Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The value of a person or thing is not intrinsic or built in. Its value arises from how others feel about it. The evaluation, esteem, appreciation by others and their desire to be connected to it determine its worth.

The value of my ragged soul—and every other soul that has ever known or will know life—was determined at Calvary. Maximum-value-Jesus invested His total self into our lives. He added divine value to each of us.

Here in Africa our days are filled with encounters with hurting, dying, hungry, crying children who have little or no hope for things to ever get better. Many youth have told us they are growing up “half-people.” “I am worth nothing,” they have said.

Amazing and wonderful to see the change when the Children’s Cup Team invests value into their little lives.

Every smile,
Every loving pat,
Every kind word,
Every word about Jesus,
Every school lesson,
Every morsel of food,
Every item of clothing,
Every medical treatment,
Every dollar sent to help them adds value to their lives and changes how they think about themselves.

How often we think, “It truly is ‘More blessed to give than to receive.’”

And, in perfect symmetry, the children’s smiles and hugs give us a wonderful sense of value added to our own lives.

Only God could have designed such a beautiful plan.


All lines not in perfect parallel eventually must come to an intersection—-a cross.

Likewise, all paths not in perfect parallel with Truth (whose name is Jesus) will and must meet Truth at the cross.


“Juanito has hired a hit man to kill you!”

A man sitting behind me in church leaned forward and whispered this in my ear. Juanito was the opposition lawyer in a lawsuit in which our mission was the defendant. I was managing the case.

You can be sure it made me think.

I asked myself if it was worth it to die over a building. No it was not.
“This isn’t just about a building—it’s about ministering in this country. If you don’t hold onto something you’ll let go of everything.”

A line was drawn. I stayed. God’s work was much bigger than this silly lawsuit and threat.

The corrupt attorney fell ill and in a short time he died. I pray he found peace with God in his last days.

* * * * * *

“Lord, if you’ll give us the life and strength to raise it, I’d like to have another child—a girl.”

I was driving alone in the poorest, most dangerous place in Manila called the Tondo dump. I had no thought of having more children. Our two boys were great—they were enough.

When I heard myself pray that out loud it startled me, but right then I knew I meant it even though I didn’t start the thought..

About nine and a half months later Susan Jean was born. As I write this Jean and I have just spent the morning in Susan’s missions house here in Swaziland babysitting her three children—our grandkids—while she and Ben attended a ministry event.
Is that wonderful or what?

“When I found out I was pregnant I started praying for our child’s future spouse.”
Jean was four months pregnant when our friend, a Japanese born missionary to the Philippines, told this to us.

We thought it was a great thing to do and started praying for Susan’s future husband.
Catch the significance of this: Ben is four months younger than Susan.


If I am not walking in daily awe of Jesus—with a feeling like I’m into a relationship far beyond my capacity and ability—then I’m not close enough to Him!

Yet, if I am walking timidly—-taking hesitant, insecure steps—-then I’m not acknowledging His presence in my life.

This then is the ultimate mystery:


Like the Psalmist said, “Such knowledge is too wondrous for me.”

Friday, December 16, 2005


Why the tears that catch me unaware? I’m the one who would not—could not—cry. Even personal attacks are set aside with no bothersome tears.

Yet, the simplest things like a child, a thought of worship—holy things in some profound way slip past my controls and bathe my eyes in tears.

My voice that has held steady before captors and debated clearly before courts and rulers, this same voice tightens and breaks at gentle things of love. A fiery knot strangles the sound.

There’s a burning—yes, that’s it. There is an awesome kind of burning that Holy things ignite. Its blaze brings tears and parches my vocal cords.

Oh, the force of it, this burning in my heart.

Shall I be consumed of it?

Ah, the comforting thought, I remember that Moses’ burning bush was not left a pile of charred twigs.

That fire sparked events that would bring a nation out of slavery.
And, yes, I remember the cloven tongues of fire did not destroy the ones who tarried in the Upper Room.

Rather, that fire ignited the early church so that it spread the Word of Life even to the heads of the oppressive government. Thousands were added daily.

Dare I believe that just like the burning bush and cloven tongues of fire started new and grand things, that this fire now raging in my heart will give new energy to the call of God on my life?

Can it be that the events compare?

I do, I do believe that God is giving me the Holy Spirit’s fire to energize a deeper level of ministry.

I purpose now to let that fire take hold of me, even if it were to char my flesh, to take the Word to a needy world.

O flaming tongues that danced
On Moses’ burning bush
And filled the Upper Room
With a mighty sounding rush,
Ignite my ready heart
And set my soul ablaze!
Come prompt my willing tongue
And fill my voice with praise!



“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.’’

Let’s demonstrate the foolishness.

First draw a circle. Let the circle represent total knowledge of everything.

Second, place a dot somewhere inside the circle. Let the dot represent the God-denier.

Third, let the God-denier draw a circle around the dot that represents the portion of knowledge he has attained. Even the most egotistical will draw a small perimeter leaving large areas of confessed ignorance.

To disprove anything one must prove all to the exclusion of the possibility of the disputed matter, or, one must prove conclusively the existence of something that totally precludes the existence of the debated subject.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” but Job said, “I know that my Redeemer liveth!”

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


One of the great blessings of Christmas is the beautiful music. Like the Red Sea did for Moses, this time of the year the thundering decibels of secular sound roll back and allow the beautiful, Christ exalting music to be heard.

Pay special heed to the words of the familiar carols this year. They proclaim the birth of the Messiah--the birth of hope.

As I’ve traveled in the neediest places of the world--some far too bad to fix by human means--I’m always aware that everyone reaches for hope.

Hope’s name is Jesus!

Away In A Manger is a favorite of mine. We all know its verses by heart. My wife Jean added a verse to it--maybe it will bless you, too.

The Saviour is coming
Is coming again
But not to a manger
In small Bethlehem.
The sound of a trumpet
Announcement will bring
The coming of Jesus
Our Glorious King.
That Coming Again is indeed the world’s Blessed Hope!

Titus 2:13,14 says, “While we wait for the Blessed Hope--the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” AMEN!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I've never seen such delight!
At Children's Cup Care Points around Swaziland we are having Christmas parties for hundreds of kids at each site.
Food--including that rare thing for them called meat. What kid doesn't like fried chicken?
Gifts for every child.
Skits by the kids--pretty amazing how they have grasped the Gospel!
Christmas message.
Decisions to live for Jesus.
I wish the donors that have made this happen could see their faces and hear their giggles.

Monday, December 12, 2005


“Give us money or we’ll turn you in for having these drugs on you—you’ll go to prison.”
The two captors showed me a packet of what looked like drugs—I’d never seen them before.
I showed them my wallet—I had a $20 bill and a 20 peso bill.
“My mission made me sign an agreement that they’d never pay ransom for me. It would put a price on every missionary’s head if they did.”
My answer angered them.
They continued to threaten me and drive me around the back alleys of Intramuros, Manila and finally dumped me out—unharmed.

* * * * * *

“Tell me why you think the new constitution of the Philippines should allow foreign missionaries to live and work here.”
The Philippine secretary of State had called me into his office and posed the question. Certainly, I was not the only one who had input but the new constitution did preserve a welcome for missionaries.

* * * * * *

Some short, pungent sermons our children preached to me.
“Daddy, it’s dark there—you go first.”
“Hold me, I’m afraid.”
“Please don’t leave me alone.”
“Will you fix this for me—I broke it.”
“My arms are too short. Please help me reach it.”
“I don’t know how.”
“I can do it if you’ll help me.”
Now I’m watching as our grandchildren preach those same sermons back to their daddies and mommies..

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Why are you so excited about that man’s promise to make a major donation for your missionary budget—I already promised you’d have it?"It had been a rough couple weeks of itinerating to churches to raise our missions budget. I had driven all day to one service and the offering was just over $13. Now a different church was really going to help.
“Forgive me, Lord, I feel like such a fraud. I’m nice to the preachers so they will commit to helping me.”I was praying as I drove our Kayot Mini-home camper to the next church where I found little to respect about the pastor.
Then I heard God speak to me—not an audible voice but much louder than a thought.
“I know you, Dave, and I’m going to use you. You aren’t raising funds for you—they are for me!”

* * * * * *

“Will you accept appointment as business administrator for our mission in the Philippines?”The Foreign Missions Board opened a whole new world to us.

* * * * * *

“If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”
Psalms 139:9,10

* * * * * *

“Get in the car!”
Six days after we arrived in Manila, Philippines, two thugs posing as police hustled me into their car—I was hostage to their evil plans—but God had other plans.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


For a while some of my blogs will be an ongoing dialogue with the questions and statements that have shaped my life.
Maybe just a few at a time and perhaps even in random order, they will mark some formative moments in my walk with God.

First I heard them.
And since then I keep feeling them in my heart.
They are questions and statements that have become measuring points and way markers in my life and career as a missionary.

“Will you take the place of my son John that died in Tibet where he was helping me tell people about Jesus?”
I was sitting on the lap of missionary Victor Plymire in our Wayne, Michigan, living room when God called me to be a missionary.
“I will, Brother Plymire,” I answered.
I was four years old and I knew something important had just happened.

* * * * * *

“Life is just a mass and duration of confusion and hurt.”
I listened to this lie from hell in my late teenage years yet my merciful God has let me live a joy-filled, jam-packed life in service to Him.

* * * * * *

“The fool has said his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
My young wife and I had just had a fight about my needing to serve God. She had reminded my about my “Plymire promise.” I swore and declared, “My kids will never be preacher’s kids!”
But from that moment on--subtle and sure--under my anger I knew that one day I’d stop trying to tell God He didn’t exist and serve Him.

* * * * * *
“Will you trust me with your life?”
Many times I heard the Holy Spirit whisper this appeal deep in my soul.
I finally said, "Yes!"

* * * * * *

“I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord…”
And then I heard my voice and my heart sing these words many times at the altar. Again, God knew I meant it.

* * * * * *

“Jean, I made a commitment tonight.”
I told my wife on the way home from a missions service at our church. I had promised God I’d answer the call He gave me on Brother Plymire’s lap.
“So did I. Is yours about missions?” she answered.
That old blue 65 Chevy van was filled with electricity as we drove on home knowing our lives had just made a dramatic turn.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Indecision is a thief.

It robs us of effective, timely action—it can be deadly like the old adage that says, “He who hesitates is lost,” indicates.

I’ve had to deal with difficult decisions—often.

Usually the action-stealing debate is whether to take a certain action or not to take it,

Well, here’s a sure-fire muddle-buster for me. This question has helped me over and over again.

“Do I have God’s permission NOT to take the action?”

It’s amazing how much clarity this prayerful question brings to the matter.

God will not hide His will from us.