Monday, November 23, 2009


It takes a Spanish class to teach me a little Greek – how ironic is that?

In my fonética class (phonetics), we read a story entitled ICTUS. It told how many of the towns and countries in new testament times spoke different languages. For commerce and general exchange of information, the common language was Greek; hence the disciples preached, taught and wrote in Greek.

As it turns out, the phrase Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, in Greek appears as Iesous Cristos Teou Uio Soter. The first letter from each word, in Greek letters are: ἰχθύς (Iota Chi Theta Upsilon Sigma), or with our alphabet: ICHTHUS. (The χ and the θ are represented by CH and TH.) ICHTHUS is the Greek word for fish! How cool is that?

But wait, there’s more…

The fish symbol was intentionally a very simple design: two opposing arcs connected in a point on one side and overlapping on the other side. Not only was this symbol used to indicate Christian meeting places and decorate artifacts, it was also used to secretly identify other believers. If after speaking with someone, instead of coming right out and asking if they were a believer (which could get you in trouble if you asked the wrong person!) one person would draw the top arc. The other person would either ignore what you did, not understanding what you meant, or draw the bottom arc, completing the fish symbol. If that happened, you would each then know that each of you were believers!

Think about that next time you see the fish symbol!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

She Is My Hero!

Last month I wrote about the struggle Sandy is having with the side effects from her medication (click here for the article). Every Friday evening she gives herself an injection; twice a day she has to take three pills that make her feel tired all the time and give her headaches. Medically, Sandy is healing, but physically she is just as tired and the headaches still come and go.

Not really a bright side, but we wanted to share some of the positive impacts on others Sandy’s ordeal is generating…

Sandy told me that at the beginning of each class the instructor usually asks how each student ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) – Sandy generally answers Estoy bien, gracias (I’m fine, thanks). The other day one of the students, when it was her turn to answer, commented “If Sandy says she’s doing OK, then I’m doing great!”

A few days ago I was talking with one of the instructors about what classes we should take next year. I described to her some of what Sandy is going through and she commented that it is tough for anyone to go through this program and that if Sandy has these issues to deal while attending these classes, “She is my hero!

I was speaking with a friend at church this morning and she asked how Sandy was. She, too, was amazed that Sandy is not only able to attend classes, but do well!

Academics have never been Sandy’s strength; she did OK in school but quit early and later went back for her GED. In the classes here her grades are between 78 and 95… not too shabby.

We know that we are in the midst of God’s will for our lives, and that His plan is always best, even when we are shortsighted. We are glad to be able to see benefit come from this treatment… not only is Sandy’s viral load decreasing, but she is providing inspiration for so many others.

Please continue to pray for us…
1) that the side effects Sandy is experiencing are minimized as much as possible,
2) that we can continue to be an inspiration for others,
3) that we are effective in communicating the gospel to others, in English and in Spanish

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Time to Let Go

Have you ever bought something just to find out you bought the wrong thing… and then discovered you couldn’t return it? That can be really frustrating, especially if it was expensive. Sometimes we will try to find ways to adjust our situation to fit what we bought so the money isn’t wasted, right? Or we will say it’s not really that bad, not wanting to admit our mistake.

Yesterday during my quiet time I was reading in 2 Chronicles and saw the same thing had happened to Amaziah. (WHO is Amaziah, you ask? Don’t feel bad; a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have known who he was, either.) Amaziah was one of the kings of Judah, between Joash and Uzziah.

Amaziah was basically a good guy: He did right in the sight of the Lord (2 Chron 25:2). He only killed the people who murdered his father, and not their children, because it is written in the law in the book of Moses, which the Lord commanded, saying, "Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor sons be put to death for fathers, but each shall be put to death for his own sin.” (2 Chron 25:4). For the most part, he was following the Law of Moses.

While he was assembling his forces, he didn’t think he had enough, so to help protect Judah, he hired 100,000 “valiant warriors” from Israel for 100 talents of silver. Then we read: But a man of God came to him saying, "O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel nor with any of the sons of Ephraim.” (2 Chron 25:7). Here he was, following the Law, taking care of God’s people, investing a large sum of money to do so, and is told to not use what he had just bought.

Here’s the exchange they had: Amaziah said to the man of God, "But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?" And the man of God answered, "The Lord has much more to give you than this.” (2 Chron 25:9)

WOW! What an awesome verse… and so applicable for us! 100 talents was a large sum then; Amaziah did not want to see it go to waste. He had made this decision in good faith. He was helping others. He had nothing to gain personally by this. Yet how can you argue with The Lord has much more to give you than this?

When you hear God calling you to do something, to go somewhere, to give up something… are you going to fight it and declare you didn’t hear right, or that you don’t want to waste anything? Or are you going to be like Amaziah: Then Amaziah dismissed them, the troops which came to him from Ephraim, to go home (2 Chron 25:10)?