Beloved Brothers and Sisters
Something from Matt’s sermon last Sunday has stuck with me. So often we get something in our mind, even something good and noble, and when the reality we experience does not line up with what we had in our mind, we do not know how to reconcile the difference. I have actually heard this used as a definition of suffering; the degree to which what we expected and what we experience do not match. I think the definition works (at least to a degree).
Suffering is, after-all, very much relative. Something that may be felt as suffering to you or me, would be but a minor inconvenience to someone else; sometimes what we call suffering others would call luxury. Of course, that is not to say that all expressions or perceptions of suffering are equal; truly some things tangibly cause greater suffering than others. The point is, that we have the ability to build up such a dependency on what we desire to occur or procure, that when it is denied us, we experience real suffering; we experience a real sense of loss.
It is not hard for us to find examples of this in our lives. I really want that particular job. The job that would meet all our needs. The job that would give us the ability to give to others. The job that would enable ministry. I need that job. When I do not get that job I experience the loss of everything I built in my mind upon the premise of having that job. Change job to spouse, house, car, phone, or computer if it suits you better, but I think you get my point.
Made in the image of God, we are creative beings. We have the ability to create a seemingly infinite number of positive, God honoring, scenarios all built around that thing we want or want to have happen. Unlike God, however, we do not truly know what is best for us, or what is best for the furthering of God’s kingdom to the glory of His name.
One passage that God has used to sober me in this area many times is James 4:13-16. We can make all the plans we want, and to some degree we ought to make plans for the future, yet when we set our heart upon those plans, when we would suffer if those plans did not come to pass, we are being arrogant before God. All such boasting is evil.
When we set our heart upon a Jerusalem ministry, and Jesus sends us to Galilee instead, we ought to remember James’ words. If the Lord wills, we will do this or do that. Desire good things from God; desire good things in the service of God for the glory of God; let God decide the rightness and necessity of those desires, and let us learn to be content with what comes from His hand and be faithful with whatever He has before us, be it small or great.
In Case You Missed
Last Sunday we broke from our study of Hebrews to try and refocus our attention and motivation toward reaching out to the families we served during Project Christmas. We heard a good word from Matthew 20:16-20; whether or not we realize it, most of us want a Jerusalem kind of ministry, but Jesus’ authority extends farther, He may call us to Galilee instead. You can listen to the sermon here.
We also talked a little bit about how to re-engage the families from Project Christmas. You can find the outline and hear the audio here.
Scripture Reading and Prayer
In order to promote unity of heart and mind among us, we are encouraging as many as are willing to join with us in reading through the entire Bible this year together, as well as devoting specific Scriptures to prayer each day. It is our prayer that as we meditate and pray over the same Scriptures each day, that God will work in our midst to bind us to one another, and to give us a common vision for the ministry here in Maynardville. Prayerfully consider joining with us in this endeavor, and we will see how God will work in our midst.
Our Scriptures to pray over this week are:
- Thur (3/27): Jn 17:1-25
- Fri (3/28): Ps 25:1-5
- Sat (3/29): 1 Thes 5:23
- Sun (3/30): Rev 4:8, 11; 5:9-10, 12; 7:12; 11:17-18
- Mon (3/31): Jud 20-21; 24-25
- Tue (4/1): Rom 12:1-3
- Wed (4/2): Lk 11:1-13
- Thur (4/3): Ps 19:12-13
Our Scripture reading schedule for the week is:
- Thur (3/27): Deut 7:1-8:20; Lk 7:36-8:3; Ps 69:1-18; Pr 12:1
- Fri (3/28): Deut 9:1-10:22; Lk 8:4-21; Ps 69:19-35; Pr 12:2-3
- Sat (3/29): Deut 11:1-12:32; Lk 8:22-39; Ps 70:1-5; Pr 12:4
- Sun (3/30): Deut 13:1-15:23; Lk 8:40-9:6; Ps 71:1-24; Pr 12:5-7
- Mon (3/31): Deut 16:1-17:20; Lk 9:7-27; Ps 72:1-20; Pr 12:8-9
- Tue (4/1): Deut 18:1-20:20; Lk 9:28-50; Ps 73:1-28; Pr 12:10
- Wed (4/2): Deut 21:1-22:30; Lk 9:51-10:12; Ps 74:1-23; Pr 12:11
- Thur (4/3): Deut 23:1-25:19; Lk 1013-37; Ps 75:1-10; Pr 12:12-14
With Love and Affection in Christ,