"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
October 21, 2009
When Jon and I were in Singapore, we didn't dare try to rent a car and drive ourselves. For one thing, they drove on the left side of the road, which would have taken some getting used to. Another thing, we never did figure out a lot of their road signs. But after seeing how people drove, we realized that we were a lot safer in a taxi with a driver that knew the rules of the road.
We took taxis most of the time when we went to places that weren't within walking distance. It didn't take long to realize that a lot of the drivers seemed to think that the white lines marking the lanes were only suggestions, not actual rules. The drivers were very aggressive and when they needed or wanted to change lanes; over they went! Very few people seemed to realize that their cars contained a signal light that they could use. They all drove as fast as traffic would allow, and frequently changed lanes when it looked impossible, and there was seemingly only inches between vehicles at times.
Apparently there were no rules for motorcyclist. They zipped in between cars or drove down the white line at times. When cars stopped at a red traffic light, the motorcyclist would drive between the cars to get to the front of the line.
Surprisingly, we never saw any accidents. We know that some did occur, because the message signs above the highway would show a picture of a car lying on its side and give the location of the accident. That gave other drivers notice so they could take alternate routes.
Only one time did we have an adventurous taxi ride that scared us both. The driver liked to tailgate, slam on his brakes, weave in and out of traffic, never signaled, etc. There were times when he would cut in so close to other cars to change lanes, that we just knew that we were going to end up getting hit. I tend to be a little more road wary than Jon. When Jon is driving in heavy traffic in unfamiliar places like Dallas or Houston, it makes me a nervous wreck. I try to keep my mouth shut and not say anything, but I hang on and slam my foot against the floor when I want him to brake. Occasionally I will inhale deeply instead of saying something. But this particular occasion, the taxi driver was making Jon nervous too. I had my teeth clenched and was clutching Jon's hand; and of course, I was fervently praying! I could tell by Jon's expression that he was more than a little nervous too.
Honestly, that was the only time I really wondered whether or not we were going to safely arrive at our destination. Even though the other taxi drivers were very aggressive, I felt safe and wasn't really worried about us having an accident.
One of the taxi drivers informed us that there are cameras all over Singapore alongside all the roads. Some are connected to the police and check for speeding. Some are to record any accidents. When accidents occur, it goes to a central computer system, which in turn will post messages on the highway signs and also to a GPS system the taxi drivers have in their cars. That helps prevent road congestion. All the roads are very well monitored.
I was thinking about this, and realized how closely related the driving in Singapore is related to life situations.
Too many people seem to think that the Bible doesn't really apply to them. They act as if God is only giving us "suggestions" by which to live; not actual rules. They think they can do what they want without consequences. But God makes it very plain that if you refuse to live by His Word, that you are sinning and there will be a price to pay.
James 4:17 says, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
Even Christians struggle with this at many times. There are days when my flesh rebels and I do things that I know are wrong. It may not be anything big, but it's still sin. As the above scripture says, I know to do good, but I choose to do otherwise. I don't always act as if I truly believe that all of God's rules apply to me. Sometimes I just don't care if I do good or not. I know I'm saying things I shouldn't, or having ungodly attitudes, or being lazy in my devotions, etc. but I don't do anything to change or stop myself.
We may be able to get by for a while by living this way, but the day will come when either we will get hurt or else we will hurt someone else. There will be consequences for our actions.
When one of my nephews had only had his drivers license for a short time, I was bravely letting him drive my car. He thought he was a good driver and knew what he was doing; therefore, he was driving way too close to other cars and was driving faster than he should have been. I had learned not to nag or get mad because that only made the boys worse. I had to stay as calm as possible and try to handle it as delicately as possible to get them to do what I wanted.
I told him that he really needed to slow down and not follow so closely to the car in front of us. He said that he knew what he was doing! I replied that while that may be true, he didn't know if the other drivers on the road knew what they were doing. You never know when other vehicles may have a drunk driver behind the wheel or someone who is high or sleepy; or they may just not be a good driver. Therefore, it was important to leave enough room between you and the other car to be able to stop fast, if necessary.
At times we feel like we have been a Christian for so long that we know what we're doing. We think we know what the Bible says and how we're supposed to live! But if we're not careful, we become sloppy and lazy and began to get our eyes off God. We follow tradition instead of being diligent in following and obeying God.
None of us know what life has in store for us. We're not promised days of sunshine and smooth sailing. In fact, we're not even promised tomorrow.
When Jon and I were gone to Singapore, a former pastor's wife lost her life. She, her husband and their small son had been to visit their daughter in Arkansas. They were heading back home on a Wednesday afternoon. I'm sure their plans were to get home and rest up a bit before the Wednesday evening service at their church. It was raining and their car hydroplaned. The wife was riding in the backseat with the little boy. The car just happened to hit a tree on the door where she was sitting. It broke her neck, and in a split second she left this world and began eternity. The husband and little boy were both completely unharmed,without so much as a scratch on them. When they left to head home, the daughter had no idea that she was telling her mother goodbye for the last time on this earth. When the congregation shook her hand on the Sunday evening before, they had no idea that she wouldn't be there on Wednesday night. As she and her husband drove down the highway, he had no idea that he wouldn't arrive home with his wife. It was sudden, unexpected, and in a matter of a few seconds, everything changed for them all.
We somehow think that something like this will never happen to us or our family. We never seem to think that sickness or disease will be something that we'll have to deal with. Not that we should live in fear or worry; but we do need to be diligent in our relationship with God and keep our hearts prepared to meet Him at all times. None of us are promised long life or perfect health or a problem free life. We are promised that God will always be with us!!
We found out that there is a high price to pay for the privilege of driving in Singapore. Cars are very expensive and only the wealthier own them. There is a high yearly charge you have to pay for owning a car. Jon was told that next year they were only going to give out a limited number of permits for owning a car, and the cost to get one was expensive. Although you see a lot of cars, most people either walk or use the transit system to get around. Most residents more than likely will go through their life without ever getting a drivers license or driving a vehicle. That's something that's incomprehensible to us!
A high price was paid so that we could have freedom from sin. Jesus gave His very life! But the gift of salvation is not limited to just a few. It's not unattainable or offered only to the rich. But it's offered to "whosoever will come". I desire to do good and obey God in all things. I never want to think I can "drive" my own life according to my own desires and pleasures. I want my life to always be pleasing unto God. At any given moment, my greatest desire is that God would be able to look at me and say, "Well done my good an faithful servant!" May that also be your heart's desire.
Buying cars in Singapore is very expensive. It isn't something anyone takes lightly. There is the permit to allow each person to own a car (the price varies with the size class of car), then roughly 200% sales tax. And then, there is an annual tax, somewhat like our property or tag tax, but much higher.
Receiving salvation from Christ doesn't cost much. True, many people who are considering whether to follow Christ or stay in their sins feel like they would have to give up a lot. After giving up sin for a long time, it's obvious that it wasn't about giving up sin, but taking on forgiveness, freedom, and a close relationship with God. But I think that's going off in a different topic.
My point here is that when it doesn't cost much, it can be easy to take it lightly. It's not that tough for someone to wreck his aunt's car; it didn't cost him much. But just because it didn't cost our life doesn't mean it isn't worth everything.
2 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
Stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Stir in water until moistened. Roll out one at a time and place in a pie tin.
(Tired of my Singapore stories yet?!) Jon and I visited Malay Village while we were in Singapore. They were celebrating their New Year's Eve while we were there. There were tents everywhere filled with booth after booth of vendors selling everything imaginable. Jon and I found a booth filled with beautiful tablecloths, place-mats, and table runners. We found that everyone spoke English in Singapore, and most people were quite easy to converse with. But there were a few who spoke only enough English to get by. In this particular booth, that was the case. I found a beautiful tablecloth that I was interested in purchasing. The man knew enough English to tell me how much it cost. The fabric was very different and I was curious what it was made out of. I asked him what type of fabric it was. His reply was, "Cloth." Okay, I knew it was cloth!! Jon laughed and said he wasn't sure if the man's reply was due to his lack of knowledge of the English language, or if he was just being a typical man and had no idea what type of material it was made out of.
Wishing will never be a substitute for prayer.
We hope everyone is having a wonderful fall season.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon