The Unexpected

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

~ From The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Each day we have the privilege of choosing which road we will travel. It often really is our choice. Do we want the path that is smooth and drama free or are we willing to journey on the path that is frequently covered with pot holes?

the road not taken

The Road Not Taken

Throughout our lives there are times when each of these roads is a viable option. I must confess that, for whatever reason, the road I usually find myself on is bumpy, covered with overhanging branches and contains many twists and turns.

I would like to suggest that there is also a third path that can emerge. The sign post on that road reads “The Unexpected.” The unforeseen journey down this road brings with it the potential for destruction or immeasurable growth. When the unexpected occurs you might be tempted to ask, “Why, God?” or try to second guess what you could have done differently.

Jim and I have been traveling the Unexpected Road since January 6. In fact, all the family members who live in our house with us have been active participants on the unexpected journey. One man from our fellowship group summed it up best when he jokingly said, “Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when Joy (our dog) is the healthiest member of the Wright clan?”

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A Love Story

Tonight, Marianne and I will have a romantic dinner at the country inn where I asked her to marry me.

Marianne

Marianne

Our friends often kid us, because we take time to celebrate key events in our life together. Our first date, our engagement, our wedding, and other anniversaries are important to us.

We don’t go on anniversary dates to create intimacy and passion between us, but to express the amazing, ever-deepening intimacy and passion that continues to grow between us – from the first time my heart unexpectedly fluttered at the sight of her, to the profound thrill I still feel when I see her.

There is a love between us that I seldom see in others. It, and our marriage, are testaments to the power of God to redeem lives.

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Storing Up Riches?

walking_with_JesusYesterday, as some folks in our fellowship prayed for me, I had one of those rare times when I heard the Lord very directly speak to my inner man.

He said I had laid up many treasures in heaven from a life spend serving Him and His people.

He let me know I could begin a new season of life, in transition toward my life to come, with the settled peace of His pleasure and honor.

Then He asked, however, if I was willing to spend those treasures, over whatever remaining time He chooses to give me, by investing them in others?

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Patience

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience… Gal 5:22

The King James Bible calls patience long suffering. Somehow to me patience sounds like a virtue to desire, but long suffering… well that sounds tentjpgtoo much like Job!

I think everyone would love to be able to say that they are patient, but probably none of us enjoy the process of long suffering that is required to actually become patient.

I believe the only way to grow in patience is to experience times of trials, disappointments, frustrations and failures. It is during these difficult stretches that the Lord enables the fruit of patience to grow strong.

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Though You Slay Me…

I don’t know about you, but the Lord sometimes loves me enough to nearly kill me. And I’m not talking metaphorically.

In fact, for those who have given our lives to Him, the Lord loves us so much that some day He literally will take our lives so He then can give us eternity.

Short of death, however, the Lord sometimes kills something important to us or in us – some vision, some hope, some confidence, some quality or attribute, some accomplishment, or even something good He previously gave us.

It’s not that the thing He kills necessarily is wrong. It’s just that it needs to die so we then are free to be and do whatever He wants of us, and for us, as we move forward in Him.

As Job understood, in the midst of everything good in his life being stripped away, “Though you slay me, will I trust you Lord.” Job 13:15.

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Touching the Heart of God

Touch the Heart of God


Even in my sorrow, I also know gratitude. Jesus is able to handle both, and as they’ve merged I’ve touched the very heart of God.
http://crossroadjunction.com/2009/03/30/sufficient-grace/

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This last year has been marked by very painful and difficult health issues. Through it all, however, I’ve been grateful for what the Lord has done for me even as I struggle with the sorrow of diminished capacity.

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Feeling God’s Pleasure

Feeling God’s Pleasure

This scene from Chariots of Fire helped define my life when I saw it as a young man in 1981.

In it, Olympic runner Eric Liddell explained what motivated him: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

What a wonderful way to feel, know and experience the Lord and His purpose.

Most of my life has been guided by the sense of His pleasure as I’ve been the man He created me to be and done the things He created me to do. Even when there’s been adversity, I have felt His pleasure as I serve the King of Kings with whatever gifts He’s given me.

There is no greater joy, no greater fulfillment, no greater purpose.

Sufficient Grace, Part II

As my close friends know, for the last seven years I’ve been dealing with a rare autoimmune condition called scleroderma (also known as systemic sclerosis).

Recent medical tests indicate that it is now impairing my lungs. This is a progressively debilitating and likely fatal development, and there is no known cure. I was not surprised by the latest test results, as I’ve been feeling my health deteriorate more rapidly over the last several months.

I’m posting this to be transparent and so none of my friends feel blindsided. I am totally open about what’s happening, and not bashful over it, so don’t feel you have to ignore it when you’re around me. If you have questions or want to just talk about it, feel free!

However, I also do not want it to define me. My life has been, and will continue to be, about so much more than this disease!

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I Am Content

Marianne

Marianne

I’ve advised Presidents and heads of state,

And ministered forgiveness

To murderers and inmates,

In Your name.

I’ve been rich,

But know poverty.

I’ve plowed the earth

And wiped sweaty dirt from my face,

Yet poked holes in clouds.

I’ve seen the world,

Stood firm against oppression,

And dodged its secret police,

While dancing with gypsies.

I’ve changed laws

And the course of nations,

While counting the homeless

Among my closest friends.

I’ve led the march of thousands,

And brought stadiums to their feet,

Yet walked with death and a cane.

I fought the mob and won,

And silently saved my daughters

From their threats,

Yet been broken and used up.

I’ve known the joy of hopeless battles won,

And the brotherhood of warriors brave,

Yet cried alone before their graves.

I’ve spoken truth to power,

Hugged the brokenhearted,

And helped set the captive set free.

For all these things, Lord, I am grateful;

It’s been a life well lived.

But most of all,

I thank You that love did not pass me by:

For the joy of Marianne’s embrace

And the wonders of her grace,

I am content.

~ Jim

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Beauty from Ashes

Since early this year, I’ve been working on a huge sex abuse case involving a large, local Assembly of God church.

Hurt and Confusion

The human carnage and shattered lives have been great.

I take on these kinds of cases not only because I believe in justice, but because I also believe in redemption. Often, I have the privilege of seeing God’s grace shine through as healing comes and the survivors begin to find the strength to reclaim their lives – and their stolen voices.

As I interview and get to know various survivors and their families, I’m often asked if the pain will ever stop. I tell them how I have seen God bring beauty from ashes time and again, both in others and in my own life.

It is hard, but once we pass through the fire and begin to see what God does with the ashes of our lives, we experience gratitude for who we start to become.

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A Warrior’s Heart

I thank God for the young men and women who defend our nation, and who have dedicated themselves to the discipline and skills needed to plan and carry out dangerous missions like yesterday’s assault on Bin Laden deep in the heart of Pakistan.

May we never forget that it is God who creates the warrior’s heart: To protect the innocent and put virtue above self, and to thrill at hard things.

‘Though they often remain nameless and anonymous, may they ever be honored by a grateful nation.


When the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.” Proverbs 11:10

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