Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Go Anyway

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16, NIV 2011).

It was just like any other mission trip I had committed to. I had warned her that it was coming. She understood and said, “Go anyway.”
Almost every mission trip I have pursued over the last 20 years has left my wonderful wife at home to deal with my absence. And during almost every trip, a major crisis had occurred at home, leaving her alone to manage. This time, I had not been gone a week when my daughter’s father-in-law died suddenly. I was 6,600 miles away and offered to come home if they needed me. I stayed and my wife was there without me to support the grief and manage the grandchildren during this terrible time of loss for those I love. And thus she has always been there, has always stepped up and is just as much a part of God’s mission as I am.

Too often, we who are on mission for God forget the loved ones who make it possible. We see ourselves as following God’s great call and accept with little understanding the sacrifice others are making for us to be free to serve.
And whether we call them Barnabas, or Martha, or Simon the Cyrene, or even Becky, we could never carry our crosses without them walking beside us, carrying their own.
Thank God for my wife and all the loads she has lifted so that I might serve our King---so that we might serve our King together. May God help me support her as faithfully while she lives out the mission for which she was specially and perfectly created.

Great God,
Thank you for my spouse and for putting us together in your purpose for our lives.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


“When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (Acts 16:7, NIV 2011).

It was peculiar how he met his wife. He had found Christ in a country that persecuted Christians. The small established church there then wished for him to have a Christian wife who would support his ministry. They brought a number of wife-possibilities to him, but he refused them. He brought a number of others to these same church leaders and they had refused his choices.
One day as he was driving to his church, he spotted a young woman walking. God spoke to him to stop and talk to her, but he was in a hurry and did not. He soon saw her again and God spoke the same. He initially passed her but then turned around and parked his car. Walking up to her, he handed her a New Testament. “I know you don’t know me, but read this. I will come by here next week and, if you are waiting, I will talk with you.” The next week he passed her but she was walking. The next week he saw her standing there so he stopped. “What did you think of the book?” he asked. “ I read it,” she said and added, “I accepted Jesus.” After some difficulty convincing the church, the two were married and now live for Christ in a country that persecutes Christians.

How do we make our decisions in life?
Not just the “whether I should teach Sunday School” or “whether I should go on this mission trip” decisions. How do we make the important decisions that hold us fast in the real world, like “what job should I take” and “who should I marry” and “when should I retire” decisions?
Do we want God’s Spirit to lead us?
Do we trust God’s Spirit to lead us?
Do we seek God’s Spirit to lead us?
Christians in difficult lands very often have nothing but God’s Spirit to show them a way in the darkness. And they are blessed by that dependence, for within it they see God; while we in our well resourced countries, with so many possibilities, so often see only the natural consequences of our efforts.
I need to learn from this God-dependent man. I need to seek more, listen harder, trust more, obey more; then perhaps I will see God more in this real world that I seek to control.

Dear God,
Help me listen for your Spirit today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5, NIV 2011).

I was rounding with my house staff on the psych ward, standing in the hallway between rooms discussing a patient with unexplained weight loss. A small group of patients moved between us, excusing themselves as they passed through. One gray haired man with salt and pepper stubble stopped, grasped my two hands and looked directly into my eyes.
“You look like a minister.”
I was silent as he continued, “Meeeeeek.” He drew out the word with his eyes locked into mine.
“Are you a Christian? Where do you go to church?” he asked.
I answered as my residents leaned silently against the wall, watching the exchange with God knows what thoughts.
“Loooowly,” he added, his eyes drawing mine into his, as his friends pulled him away.

I could not help thinking, as I was staring into the grey eyes of this patient on the psych ward, that it might be Jesus confronting me with the words “Meek” and “Lowly”---not in the person of the disturbed man I encountered, but somehow in the encounter.
If so, did I listen?
Do I understand?
Meekness is not a common attribute for healthcare professionals. We like to take charge, always doing it our way, always fixing things. When life attacks us, we strike back. To be meek would be to let life run over us, out of our control.
Perhaps that’s the point.
The meekness Jesus talks about is not a passive acceptance of life’s blows, though it does at times require us to accept such blows with silence. The meekness Jesus talks about is energy-under-control for His purpose, not mine.
If we are meek like Christ, we are like war horses eager for battle, waiting for our Master to loosen the reigns, steady and silent, held by His hand as the noise of battle crescendos around us, not listening to a taunting world, confident that the Master knows the battle plan far better than we.
The world may look upon our meekness and see us as docile, and we may have to live with that a while, for it is not about us. But, in truth, we are not weak; we are meek. As we silently take the blows of the world, we are God’s meek war horses, ready for the loosened reigns and waiting for the Master’s word, “Charge!”---into His battle, not ours.

Dear Father,
Let me wait patiently under your hand, ready to charge when you choose.