Arranged Faith

Arranged Faith

As a new mother, my friend frets about bullies on the playground. “What did you worry about when you were raising kids?” she asked.

I thought for a minute. Sexual predators…an unstable future…my fragile marriage. I had had many concerns. But then it came to me. “How to raise our kids spiritually without making them feel cornered.”

402b05ce-2496-4d4e-aa70-5a7276aa5b53Did you grow up in a Christian family, attend church, say grace, and go to Christmas Eve services? Maybe it was more intense—daily devotions, memorizing Scripture, bedtime prayers, and high standards. Maybe you went to a Christian school or were given a purity ring. If you’ve felt a deep obligation to embrace your parents’ faith, I am writing to you.

Does it feel like an arranged marriage?

MarriageA & E produced a shocking new reality show called, “Marriage At First Sight.” If you haven’t stumbled on any episodes, it’s about 3 men and 3 women who agree to legally marry a complete stranger. Experts in the field of psychology match the husband and wife pairs through in-depth assessments, but each couple meets for the first time on their wedding day.

Sounds disastrous, right? A show you can’t help but watch. And that’s what producers are banking on…a reality series with train-wreck potential.Continue reading

The Greater Unseen

The Greater Unseen

Sunset in the wood in winter periodDid you know a great awakening is taking place in the world? It’s not really reported on any of the news channels. You can read about it here. How long has it been since you’ve heard some good news?

At the same time, unfathomable atrocities against Christians in Syria and other places in the Middle East take my breath away. Danger is imminent at every turn, not to mention loss of shelter, lack of food, and an uncertain future.

“Great evil. GREAT REVIVAL” is the title of a special bulletin from the Voice of the Martyrs.

J.D. King of Charisma magazine wrote that, “Reliable reports suggest more Muslims have become followers of Jesus over the last two decades than in Islam’s combined 1,500-year history.”

Something is happening. 

Though the fig tree should not blossom

And there be no fruit on the vines,

Though the yield of the olive should fail

And the fields produce no food,

Though the flock should be cut off from the fold

And there be no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will exult in the Lord,

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

— Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NASB)

The ScreamTo embrace what God is doing in this day, I am compelled to face the ongoing brutalities squarely. Jesus was born into a violent Roman domination of the land. Herod killed all the baby boys. Think of the outraged fathers, the weeping mothers, and the instability of those times.

It is no different today—for all our education, science, medicine, governments, civil laws, justice systems, and technological advances—evil overtakes some, and carnage remains as a dark stain on the human story.

But Stephen saw into heavenly realms AS he was being stoned. In the same way, I believe that God and his hosts of angels meet people in the nano-second of death—maybe even in the moments prior to death—whether they are beheaded, blown out of the sky on an airplane, or shot down in cold blood. And supernatural comfort also comes for those who remain in great tribulation. These are mysteries, but I believe they are true. What do you believe?Continue reading

Converging Roads

Converging Roads

Old, vintage padlock ( open )isolated on white backgroundTwo weeks ago during the worship time at church, I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of two roads merging. The phrase, “converging roads,” entered my thoughts like an interruption. After that image faded, I saw a padlock open. These symbolic images came in a wisp of time…a second or two.

The worship leader invited the congregation to share any impressions received from God. Our small church provides a perfect context for listening prayer, something Quaker churches have practiced for centuries.

Feeling spiritually dull, I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what it meant. It would have been entirely okay to say, “This is what I saw and heard,” mentioning the two roads and the lock. No interpretation was necessary. But I held back, and the moment passed.

Guide signThen our pastor announced the recent engagement of a young couple. They beamed as he shared their story. Because their last names matched the names of two streets in our town, the young man proposed to his girlfriend where the two roads converged!

My ears popped open! Our pastor actually used the verb—converge.

At that point, I shared my impression with the couple. It was obviously for them–and so precise! God loves it when a man and a woman become one. He “unlocks” His pleasure and releases His Spirit to take the journey of marriage with them.

Think how powerful that impression might’ve been if I had given it publically before the pastor’s announcement! That couple could’ve experienced the intimacy of God, because I had no prior knowledge of their engagement.

When we came home, I discussed the incident with my husband. Duncan saw the connection for the couple, but also thought it was a word for us. Our roads were finally converging. God was releasing us into “the next chapter” of marriage.Continue reading