This is neither a spiritual analysis, nor a political statement; it’s merely a ‘pondering’ I’m having about the book (and movie) entitled ‘The Shack’; and the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States of America.
The book, with sales of 22 million copies, is among the top books ever published in history, like it or leave it. I’ve read the book and have seen the movie, whose box office sales are approaching $100 million (if that’s any measure of success). It had a budget of $20 million.
And (I think) that Mr. Trump is the first businessman—certainly in recent years—to reach such a lofty office, and he definitely seems like the most ‘stir-it-up’ President that America has ever had. A true wrecking ball. Like him or leave him.
That’s all I’m going to say about those two hot potatoes.
But the times, they really are a-changin’, faster and faster, like it or not. It seems like a new ungodly flavor-of-the-week-‘right’ is unveiled and demanded, every few days. So what’s next and what can we as believers do about it? Just accept these things and go with the flow? Or should we fight the changes that we know are ungodly, and even march alongside their parades, yelling the truth and carrying banners that oppose their ‘rights’ to this, and their ‘rights’ to that?
The only real weapon we have is love. Love never fails. [1 Cor 13:8] Ask yourself if you can clearly take a stand for righteousness when personally confronted with wicked actions and unholy lifestyles—even with family members, friends and acquaintances; can you stay on an even keel and accept someone you know, while standing firm for the truth of God’s Word? And still be loving?
This may sound a bit weird, but love is spiritual warfare. Think about the fight we’re in; it’s a war alright, but shouldn't be waged with weapons such as word-bombs, disapproval-bullets, rockets of rage, or with sneaky stealth-truths . . . but it is to be lived-out by daily putting on the love-armor of God that is found in Eph 6:14-17:
Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, and Prayer
The times, they may be a-changin’, but true love will never change. God is love and His character and attributes will always remain constant.
You and I can be a-changin’ too—for the better . . . we can grow in love for God and for each other. It may not be easy, but it’s simple; it’s all about laying down one’s life for others—especially those close to us. Putting them first.
Love should start and end with family. Sadly, we know this is not often the case in the long haul, and for some it never happens.
Famliy is the incubator for love, whether you come from a good one or a bad one. We all need to be joined to a loving family.
Think of the millions of baby abortions and the potential permanent harm, perhaps unknowingly, conferred upon aborted mothers; think of babies born unwanted into a joyless family (or half-family, or no family); think of the ravages of divorce, especially to the children (of all ages). Some who read this may already be hurting and don’t need to be reminded of past events. But there’s hope.
A solid and loving (not perfect!) family is the launching pad to a fulfilling life. Most of us have struggled at ‘lift-off’, as we wobble about, trying to attain our ‘orbit’ in life. For myself, I was launched at age 11 into boarding school for six years—from a pretty solid family, but one that didn’t know how to express love. So I skittered around a half-love ‘stratosphere’ for many years, having lots of friends, but avoiding the closeness and intimacy that love entails.
Then finally, I heard God’s wooing call and the rest is a continuing history of growing and loving relationships. If you don’t have a solid family now, it’s never too late to create one from the rubble of the past, or determine that you will commit to joining or creating a ‘wholeness’ family. 'Church' should be a family, not something you visit, or even have signed on to as a member.
Today, Donna and I, including those who have recently married, have 3 daughters and eleven grandchildren. They are all loving me into greater wholeness.
Can great-grandchildren be far behind?
Love to you,
Discipleship is 90% encouragement
Discouragement is the illegitimate child of false expectations
There are two reasons for preaching:
to comfort the afflicted or to afflict the comfortable
Sad but true, is this newspaper saying:
“If it bleeds, it leads. Fear mongering sells papers;
comfort articles encourage people to turn on the tube.”
"In these days of guilt complexes, perhaps the most glorious word in the English language is 'forgiveness'.” Billy Graham
We need more ‘mothers’ in the body of Christ. Maybe you didn’t give physical birth to children but you can have the mother’s heart for His children. Mothers are recognized, not appointed. Deborah arose as a mother in Israel, a prophetess and people came to her for wisdom. Mothers are mentioned over 300 times in the Bible.
Jesus said, pointing to his disciples (must have been women there too), “Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is my brother, mother and sister.” In the book of Luke, Jesus said, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Mothers listen to what is on the Father’s heart. They see His children through His eyes and listen to them with His ears, and they love them with His love; not putting loyalty above truth, because He is truth and what He speaks is truth.
You can be a mother to the nations when you see His children through His eyes. One day in Kona, a lady asked me, “Why is it you can relate to the Pacific Islanders so well? I’ve studied their language and their culture, but I can’t relate to them.” I replied, “You have to have a heart for these precious people; they have become like my family even though I can’t speak their language.”
When Island Breeze first came to Hawaii, after a while they were told that they would have to live off the YWAM base because there was no room for them anymore. But both Peter and I felt we were to give them our two rooms—friends from our church family had asked us to housesit for several months. So, we lived off-base and were blessed to eat, worship and work with the Islanders every day. Our little home became their home.
Maybe that’s when God gave our daughter Julie, a love for Polynesians, and she grew to know in her heart, that one day she would marry an Islander. And of course, she did. Now we have an even bigger Island family that has taught us so much about what a family is. (Make sure your fridge is full and open to them at all the times!)
God’s love breaks down all barriers. We are all equal at the foot of the cross and God doesn’t have favorites, but “He accepts sons and daughters from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” [Acts 10:34-35] We are all created in His image and are unique and beautiful in His sight.
When Jesus was dying on the cross he said to John, who He loved “Here is your mother,” and then to His mother, He said, ”Woman here is your son.” He honored her as He hung on the cross, and He knew the importance of asking the one He loved and trusted to take care of his mother.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, Mary, along with Jesus' brothers and the disciples, went to wait in the upper room for the promise Jesus had given. She must have been an amazing mother; she believed what Jesus said, as well as what the angel said before He was born, that Jesus will be called the Son of God and His Kingdom will never end. Mary was a woman of faith, pondering many things in her heart just like we as mothers do; we must trust God and His promises.
When the Passion movie was on I asked Jesus if I had to go and see it. I hate violence, and He said, "Yes, I want you to see what My mother went through.” I sobbed and sobbed as I watched her follow the mob taking Jesus to the cross, and then they stood mocking Him at the foot of the cross. I’m sure she was reminded of what the angel said to her before Jesus was born.
Grandmother is only mentioned twice in the Bible. Paul said to Timothy, calling him his son, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” [2 Tim 1:5] Your children’s children, are so important. Tell your grandchildren the stories of God’s faithfulness. [Ps 78:1-7]
Paul said in the book of Romans, “Greet Rufus and his mother, who has also been a mother to me.”
As mothers we laugh, cry, speak the truth with love, overlook faults to see the needs, and are available night and day. We pray without ceasing, walk with God so He can use us to bring His love, comfort and correction, to nurture, feed and not have higher expectations on His children than He does. We hate sin but love even the misbehaving child.
I’m still learning through God’s Word and by His Spirit, even through my mistakes; my heart is to be the mother and grandmother He wants me to be, to the many sons and daughters He gives me. What a joy eternity will be, when we’re all together in love and harmony.
Here’s Paul again, “I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” [1Cor 4:14-17]
Won’t it be fun to meet Paul in heaven? Was he married? Did he have his own children? What was the thorn in his flesh? Why did he tell us as women to be silent in the church setting and cover our heads? I’m sure there are theologians reading this who could give me the answers! I love the way Paul spoke the truth, and I’m sure it was with love and humility.
It’s a good thing Jesus showed us how to live and how to die and sent the Holy Spirit to live within us to lead us and guide us.
Sons and daughters of the King of Kings, rise up and be mothers and fathers to this generation. They want to belong to family.
Love you all; God’s grace is sufficient,
Oct 18-21: Singapore, with Dr Bruce Thompson
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A while back we had a shot at choosing a man and a woman whom we consider to be successful in life—people in the Bible whom we would model our own life upon (see February eTouch, click here). It’s too late to make it into the list we compiled, but suggestions continue to arrive!
The winners? Esther and Joseph (the 11th son of Jacob)
(My choices? Ruth and Joseph the Son of Encouragement.)
But what about your success in your life-calling? Or more specifically what I would call your ‘ministry’? (I believe that whatever a believer does with their life, be they dockworker, brain surgeon or stay-at-home Mom—that is their ministry.)
It would appear, that from God’s point of view, a successful life has very little to do with how much money, wealth or riches a person generates and accumulates (unless that person has the true gift of giving and generosity) . . .
Biblical success in life has virtually nothing to do with the power that a person can wield . . .
And physical beauty (in woman or man) means absolutely nothing when unaccompanied by an inner beauty.
Godly humility is the motherlode that runs through a successful life.
Till next time,
The Small Print
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