Monday, July 27, 2009


This is my hotty hubby back in the day.... Have you attended a high school reunion lately? Who was the biggest shocker? Maybe the dweeb that’s now the refined and charming businessman? Or could it be the well-remembered star athlete, who can’t bend down to tie his shoe laces? Well, my husband would probably qualify as a shocker. Not because he was a dweeb, and he is quite capable of tying his shoes. But he was indeed one of the better athletes in our class. I’ve known Roy Andrews since third grade – a red-headed little brat, ornery to the core. By the time we were friends in high school, he exuded all the cocky invincibility an eighteen year-old feels when he’s received a basketball scholarship to a Texas college. One problem. He flunked off the basketball team his senior year because he was failing Calculus (the class-clown and “out-standing” student – out-standing in the hall for most of his class-time). However, the immediate problem was playing in the basketball sectional, so he picked up Home Economics for 1 ½ weeks, got an “A” and played the rest of the season. Second semester, senior year, Roy flunks off golf team because he’s failing Government – and his college plans were to major in Political Science and Pre-Law. Oops. At this point in his life, he had attended church only a few times – mostly vacation Bible schools, from which he’d probably been kicked out because he couldn’t sit still. I tell you these things (with his permission) so you’ll understand why the classmates at our 25th high school reunion shook their heads in wonder, when they discovered Roy had his PhD in education and taught at a Bible College in Portland, OR. Shocker, believe me. It’s impossible to look at a child and know their potential, to know what path God has planned for his/her life. Roy is a great example to warn us against pigeon-holing people into a single position. He started college thinking law was his choice, graduated college and became a high school teacher and coach. Then was a pastor for fourteen years. See what I mean? It’s best just to keep the path clear so God can position us for His purpose.…

Some of the names/generations have been removed to save space. Please refer to your own copy of the Scriptures for a complete listing of Noah’s descendants through his sons, Japheth, Shem and Ham.
Gen. 10:1-5 – “This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah's sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras…(From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)” (emphasis added)

  • “Maritime people” are those who travel by water – boats, ships, etc. Were Japheth and his sons the adventurers? Or did they simply hate all the family squabbles and escape to the high seas? Whatever the cause of their occupation as sailors, realize that the craft of building boats was handed down from Noah – knowledge from the Most High. Also consider this. If you were Japheth, would you EVER want to get back on a boat? Would you be willing to re-visit your days of testing, remembering the sounds of the earth’s destruction, people’s cries. Or perhaps Japheth described the journey of the ark in such great detail that his descendants wanted to experience the life of faith, setting out on a vast expanse of water, trusting God to lead them to lands they couldn’t see.
Gen. 10:6-20 – “The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan…Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.’ The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon…From that land he went to Assyria…Mizraim was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Casluhites (from whom the Philistines came)…Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.” (emphasis added)

  • Ham’s sons became mighty warrior/hunters, but who was there to war against? Noah’s other sons – Japheth and Shem. Japheth sailed away, so Shem’s descendants bore the brunt throughout history of Ham’s vengeance. Note the similarities between Ham’s sons and Adam’s wayward son, Cain (Gen. 4:17-24) from the names “Cain” and “Canaan” to the magnificent cities they built in their own honor. Though it seems Nimrod’s hunting abilities were originally devoted to the Lord, the ambition of his descendants caused God’s judgment to fall on their great Tower of achievement (Gen. 11).

Gen. 10:21-32 – “Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber. The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram…Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber. Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan…These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. These are the clans of Noah's sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.” (emphasis added)

  • Notice that in the account of Shem’s descendants, no specific tradition or profession is mentioned. Shem’s line is defined by the condition of the world in which God positioned them. Peleg was named such because his father’s heart was tuned to what God was doing in the world around him – the division of Babel. We’ll discover later that Abram, Isaac and Jacob came from Shem’s lineage…leading to Jesus Christ, the ultimate God/Man Savior of every tribe and tongue. Shem’s family was called to keep their hearts tuned to the world around them and listen for God’s direction.

Lord, serving you doesn’t always have a well-defined, clear-cut path or definition. I know that some are called to serve you with their vocation, but we don’t all have to be a preacher or missionary to serve You full-time. Accept every thought, every word, every deed as my offering to You. Teach me to think of my daily activities as Your calling, Your positioning of my life for Your service. I don’t want to run away from conflict as Japheth might have or let ambition ruin what could be a pleasing offering – as Ham’s descendants did. I want to be a student of my culture and understand how You are working…and join You there. Let it be so, Lord, in my heart, in my words, and in my actions.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I think every family has at least one weird person in it. If you don’t believe me – if everyone in your family seems normal – BEWARE. You may be the weird one. Yikes! But here’s the thing. If you’re weird, it’s okay, because you train your children with your own brand of weird. The trouble begins when they grow up and marry someone with a different brand of weirdness. You now have to work to incorporate a new state of weird into your family. And the cycle continues. Your children have children, and your grandchildren are trained in a new morphed, weirdness. You become accustomed to the new weird and the grandchildren become fully family-weirded, but guess what? Those grandkids have the nerve to marry someone with a totally different brand of weird! By the time you’re into the third or fourth generation, your brand of weird is totally screwed up, and family relationships are full of blessings and curses. I now live 2,200 miles from my extended family, which is both a blessing and a curse. I am blessed to miss the daily weirdness that wears down the nerves, but cursed to miss the special moments that come only after the dramas are played out and lived through. Without a doubt, families are challenging. But they’re also the personification of divine fellowship God placed on this earth in order that we would understand love, support and security. One of Noah’s sons betrayed those principles, and we’re still living with those ramifications.…

Gen. 9:18-19 – “The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.”
  • You and I are related. Crazy, huh? Every human being can theoretically trace his/her beginnings back to one of Noah’s sons. Talk about a huge family tree! As we look forward to Gen. 10, we’ll see how Noah’s descendants covered the earth in the “Table of Nations.” For now, just be thankful that there are plenty of weird family members in the world – so I think you and I are safe.

Gen. 9:20-23 – “Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness.”

  • I know I must be careful not to presume on God’s Word, but His Word speaks to real people living real lives in real relationships. Ask some real questions with me. What caused Ham to look inside Noah’s tent in the first place? Why did Ham feel the need to ridicule or point out his father’s fault to his older brothers? Noah’s drunkenness was undoubtedly sin; however, the stark contrast of Shem and Japheth’s near reverence to their father’s sin emphasizes Ham’s motive to humiliate and hints at a pre-existing struggle between Ham and his father. It almost seems we’ve entered the middle of a father/son battle, as if this wasn’t the first squabble Noah and Ham encountered.

Gen. 9:24-27 – “When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.’ He also said, ‘Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.’”

  • Why did Noah curse Canaan (his grandson) rather than Ham, when it was Ham who sinned against him? There can be no happy reason. Whether Noah refused to recognize Ham as his son or for some reason Canaan was at fault for his father’s/grandfather’s relational fracture – any explanation is sorrow heaped upon sorrow. Anger, pain and God’s prophetic voice make Noah’s words a sharp sword that cut deeply into future generations. Scripture consistently teaches us that parents’ pronouncements are weighed heavily in children’s ears, and children’s respect for their parents is paramount in God’s eyes.

Gen. 9:28-29 – “After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.”

  • How long does it take a vineyard to grow and produce wine? How many of Noah’s last 350 years were lived BEFORE the fracture in his relationship with Ham/Canaan? Family fractures generally begin with a hairline injury early on and then continue to worsen through years of neglect and/or abuse. 350 years is a long time to live with strife, but even one day can be too long when all we need to do is ask for forgiveness or confront an issue.

Lord, give me the courage or humility – or whatever You know I need – to seek peace in my family relationships. I recognize that in some cases, nothing I do can render a peaceful solution. However, please show me if there are any other options, any other acts of obedience You’re calling me to complete in a certain situation. And then, Lord, help me to leave the result in Your hands.

Monday, July 06, 2009


In 1984, Apple released its first Macintosh computer and Sony introduced the first CD player. Magnum P.I. and Dynasty were TV’s most popular shows, and Ghostbusters swept the box office. 25 years ago, Tina Turner sang, “What’s Love Got to do with It,” and Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire in a Pepsi commercial while singing “Billie Jean” (faulty pyrotechnics). Well, the world has changed since 1984…or has it? In 2009, Apple’s MacBook headlines technology news, the blockbuster movie still boasts supernatural elements (Twilight) and Michael Jackson continues to flood the news (unfortunately, for more dire reasons).

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary a few days ago. Now, we have certainly changed in 25 years…or have we? I look at him and still see the boy I knew in third grade – that annoying little brat I couldn’t stand until junior high, who then became one of my best friends in high school. Roy was the class-clown and a hot-tempered jock; and I was Miss Congeniality, valedictorian and closet rebel.

After high school, Roy went to college in Texas and found Jesus, while I followed a boyfriend to college and found Jack Daniels. When my boyfriend left, the booze stayed, and my best friend suggested I renew my friendship with Roy. Well, we didn’t just renew our friendship. God did something NEW in both of us. Roy showed me a Jesus I had never known – a real, loving, compassionate, forgiving God, who walks and talks with me every single day. And then Jesus bound our hearts together in love.

When I look at my husband today – 25 years later – I see him as the annoying, curly-haired third grader. I see the cocky, hot-tempered quarterback/basketball player. I see the father of my children, the tireless provider for our family, the servant leader of my heart. But we are both changing, getting older, and each year it’s harder to find something NEW or surprising about each other. Our relationship could easily become stale or commonplace as so many do.

Scripture warns against the temptation to let our hearts wander when the NEWness fades…
Prov. 5:18-19 – “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.”
God wants our marriages to be a fountain of love – rushing, bubbling, spilling over constantly on one another. He wants husbands – and wives – to be satisfied and captivated by love. After 25 years of marriage, I have just one word for you.


Okay, now let me add two more words. Impossible…without Jesus.

Proverbs says that God wishes to “bless your fountain,” but if the water in our fountains comes from human emotional wells, the pools will run dry after a few years. Bitterness, selfish desires and unfulfilled expectations stagnate and poison human wells, causing marriage fountains to spew ugliness and pain.

It is only Living Water from the Eternal Spring that produces a fountain of NEW love daily that never ceases its flow. The LORD alone is the infinite Source of satisfying, captivating love.
Lam. 3:22-23 -“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (emphasis added).
The love Source for my fountain must be Jesus. I cannot find NEW ways, NEW reasons, NEW desire to love my spouse without first being filled with the faithful, unending compassion of my God.

I want to share one final story to illustrate the LORD’s provision of NEW ways to love. We, like many of you, are feeling the economic pinch and did not plan a big 25th anniversary celebration. I have always tucked away in my heart a budding hope that someday Roy and I will renew our vows in a church, since our actual wedding took place in a hotel banquet room. For a fleeting moment, I considered unfurling that hope for this special anniversary, but didn’t feel a peace about the timing or circumstances. Maybe for our 30th, I thought, and rolled, tucked and packed away the hope again.

Two weeks before our 25th wedding anniversary, we attended the church where we began our ministry years – 2,200 miles away from home. The pastor was speaking on marriage, and at the end of the service, he opened the altar to any couple who wished to renew their wedding vows. A lump the size of a grapefruit formed in my throat. Not only had my God just provided a vow renewal ceremony in our home church with the people we loved most in the world attending, but I didn’t even have to stress about cake and punch! How awesome is that?

Roy and I gazed into each other’s eyes and again promised to love each other for eternity – with the echo of others’ promises ringing in our ears. We stood shoulder-to-shoulder beside those with whom we’d co-labored in ministry for so many years. Roy and I recommitted our lives to each other as familiar voices rang out, recommitting their hearts to their own marriages. What precious NEWness we experienced that day – our new anniversary date – June 14, 2009 – shared now with so many of our brothers and sisters-in-Christ.
What treasures of NEWness await you and your spouse at the eternal Spring of Living Water? Let Him create the life, the satisfaction, the passion in your marriage by making yourself available to the Source each and everyday.