Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
My wife, Vicki, lives with pain. She found this statement by C.S. Lewis: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
Annually, the third Saturday in July is unofficially dubbed “Toss Away the ‘Could Haves’ and ‘Should Haves’ Day.”
On this day people write down their failed obligations, their “could haves” and “should haves,” on a piece of paper and then throw that list into the trash. Then they make this resolution: “From this day forward, I choose not to live in the past—the past is history that I can’t change. I can do something about the present—I choose to live in the present.”
Bethlehem’s Fighter Verse to memorize this week is this:
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.—Psalm 91:3–4
Notice what God does:
1. He delivers.
2. He covers, gives refuge.
3. He remains faithful.
When it seems God has not delivered, he is being faithful to deliver at the right time and in the right way.
Jim Anderson is a high school buddy of mine. We were in the same youth group, taught summer Bible classes for children together, and attended Minneapolis Symphony (now Minnesota Orchestra) concerts together. After decades of pastoral ministry, Jim now serves with the Evangelical Free Church, and has written a book entitled, For God’s Sake, Rest!
Upon returning home from Jr High Summer Camp, the team received a letter from Pastor Bud Burk from which I excerpt:
"God’s Word is powerful to comfort us in the midst of trials, but the time to prepare for the trials by immersing yourself in the Word is NOW, not when the trial comes. God does prepare us for the difficult times. He does this in a variety of ways – through His people, through experiences, through prayer, through worship, but MOSTLY, PRIMARILY He does it through His Word.
I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April, 2003...."
When I was in the Arab world last year, I met an underground blogger (pen name: Al Edwards) who said this:
“Jesus informs his disciple, Simon Peter, that Satan has demanded permission to sift him as wheat. In Job chapter 1, we see Satan complaining that God has built a hedge of protection around Job so that Satan can do nothing to harm Job. Satan has to ask permission from God to harm Peter and Job, and it was necessary for God to remove his hand of protection from them both so that Satan could afflict them.
Last weekend Dan Wickert made this double statement: “God has a plan and he is in control.”
April 22, 1970, was dubbed the first Earth Day as organized protesters drew attention to patterns of resource consumption and the production of pollutants. Every year since then Earth Day has been marked on April 22.
These days, rather than saying “The earth is the Lord’s,” radical environmentalists seem more inclined to say, “The earth is the Lord.” Confusing creation with God is a simple definition of idolatry.
(The following was excerpted from a post on “Rurality Bytes,” blog of Jeff Gaus, a Minnesota Iowa Baptist Conference pastor in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.)