Remade By Fire

The Remade Ring

Battered by the blows of life

The stone falls out of the ring of many promises

Scratched and dulled, it isn’t the gem we thought

Just man-made, weak, and without much value

The ring, once radiant and beautiful, is empty

Prongs reach for what used to be

What of the promise it once held?

 

In the hands of the master jeweler, there is hope

Strengthened with new gold,

Intricately woven designs

Showcase the glittering diamond

Remade by fire, a new ring is forged

Purer, stronger, uniquely designed,

Declaring its promise to all

 

Battered by the blows of life

The marriage falls from its many promises

Scratched and dulled, it isn’t the journey we expected

If only man-directed, it remains weak and without much value

The marriage, once radiant and joyful, is painful

Hearts reach for what used to be

What of the promises they each held?

 

In the hands of the Master Designer, there is hope

Strengthened with new purpose,

Intricately woven plans

Showcase the glittering of endurance

Remade by fire, a greater marriage is forged

Purer, stronger, uniquely designed, 

Declaring our promises restored in Him

 

With this ring, I thee wed

To have and to hold

Cherishing in joy or sorrow, want or plenty

Faithful to each other and to Him

Until death is allowed to part

 

Whom God has joined, let none separate

A poem for my wife on our 19th anniversary.

Together Soon – The Amazing Story of an On-time Picture

Grandpa's navy class

In memory of what would have been my grandparents 70th wedding anniversary, I want to share this story with you. Perhaps you read it on Yahoo’s front page last year. It was this story that won a Content of the Year Award. I’m honored that I was able to tell it.

Wilbert Glenn Adriance, my grandpa, died on May 26, 2010, at the age of 91. Battling her own failing health, Grandma (Bonnie), his wife of almost 69 years, struggled with the grief of their separation. She wondered why she was still here on Earth. Her mind and body were painfully giving out. Some days she didn’t recognize her daughter (my mom) or anyone else. But then something very strange happened

This is blog about the Bible, so I shouldn’t stray far from that purpose. However, this one is a personal tribute to my grandparents who demonstrated a lifelong love for each other. In many ways they inspire me to strive for a great, lifetime marriage that honors God. Let me just add this Scripture as a postscript to the story:  “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” I Corinthians 13:8-10 ESV

Happy anniversary, Gma and Gpa. I miss you both!

 

 

One Scripture?

Recently, a blogger asked me a great question in the comments on his blog. When I offered to help answer his questions about the Bible, he asked me if there was one Scripture that I considered “gold” or thought about every day. What a great question!

But it made me pause. One Scripture? I love every book of the Bible. My favorite one is always the one I am studying at the moment. There is so much depth, beauty, insight, inspiration, and joy in the Scriptures. Could I pick just one? I am not one who has chosen a “life verse” that encapsulates my faith or purpose. God has always provided the right Scripture at the right time for my situation. One Scripture? I decided to dig back into the bedrock foundations of my faith. What is essential? What do I know is true? What do I depend on?

I thought back to one of the great turning points in my life – a literal choice between life or death. I was just a young teen, probably finishing 8th or 9th grade. I had chosen to follow Jesus with my life a year or two earlier. I was on a youth retreat with my church at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. My life was just not going the way I wanted. I wasn’t athletic or popular. I wasn’t funny or attractive. I wasn’t talented in anything anyone noticed. I was believing Satan’s lie that no one loved me. One night I just sat out in the open air hallway outside my room. I looked down two or more stories to the ground and rocks below. A voice inside whispered, “no one will care if you just fall off of here and die…” I didn’t know the term “spiritual warfare,” but I knew this was a spiritual attack. I went back inside to get away from the immediate temptation. However, I was still wallowing in the self-pity and the lie. Later, I went back outside, letting the tears, at least, fall to the ground below.

One of our college age counselors, Keith, came and sat with me. He tried to offer advice and wisdom and comfort. It was nice to have someone notice my struggle, but it wasn’t enough. I did come in for the night, but my despair continued. However, during that week, God got my attention through the speaker. My memory isn’t clear on exactly what the speaker said, but God clearly revealed to me that He loved me. No matter what anyone else thought, He loved me. God loves me just the way I am! It sounds like such a simple truth, but it gripped me with a real power. I have value and worth. I have a purpose and a destiny. It isn’t because of anything that I am, except that I am loved by the King!

So here is that one scripture that, upon reflection, is the bedrock of my faith. When my faith wavers, looking for a foundation, this Scripture calls me back to the love that changed my life that week. Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (NASB)

 

Administrative note: Over the weekend, this blog received its 1000th all-time view. People from 17 countries have stopped by (unbelievable). Durt on the Bible isn’t taking the internet by storm, but I am thankful for all who take time to read. If it has value to you, please share it with someone else who might be encouraged.

Jesus loved Judas?!

I love the account of the Last Supper in John’s gospel (John 13-17). I listened to it on CD on my way to work this morning. On his last night with the disciples, Jesus had so much to impart to them. But He started with actions that teach me something about love. He took on the servant’s role and washed his disciple’s feet, but it was more than that. Look at how John recorded it:

Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him.  Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.  So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him. John 13:1-5 HCSB

 Jesus knew what Judas was about to do, that he would betray Him to be killed. And yet, he still washed Judas’ feet! (Judas doesn’t depart until v29.) Jesus vividly demonstrated His command to love your enemies (Luke 6:35) by loving the disciple who would betray Him with a kiss(!) just a few hours later. That is some kind of serving love!

I don’t show love like that, even with people I just dislike a little. But I think the key to learning to love like that is right there in the text: “Jesus knew…” He was fully aware of His purpose and destiny and destination (“back to God”). If I was as convinced of my purpose and destination as He was, maybe I would love more like Jesus. Trusting God with the outcome frees me to love despite any obstacles.

There is another interesting point about love here, too. Jesus’ love for Judas did not condone or even pass over Judas’ evil intent. Jesus said not all of the disciples were clean (v9, 10). Mark recorded that Jesus said it would have been better if the betrayer had not been born (Mark 14:21). Clearly, Judas chose evil and suffered the consequences. So, love does not excuse or ignore evil. In the same way, I cannot overlook evil in the name of “love.” I would really be choosing comfort, not love. There is a danger here, though, of forgetting love when calling out evil. What an interesting life that faith inspires…

As your consider the last night of Jesus’ life before the crucifixion, what stands out for you?