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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Mistaken identity and divine sovereignty…

The Today Show featured two families who experienced an incredibly unusual experience of mistaken identity. You may recall the event that took place back in 2006. Nine students from Taylor University were involved in a horrible auto accident, with eight of them dying. The only survivor was a blond-haired young lady, who had been thrown from the van, and was found with a purse by her side. Someone put the purse with the girl as identification for her transport to the hospital. Badly injured, she would spend time in ICU and a total of five week in the hospital after the accident. The girl’s name? Since the purse belonged to Laura Van Ryn, that’s who she was believed to be for the next five weeks.

However, as she slowly recovered and began speaking again, the bittersweet discovery was made that the surviving girl was not Laura Van Ryn, but actually Whitney Cerak. Laura was the one who died in the crash.

As you watch this video, you will hear two families speak clearly about their faith and confidence in the sovereignty of God. How refreshing to hear testimony like this on a major network television show! How encouraging for these two families to unashamedly speak about their Lord. See this emotional and God-honoring video interview here.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2010 in Theology

 

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Wounded Warriors

While recently watching a snippet of the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News I was introduced to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. This mission is accomplished primarily by raising awareness of the needs of severely wounded service men and women and by providing unique programs and services to meet those needs.

The organization was started after a group of veterans were moved by the tragic stories of injured men and women who were returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Being greeted by brass bands and ticker tape parades didn’t begin to meet the real needs of these wounded warriors.

Some of the various programs offered by the WWP include Caregivers Retreats, Coping and Family Services, Peer Mentoring, and Warriors to Work. Though I have not spoken to a single person who has benefited from WWP, I have no doubt this organization has made a huge difference in many men and women’s lives.

What really struck me was the similarity between the WWP and the outreach that any Bible-based church ministry should aim for. I have often likened the church to a spiritual hospital, a place where people from all walks of life with all sorts of “wounds” can come and have their hurts ministered to.

In order for a believer and/or a church to effectively minister to the “wounded” all around us, we will need to have the same compassion and perspective on people that Christ had: When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9.36 ESV). People are “harassed and helpless” because of the consequences of sin, because of the assaults of Satan against them and their families. People are wondering aimlessly through life “like sheep without a shepherd” because of false teaching and false religions.

People are wounded because of divorce, death, and disease. They hurt because of unfulfilled dreams and selfishness on the part of a parent, spouse, or friend. They have scars because of lies and deception, because of broken promises, because of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. The wounded list goes on and on and on.

Christians sometimes experience their own specialized wounds…often from “friendly fire.” We succumb to the nastiness of our flesh and throw verbal hand grenades, with shrapnel flying all around. We split churches because of pettiness and pride. Pastors are sometimes treated like dogs, and the pastors sometimes treat church members like unwanted and unloved stepchildren.

We see someone suffering the consequences of their sin and instead of extending a helping hand, we kick them in the face and think, It’s what you deserve!

May the God of Heaven have mercy and help us! Christians must step up to the plate and do everything in their power to make the church a place of refuge, a place where “wounded warriors” can have their “injuries” ministered to. A place where those who have suffered much at the hands of their “adversary the devil” can be nursed back to spiritual health. A place where any believer can regain his/her spiritual equilibrium and one day resume useful service to the Lord.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Practical Living and Ethics

 

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Killed for carrying a girl?!

One headline today at Foxnews.com: “Palestinian Suspected of Murdering Pregnant Wife Because Ultrasound Showed She Was Having a Girl.”

My fleshly side wants to say to this guy, “Go back and study your biology. If you wanted to kill the one responsible for your wife carrying a girl instead of a boy, you should have killed yourself!” If only he had produced a “Y” chromosome, he would have helped produce that coveted boy.

My “biblical side” however, reminds me that ultimately neither the man nor the woman determines the sex of a child. In fact, they don’t even make the ultimate call about producing a child at all. GOD DOES. He is the giver of life.

David articulated this well when he wrote, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139.14). God Himself had this to say about His creation of Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1.5).

So I wonder, would this Palestinian man really like to KILL GOD for creating a daughter and not a son? The article stated that the man was envious of his brother who has nine sons, while he only has three. Remarkably, envy was one of the motivational factors when God the Son was literally killed. Jesus “knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up” (Matt. 27.18).

As sickening and immoral as this man’s actions were in killing his wife, I was struck with the thought of how often I am “displeased” with God’s providence over my own life. Do we as believers in Christ accept all that comes from His hand with appreciation and awareness that He is in control and “does according to His will among the host of heaven 
and among the inhabitants of the earth” (Dan. 4.35)? Lord, please teach me to understand and fully believe that You do all things well.

Oh, and by the way, praise God that within the community of believers, “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus!” (Gal. 3.28).

 
 

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Asking permission and promising death?

On February 19, 1812, Nancy and Adoniram Judson set sail from Salem as two of the first missionaries to ever go out from North America. Several months prior, Adoniram sat down and deliberately wrote a letter to Nancy’s father requesting her hand in marriage. Here is an excerpt…how foreign (no pun intended) does this sound?

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the…fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you…? (from To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson, by Courtney Anderson, p. 83)

Wow! I seriously doubt if most military recruits are this serious minded about the realities of peril and death on the battlefield. Can you image how Nancy’s father felt? So, you want to marry my daughter and then promptly take her on a death tour to India? Are you crazy?!

Was Adoniram crazy? Was Nancy? What about Nancy’s parents in consenting to such a pre-nuptial death sentence? No on all accounts! They were consecrated to their Savior and His calling upon their lives to get the gospel to those who had never heard. Most parents would forbid such godly obedience. Most Christians would stay home where it’s safe and comfy. Oh, God, please help me to say with Paul, “I DIE DAILY,” and sing with Judson Van deVenter, “I surrender all!”

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Consecration

 

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