Grieving is an interesting ūü§Ē thing. Makes you ponder relationships after a person dies. There are unattended consequences every where. We choose one path with the hope things will get better. And they do partially, yet greater issues arise. Instead of sticking through the storm. We choose a different path hoping there are less struggles.
My friend and I would talk about life, mistakes that happen. Our reaction to world events. The outcomes of eternal decisions all based on misunderstandings.
He made mistakes, we all do. Forgiveness is for everyone. Although rough edges are present, my friend helped me realize we need to forgive ourselves for mistakes we made. We need to forgive others who wronged us. Don‚Äôt hang onto un-forgiveness or it will cause unattended harm. Your health can be impacted, relationships can be severed, or severely hurt. A lot of hurt can fester for years.
Leaning ‚Äúnot‚ÄĚ on our own understanding is key to living life more peacefully. When we look at life through others eyes and how our actions can impact others, both today and tomorrow.
We are only given today. We don‚Äôt know what tomorrow brings. It could be a new job, new opportunity or a pandemic. Our world has experienced a lot of rapid change, and as human abilities to adjust quickly. Many struggle as our nature is to seek comfort and safety over danger. Some like the thrill but many go the opposite direction.
My friend would sit back, humbly share his position yet I sensed there was more to the story. Wisdom comes with experience, especially in failure.
Is partial failure also a partial victory? Don‚Äôt we learn more in those times? My friend and I would ‚Äúbanter‚ÄĚ back and forth over talking points.
In the end, we enjoyed each other‚Äôs company even though at different seasons of life. Taking time to get to know someone is important. Trust, integrity, honesty and love for the person builds bridges.
What is another lesson I learned from my friend? Seek out those at different seasons of life. Seek others who are different than you but have similar goals about learning new things. It takes time, patience and persistence. The reward is both involved will receive benefits from the friendship.
I will miss my friend and our times on the porch chatting.
My friend went to Heaven today. God orchestrated our friendship about a year ago. He was ‚Äúof modest means‚ÄĚ. At first, he seemed a ‚Äúbit rough around the edges‚ÄĚ. He seemed ‚Äújust another elderly man set in his ways‚ÄĚ and was just grumpy.
It didn‚Äôt take too long on my volunteer delivery route my friend was the last stop of the day. Our conversations could be a five minute chat or a two hour theological discussion. More times than not they were long. My friend seemed to have a book, an article or experience covering the topic we were discussing.
God used my friend to help guide me in my walk with Christ introducing me to material about the apostle paul. I spent almost our entire friendship studying paul.
God had you right where he needed you. Your heart, was soft once we got to know each other. You looked out for others. That made a difference in your neighborhood. These families get prayer and to hear about Jesus because of your keen sense of wanting to help others in need.
My friend had stories. It was fun to hear them and he would get excited. Sometimes we would debate, lots of times there was ‚Äúloving‚ÄĚ sarcasm. ‚ÄúSit down and shut up Steve‚ÄĚ was a common statement.
This was said with lots of smiles and ‚Äúlove‚ÄĚ. Most times I did, sometimes I would be ‚Äúrebellious‚ÄĚ. When my friend would get grumpy. I would state….if you…‚Äúkeep being grumpy, I am going to come and give you a hug‚ÄĚ…he almost always would calm down ūüôā
How did I know my friend truly liked me? He was truly depressed not having a vehicle in his life. His words were. ‚ÄúSteve you get to pray today said with a somber voice‚ÄĚ. I forgot what we prayed about but about 24 hours later. You called me with excitement the guy we asked if he had a car for sale the previous day sold THAT car to you. God made a miracle happen!
I told my friend I appreciated our relationship. I got the ‚Äúok‚ÄĚ sign. I enjoyed when he would randomly call asking for prayer for others, never seemed to be for himself. God called him home today. His faith became sight.
Thank you my friend for allowing God to use your experience and gifts to help others, including me even when you didn‚Äôt think your efforts mattered.
Was my friend famous? No. Was my friend rich by earthly standards? No. Did my friend have a big house? No.
Did my friend care about others? Absolutely. Did he show love in his own way? Absolutely. Did he allow God to use him? Absolutely.
My friend, you are fully healed. No longer suffering. You will be missed by more than you realize. One day, we will see each other again. My friend died on earth today, BUT is fully alive in heaven. I will miss my friend. Friends make a difference, relationships are important too, things are not important. Ron your memory and testimony will live on!
Our theme verse…
‚ÄúAnd He has said to me, ‚ÄúMy grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.‚ÄĚ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ‚Äôs sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.‚ÄĚ
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NASB1995
This section covers Paul first mission trip. Unlike mission trips in modern times, Paul was laying the ground work many times to go to unfriendly atmosphere to preach.
The section states Paul (Saul) and Barnabas completed the first trip. One of the first examples documented in Acts 13:42‚Äď52.
‚ÄúBut when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.‚ÄĚ
After reading scripture. I tried to imagine how my pastors (past and present) would have handled people disagreeing with him. Each of them would have relied on God. Paul and Barnabas were ran out of town according to Acts 13:50-51.
‚ÄúSo Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet and went to Iconium.‚ÄĚ
There were people praising them as they left yet there was a section of Jews not happy what they were preaching. For me personally, Paul talks about his revelation was from Jesus, not men or other apostles
Paul‚Äôs conviction is impressive and Jesus selecting Paul to bring Gods kingdoms message to the masses makes sense. As Paul went from town to town preaching, bringing the good news.
I can only imagine his upbringing was relevant. When Jews were not accepting Jesus words and needed to relate to them through knowledge, all that training came back. That is my thought as I type this yet the revelation Jesus gave him was so powerful. Its impact is still felt to this day through the books in the Bible.
‚ÄúWe must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.‚ÄĚ
Given today‚Äôs continued unrest and promotion of hateful atmosphere. I can see comparisons. When Paul was preaching, various times he wasn‚Äôt welcomed or forced to leave. Doing that kind of preaching is doing Gods work and to some degree our world needs that as well. There is such a revelation happening today around me and yet, many are unaware the impact of change going to happen.
False teachers were present in Pauls day as well. Some taught to gain eternal life the laws of Moses and circumcision needed. This goes against what Jesus did to free us from the law.
This first mission trip included a return trip to Jerusalem to meet other apostles. It would have been an interesting adventure to be able to witness these meetings.
I am humbled by this first part and enjoyed the content..
On to part 3..
A few months I asked God what he wanted me to study next? I praised him for many miracles, blessings, lessons among other things in my walk with Christ.
God made it clear through examples including prayer ūüôŹ and other people I interacted with on a regular basis to study Paul‚Äôs journey. I immediately identified with Paul‚Äôs passion to carry out his duties, with zeal.
I deliver food boxes each week and one of my regular guests is a mature Christian. Each week, we chat for awhile on various topics. He introduced me to John MacArthur. I was unfamiliar with John before this. My friend gave me a couple books. One was called The Gospel according to Paul. Click here. and ‚ÄúOne Faithful Life‚ÄĚ.
I read The Gospel according to Paul first. John‚Äôs writing style was definitely a step above. My initial thoughts his book seems a bit academic and theological. While not a typical writing style I prefer. I was attempting to be obedient to my perceived calling to study Paul.
After a couple weeks, I prayed and asked God. Am I supposed to finish this book? I was distracted by John‚Äôs frequent use of unfamiliar and ‚Äúbig‚ÄĚ words I would need to lookup the meaning. This was distracting while reading and understanding what topic or concept being discussed.
Gods answer was with grace. ‚ÄúSteve‚ÄĚ just keep reading and skim by words you are unfamiliar with. After this perceived answer to prayer. I was able to finish without issue.
After finishing ‚ÄúThe Gospel according to Paul‚ÄĚ written by John. I spent a few weeks studying a book by Louis Giglio called ‚Äúnot forsaken‚ÄĚ. I will be teaching a class in the fall of 2020. If you follow my blog, there are 10 posts about my experiences in this book.
When I finished Louis‚Äôs book. I felt the call to return to another book my guest gave me. It is ‚Äúthe faithful one‚ÄĚ. It was very clear I needed to read both books by John MacArthur regarding Paul.
Besides Jesus, Moses and probably King David. There isn‚Äôt another individual God uses in the Bible to bring his kingdom to the people.
I was surprised ūüėģ early on Paul was the perfect person Jesus could use to bring his ministry to Gentiles. The thought of a zealot, who knew the Old Testament and traditions of Jews was perfect. His passion was well documented to persecute Christ followers.
The format of the book is a chronological timeline of Paul. Part 1 reminded me how much deal Saul had to persecute Christians his day. The story of Stephen is well documented in Acts. Paul approved over the death.
From there is covers Sauls conversion, to Paul‚Äôs meeting of the original prophets. The style of the book is way different and mostly is like reading the Bible. There is some interjected statements unlike the other book I am reading. This is enjoyable and a refresher of covering The book of Acts.
One of the things on my mind as I read through Part 1. Life continues for the world after Jesus death. There was a certain disfunction yet workable society. Much like today, there is a lot of disfunction and the world continues. Depending on who is in power, is what agenda is pushed.
In part 1, it includes original apostles such as Paul, Phillip. In all, three is 32 small stories in Part 1 labeled from Pharisee to Pastor.
On to our Part 2…
Are you serving in the right ministry? Are you burnout? Do you feel guilty? Having a hard time changing? People serving in a church or community seek some type of validation or satisfaction for their efforts. When we are unsure where we belong, we hesitant to commit.
Iíve been serving at my local church in a variety of volunteer positions. This includes different leadership, some experienced, some it was their first ministry. Regardless of the assignment, there is uncertainty during transitions. Iím no expert and the longer I serve, the less Iíll declare any knowledge of whatís the right approach as a lay person.
During last couple of years, Iíve primarily did personal studies in the Old Testament, mainly minor prophets. The perspective and examples given by each of these prophets is amazing and worth studying. I do my best where Iím called. Sometimes my passion gets the best of me and the spirit needs to slow me down.
For years, Iíve prayed for direction and with my recent change of seasons in life ( all my kids graduated from High School). My free time increased allowing for flexibility in serving. The Lord called me to help in Childrenís ministry. Regardless of the call, serving in the ministry or position the Spirit has led you is rewarding. I donít know how long Iíll serve or help where Iím called. When itís time to move on, either a different ministry or church, all I ask is God makes it clear.
Whatís the point of serving? One of the main reasons is gets the focus off ourselves and onto others. The current book Iím serving, Ezekiel was called to the Lordís voice to his people during some tough times, Israel had fallen away from following God and Jerusalem was being destroyed for the rebellion. During this time, God kept Ezekiel quiet for 7 years, (YES 7 YEARS). As we serve, I draw on scripture for strength and examples. When seasons of life change and we get a discontent or unsure of our call. Look at examples in scripture. There are other examples such as Joseph in Genesis 39, 40. Paul in Jail and singing (yes singing). As we hopefully get more wisdom in our older years, we look at examples in scripture to help guide us and have patience, in things we do.
NOW, to address NO in the title. We canít be afraid to say no when seeking to serve. I encourage people to try different things, donít be afraid to fail and move around. Try different churches, worship styles and find your church home.
I was praying recently for a few various people, including some of my own asks.† I got this incredible picture of a chain that I couldn’t get out of my mind.† Have you ever tried to find a picture to describe what you are seeing in your mind.† Here is a sample, notice the guy looks very small compared to the chains.† †I’m sure the chains we have acquired in the spiritual realm are much larger, but you get the idea.† The good thing, God can break chains this big or even bigger!
In Luke 4:18, Luke talks about “..Set the captives free..”.† Since we are born with a sin nature.† We inherently have chains based on that nature.† Jesus was in Heaven, came as a baby and became an adult to spread his ministry.† Part of this was suffering a criminal’s death and died on the Cross.† He provided everyone a way to re-establish a connection or “chain” connected to the father.
This post contains contact information to obtain a poster of Blood Covering of Protection.† All profits from the poster will be shared with ministries, God willing all will be sent to Wellsprings Freedom of International.† †For a 24 x 18, they are $100 + shipping.† †A movie size poster 36″ x 24″ are $125 + shipping.† †Each poster includes a copy of†Seek : Lead more by example, less by opinion.† Feel free to contact me at email@example.com