My apologies to those readers who are not an active part of our “business family”… but our year begins in September and ends in August. So, it is indeed a new year once again. I continue to be grateful for my on-going progress and healing, and I am beginning to plan some “life activities” once again. After finishing my 56th radiation treatment, my surgery, and my 11th week of Chemo….I was ready to return to whatever God might have for me next. I must wait for 6 weeks until they “test” again to see whether their treatments were “successful”. Your prayers are welcome and deeply appreciated as always.
In this regard, I must share with my special friends here an amazing and encouraging experience we had a couple of weeks ago. We were just back from Houston, and preparing to see if I could indeed make a “debut” at our big annual business conference in Washington DC…my first re-entry after a year of absence. I was at home in our sitting room and Nancy was a considerable distance away in our bath area preparing to go out and meet someone. She did something that is quite unusual during the daytime…she turned on the little TV in her bath area, and found the “700 Club” which for those who do not know is a Christian program that has been on for many years and features a variety of news and interesting features to inform and inspire.
Nancy asked me if I could hear it and I said; “No, it is too low”. So she turned up the volume even though she wasn’t really listening yet either. Just as she turned up the sound they were offering prayers for people and the person praying said; “Someone listening has esophageal cancer….God has healed you”….. Excuse me? Did I just hear that? I did indeed! That is actually all they said, and then moved on to another prayer word. That was all…but it was a lot. We both looked at each other and realized that this was not something that we had expected, and immediately “claimed” this word from the Lord for us. I am sure many of you will find this unusual and puzzling (but pretty cool still, huh?)… but we know for sure that God heals!!, and that He “speaks” to His people in a variety of ways to offer encouragement, confirmation, and to reveal His will. Even through the TV. So, this was quite a blessing and we feel and know God continues to provide us both with the peace that he is at work, and that His will and plans are operating in our lives through this journey. I hope you will join us in this celebration of His word and promises.
With this in our minds and hearts, we headed off to our National event and I did great. I know I should have been limited in my energy, but I was so happy to be among the people again that I was compelled to stay at all the meetings and I feel it was a great experience for us as well as an encouragement to our friends who might have been “surprised” to see me appearing so “normal” (I don’t even glow in the dark). I am back in Atlanta now and headed for Florida soon, but each day I feel better, and I continue to claim and praise God for my healing progress, and look to seeing a great report when I return to Houston in early October. With God’s favor and the medical marvels I have been allowed…I am a fortunate and blessed critter.
This whole adventure and journey continues to challenge me to really reflect and pray about how I will use this experience to allow me to be used in deeper and better ways… and how I can be more effective in bringing the right examples and values and message to those we influence and work with. Even more than becoming more “successful”, I want to be used more in ways that bring God’s love and forgiveness and power to those who are in need.; some financially, some emotionally, some spiritually etc. What a privilege and joy to be able to mix the passions of our heart with our occupational lives. I am in the process of being placed “under construction” so that I may be more useful and available, and so that my priorities are fully aligned with those of my Lord. This is a pretty important thing you know? I have been so immensely blessed with my life and experiences…and now I think I can do so much more as I seek to serve and encourage others who have such great gifts just ready to be released.
I read something recently that speaks powerfully about the “benefits” of this construction even though we rarely “like” it or would choose it. When God is at work in our lives, it is ALWAYS GOOD.
“The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together…” (Isa 40:4-5 NKJV)
“I don’t know about you, but I hate road construction. I live in a growing city and it seems like there has been ongoing road construction for years. Everything is a mess, you can never plan your trips because of delays, and sometimes you get caught off guard when traffic signs are placed in unusual places and the natural flow of traffic takes you off the main road onto bumpy surfaces.
Recently one of our main local roads discovered a sink hole in the middle of the road. The road was closed for more than a year. We had to take alternative routes that were inconvenient and it took longer to get places.
Sometimes God takes us through our own life re-construction project. Our lives get disrupted, we can no longer depend on the things we did before, and we don’t have control over our circumstances or timetable. God is doing major construction.
However, even in the midst of the re-construction the glory of the Lord is revealed in that place. For some, it is the first time they’ve ever seen the hand of the Lord in their life to the degree that this process allows them to experience Him. It is a process they would never choose to go through voluntarily, but it is an experience they value for the rest of their lives because the glory of the Lord was revealed in the process.
Once the process is complete, things begin to flow better. Just as the new roads allow you to drive on a smooth, more spacious area, so too God paves a way for you to move into an expanded place with Him. Isaiah tells us: “He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows” (Isa 30:23-24).
Be patient with God’s re-construction project. You will like the finished project.”
So….I am definitely under construction and I am looking forward to the smoother roads… but most of all I am learning to be content in the knowledge that I am in His hands through it all and for His purpose and glory.
Last time I shared with you that our family and close friends had decided to engage in some scripture memory. I have been amazed by the number of messages I have received from many who wanted to join in. It is interesting how I apparently wasn’t the “only one” who has read a lot for many years but never really committed to hide the Word in my heart as God instructs so that it may be called forth as needed in my daily life.
Why Memorize Scripture? Consider this with me…
Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary once made the statement that if it were his decision, every student graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary would be required to learn one thousand verses word perfect before they graduated.
Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California wrote, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization”.
Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified”
One of the reasons Martin Luther came to his great discovery in the Bible of justification by faith alone was that in his early years in the Augustinian monastery he was influenced to love Scripture by Johann Staupitz. Luther devoured the Bible in a day when people earned doctorates in theology without even reading the Bible. Luther said that his fellow professor, Andreas Karlstadt, did not even own a Bible when he earned his doctor of theology degree, nor did he until many years later. Luther knew so much of the Bible from memory that when the Lord opened his eyes to see the truth of justification in Romans 1:17 he said, “Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory…” in order to confirm what he had found.
So here are a few reasons why so many have viewed Scripture memorization as so essential to the Christian life.
- Conformity to Christ. Paul wrote that “we all, . . . beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians)
- Daily Triumph over Sin. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. . . . I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9)
- Daily Triumph over Satan. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness he recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight (Matthew 4:1-11)
- Comfort and Counsel for People You Love. The times when people need you to give them comfort and counsel do not always coincide with the times you have your Bible handy. Not only that, the very word of God spoken spontaneously from your heart has unusual power. (Proverbs 25:11)
- Communicating the Gospel to Unbeliever. Opportunities to share the gospel come when we do not have the Bible in hand. Actual verses of the Bible have their own penetrating power. And when they come from our heart, as well as from the Book, the witness is given that they are precious enough to learn.
- Communion with God in the Enjoyment of His Person and Ways. The way we commune with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating on his attributes and expressing to him our thanks and admiration and love, and seeking his help to live a life that reflects the value of these attributes. Therefore, storing texts in our minds about God helps us relate to him as he really is.
2 Timothy 3:16 (TNIV)
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
So, if any of you are game, here is what we have done so far. You may also refer to the verses in a new section we have added called Bible Memory Verses so that if there is no “new posting”, the verse can be found on this page. We are committing to a year or 52 verses. (with a little extra effort, you can easily “catch up” to us).
I think you will find this easier than you might expect. Just one a week… and in a year we will have hidden 52 of God’s promises and principles in our hearts along with their chapter and verse to add credibility and confidence to our message. Many say that they are including their children, so I have tried to keep them more short and simple. As this will not be something all want to do, please check the new page in the future to find the newest verse.
So I am praying for a happy new year indeed… and one where I can rediscover my purposes and rejoice in God’s willingness to place me (and you) “under construction” when needed. I hope to see you soon somewhere in the world.