The three of us met at LB’s home this morning. I wasn’t sure that he would be up to it, he had rotator cuff surgery on Thursday and his arm is in a sling. While they had his arm opened up, they found and repaired two tears in his biceps muscle. Fortunately, everything went well and he is okay, although in some pain.
We started off with a general overview of the past three weeks and then went day by day through this week. I’ve noticed quite a difference in CH since he started this study and he acknowledged such today. He blurted out that ever since he’s been reading his Bible daily and praying daily, his faith is increasing. And that after he does his daily study, the day goes better. He’s still a vulnerable man but I know that God is doing a great work in his life.
This was LB’s favorite day of the week. He’s also reading Ragamuffin Gospel and the thoughts that he read in Manning’s book helped him to understand what this day was about. He spoke of grace and freedom, of the joy of Christ. We discussed Psalm 50:23 and the need to DO the things that God tells us in order for Him to reveal more.
We talked a lot about the Tanach, how Jesus relied upon it for His teachings. And how we all, especially me, placed a much higher emphasis upon the Gospel. The Tanach is full of characters just like us, which is appealing as I get older. I like seeing that others have been through the things I’ve been through and have passed through the trials successfully. Reading about these people gives me such strength and hope!
I told them about my joy at writing down the list of things, comparing it to our church and rejoicing at the way our church is functioning. We talked about working with children youth and how that is not our calling. But that we can support the workers that do. During this discussion, I talked about the time that I took the young boys camping and lost it when one of the kids drove me nuts.
I picked him up by the neck and slammed him against the side of the church bus. He behaved after that! But I knew then that I didn’t have the temperament to work with youth. CH then talked about being born impatient and said that I didn’t like it when he said that. He was right. I told him that he could continue to use that as an excuse not to change but that it wasn’t true. I mean, c’mon, how many toddlers have you seen with patience? It is a fruit of the Spirit. This ticked him off, I think, because he was sort of quiet and acted bothered after that. I’ll call him later tonight.
My favorite day of the week. That theme of just “doing it” keeps recurring and the reason is that, as Blackaby said, head knowledge is worthless! As in anything worthwhile in life, hands on experience is the best teacher. We talked at length about points 4 and 6 for that day, identify and make the changes necessary to align your life with Christ.
We focused on the encouragement part of this day’s study. As Christians, I don’t think we put enough emphasis or do a good enough job at encouraging each other, both in the good times and bad. “Fear not, for I am with You, saith the Lord!”. I need to make certain that my boots are on the ground doing that.
So, overall, it was a good meeting and a good week. Like I mentioned, I irritated CH, so I will need to work through that. But, as hard as it is sometimes to allow people into your inner circle, allow them to see you as you are, it is necessary and will profit us in the end.
Faith Under Pressure
2â€“4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5â€“8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
9â€“11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
13â€“15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
16â€“18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.