Aug 29, 2014

Through the tears and the pain there is still hope and a future.


          My beautiful, happy, always cheerful, incredibly playful, and loving son was in tears, large crocodile size tears, just a few moments ago. He was so very upset about loosing something he must have felt was very important to him. What he could not see, that I could see, was that it was too harmful to him for him to keep as he went to bed and so I did not let him keep it. It was small, made of rubber, and could have easily caused him to suffocate the next time he put it in his mouth. All that he could focus on though was that it was gone and he still wanted it. He did not start off crying those alligator tears at first. First he tried to get it back from me, he called out "dadda" with his hand stretched out for it. As I said no again he got angry and his eyes welled up with tears. "Dadda, dadda", he would say with his lip all pouty as the desperation to get it back continued to grow, and then they came, those deep, sobbing, crocodile tears came streaming down his cheeks. I felt so bad for him. I love to see him laugh and smile, to be happy, and full of cheer. I love the way he waves to me every time we leave each others' sight or when he sees me again how he smiles real big, giggles, waves and says "Dadda". He is always smiling and happy and I do not like it when he is upset. Still I knew that it was best for him to not let him have what he wanted even though I understood how upset it would make him. As Heather took Jacob and Hannah for her time to snuggle with them before bed I could not help but think of a time, long ago now, that I too was so terribly upset and crying out for my heavenly father to help me, to change the heart of the person I loved so that I would not loose them. I remember sleepless nights up crying, full of crocodile tears, as I too was crying out, 'Daddy, daddy, please, please". Just like Jacob I was angry, sad, and desperately wanting God to give me what I felt I really needed, wanted, and just had to have.

Tonight in the tearful eyes of my son I was reminded of the great wisdom, compassion, and love my heavenly father has for me and for you. There are many times we cry out for God to move in our lives in this way or that way and we like Jacob get hurt, we bargain, plead, get angry, ask Him why, and to make it all better not realizing that by not doing what we want at that moment He truly is.

These past two months have been very hard for me in many ways. I have been so sick for so long, there have been those who have lied and sought to tear us down and damage our ministry and though the attacks are nothing new this time they deeply hurt. There were many times I asked God to just take it all a way, to turn the hearts of the ones who were attacking, and to give me back my health. I wanted so desperately to wake up in the morning and it all be better only to wake up and find that it wasn't. He didn't do what I wanted when I wanted it and how I had asked but He did speak to Heather in a dream that gave us both great encouragement, He sent a man here to minister with us and to us just when we both need it the most. He sustained me and though I felt so awful, every test I took only came back to show that I was healthy. Thankfully for over a week now the sickness has been gone, leaving as mysteriously as it came. And I learned today that the exercises I have been doing is correcting my back problem as well. I know that these times of refining are necessary and that there will be more to come until the Lord takes me home. They always serve to draw me closer to him. The long walks, those times of prayer, all of the time spent studding God's word, I can see are making me a kinder more gentler person. I have learned through the trials of life that no matter how I feel from moment to moment I can trust and find peace in the fact that the Lord loves me more than I can understand and has promised us all that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

     After Heather had her cuddle time I went in to have mine. Jacob was no longer crying and he crawled up to me and gave me a kiss and a hug and said contently, "Dadda", as he rubbed my face. He did not understand why I took the thing that I did away from him but at the same time he knew that his daddy loves him, and I do too.

     Maybe you are where I have been or where Jacob was tonight, wanting something, something so badly, and not knowing why He is not letting you have it. Can I just share with you with all confidence that He loves you too and even though you don't understand why the things are happening in your life or in the lives of those you love God still loves you and whatever it is you are facing or will face your heavenly father loves you and it will be ok.

     Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Proverbs 3:3-8
God Bless,

May 28, 2014

Watch Your Step!

One of the many beauties of Puerto Rico is that horses (among other types of animals) roam the land free. You may see a horse crossing in front of your house, at a stop sign, across an open field, really anywhere, anytime. Sometimes they are being ridden or put out to pasture or they are wild and just doing there “horse thing”. 

One of the byproducts of free-range horses is their manure deposits; again, at anywhere and at anytime.

This morning as I was hyperventilating on my morning jog up a nearby hill, I spotted a horse manure pile up ahead right smack dab in the middle of my narrow path that runs close to a busy street.  It was large, with multiple flies congregating around it, and it was downwind from me so it provided a distinct odor for which I was unable to avoid smelling by holding my breath since I was already in such short supply. With little time to contemplate how to go about maneuvering around it without tripping and falling either into the manure pile or into the street, I was able to successfully and carefully avoid both possibilities without breaking my stride.

Then God gave me a light bulb moment (yes, God spoke to me as I avoided falling in a pile of manure)!

On this narrow path that Christians travel on together how times do encounter a “manure pile” in our path?
The road is “straight and narrow” so there is little leeway for circumventing stumbling blocks. When we encounter a stumbling block left by a fellow believer it is never pleasant, normally we curl up our nostrils in disgust as we are forced to take in its stench, it surely is not visually appealing either, and sometimes we see others ensnared in it as well.

What do you do? There are a few scenarios that you can choose from: you could quickly look for a way to avoid tripping and falling into their “manure pile” and successfully avoid it and then continue on your way happy and praising yourself for your skills in avoiding entrapment! You could also stop and complain about it while pointing it to others as they pass by and exclaim how nasty and dirty it is proclaiming, “Unclean unclean unclean!”. You could also recruit someone to clean it up and get it out of the way for you in an effort to remain clean. Also,  you could simply ignore it, pretend it doesn’t bother you and practice the  “mind over matter” technique because who has time these days to deal with such annoyances that will only bog you down and ruin such a nice day? Or…. you could face the problem of the stinky pile; help the “depositor” of said manure pile clean it up while showing them how to properly take care of it for the next time.  Hmmm, so many choices, wouldn't you say?

You know there is a flip side to this analogy as well! Until we reach the end of our path to Heaven we will never stop encountering “manure piles” or…..wait for it…..making them ourselves. Manure piles are a fact of life even on the straight and narrow path with other believers. We all do it and won’t stop doing it until we are fully transformed. So for now, as we traverse this path together in our tents of flesh, what about you?

You make “manure piles” as well. Does yours make others stumble? Does it create road blocks for other travelers hindering their walkway? Do other travelers make the error of stumbling smack dab in the middle of your “manure pile” Your “manure pile” isn’t any more pleasant than the last guys pile a while back, you know! Hhhmmm, something to think about

Sanctification is rarely pleasant, just like cleaning up a pile of manure. And, sometimes we get the added bonus of helping out someone else bear their burdens and giving them a little extra push along the way so they can overcome their own stumbling blocks.

Manure is manure, we all do it.

The only difference is: what will we do when we do it ourselves and what do we do when we encounter someone else’s pile?

Jan 15, 2014

Road Weary & Yet longing To Finish Well!

On the road again.
It has been an amazing adventure but like all adventures they eventually need to come to an end, don't they? This furlough like the ones before has been an exercise in faith from beginning and I am sure it will be until the end. We left PR in pretty bad shape and unable to pay the bills for the last two months we were there. We did not know where we would go, how we would get there, or where we would sleep or what we would eat. We had some ideas though, and most things turned out to be completely different than what we had thought they would. The trip has been a mixture of mountain tops and valleys as most good journeys do.

The Lord led a man we had never met to give us a car to drive throughout the course of this journey, fully insured, and it has ran great for over 10,000 miles now. We have met more amazing people than I could name here, and I have had the opportunity to preach two revivals, in two separate states just days apart. Reports back say that they are continuing to impact the communities they were in. The one in IL was the most
20 min. before revival service begins
attended they have had there and several of the churches that participated are now seeing real growth. Though several of the places we went cost us more to get to and stay for the time we were there than was placed in our donation box, others took up love offerings that made up the difference and kept us on the road headed to the next one. There have been many unplanned Bible studies that came perfectly timed and we have made new friendships that will continue to grow and flourish in the years to come and we have had several opportunities to reunite with dear friends we have not seen in years. 

            We have also had our fill of bumps in the road as well. Sadly the Bible I have
So what are my choices?
taught every Bible study, preached every sermon with, each revival, and every church start since I was 14 was lost on this journey after having been placed on the roof of the car while kids and materials were being loaded from one church to the next. In truth each one of us have lost more than one thing on the trip. It is to be expected really with all there is to keep up with, the lack of sleep, and those endless miles something is bound to get lost along the way.  We have also been battling illness. For three weeks we each had our time with the flu, both congestive and stomach. Poor Jacob’s temp reached 103.7 and it prompted a trip to urgent care. Since we do not have health insurance as we travel, medical costs are typically high for us. Thankfully Jacob and all of us are back to our healthy selves. May God grant us health and safety the rest of our time here.

Here it is now mid Jan. and we are wondering what is next, longing to be back home in PR, we have not yet met our ministry’s fully funded goal, we have spoke at most of the churches we have in the past, new opportunities are not opening up like they did when we first arrived, and we have even lost existing support as we have traveled (though new support has balanced that back out now). We are not that much further ahead in committed monthly support than when we left PR.           

           Yesterday I was feeling pretty discouraged as I thought on these things and also
Birthday surprise with friends
from the response I received from a church I had reached out to earlier in the day when I received a text from my best friend.  We have been best friends since High School (20 years) and though we do not always get to spend as much time together as we would like to visiting with each other and our families or talking over the phone because of our schedules, we do seem to know how the other is feeling just in the way the other will say hello. Having not heard from me in a while he texted me with encouragement on the journey and hope for a good and what he felt would be a well earned ending, even though he knows that means we will be an ocean apart once again. His text came at just the right moment with exactly what I needed. One of only a few times I have seen Eph. 4:29 fulfilled to its fullest by others in my life:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~Ephesians 4:29

        His words surely fit the occasion of my life at the moment and I am grateful both for my friends love and encouragement and for the Lord’s leading and timing in our lives.
Those words reminded me of another portion of scripture that are often needed and to easily forgotten:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”~ Galatians 6:9

The journey continues.
This coming month will be our last month of furlough. I do not know yet where we will go, who we will meet, what opportunities or challenges lay ahead but I do know with the Lord and the love and support of our family and friends we will press on being encouraged to not grow weary of doing good and looking for the time of reaping of all that has been sewn. 

          Maybe things have not gone as you had planned or working out quite the way you felt they would. If so let me say to you with all confidence and with all the love I posses that God loves you and has far better plans for your life than you or I can even imagine at this moment and that this is my prayer for you,

…”that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the of Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Col.1:9-14


God Bless,

David Ingram

New Day Christian Ministry


PS. Any church, Sunday School Class, or small group that you are a part of that would like to have us come and share about this marvelous work the Lord has called us to we would love to have the opportunity to come and share before we head back and continue on with what the Lord has called us to. 

Update: After writing this blog post we faced a very scary challenge later in the day. While I was on my way back from the store Heather called very upset explaining Jacob could not lift his head or craw and that he was in a lot of pain. Hannah had been playing with him, thinking she was entertaining him. She lifted him up about a foot and dropped him on to her air mattress thinking he would like it. We did not know how badly he was injured and was 40 minutes from the hospital which was the only place prepared to work with children in the area. When we arrived they looked him over thoroughly and decided that nothing was broken and that his muscles in his neck, back, and shoulders were strained. He has been bathed in prayer since we left for the hospital and we are grateful for all who have been in prayer for Jacob. He struggled to go to sleep and woke many times through the night. Today we are happy to say he has improved greatly though still recovering. He is able to sit up, hold up his head, and has crawled. He is still recovering and clinging close to Heather but we are encouraged by all of his improvements this morning.