The Heart Behind the Hands

Did you ever do something as a kid just because your parents told you to do it? I remember when I was little, maybe 5 or 6, playing Tee Ball with one of the local teams in Lawrenceburg. Two words: not fun. It’s hard to remember anything I liked about my Tee Ball days besides the ice cream trips after each game. It was always hot, there were always bugs, and most of all, I had the athletic ability of the bleachers that my parents were sitting on. Why was I there, then? Because my parents wanted me to be, that’s all.

In Genesis 28, Jacob had just fled from Esau after being coached into stealing his brother’s birthright by Rebekah. Already mad at him for that, Esau soon overheard a conversation between his parents about his wives. Earlier, in chapter 26, he had chosen two wives from the Philistines in the area, who were said to be, “a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah” (v. 35). On this particular occasion, Rebekah was complaining to her husband (probably for something like the 1000th time) about her daughters-in-law and the negative effect that she could see them having on her son. Jacob, knowing that he could only please his parents with an acceptable bride, soon journeyed to his uncle Laban’s house and chose a wife from his mother’s household. Why? Because his parents wanted him to, that’s all.

It is obvious just from the way in which the text describes this sudden marriage that Jacob did not really care about doing the right thing. His only goal was to make his parents happy. A lot of times, I see myself doing the right thing to make others happy instead of actually putting genuine effort into it. I don’t really care about writing a card to a distant relative sometimes, but someone who is closer to them than I am might be upset if I don’t. Laundry isn’t the first thing that pops into my head when I get home from school, but mom would probably be in a better mood if it got done. Usually, this mindset is actually self-destructive, leading to jobs that are not done very well and possibly even more work after the fact.

Where this attitude is especially dangerous, however, is in our spiritual lives. We’ve all done something that was supposed to be for God or for others in His name without truly caring about how we were doing it before: praying, reading the Bible, a service project, you name it. Just like other activities, these things take more than a half-minded attempt. Prayer should be a deep and meaningful petition to God, and Bible reading should be focused on discerning what He has to say back. Even holding a door should have more behind it than an item on a checklist. Otherwise, we become the kid who’s only running the diamond for the double-scoop he’s been promised. Worse still, we become Jacob, who tried in vain to become a people-pleaser instead of changing his attitude to a more positive, more constructive one.

It’s not wrong to want to make people happy. Bringing joy to the lives of others should be one of our greatest joys in and of itself. It is most certainly not wrong to want to please God out of a loving response to His great blessings towards us. The problem arises when this becomes checking boxes instead of truly growing and becoming more Christ-like every day; if that’s the plan, it’s not going to go well. If Jesus hadn’t cared about His mission while He was here, the cross might not have happened, and if it did, it would be an empty action and useless. Likewise, if we don’t truly care about our walk with God, we’ll end up with our minds somewhere else and lose our Way altogether.

“Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men…” -Ephesians 6: 6-7

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AUTHOR: Lucas Tatum

Tired of It All

What do you do when you are tired of it all? Let’s face it: we all get tired. We get discouraged. We feel spent and as if we have tried all we can try, but nothing is good enough. This gray season of cold doesn’t help, but this feeling may hit us at any time. So what do we do?

What do you do when your job feels monotonous and you never feel appreciated? What do you do when the physical therapy isn’t helping and you are no closer to being “your old self again” despite the doctor’s promises. What do you do when your spouse never seems happy with you even though you are trying to meet their needs. What do you do when you can’t make ends meet no matter how you scrimp and save and you just feel like there is no end in sight? What do you do when …

Everyone’s situation is different and yet we all feel weary, tired, and discouraged at times. So what do we do? What can we do?

First, I would suggest that we realize we are not alone. This is not a new phenomenon to hit our age and time. There are countless people in the Bible who had circumstances and times when they were weary and discouraged: Elijah wanted to die from discouragement only one chapter after defeating the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 19). David grew weary. In Psalm 69:3 he wrote: “I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” God must have known we would struggle with this feeling for there are multiple reminders in the New Testament to not grow weary (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 12:3).

Secondly, I would recommend looking to Christian friends for encouragement. In the Old Testament, early in their journey away from Egypt, the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites. When Moses would hold up his hand with the staff of God, the Israelites prevailed. But Moses got tired. Talk about pressure! If he couldn’t keep his hands raised, warriors from his people were being killed before his eyes. But if we keep reading in Exodus 17, we see that his brothers helped him. They came, brought him a rock on which to sit, and they help his hands up. When I am feeling discouraged, I need to look to my Christian brothers and sisters for encouragement and help. Galatians 6:2 reminds us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Finally, take your cares to a loving God who is, after all, the only one who sees the big picture and knows the whole situation. He knows why you feel this way and when you will stop. In 1 Peter 5:7, we are told to cast our cares on Him, “for He cares for you.” Talking to Him and reading what He tells us in His word is the best way to set ourselves back on a path to peace and contentment. The situation may not change. You may not be able to avoid the source of your discouragement, but you can change your reaction to it.

Psalm 131

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

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AUTHOR: Amber Tatum

Here’s to Faithful Deacons

The congregation where I preach is currently in the process of searching for and then, Lord willing, appointing additional deacons. It is an exciting time, as we consider the men of our congregation who are faithful servants, as well as various areas where our congregation could use their help.

The older I get, the more I see the wisdom in God’s plan for the organization of the church, with each autonomous congregation being overseen and pastored by a group of elders, and with deacons providing special service in various areas.

I do feel, however, that deacons are often overlooked. While elders are the leaders, deacons–when they do what they are directed to do in Scripture–are absolutely vital to the life and vitality of a congregation.

So, today, I want to honor these faithful men.

Here’s to deacons…

…who truly are “deacons.” The word “deacon” just means a servant. These men are selected by the congregation to serve in very special ways, and it takes a good heart and work ethic to do so.

…who are not trying to climb some corporate ladder. Deacons are not junior elders! While many deacons become elders one day, I am grateful for men who simply serve in their area of work without trying to see it as a stepping stone to “the big job” of being an elder one day.

…who are humble. Deacons rarely have their names mentioned from the pulpit, and get very little recognition. But humility is required for one to be a servant, and the example of these men should encourage us all.

…who are balancing life. Deacons, per the qualifications found in Scripture, must be married and have children. Many also work a regular job. Some have aging parents. Yet, in the midst of all they do, they find time to serve the congregation in a special and invaluable way.

…who honor the elders. Not everything will be rosy all the time in elder/deacon communication. There will be times when a budget is slashed, or when the elders simply fail to show the deacon an important piece of information. Still, deacons who honor these leaders are modeling true servanthood in a way that is impossible to overstate.

…who model true Christianity. I am 40 years of age. As of yet, I have never served under an elder who is younger than I am (though one of my elders now isn’t too much older. I know my time is coming!). I say that because I have worshipped with deacons who were younger than me, or very similar in age. And I look to them often for how to simply live the Christian life, serving and being faithful to the Lord, to my spouse, to my children, and to the Lord’s Church.

So, to you men who often serve in areas that are rarely lifted up, but who serve because the Lord’s Church needs you, here’s to you!

“For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 3:13)

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Is It Ever Alright to be Jealous?

Yes. It is sometimes permissible, if not necessary, to be jealous. Let’s face it – Our God is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14 even says that His name is “Jealous.” This Hebrew word in the original text indicates that God is not going to put up with any rival, such that any departure from one’s desire for Him to pursue someone or something else would bring about His severe and justified anger. Therefore – He’s jealous. It’s a relationship thing. It’s an ownership thing. It’s a love thing.

There are legitimate reasons for humans to practice godly jealousy. But really quickly let’s first discuss what godly jealousy is not. Godly jealousy is not being jealous when someone is experiencing a good moment without our involvement. Godly jealousy is not being jealous when someone has something we wished we had that we have failed to obtain. Godly jealousy is not being jealous when can’t claim ownership over someone or something to whom we have no right in the first place. Godly jealousy is never selfish, self-centered, or self-advancing.

1. We have a right to be jealous over what we have CREATED. God created us, and therefore He is our Master. He designed us and put in us a measure of Himself. He has a right to ownership because of what He has invested and sacrificed. Those who have children have a natural right to jealousy over the affection and relationship and eventual destiny of their offspring. We were here with them first. So when we have involvement in the very existence or creation of something, even a design our project, jealousy over it can be warranted.

2. We have a right to be jealous over those with whom we are in a COVENANT. Husbands have the right to be jealous over their wives. Wives have a right to be jealous over their husbands. In discussing obligations of spouses, the apostle Paul said this, “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Cor. 7:4). This is because they have pledged themselves for life and have sealed the covenant ceremoniously. Christians are in the same covenant relationship with God in a spiritual sense.

3. We have a right to be jealous over that which we have CONSECRATED. To consecrate is to “set apart, to sanctify, or to make holy.” God has sanctified us by washing us and cleansing us in the blood of His dear Son. Once set apart, we are His possession. And there are things in life that we as humans also set apart. We commit ourselves and sacrifice ourselves in order to keep these things pure and good at all times. When something attacks or seeks to compromise what we have righteously exerted all of our energy to keep holy, we should react with godly jealousy.  It is right to protect the beauty and value of that which we have consecrated.

Jealousy can be a good thing if it is tempered. It means we are passionate and care about the relationships in which we have invested. God’s jealousy really only means that He loves us above every other created thing, and that should make us feel important. To be jealous can be to be godly. But to be jealous when we have no right to be, well, this is the working of the evil one.

“For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14)

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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

Good Enough for Who It’s For

If I remember correctly, my first baseball “uniform” consisted of a baseball cap and a t-shirt. The t-shirt had the name of a local funeral home on the front of it and a number on the back. 

The man who owned the funeral home knew that he was not trying to supply uniforms for a major league team. He was just kind enough to try to help some seven-year-old boys get a start. He probably thought at the time (and rightly so), “Those t-shirts and caps are good enough for who it’s for.

If that is what he thought, he was correct. We were just a group of seven-year-old boys who were excited about actually getting to play what might be laughingly referred to “organized” baseball. We really didn’t expect much. 

My first automobile was twelve years old when I got it. It was not the latest and the greatest. A new driver did not need the latest and the greatest. It was not as good as some of the other kids in my high school had. It was not a lot of things. It did, though, run well enough to get me from one place to another. 

Although I would have liked to have had something better, in reality, and at the time, I guess the thinking was, “That car is good enough for who it’s for.” In fact, it was just that.

I was just a sixteen-year-old kid who was excited about having a little bit of independence. I knew that the financial situation of either my parents or me would not allow for much. I really didn’t expect much and was satisfied (sort of) with what I had.

I’ve actually heard that type of thinking expressed. I believe the first time was when a friend of ours who had a construction company poured a concrete driveway for our family. As he completed the project, he kind of smiled and said, “It looks like it’s good enough for who it’s for.” 

In effect, what he was telling me was that he knew he was not pouring concrete for some powerful or popular person. He knew we were friends (and probably that he was giving me a break on the cost). He knew that I would be satisfied as long as the driveway held up and was functional.

In other words, my expectations were not all that high. I did not demand anything fancy. Functional was more appropriate (and affordable). I just wanted a driveway. 

For those reasons, he saw no need to do anything “above and beyond” what was necessary. He did not necessarily do the “bare minimum,” but didn’t take great pains to do absolutely the best job he possibly could.

So, what do baseball uniforms, old cars, and driveways have to do with anything? In my opinion, they have a lot to do with how I view my commitment to, and service for, the God who created the universe and my Lord who gave His life for me.

It seems to me that the good enough for who it’s for has made some principles found in the New Testament difficult to grasp for some people. Please consider the following passages as they are translated in the King James Version of the Bible:

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Col. 3:23).

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters… With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men (Eph. 6:5-7).

Do these passages not indicate that the highest motivation for service should be that anything done for the Lord should be the very best? Didn’t the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to write these words to motivate us to do the very best we can in all we do?

It seems to me that this would be true if we have a high, respectful, and reverent view of the Lord. If, on the other hand, we have an attitude about Him that says (at least by our actions) that whatever I do to worship and serve Him is good enough for who it is for, then those passages and many other principles found in God’s Word make no sense.

My mind is racing in many different directions at the moment. Let me just share a few of the things I’m thinking about and which, I firmly believe, indicate a good enough for who it’s for attitude that some have concerning God.

  • If I want my children to excel in schoolwork, but have no idea what they are studying in Bible class, have I not adopted the attitude that says, “It’s good enough for who it’s for?” After all, the school system has certain expectations. God ought to be happy with whatever effort my children and I make.
  • When I am very particular about how I look and what I wear to a wedding, a funeral, and/or some social function, but grab something out of the closet at the last minute to worship, am I not, in effect, telling God, “It’s good enough for who it’s for?” Shouldn’t God be pleased that I showed up? Isn’t that good enough?
  • When I drop into the collection plate only what is left over from what I’ve spent on the “important” things all week, is that not saying, “It’s good enough for who it’s for?” Shouldn’t the Lord who gave His life for me be pleased with the dollar bill I found folded up in my pocket/purse?
  • When my calendar is so filled with trips and activities all week long that I can only squeeze in an hour (once in a while) to worship, does that not say, “It’s good enough for who it’s for?” Again, shouldn’t God be pleased with the fact that I’m here at all? He knows how busy I am, doesn’t He?
  • When I know the lyrics to the latest (and maybe most vulgar) songs, but don’t know the books of the Bible, am I saying, “It’s good enough for who it’s for?” Why is memorization difficult only when it comes to things of a spiritual nature?
  • When I can name (almost without thinking) the starting lineup of my favorite sports team, but cannot name the apostles, am I not demonstrating a “good enough for who it’s for” attitude?
  • When I can tell somebody specific directions to a nice restaurant, theme park, etc., but cannot tell that same person God’s plan of salvation (how to get to heaven), have I not adopted a good enough for who it’s for philosophy?
  • What if I am responsible for getting something accomplished in my local congregation, but never find the time to fulfill that responsibility or only do it in a half-hearted way? Am I telling my brothers and sisters, “It’s good enough for who it’s for?” Do I even realize that what I’m supposed to be doing is not for them, but for the Lord?
  • I don’t want to fail to challenge those of us who preach. Do I let the number to whom I will be speaking and/or the occasion (local congregation vs. lectureship, etc.) determine the amount of time I study and effort I put forth? If I am preaching to a smaller group, do I do the bare minimum and assume that it is good enough for who it’s for?    

The list could go on and on, but I will end it here. I’ve probably stomped on enough toes already – including my own.

Before I end my thoughts, though, I need to mention that I am not the first to ask people to compare what they were doing for–and offering to–the Lord with other areas of their lives. 

A long time ago, the prophet Malachi gave us some insight into how the God of heaven views the good enough for who it’s for mentality – especially as it relates to what we do for Him.

‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations (Malachi 1:6-14, ESV).

The message of the Bible can be stated in many ways. All of those ways relate in some way to God’s love for sinful men and His desire to redeem us from sin in order that we can be in His presence throughout eternity.

I guess that you could say that my Creator looked at me (and you). He saw all of the weaknesses and warts and still loved me (and you). For some reason that is beyond my comprehension, He sent His Son to die for me (and you)

When I look at the cross, maybe I need to think,

“This is the ultimate and almost unbelievable demonstration of something being good enough for who it’s for.” 

If that won’t cause me to my knees in reverence and praise, I don’t know what will. 

If that won’t cause me to rise from that posture and serve Him to the very best of my ability, again, I don’t know what will.

May God help all of us to do as a song we sometimes sing says:

Give of your best to the Master.

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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

Photo background credit: Eric Molina on Creative Commons

Episode 97: Raising Readers and Never Giving Up on Your Ideal of Family [Podcast]

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Parenting isn’t easy, but Adam and Leah want to encourage you. Today on the program, they talk about simple ways to encourage your children to read (that don’t have to cost much money) and then discuss how important it is to not give up on your ideal of family even when the culture wants you to be lazy. Resources mentioned are below.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

The Most Important Part of Teaching Kids to Read” [Read Aloud Revival]

Raising Kids Who Love to Read” [Of the Hearth]

Discovery Magazine [Apologetics Press]

Never, Never, Never Give Up Your Ideals! Your Sacrifice Matters!” [Sally Clarkson]

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Hidden Secrets

I was just a little girl, and my intentions were so pure. I just wanted to take one of my grandmother’s beautiful roses to my teacher at school. Grandma helped me cut the rose and wrapped the stem for me.

The part that neither she nor my mother knew about was that I had gotten one of Mom’s vases, and I secretly put the rose in the vase and proudly took it to school.

The vase was beautiful to me. It was fine china and had a woman’s delicate hand sculpted as if holding a delicate cup. To my eyes as a child, I thought it was perfect for carrying a rose to my teacher. 

My teacher talked about how beautiful the rose and the vase were and she put them on her desk for all to see. She must have known that the vase was of some value, because at the end of the day, she placed the rose in another container and told me I needed to take the vase back home.

Everything was going great until I stopped to play on the way home from school and sat the vase down on the sidewalk. A short time later when I started to pick it up, I bumped it and it fell over breaking into two pieces just above the woman’s hand.

I carried the pieces home, got out the glue, glued the two pieces together and put the vase back in the spot it always sat. The glue line was only slightly detectable, and Mom never used that vase for flowers, so she never knew it had been broken.

But I did.

Years passed and occasionally I would look at that vase and think about what I had done. I kept a hidden secret from my mother. When I would visit my parents in their home, there sat that vase.

One day as she and I were sitting in the living room talking, I walked over and picked up the vase and told her the story about how it was broken and how I had fixed it. The weight was lifted from my shoulders.

She had never noticed that fine line, and by this time in her life, she really didn’t care about it. In fact, I don’t think she ever really cared about that trinket. We had a good laugh about the incident.

I still have that vase. My mother passed from this life almost nine years ago, and I still have that vase. (It’s in the picture at the top of this article, in fact.)

Why? As a reminder.

It reminds me that guilt is powerful, no matter how insignificant the wrong.

It reminds me that confession is liberating, no matter how much time has passed.

It reminds me that even though I may have hidden secrets from other people, they are never hidden from God.

It reminds me of my mother and her forgiving spirit.

It reminds me that God is always willing to forgive those wrongs for which I repent.

That tiny line in that vase reminds me that the vase is no longer perfect, but the wrong I had done is wiped away. Just as my mother in her love for me forgave me, so also will God in His love forgive me when I have done wrong.

What is it in your life that reminds you of the blessing of forgiveness for hidden secrets?

“…as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” 

(Psalm 103:12)

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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

The Final Step in Jethro’s Advice to Moses

Exodus 18 is very often used in leadership books written by Christian writers. Many have described it as the foundation of the US legal system (and other similar systems throughout history).

It simply is the idea of delegation, but it took someone giving Moses the idea before it ever became a reality. Jethro, who was the father-in-law of Moses, saw that Moses was attempting to take care of every dispute among the people, and he was making both the people and himself weary.

So Jethro had a simple but needed idea. Basically, he told Moses to only handle the biggest disputes and let trusted men handle smaller groups of people and their disputes. He ended his advice with these words:

So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct  you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace. (Exodus 18:22b-23)

Jethro saw the problem. He gave an organized and practical solution. He even gave a good reminder at the end of why this would be a good idea.

But there was another step in this process that many of the leadership books forget, even though it’s found in the very next verse:

So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. (verse 24)

Have you ever thought about that one simple verse? What if Jethro had laid out this plan, but Moses decided to do his own thing, or just keep on keeping on the way things were?

One of the signs of a good leader is the ability to change gears, to listen to advice, and to seek new ways to handle old problems. But often, the leader is not the one who comes up with these ideas on his or her own.

So, in this case, the leader must also be the follower!

While Moses was weary and overwhelmed with handling all these disputes, he was still the leader. He could have had the mindset of “my way or the highway.” He could have doubled down and thought, “I’ll show that old man that I can handle this!”

Instead, Moses listened, saw a reasonable and practical opportunity, and became the follower for a moment, which made him a far more effective leader.

Parents, elders, business leaders, teachers…all leaders. Are you listening to good advice? Are you willing to become the follower for a few moments if it means helping to solve a problem?

You may just see amazing results if you will.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Something Love Will Never Do

What is your first response to the sins that are committed by other people? Wait a minute, should I clarify? Let’s say that someone who doesn’t like you or who has hurt you in some way does something to stain their character. Maybe they do something that is obviously not morally right. What is the first thing that goes through your mind? OK let’s go again. This time let’s say your sweet grandmother was to sin? (Yes, grandmothers sin, too). Let’s say she does something that is obviously not becoming a person who claims to be a Christian. Now, what’s your first response?

Should the identity of the person matter to us when people sin? Should it determine how we view sin, or how we view others? And what if something bad happens to people who are not good to us? What if tragedy comes to those who have made it their aim to be a thorn in our side? Do we celebrate? Do we silently cheer when bad things happen to people who have persecuted us?

When it comes to choices people make, there is something love will never do. When people do wrong, love will never be glad they did it. Love will never allow a person to think negatively of another person for their deeds, because love sees human weakness. Love sees the sins of one’s own self. Love hurts for people, even when they make poor choices. Love understands that we have all been there and done that. And love doesn’t choose grandma’s sin as acceptable over the sin of one who might be commonly considered an immoral person. Love shows no partiality to people based on their behavior. It sees every person equally. It commits a compassionate spirit with regard to how it chooses to view others.

When it comes to the things that happen to people, there is something else love will never do. When people suffer, love will never rejoice in their suffering. No matter how we have been treated, if we have the love of Christ, we will not rejoice when the persecutor gets rewarded with a terrible day. There is no true joy or peace or comfort in watching even wicked people suffer. God himself has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He desires that they turn from their evil ways. In essence, it could be argued that Jesus was sacrificed according to the will of God for the most intensely immoral and wicked people. Even though God is just, he wants to be merciful. Because He is love – his first inclination is to always extend grace and forgive.

So the next time you see someone do something that you believe is morally wrong – don’t let the first response in your heart tell you that they are a bad person. Because love sees that they are a human person who is struggling. And they are someone who needs prayers of compassion and forgiveness.

And the next time you see something bad happen to someone who has chosen to be your enemy – don’t let your first response be to say, “they had it coming.” Because love never rejoices when tragedy strikes the life of any fellow human being. We are all made in the image of God. And we should desire blessings even for those who choose not to wish blessings upon us.

These things are not always easy. But there are certain things love just does. And there are some things love will never do.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6

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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

How’s Your Readjusting Going?

The post that appeared here last week was originally scheduled for a little over a year ago. [Here is that post.That did not happen, though, because of some “production issues.” A little editing was done in order for what I wrote at that time to be able to be published last week.

Those “production issues” have provided a unique opportunity. They have allowed something that has taken a year to develop to be condensed into only a week.

A year or so ago, when I wrote what was posted only last week, I was writing in anticipation of a new phase in my life. On December 31, 2016, I “retired” from full-time local preaching. On January 1st of this year, I began my second year of this thing called “retirement.”

A little over a year ago, I thought I had some idea about what retirement would be like. Today, I realize that I was wrong. In fact, I realize that I may never know what it is like.

During the past year, I’ve been asked the same question a number of times:

“How’s your retirement going?”

When people ask me that, my stock answer has been to respond by saying one of two things. One of those answers is: “I’m still trying to figure that out.” The other response is: “It’s still a work in progress.” 

There are many reasons for those responses. One of them has to do with the fact that I am still serving as an elder and worshiping where I preached for sixteen years. Most people do not retire and stay where they were.

Another reason why I still don’t know much about this thing called “retirement” is that I am still preaching and teaching. Some of that is done locally and some is done in other locations. 

“Retirement,” at least for me, has not meant spending the majority of my time traveling and/or spending more time with some hobby. “Retirement” has meant that I am still doing what I did for many years, but on a different schedule.

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a very good friend of mine. Brother Bill Hensley lacks a little less than three months being twenty years older than me. At age eighty-nine he is still serving a congregation as their “full-time preacher.” I suppose that this is his version of retirement because, for many, many years, he preached full-time and worked long hours at an auto body shop which he owned. 

Bill finally stopped working on cars a few years ago when his shop was destroyed by fire. I don’t think that burning church buildings down would stop him from preaching, though. He’d find some venue. I am confident that this is the case because, a number of years ago, he walked into a tavern and, with the permission of the owner (who unplugged the jukebox), preached to the people in the tavern. 

As Bill and I were discussing our current roles, he said something that I’m trying to keep in mind:

“Preachers don’t retire. We just readjust.”

As I continue to think about what he said, I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that this is true of all of us. Readjustment is not something that only preachers experience as we go through life. Readjustment is necessary for all of us on a continuing basis due to a variety of factors. Just think of how many readjustments you’ve had to make because of age, geography, family dynamics, economic circumstances, education, health, and employment, etc. 

I’ve read that some person and/or some piece of equipment in an airplane must spend a great deal of time “readjusting” in order to keep that plane on course and/or to get it back on course if it ever veers off the course. Without the readjustments, the plane with all of the passengers and cargo would never reach the intended destination.

It is my hope that those who read the material posted by those of us involved in contributing to A Legacy of Faith have heaven as their ultimate goal. If that is the case, I have a question for you:

How’s your readjusting going?

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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn