Friday, April 20, 2012

The Path to Lasting Joy is Life in Christ

A couple months ago I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a man who, though imperfect, spent his life exalting Jesus in a number of ways. On the inside cover of the Order of Service was this poem which touched my heart, and which I've kept in the inside jacket of my Bible ever since. It was written by Francis Havergal and is entitled Light After Darkness.

Light after darkness, gain after loss,
Strength after suffering, crown after cross,
Sweet after bitter, song after sigh,
Home after wondering, praise after cry.

Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain,
Sight after mystery, peace after pain,
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast,
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.

Near after distant, gleam after gloom,
Love after loneliness, life after tomb,
After long agony, rapture of bliss!
Right was the pathway leading to this!

And of course, the Pathway of which Havergal writes is Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). There is pain and sorrow for all who follow Christ, but that suffering is only preparing the way for eternal and ever-increasing joy. So indeed, let us deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him who leads to bliss (Matthew 16:13-28).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Didn't Realize This Could be Done on a Road Bike!

Chuck Colson in Critical Condition After Brain Surgery

Here is the copy of a story I read on the Gospel Coalition Blog today. Please join me in lifting our brother up before the Lord. I can still remember reading his autobiographical book Born Again when I was young in Christ and the impact it made on me, so I feel a connection to the Lord's work in Chuck though I've never had the privilege of meeting him. May the Lord's will be done for His glory and our joy.

The Story: Chuck Colson, founder and chairman emeritus of the board for Prison Fellowship, is in critical condition after undergoing surgery following a brain hemorrhage.

The Background: According to the Christian Post, the 80-year-old Colson fell ill while addressing a conference in the Washington, D.C. area over the weekend. He underwent surgery on Saturday morning to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain.
"We believe that we serve a mighty God - the 'Great Physician' - and are hoping and praying for Chuck's full recovery," said Prison Fellowship Ministries CEO Jim Liske, in a statement Tuesday. "When I visited him yesterday, I was encouraged to see that as we prayed, Chuck was responsive."

Why It Matters: Reports from friends say that Colson can now on occasion hear and seemingly recognize what is being said around him, even giving a thumbs up sign more than once. He is currently in intensive care and undergoing tests. Please pray for our brother in Christ.

Related: Know Your Evangelicals: Charles Colson

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Daughter was Accepted into KPA at the University of Minnesota

Our daughter is set to go to the University of Minnesota this fall. She'll be studying at the College of Design and is looking at getting a degree in retail merchandising, or something along those lines, with a minor in textile design.

Some months ago we learned of a house at the University called Kappa Phi Alpha. It's run by a Christian ministry and majors on leading the young adults there to keep Christ at the center of their lives and studies. They pray and worship and study and apply the Bible together on a daily basis, and they process what they're learning in light of the Lord as well. So we went down there to meet the leader and staff some time ago, after which she applied to live there. Two days ago we got the news that they chose her for the house, and we're both proud of her and grateful to the Lord for surely he's the one who opened this door for her.

She's always had such a heart to reach out and embrace people who are not accepted by the majority, who are different or teased or whatever. She has a huge compassionate, loving, embracing heart, and I just know that living in this house in the context of the University will be a fertile soil where her compassionate heart can grow--and I'm thrilled!

Thanks, Lord! Please be with your special young lady and guide her in the way she should go.