Archive | June 2010

POTPOURRI III

A Challenge for Change — I heard something on the radio program Haven Today a couple months ago that challenged me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. A blogger named Amy Gross was being interviewed. She has quite a large following at http://www.momstoolbox.com/ and promotes a program that definitely caught my interest. It is called The Bible in Ninety Days and is just what the name implies – a plan that encourages people to read the Bible from cover to cover in just ninety days.

The Bible in Ninety Days is not original to Amy Gross, however. A man by the name of Ted Cooper developed it. His is an interesting story, actually. He was an agnostic to begin with, but as his children began to grow and ask questions, he began to wonder. Wanting to settle the issue once and for all, and to do it quickly, he decided to read the Bible through. He divided the number of pages in a Bible by ninety so he could be done in three months time, and began to read. Halfway through the Old Testament he accepted Christ as his Savior. His life was changed and as he grew, he wanted to share what had happened to him with others. He began to develop study notes and a curriculum to go along with the Bible-reading.

Amy heard about this plan and did it for herself – several times – and then shared it on her blog. From there it has continued to grow as she has encouraged others to do The Bible in Ninety Days along with her. As I listened to her describe the plan a question immediately came to my mind – “But what good does racing through the Scriptures like that do? Can I get anything of value for my life from it, or is it just a notch in my belt to say I’ve done it?”

Amy answered my questions almost before I was through thinking them. First of all, she shared the study guide that she uses. It is called SOAP. After reading the Scripture passages for the day (which usually takes about an hour), she chooses the one thing she believes God might be telling her that day. Then with her Bible and journal she applies SOAP:

***S: Scripture – She chooses one small passage out of the reading – it might be only a

*****verse or two – that she believes the Lord is using to speak to her that day and writes
*****it in her journal.

***O: Observation – She asks herself the question, “What is God telling me here?”

***A: Application – Then she asks, “How can I apply it to my life?

***P: Prayer – She prays, asking God to show her how and to enable her to make that
*****application in her life.

There are other benefits from reading the Bible in this manner, Amy says. First, reading the whole Bible in just ninety days helped her to get an overall perspective on the Scriptures and to see how wonderfully and miraculously they fit together. Then, it answered many of the questions she had had over the years. And finally, it changed her. Her relationship with Christ grew as she read and listened to His Word. II Timothy 3:16, 17 says, after all, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

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Every few months Amy issues the challenge again to join her in reading the Bible in ninety days. The official Challenge begins again in a week, on July 5th. Of course, you don’t have to do it with her in the Challenge. I considered starting The Bible in Ninety Days on my own back in April when I first heard about it, but I had just begun the series of 43 messages on the book of Revelation by Dr. David Jeremiah called Escape the Coming Night and I was already spending two or three hours a day listening to them. The timing worked out just right that I will finish that series this week and be ready to begin The Bible in Ninety Days Challenge next week.
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If you’re interested in reading more about this yourself, check it out at on Amy Gross’ website at http://www.momstoolbox.com/. She’s got a lot of other interesting things there, too, as well as the link to the ninety-day reading schedule. An hour, or hour and a half, a day may seem like a lot to carve out of one’s day, but I think all of us can generally find the time to do what is really important to us. I may have to get up earlier in the morning, or cut out something else of less importance to get it done, but I want to challenge myself to accomplish this in full. I challenge you to do it, too!
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Hot, Hot, Hot! – It has been sooooo hot the last week or two! Hannibal, MO, where we had our family reunion last weekend, was so hot and humid that the first thing I did when I got to town was to go straight to WalMart to buy some cooler clothes than the ones I had brought with me. I could have dealt with it if the air conditioning had been working correctly at the hotel, but that first day, at least, it was nearly as miserable inside as it was outside. Bob doesn’t call it Missouri. He says “Hannibal, Misery.”
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It’s been nearly as hot and muggy here in NW Indiana, though, this week as it was there. Every time I e-mail my son-in-law David, however, and am tempted to complain about the heat I just feel foolish. He is stationed in Iraq and Julie told me last night that the temperature there lately has been 124 degrees! It is a dry heat, but David said it is like being in an oven, and when the wind is blowing, it is like a blast oven. It’s hard for us to imagine, isn’t it? He gladly told Julie of a little relief they had the other day. It only got up to 100 degrees that day. A virtual cold snap!
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It’s all relative, isn’t it, and dependent on our perspective. I am sure when David gets back to steamy Alabama he’ll be thankful for the weather there! Somehow, we managed to live through these same hot, humid temperatures back before the days of central air conditioning. We now endure them only long enough to hustle from door to car to door and back again. I remember, as a kid, sitting in front of a fan with a tall glass of ice water to stay cool, or spending my days at the pool. Now if the electricity fails, or my air conditioner goes out it is a calamity! We are so spoiled… Nevertheless, I thank Him for modern technology once again in allowing us the luxury of central air!
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Imagine living your life in the blast furnace of heat in Iraq and Israel – the part of the world where this Scripture was given – in the days before electricity, and the feeling behind this verse becomes even clearer: “O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” (Isaiah 25:1, 4) He is faithful to meet all our needs; a refuge to us from the storm and from the heat, a way through the floods and the fire. Praise His name!
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Pumpkin, the Prodigal Pup – Okay, I just can’t resist sharing another Pumpkin story with you.
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Julie called the night before we left for Hannibal in tears. Pumpkin was lost. They’d been looking for hours and had not found her before night fell. Julie was broken-hearted and the kids were crying. Somehow (they think she was chasing a rabbit), she had found a loose board in the fence and in a matter of minutes disappeared out of their backyard. Julie especially was kicking herself because the dog didn’t have her collar on. She’d had a sore on her neck so Julie had removed the collar a day or two earlier to allow the cut to heal. Now, unless someone took her to a vet or the pound and they found the microchip identifying her, she might be gone for good. And what if she got hit by a car, or grabbed by a coyote? The precious, pampered little pound puppy who had only been with them two months had quickly worked her way into their hearts and home and now they were worried sick about her.
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I was heartsick, too. I had to get up early to leave for Hannibal, but it was well after 3:00 AM before I finally fell asleep. I was praying that somehow the Lord would protect Pumpkin wherever she was during that night and bring her home. It was hard to imagine that the sweet blessing that Pumpkin had been to Julie and the kids since David left for Iraq was gone for good. I reminded the Lord (as if He needed reminding) of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and even the lost son of which Luke 15 speaks, and the rejoicing when they are found! (Okay, I know comparing a lost dog to a sinner who accepts the Lord doesn’t quite work, but still…) I asked Him to show those children who were praying with all their hearts His glory in miraculously returning their pet.
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After her own sleepless night, Julie got up early and went out to hang up posters around the neighborhood. She gathered the phone numbers of all the vets, pounds, and police departments in the area to call and ask them to be on the lookout for Pumpkin. She was just about to start calling when the phone rang. Someone in the subdivision had found Pumpkin the night before and seen one of the posters!
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They hurried over to get her. It was just as Julie had imagined – Pumpkin had ended up several streets over, just on the edge of the subdivision where she would have been out on the highway if she had gone any further, and seen a man out in his yard. She had run to him, flung herself over on her back with belly exposed, and begged for love and attention! The older couple, dog-lovers themselves with three dogs of their own, took her in for the night and were all set to take her in to their own vet the next morning to look for a microchip when they saw the poster.
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The rejoicing over the prodigal pup was great! Julie called me as we were on our way to Hannibal and told me the good news. Oh, such relief – and thanksgiving to God! I could enjoy the reunion now without worrying about my grand-puppy (just kidding about the grand-puppy part!) “Rejoice with me; for I have found the [pup] which I had lost!” Julie laughingly told me later that Pumpkin’s overnight adventure had cost her another $50, as she took homemade cookies and a gift certificate to Cracker Barrel to the people who had found her later that evening.
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Julie tells me every time she mentions Pumpkin, what a wonderful, sweet, smart, good little dog she is and how they feel so blessed by God to have her. She has helped them through a difficult time. Just last night, she said, Hannah was praying and thanked God for Pumpkin – her doggie-sister! It took Hannah a while to adjust to having a dog, and in fact, it seemed she was a little jealous of the attention Pumpkin received at first. To hear her call Pumpkin her “doggie-sister” was new and a step in the right direction! Of course, a little later last night when Julie stopped to pet Pumpkin and say (in baby-talk), “Oh, what a good girl you are, Pumpkin! Such a good girl!” she heard Hannah plaintively ask, “Aren‘t I a good girl, too, Mommy?” *Sigh.* It’s a good thing God gave her a doggie-sister to prepare her for when she gets her adopted siblings from El Salvador!

A LOVE LETTER FROM OUR FATHER

My dad went home to be with the Lord seven years ago this week. The last Father’s Day we celebrated with him was just eight days before he had his massive attack. A year later we wondered how we would get through that first Father’s Day without him, but the Lord graciously had planned a diversion for us to make that day go by more easily – our biannual family reunion. There was a huge empty place at the reunion that year, but being with the big extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins, not to mention Mom and our siblings, for four laugh-filled days helped us to get through it.
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This year our Ward Family Reunion falls on Father’s Day weekend again. We’ll be thinking about Dad, I am sure, but rejoicing once again at the thought of him enjoying the wonders of Heaven! We’ll be looking forward, too, to our Great Family Reunion someday with him and all the family of God! Isn’t it so awesome that God not only provided salvation for us, but also made us a part of His family? We’re not going to Heaven alone – it will be one big reunion for all eternity! And the best part is that God Himself is our Father! As much as I love and honor my dad, and thank the Lord for giving him to me, there is no comparison between the love and sacrifices of our earthly fathers to the love and sacrifice of our Heavenly Father.
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Since I am at the reunion today, I’m going to take a pass on writing a full “Sundays with Cindy” this week and instead share something I’ve been saving for almost a year now for this day. It is not original to me (the author is unknown), and you may have even seen it before, but it is so exciting and heart-warming and humbling and – well, you’ll see if you read it and stop to think as you do about the great love our Heavenly Father has for us. It is a love letter to us from our Father, and I hope it means as much to you as it did to me when I first read it. If it doesn’t make you feel special and truly beloved, I don’t know what would…
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My Child,
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You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)
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I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2)
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I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3)
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Even the very hairs on your head are numbered, (Matthew 10:29-31)
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For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27)
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In me you live and move and have your being, (Acts 17:28)
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For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28)
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I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
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I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
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You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. (Psalm 139:15-16)
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I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26)
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You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
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I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)
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And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)
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I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44)
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I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love, (1 John 4:16)
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And it is my desire to lavish my love on you (1 John 3:1)
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Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1)
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I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11)
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For I am the perfect father. (Matthew 5:48)
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Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand (James 1:17)
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For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33)
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My plan for your future has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11)
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Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
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My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore, (Psalms 139:17-18)
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And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
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I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40)
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For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)
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I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul (Jeremiah 32:41)
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And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3)
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If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
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Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)
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For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13)
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I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3:20)
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For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
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I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
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When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)
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As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
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One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:3-4)
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And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4)
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I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus, (John 17:23)
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For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26)
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He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrews 1:3)
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He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31)
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And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
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Jesus died so that you could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
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His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10)
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I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 8:31-32)
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If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me (1 John 2:23)
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And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39)
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Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:7)
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I have always been Father, and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15)
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My question is…Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13)
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I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)
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Love, Your Dad,
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ALMIGHTY GOD

IT’S ALL RELATIVE

We’ll be heading for Hannibal, MO this coming Friday to attend the 2010 Ward Family Reunion. I’m excited about that! Our family reunion happens every other year, and I think I speak for most of the family – we look forward to it eagerly!

There are around 150 Wards, now, stemming from Grandpa and Grandma Ward (Harris and Gladys), and the number continues to grow every year through births and marriage and even adoption. I’ve lost track of the exact number again, but I’d say in the four generations that have followed them so far, Grandma and Grandpa have done pretty well for themselves! They are both in Heaven now, but I (the second of Generation 2) remember them both well and to this day still love and miss them. Grandpa died in 1973, and Grandma lived almost 21 years without him. My granddaughter Sara was the first of Generation 4 and she was only five months old when Grandma went home to be with the Lord. Generation 4 never knew Grandma and Grandpa, and now here we are—in a few years we will no doubt begin Generation 5. Time and their legacy march on.

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All eight of Grandma and Grandpa’s children are still alive and I so look forward to seeing my aunts and uncles at these reunions! Some of them are embarking into their eighties now. I dread the day when someone is missing from our reunion here on earth. We’ve already lost two of their spouses – my own dad and Uncle Sam. Praise God, we will have a grand reunion in Heaven, though, for most of my family knows the Lord as their Savior, and someday “the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17) For now, though, I will cherish the time I get to spend with them at our reunions and treasure the memories we have of good times together.
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And then there are the cousins. I have twenty-seven first cousins among the Wards. My cousin David went home to Heaven at the young age of 44. One of the regrets of my life has been that I never really got to know David as an adult. I have wonderful, funny memories of him as a little boy and young teen, but by the time he grew up we had gone our separate ways – he in the Air Force and me with my little family out to Colorado. That time in Colorado was where God wanted us, and I am glad for the years we spent there, but I didn’t have many opportunities to keep up with my extended family being so far away. I missed many weddings and reunions and other family gatherings during that time. We had returned to Indiana when David died, though, and I suddenly realized how precious my family was to me, and I never wanted to have regrets like that again. I wanted to really know my cousins. That is when the reunions really became important to me. Our family website and message board, called the Gab, which was begun the night after David’s funeral by his brother Reid, became an invaluable tool, also, in drawing us all closer together.
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Even the younger generations look forward to our reunions! I don’t know of too many teenagers who look forward to family reunions, but our kids have always been excited to pick up right where they left off two years before and share the excitement and fun of playing jokes on each other and especially on the aunts and uncles! There have been many a TP’d car – and even a few Saran-wrapped ones! Playing tag at midnight in an old cemetery, scavenger hunts, picnics and games, variety shows we put on ourselves, lots of time in the pool – all this and more kept them coming back for more.
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Bob’s family is having a mini-reunion this afternoon out at a cousin’s house. It’s not the big three-day, organized event that the Ward’s have biannually, but I am really happy Bob is going. His family is not close at all, and Bob has not seen most of these aunts and uncles and cousins in decades, but he has fond memories from his childhood of them. I hope he has a great time. It didn’t work out for Robbie and me to go because he has to leave for it straight from church this morning, but he went armed with pictures and I am sure, knowing Bob, he’ll be bragging on his kids and grandkids!
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Marriage and family was the first of God’s institutions here on earth. The Bible tells of many different family dynamics in the stories of the Old Testament, and teaches principles for living within our families in the New Testament. We see husband/wife relationships and parent/child relationships, of course, but then there are also stories of sibling rivalries (ie. Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Leah and Rachel), in-law relationships (bad—Laban and Jacob; good—Naomi and Ruth), and intergenerational bonds (Lois, Eunice and Timothy.) We see uncles mentioned (Saul’s and David’s) and even cousins (Mordecai and Esther, and Mary and Elizabeth.)
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Family is extremely important to God. Not only was it the first of His institutions, but it also is what he uses to illustrate our relationship with Him and with one another. He is our Father. ”After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9) Romans 8:14-17 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” What an amazing and awesome truth!
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As believers, we are brothers and sisters in the Lord and are to treat one another as family. “Rebuke not an elder, but treat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” (I Timothy 5:1, 2) The church’s relationship with Christ is likened to a bride and her groom and a marriage. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9)
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I love my big earthly family and am so glad that death does not separate us forever when we know Christ as our Savior. How awesome to be part of an even larger family – the family of God! “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” (Ephesians 3:14, 15) Won’t that big family reunion in Heaven when we are all gathered at the marriage supper of the Lamb be wonderful! It thrills my heart here on earth to sing His praises at our little worship service at our family reunions. I can’t even imagine having all eternity to sing His praises with my brothers and sisters from every tribe and nation and people and era of this world when we are all together before His throne!

THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS

It’s been one of those weeks. Good news for one daughter. Bad news coming from the other daughter. Which should I tell you first? Let’s start with the good news…

At last! After two years of jumping through hoops, cutting through red tape and shelling out nearly twenty thousand dollars—so far—there has been some real action in Julie and David’s adoption process! When they started this journey, they were approved to adopt up to three children up to age four. Over this last year, though, as they have prayed and learned more about the situation in El Salvador, the Lord has been laying on their hearts the plight of the older children who are languishing in that country’s orphanages.

The government agencies until now have been totally closed to international adoptions, and very seldom even allowed domestic adoptions to go through. Thousands upon thousands of children have spent their entire childhoods in overcrowded orphanages, therefore, only to be kicked out in their late teens into a world where they have no one who cares about them or who is willing to help them get their start in life. Julie and David had started praying fervently that somehow God would work a miracle in the hearts of those who control these policies and open up the orphanages so that at least some of these children could find real homes and loving families. (Their adoption was to go through a lawyer and be done privately, catching those little ones before they were lost in the orphanage system. Even these private adoptions were very few and far between and the last two years had stopped altogether.)

The miracle happened this week! Suddenly, the orphanages in El Salvador have been opened to international adoptions and Julie and David’s agency was given the names of several children, including one sibling group, who have been approved for adoption. For Julie and David, who all along were thinking they would adopt babies or toddlers, this was an exciting answer to prayer – and a challenge. Should they continue in their quest for little ones, or was the Lord calling them to open their hearts to these lost children who had little hope of ever having a home and family?

The sibling group caught their eyes—and captured their hearts. They were two sisters, Mirna and Karen, ages ten and six, and their little four-year-old brother Daniel. They knew nothing more than their names and ages, but somehow, as they prayed, the Lord began impressing these children upon them. They felt God’s leading to tell the agency that they were very interested in Mirna, Karen and Daniel and to ask for more information. They found out on Friday that the lawyer was given permission to go to the orphanage this coming week and talk to the children and take their pictures. He was also told by the government agency that if Julie and David decide they want to adopt them, that the agencies will do all they can to expedite the approvals and processes!

Now, we don’t know for sure yet if these are truly the children the Lord intends for them to have, or if they are another stepping stone to the Lord changing Julie and David’s hearts and direction, but it is encouraging and a joy to see what has come to pass this week, and at last to be able to pray for three little orphans by name. David and Julie are not naïve. They know that taking this huge step, if it is to be, won’t be easy. There will be many hurdles – emotional baggage, language barriers at first, new and different family dynamics, the logistical issues of doubling the size of their family, the expense of the adoption (it could be another $20,000 before they are all done) and so on. If anyone, with God’s help, can handle it, though, I know they can. They have felt for a long time that besides the adoption, the Lord may be leading them into some kind of orphan ministry. This would certainly be a first step in that direction! Regardless of how this turns out, praise the Lord for answered prayer!

That’s the good news. Now for the bad news…

Poor Laurie and Fernando. It is one spiritual battle, one trial after another in their lives. They are so worn out, and fighting discouragement as Satan hurls his arrows at them. The last week or two have been hard. Melissa’s broken wrist and surgery, being threatened with a $600 fine because Sara wouldn’t open the door to two truckloads of people demanding entrance and her signature on papers supposedly for the government when her parents weren’t there, and now this among other things…

They took an overnight trip to Guayaquil to pick up my niece Rachel at the airport. That evening they got a call from the alarm company that alarms were going off all over their house! Fernando had forgotten to leave keys to the new house with his family, but he called them and asked if they could at least drive over there and see if robbers were carting their things out the gate. They called back and said, no—there were no robbers but they could see water pouring out from under the back door! Fernando then called William, the fellow who had installed the alarm system, and asked if he would please go over there and try to get over the wall and into the house to see what was going on.

William called back a while later. He got over the wall (and was shocked by the electric fence on top of the wall in the process) and managed to get the door open and then let Fernando’s family in. A pipe had broken under the sink in one of the bathrooms upstairs and the entire second floor was running with water, the water was pouring down the stairs and covering the first floor with several inches of water, as well. To make matters worse, water was pouring through most of the ceiling on the first floor, also. The alarm control box had gotten wet, too, and shorted out, and was a loss.

They could not drive home over the mountains at night (Rachel didn’t get through customs until 2:30 AM anyway), but bless their hearts, Fernando’s parents and several of his siblings stayed for hours, wet-vacuuming out the water and cleaning up the mess the best they could. When they got home the next day, the laminate floors upstairs were already beginning to curl up and water was still dripping through the ceilings downstairs. None of their possessions seemed to be ruined, but they will have to replace the floor and repair the ceiling. They can’t ask their landlady to do it, even though it was her pipe that broke and not their fault, for fear that she will kick them out of the house.

Please pray for them as they deal with one more thing that is a strength-zapper, money-waster and time-robber—just the very things that Satan knows will hinder the ministry and discourage them. The more they see fruit for their labors, the more Satan fights them. They are counting their blessings that it wasn’t robbers, it wasn’t an accident driving through the mountains, no one got hurt or killed and so on. They know God is in control and for some reason allowed it. Still, after the last few months, they are exhausted and it is hard humanly-speaking to keep praising and thanking God even in the midst of yet another trial.

There’s good news and there’s bad news…

The bad news is that we fight against Satan and all his cohorts. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

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The good news is that Satan and all his cohorts cannot separate us from the love of God. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)
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The bad news is that Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us.Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (I Peter 5:8)
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The good news is that God is greater than Satan and is here with us in the battle. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4) “Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (I Peter 5:9, 10)
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The bad news is Satan uses every trick and wile and lie and deceit and temptation and weakness to fight against us. “He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
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The good news is God has given us resources to fight against Satan. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:10-18) Notice it is persevering prayer that enables us to use the armor of God.
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The bad news is Satan never gives up. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7) He is constantly, as long as he is the prince of darkness and this world, at work. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:2, 3)
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The good news is that the victory has already been won over Satan! “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31) ”And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:2, 10)

I would say to Laurie and Fernando and all who are exhausted in the battle, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) We understand their weariness, and so does the Lord. Let us pray for strength and rest and comfort for them, and that they will feel the presence of God at their side and going before them as they face the battle against the adversary.

II Chronicles 20:15 says, “Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed…for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Satan will be defeated – he is defeated already! Victory is the Lord’s—and victory is ours! That’s the GOOD news!