Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanks, and yes, thanks!

Thanks, and yes, thanks!

 “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

“Thanks, but no, thanks.” That’s a response given when someone can choose not to accept a gift.  But – what about the things we are given over which we never had a choice? Where we were born – our biological family members – our physical appearance. We may not perceive them as gifts or feel grateful for them, yet the bottom line of contentment in life is gratitude for whatever we have. True thanksgiving comes from a heart of contentment. It is in wanting what we have rather than in having what we don’t.
            Paul says in Philippians 4:12b that he haslearned the secret of being content in any and every situation”. (my emphasis) How? By the power of Christ in him he shares in verse 13,  “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
To encourage us he states a wonderful promise in verse 19,  “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” What do we need?  As followers we need to be like Him – to choose in loving obedience to do the will of God by accepting whatever circumstance and thanking Him for it. 
            We may never feel gratitude for things we cannot change, but we can thank God in faithful assurance that He will use them for His good purposes and His glory – the fulfillment of His promise in Romans 8:28-29 that He is working everything to conform us to the image of Christ.
            Therefore, let us say, no matter what, “Thanks, and yes, thanks!”

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Gem in my Pocket


            To look at me few people suspected how thirsty I was, nor could they see the gnawing hunger inside me that I had suppressed and denied for years. In appearance my frame displayed a well-fed woman, perhaps a little more so than others, but inside, my soul and spirit were in desperate need of nourishment. I was as good as dead until I attended a life-changing Christian retreat. It was there I realized how wretched and destitute I was. The One who drew me to that time, event and place showed himself to be the Living Water and Bread of Life I needed to save my soul – my Savior, Jesus.

            I celebrated my forever birthday at that retreat some thirty-five years ago, where I clearly heard the gospel for the first time. It was the beginning of my life in Christ, a new, exciting journey. I bought a new Bible that day and began devouring it and, while I knew little about what evangelism meant, I wanted to share the life-saving food I had found with others. I was eager to find and use every tool available, so the bookstore at the retreat became my stomping ground.

            One of the treasures I discovered was at the checkout counter in a small display. In it was a little folded booklet entitled “Ready References for your Pocket Testament” containing ten sections arranged in twenty topics with scripture references, from the “A-B-C’s of Salvation” to “Great and Precious Promises.” What was most amazing about this treasure-filled booklet was how it was printed on only a half-page of regular sized paper and then folded into a neat business-card-size form which one could easily tuck into a wallet, purse, pocket testament, Bible or business card holder and keep for handy use. What a help it was to me as someone new to the Bible - to have such a compact tool to aid me in “mining” the treasure trove of God’s word.

            I still have this little gem tucked in my Bible and it has served me well. Recently I discovered how this publication started through the Pocket Testament League and how this extensive ministry began over 120 years ago when teenager Helen Cadbury sewed pockets in dresses to hold New Testaments provided by her father. The pockets made them easily portable and accessible, so they could be shared by her and her friends who sewed the pockets, too. Since then the League has blossomed into a worldwide ministry serving millions of people.

            Today the Pocket Testament League website uses internet technology to provide much more than a checkout display. Here the League presents its many resources to not only spread the gospel but to encourage believers in their daily walk as well. It’s a virtual expansion of the small pocket testament reference gem I found – providing helps ranging from evangelism tools to free daily devotionals. And the ministry doesn’t limit itself to providing products – they offer special services including free evangelism training and Bible studies, too.

            The League has something for everyone - whether someone seeking to be refreshed by what only Christ can offer as I was or for a new believer who needs guidance along his journey or for even those who have been walking with Jesus for many years. Anyone can join the League and, as a member, grow in faith and join their mission to spread the gospel and minister to people who need something more lasting in their pockets than coins and credit cards in this world.

            I encourage anyone interested in making a difference in their own lives or in the lives of others, as young Helen Cadbury and her father did, to visit the Pocket Testament League website. Whether someone wishes to learn more about the gospel or evangelism or simply to be uplifted by the many stories found there of people throughout the world who have been touched and changed by this ministry, they will find something to meet their need.

            Just as the League still offers the small reference “gem” I found and continue to use, they provide a wealth of other treasures for anyone to discover. For a rewarding experience, I encourage everyone who wants to put some “gems” into their own pockets to explore the rich lode available at the Pocket Testament League website.