No Pain, No Gain – Chronic Illness and the Christian Church

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The Beggar's Bakery

thorns

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was giventhe gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these…

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Don’t Look at the Light: A Gospel Cordial from Pixar and Spurgeon

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A Safe & Sound Word!

All of Grace

Like Harry from A Bug’s Life headed towards the light men often look to the Law for justification. Spurgeon urges men to gaze from Sinai unto Calvary:

The law is that which, as sinners, we have above all things cause to dread; for the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. Towards us the law darts forth devouring flames, for it condemns us, and in solemn terms appoints us a place among the accursed, as it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.’ Yet, strange infatuation! like the fascination which attracts the gnat to the candle, though it burns its wings, men by nature fly to the law for salvation, and cannot be kept from seeking life by it. The law can do nothing else but reveal…

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Mercy Matters & First Fruits Ministries

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Last night was our second trip with Grace Covenant Church friends to serve meals downtown with the people of First Fruits Ministries and what a blessing!  It’s kind of difficult, in a sense, to describe what we do on the second Wednesdays of each month but I’m going to try to capture the essence of it for you…

Initially, I was  referring to these evenings as  “serving the homeless”.  But God keeps revealing it’s so much more than that.  It’s really more about just sharing Christ, time, and a meal with others.  Would I want to be called a “homefull” person?  Defined by what material things I possess?  No…  I wonder how the people we were sharing this meal with feel about being defined as “homeless”?    The people we met are each beautiful creations, not defined by what they own but by God as “made in His image” and “precious”!

I wish I had the words to paint a picture for you of what we encountered…the smiles, the grateful “thank you’s”, the patience of people used to waiting, the smell of roasted chicken and rice covered in gravy all mixed together with periods of laughter and comfortable silences… it was beautiful and I thank God for the rain that drove us all under that little tent where we ate a meal prepared with love and served by hands that did not make it.

Thanks God for this opportunity, for these people, and for your Spirit among us!

Just a few of the reasons church is important

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I remember my mom taking me to church when I was a kid… I didn’t actually have faith in God…I just went to church because Mom took me.  When I made my first visit to church after about 15 years of absence I was terrified!  But I went because my life was a mess and despite all my own efforts, I could not straighten myself out!

God knew He would be the answer to my problems…

He graciously brought me to my knees…

I was guilty of putting my own desires and wants and fun and work and relationships above the God who gifted me to be able to even participate in those things.

It was a struggle every week to go to go to church.  But He kept drawing me back…

It was difficult to hear the things said that I needed to hear.  But He knew it would be best for me…

It was difficult to be loved by people who I barely knew.  But He gave them to me as a gift…

It was just plain difficult all the way around….and it still is in a good way…

“Man . . . is few of days and full of trouble.”  Job 14:1

But God has continued to show us that His Son, His Word, His plan for redeeming His people, His church is precious and us being a part of it is precious.  And the joy that comes from receiving such great gifts from The Greatest Giver is inconceivable!

And I still struggle with Him

But He steadfastly draws me to Himself

To the heavenly things

To Himself

To His Word

To His people

To His mercy & kindness

To His faithfulness & devotion

To His abiding love and affection

To His discipline which corrects me

Not to the things of this earth that remain a short while and fade from dust to dust

But to Him & things eternal & everlasting…like His love & justice

This is a quote by a man of God now deceased:

“We should love, but we should love with the love that expects death, and that reckons upon separations. Our dear relations are simply loaned to us, and the hour when we must return them to the lender’s hand may be sooner than we think.”

This is the love of God…. that God gave….He gave Himself…completely…when He reckoned to give His Son, Jesus…

as a payment for our sin… not begrudgingly as we give…but planned from the beginning of time for His joy and ours…so that we may we bask in Him and the life He claims in us forever!  And that we may share this love with others!

Come…