Friday, February 22, 2013

Act Now Visit this site and sign the petition on behalf of our friend, Saeed Abedini.  Over a quarter of a million people have already signed the petition asking for the actions of the U.N. and other organizations to work towards the release of U.S. citizen, Saeed Abedini, from Evin Prison in Iran. He is currently serving an eight year sentence because of his Christian faith.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Anyone need a house in Fergus Falls?

Ethan's parents are selling their home.  Here is a link to a website detailing their house in Fergus Falls.
We are praying for a swift sale for this great place!

Go West Young Man

Ethan is fleeing the snow (hopefully) and negative temperatures tomorrow to drive to the West Coast from northern Idaho to Washington to Oregon to California.  He plans to be there for two weeks meeting with friends and family and sharing the vision of teaching and training leaders around the world.  The kids and I are always a bit jittery before he leaves on a long trip.  We will miss him, but know it is for an important purpose.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Till Death Do Us Part: Thoughts on Love

Talk of love seems to be in the air as Valentine's Day approaches. My kids have been busily preparing valentines for their classmates and teachers at the homeschool co-op.  And my bags became heavier with candy and other such things this week.  My husband and I are also working on our marriage, especially in our communication as that is always one of our recurring challenges and areas that God is giving us grace in.  Speaking of God, how could we love without him?  True love is defined by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross in Jerusalem long ago.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
As forgiven sinners, God has given us the Spirit who gives us the power to love, for that is the fruit of the Spirit.  God has also given us His word that produces faith in us as we hear (or read) about this great love of God.

Over the thirteen years since Ethan and I were married, the Holy Spirit reminds me of Bible verses when I am challenged in our marriage relationship.  Without God's love, we would be left to our own selfish ways, and in despair.  Is marriage really meant to make us happy and fulfill our every desire? Or was it created to demonstrate God's sacrificial love in putting others before ourselves in service and love?

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20.  I talked to Ethan's 90-year-old aunt at Thanksgiving. Her secret to a lasting marriage (they have been married 67 years) is to "keep your mouth shut." That made us all laugh, but there is wisdom in learning to listen, to refrain from interrupting, and giving your anger over to God.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,  it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil(N) but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV When I was a teenager I helped out at a VBS summer program at my friend Anne's church.  We learned a song that had the NIV words from I Cor.13.  I thank God for that song since this Scripture passage has saved me countless times from giving in to my selfish desires and behaving rudely and sinfully to people.  Lord, save us! We are still so selfish.  Thank God for Jesus who has won this battle and will give us victory over our sinful flesh in the end!

 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:35-36 This may seem like a strange verse when talking about marriage.  My spouse is not my enemy!  But the standard here is that if we are to do good, love, and lend to a person who seems so very unworthy of this kind of love (though our love is not based on merit, but the unconditional love and mercy that Christ has shown us), how much more our motivation to love our spouse is based on unselfish motives.  God showed us what His love is by crucifying His only Son on a cross on our behalf.  Our marriage love must point to the Cross in how we show mercy to one another.

Ultimately, as Christians our marriages are a picture of Christ's love for His Church.  He laid down His life for us, and we are to lay down our lives for one another.  This is only possible by His grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in every believer.  God bless our marriages for His name's sake.