Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Since ancient times no has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. -
- Isaiah 64:4

What is your view of grace?
Do you feel that your life must produce something or else you will be punished?
Do you do ministry in your own strength to somehow "give back to God"?
Are you thankful that God did not call you to be a pastor or a missionary?
I hope your answer is "NO" to these questions. One thing I keep realizing more and more is how much God has given and how much more He was wants me to receive. I am not talking about material things, I am talking about grace! He has put me in Japan to experience His work first hand and to see Him work... around me, through me, in me and inspite of me! What a privelege it is to be under the fountain of God's work and grace. These are where I see God use my talents for His glory, and not for mine. He gets all the glory and I get all the joy. What a deal!

Let us no longer "work hard for God". Let us rather join Him where He is working and experience His love every day afresh. Let us stop trying to pay back God, which only dishonors Him, and keep being the receivers of grace and free ditributors of it for His glory and our joy. I love John Piper's quote, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

What a joy it is to be in Japan and apart of God's work. We are thankful to be able to welcome others into this joy and into these blessing.

"Let him who serves serve in the strength that God provides so that in everything God may receive the glory." - 1 Peter 4:11

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dating & Marriage

Maki and I are by no means pro's when it comes to this topic.
We went through various struggles before seeing that God was
leading us to get married. Though marriage has been a
wonderful gift from God, we have just begun: We are only a
year-and-three months into our adventure!

Even so, God has seemed to be calling us to help younger
dating couples as well as singles who would like to be married.
We are happy that God is using our marriage as well as our times
of struggle for his glory. And yes, we still do have some struggles!

One of the struggles that is the hardest to see in yourself but very
easy to see in your partner is pride. This is the biggest enemy of
true love in my opinion. It is the voice that says, "I am too busy
to help you with the dishes." (even though you know that you are not!)
It is the voice that says, "Get up and get your own glass of water.",
when your spouse asks. It is the sin living within each of us that
needs to be put to death. As C.J. Maheney writes, the best way to
do that is to reflect on the cross and on Christ. There no pride
can live.

If you are dating or thinking of marriage someday, please take my advice:
Get a cross-centered, Christ-centered vision for your life. Without it
I can't see how you can have a successful marriage. If you are looking
at marriage as simply a way to make yourself feel better, you are in for
trouble. Hopefully marriage will help you to enjoy life, but that is not
the point. The point is to look at Christ and the cross and gain the
POWER to enjoy/love your spouse and others when it is not easy. Enjoy
making much of Christ and your marriage will thrive.
That is what I have found.

If marriage is about your happiness apart from Christ, watch out. Don't
get married until you are so full of Christ, that all you want to do is
give. Then you will be ready for the challenges marriage brings.
Without this your future marriage or dating relationship will fail.
I am not saying that you will divorce or break-up necessarily, but
it will fail. The reason it will fail is because it is not love.

Let's remember 1 Corinthians 13:8 - "Love never ends..."

And, 1 John 4:7-
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever
loves has been born of God and knows God."
Look to Christ and seek to know and love Him. When I have lived for Him
and His love, I know it, and Maki knows it, and marriage is an extra joy
to add to the love we have in Christ.