I am perplexed.

No, I’m saddened more than perplexed that it took me so long to understand what it meant when Christ died for me.

For years I’ve tried to measure up to the “Thou shall not’s” and frankly I failed… miserably. But now I know.

Know what? You might ask.

I now know the value of Christ’s sacrifice.

He died so that I could live guilt free, pain free and worry free. Why?

Simple, the curse of the law no longer applies to me or my failures (Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— ). So, what does that mean?

To me, it means that when I fail (and I often do) the punishment dictated by the “Thou shall not’s” as well as the other mandates of religious law are no longer applicable to me. Galatians 3:10 says that the law itself is a curse and all who live by it are under its curse:

[Amplified] And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide (live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the Book of the Law and to practice them.

The difference in those who try to obtain righteousness through right living and what Jesus did is clearly depicted in the story of the adulteress. That’s where the true heart of Jesus and God are revealed (at least it was to me). Those inflicted with a religious spirit caught a woman in the act of adultery and brought her before Jesus to coerce him into condemning her.

There they stood with stone in hand just waiting for the one they called the teacher to justify their judgment of her or give them cause to condemn him for violating the law himself. But Jesus saw their intention and upheld the law while he extended a hand of grace to the woman at the same time.

He uttered one of the most familiar phrases in the Bible (though I would suggest to you it’s also one of the most misunderstood chapters of the Bible as well). “He who is without sin cast the first stone” was all that he needed to say for them to condemn themselves instead of the woman or Jesus. It was Jesus who was without sin and under the law had the justification to stone the woman, but his heart was for her redemption long before he gave his life for her.

“Where are your accusers” he asked her. “Has no one condemned you?” And all she could say as she answered him was “No one Lord”.

In that moment she knew he was her Lord but then Jesus went even further to clarify his intentions for her when he said to her “Neither do I condemn you”. It was in that moment he also became her Savior. He could have condemned her and under law was required to condemn her, but he chose not to. Instead he gave her the gift of his Grace and then said simply “now go and sin no more”. Is this story Jesus demonstrates his heart for all of us! His Grace came before right living. Don’t you see, righteousness is a gift of Grace through Jesus that leads us to right living?

I see it so clearly now.

The curse of the law condemned the woman to be stoned to death. Jesus, when he offered his life for us took away the curse of that law and replaced it with Grace for our sins. In 1 John 2:1 it makes it clear I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin, BUT if anyone does sin, we have and advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

We are no longer expected to be perfect, instead we should allow ourselves to be perfected under the Grace and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The battle between the Pharisees and the Christ followers rages on even today. Yes, it still lives on because when people uphold religious rules and then judge others for not being capable of the same, they are living the same life the Pharisees lived. The focus is on the law and not on Jesus.

But when we change our focus toward Jesus we are set free from a life of guilt and shame, pain and worry.

So what does Galatians 3:13 mean to me? It simply means I can live my life in freedom and allow God to refine me in the process.

I hope it means something similar for you.

It’s easy to wonder if there is a God and he loves me so much, why am I going through so many bad things in my life?

We certainly have had that opportunity this year!

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

In the last five months our youngest son has been hospitalized three times with pneumonia (which the last time he had to be intubated for seven days), my oldest son was hospitalized once for a concussion and then again with an unexplained abdominal event that bottomed out his blood pressure while his heart raced at the same time. That was followed by my youngest son breaking his leg which triggered an automatic CPS investigation into our family, because the law in Texas tries to protect kids with special needs.

Oh and my beautiful wife had to deal with a full police investigation where they treated her like a criminal because someone broke in and stole a bunch of money where she works. Insane, right?

I’m not telling you this to garner your sympathy but to testify to you that although all of these things were happening something surprising happened to us. Our faith wasn’t diminished it was strengthened.

I believe that we go through challenges not because God is punishing us in some way because we did this or that, NO, the Bible is clear that Jesus came to fulfill the law and absolve us from the curse of the law (see: Galatians 3:13). That simply means there’s no more judgment from God from my mistakes because he filters my actions through the blood of Christ which covers all sin.

No, it isn’t out of judgment that we see these types of calamity in our lives it is because our temporary existence happens to be in a place that’s broken. It’s the enemies of God that attempt to remove our focus on the one who saves us. The enemy knows that if he can get us to focus on our broken places and not on the one in whom all brokenness is restored then we fall out of worship to God and into worship of the enemy. Complaining about our struggles is simply glorifying the one who brought us into that situation. But, if we intentionally focus on Jesus in our struggles then the victory over that struggle is ours from the start.

I won’t sit here and pretend that through these recent struggles I didn’t question my faith, I did! I won’t lie and tell you that there weren’t times that I wanted to give in and give up because there were. Or that I was all smiles without a care in the world because I have super faith, because I don’t.

Faith isn’t about how many times we fall. It’s about how many times we get back up, raise our hands to heaven and declare that there is a God and no matter what I can see with my eyes I believe what God said in his word! “I am the head, not the tail! I am above, not beneath! I am a lender, not a borrower! By His stripes I am healed!”

There isn’t a ledger where God takes the good and the bad of your life and decides whether or not you deserve a blessing based on the sum total. Our blessings, healing, favor, abundance all come from the GIFT of righteousness! A gift given to us through the cross, all we have to do is open our hand and receive the gift!

Oh, I guess I should tell you that as sure as the sun shines God delivered us from all of these events. My son’s are healed, my wife was exonerated from any wrong doing and just this last week God intervened on our behalf with that CPS investigation. A doctor who cared enough to look at the broad picture of our son’s case discovered that because of the three hospitalizations with pneumonia, the steroids they had put him on were a contributing factor in why his leg broke and we were absolved, exonerated and our reputation as parents restored.  Not because of anything we did, because all we did was try to hang on to our faith by a thread! That’s how much God’s love us!

My prayer for you today is that in your troubles you turn to God and never give into the temptation to turn away.  

The one purpose that all Christians have is to believe!

As much as we may wish it wasn’t true and as hard as we try to avoid it, bad things are going to happen in our lives. To pretend it can’t happen just because you’re a Christian is foolish at best. We weren’t promised a stress free or problem free life.

Quite the opposite as a matter of fact!

John 16:33 (NKJV) says: In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Be of good cheer! Say What!

When you’re in the middle of hell, “being of good cheer” is probably the last thing on your mind, but it is the right thing for your mind. Why?

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

If we choose to make the best of our bad situations by holding on to our peace, I believe we are fulfilling our purpose as a Christian, to believe that Jesus has already delivered us and that God has a plan for us. We must choose to believe that if God doesn’t eliminate our problem that He’ll walk with us through the problem and in the process stretch our faith and refine our character.

Fulfilling our destinies requires that we overcome our challenges.

Recently my son John-Michael was admitted to the hospital in full respiratory failure brought on by pneumonia. He had to be put on a ventilator this time. This is the third time in four months he’s been admitted for the same thing. But you can read about his story at http://johnmichaelsjourney.com

With that many hospitalizations it would be easy to start doubting, even questioning God. But faith is a choice to have hope, not an emotion.

The fact is when we think our situation is bad, especially in a hospital, all we have to do is look around and we can easily find people who are in harder situations than ours.

While we were in the hospital with our son, three people had to deal with the deaths of their children. I met a lady from Dubai whose son was in for his second double lung transplant and he was rejecting the lungs. I also talked with a woman who’d accidentally run over her nephew and was dealing with the guilt of having done so.

I met a family whose son suddenly collapsed after playing basketball for several hours and they weren’t sure he’d survive. And, the other family that we were privileged to get to know whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer that had spread to her heart.

When you see what others are struggling with it puts it into perspective. Yes, pneumonia is a serious health problem but I will not complain about my situation because I choose to have faith that God knows how to deal with whatever I’m going through.

Instead I used my time there to get to know other people and to try to encourage them in any way I could. I offered to pray for some and offered a listening ear to others. Sometimes I felt helpful and others helpless. But to me this experience was the purest definition of God taking something meant for our harm and turning it into good for His purpose.

God has a plan for each of us but so does the enemy of God. Our bad situations don’t come from God but they are used by God for a higher purpose that we may never fully comprehend. As for me and my house we choose to believe that God wants and knows what’s best for us and His plan will always be better than our plan.

So the next time you find yourself in a tough situation, look around you to gain perspective and then follow your heart but not your mind.

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

I think we can all agree that family dynamics are often challenging if not downright insane. But when you add the interracial component to them a whole new breed of dysfunction is born. Yes, there’s the whole, food thing we talked about last time but if you thought eating strange food was the only challenge in a mixed marriage, well…. Um, I don’t know what to tell you.

I remember when my oldest daughter was just a baby. We lived in Guam with Marianne’s parents. Me, being the husband, tried to take control and implement my family traditions early on; instituting what I believed were the proper standards. However, my wife and her parents had a very different view of what a family was and how a family should be structured. And thus the conflict was born.

I believed that a baby should sleep in a crib, alone and mommy and daddy sleep in bed together. BUT, that’s not how they do things in the Asian culture! There, they all sleep together like a liter of cats, sprawled out on top of each other. They don’t get that there must be boundaries, and they don’t believe in privacy. Oh no, they all get involved. Continue Reading…

Photo Copyright 2012 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2012 Keven Card

Marianne and I have been married since 1992 and together since 1991. I’m just a California boy who grew up in Oklahoma and she’s a Filipina who grew up in Guam where our worlds came together.

As with many couples we’ve experienced the challenges that come with the marital transition of going from individuals to becoming a couple. The Bible describes it as melding two into one. But, we’ve also had some challenges that are unique I believe to interracial marriage.

Something as simple as cultural differences can and does create specific challenges in an intimate relationship. Take everyone’s favorite – food for example: as a white guy from the back woods of Oklahoma, farm raised animals were common on our dinner table and on occasion we’d eat very unrecognizable fish usually battered in something and fried to remove any hint that it once swam in the lake or river.

In my wife’s culture, fish was common and very recognizable even on the plate! They eat every edible part of their fish including the brains, eyes and even the face. Not something that a white boy like me was accustomed to, but I forced myself to eat it trying to impress her at the beginning of our relationship. Since then, I’ve eaten some very interesting and sometimes gross things while others turned out to be remarkable and I still love today, though still strange.

But there’s also a major cultural difference in Asia. If you reject an offer of food even if you’re not hungry you insult your

Dinuguan!

Dinuguan!

host. So I never, EVER said no when her or more importantly her parents offered me food. I remember the first time I ate a dish they call Danuguan. It’s pigs intestines cooked in pork’s blood that looks like a baby had an accident in a bowl (I know TMI, right?).

I opened my mouth with a smile on my face, slid the spoon into my mouth and for just a millisecond I had a flash of a pig doing it’s business and nearly lost my stomach. If it wasn’t for my Marine Corps training, I would’ve blown chunks and ran for the door!

But, thank God I managed to push passed my gag reflex and swallowed hard on that first bite just to avoid offending Marianne’s parents. To my surprise when your not thinking about its ingredients, Danuguan actually tastes pretty good with some steamed rice! It took years before I was able to find a way to communicate without offending my wife or her parents that I didn’t like something or couldn’t eat more of something! But thank God I did because I’m still trying to shrink my jello belly!

In my experience, the way to cope with these cultural differences is to view them with excited anticipation of what can be. Kinda like a journey to a foreign country! When you go you expect everything to be different than what you are used to and you want it that way! Why not accept that you are as different to them as they are to you. Eventually, you each sort out what works and what doesn’t between you but that takes time and in some cases like choking down some of the food I’ve eaten, a lot of it.

As the world melts together into a giant race of people, more and more people are entering into interracial marriages. One in ten marriages are now mixed making it the new frontier of discovery in relationships and marriages. Marianne and I hope to use our 22 years of marriage to encourage mixed couples by sharing our experiences, trials, defeats and victories in our own relationship and we hope you come along for the journey! 

Have you ever pondered the wonders of our minds?

For example: I’m sitting here in a Café in Houston Texas writing this article when I look up at the TV screen and to my dismay a popular daytime soap is on. Days of Our Lives has resided on TV nearly since its invention but I’m authentically ashamed to admit that even I got caught up in the daytime drama at one point.

I certainly don’t begrudge anyone their entertainment but I realized a few years ago that most of the entertainment available today serves no other purpose than time fillers and distractions. The sad truth is that these distractions delay or worse prevent us from focusing on achieving our destiny.

Several years ago we disconnected our cable and we’ve never turned it back on. And no, I don’t have Satellite. I don’t even have a digital antenna to receive free programming and I don’t need it. I admit I do have a streaming device that pumps in some streaming entertainment but nothing more.

I believe Destiny deserves our full attention because it was written into the stars by God. He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. We just have to be willing to listen to His directions to see it become our reality.

I don’t say this lightly but because I’ve reached a point in my life that I understand I’m guilty of ignoring my purpose. It’s become very clear to me that if I don’t take a step of faith toward the desires God put in my heart to be an author and a life changer that I will waste another TWENTY YEARS doing something I like but not something I love.

Are you any different?

So what should we do today that will get us one step closer to God’s perfect plan for our lives? The answer is in Romans 12.

2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

  1. Stop allowing distractions into your life.
    I started with TV and then the radio but I’m finding and riding my life of as many distractions as I can find.
  2. Renew your mind
    I have an Audible account where I purchase and download to my phone audio books that motivate, encourage or teach me something. I’ve turned my car into an education center.
  3. Write your vision down
    What is it you’d love to do? Write it down NOW and develop a plan to achieve it. My plan is in place and although I have achieved my dream yet. Everyday I’m one step closer.

 

Photo Copyright 2013 Keven Card All Rights Reserved

Photo Copyright 2013 Keven Card All Rights Reserved

Twenty-two years ago today my life was changed forever!

It seems like it was just a couple of years ago when I saw you for the very first time, the strobe lighting of the club reflecting off your stunning face (and overly hair sprayed hair). It’s a night I can never… will never forget. You were the most beautiful girl in the entire club that night and I know now, that our destinies were meant to collide.

Yes, the last twenty-two years has had its share of happiness…. and sorrow, but there’s no one else in this life that I would want to share every laugh and every tear with…. no one but you.

You are my life, my guardian Angel and God sent you to me to show me that He loves me, because you love me; even through all of my craziness. You are the most amazing wife and mother in the world to me and I’m honored to call myself “your husband”.

As I sit here in the darkness of the early hours; the soft glow of the computer screen and the gentle sounds of your breathing as you sleep, filling the room. I’m remembering the amazing life that we’ve shared and all I can say is; I love you more today, 22 years later, than I ever have before and I know in my heart that we’re going to be one of those couples that will end our lives on the high note of still being madly in love with each other. Continue Reading…

What-Woman-WantLast week we revealed the secret of what men really want from their wives, and we had a fantastic response. So let’s talk about the other side of that same coin. What do our wives really want from their men?

Is it true that their deepest desire that we put our socks in the hamper? Or help them with the kids? Clean the kitchen or do the dishes? Maybe if we talk to them a little more, that’ll do the trick… for real, right?

What is it that makes a woman satisfied? I’m not convinced that women know the answer to that question but It’s what every man wants to know and I believe what every woman wants their man to figure out…. But the question is…. can he?

If only we could get inside the head of women and discover “the secret” that could remedy all of our “dripping faucet” woes. (I say that lovingly ladies).

Although, if we could climb into their heads, I’m near certain we’d get lost in the wave of emotional chaos that exists and non-stop chatter. But, we’d still do it if we thought for one second we could find the magic key that unlocks our woman’s happiness and turns off everything else! Continue Reading…

Male-PsycheIt’s often said that women will never understand men and vice versa; but is that the reality?

I don’t think it is.

In fact, I’m about to go against the man code and reveal one of the deepest secrets of the male psyche. And, for doing so, I’ll likely be banned from the men’s club for life; that is if they ever figure out who this whistleblower is. The secret is the most valuable piece of relationship information that women could ever possess; and it could change the face of relationships forever, and give women near total control over their man.

I bet you’re salivating at this point, aren’t you?

But it’s true, I’m about to tell you the most intimate desire of your man that will have him going out of his way to make you happy…. AND, it has nothing to do with SEX!

Although, if you’re married, sex is an extremely important piece of the marital experience but absolutely not its entirety. We men aren’t driven by mere animalistic instincts for reproduction, even though society and Hollywood project it that way; God made us to be much more than that. Continue Reading…

Feeling Abandoned Me Too

Keven Card —  July 17, 2013 — 5 Comments

Egg FaceHave you ever felt alone, abandoned by life?

I know I have and recently too.

Right now it seems as if the world around me has left me behind, or at least looks at me differently; whether real or not, I feel out casted, even by the people closest to me.

In my dreams I’m on a deserted island that even the birds avoid. I can look out over the water and see emptiness for miles, while storms rage around me. It really is a frightening place to be when you’re alone (at least in my dreams it is).

In the real world I’m surrounded by people, but, they might as well not exist because they don’t see me, the real me, the person who questions the future, wonders about his purpose and is wavering in his faith. I’m held together but by a single thread of hope, the hope that tomorrow will come and it’ll be better, but seriously not much more than that.

Don’t misunderstand me, I know I’m loved; I have the best wife and kids in the world. They support me in everything I do (or try to do). But, that’s the only physical constant in my life.

In everything else, waves of turmoil have come into my life lately. We’ve been battling with one sick child after the next, Just as soon as we think we’re at the end of it, the cycle of stuffy heads and runny noses begins again. I seriously feel like I haven’t slept in three months! Continue Reading…