A Video Every Engaged Couple Should See

I believe in premarital counseling. Young couples need all the help they can get.

They need to understand what their vows really mean: “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish; till death do us part.”

Down the marital road troubles will come. What then? Will the vows hold?

Sara and I stood before Ray Beeson on July 11, 1969, as he officiated at our wedding. Ray has been married to my sister Doris for 67 years.

Now Doris has advanced Alzheimer’s, as did my other sister Sue Porter who died last April.

Please watch the attached video of Ray and Doris as they go through this hard but blessed experience . . .



God in the Stern

Jimitri and Ruby Green’s two-year-old son Deuce was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

In his email below which arrived yesterday, Jimitri refers to the incident recorded in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus and the disciples were in a severe storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat.

Panicking, the disciples woke Him and said, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

“And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.

“And He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?’

“They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'” (Mark 4:35-41).

Now here’s Jimitri’s email:

After the first round of chemo, hearing the news that Deuce was not in remission really crushed my spirit (at least I thought). I had so many questions for God running through my mind.

Questions like:

How could God not honor our prayer?

Why isn’t God listening?

Are we not doing something right?

And many other things.

But I was brought to one of my favorite stories in the Bible—Jesus calming the storm. It wasn’t until the disciples started to get a little wet they started to question God’s care for them.

But a miracle is performed in such a fearful circumstance.

Here’s what I’ve learned from this month, even when the water rises or things don’t go how we plan them to.

God is still in the stern.

Even when things seem to be going completely wrong, God is still in the stern.

In our situation

Deuce did not go into remission, but God is still in the stern. Therefore He is still in ultimate control.

We received amazing news today after allowing Jaleah [their daughter] to be tested [to be a possible bone-marrow donor]. She’s a 10/10 perfect match for him. This is rare because there was only a 25% chance that she’d be a perfect match. So this means his donor will be his baby sister.

Praise God!

Please share this news with our church family. We are happily rejoicing and we know that the next few months may have more bumps in the road, but we’re continuously trusting that God is in the stern, and we have nothing to fear.

Also that in the end of all of this we’ll be just as amazed as the disciples were after the storm obeyed Jesus Christ.

Love you all so much. Please continue to pray with and for us.

calm sea-tagged

Please see the related post of February 19, “Suffering Viewed Through the Lens of Faith” https://fulfillingourpurpose.org/2018/02/19/suffering-viewed-through-the-lens-of-faith

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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When the Rains Come Down–and In

rain on window-tagged

Since our backyard slopes downward toward the house, when heavy rains come, the accumulation sometimes invites itself right into our kitchen without even knocking.

The efforts we’ve made so far to divert the rainwater away from our house haven’t worked too well, so next we’ll try an outdoor sump pump.

This week the rains have really been coming down—and in. The first night of flooding I didn’t get a full night’s sleep, getting out of bed periodically to deal with the problem.

The wet/dry vac we borrowed from our neighbor has been a tremendous help in keeping the inflow manageable.

So what helps put situations like this into perspective?

It could be a whole lot worse.

A family we knew in Pennsylvania had floodwaters fill their basement and their first floor, and up into the second floor a foot or more. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rank that a 10—and ours only a 1, if even that.

It’s only temporary.

It helps to remember that 99.9% of the time our house is dry. Floods always subside and the sun will shine again.

If we are faithful in Christ, even the very worst of our troubles in this life cannot pursue us into the next.

It’s an ideal opportunity for growth.

Though the apostle Paul experienced many severe hardships, he could still say,  “. . . we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope . . .” (Romans 5:3-4).

Many believers have discovered from their own experience that hardship can actually turn out to be a very positive thing (Psalm 119:67, 71; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 12:7-10).

We can either let trials embitter us, or we can be open to the lessons they can teach us.

There’s so much to learn!


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Suffering Viewed Through the Lens of Faith

A few weeks ago Jimitri and Ruby Green, much-loved members of our congregation, learned that little Jimitri Jr. (whom they call Deuce) has a rare form of leukemia that is difficult to treat.

Yesterday Jimitri sent an update on Deuce’s condition. He’s making good progress, in answer to many prayers!

Peace in the storm

What impressed me most is the upbeat attitude they have chosen to take through this ordeal. Jimitri wrote:

“The following statement may sound weird, but I am blessed to have the opportunity to go through what we are experiencing. Although it is hard, there is a great deal of good that has come from it, and we’ve spent the multitude of days thus far in pure and perfect peace, knowing that God is with us. It’s amazing to know that so much peace comes with faith and trust. We’ve realized that God has not promised us a life without storms. But what He has promised to those who trust in Him is “Peace” in those tribulations.

“Please let the church know that we love them so much and that every word of encouragement, every card and every visit are not overlooked nor taken for granted. It fills our hearts with so much cheer to know that we are not in this alone.”

Joy in suffering

If Jimitri and Ruby did not have their faith and the encouragement and prayers of their church family, how well would they be doing?

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

The paradox of joy in suffering may seem to some to be unrealistic and nonsensical, but to Jimitri and Ruby, it makes perfect sense.

They’re living it!

forest road-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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How Can We Help in Time of Loss?

A woman has a miscarriage. A middle-aged man is laid off at work. A family’s house burns. Parents lose a teenage son to suicide. A child is diagnosed with cancer. A surviving spouse must now go on without the other.

Responding to loss

A common response to the suffering of people we know is to do nothing—not because we don’t care, but because we just don’t know what to say or do.

When Job’s friends came after he suffered the triple loss of his children, wealth, and health, they may have meant well but succeeded only in adding to his grief by their ill-chosen words. “Sorry comforters” is what Job called them (Job 16:2).

How can we effectively show concern—especially when we haven’t experienced what others are suffering?

For starters, we can educate ourselves on what is and what is not helpful to say to someone in distress. Here’s an example of such a resource: https://www.healyourlife.com/10-best-things-to-say-to-someone-in-grief.

How best to help

In marked contrast to Job’s so-called friends, Jonathan was a great encouragement to David during a dark time in his life. Jonathan found his friend and wept with him (1 Samuel 20:31-42; 23:15-16).

Many years later David was again on the run. Barzillai along with others brought bedding and abundant food supplies for David and those with him—“for they said, ‘The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness’” (2 Samuel 17:27-29).

When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he so appreciated the loyal support of his friend Onesiphorus, who “often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me” (2 Timothy 1:16-17).

Many of us know what it’s like to be on the receiving end when friends show up with a hug, a kind word, a listening ear, a prayer, a gift of food—and who even run errands for us and help with household chores.

Knowing the comfort others have been to us in our own time of need, how then can we pass along the kindness the next time we learn of a loss?

With so many hurting people around us, we shouldn’t lack for an opportunity!


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Jesus Knows How It Feels

He came into the world to suffer. Hunger, thirst, fatigue, temptation, poverty, the agonies of death at its worst.

Slandered by His enemies, rejected by those He came to bless, and mocked even as He was paying the ultimate price for their redemption and ours: His blood.

“. . . He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest . . . . For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18).

“Once He came,” wrote Fulton Sheen, “then never again could they say, ‘He does not know what it is like to suffer’” (Life is Worth Living, 209).

For the Christian, here’s one of the most comforting promises in Scripture: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Shouldn’t that be sufficient to lift our spirits on a dark day?

He suffered. He understands. He cares!


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Is It So Hard?

Does the Christian life at times seem more than you can bear? May these thoughts from Hebrews chapter 12 encourage you!

Others have overcome.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us [the heroes of faith of Hebrews 11], let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us . . .” (v. 1).

They endured. So can we.

Jesus showed us how to endure.

“For consider Him who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (v. 3).

Jesus suffered far more than we ever have or ever will. He endured. So can we.

Suffering makes us strong!

Our Father “disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness” (v. 10).

Suffering can have a refining effect on us—if we let it (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7).

So how are we to deal with affliction? Let’s expect it, accept it, and not reject it. We need it more than we realize. Someday we’ll look back and see how much we’ve grown!

Just think what we have to look forward to!

“. . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus . . . who for the joy set before Him endured the cross . . .” (vv. 1-2).

Jesus endured because He knew something wonderful lay ahead.

Focusing on the joy set before us helps make the painful present bearable.

Trials are temporary; joy is forever!

nothing worth having-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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