All posts tagged gospel

Marital Bliss?

The waitress arrived at our checkerboard-sized table to take our order.

“We are celebrating a very special occasion. My husband and I have had 27 years of marital

bliss….”

“Don’t say it Pauline, it’s getting old,” Tom mumbles into his water glass.

I couldn’t help myself, “27 out of  35 ain’t bad!” Then I through my head back and laughed heartily. A few seconds passed while I regained my composure.

“You know, Pauline, you are the only one who laughs at it,” Tom added.

My daughter and her husband smiled politely. Who knew thirty-five years ago we’d be sitting in a French bistro, in Bethesda, Maryland, celebrating our anniversary with our almost thirty-year-old daughter and her husband.

“Hey Tom, Sarah and David both got the same tattoo on their wrist in honor or their first anniversary. How about we get a tattoo together tonight?”

My spouse shook his head. “Not me. I don’t want someone using a needle on my body. Although after 35 years, it’s probably safe to have PAULINE tattooed on my arm.”

I couldn’t stop laughing. In fact, as I write this, it makes me chuckle.

The thing about marriage is—it isn’t safe. You open your heart, home, and bank account to someone, with no idea what the future holds.

For us, the future held ups and downs financially, owning a business, raising teenagers, caring for aging parents, watching them die, and becoming grandparents. Recently, it included changing careers, moving to the country, starting a farm, and finding jobs that paid actual money.

It seems as if nothing we have done is safe. I’m kind of glad about that. Taking risks can make life tense, but it also makes it interesting. And challenging.

The fact is, almost anything worth doing is risky. Like having kids. Who knows how they will turn out? My daughter and her husband are buying a house—that’s risky. They could just rent an apartment their whole lives and depend on the landlord to fix anything.

How about driving on US 19 in Pinellas County, Florida? You definitely take your life in your hands when you pull out there. My children think it’s risky riding with me. Maybe they’re right.

Life is a risk and needs to be lived.

One thing I know isn’t risky. It is a sure bet—the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15: 1-5 states:

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the
Scriptures…”

People spend billions of dollars on insurance for stuff that will get old or obsolete or rust or die. But the gospel is free and eternal and good.

The best, even.

So the gospel isn’t risky, marriage is. Tattoo’s are—but I still want one.

Maybe on our 50th.

A Radiant Hope, Mission’s Meltdown, Day 4

It was our last full day in Honduras. Many gathered together in the sanctuary (of sorts) to organize the leftover gifts and pack for our last trip to a village named Estuman.

There were voodoo influences there. A man who claimed Christ had mysteriously died of poisoning, leaving his pregnant wife and four young children.

I felt better, but wasn’t looking forward to it. My heart was too raw.

This time, we were driven to the village where we met at Dominga’s house. She was the woman who’s husband had died. A few months ago, a group had travelled to her village and built her a cement block home of about 800 square feet. It was the nicest home in the village. There were no decorations, just cinderblock interior with a main room and two smaller rooms.

We set our stuff there and walked through the village, inviting people to our Christmas celebration. It was the same scenario; good-looking chickens and roosters, half-dressed children, shy women. Several men who resembled Juan Valdez–some complete with a donkey. There was the smell of smoke and fresh tortillas and the site of mangy dogs. There were pieces of garbage strewn about against the backdrop of glorious mountains covered with corn and beans.

This time, during the celebration, I participated. First, I painted fingernails. I didn’t have my glasses, so my aim was off. So much so, that a shy teenager who picked a pale yellow color for one hand, switched to a clear color with sparkles for her other hand. I stunk at nail art.

Next, I helped Crystal and Danielle with balloon figures. I didn’t actually make the figures, my job was to blow up the balloons for the others to create cute animals. Trouble was, I couldn’t blow them up fast enough. There were droves of children waiting expectantly for a balloon miracle, and I was holding up the show. I got fired from that, too.

Then I received “Bubble Duty.” My job was to spread bubbles everywhere in order to help gather a crowd and entertain the children. I don’t think I was that good at it, but it was a delight. Big sisters brought little brothers to me. I blew all kinds of bubbles. Some huge, some that just emerged as bubble spit. No matter what, it made them smile. Then it was their turn. I held the bubble wand and they blew. I wouldn’t trade the look on their faces for anything. Pure delight. Simple joy.

God created those children.

And that was good.

Later, we met around a man named Theodoro’s mud and stick hut. Previously, he had decided to make a pact with Satan and kill Mike Schadt. When he attempted to do that, he realized that God was stronger. He repented of his sin and turned to Christ.

He’s in training to be an elder. Joy streamed from his face.

We met at his house.

The chairs were placed on either side facing the mountains. Each chair was filled, so that some stood and others sat on the bare ground. Nursing mothers held infants, men listened with rapt attention as members of our team looked on with joyful awe. The view of God’s creation, both people and mountains were breath-taking.

First, we worshipped. The never-ending Spanish song, led by a smiling woman almost broke Rob Ozburn’s arm as he shook some sort of maracas to the beat. It certainly made him sweat. Next was the prayer. All prayed at once, most on their knees. A cacophony of praise.

I wondered if that is how it sounded to God when people all over the world raised their voices in praise and adoration. Amazing.

Mike Schadt spoke on the test of a believer. First, he described an unbeliever. He asked, “Are any of you involved in immorality?”

Someone raised their hand. It was behind me so I didn’t look, but I was sure curious. I wondered how that would go over in my home church.

Then Mike dealt with three different sin areas and asked specific Honduran elders if they were involved in them. It was a dramatic sight.

At the end of his message, he asked if there was someone who wanted to submit to Jesus as Lord of their lives. The man who’d raised his hand stepped forward.

It was our bus driver, Rene.

Truth began to seep into my brain. There was hopelessness, poverty, injustice, just as there always was and always would be. There was also the gospel. What Scripture describes as a treasure.

Remember how Mike spoke on the porch about how God took us out of our squalor, touched us and said, “Live.”

I knew then that ultimately, the answer to all of my questions revolved around the gospel. The cross of Jesus Christ.

Enough for today.

Recite Romans 1:16-23

How’s your Recite Romans journey going? Don’t be afraid to try!

Here’s my outline for today:

I. Righteousness Revealed 16-17

Principle-THE GOSPEL IS GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS REVEALED

How can you treasure the gospel this week?

II. Wrath Revealed 18-19

Principle-GOD’S WRATH IS DESERVED

Are you suppressing the truth of God by disobedience?                                                                  Will you share God’s invisible attributes this week?

III. Attributes Ignored 20-23

Principle-MAN CHOSE TO IGNORE GOD’S ATTRIBUTES AND STANDS CONDEMNED

Are you honoring God? Is there anything that you’re doing that dishonors Him?                   Do you have idols that have taken the supreme place the Lord should have in your life?

SUBJECT SENTENCE-BECAUSE MAN IGNORED GOD’S RIGHTNESS AND ATTRIBUTES, GOD’S WRATH IS REVEALED.

AIM-TAKE TIME THIS WEEK TO TREASURE THE GOSPEL

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