13 December 2007

Reflection

I find myself in an interesting frame of mind.

It’s part exhausted, part exhilarated. I’m partially overwhelmed, and somehow anxious for more. I’m living in a moment that is powerfully spiritual but almost cloyingly material.

There is so much to say about the last few months. Simply telling the stories would take several pages and yet even these few words seem premature in some way.

Perhaps that’s wisdom – maybe writing everything now is just to soon. It all needs time to germinate.

But for the simple purpose of relaying a few facts:
  • The Bontrager family moved into my house at the beginning of September
  • Instead of three days (you know, like fish) they stayed three months
  • They moved out last weekend into their own place and we deeply miss them – the house seems empty.
  • We had the best month ever in my business in September
  • I was within a hairsbreadth of loosing my business last week
  • God is still God
  • God is always good

...presumably more to come.

7 comments:

Kathie said...

Still praying. Thanks for asking me to. Fascinated to see what comes next. Not in a voyeur kind of way--in a "God, show up big 'cause that's what you do and what we need" kind of way.

Love you both.

Anonymous said...

Well, what happened to you?? I've been waiting since Dec. 13th and haven't seen anything more. Where'd ya go?

Silverback said...

Sorry Anon, lot's of stuff going on since that post. Both good and bad.
No doubt I'll blog soon...but I need to get over the next hump, Advanced Camp...

Anonymous said...

2008/01/29 Thank you for the reply. I don't know the circumstances, but as I was reading my on-line Devotional this morning, I was impressed to pass it on to you. Hope it helps.
Oh, and I sign in under anon because it doesn't want to take my identity.
Call me Evelyn. (I know, it's an old name, but so am I. :-)


Loving Out The Fear
by Jon Walker



All of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. (1 Peter 3:8 NLT)



God enables us to love the fear out of one another.


We drive fear from our families and friends by loving one another so supportively that every one feels safe inside the group. (1 John 4:18) This safety allows us to bring our humanity into the open, including all our pain and joy, our ups and downs, our victories and defeats.


It means you give to others the same uncommon safety Christ gives you – to be real, to be sad, to be messed up and confused, yet to be loved.


God challenges us to create a Christ-community where we love like our lives depend upon it (1 Peter 1:22) and can each “live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)


We’re to weep together and celebrate together, caring for each other equally (1 Corinthians 12:25-26) as we comfort and confront, warm and warn, cherish and challenge, within an atmosphere of supportive safety.


Loving the fear out of each other requires that we develop:


Tender hearts – We give support to each other because God gives us support, and we’re to encourage others with the encouragement we receive from him. (2 Corinthians 1:4) In the New Testament, the word ‘support’ can literally mean “to increase one another’s potential.” (Romans 14:19 NJB) We strengthen one another by extending love, instead of fostering fear, and we do that by offering relationships that are safe and sympathetic.


Humble minds –True humility focuses on the worth of others. We understand our value in Christ, and we understand that God shapes each of us for a unique purpose.


Godly eyes – Loving the fear out of our family and friends – in fact, loving the fear out of the world – means we see others for what they can be, not for what they appear to be now. Jesus called Peter a rock when the fisherman was still acting on impulse (Matt. 16:18), and God called Gideon a mighty man of courage when he was hiding from the enemy among piles of grain. (Judges 6:11-12) God calls us to encourage and affirm each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11), seeing those around us in terms of their purpose and mission in life.


What does this mean?


· God enables us to love the fear out of one another. You can love the fear out of others, and you can allow the fear to be loved out of you.


· We exhibit tender hearts when we say to one another:

§ It’s OK to have a bad day.

§ It’s OK to be tired.

§ It’s OK to admit your mistakes.

§ It’s OK to say your marriage is failing.

§ It’s OK to confess your addiction.

§ It’s OK to share you’re scared.

§ It’s OK to want a day away from your toddler.

§ It’s OK to grieve a loss.

§ It’s OK to doubt, to be confused, to cry.


· We exhibit humble minds when we say to one another:

§ It’s OK to be happy you got a new car.

§ It’s OK to celebrate that you got a huge raise.

§ It’s OK to joyfully tell us you lost 17 pounds.

§ It’s OK to say you won the sales competition.

§ It’s OK to shout “Hallelujah!” because God’s presence in your life is so good.

§ It’s OK to tell us these things because we will be as happy for you as if these blessings had come to us, and we will join you in hearty celebration.

Silverback said...

Thanks Evelyn - much obliged for the encouragement. Do you mind if I ask how you found this blog? Do I know you under another name? Did you link here through a friend's blog? Not that it's important, I'm just curious. Random passers by are also welcome. :)

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that there are still people who care enough take in troubled families. I hope they were able to use you and your generosity as a platform to make a better life.

God's work, right?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, just read your inquiry. No you don't know me. I'm a random reader, after checking out a referral from someone who reads tons of blogs and suggestd I check yours out. But...there was a big gap in your blogs so I made the commments. I have another devotional I just read that may be meaningful. Don't know, but here goes. Glean what you will from it.
Evelyn

2008/02/05


Give Life With Your Words
by Jon Walker



Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose. (Proverbs 18:21 MSG)


You have the power to kill or give life.


Yes, you, gentle reader – a follower of Christ – are capable of murder, and so am I. We can speak death with our words, or we can speak life.


Perhaps you’ve been on the other side of the killing kind of messages: “You’re not smart enough. You’re not thin enough. You’re not fast enough. You’re not good enough. A real Christian wouldn’t think such a thing.”


In a world where people are beat up and put down, God gives you superhero power to punch through the negativity. You speak life to others when you say: “You matter to me. I like you just the way you are. You’re human, anyone could think that. Your life counts. You were created for a purpose. God loves you, and you’re incredibly valuable to him.”


Your words may be the only encouraging thing some people hear in a day, or a week, or a month. You – yes, you – can become the voice of God’s grace in the lives of others, supporting, loving, helping, and encouraging with the words that flow from your mouth. (Romans 14:19b)


In the New Testament, the word ‘encouragement’ often means “to come alongside.” We’re to come alongside one another, “building each other up,” just as the Holy Encourager comes alongside us to teach us and remind us of the way of Jesus. (John 14:26)


We become encouragers when we stop looking down and start looking up (Colossians 3:2) – the need and opportunity for encouragement is everywhere. “Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us,” (Romans 15:2a MSG) and this “will build them up.” (Romans 15:2b NLT)


So, how about it? Will you become today a consistent source of encouragement to those around you? It’s a choice on your part. You can lift a person’s spirit, change the atmosphere of your office, or lighten the burden of someone in your small group. The Bible says we should “look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15b MSG)


What does this mean?


· Commit to encouragement – Make a choice to build up the people around you. Fill your conversations with phrases like: “I believe in you,” “I’m grateful for you,” “I see God using you,” “I appreciate you,” and “I’m glad you’re in my life.” The Bible says we should “encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)


· Value others – An encourager works hard at bringing the best out in others. Value people by understanding they are valuable to God. He encourages you in spite of the failings in your past; he believes in you in spite of those annoying, little things you excuse in yourself but criticize in others. J (Quite honestly, this thought compels me to give grace to others.)


· Be encouraged – Encourage yourself, for “there is good news of great joy for all people, and his name is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:8-10)


© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.
Pastor Jon Walker is a writer for www.GraceCreates.com.