“Paul understood that impressive “credentials” are not what really matter. Paul rightly saw that knowing Christ and relying on Him are the source of genuine value in life.”
-Excerpt from the November 2013 edition of In Touch
“Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” -2 Corinthians 8:9
How different Jesus is from what we see in the world, and what we naturally aim for. It is so easy to want to gain more and more, thinking it is the goal and the admirable path.
But, Jesus teaches even if you are rich, to look for ways to serve and give to others. That is the real goal.
This is so difficult to follow! As we have now purchased our first home, we are aware that it is so easy to slip into wanting more and more to improve our house. We are trying to stay on guard against material gain because we trust that focusing on eternal gain is far greater. This doesn’t come naturally though! I was glad for this reminder in 2 Corinthians today.
Another reminder of this is found in a new book written by Roger Gum, a financial advisor who works at Dan’s office. In his book
, he says: “While the world associates success with money and prestige, God defines success as knowing God’s law and obeying what it says.” I love that!
I encourage you to watch this 30-minute film from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association that gave me goosebumps.
I can’t believe it. I entered a contest on Pinterest to win a gift certificate to The Stationery Studio, which is a company that sells one of my favorite things: stationery. I hoped I would win, but with contests, it is difficult not to be skeptical, especially knowing that there are probably many people who enter.
I was notified today that I won a $50 gift certificate! The stationery is not cheap so $50 will probably not go very far, but I am nothing but thankful to win some free stationery!
The favor at the wedding we attended last weekend was a little bag that included the makings of a s’more. I think s’mores are truly the perfect food! Messy, but so yummy! Maybe it seems that way because I don’t have them so often. The combination of the graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate bar is hard to beat!
I have been going to a women’s Bible study on James for the past several months. There is so much wisdom in the book, and advice on how to live in this world. One commentary that has been insightful is Dr. Constable’s Bible Study Notes. If you are needing a supplement to a passage of Scripture, I recommend this resource. Relating to James 4:5, Dr. Constable challenges us with “whom we will love, God or the world?” That is a decision we have to make over and over.
“The world wants us to exclude God from all aspects of life. God wants us to include Him in all of life because He is in all of life, and without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).”
Here is a picture taken by our wonderful friend, Becky Wilson, during our weekend in Sumter. We had such a wonderful time seeing friends, being in the town where we lived when we were first married and that holds so many good memories, going to a church we love, and celebrating the wedding of Ricky and Julie!
“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and coheirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
This verse holds so much in it. These words do not say that Christians will have an easy life, in fact we will suffer. But, we can be grateful for the future hope of being glorified with Christ, and knowing we are heirs of God!
On Sunday evening, we heard Keith and Kristyn Getty in concert. We really enjoyed hearing the “modern hymn writers” perform; they have beautiful musical talents. They also have a very talented band who created a great and full sound. One of my favorite songs of the evening was one called “Before You I Kneel”, and I am posting the lyrics here:
Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given your servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe;
For each skill Your grace has given me;
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify You great Name.
Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labor,
Your grace for thorns in my path.
Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘till Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.
Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your Name.
I just finished reading Anne Graham Lotz’s newest book, Wounded. I thought that she was brave to write this book, and address a topic that is very relevant. She confronts the unfortunate reality that many people have been wounded and hurt by God’s people, and by people who claim to love Christ.
She tells some beautiful stories in the book. Some will make you cringe, just because she reveals examples of some of the hurt and separation that happens in churches. But, I loved hearing how she experienced God’s love through her parents. She told a story of when she was a teenager and wrecked her mom’s car. She decided to continue on with her business of the day, and decided she would try and wait to tell her parents about the car. When she got home in the evening, she hoped to sneak up to her room, but her dad (Billy Graham) was right inside the living room and looked right at her as she came in. As she started crying, she said her dad taught her four important truths about life and our Heavenly Father. He said: “Anne, I knew all along about your wreck (a neighbor had told him earlier in the day)- I was just waiting for you to come tell me yourself.” “I love you.” “We can fix the car.” “You are going to be a better driver because of this.” She tells the story in a beautiful way, but I am trying to paraphrase here to keep it brief.
There are several options for what to do when wounded. One could decide that because one of God’s people hurt them, they want nothing to do with God. A person could decide to have conversations with other people in which they blame their wounder in an attempt for revenge. However, pity parties never result in authentic benefit or blessing, they only keep the focus on self rather than on our Healer. “Bitterness is like drinking poison hoping the other person gets sick.”
When wounded, one needs to think things through carefully. Ask yourself these questions:
- How is the way you are reacting today going to help you tomorrow?
- Do you want your life characterized by the result of remaining focused on “them” while being blind to your own pride, arrogance, anger, resentment, name-calling, schemes for revenge, or gossip?
- Are these attitudes working for you and making you happy?
- What are you living for? Instead of living your life to the glory of God, are you driven by a desire to get even, prove someone else wrong, justify your opinion, get your own way?
- Consider carefully…do any of these desires truly honor God?
Here are some other points to ponder:
- Do you think God has forsaken you when He says He never will? (Heb 13:5)
- Do you think God no longer loves you when He says He always will? (1 Chronicles 16:34)
- Do you think God no longer cares about you even though He says He most certainly does? (Isaiah 63:9)
- Do you think the wretched way others have treated you is an accurate reflection of how God treats you when He says it is not? (Genesis 50:20)
- Do you think your situation is beyond His ability to alter when He says He’s the God of the impossible? (Luke 1:37)
There is a prayer written in the book that helped Anne Graham Lotz understand that “sometimes the wounded, broken heart is the blessed, healed heart.” It comes from The Valley of Vision, a compilation of prayers written by Puritan church leaders.
“Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, Where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; Hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox That the way down is the way up, That to be low is to be high, That the broken heart is the healed heart, That the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, That the repenting soul is the victorious soul, That to have nothing is to possess all, That to bear the cross is to wear the crown, That to give is to receive, That the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, And the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; Let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.”