"Does Your God Like That About You?" DOMA, {In}Tolerance, and Part 2 of Part 2 and Part 3

I started to title this, "Tolerance Does Not Equal Love", but couldn't figure out how to do a "does not equal" sign in my title, and without even the italics, it just didn't work. :)  I did realize last night, though, that the "part 2" in last night's title was going to end up being quite confusing. The "part 2" from last night didn't apply to the post as a whole, but to the "Misunderstood Peace" part of the post...as I had written "Misunderstood Peace, Part 1" 3 years ago, and then never posted part 2! 

Today's post is actually "part 2" of yesterday's post, containing "part 2" of the email response I sent to a reader 3 years ago, so that this post is now "part 3" of that original post. Confusing enough? Definitely!  Yesterday's post may clear things up a bit.  Regardless, you definitely need to read yesterday's post before today's.  It's long, but there wasn't a really good place to break my reply until near the end.  Here's the rest of that long-ago reply:

I have great admiration for Mr. Fleisher...admiration that increases the more I look into his life and listen to his music.  A close examination of my blog post will show that I was actually quite complimentary of Mr. Fleisher, as a musician and as one who has persevered through suffering with an amazing attitude.  And although I do not know him, I love him as a person created by God.  That is why it saddens me that I see no indication that he has accepted the love gift of salvation God has given. 

The world equates "love" somehow with tolerance.  And yet, if I truly believe God's Word is true (which I do), and I truly believe that the God of the Bible is the one true God (which I do), and I truly believe that salvation through Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven (which I do) and the alternative is an eternity in Hell (which I do), then the least loving thing I can do, for Mr. Fleisher, for the readers of my blog, or for anyone else, is to pretend agreement with them that "any religion", or no religion, is okay.  They certainly have the freedom to believe whatever they choose.   And I am responsible to be gracious and loving to the *person* regardless of their beliefs.  But that does not mean that I am to be tolerant or accepting of evil or of false teaching.   

I am also responsible to graciously and lovingly and boldly proclaim the truth, both out of love for others, and out of obedience to God.   If their choice is to reject God and spend an eternity in Hell as a consequence, I don't want it to be because I didn't lovingly and boldly share the truth of God's Word.

"When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.  But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself."  (Ezekial 3:18-19)

Although you didn't share your name, I am praying for you, and have been since receiving your email.  I have prayed over how to respond and asked for the right words to share.  I am by no means perfect, and I do not have all the answers.  I am a sinner saved by God's grace alone.  I have struggled greatly over the past several years with some severe suffering in my own life, which led me to re-examine all I had believed since childhood, and to in a sense "wrestle with God" like Jacob in the Old Testament.  I have shared some of those struggles on my blog.  Through those struggles, God has brought me to an even deeper and more intimate relationship with Him.  He has shown me His love, His goodness, His mercy, His faithfulness, and His sovereignty in whole new ways, and gave me an even stronger assurance that I can trust Him in all things.  I still struggle with that sometimes...the day of the blog post with which you took issue being one of those days...and yet He is always there to provide assurance and encouragement in those days.  It is a continual process, but while I may be weak, He is strong, and is the firm foundation of my faith. 

I will continue to pray for you, and would be glad to hear from you again, especially if you have further questions or if anything I said was unclear.  

The Connection 

So what does all this have to do with DOMA?  

It seems almost everywhere you look these days, Christians who disagree with same-sex marriage are being accused of hate and intolerance.  Christians who are open about their belief in Biblical truth in almost any area (including salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone being the only way to Heaven) are accused of hate and intolerance.

I know that there are those who claim the name of Christ who act in hateful, offensive ways.  That's a whole 'nother blog post!  (Coming soon, I hope. :)) The short version of that post is that I believe that many of those people may claim the name of Christ, but they aren't truly His followers.  Then there are also those who are true followers of Christ, but they, like all of us, have areas in which they are still growing. 

While the gospel itself is offensive to the world, we as Christians should never be offensive in the way we share it.  I'm making myself end that preview of the coming blog post there...keep an eye out. :)   (Lord willing, it won't be 3 years! :))

Most of the Christians I know, however, haven't demonstrated anything resembling hatred. Many have stated their beliefs, based on the Bible.  But stating a differing belief does not equal hatred.  It equals disagreement.  I don't know about you, but I disagree with people I love all the time.  We are still family and friends, we still love each other...we just disagree. 

We are not ever (as yesterday's post discussed in detail) to tolerate sin...any sin, in our own lives or anyone else's.  Tolerance may be the most-cherished virtue in our world today, but the type of tolerance that says "anything goes" is not Biblical. 

What now? 

What does all that mean for us...me, as I type this post and hit publish with somewhat trembling fingers, and for you, as you read it?  

Christians (True, Christ-following, Bible-believing, forgiven children of God):  It means we do two things:  

(1) We lovingly and gently stand for truth, regardless of the outcome.  
(2)  We love those around us, no matter who they are.  We never condone the sin, but we reach out and we minister and we meet needs and we build relationships and we share the gospel and we pray like crazy. 

Everyone else:  Don't fall into the trap of believing that just because someone disagrees, it means they hate those with whom they disagree.   Realize that there can be love and care and relationship without "tolerance" as it is defined in the world today.  No, you don't have to change for me to love you and for us to be friends.  

You don't even have to change for God to love you!  Because we as sinful humans can't change on our own...not the kind of change required to have a relationship with God and eternal life.  God has to do that changing Himself.  Then that change becomes evident after He has changed us.  (For more on that, see here and here.) 

Love does not equal tolerance.  Disagreement does not equal hate. 

Related Posts:

Part 1 (Yesterday)
Misunderstood Peace, Part 1
The Post That Started It

I know this post may generate strong feelings.  I welcome feedback/discussion in the comments section.

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"Does Your God Like That About You?" DOMA, {In}Tolerance, and Misunderstood Peace Part 2

"I'm afraid I feel a blog post coming on," I said to a friend this morning.  "Oh, good!" she replied, as we laughed about my reference to certain posts just "needing to come out, so I let them", in a rough paraphrase of an old Winnie-the-Pooh quote.

We'd been talking, briefly, about the recent Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and various reactions we'd seen and heard. It's brought up something about which I've long been concerned (and about which I've posted before: here, here, and here, among other places): the increasingly popular idea that Christians who voice disagreement with same-sex marriage (or other issues) are intolerant and demonstrating a lack of love.

Let me start with this disclaimer.  The DOMA ruling came in the midst of a crazy week here, and I have read/heard almost nothing about the ruling itself, other than that the highest court of the land struck down the law blocking federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

This post, therefore, is not about the DOMA ruling per se. It is about some of the responses/reactions I've seen to the news itself and particularly some of the responses/reactions I've seen to other responses/reactions. 

 I was a bit torn this morning.  I really wanted to finish either the post about the early days of my relationship with Billy (meeting in court and ending our first date in the ER) or the post about how and why I blog.  But...this post was almost demanding to be written...now. :)

As I was pondering and praying about what direction to take on this next-to-last day of Blogathon, I pulled up an old post I'd come across a few days ago when I was searching for something else.  As I read it, I realized that I had promised a "part 2" to that particular post, but had never actually published that part 2.

That was over three years ago!  (*Blush*)  Part 2 of that post was supposed to include the text of an email response I sent to one of my readers. Therefore, it was already basically written...just needing a bit of editing for space (lol) and a bit of introduction. It also "happened" to be on the same topic about which I "needed" to write today.

The Background

MisunderstoodPeace, Part 1 explains the background. This post is the post that started it all. Basically I had received an email from a reader accusing me of being intolerant based on this statement:  

I'm adding his story to my collection of  those who face great adversity and are later

thankful for it...although sadly, from the further reading/listening  I've done on 

Leon Fleisher, he doesn't at any point indicate a trust in God or belief in God's 

sovereignty as the giver of all good things.

I had planned to post my reply to that reader, but for whatever reason never did.  (I did send the email reply to the reader.  As far as the blog part...I'm guessing that I got busy and it became an "out of sight, out of mind" thing. :))

Although that reply had nothing to do with same-sex marriage, the parts about tolerance apply perfectly. Because my reply was lengthy, I'm going to divide it into two parts and share some additional thoughts with the second half tomorrow.

The response: Thankful for Adversity

Being thankful for adversity is something I think many people...perhaps most people...struggle with.  I did not intend to convey that I couldn't accept that a person can do that without "the intervention of [my] God", but first to convey sadness that such an amazing person with such an amazing story doesn't appear to acknowledge the Creator and Giver of all good gifts, and second, to see and share Mr. Fleisher's wonderful attitude as a challenge to those of us who struggle with the acceptance of suffering.  

James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."   Believers should above all people be able to be thankful in our suffering, and yet, many of us still struggle with actually living that.  
 The Response: Tolerance

As far as being intolerant, I think there is much confusion today about the value of tolerance.   Tolerance is a much-touted virtue in the world today, and in the eyes of many, intolerance is one of the greatest of sins. However, "tolerance" as it is usually proclaimed today is not found in the Bible.  "Tolerance" for people, in the sense of showing patience and grace to others, is proclaimed as a virtue in Ephesians 4.  However, the "tolerance" that is generally hailed as a virtue today is a tolerance for ideas...the notion that all religions (or no religion at all) are okay, the belief that there is no real truth, or the agreement that there is no wrong opinion.  That kind of tolerance is never seen in the God of the Bible.

While we are to practice the first type of tolerance by showing love and patience for those whose opinions we don't agree with (or more importantly whose opinions are in disagreement with the Bible), we are never to practice the second type of tolerance.  God is a jealous God, and we are told to have nothing to do with false religions or false teachers.

"You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments."  (Exodus 20:3-6)

"Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.  Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah  poles.  Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Exodus 34:12-14)
"For this is what the LORD says—        He who created the heavens, He is God;
       He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it;
       He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—
       He says: 'I am the LORD, and there is no other.'" ((Isaiah 45:18)

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Punishment for Tolerating Sin

In fact, God punished the Israelites for tolerating sin. (There are many examples in the Old Testament). He made it clear that the people must make a choice.  He even punished Eli, the high priest, for tolerating sin in his own children.

"Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:14-15)

"At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.  For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible,  and he failed to restrain them."  (1 Samuel 3:12-13)

God is holy and righteous, and cannot tolerate sin.

"Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.   But your iniquities have separated you from your God;        your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2)

"God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses His wrath every day." (Psalm 7:11)

"But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King.
       When He is angry, the earth trembles;  the nations cannot endure His wrath." (Jer. 10:10)

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above Him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  

And they were calling to one another:    'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.'

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 'Woe to me!' I cried. 'I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.'" (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Sin and Salvation

We are all sinners; therefore we are all cut off from God and deserving of His wrath.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

God in His great love made a way for salvation from the punishment of sin.  He makes plain that this is the only way of salvation...that Jesus is the only Savior.  Only by His blood are we saved, not through any other.

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time." (1Timothy 2:5-6)

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:36)

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3)
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  (John 14:6)

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

" But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:7-9)

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  (Romans 10:9-10)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  (John 3:16-18)

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

 No Tolerance for False Teaching

Despite His great love for us (or actually because of it), He makes plain again in the New Testament that we are not to tolerate sin or false teachings.  Sin and evil are to be hated and condemned.  We are to love those who persecute and revile us, but we are never to tolerate false teaching.  

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:6-9)

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9)

Tomorrow's post: the end of my email response plus a few additional comments.

I know this post may generate strong feelings.  I welcome feedback/discussion in the comments section. 

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(My apologies to those who read this post last night or early this morning.  I had tried to fix the spacing/formatting last night and couldn't get Blogger to cooperate.  I have now spent almost an hour this morning trying to get it fixed.  It's nowhere near perfect, but it is better!)


Creative Castles

Day 28 of Blogathon...two more days!! Day 5 of VBS...LONG day.  It's been a great week, but long and busy and exhausting!  If it were not for Blogathon, I would have gone to bed an hour ago; in fact, I'm not sure I wouldn't have done so anyway if it were earlier in the month!  But the fact that I've made it 27 days means I MUST press on. :)

Today is going to be very simple.  We made castles for today's VBS craft.  (We did Answers in Genesis's Kingdom Chronicles this year...wonderful material!)  Everyone we knew saved paper towel rolls for weeks for this craft (and another I hope to post about soon. :))  Our VBS director, Amanda, and her son, Jacob, cut a bazillion pieces of cardboard, and then Miss Katy and Miss Grace put them all together so the kids could add the turrets and decorate today.

This is my favorite kind of craft.  Provide an assortment of craft and everyday items and turn them loose to create!  I love to see the creative ideas they come up with.  Totally fabulous!

Here are a few of today's creative castles.  Enjoy!

We talked about being part of God's Kingdom this week.

LOVED this one!

Thought the people and torches on this one were great!

Several had the idea to do a drawbridge.  They came up with some very creative ideas for making them!

Knight bowing before the king inside this castle.  Another wonderfully creative idea!

Archer protecting the castle.


Stained glass window

More people...loved this one!

Part of Emlyn's class sample to give the kids some ideas...a rock wall, and stained glass windows.

Castles, castles everywhere!

Have you done VBS this summer?  Are you going to?  What's your favorite VBS memory?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

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A Matter of Friendship

When I get back to my post on the how and the why of this blogging thing I do, one of the things I plan to address a little more is why some posts just don't get published when I plan.  Part of that is that there are just times...like today...when I had planned a specific post, but my brain just won't compose it.  Brain fog, exhaustion, maybe just plain old writer's block, I don't know...but there are just times when I can't seem to push through on a certain post.

I had really hoped that I'd be able to finish either the story of how Billy and I met or the blogging post tonight.  But it just isn't happening.  So I began to dig through the drafts folder to see what might be almost-ready to post.

I saved these links a long time ago. Apparently a couple of years ago, since they all seem to be from late June or early July of 2011! I had planned a blog post of my own to go along with them.

Maybe I'll still get to that post someday.  But this is one of those posts that has rather taken on a mind of its own today...where thoughts spill out unplanned and with very little effort.  Today I'll just share those tumbled-out thoughts and the links that have been waiting patiently all this time to go with them. :)

I have been more and more convinced in recent years of the vital importance of Christian friendships.  Yes, there are those God calls into situations in remote places with little contact with other Christians, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

This list of links caught my eye today especially because of a comment made at VBS this morning that took me a bit by surprise.  The comment was, "I can tell you and K. spend a lot of time together.  You have similar mannerisms and speech patterns and you use a lot of the same expressions."  (That's not an exact quote...it's the closest my VBS-fried brain can get at the moment! But you get the idea. :))

I was surprised because although K. has been one of my closest friends since we used to take our oldest kids to lunch in carseat carriers, we tend to think we're pretty opposite in many ways.  I love to craft; crafting gives her hives.  She's a numbers person; I'm very much a pictures and words kind of gal.  I make her crazy when I read a book series out of sequence, and her insistence on reading everything in order makes me laugh.

But...she's one of a very few heart friends who knows me inside and out.  We've been through the kind of hard stuff nightmares are made of together.  She's an iron-sharpens-iron friend.  I'm blessed to have several, and I'm thankful beyond words for them.

K. and I try to get to lunch at least once a month or so.   We started out going to Western Sizzlin with two kids and one on the way...we've both added to that number since then, and now we do most of our lunches at McDonalds with a total of six.  Our lunches consist of laughter, deep conversation (even some of Bro. Kent's "deep waters" theology!), sometimes tears, and always lots of interruptions and fun from our kids. :)

I realized after that comment today that while we don't see ourselves as terribly "alike" in many ways, in the ways that matter, we are way more alike than we sometimes realize.  And she's not the only friend I tend to resemble at times. :)

That reminded me that as we often tell our children, it matters who our friends are.  Those we spend a great deal of time with, those we become closest to, will influence us in ways we may never realize.

Yes, we need to reach out to the world.  Yes, we need to sweet fellowship with our part of the Body of Christ as a whole.  But we also need those deep, heart-close friendships.  Those deep friendships need to be with those who will sharpen and encourage and comfort and sometimes even admonish us.  And we need to invest in those relationships to do the same with them.

Those relationships take work.  But they are so worth it.  And as Christians, we need to make a priority of fellowship with the larger body of Christ and of those close "iron sharpens iron" friendships.

I guess maybe I wrote that blog post I'd planned so long ago after all...at least part of it! :)  I've also re-read these linked articles again...and they are so very worth the time it takes to click over and read them.  (And if you don't have time now, print or save them to read later!)

A Thousand Times Over ~ Eye opening post by Courtney at Growing is Beautiful ~ We must not rob others of the chance to love us! 

"When we shield others from the full weight of who we are, we rob them of the chance to love us."  

"And I see it now, how I've spent a whole life believing that it's my job to protect the world from all of me.  From my pain and all the broken places.  From my thoughts and my hopes and all the million things that make me who I am.

Because being a burden to people means they'll get tired of carrying me.  And when they do, they'll leave me on the side of the road for someone else to find.  But I learned it young that maybe I wouldn't have to be left if I just carried all this weight alone."
Oh, how Satan wants us to think this way!  Read Courtney's post, and as I friend of mine would say..."Get over it!"  (along with "It's not a burden...that's what friends are for!")

Don't Be a Lone Ranger Christian ~ Sally Clarkson on the importance of friendships ~ This is oh, so good!  If you don't have time to read it now, print or save it and read it later!
"Satan has crafted this idea of fierce independence and lone ranger mentality. We even tend to value the one who 'did it his way.' We admire the tough independent. We think we can stand alone in our trials and battles. We go to large churches where we are not accountable. We do not know our neighbors. This has never been God’s way and it has never been Biblical."

"We need people to rally us to our best, to hold us accountable, to talk us out of compromise, to pray for miracles and expectation before God together."

Hanging Out with the Right Crowd? ~ More from Sally Clarkson ~ Her PS on this one clarifies so much so well.  
”Invest time with friends who build you up in all the areas of your ideals as often as possible. Cultivate them, affirm them, love them, invest in them."

An Appetizer for the Feast ~ Excellent post on friendship by Noel Piper ~ So, so good, especially for those who don't think they "need friends", from the heart of a true introvert.
"Jesus said, 'I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you' (John 15:15). He is the one I most want as a friend. I don’t want ever to be totally alone, without Jesus. I thank God for friends who have shown me Jesus’ kind of love. They have been an appetizer for the feast of Jesus’ friendship."

On Being Thoughtful ~ Good reminder from Aimee at Living, Learning, and Loving Simply ~ This one has convicted me all over again tonight.  I am so blessed with friends who are so good at this...but it doesn't often come naturally to me.  Oh, I think about it!  But I so often let the mundane and the urgent get in the way, and I just never get around to those good intentions.  Praying that God will move me to do those small acts through which He shines big and beautifully!
"Never underestimate the power of small acts of love... for in those, Jesus shines big and beautifully."

The Gift of Friendship and the Godliness of Good Friends ~ Part 1 of a thought-provoking and convicting series by Kevin DeYoung ~ 

"It’s surprising we don’t talk more about friendship in the church. Depending on how you define friendship, the Bible may have more to say about the friend relationship than it does about marriage and parenting. Further, I bet church “satisfaction” is largely based on two things. If you find happy churchgoers I wager you’ll find these two items present, and where church members are unhappy, I can almost guarantee these two things are missing: quality teaching and quality relationships. No doubt, there are many other important aspects of church life. But for most folks these are the two that matter most. People want a church that teaches them well (which includes sermons, songs, classes, and Bible studies) and a church where they can make friends."

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(Sorry for the weird sizing and spacing on this post.  Blogger's being difficult this evening, and I'm too tired to fight with it. Maybe I can fix it tomorrow. :))


As We Step Into This New Day {Sufficient Grace and Matchless Glory}

I may or may not be back later with another post.  It's going to be a long day.   Went to bed last night praying for our sweet friend Jo Ann and her family, and woke up this morning praying for them.

This thought by Scotty Smith seemed so appropriate for the very full day ahead. 

And these verses have been on my heart and in my mind all week.  As we are learning in VBS this week about God's absolute truth, I'm reminded that in the end, that truth is all that matters.  Not just knowing about that truth, but living in it. His words are trustworthy and true.  He is making all things new.  There will be no more tears, no more cancer, no more death, no more mourning or pain...Savior King Jesus has conquered it all.  And for those who have, through His grace and mercy, been called to follow His truth, that is a glorious hope! 

For those who aren't living in that truth through salvation in Jesus Christ, there is no hope.  But there can be.  You can find more information on that hope here or here.


Update: I rarely update blog posts, but I just felt I had to come back and update this one.  I very hastily posted this this morning in between getting ready, taking Billy to work, getting the kids ready, and packing everything everyone needed to be at church all day for VBS and the funeral. 

In the process of putting something in my bag (a motion that should not at all have caused a problem), I did something to my upper left arm that caused excruciating pain...can't-talk-can-barely-breathe kind of pain.

As some of you know, I spent about 9 months dealing with severe shoulder and upper arm issues on my left side.  I had an injection and six weeks of physical therapy (and lots and lots and lots of prayer!) which worked wonders.  At the beginning of March, I literally could barely move my left arm at all; I had almost no range of motion, and very little strength.  I couldn't lift anything heavier than a loaf of bread with my left arm. I couldn't sleep at night even with pain meds.  It was horrific.

After the injection and PT this spring, I am back to almost full range of motion, I can carry a full pan of food across the room with my left hand, and pain is very rare.  Except this morning.  I was still struggling not to cry when we got to church.

I asked a few people to pray.  We had a full day ahead...VBS crafts all morning, and then a funeral meal to help with before attending the funeral this afternoon, plus an evening full of prep for tomorrow.

It hurt throughout the morning, sometimes worse than others, but never so much that I wasn't able to do what needed to be done.  I limited my mobility quite a bit...partially of necessity, and partially out of caution. As our last group of kids left the craft room, I breathed a quick prayer, "Thank you, Lord, for getting us through the morning...now I really need my arm at full capacity to get through the afternoon." 

From that point on, I was able to do everything I needed to do...lifting, pouring, carrying, stretching...with close to my usual mobility. 

I've been very aware for a long time that God uses pain in my life to remind me of my dependence on Him...of the perfection of His strength in my weakness.  He did it again today. 

I was reminded this evening of the Scotty Smith quote above, and I realized that after having shared it this morning, I really needed to share this update, "for His Matchless Glory".  So thankful for His Sufficient Grace,Compelling Love, and Sovereign Faithfulness always!


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