Would You Rather?

Have you ever played the game called “Would You Rather?” We owned this board game several years ago, but I decided I would rather not own it.

Today while reading Matthew 18, God presented me with several thought-provoking “Would you rather” questions.

Would you rather enter life crippled or lame … or be thrown into eternal fire with both hands and feet?

Would you rather enter life with one eye … or be thrown into the hell of fire with two eyes?

These two questions led me to search the scriptures for other “would you rather” questions.

  • Would you rather go to a house of mourning … or go to a house of feasting? (Ecclesiastes 7:2)
  • Would you rather hear the rebuke of the wise … or hear the song of fools? (Ecclesiastes 7:5)
  • Would you rather suffer for doing good … or would you rather do evil? (1 Peter 3:17)

To be totally honest, God really isn’t asking me these questions. God is telling me the answers. Every time God tells me: “It is better.” It is better. It. Is. Better.

It is better to go to the house of mourning – even if I’d rather go to the house of feasting.

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise even if I’d rather hear the song of fools.

It is better to suffer for doing good even if I would rather do evil.

Here’s a few more:

  • It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8.
  • It is better to have a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 16:19
  • It is better to live in the corner of a house, or in a desert land, than to share a house with a quarrelsome or fretful woman. Proverbs 21:9, 19

God tells me that it is better to enter life with my hand or foot cut off than to be thrown into the eternal fire with both hands and feet. God tells me that it is better to enter life with one eye than to be thrown into the hell of fire with both eyes.

Do I believe Him? Or am I still playing my own game of “Would I Rather?” Maybe I need to quit playing this game of “Would you rather” and start listening to what God says is better.

  • Would I rather waste my life with Facebook … or have genuine relationships with my friends and family?
  • Would I rather face ridicule for telling someone about Jesus … or hide my light under a bushel?
  • Would I rather pray before dinner at a restaurant and risk making someone uncomfortable … or be ashamed of my faith in Jesus?

What “would you rather” questions are you facing today?

What does God say is better?

The Glory of a Wedding Day

For all the glorious beauty of a wedding day and a bride dressed in white, it does not even compare to the coming glory of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Do you have your wedding clothes? Are you dressed in the spotless garments that only the great sacrificial lamb can give?

“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9)

Would you like to know more about how to receive your wedding clothes? You can’t earn them. They have already been earned. You have only to receive them, a gift from the spotless Lamb.

Sunrise, Sunset

On December 4th, I finished our 2017-2018 family photo album. The final page displayed a background of a beautiful picture of a sunrise in my front yard, and a sunset in the back, accompanied by the lyrics from the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof,

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days,
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset!
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.

The past three weeks have truly been a time laden with both happiness and tears.

Two weeks ago, my oldest son became the first of my four children to marry. My heart is full of great joy and hope for their future as I release my son into adulthood. I thank God for giving us Kristen and putting her into Nick’s life. These two young adults are better together than they are apart. An answer to prayer.

For my 46th birthday last Saturday, my family (minus our newly married son and his bride) watched “Fiddler on the Roof” together at my request. I reminisced about Nick as a three-year-old singing, “If I were a Rich Man” at the top of his lungs into his karaoke machine and dancing around with the best of them. Ever since he was a little boy, we’ve said that Nick would do something with a microphone in his hand. For years I’ve said, “Someday Nick will be a preacher, a singer or a politician!” This time, though, it was me singing along with the wedding scene as the Tevye’s oldest daughter marries under a candle-lit canopy, “Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older. When did they?”

Sunrise. Sunset. Swiftly fly the years. One season following another. In the twenty years of Nick’s life, we’ve certainly had many seasons. We’ve had seasons of agonizing pain, persevering only by God’s grace through marriage and parenting struggles. And we’ve had seasons of immense joy, celebrating new accomplishments and relationships, granted us also by God’s grace. But this current season we’re in has been such a bizarre mix of pain and joy, that it’s hard to know how to feel at any given moment.

Christmas Eve, the day Nick and Kristen were engaged, was the very day we found out that Kari Coudriet, and three beautiful children who were staying with her family, Sharron, Aaron, and Joy Naik, had passed from time into eternity. Then, two weeks later, the very day Nick and Kristen were married, was the day that Srinivas and Sujatha Naik, their parents from India, shared their hearts with our congregation, and I got to see them for the first time since their children’s deaths.

That morning, I mourned with those who mourn, and that afternoon I rejoiced with those who rejoice. Tears of grief coming, and tears of joy going. Sunrise. Sunset. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Please join me today in praying for the marriages of Nick and Kristen Endraske, and Srinivas and Sujatha Naik. “May your lives be pointed always toward Jesus with hearts full of hope and peace. May your marriages demonstrate how deeply Christ loves His bride, and gave Himself up for her, even while we were His enemies. May God give you long seasons of joy, interspersed with short seasons of hardship, that you would lean on Jesus, savoring the good times, and numbering each day with hearts of wisdom. In the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.”

How can I pray for you and your marriage?