BIBLE READING: Philemon. 17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, PAUL, WRITE THIS WITH MY OWN HAND: I WILL REPAY IT. AND I WON’T MENTION THAT YOU OWE ME YOUR VERY SOUL! 20 Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ. 21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!22 One more thing—please prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that God will answer your prayers and let me return to you soon. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. 24 So do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my co-workers. 25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
What does this passage mean to you?
BLOG: This blog may be a little long - but I guarantee that it is worth it.
Here's the update to the whole "broken arms" disaster. Bad News: The Radius bones are broken near the elbow. Good News: We might get out of the soft casts next Tuesday - please pray. We're out of the wheelchair and now walking in a boot for the next two weeks. So, in short, she looks like a zombie walking.
Today is Bettys Birthday. You can go on Facebook and wish her a Happy Birthday if you want to. But needless to say, we're holding off the "big celebrations" until later.
This Sunday, I shared with the church, something that I thought I would share it with you.
Often we try to understand why bad things happen to good people. We blame the devil, or we blame God by using the question, “What is God trying to tell you?”
In Betty's case, we blame the shoelace that got caught in the spokes of her scooter, locking it up and tossing her headfirst into the concrete. Neither the devil nor God is to blame for this. No more than you are to blame for getting the flu or unfortunate event that has happened to you.
Jesus addressed this in John 9
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
The man is blind due to a birth defect of some kind. But the Old Testament tradition taught that if something terrible happened to you, it was God’s punishment - (Read the book of Job.) The Old Testament also explained that the sins of the father would be passed on to three or four generations.
But we are under the New Testament.
#1 - Jesus broke every curse on the cross. Being a follower of Jesus means you do not have to carry on the family curse.
#2 - Jesus went to the cross because He knew that someone would fall off of their scooter and break both of their arms. (Isa 53.)
While God will use opportunities to teach us patience, build our faith, and draw us closer to Him, He isn’t a bully. He will allow us to experience our mistakes and failures - then love us through them. He knows we live in a world of sin that includes war, disease, accidents, and more. He will still love us through them too.
When bad things happen to good people, God will rush to your side. But hell will show up to take advantage of the situation.
God is doing great things here at FFWC, and hell would love nothing more than to: distract you from your source of hope and strength, discourage you from believing God is here for you right now, depress you into giving up on yourself and everything else.
People have been asking, “What can I do?”
- Be a friend. Friendship is more important than anything.
- Pray for her. Healing in Jesus' name.
- Encourage her. Anyone who has gone through anything like this will tell you, and depression will come.
- Be patient with me. I have to make a lot of tough calls.
- Help us pick up the pieces. Anytime your life goes under pressure, and you will discover what will last and what you're made of.
Now, after all of that - let me say this.
Every wise pastor will tell you that you are married to your wife, not the church. If you reverse this order, you might end up divorced. Over the last few years, the pressure that comes with pastoring has increased. Any pastor can confirm that. But when the pressure comes, it chews up your margins. What are margins, you ask? Have you ever read a book that had some white space around the page for you to make notes or comments on? Well, life is a lot like a book. You need margins spiritually, emotionally, and physically. But slowly, over time, your margins can disappear. You can't keep up, and you make too many mistakes, you're physically exhausted, your marriage and family suffer. You don't plan it, but it happens. Life slowly chews up your margins, and you start doing things you said you would never do.
Being my wife's primary caretaker for the last few weeks had changed my heart. I can see mistakes that we are making in ministry, our marriage and family that are costing us dearly. I wish "fixing" these issues were as easy as mending a broken bone. But they are not, they will take more time.
Normal has to change because, in reality - normal was dysfunctional. But good will come from this. God will get the glory, and roses will bloom again.
So my birthday present to my wife is this. "Honey, I didn't know I could say this after 35 years of marriage - I love you now more than ever."
PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to have healthy margins for my life, my marriage, and my family. AMEN
I'll blog again, but I do ask for your patience. My new "normal" has yet to be found.