Sunday, November 28, 2010

first moments

god is good...

this has been the most trying statement the last week. my heart and mind want to follow this statement and believe every aspect to the littlest part. sometimes i am so consumed by the last 168 hrs (7 days) that i lose focus even for a second on what the whole reason i moved here to begin with was. both excitement and fear gripped me for this endeavor. so at any one time my emotions were either on a high or in the valley of despair.

the travel was perfect. liz and i have both traveled quite a bit alone and with our kids and i know if there is an opportunity to travel without kids we will take it. however, there was no option this time. we boarded the flight on british airways and were very excited about the opportunity to be entertained by tv without having to pay. the only thought was if the kids were not doing well then it would require us to forget about salt, or robin hood and put our full attention on dutch or titus. the trip across the pond was fantastic. we made it without any "screaming incidents." they both fell asleep 5 minutes into the flight for nearly an hour and a half. granted it took me nearly 4 hours to watch robin hood i was glad that it was not because i had a screaming kid who needed me every few seconds. we arrived in london and quickly boarded the flight to brussels without missing a beat. upon our arrival in brussels national airport we were greeted with the reality that not all of our luggage made it on the our flight from heathrow. we had no way of getting in touch with anyone outside the airport to let them know and i couldn't leave my wife with our two kids and nearly 10 pieces of heavy luggage. so by the time i found out about where our luggage was it was nearly time for them to arrive on the next flight from heathrow. naturally we decided to wait for it. well, all of a sudden, nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes after landing jon vandeput comes with a security agent looking for us because he was worried about us. we kindly explained the situation to him and he was escorted back out of the baggage area. the first moments in the car on the way home from the airport were absolutely amazing. the thoughts of us doing this were real and at that moment it did not seem to be all that challenging. as my family would soon find out, our opposition was about to become greater...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

jesus satisfies his bride

continuing on divorce and marriage...

isaiah 54:5-6
jeremiah 3:20
ezekial 16:8
hosea 2:19-20

these verses indicate god's desire and proactive approach towards the healing of individuals with marriage as the ointment, so to speak. what we can conclude from scripture is the following:

1. marriage fills the earth with a witness of the relationship between him and his people. this is one reason why divorce and re-marriage are so serious and should not be pursued. they do not tell the accurate story of god and his people
2. marriage not only reveals his unconditional love but also his profound mercy and patience...and all of it is unconditional
3. marriage shows his goodness and fidelity. so divorce, discord, and division obscure this image
4. marriage reflects the gospel in the image of jesus christ: forgiveness, long-suffering, compassion, unconditional grace, covenant and humility

god is radical and not accommodating. our world needs to see a church that is so satisfied in christ that its marriages are not abandon for anything even something as emotional neglect. the deepest meaning of marriage is the covenant keeping faithfulness of christ to his church despite their infidelity, abuse, or emotional disconnect, he will never divorce her.

Monday, November 1, 2010

how much for this broken marriage?

in matthews account of divorce 19:3-12 we have some of the harshest realities that challenge even the current direction of relationships of today. in all accounts one thing is certain, jesus is always challenging the convenient idea of happiness. i find jesus is far more concerned with our joy than our happiness. the two are different and you will quickly find the difference not when things are going as you planned them, but rather, when things are NOT going as you had planned them.

this standard frustrated even those walking closest to him. there response in verse 10 indicates a frustrated defeat. maybe they had hoped jesus would be wrong, or change his mind as many scholars suppose god does from time to time. i think this is an area where jesus' standard reflects the upmost importance, "not all men can accept this statement, but only to whom it has been given." so really jesus is suggesting what many refuse to see marriage to be...a gift from god. some have been given the gift of marriage and some, on the other hand, have not (some by their own choice and some by god's). i don't think it is hard to know whether or not you have been given this gift of marriage. what many have been suggesting in their behavior, however, is gladly accepting the gift given only to later want an "upgrade" while leaving the other "gift" on the shelf only to be sold in a garage sale. oh how the mind cons us into trading rough patches of relational despair for temporal satisfaction. if you think that this isn't true than maybe the statistics can reorganize your thoughts as it clearly indicates the percentages of those who have divorced once will likely divorce again (don't even ask about 3rd divorces). the bar is high for a reason. don't think for one second that the easy way out is god's way out. more times than not the easy way out is NEVER god's way out. especially when it comes to breaking a convenant.