Look who’s Talking…

We have had playingour little one for about a month now.  When we picked her up, we knew very little about why she was being placed in foster care.  What we did know is that this 2 1/2 year old little girl should be talking and walking by now.  Yet here she was in front us, crawling and making gurgling sounds like a much younger child.

 

We were taking a leap of faith.  It did not matter to us if she was delayed.  We would take her home, nurture her and get her through this period of her life.

After a few days, we noticed something.

She was not delayed.

She started talking – a lot.

Looks like the crawling and gurgling sounds were a defense mechanism of some kind.  As this little girl progressed in our home, we noticed that whenever she felt afraid, or felt she needed more attention, she would drop to the floor and crawl.  Ok, we would deal with this.  We will provide that love, that nurturing, that attention you need, while still letting you know it is ok to be you, the 2 year old who knows how to walk, how to talk, how to do the things a 2 year old does.

And now, I am amazed at how our little one has progressed.

Yesterday, on the ride home from day care, I noticed she was staring out into space.  She looked a little out of it, maybe a little down.  So I tried something.  I turned around while at a stop light, blew her a kiss and said “Love you baby!”

Immediately, she responded.

“Love you baby!”

Her response was preceded with a kids and followed with a giant grin, knowing she had just said something really cool.

Since that ride home, we can’t stop her from repeating everything we say.  Of course, that could be dangerous.

We will have to be very careful what we say.

Goes to show you what can happen when we let God be in control.  All we can hope for is that Jesus will let His love to continue to flow through us onto this little precious girl for as long as possible.

Either way, we are confident He will prevail.

Look who’s talking now!

 

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One step forward, two steps back…

crying

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

–James 1:2-4

 

We are learning every day about our precious child of God, this foster child we have been blessed with.  We had been progressing with her pretty steadily.  However, a couple of days ago, she met with her bio family.

All seemed to have gone well according to the case worker.  However, that night, she couldn’t sleep.  She awoke at 1 AM and was awake for about 3 hours before falling back to sleep.  We can only imagine what she was thinking.  Maybe she thought when she saw her bio family that she was going home with them.  We were not able to be with her during the visit so we don’t know for sure, but we know it could not have been easy to leave her family again.  She probably thought it was all happening again, that separation that these foster kids deal with over and over again.

My heart breaks for this precious child, and I feel helpless.

The last couple of days have been hard at day care drop off.  As we get closer to the door, she starts to grab on tighter to my neck, wrapping her little legs around me to prevent me from putting her down.  Inevitably, when I finally set her down, the tears flow.  As much as I want to grab her tight and take her home, I simply tell her I will be back later, and walk away quickly.  I can see her through the window as her care taker picks her up to console her.

Again heartbreaking, even if it is necessary.

I know the impact we are having on her.  I see the progress she is making.  I see how much she smiles and dances when we are together.  In her smile, I see the work of Jesus.  She really is our Lord in bottle for me, pure joy that comes from the love He emanating from Him through us.

But sometimes I simply don’t understand why she needs to go through this.  I know there is a plan, a holy one that one day I will realize.  But right now, I just want to protect her from this world,  a world that can be cruel and uncaring, and one she does not deserve.

For now, I will lean on this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

–Proverbs 3:5-6

 

My prayer for today…

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

–Romans 5:1-5

Easier said than done.

Rejoice in suffering?

Really?

Sorry God, I am not there yet. I cannot rejoice. Yes I have lived that passage. I have seen suffering produce endurance. I have seen suffering bring out character. With that suffering – I always had hope, and I have seen God’s love persevere.

But I cannot rejoice. I am weak. I cannot understand why we suffer in this life. All I know is that this suffering has to be for a reason.

And yes, I hope, and I surrender. I give you the power, and my hope lies in you.

“So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
–Proverbs 3:4-5

Please God, I don’t need to understand.

I just need my prayers answered.

Your Help is Needed, America

“Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
–Proverbs 31:9

America is still the richest country in the world.  We can be thankful to God that He has blessed us with a country where most people have a place to live and food on their table.  Even during a recession, with an uncertain future, we are not doing nearly as bad as other countries.

In fact, according to an article from ABC News:

  • In 2005, the American government gave about 28 billion in foreign aid.
  • In the same year, private Americans gave about 33 billion to other countries.
  • Immigrants send about 62 billion to their families in other countries.
  • A few years ago, the American government pledged 900 million in Tsunami aid, while the American public gave 2 billion for the cause.

That is awesome, and no country comes close to us in giving to other countries.  The fact is that America is simply a generous country.  We can be very proud of that fact, except for one thing.

People are still suffering.

With all of the money that we send to other countries to help, there are still children in other countries who go to bed hungry, who don’t have the proper clothing, who are not getting the education they need.  The fact is that with all of the money we send, it simply is not enough.

It is easy for us to look at the statistics and say “we have done enough”.  But that is not what the Bible tells us to do as Christians.

“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.”
–Leviticus 25:35

Throughout the Bible, they are many examples of how we are to treat the poor.  The fact is that Jesus gave a commandment to love our neighbors as we love our God.  As such, it is our responsibility to not turn a blind eye to the poor and needy in this world.

Here are some of the statistics from Compassion International:

  • Children under age 18 make up nearly 48 percent of the population of the world’s least developed countries, compared with 21 percent of the population of the world’s industrialized nations.
  • More than 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity and modern forms of energy.
  • Over 1.4 billion people in the developing world live below the poverty line (U.S.$1.25 per day).
  • More than 9 million children under age 5 die each year. Two-thirds of these deaths — more than 6 million every year — are preventable.

The bottom line is that our help is still needed.  It does not matter that we already provide so much help.  As Christians, we are called by our Savior to provide help for our neighbors, and it is obvious that more is needed.

How many times do you go to a restaurant and spend at least $40 or more?  Do you know that $38 a month will feed, clothe and educate a poor child for a month?  Do you know how many children have been saved from poverty by Compassion International in countries like Brazil, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and others?  They are currently helping 1.2 million children, yet so many are still not being helped.  It is Americans like ourselves that can mean everything to one of these children.

When you sponsor a child through Compassion International, you are not just sending money to an charity.  The money you send is going directly to help a specific child.  Your contribution will clothe that child, it will feed that child, and it will educate that child.  They will teach the child about God.  You will have the opportunity to write the child and influence their life directly.  You can even visit the child if you choose.  You will have the opportunity to pull that child out of poverty, and give them a chance they would never have had otherwise.

Will you make a commitment today?

Click here to sponsor a child.

What is a Christian Marriage Anyway?

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
–Ephesians 5:22-33

Today I would like to tackle an area of the Bible that many don’t like to talk about.  The reason it  is avoided is not valid. In the passage above, we have Paul writing to the Ephesian church, and discussing how husbands and wives should treat each other. Unfortunately, because of a distortion of the meaning of this passage, many even within the church tend to pretend that this passage does not exist.  Yet we will see that if we study it in the correct context, that it is truly a beautiful passage, and does not in any way demean women, but rather, lifts them up.

The main concern for many in our society is the first two verses.  Suggesting that women submit to their husbands is something that some find objectionable.  Further, the second verse – that the husband is to be the head of the wife – ranks right up there for some as one of the most difficult parts of the Bible.  But is it really?  Is it really wrong to say that the husband should be the head of the household?  Is it wrong to say that wives should submit to their husbands?

Before we get to those verses, I will take this passage in reverse order.  Let’s look at the last one first.

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

Notice that this verse joins two statements with the word “and”.  First, it says that husbands should love their wives as they love themselves, then goes on to say that wives should reverence – or respect – her husband.  The word “and” means that both points are equally important, and both are demanded of us as husbands and wives.  I don’t know too many people that would have issue with this verse.  Understand, that the Bible is telling us that a husband’s love for his wife should be no different than the love he has for himself.  That is a pretty bold statement, don’t you think?  He is telling us that as husbands, we should be willing to do for our wives anything that we are willing to do for ourselves.  In turn, women should have great respect for their husband. So far so good?

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

This is the bulk of the passage.  Notice that this entire section deals not with the wife but the husband.  I will draw your attention first to the part that states husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church, giving himself for it.  Let’s explore that a minute here.  Do we all remember what Christ did for us?  You remember that whole dying on the cross thing that saved us from our sins, granting us eternal life if we just believe and trust in Him?  Yup, that is what He is expecting of husbands in their behavior towards their wives.  Quite a responsibility here isn’t it?  The rest of the passage explains how husbands should present their wives as unblemished, holy.  As husbands, we are to be willing to lay down our lives for our wives, loving them as we love ourselves.  Then the final verse says it all.  We are to leave our father and mother and be joined to our wives, and we shall become one flesh.  What a great responsibility husbands have, that we are to be Christ-like in our dealings with our “other half”, the other part of our flesh.  Do you believe this is worthy of respect?

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Now we come to the verses that some have an issue with.  Wives are to “submit” to their husbands.  Husbands are to be the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church.  What does this really mean anyway?  Well, let’s take the relationship between Christ and the church.  Do we as the body of Christ have a problem submitting to Christ?  Of course not.  Why?  Well, the answer is obvious.  He is the Messiah.  He is our Savior. He is God in the form of the son.  We submit to Him, not because we are forced,  but we do so willingly.  We rejoice and sing about our submission to our Savior.  Obviously, it is in our best interests to do so.

So, with respect to wives submitting to their husband, why is there such objection to it?  We have already read how husbands should treat the wives, correct?  We know that a husband is to be Christ-like, willing to die for his wife, striving to treat his wife as holy, keeping her unblemished.  He is to love her as himself.  With this great responsibility that has been place on husbands by God to love and protect their wives, is it so difficult to believe that their wives should submit to this?  In reality, is not submission to a good, Christian husband who treats his wife the same way that Christ treats the church not one of the most beautiful things a woman could do?  Is it not a reflection of her submission to Christ? Is not in her best interests to submit to the one who will love and protect her in the same manner that Christ does for her?

Let me be clear.  I am not for one moment suggesting that wives are to submit to their husbands as some take that verse – out of context.  I have heard and read many compare this verse to some form of slavery.  Nor am I suggesting that wives need to do everything their husbands tell them, even if their husbands are abusive or not acting in the best interests of the family.  What I am suggesting is submission of a wife to her husband – in the context of the entire passage – is one of the most beautiful and holy things we could ever witness.  A husband who loves his wife so much he is willing to die for her like Christ did for us, and a woman who respects her husband so much she will walk hand in hand with him through any trial or tribulation is something to be cherished, not shunned.

In a world where the family unit seems to be in constant danger of collapsing, I submit to you that if more people would study and follow this passage of the Bible, we would be in much better shape as a society.  It is a proven fact that how we are treated as babies have an enormous affect on the rest of our lives.  How great it would be for every baby in this world to be loved and nurtured by parents that are following the passage above?  A husband that loves his wife like himself, and a woman that respects her husband and submits to him like she submits to Christ.  Would it solve every issue?

Probably not.

But it would be a great start.