering why the love just isn’t there anymore. Holding back is like cutting and wondering why the pain is still there. Do not try to go it alone.
Avoidance – stay out of vulnerable situations. We all have our weak spots. The real issue is whether we know it or not. Once we know where the weak spot is we can divert pressure away from it by avoiding situations that compromise yourself. In the beginning, this will sound easier than done, but pays huge in the end. Some situations we cannot control and others we can. For those moments where you have a choice then avoid the vulnerable ones. For example, nothing good happens after midnight so you should go home and sleep. Don’t go to the bar to hang out if you are trying to quit drinking. Pay at the pump if going in is too hard to resist the lottery tickets. Hide or de-friend that person if it is too much to handle and your blood boils. Change the presets on the radio, clear your mp3, and don’t be on the internet privately. These are simple things to assist in avoiding being vulnerable.
Acceptance – you cannot just empty your life and expect it to stay empty. Our lives are not designed to be empty. Jesus said He wants to give us a full and abundant life. So if you clear your life of the contaminates then you need to fill it with pure water. Be willing to be shaped by God through scripture and church attendance. Allow God’s Spirit to sow the seeds of purity so that your life produces the spiritual fruit of God. Trust me, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control will give you a long and full life that is not only well-pleasing to God but completely satisfying to you.
Action – this is not automatic. You have to work at this. The four items listed above take a decision by you. However, when you choose, God will provide the energy you need to sustain and the power to break though to the other side! Don’t delay act now!
- Unlikely To Live Past Five Years Old, Nkaitole Just Completed His Bucket List (urbantimes.co)
- Kenyan Boy, Nkaitole, Raises Awareness Of Global Need For Safe Drinking Water By Sharing His Bucket List [VIDEO] (medicaldaily.com)
- The Importance of Clean Water (vphealth.wordpress.com)
- The Refiner’s Fire (unveilinghope.com)
- Proverbs 25-26 (hisstillsmallvoice.wordpress.com)