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I took the road less traveled,
and that has make all the difference.

My wife, two daughters and I recently spent a weekend in the mountains of Oaxaca.  We had a great time and took lots of pictures. I was looking at the pictures the other day and one particularly stood out for me. The one above. A lonely, rarely used road that we came upon on one of our hikes. It reminded me of the Robert Frost poem –

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I remember reading that poem in high school. After reading the poem I thought that in my life, I would like to take the road less traveled.

I grew up in a Christian family. We went to church three times a week.  I decided to follow Jesus at an early age. That was my first step on the road less traveled. Jesus said in Matthew 7 that wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Few choose that path. In a sense, the Christian road is a road less traveled.

But as I went to church week after week and year after year, I began to notice that everyone around me had more or less the same life; were on the same road. They all had more or less “American middle class” jobs, lived in “American middle class” houses and drove “American middle class” cars. It seemed to me that everyone was on the “American middle class” road. Hardly a road less traveled. It seemed more like a 12 lane highway and  the whole world seemed to be beating a path to join the crowd on the “American” road.

Fortunately we went to a church that stressed missions and regularly had missionaries come visit and share about what the missionary life was like. They regaled us with stories of making long treks to reach indigenous tribes in dark jungles and preach the Good News of what Jesus had done for them and that by believing in Him, they could live happy, abundant, lives.

Those stories made a deep impression on me. The missionaries were definitely  on the road less traveled. They had a faith in God that I rarely saw, and a trust in Jesus that enabled them go where few had gone, and do important things that few people were doing.

So I decided to go to Bible College and study missions, so that I too could be a missionary and travel that road.

Studying that life I became sorely disappointed. I learned that missionaries have to get bucket-loads of cash before they could even leave America, and then every four years come back to America to get more cash. I wanted to go to a foreign country, live there permanently, and trust God to provide for my needs. I came to the conclusion that I must not be cut out for that particular less traveled road.

I lived many years in the good ole USA , travelling the “American” road and was never satisfied that this was the road for me, but not knowing what to do about it. Thank God I discovered Foundation for His Ministry and a missionary road that suits me just fine. FFHM operates homes for needy children in different parts of Mexico. I visited the first one they established in the Baja peninsula of Mexico. It was incredible. They not only took in poor, abused, abandoned children and fed them, schooled them, loved them and shared with them about the love of God, but they also fed and clothed the hungry and oppressed in nearby agricultural work camps. They also did a lot of evangelistic outreach to children and adults in those camps. They also had a medical clinic that treated sick people for free.

I learned that each volunteer or staff worker received a monthly stipend, along with a place to stay and meals. “What more could a dedicated Christian who wants to do God’s work need?” I thought.

 I made many trips in the following years to help out as best I could, always thinking that one day I would not have to leave, but would be a permanent part of this marvelous organization. One day I would be on the road less traveled that I had always dreamed of and never get off.

FFHM started a new work in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, and I was at a place in my life where I could say, “Adios” to the ” American ” broad highway, and be fully engaged on the road less traveled. I sold or gave away everything that would not fit in my Toyota Corolla and headed south.

That was fifteen years ago, and I have never been happier. My decision to take the road less traveled has indeed made “all the difference.”

Writing this, I have no intention to denigrate or put down all those Christians in America who are following their own road less traveled and are doing incredible, innovative things to make a huge difference in millions of hurting lives. I am simply giving an account of my own Road Less Traveled, and hope to encourage others who might be stuck in a rut on the Main Street of life to consider what joys God may have in store for them if they strike out on their own Road Less Traveled. Thanks to all the supporters of FFHM who travel their own little road and faithfully make donations and sponsor the children, the poorest of the poor, in Mexico, so that one day, these kids can also follow God’s road less traveled. Without faithful donors, this endeavor would not be possible.

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The book of Deuteronomy is primarily Moses farewell speech to the Israelites beforethere is a way they go off to conquer the Promised Land and he goes off to a mountain to die. In some respects it’s not such a happy speech. Honestly Moses seems a bit ticked off. And why shouldn’t be be? God’s people, Moses’ people, whom they led through the wilderness lo these forty years are going off to the land of milk and honey, and all Moses gets is a t-shirt and a view from a mountain top. Moses traces his sad state of affairs to an incident that occurred shortly after they left Egypt.

They had made good time getting away from Egypt and were soon knocking on the door of the Promised Land, preparing to invade, when some wise guys suggested to Moses that they send in spies to check out the land and the best route to invasion. In chapter one of Deuteronomy Moses said, “it seemed like a good idea.”  Looking back, he surely reflected that it was the worst idea ever and ultimately led to his exclusion from the Promised land.

The spies came back from their recon mission and while all of them declared that it was an extremely abundant land, most of them said that the inhabitants were as big as giants and the walls around the cities were huge, and that they would all be killed if they tried to take the land.

The Israelites all panicked and God got angry and instead of the Promised Land, they received a promise ban. God promises that that generation would be prohibited from entering the land and that they would wander in the wilderness until all the chicken hearts die and a new generation grows up that will follow God into the land of milk and honey and take possession of it.

So why was it such a bad idea to send spies to search out the land? Because up to that point they had trusted God wholeheartedly. He laid down the plagues on the Egyptians and Pharaoh finally let them go. Then the Egyptian leader changed his mind and chased them to the Red Sea. God parted the waters of the sea and the Israelites escaped while the Egyptian army drowned. Then God led them through the wilderness with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He delivered them, protected them and guided them to the doorstep of the Promised Land, and then the people stop trusting him, and decide they know best. “Okay God, we can take it from here” they seemed to be saying. It was all downhill from there, both for the people and for Moses.

Verse 34 of chapter one says that the LORD was angry and solemnly swore: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give to your ancestors, except Caleb because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.”

Verse 37 is the nail in Moses coffin. “Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, ‘You shall not enter it either.”

What seemed like such a good idea ended up being a terrible idea. From Exodus through Deuteronomy, Moses is talking to God. Maybe if Moses would have taken some time to talk to God about the spy plan, things would have turned out differently and would have had a happy ending for Moses and the troops.

That’s kinda like us sometimes. We hear a suggestion, and it seems like a good idea, and we go with it, only to have it go sour on us later on down the road. Many times these suggestions come from the World, the Flesh or the Devil. That’s why some ideas seem good, because they appeal to our fleshly appetites. Rather than run the idea by God, or Godly counselors or the Bible, we just run with it. Sometimes we pay a terrible price for an idea that seemed good at the time. Sometimes our families pay as well.

My wife and I are cooperating with God and partnering with Foundation For His Ministry to help needy children in Oaxaca, Mexico. At the home here are almost 60 children who are being cared for. Many are here because of decisions that their parents made that seemed good at the time, but then went terribly wrong. Some of the children have been abandoned by their parents. Others have parents in prison or parents with addiction issues.

Fortunately, all the children here learn that God loves them and wants them to be happy. They learn to make decisions based on God’s Word. They have godly house parents who they can turn to for advice. They learn that the best decisions that they make are decisions that they have invited God to be a part of.

We have all been like Moses at times and have made decisions that seemed good at the time and ended up being big mistakes. Thankfully we have a God that forgives us, picks us up, shakes the dust off us, wipes our tears away, and continues to walk down the road of life with us, encouraging and guiding us. Let’s go with God all the time and not take a path away from Him that simply seems like the the way to go because it feels good at the time.

 

may god go with you

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