Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thoughts from today....

When I got to my seat in church this morning and looked at the bulletin, I noticed that  our preacher was not going to be there. A bit of disappointment came as I was anticipating his sermon series that he had been preaching on. But as the service started , I, so realized that the words Dr. Jim Shaddix spoke to us were like manna to my ears. How could I be so judgemental in thinking that God wouldn`t provide for us at church when   our regular preacher was not there?.

He said that when David asked him to come, he was told to just preach on a topic that meant something to him and that he wanted to share with the congregation, and that is exactly what he did. He did it in a powerful way, with his words, with scripture, with pictures that he put in our minds. The message was from II Timothy 1:3-2:2, "The Stewardship- of Discipleship"

What are we responsible for?
The good news of salvation.
The story of Jesus Christ
The sovereign work of grace
The key to spiritual health

Passion for the Gospel does not burn automatically, we have to nurture it. It has to be fueled.
The Gospel is a deposit entrusted to us, protect it always..
We have to "own" it, do not be ashamed
We have to "live" the Gospel... follow it
We have to "perpetuate" the Gospel... pass is along
The Gospel defines your life, your marriage, your children, your  very being....
There is no Plan B... it is not an option for us to be spectators...
   it is not an option  for us to run for a while, get tired and quit..

Loved this......

We are a "Divine artist sketch"
He designed us...
We are meant to be reflections of His glory. His word will stand forever...
We are the picture , the outline, of the Gospel

Paul would not let Timothy give up his race, nor should we give up or grow weary .... We are to intentionally carry the "Baton of Discipleship", and pass it along from one generation to another.

We do not have to plan how God is going to use us, we just have to be available and "Usable"
The measure of our sacrifice demonstrates what matters most to us...
 We are instructed to "Walk by faith not by sight"

As I was turning in my Bible to the passage at the start of the service, I came across an outline that I had  tucked in there  just a few weeks ago, June 12, to be exact. I went to a summer Bible Study where Laura Black was speaking. She was hooked to her oxygen,  walked ever so slowly to the front from her chair and spoke through labored breaths. She read her last letter to her children entitled, "Dying". She had been so ill that she had not expected to be able to be there . She was thankful that God had allowed her to be there so she could read it herself. It was so powerful...

She was the reason I went. I wanted to hear her, but after she had finished, and I realized that being on the second row with my friend, there was not really a good way to walk out... so,  I stayed.... almost ashamed of myself for  thinking about leaving, before God had shared His word through the teacher that day. It was same passage in II Timothy, about suffering for the gospel that we heard about today.  The same message that Laura had read so beautifully. She was a living picture for us all to see and hear . So privileged to have been there with her that morning, just a 12 days before God took her home to be with Him. just 12 days before she finished her race. Her work was done, her race was finished... all for Hiis glory.

It was as if you  put Laura Black`s name in the scripture.... It was about the pattern for endurance.... Laura was a dedicated soldier, she was a disciplined athlete, and a diligent farmer. She knew that even through her suffering, the harvest was coming.
Our promised encouragement... the crown.......
 Nothing speaks louder than a changed life, and through her suffering, she changed so many lives for Him.

God loves to be depended on. So He gives imperfect, inadequate human beings impossible assignments. "Suffering is not meaningless when you use it for Christ", Laura said.

  The more deeply we die to self, the bigger God is to others.  Wow.... what a message, what a statement of what she did...

In closing the lesson that day, the question was.. "what are you willing to sacrifice so that your life ends with a comma instead of a period?"

You might just read II Timothy quickly and move on because it is so short, but it is full of so much that we need to drink in daily... to be prepared to be used, to run our race for Him, and in doing so, spread the gospel to others through our actions. We are His vessels,  we should be available to be used!

My gift from Him, was the message that He had through the sermon and that lesson, no matter who was presenting them. My gift was to be able  to be there to hear His word spoken and to be reminded of our awesome responsibility we have in being His children.  We are to share the word, not just soak it all in but to nuture others with His word. Suffer for Him.    So today, I am most thankful for those who were willing to share these messages from II Timothy, for others to hear... What a great chapter in the Bible. It will forever be special, the words spoken so long ago but so fitting for today. God is good like that, isn`t He?


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