Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Unanswered Questions!

What ever happened to these people?

The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Mt. 27:52,53 KJV)

What kind of reception did they receive?

There are a lot of unanswered questions through the bible and life. 

There are many aspects of God’s plan that remain mysterious.

The life of following Jesus is lived “by believing, not by seeing” (2 Cor. 5:7).

In high school, a teacher broached the subject of the many unanswered questions that life would bring. In essence she responded to mysterious questions involving God with a “because I believe”.    It wasn’t totally satisfying to our inquiring minds, but it remains true.  Those were the days a few years after the ruling in 1963 that banned public reading of the bible in a public school by a person in authority.  Before the bible ban, in our homeroom classes a short passage of the bible would be read.  It was typically out of Psalms or Proverbs and was read without commentary or influence.   Our teacher, when pressed why she would believe without fully knowing all the answers about God, or the bible, or a particular philosophy, simply replied, “because I believe”.

As a 62 year old, my questions are different than as a teen-ager searching for the meaning of life.  There remain unanswered questions, and I seem to always default to my teacher’s response, “because I believe.”

I believe and, yet I still don’t know what happened to the people who rose from the dead at the moment of Christ’s resurrection. I still believe without the satisfaction of knowing answers to mysteries that remain.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Nature of True Love

On July 4, 1978,  Brenda L. Turner and C. Craig Burns made a verbal vow to one another to be married.  We vowed to remain married in various scenarios, “until death do us part.”   We had no idea what adventures were ahead of us, but we knew we wanted to do them together.

Three children and five grandchildren later, the unconditional love of God has been tested often.   Many times we have fallen short, and just as many times, have been restored by verbal apologies.

The picture is from a non-romantic anniversary week, in which our two-person team personally demolished a singlewide trailer to make room for a home.  Piece by piece, we demolished that trailer, and today a nice modest home stands.

We have had plenty of romantic and not so romantic moments.

We have experienced poverty, sickness, heart break, loss of parents, lawsuits, betrayal, abuse, as well as prosperity, health, joy, family relationships, favor, loyal friendships, camaraderie and countless blessings.

The above picture is from the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society Ball. I was facing chemotherapy after a cancer diagnosis, and Brenda kept smiling through every season. I had a back covered with a Shingles induced rash, and only together in Christ did that particular season come to a conclusion.

We have both worked many jobs to provide for our family.  We have worked to finance one another’s college education and provide for our family through many seasons of life. 

We both are following the Lord in ministry and navigating the transitional nature of church life in a changing culture.

We are both about 30 lbs. heavier than we were on our wedding day.  We both have surgical scars, moles, bunions, and other blemishes.

Loving one another in all experiences and seasons of life is so much more than romantic love, but with the romantic love those experiences and seasons are more enjoyable. 

With Valentine’s Day coming, it is great to reminisce and remind myself the nature of true love. For my married readers, be encouraged to remain faithful within a committed relationship through all the seasons of life.  For all of us, love for each other includes highs and lows, good times and hard times.  Let us always strive to follow Jesus’ second commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.