Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fortune Cookie Faith

Fortune_cookiesBelieve it or not, God definitely has a sense of humor. He knows how bad I am about second guessing myself. I believe he will use whatever he wants to get through my thick skull.

Even a fortune cookie.

In early 1999, my family moved to Europe. The weeks and months before were fraught with doubts. Did God really want us to make such a tremendous change? Had I misunderstood? A couple weeks before as we sat finishing a meal at a Chinese restaurant, I opened my fortune cookie and read "you will soon undertake a great trip." Or something like that. I laughed. Too cute.

Three and half years later, we sat in another Chinese restaurant in Z├╝rich, anticipating our upcoming move back to the States. I opened my cookie and about choked. "You will soon cross great waters to go to a land of sunshine." California, here we come!

Again I laughed but wondered if perhaps God was using such a silly thing to reassure me I was right on track. I mean, why not? He definitely caught my attention.

Now I will be the first to admit fortune cookies are just fun, silly little things that most of the time make no sense whatsoever. But how often do we live our faith, depending on those little messages from God to bring us from one place to another?

Granted, I love these messages from God. They remind me of how much he really loves me, and that he's always there. There's nothing wrong with that. The danger here is when we become like monkeys swinging from vine to vine, dependent upon the next to get us where we need to be or go in God's will.

Look at these love messages as the extra benefits to keeping a daily discipline of feasting on God's Word, praying and spending time with him. Knowing God is the best way to be sure you're going the right direction.

Then these little messages, or fortunes if you will, remain what they were intended to be. Dessert.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sacrificial Love

28239619We started The Love Dare (by Stephen and Alex Kendrick) at 1Peter3Living. If you feel led to do this book, I encourage you to do it either on your own or with us at 1Peter3Living. Already, God is opening doors and sending a clear message that He intends to use this book in a mighty way in many unequally yoked marriages.

Right off the start an integral theme of sacrificial love is very apparent. And necessary. I believe there is no greater refiner than marriage to bring us to the point of "losing our life" as Christ speaks of in Luke 17:33 (see also Matthew 10:39, Mark 8:35 and John 12:25).

God is calling us to quit living for ourselves, to quit putting ourselves and our own needs in first place, to give up our rights for the benefit of someone else.

That's sacrificial love.

And for marriage, any marriage, to work, that's what it takes. Are you willing to give up your right to be right? Are you willing to give up your right to self-justification in exchange for Godly justification? Are you willing to let go of the pain of the past in order to find hope again, and a future based in love? Are you willing to run the race to the end so that you can stand in front of Christ and hear "well done my good and faithful servant?"

Jesus is our greatest example of sacrificial love. He set aside his needs, wants, and desires to save us. He set aside his life, literally. He did it for us.

I believe God is calling us to make this step toward sacrificial love not just for our spouses sake, but in obedience to Him. It's a tall calling, one I believe we are worthy of. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:15–17:

God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.

Mordecai asked Esther, "And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

We've been called to a mission of sacrificial love in such a time as this. And It's not about us.

It's about God.

Praying and believing,

Friday, February 06, 2009

End of a Journey

LastDayToday marks the end of a turbulent journey. So many of you have been praying for my daughter and my family as we traversed a world of brain surgeries, complicated recoveries, and radiation. The seven weeks of radiation therapy ended today. Words are so inadequate to express our burgeoning excitement this week as we counted down the days with each trip to the cancer center. Three words kept repeating in my mind.

We are done.

God has carried us through this trial in amazing ways. You may be sitting there, shaking your head and wondering how you could ever get through such an experience. I used to wonder the same thing. But we did. All I can tell you is that our God is so good. He will give you whatever you need to get through whatever trial sits in front of you right now.

Leslie is now on the road to full recovery. Now she can be a fifteen year old again. She can focus on catching up in school and growing back her beautiful hair. We are so very grateful this day has come, and I keep saying we are ready to celebrate.

Because we are. No more doctor appointments. Just periodic check ups. God told me before all this started that she would be okay. And she is. Instead of praying, “God, fix this,” my prayers are now, “prepare me for whatever’s coming.” I trust him completely with my future and that of my family.

Like I said, words just can’t encompass this amazing journey. Thank you so much for praying us through. We’ve especially felt your prayers the last two weeks. We reached that midway point and found ourselves waning. Your prayers kept us going and brought us to the finish line. God even woke Leslie up this week on the three days her appointments were early.

Three more words. God is good.

How many pilgrims, still passing through these Red Seas and Jordans of earthly affliction, will be enable in the retrospect of eternity to say—full of the memories of God’s great goodness—“We went through the flood on foot, there—there, in these dark experiences, with the surging waves on every side, deep calling to deep, Jordan, as when Israel crossed it, in ‘the time of the overflowing” (flood), yet, ‘there did we rejoice in Him!’” —Dr. Macduff, excerpt from Streams in the Desert, February 6.

We are rejoicing in Him. I pray you are too.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

S.U.M. Blog in Top 100!

Just found out today that our blog Spiritually Unequal Marriage is one of a hundred blogs voted as most encouraging and inspiring over at Internet Cafe Devotions. We fell under the "My Cup of Tea" category. What's so special about this is that our readers took the time to nominate the blog. And to be among so many wonderful blogs and bloggers!

I give all that credit and glory right back to God. He's the one who's made the ministry grow and reach those who need it. I'm simply grateful to be a part of it.