June 2010

I’ve been checking people’s facebook statuses in Italy, trying to find out the latest on Luigi. Found one in Italian this morning, and mostly understood it, haha. 🙂 But I just found one in English (yay) from Lewis (he and his wife are missionary partners with the Kings). Appreciate everyone asking me for the latest … here it is …

Luigi remains in critical condition, but stable. Earlier 2day he had a tracheotomy—originally had a breathing tube down his throat & if left too long would do damage to his vocal cords. Frank, Luigi’s father-in-law & our co-worker, said that the dr. that briefed them on his condition smiled for the 1st time, which greatly encouraged them. One of the drs. & a nurse has asked Felicia about her faith! Keep praying!

Below is most of the update I received last night on Luigi and his family (he is my friend in Italy who fell from a roof last week) from his father-in-law, Frank (I served with them in Venice). Thank you for all the prayers and encouraging words … I’ve been so blessed by everyone’s response during this difficult trial! God is so faithful and good!

Luigi and Felicia

June 28, 2010 – Report #5 – We hesitate to say the following positive things for fear that it will not communicate how Luigi’s life is still hanging in the balance. So please don’t let us down in your prayer support! We are praising the Lord that…

Luigi is still alive after six days although he is yet in VERY CRITICAL CONDITION and still in a medically-induced coma.  Some of you know from experience how in events like these, time seems to go into slow-motion and it is difficult to be patient.

Luigi is stable at the end of 48 hour period after the skull bone removal operation and his temperature was back down to normal this afternoon.

Luigi did well today in another brief surgery to reposition the drainage-monitor tube since it was not where it needed to be to measure internal brain pressure.

Despite doctors having said that all has already been done that is humanly possible to do (according to modern medical practice in dealing with the pressure from brain trauma), all options are still available on the spiritual plane when it comes to intercession!

Felicia is experiencing God’s peace and strength in handling this unexpected tragic experience. It is a top priority for her to be a good mother to Simone (3 years old) and Daniele (18 months old). She sang another beautiful song Sunday morning in our worship service about trusting God.

Felicia has had opportunities to witness to several in the hospital (both a doctor and nurse noticed her stability and asked why she was so different from how most people react to extreme difficulties).

We have received scores of encouraging letters and phone calls. Many are praying and  have involved their churches, prayer chains and/or prayer partners in praying. Thank you so much!

God is helping us to be balanced in wanting to pray with faith for complete healing and yet wanting to submit to His will.

In the midst of praying for Felicia and Luigi, my mind keeps coming back to our greatest hope: the Gospel. Romans 5:1-11 is a wonderful passage that should bring great comfort to our souls.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

In the midst of great suffering, we can rejoice in our great Savior! I read this today …

“It is not feeling the Spirit that proves

my saved state but the truth of what

Christ did perfectly for me;

All holiness in him is by faith made mine,

as if I had done it;

Therefore I see the use of his righteousness,

for satisfaction to divine justice and making me righteous.”

– “Election” from The Valley of Vision

I’ve been meditating on this passage of Scripture and what it means to truly love others.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” – Romans 12:9-13

John MacArthur has some great notes in his Study Bible, which define a couple things in verse 9.

Love. The supreme New Testament virtue, which centers completely on the needs and welfare of the one loved and does whatever necessary to meet those needs.

Hypocrisy. Christian love is to be shown purely and sincerely, without self-centeredness or guile.”

Wow … that is a high calling; one that I’m realizing I often fall short of. If you pray for the Lord to grow you in genuinely loving others in a sacrificial way … He will answer your prayers! 🙂 I’m thankful for the opportunities the Lord is giving me to practice loving others – when it’s not convenient for me, when it’s not the way I would prefer to serve them, when it’s difficult for me, when it causes me to lose sleep, money, time, etc.

Also, on a bit of a different note but very much related to these verses … I would appreciate prayer for my friends in Italy. Luigi and Felicia are very dear to my heart – they really took me under their wings when I went to Venice. (Luigi gave me my first “Italian lesson,” and I remember almost all of those words he taught me!) I’ve probably mentioned them in previous posts, seeing as how they were very much a part of my life and Felicia is the King’s daughter (the Kings are the missionaries I was serving with). Luigi had an accident about 2 days ago – he fell off a roof. He is in critical condition, having sustained a serious head injury, broken vertebrae, and a punctured lung. Every day is crucial, as the doctors wait to find out the extent of the injuries to his head. From what I understand, he is very much fighting for his life. This passage I shared talks about “continuing steadfastly in prayer.” It is such a joy to my heart as I scour Facebook searching for updates on Luigi, to see the many people, from around the world, who are lifting up this family before the throne of grace. The body of Christ is truly an amazing thing!

Felicia, Luigi, and the boys - I stole this off of Facebook. It's more recent than the photos I have : )

A cute moment I captured out at dinner one night

He was my sweet little buddy! Now he's grown so much!

“I have a picture in my mind of the majesty of Christ like the sun at the center of the solar system of your life. The massive sun, 333,000 times the mass of the earth, holds all the planets in orbit, even little Pluto, 3.6 billion miles away. So it is with the supremacy of Christ in your life. All the planets of your life – your sexuality and desires, your commitments and beliefs, your aspirations and dreams, your attitudes and convictions, your habits and disciplines, your solitude and relationships, your labor and leisure, your thinking and feeling – all the planets of your life are held in orbit by the greatness and gravity and blazing brightness of the supremacy of Jesus Christ at the center of your life. If he ceases to be the bright, blazing, satisfying beauty at the center of your life, the planets will fly into confusion, a hundred things will be out of control, and sooner or later they will crash into destruction.”

– John Piper, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ

I’m having a vulnerable moment. I’m currently reading a book that, to be quite honest, I don’t like reading in public or really even telling people that I’m reading it. But seeing as how it was highly, highly recommended to me, it is (or was a couple years ago) required reading in one of the Bible classes at The Master’s College, and it’s just an excellent book … I’ve decided I can no longer keep it to myself. The book: Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. It’s edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. Some of the contributors are John Piper, CJ Mahaney, Al Mohler, and David Powlison, to name a few. The current chapter I’m in is just amazing. It’s called “Making All Things New: Restoring Pure Joy to the Sexually Broken,” by David Powlison. It’s a great read for your own walk with Christ or helping others who are struggling with sin. The following are some quotes from this chapter, specifically from the part where he’s talking about sanctification being progressive, not instantaneous, and how repentance is a part of sanctification. He describes repentance as “an ongoing change process. It involves a continual turning motion, turning toward God, and turning away from the riot of other voices, other desires, other loves …. If we are living in Christ, we are living from-to” (Powlison).

“This restoration does not take place in one moment or one day or one year …. In order that believers may reach this goal [the shining image of God], God assigns to them a race of repentance, which they are to run throughout their lives.” – John Calvin

“This life, therefore,

is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness,

not health but healing,

not being but becoming,

not rest but exercise.

We are not yet what we will be, but we are growing toward it.

The process is not yet finished, but it is going on.

This is not the end but it is the road.

All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.”

– Martin Luther

“God is on the scene throughout your life. He planned a good work. He continues a good work. He will finish a good work. He has staked his glory on the completion of that work.” – David Powlison

There are several quotes that I’ve wanted to blog, so I’ve decided this is Quote Week. I will try to post a new quote or two each day this week; I know that’s a pretty high and lofty goal for me. 🙂 Not sure exactly which ones I’ll be sharing, but … here are some that I was thinking about tonight …the first ones are things I wrote down when I was reading Passion and Purity a year or so ago.

“It [waiting, patience] is an important discipline for anyone who wants to learn to trust.”

“I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”

“Tomorrow was not our business; it was His. Letting it rest with Him was the discipline for the day, and it was enough.”

– Elizabeth Elliot

My new favorite quote that goes along with this topic of trusting God is from a sermon from the Next 2010 Conference, which I previously mentioned in another post.

“No person, no other plan, no combination of circumstances you desire in your heart are anywhere near as reliable and trustworthy as God” – Mark Dever

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