Guest Blog: Elva Craig Shows How To Live Forever

Elva, July, 2017

Anita, as a new international student, met Elva Craig back in 1984 at the University of Iowa.  Meeting with friends for a weekly Bible study, Elva led Anita in understanding that following Jesus was not just a “Western religion,” but a matter for every heart in the world.  And as they say, the rest is history.

Now Elva is facing the time we all will come to someday, some of us sooner than others.  But there is no escaping that we will all come face to face with our mortality.  Last week’s blog shared the decision we each must make before that moment, What will you do with Jesus, called the Christ?

Last week I asked Elva’s permission to share her latest newsletter with my blog, to show what it is like when you are walking with Jesus and facing what most people fear most.  I added links for your convenience.  What a delight, what a joy, what a hope those who know Jesus have!  Death has lost its sting; the grave has lost its victory!  Because He lives, we will live also!!  Enjoy reading Elva’s testimony.
_________________________________
From:
 Elva Craig
Sent: Sun 1/31/2021 9:54 PM
To:
Subject:
Feb. 2021 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,
I know I haven’t written for a while,but I kept waiting until I had something definite to tell you.

2020 is almost over and most are very thankful.  Many things have happened since the beginning of the year.  Retirement has not been good to me.  In early January I had spine surgery.  My lower disks were deteriorating and squeezing a nerve that caused pain in my hip and leg.  They put four small titanium rods in my spine to keep the disks from squeezing the nerve.

One Saturday night I had a seizure, but I did not know what it was.  I contacted my co-worker (a nurse), and after she brought me to the hospital, the doctors saw something that looked like tiny tumors.  It was at this time we started the nation-wide quarantine.

Because I had a seizure I could not drive for six months and then another seizure took away all hopes for driving.  As a result of both of those things I stayed home lot.  I made a lot of cards to send to church people and others I knew who were also home alone.

In April the hospital took another MRI and determined that I had three small tumors in my brain, in the optic area.  Two were close together in the front and one in the back.  On April 24 I had brain surgery, where they actually drilled a hole in my head and took out a piece of one of the tumors to see what kind they were.  The tumors are what they call glioblastoma, a kind that cannot be killed.  I began taking chemo (pill) and radiation therapies.  The chemo was every night and radiation was five times each week.

Then I signed up to help out with a research project to see how large doses of vitamin C might effect the brain tumors.  For this they put a port put in my chest so they would not have to stick me with needles every other day.  The vitamin C infusions were three times each week.  It is a slow drip that takes 2-½ hours.

In between all these I met with doctors, had MRI’s, x-rays, and stayed away from people.  This all went on for six and a half weeks.  Actually the vitamin C part goes on much longer, but I have a month break.

On top of all that, came the covid virus when everyone stayed home.  The tumors have affected my eyes so I cannot see small letters or numbers when they are close together (e.g., telephone numbers, check books, etc).  Also I have trouble writing things clearly as well as memory problems.  So if there are problems with spelling or grammar, forgive me. [very few, but c.a. fixed these.😉] After going through all these things, the doctors told me they had done every thing they could for me and it was now up to God, but he did not think it would be much longer before I went Home (not his way of saying it).

Now on to the brighter side of things. Through all of this, God has been very good to me in many ways, as He has promised.  Ann, my co-worker, went to many of my early appointments and helped me understand what they were saying in plain English, not medical terminology.  She also arranged for me to have rides to the hospital every day with different ladies from our church.  I thank the Lord that so far I have not had any reactions or pain from chemo or radiation.  I do get a little unsteady and tired.  Also, now I have more time at home to enjoy longer devotional times.  Because of my musical background, God somehow puts a song in my head, out of the blue, which usually stays with me all day.  Two that I really enjoy are “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Take My Hand Precious Lord.”

In regard to CBF (Campus Bible Fellowship), we know things will be different at all the universities because of the virus.  We did not have our Furniture GiveAway this past year and we do not know where we will get new contacts.  I am having my own GiveAway, trying to give away most of my things.  If you were here you would be welcome to them.

I told one of the social workers here at Iowa that we work a lot with international students.  Some of the ones I worked with have gone back to their home countries.  I have many contacts from the International Women’s Club where I taught English.  I do not know if they will meet this coming semester.  Our CBF group was so small, that losing some to graduation and jobs, we do not have much to work with.  We do not even know if groups will be allowed to meet on campus.  This semester we met by Zoom so we could see and talk to everyone.

I will close with another thing that has been very special. The doctors do not know how much longer I might live on earth.  I have been able to live my life serving the Lord, so now when I think of dying, all I can think of is seeing my Savior and my whole immediate family.  What a joy that will be!  Every time I think about it I tear up.

Thank you, Lord, for your goodness and provision of salvation so we have no fear of dying.  I said that to a social worker and she said, ”Are you thinking of committing suicide?”😄  I have been able to talk to some of the nurses about the promises God has given us.  And I am looking forward to the Lord’s return.  Here is a song that I sang with one of the ladies from church.  It seems to fit the situation.

Chorus:
He leadeth me, He leadeth me! By His own hand He leadeth me!
His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me!

1.He leadeth me O blessed tho’t! O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be, Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

2.Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine, Nor ever murmur nor repine,
Content, whatever lot I see, Since ‘tis my God that leadeth me!

3.And when my task on earth is done, When by Thy grace, the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee, Since God thro’ Jordan leadeth me.

Please keep praying for me, that I will remain strong.
Looking forward to meeting you all in heaven.  Hope to see you there.
Elva Craig

My Most Important Blog EVER

2021-01-30 News AnchorNews hits us faster than we can absorb it.  This began with television reporting back in the 60s and 70s of the last century.  The joke about our level of engagement came with a news anchor announcing, with a bright smile, “10 killed in hit-and-run on Broadway, film at 11.”

We are saturated 24/7, 1,440 minutes per day, with available information any time we look at our watches, phones or computers, most of which is unrelated to our daily lives, very little about which we can do anything, and most without consequence for any length of time, only lasting until the next broadcast or posting on social media.

But there IS something that matters, something integrally related to your life, something over which you have complete control, something that will last for all eternity: 
What will you do about the claims of Jesus, called the Christ? 

Jesus is the focal point of history, changing for over half the world the way we count the days of our lives ever since shortly after He walked on earth.  And He made some pretty audacious claims, so auspicious that I capitalize pronouns when I refer to Him.  Nothing particularly holy about capitalization, but simply to reflect that He is higher, better, greater (every positive superlative of which you can think) than any other human, past, present or future.

To understand who Jesus claimed to be one must read His biographies, which we call the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first four books of the New Testament. (Many online sources are available and each one can be read in your native language in less than an hour; my favorite source is at Biblegateway.com where you can see if your language is listed.)

Even those who do not trust Him as what He claimed to be admit something unusual happened after He left the world, something that transformed His followers from meek and frightened, politically disenfranchised jellyfish to robust and daring defenders of what they had experienced.  What they experienced is recorded in Matthew 28, John 16 and 20, and Acts 1 and 2.  And all but one of them died rather than recant; only John survived to old age, but that was in exile on a prison island.

These disciples who had deserted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, are next seen hiding in quiet rooms, afraid the High Priest, Sanhedrin or Roman authorities might be coming after them next.  Their political aspirations were dead, their leader had been crucified and the Jewish leaders had ensured that none of the disciples could steal His body.  They were confused and dismayed that the One they expected to lead Israel to international prominence, even over the Roman Empire, was dead and buried in a Roman-guarded sealed tomb.  How much worse could it get!?

But rather than getting worse, some women went to the grave in which Jesus was buried and found it empty, encountering angels who declared, He is not here, for He has risen!”  Mary Magdalene, hardly an archetype of integrity, did not believe the angels and came at first to announce to the disciples, who were cowering in their chamber, that the tomb was empty.  Two of the disciples, Peter and John, ran to the tomb to see for themselves and also found it empty.   But then Jesus met Mary Magdalene in the garden where His tomb was and showed her that He was alive!  A couple of others returned from Emmaeus and said they had seen Jesus alive!

In all of these encounters, the ones who knew Jesus best resisted the stories and did not understand the Old Testament scriptures and refused to believe tales of seeing Jesus.  They still could not think of the things He had taught them about His death!  It was just too much for a rational brain to take in . . . until He appeared to them in a locked room.  (They were still afraid and could not sort through the events that were happening faster than the Fall of the Berlin Wall in modern times.)   But when Jesus appeared to them, He showed them His wounds from the crucifixion and they finally believed.

So what did He claim about Himself? 
That He is the bread of life that came down from Heaven.
That He is the light of the world.
That He is the good shepherd.
That He is the resurrection and life.
That He is teacher and Lord.
That He is the way, the truth and the life.
That He is the true vine.
That He is not from this earth.
That He is King of the Jews.
That He is The I Am!  This is arguably His most significant claim to be God, as He claimed to be one with Father, the I AM.

2021-01-30 I AM

This short blog does not allow nearly adequate space for me to show you from the Bible all that it teaches of who Jesus is, but you are all intelligent and capable learned people.  Hey, you access a computer and blog! 😉  So do not take my word alone for this.  Read the Gospels and discover for yourself if you can trust this Jesus to be what He claimed to be.  What will you do?  You MUST do something, either admit these to be true or reject them to be false.  There is no middle ground.

If you believe, the next step is to receive HimJohn 1:12 says, “To all who receive him, who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God.”  Picture you came to my home and I offered to feed you dinner.  You could believe I was going to provide a meal; you could thank me for it; we could sit at the table together and talk about the food in front of us . . . but if you did not reach out and take the food, you would leave my home as empty as when you came.

So, first, reach out in your heart and mind to Jesus.  He is God and knows what is in your heart and thoughts even before you say it.  So invite Him to come and live in you.  Admit you are a sinner and have not let Him rule your life yet.  Turn away (repent) from your self-guided life and tell Jesus that you will trust Him to lead the rest of your life.  Do not worry that you are not perfect, or that you do not understand all this yet.  Simply trust Him that He will come live in you and begin to work in you to perform His will.  There are no special formulas for praying.  Just talk to Him as you would your own earthly father.

Secondly, if you decide to do this, the next step is to begin reading the Bible.  It is His directive to us, an ultimate guide for life and practice.  Do not be intimidated by the size (it is actually a library collection of small books; just take one at a time.)  There are numerous Bible-reading “plans” you can access, but just read!

Thirdly, if you talked with Jesus to invite Him to live in you, you have begun to pray.  Keep it up.  Again, there are lots of books and helps for praying, but remember, it does not take any special language.  Plus, as you get to know Jesus better (not just know about Him, but know HIM), you will find prayer is not just you talking to God.  In times of His choosing, He will talk to you!  Although the value of prayer cannot be measured by its volume, it can safely be said that prayer is valueless if you do not pray.  Make time to pray.

Lastly, God does not call “Lone Ranger Christians.”  Find a community of people who are seeking and experiencing the Presence of God.  Some will be phony; some will be misguided or misinformed; some will be manipulative; some will be dishonest; but you need them as much as they need you.  And as you pray and read the Bible, you will grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and your Savior, Jesus Christ.

Certainly, there is no requirement or expectation for you to contact me regarding your Journey into Faith, but if you want to contact me, please feel free to email me at capost3k@gmail.com.  No question is off limits.

Finally, let me assure you from many years of Bible study and examination of world religions from Atheism to Zoroastrianism, from Buddhism to Hinduism to Islam to Jainism, there is no intellectual reason for rejecting the claims of Jesus.  There is no text more authentically relayed to our generation than the Bible.  There is no way to get to know who God is, other than through the God-Man, Jesus.

8 Reminders in the Face of the Coronavirus

These are indeed strange days in which we are living.

  • Money will soon disappear as nations will digitize currency and make international exchanges and activity clearer and faster . . . and tracking more convenient.
  • Governments are testing new restrictions to protect us . . . and to control populations of enormous proportions.
  • Media is measuring just how much the outlets for information can be manipulated to educate us . . . and tell us what those in places of authority want us to know.
  • Everyone is walking in fear of the next announcement: . . . will there be any toilet paper in the grocers next week?

Really!? Toilet paper is being hoarded?  Because of the coronavirus?

Yes, these ARE strange days in which we are living.  But thankfully we do not have to live only in this world.  We are citizens of two realms: one here and now on earth, and we would do well to heed our Master’s words: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)  Interesting that this instruction was couched in the middle of His discussion on the end of time.

But there is another ‘country’ in which our higher citizenship is recorded (Hebrews 11:16).  And there will be no shortages there.  No pandemics.  No currency manipulation; the streets are made of pure gold!  Full freedom to be all that we were created to be.  Wisdom and knowledge beyond our current brains’ ability to comprehend.  And no fear. (Revelation 21:4)  And since our citizenship is there, we have nothing to fear from this world.

A wise 17 year old once told me: “Nothing happens TO a Christ-follower.  Filtered by His love, it only happens FOR us.” (Lane Martin) So as Dane Ortund says at the end of this week’s guest blog, “Be at peace. All is assured.”
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8 Reminders in the Face of the Coronavirus Pandemic
March 13, 2020, by Dane C. Ortlund

Corona VirusThe Cure for Latent Anxiety
These are strange days, days of fear, days of hysteria. In other words, days that simply bring all our latent anxieties up to the surface; anxieties that were there all along but are now made visible to others. What do we need to remember in these days of alarm?

1. The World of the Bible
Now we know how the people of God felt throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. The Prophets and many of the Psalms speak to people who are caught up in mass hysteria or subject to pandemics. Maybe the current cultural moment is precisely the hermeneutic we need to read the Old Testament, which can otherwise feel so foreign, deeply for the first time.

2. Our True Trust
Times of public panic force us to align our professed belief with our actual belief. We all say we believe God is sovereign and he is taking care of us. But we reveal our true trust when the world goes into meltdown. What’s really our heart’s deepest loyalty? The answer is forced to the surface in times of public alarm, such as we’re wading into now.

3. Neighborly Love
When the economy is tanking, opportunities to surprise our neighbors with our confidence and joy because of the gospel surge forward. Now is the time to be outside more, to be loving more, to be hospitable more. Love stands out strongest when it is least expected, rarest, but needed most.

4. Family Discipleship
Our kids’ teachers are telling them to wash their hands longer. Why? Their teachers won’t tell them, but it’s because there is a dangerous virus infecting thousands of people around the world right now — both young and old — and some of those people will die. Heaven and hell are staring every fourth-grader in the face. That’s why they’re being told to wash their hands for twenty seconds. We have an opportunity to instill in our kids a deeper awareness of eternity than they have ever known. There is a salutary effect to all of this because either heaven or hell awaits every fourth-grader, either taken out by a virus next month or taken out by old age, decades from now. Ten thousand years from now, the difference between dying at age ten or age eighty will seem trivial. This is an opportunity to disciple our families into the bracing reality of eternity.

5. Eschatological Hope
Maybe this is the end. I doubt it, but maybe. Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). Maybe the sight of Jesus descending from Heaven, robed in glory, surrounded by angels, is right around the corner. If so, hallelujah. If not, hallelujah. We’re being reminded that he will indeed return one day. Either way, let us rejoice our way through the chaos.
From Heaven’s shore we will see how eternally safe we were all along.

6. Invincible Providence
No infected molecule can enter your lungs, or your three-year-old’s lungs, unless sent by the hand of a heavenly Father. The Heidelberg Catechism defines God’s providence as, “The almighty and ever-present power of God by which God upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty — all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand.” That truth is like an asthmatic’s inhaler to our soul — it calms us down, allows us to breathe again.

7. Christ’s Heart
In times of turmoil, in seasons of distress, Jesus is more feelingly with his people than ever. Hebrews tells us that Jesus experienced all the horror of this world that we do, minus sin (Hebrews 4:15). So apparently he knows — he himself knows — way down deep, what it feels like for life to close in on you and for your world to go into meltdown. We can go to him. We can sit with him. His arm is around us — stronger than ever — right now. His tears are larger than ours.

8. Heaven
From Heaven’s shore we will see how eternally safe we were all along, even amid the global upheaval and anxieties that loom so large as we walk through them. The dangers out there are real. The cautions are wise. Our bodies are mortal, vulnerable. But our souls, for those united to a resurrected Christ, are beyond the reach of all eternal danger. How un-harm-able we are, we who are in Christ. Be at peace. All is assured.
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Dane C. Ortlund (PhD, Wheaton College) is chief publishing officer and Bible publisher at Crossway. He serves as an editor for the Knowing the Bible series and is the author of Gentle and Lowly.  He is an elder at Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Illinois. 

Coronavirus and the Christ-Follower

 “It is crazy to me that it is perfectly normal to be a Christian in America and to be obsessed with staying alive.”  Francis Chan,  February 7. 2020

The quote from Francis Chan from his speech at Moody Bible Institute is important for Christ-followers to keep in mind as we face the ‘dangers’  of the Wuhan-Coronavirus.

UK Hospital
UK Hospital, Lexington, KY

Lexington, Kentucky, just recorded the first case in the Commonwealth yesterday, March 6, 2020.  When we had visitors from China last month they wanted to purchase N95 masks to send back to their families in their respective cities.  However, as we searched for the masks, most of the outlets, e.g. Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Grogans, etc, were already out.  We found them at Lowes and Home Depot and our guests cleaned out two stores of their N95 masks.

The fear associated to the virus is more frightening than the virus.  For most people with ‘normal’ or nominal immune systems the Wuhan virus will only produce mild flu-like symptoms and we will get over it.  The fear stems from the novelty of the virus: there is no vaccine, no effective treatment and no cure.  If there are underlying health issues or any compromise of one’s immune system this ‘mild’ virus can quickly become fatal.

Attached is a Christianity Today article by Emmy Yang in which she looks at the advice Martin Luther, 16th century pastor and reformer, gave solid advice for people facing a 21st century pandemic.  The links in the article should be active.

Remember that Father did not give us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (1 Timothy 1:7)

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Is It Faithful to Flee an Epidemic?
What Martin Luther Teaches Us About Coronavirus
简体中文繁体中文
The German reformer’s pastoral reflection on the plague can guide both medical students like me and Christians in China — and everywhere the Wuhan virus has spread.
Emmy Yang, January 30, 2020, Christianity Today

From its epicenter in Wuhan, China, the current coronavirus outbreak is stoking fear and disrupting travel and business across the globe. More than 150 people have died from the virus in China alone, and more than 8,000 are infected across 20 countries — exceeding the SARS epidemic in 2003. [Update: As of March 4, more than 3,000 people have died in China, and more than 95,000 have been infected across 75 countries.]

Citizens in Wuhan, a major central city comparable to Chicago, are under lockdown by the government and public activities have come to a standstill, including annual celebrations for Chinese New Year (which began on January 25). Chinese Christians, in Wuhan and China at large, have faced difficult decisions about whether to join the millions of Chinese who return home to visit family (as is customary during the lunar holiday season), to flee from the mainland, or even to gather for regular Sunday services.

But are followers of Jesus right to flee an epidemic when people are suffering and dying?
In the 16th century, German Christians asked theologian Martin Luther for a response to this very question.

In 1527, less than 200 years after the Black Death killed about half the population of Europe, the plague re-emerged in Luther’s own town of Wittenberg and neighboring cities. In his letter “Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague,” the famous reformer weighs the responsibilities of ordinary citizens during contagion. His advice serves as a practical guide for Christians confronting infectious disease outbreaks today.

First, Luther argued that anyone who stands in a relationship of service to another has a vocational commitment not to flee. Those in ministry, he wrote, “must remain steadfast before the peril of death.” The sick and dying need a good shepherd who will strengthen and comfort them and administer the sacraments — lest they be denied the Eucharist before their passing. Public officials including mayors and judges are to stay and maintain civic order. Public servants including city-sponsored physicians and police officers must continue their professional duties. Even parents and guardians have vocational duties toward their children.

Luther did not limit tending the sick to health care professionals. In a time when Wuhan faces a shortage of hospital beds and personnel, his counsel is especially relevant. The city, one of China’s largest with a population of about 11 million, is in the process of rapidly constructing two new hospitals to accommodate growing crowds of coronavirus patients. Lay citizens, without any medical training, may find themselves in a position of providing care to the sick. Luther challenges Christians to see opportunities to tend to the sick as tending to Christ himself (Matt. 25:41–46). Out of love for God emerges the practice of love for neighbor.

But Luther does not encourage his readers to expose themselves recklessly to danger.
His letter constantly straddles two competing goods: honoring the sanctity of one’s own life and honoring the sanctity of those in need. Luther makes it clear that God gives humans a tendency toward self-protection and trusts that they will take care of their bodies (Eph. 5:29; 1 Cor. 12:21–26). “All of us,” he says, “have the responsibility of warding off this poison to the best of our ability because God has commanded us to care for the body.” He defends public health measures such as quarantines and seeking medical attention when available. In fact, Luther proposes that not to do so is to act recklessly. Just as God has gifted humans with their bodies, so too he has gifted the medicines of the earth.

What if a Christian still desires to flee?
Luther affirms that this may, in fact, be the believer’s faithful response, provided that their neighbor is not in immediate danger and that they arrange substitutes who will “take care of the sick in their stead and nurse them.” Notably, Luther also reminds readers that salvation is independent of these good works. He ultimately tasks “devout Christians … to come to their own decision and conclusion” whether to flee or to stay during plagues, trusting that they will arrive at a faithful decision through prayer and meditation on the Scriptures. Participation in aiding the sick arises out of grace, not obligation.

However, Luther himself was not afraid. Despite the exhortations of his university colleagues, he stayed behind to minister to the sick and dying. He urged his readers not to be afraid of “some small boil” in the service of neighbors.

Though God’s children face earthly sufferings, those who proclaim faith in Christ share in a heavenly promise of freedom from illness and suffering. In an open letter calling for prayer from Christians around the globe, an anonymous Wuhan pastor affirms “[Christ’s] peace is not to remove us from disaster and death, but rather to have peace in the midst of disaster and death, because Christ has already overcome these things.” Both Luther and the Wuhan pastor express the reality of suffering but recognize that death and suffering do not have the final word.

This week, my grandparents in China messaged me that they are well but are dwelling “like rats” in their apartment, leaving only when necessary. Incidentally, in the Chinese Zodiac system, 2020 is the Year of the Rat — the animal that spread pestilence-carrying fleas across Europe in the 14th century.

My grandparents live west of Wuhan in the province of Sichuan, where more than 100 coronavirus cases have been confirmed. I cannot help but think of them and my other relatives living in China at this time. Hoping to send them masks now out of stock in many stores throughout Asia, my parents and I discovered this week that even US stores have been depleted.

In a climate of fear surrounding the outbreak, I come back to Luther’s letter for guidance. As a medical student and a future physician, I have a clear vocational commitment to caring for the sick — whether they have coronavirus, tuberculosis, or influenza. Precautions I will take, yes. But I am reminded by Luther that they are individuals deserving of care all the same.

“When did we see you sick?” ask the righteous in the parable of the sheep and the goats, to which Jesus responds, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:39–40). If and when the coronavirus encroaches upon our communities, how will we faithfully respond?

________________________________________________________
Emmy Yang is a
Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellow at Duke Divinity School and a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

 

 

Fail-Safe

We want assurances that everything will be okay as we grow older; that our children will do all right, that we will find fulfillment in the tasks to which we feel called.  We want a “fail-safe,” an assurance that our efforts will not be wasted.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11)

How does one make an effort to confirm an election?  Is not an election final?  Apparently, Peter did not think so!  In the first chapter of his second letter he asserts that even though Father has given us everything we need for a godly life, some would be ineffective, unproductive, nearsighted, blind, and even forget that they had been cleansed from past sins.

The key for Peter laid in the participation in the divine nature by way of our knowledge of Him who has called us.  This knowledge is the “everything” we need for godly living, but it is not knowledge that is alone.  It begins with faith to which we add virtues, one of which is this knowledge.  And the virtues he lists should be added “in increasing measure” (v 8) in order to make us effective, productive, and farsighted.  Then what are these virtues we should be adding in increasing measure?

“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)  A wise man once said, “We are saved by faith alone, but not faith that is alone.” (Dr. Ronald Wright)  And here Peter makes that clear.

Faith in God is a wonderful thing, but sadly there are many Christ-followers who are  hardly “good.”  They are carnal in their lifestyles, selfish in their choices and attitudes and generally unpleasant people.  We are not supposed to be this way!  If we believe in a good, good God, if we want to be like Jesus who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) should we not also be learning to be good?  Should not people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven? (Matthew 5:16)  Examine your life and consider, “Does anyone think of me as good?  Am I a blessing or a pain in the neck to those with whom I interact?”

You do not have to know a lot of stuff, whether Scripture or scientific facts or logical processes to be good.  A very ignorant person can still be good.  Someone who does not even know John 3:16 can be good.  But having faith and being good is just the start of a life-long process that Father intends to work in us.  He may accept us when we are ignorant and behaving stupidly, but He does not want us to stay that way!

Transfiguration of Jesus.jpgPeter goes on in this chapter to describe the importance of the “prophetic word” that is the Scripture, as being more significant even than his personal experience of witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus (see Matthew 17:1-8).  An ignorant fool can go to Heaven, but not because he is ignorant or foolish, but in spite of these handicaps.  How much better to enter Heaven with a knowledge of the Holy?  A knowledge that is both personal in our experience and confirmed by the Word of God?  A knowledge that includes memorized Bible verses, awareness of how He has worked with His children in the past, and an understanding of the great themes of Scripture?

But do not stop now!!  To knowledge we should add self-control.  Whether by studying Scripture that gives marvelous guidelines for mental health or by consulting with godly counselors and others who have walked a long way with Jesus, we must come to a place where self-control is evident to those around us.  Rudyard Kipling said in his poem, “If: A Father’s Advice,”
Rudyard Kipling.jpg“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too; . . .

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a man, my son!”

If you think this is becoming too difficult, consider the next virtue Peter calls on us to add to our collection: perseverance!  Hang in there!  Do not give up!  Paul and the author of Hebrews both warned we should not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).  Our examples are our Father (Isaiah 40:28) and Jesus (Hebrews 12:3).

Which leads us to add godliness.  Godliness, God-like-ness, is the process of our becoming more like our Master.  This is what Jesus called His disciples to when He said, “Be perfect therefore as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)  He seriously could not have been meaning for us to meet God’s standard of eternal, ontological, moral, intellectual and emotional perfection, but rather by Father’s grace to enter into a relationship that purifies us so that we become more like Jesus day by day (1 John 3:3).

The next virtues Peter advises us to add to our faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and godliness are intended to complete that perfection in us.  To all these we should add mutual affection and agape love.  Here is a tenderness that recognizes another’s struggles and cares for the weak among us.  It is a tolerance for the ignorant and out-of-control.  And beyond this is a love that knows no boundaries, but loves even the unlovely, the outcast, the enemy (See )  This is God’s love for us.

And if we add these things “in increasing measure” we will discover we are fail-safe.

 

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If: A Father’s Advice to His Son
By Rudyard Kipling

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a man, my son!”

Practicing the Presence (Reprise)

You may recall on August 20, 2016 and August 28, 2016 I blogged on the Practice of the Presence; this is a way of recognizing that The God Who Is There is really here, at all times, in every situation, in all places.  As David prayed in Psalm 139:7-12,
“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’
    even the darkness is not dark to you;
        the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Peter Scazzero notes there are different approaches to God based on our emotional maturity.  We begin by “talking at God.”  This he describes as copying our parents prayers, such as mimicking a prayer over a meal.  As we become more comfortable with prayer, we ‘grow’ into using our own words, “talking to God,” rather than simple recitals of memorized prayers, but these prayers are still very self-centered; requests for blessing, provision, answers that we want.  And this, sadly, is where many of us get stuck, never growing up any more, and always coming to Him with our begging and whining, “gimme, gimme, gimme.”  Like little children we have no goals nor ideas beyond our immediate needs for love, provision and comfort.

But there are other levels of communication with God.  The next Scazzero addresses is “listening to God.”  This is where we begin to recognize that prayer is a two-way communication.  Yes, God speaks to us primarily through the Bible, and you can be certain nothing He “says” to you in prayer will contradict that.  For example, if the Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:23), He will not tell you in prayer to dump her or walk out on a marriage.  But there are many details of life not addressed in the Bible where His particular guidance can be helpful and is available if we learn to listen (see October 2, 2016).

Finally Scazzero takes us to “being with God,” a place of emotional maturity which is not dependent on activity or disciplines of the Spirit-led life.  This is a place of simply enjoying being together, the way lovers behave when they do not need to talk, but simply rest in each others’ arms.  Make no mistake, the devotional practices of the disciplines of the Spirit-led life get us centered on who God is, how He interacts with us, and what His personality is like, so these lead us to a deeper understanding of what it is like to be in His presence, but it is the “being” there that matters.

Like a marriage, if a person thinks he or she can do anything they want and maintain a good relationship, theirs will be headed for serious problems.  But when a man and woman are engaged in learning about how to please each other and how to provide for each others’ needs, theirs can become the most satisfying relationship apart from the inner practice of the Presence of Him whose love we are imitating.

In the same way, the relationship with Father requires attention to Him, time spent with Him and sharing of one’s life with Him.  The life lived outside of that relationship becomes empty, pointless, and in the end deadly, with a deadness that must be understood in terms of spiritual death like Adam’s and Eve’s (see December 6, 2015 ).  While they appeared to be “living” they had become “dead in [their] transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), separated from the Source of Life.  And when we have wandered into the wrong road, one that takes us further into death and away from Life, the fastest way back into that relationship that will ultimately satisfy us as no other, is to turn around and head back the way we have come.  It is possible to get too far down that road that leads to death to recover much of what is lost, and it is even possible to get so far down that road that return of any sort becomes impossible.

But if one does return, like lovers separated as teenagers reunited in old age, who may be able to rekindle their love and find some satisfaction in “the remains of the day,” they must wonder at what has passed.  How much time was lost, how many moments of love were missed, how much influence on others was destroyed, that can never be recovered because the time has passed them by?   God can bring life to dead bones, but how much of life was missed by those one day resurrected, if they had continued in life all along? (See Ezekiel 37:1-14)

So do not wait for too long to find His presence in your life.  He is always here, but where are we?  Walking with Him or in a valley of dry bones?  Do we Practice His Presence?

Carry Your Weight – 7. Disciplines of a Spirit-led Life: Community

At 14 years old, I was a scrawny kid.  All elbows, knees and skinny limbs.  I could not gain weight even if my life had depended on it.  One afternoon I was working in the hot sun with my dad and his tree-trimming partners, Bill and Marion.  Both men and my dad had muscles from many years of heavy work.  We had taken out a huge tree in this lady’s yard, and I had scrambled to keep their chain saws gassed and ropes untangled.

log-lifter
Log Lifter!

Now we were loading four foot (1.3M) logs that were about 36 inches (~1M) in diameter; BIG logs, about 1100 pounds (500Kg)!!  My dad, his two partners and I were pushing them up a ramp into his pickup truck, and as we heaved and sweated, the thought came into my empty head that my flimsy muscles were not doing anything, so I relaxed for a moment . . . and the log we were pushing almost rolled down on top of Bill!!

He glared at me and yelled, “Hey, push, you idiot!”  I immediately jumped back into position and with all my weight against the log, helped load it into the pickup.  Bill continued glaring at me after we had finished and asked, “What did you think you were doing, letting that log almost roll back!  Carry your weight, boy!”

Bill Kenny, one of God’s great men I have been privileged to know, had no idea how proud he made me feel that day!  Having had such a low opinion of my “weight” against that log, I really thought the men had been using me as “window-dressing;” not really needed, but like a little kid, being allowed to look like I was.  When he glared at me, it signaled to me that I did carry weight; that I was needed to load that truck!

Steve Elliott, referring to Acts 5:15, recently phrased it this way: “Not many of us will be chosen to be famous or great like Peter, but we each have a shadow.  On who does your shadow fall, and what is its effect?”  Being part of the Church of Jesus is not optional for the Christ-follower, but a vital part of our learning to walk in the Spirit.  “Let me stress this is not just a comfortable thought.  It is a vital factor in the life of God’s people . . . The Bible does not say that the Church is like a body, but it is the Body of Christ.”  Watchmen Nee, The Normal Christian Life

Being part of the Church of Jesus requires being part of a local group of believers.  Hebrews instructs us to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)  In fact, most of the New Testament instructions have to do with getting along with others who are trying to live in God’s grace.  It involves being in the lives of others who are either there to help us, or being in the lives of others we are there to help.

I cannot emphasize enough that this participation in the Body of Christ is no more optional than your big toe’s participation in being part of your foot.  Granted, if you lost it to frost bite, your body could still survive, but it would be clear every time you went swimming that something was missing!  As the Elliott quote above points out, most of us are not important parts of the Body.  If an eye was destroyed, or if you lost a thumb, you would notice it much more, but the fact remains that every part of the Body is a part, and to be a healthy body, every part is needed.

1 Corinthians 12 gives an excellent and clearly written exposition of this concept, better than anything I could write, so I commend you to that chapter, and read it with chapter 13 to understand the “more excellent way” to participate in the Body of Christ.  Sandwiched between chapters 12 and 14, which give instructions on the use of spiritual gifts is this “love chapter” that emphasizes any and all gifts, abilities or authority exercised in the fellowship of the believers must be done from a motive of love.  If such a gift, ability or authority is exercised out of any other motive, even if it appears miraculous and auspicious, it is nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

There are then two reasons for joining a group of believers:
1)  There are times I need encouragement.  There are times I need prayer. There are times I need advice, or correction, or a friendly hand, or even times I need to be rebuked.  All times that I need something.  And it is in fellowship in a church, whether in someone’s home, a cathedral, or an evangelical meeting, that these things are provided for me.
2)  Then there are times I can give encouragement.  There are times I can pray for someone.  There are times I can give advice, or correction, or a friendly hand, or even times I may need to rebuke someone.  All times that I can give something.  And it is in fellowship, again, whether in someone’s home, a cathedral, or in an evangelical meeting that I can give.

So get behind that log, and carry your weight!  And challenge me to carry mine!

Next week, February 27, 2017, we will look at some basics about salvation, The Good News, Plain and Simple, to make sure no one makes a mistake of thinking that observing these spiritual disciplines earns Heaven.

He Is! – 5. Disciplines of a Spirit-Led Life: Bible Reading and Study

Here is a man, Rear Admiral Barry Black, who knows God’s word.  This discipline is evident in his knowledge and delivery of Biblical truth in a very challenging setting: a National Prayer Breakfast, attended by many of different nationalities, different religious systems, different political parties, different world views.  Yet, he unapologetically affirms Who is in charge of kings’ hearts.  Here is a man who knows This Man in God’s word.

If you do not have 27 minutes for the entire sermon, listen at least to the last three and one-half minutes.  Scroll to 23 and tune in!

The exploration of the Bible is a life-long endeavor.  Talk to an old saint in a church who has a living relationship with Jesus and he or she will be able to tell you of new discoveries made in recent weeks in reading and studying the Bible.

Recall, the Bible is not just one book , but a small library of 66 books, most of which are very short.  The longest ones (except for Psalms) can be read in just a few hours in your “heart language,” that is the language in which you dream.

A more challenging project, but well worth the time and effort, is to read each book at a single sitting.  This takes some planning, because longer books such as Numbers or Isaiah may take a several hours due to unfamiliar content or length, but in my NIV, Numbers is just 55 pages and Isaiah is only 108 pages.  Many of the books are just a few pages long.

The point of reading each book (except for Psalms and Proverbs) at a single sitting is to get a clear overview of what the text says.  This can help avoid taking verses out of context and misusing the Bible to “prove one’s point of view.”  It allows the Bible to establish “the view” and lines us up with it, rather than coming to the book with a point of view and trying to establish that by forcing it on the Bible’s book.  Psalms and Proverbs are special exceptions to this idea, because of their content and organization, which makes reading each at a single sitting less valuable than reading these “devotionally.”

I have addressed Bible reading and study more thoroughly in previous blogs listed below, and introduced one of them with this caveat: “A Man (or Woman) of God will live a life Marked By Bible Reading and Study.  Be sure and understand, knowledge about God is not the same as knowing God.  This is an important distinction to make because far too many people think that because they can quote volumes of Scripture or name all 66 books of the Bible or discuss theology like a . . . well, a theologian, that they know God.”

So begin now, reading each day just three chapters of the Old Testament and one of the New Testament, and you can easily read the entire library of the Bible in 2017.  Along with this, plan for 66 times sometime during this year, to read each of the books at a single sitting.  And consider setting some time aside to really study some of the Bible’s literature.  It has some of the most exciting adventure stories, better than Marvel comics or Star Wars!  It’s love stories put Danielle Steele to shame.

Okay, some of it can be boring, like reading catalogues, but study of it can make even these parts come alive, when you realize what God was doing in the course of history!  So get a good commentary (free online!), and some literature helps and dive into a book that can give you eternal life, because it will testify about Him.  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”  (John 5:39)

See January 25, 2015, April 6, 2015, April 12, 2015, about this same subject, as well as April 26, 2015,  and May 17, 2015 and its following blogs on the Reliability of the Bible, ending with June 28, 2015.

So if you want to know “This Man” of the Bible, read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, live it, and get to know Him in times of prayer.

Next week, February 12, 2017, we’ll look away from these inward disciplines, to begin to view some of the outward Disciplines of the Spirit-led Life.

Practicing the Practice of the Presence

Practicing the Presence of God presents us with a couple of problems.

First of all, by nature we tend to trust our senses and not our faith.  We easily forget what we cannot see or feel or hear.  We even have a saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Secondly, we face multiple distractions.  These can be good things, like a wonderful poem, a marvelous piece of music, a brilliant blog emo wink, or just the busy-ness of doing our job or caring for our family.  These distractions can also be bad things, temptations to do what we know to be wrong, but what looks like a short-cut to what will please us or make us more comfortable.

Thirdly, we are so small in our thinking, it is hard for us to get our minds around the existence of God as He really is, and we must make substitutions in our thinking to accommodate our limited understanding.

Keep in mind Whose Presence we are practicing.  The God Who Is There is more than our tiny brains can process.  His nature is clearly presented in the Bible as being Three-In-One, what we call a “triune being”, a term we invented because we cannot understand how one being can exist in three persons.  Yet one would have to ask, “If I can understand all there is to know of the nature of God, is this really God?”  You see, He has revealed to us enough of what we can understand to show us that we cannot ever fully grasp His complete nature.

He was and is eternally Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the One true God and Creator of all things.  Jesus did not become the Son of God when Mary gave birth to the infant boy, but rather the eternal Son of God simply took on human form, personality and limitations in order to fully identify with His creation.  Think of a painter being able to go into his painting to fully experience what he has painted, and though a poor and limited illustration, this may help us grasp the idea of God becoming man.  Also, we should note here that God is a spirit, not a physical being.  So the idea that God had sexual relations with Mary in order to impregnate her is absurd.  Rather with the same creative ability He had when He formed man, He created in Mary a body for the Son using her DNA and His spirit, just as He used the dust and His breath to make the first Adam.

So how do we get around these problems in Practicing The Presence of God?  The following ideas are not set in stone, but rather suggestions for you if you are having difficulty seeing that God is always with you.

First is to use a holy imagination.  As I mentioned last week, just because we are using imagination does not mean He is not really there.  But this is an exercise of our faith.  However, there is a caution here: our imaginations can imagine things that are not of God.  A holy imagination is one informed by the Bible as to the nature, character and behavior of The God Who Is There.  You may be able to imagine God is telling you to rob a bank to pay your bills, but that will be only your imagination, and not God at all!

After exploring some of the Bible’s teaching about what God is like, then, imagine Him leaning in close to your ear and whispering into your life how you should behave, what your response to the things around you should be.  Pretend you are in the company of a King (you are!!) and behave as you would with Him at your elbow.  Some have found adding an empty chair at dinner reminds them of His presence at the meal.  Remind yourself by any creative way you desire of His presence all day long.  He IS there, even though you may not realize it.

Second is to get past the distractions of life.  As noted last week, I do not advocate that we all become monks in monasteries.  Rather, incorporate our unseen Guest in our activities.  When you select a television program, consider asking Him to watch it with you (He will anyway!)  It is necessary to give attention to tasks we must perform, but whenever possible, simply include Him in the task.  Consider if a Royal was beside you, how would you approach this task?  Would you be so quick to get angry at that other driver?  Would you take that next scoop of ice cream?  Would you ask for His opinion on your plans?   Would you do them differently if He was there?  The fact is, HE IS!   As Steve Elliott said, “Act as if He is really there, and you will find He IS!” 

Third is the issue of what we imagine Him to be.  As noted, we cannot grasp everything about God that He has revealed about Himself, and He understands our limitations.  So there may be times you need to see a God who hangs stars in the universe, but at other times you may need to see a Brother who lovingly feeds a hungry baby.  You may need to see a God who can move mountains, a Mighty Warrior who can defend against an evil enemy, or you may need a gentle Spirit able to see through walls or into the cells of a body that needs healing.  Because our little brains cannot imagine all these things about God at once does not mean He is less than He is.  He is all of these and much more, but we can only imagine part of His divine majesty at any one time.

Enjoy His company.  He came a long way to enjoy yours.  He gave Himself to unspeakable torture and death on a cross so that He could be part of your life.   “For God so loved the world that He gave His only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in Him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed.”   (John 3:16, CJB)

Now, if you do not already, start Practicing the Practice of The Presence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice the Presence

Any way to treat a king.JPGSuppose a royal came to my house for a visit and I spent the entire time in front of my television set, barely acknowledging the visitor.  Then I prepared my meal of steak and potatoes and green bean casserole, but shared only a piece of dry bread with my guest.  I laid down in my comfortable queen size bed with warm blankets and gave him a small sheet to lay on the floor of the living room.  In the morning I woke and went out the door without even noting that he was in the house, and that he had hoped to go to work with me.

Sadly this is how many Christians treat their King.  He has come a long way to reach us, but we are too busy with other things to share with Him what we are doing.  Now, don’t get me wrong:  I do not advocate a monastic life or suggest we do nothing but spend hours in “devotions” or Bible study and prayer meetings.  In fact, there are times “acts of devotion” become just that: an act, and not a real part of our lives.

In Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence noted: “I do not say we must put any violent constraint upon ourselves. No, we must serve God in a holy freedom. We must work faithfully without trouble or disquiet, recalling our mind to God mildly and with tranquility as often as we find it wandering from Him. It is, however, necessary to put our whole trust in God. We must lay aside all other cares and even some forms of devotion, though very good in themselves, yet such as one often engages in routinely. Those devotions are only means to attain to the end. Once we have established a habit of the practice of the presence of God, we are then with Him who is our end. We have no need to return to the means.”

You see, Jesus was quite serious when He said, surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)  When you have accepted Jesus as your savior, He gives this assurance that you will never be alone . . . even when you would prefer to be!  A friend recently noted that in order to sin, one has to divorce himself from the presence of God.  This is not entirely true, as in its purest form, sin is simply “falling short of the glory of God,” and I find that even when I am trying my best to be obedient to God and walk with Him, I continually come up less than what I expect He would want me to be, or to what He created me to be.

However, to intentionally sin, which is to decide to do something that I know is against God’s will, my friend is correct.  The only way I can do that is to get a divorce from God, so that I am not with Him.  And if I go through my day pretending that God is not a part of my life, that He is not “visiting my house,” I easily fall into traps the enemy of human souls sets.  I can sin without thinking about His presence, as though He is asleep on the living room floor when I go to work alone.

But that is not the way He wants it!  He wants to be a Present Participant in everything we do.  He wants us to be aware of Him when we watch television.  He wants us to talk with Him about what we are watching, what we are cooking, when we are driving, when we are working.  He wants us to recognize He is always at our elbow . . . even when we wish He was not!  And if we realize He IS there, we will be more inclined to please Him rather than ourselves when choices need to be made.

The Practice of the Presence of God is not natural for us.  It requires a holy imagination, but do not think that just because we are using our imagination, He is not really there!  This is the exercise of our faith.  The fact is He IS present.  Our ignorance of Him bending over our shoulder when we are reading a magazine or newspaper does not mean He is not there.  He is there when we brag about what we have accomplished, when we sit in our chairs and do nothing, when we fill out our taxes, when we envy someone else’s auto or jewelry, when we choose whether to get another doughnut, when we log onto the internet or walk by a swimming pool, when we blow up at a coworker or drive in our cars.  He is always there!  (For more insight into this list, see .)

When one begins to practice the presence of God it will seem unnatural, but by His grace, you will find He really is there, and there with grace.  The first place you will see His grace active in your mind is in helping you to practice!   And you will find Brother Lawrence’s “holy freedom,” a relaxing of rules and regulations, and a friendly communion with One who loves you more than your own mother!

Practice the Presence2When you practice the presence of God, you will find Him whispering in your ear much more that you realized before you started paying attention.  And He is merciful and loving, so when you discover weaknesses and faults in your life, your practice of His presence that reveals these and troubles your mind, will put you at ease with His mercy.  And you will find Him purifying you, first from belligerent sins, and then from some weaknesses that hurt others.

Do not become discouraged as you find more faults than you realized you had!  When you bring a rough diamond under the jeweler’s lamp to work on it, you will see more faults than you saw before.  His light may seem uncomfortable at first, but His grace will help you endure.  And give Thanx for His view, that He that began the good work in you will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)  Next week, August 28, 2016, we will look at some practical tips for Practicing The Presence.

Practice the Presence1