We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

In Faithfulness You Have Afflicted Me

Have you ever faced a sudden trial in your life? Maybe it was unexpected, and in certain ways, disillusioning. When these trials come, it’s often easy to buckle under their weight and lose any forward motion and perspective.

Solomon understood this when he penned the Proverb, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10) I don’t know about you but when I am experiencing conflicts my strength is drained. But I’m learning that when my strength has been diminished, it is a clear sign that fear or pride has blocked the flow of God’s restoring grace.

For thirteen years I struggled with chronic fatigue, colitis, fibromyalgia, and depression. Indeed my strength was small during this time, but it was also a time when I experienced unusual success as a leader and speaker. On the outside I looked great; but on the inside I was falling apart.

If you are longing for your inner self to match your outward smile, then it is going to take humility. Humility requires honesty about your weaknesses. It is interesting that is some severe cases of psychosis, that the individual begins to think of themselves as superior and some have even claimed to be Jesus Christ. The more we hide our weaknesses on the inside, the more exaggeratedly pure we see ourselves on the outside.

For the past sixteen years I have not experienced any of the symptoms of the four illnesses I listed. It took me 13 years to learn that God resists the proud, but when we’re honest about who we are on the inside, He gives grace to the humble.

Published in: on January 9, 2011 at 5:37 am  Comments (1)  

Wealth with Wings Like Eagles

What Bible verse do you think of when you hear the phrase, “wings like eagles?”

Proverbs 23:4-5 come to mind for me:

“Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.”

I can imagine that many wished they had learned this truth before the economy started to decline. If only more Christians would see that their future is not secure in investments, 401 K’s, or even in silver and gold, but in storing up treasures in heaven.

I was recently speaking at a conference in one of the more affluent areas of our nation. Yet even in this wealthy community I saw fear and insecurity. I learned that one multimillionaire had lost millions of dollars and had only eight million remaining. Thinking he had no hope, he took his life. My heart goes out to his family, but can you see how his reality had become distorted? He viewed his money as his god, and when his god began to dwindle, so also did his hope. That is why the Scriptures teach us not to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly gives us all things to enjoy.

It is certain that we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out–except for people. Let us invest our lives in our families, in endeavors that influence others to store up treasures in heaven.

Published in: on January 9, 2011 at 5:31 am  Leave a Comment