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Archive for the ‘TO REFLECT OUR LORD!’ Category

“And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that you may have lack of nothing.”  I Thessalonians 4:11-12

Truly we live in “perilous times”.  History affirms that perilous times have existed since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden.  But never before have there been the communication options and incredible number of events impacting the entire world simultaneously.

We are not to name a date for the Lord’s return.  But according to Scriptures (Matthew 24 & 25, among many other passages) we are to be wise, live circumspectly, and observe any well-defined indications of the end of the Church Age.  We realize that life as we know it today may suddenly change—literally in “the twinkling of an eye”.

So, to quote the late and wonderful brother in Christ, Francis Schaeffer, “How do we then live?”  The Apostle Paul has comprehensively answered that question for us in his letters—including those to the Thessalonian Christians who were also living in perilous times.  While anticipating our Lord’s return, continuing in love for one another, and sharing the Gospel of salvation whenever possible, we are to “study* to be quiet and to work with our own hands”.  By so doing our physical needs may be adequately met, and we may be able to share material blessings with others who are less fortunate.

But a lot more beyond the obvious material considerations is implied in the 1st Thessalonians passage.  By studying to be quiet and doing our own business, we can witness to “them that are without” by displaying a lifestyle characterized by stability, serenity, creative living, and our blessed (rock-solid!) Hope—even in the most perilous of times. We never give up; we keep on working with our own hands.

Through our lifestyle, we Christians can reflect a tranquil “joie de vivre”—while countless others are experiencing panic, chaos, and the inevitable moral and spiritual unraveling which accompanies .a worldview minus any meaning beyond the tumultuous moment at hand.  We believers are to be radically different:  beacons of light and anchors of reliability, when masses of people around us are metaphorically lost at sea. 

Standing out in the above passage is the word, “own“. Each human on earth is unique. God has blessed us with individual personalities and gifts. He has given each of us an unique calling and potential for ministry. Therefore, any believer who meddles by pressuring others to major in his or her business and ministry is more likely studying to be noisy, rather than quiet. Lost to those sincerely dedicated but unfortunately misled individuals is the fact that when Christ is our life, then ALL OF LIFE IS “ACTIVE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY”!  

Margaret L. Been — February 4th, 2021 (Edited and reprinted from a former entry on my blog, GOD’S WORD IS TRUE)

*The word “study” implies that I am not alone in needing disciplined effort to keep my mouth shut, and live quietly. But as we age, it gets easier. Sometimes we lack the energy to be anything but quiet! 🙂

Beautiful New Teakettle

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23

Here and Beyond

Have you ever witnessed a more potentially threatening time in our nation and world?  Has the world ever before seemed to be crowding in so quickly, closer and closer, as it is at this moment?

Have communications ever been more constant and all-encompassing—inescapable unless one stuffs his or her electronic devices in the back of a remote drawer and goes for a long, solitary walk?  Or even better—the very best of all—-unless one plunges head first into the depths of God’s ever-faithful, ever beneficial Word!

God’s Word is the only place to go for rest, for comprehension, perspective, and power.  God’s Word not only mined daily—but stored as priceless treasure for instant, ongoing accessibility and application.

While the clouds grow thicker so does our call as Christians, not only to share the Gospel of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—but to mirror His indwelling Life, so that the fruit of His Holy Spirit can be seen by all, everywhere we go!  We are called today just God’s people were instructed centuries ago:  to live the Christian life, as mandated in Galatians 5:22-23.

Not to rant and rave* over all the things that are amiss (although, when watching the news I sometimes forget!)  Not to tear our clothes, Old Testament style.  Not to scream at those who are “out of line”.  The fruit of the Spirit is the genuine outworking of Christ’s life in us.  Whatever we are doing and wherever we may be as God’s fruit is displayed, differs with each individual whom God calls. 

As we focus on our Lord, He directs our “whatever/wherever“.  Our “Full Time Christian Service” may be public (as in church work, missions, or workplace) or private (as in home and/or friendship circles).  Both are equally valid and vital.  But fruit there must be, if our witness is to be effective.

I have blogged near-volumes on this topic, and God-willing I may continue to write more.  The issue is ever-green because (probably like every other believer, and definitely as Paul recorded in his letter to the Romans) I struggle with reflecting God’s fruit—even given prayer and immersion in His Word.  Patience (longsuffering) is a challenge for me. However, we cannot select some fruit to model while discarding others.  We need to present the whole basketful, delicious and nourishing.

God knows His own.  If I bungle my witness, His own people will still be saved for Eternity; they haven’t lost a thing.  And when I refuse to relax and let Jesus display His fruit through me, I am nonetheless still saved for Eternity.  But I will have missed the eternal blessing that would have come, had I been in sync with our Lord in that instance.

As the clouds grow thicker, I don’t want to miss any opportunity to reflect the life of our Lord.

Margaret L. Been — February 2, 2021

*The most famous sermon in U.S. history is without a doubt, Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  God used this masterpiece (not only of Scripture truth but of literary construction) to pave the way for the movement of His Holy Spirit in an unprecedented revival on our continent. 

Did Jonathan Edwards shout and rave?  No way.  His delivery was unremarkable, and it has been recorded that he actually read his sermons. 

It was God’s truth in this sermon, not the human vehicle, which set the course of American Christianity from the 1700s on.  In fact, had Edwards ranted and raved, his words may never have taken such a profound course.  The man might have attracted more attention than the message.  God chose a quiet-mannered man for the most spectacular movement of the Holy Spirit in our nation.

Although “Sinners” is the most famous of Edwards’ individual messages, it has also been his sermons of joy-filled wonder at the magnificence and beauty of God that theologians, and everyday readers like me have cherished, found edifying, and re-read again and again for rich spiritual encouragement.

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NOTE: I first published this entry on my blog GOD’S WORD IS TRUE, several years ago. Then awhile back, realizing that I could not go on forever juggling several blogs, I re-directed GOD’S WORD IS TRUE readers to this blog. Meanwhile, years of Scriptural input remain on the “GOD’S WORD” site.

The truths therein are perennial. In the event that some NORTHERN REFLECTIONS readers are unaware of my former blogging, I will be reprinting selected entries on this site. MLB

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