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I’m beginning an online course with a group of Ethiopian pastors. We are covering my new book Bless-ed! 52 Weekly Blessings You Have As A Believer — and How to Help Your Lost Friends Find Theirs. Here is a short devotional (about 5 minutes’ long) I’ve made for our first class.
I am well acquainted with the surgeon’s primary instrument, the scalpel. I’ve gone through two hernia surgeries, the removal of a kidney tumor that was supposed to be cancerous but wasn’t, achilles surgery, and heart surgery. By God’s grace I’m still around and kicking. [I also get an injection into my right eye every three months to slow down my macular degeneration, but that’s another story.]
I’m incredibly grateful for those surgeons who have operated on me. But there is Another Surgeon, a divine One, whose cutting is critical in my life. And His instrument is God’s Word, the Bible. We read in Hebrews 4 –
I’m aware that the imagery here is of a “double-edged sword.” And a sword’s normal purpose isn’t to be used for surgery, but for execution! However its purpose here isn’t to end one’s life, but to penetrate one’s life, one’s heart. This sword’s goal, of course, is to “judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” And that’s why I say, “O, Blessed Scalpel!”
Today’s Challenge: Where in your heart is required some serious spiritual surgery? Expose that area to God the Holy Spirit whose primary instrument in changing us is the Word of God!
Friends: Linda and I are in the NC mountains for a few days’ vacation. We went to a drag race the other night, primarily so we could watch the fireworks show at the end. The fireworks were put on at 10 pm after about 10 different drag races. As we were leaving, we were asked, “Why are you leaving? Now it’s time for the ‘big boys’ to race?!” Here are two videos I took. Enjoy!
Friends: I am so grateful for the opportunities the Lord is giving me to serve Him. I hope you don’t mind this ministry update. Just a few items.
First, I regret that I’m unable to travel to places like Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to serve my brothers in ministry there. My trips to Myanmar to teach at the South East Asia Bible College & Seminary are also on hold.
Second, I also regret that my every few months’ two week trip to New Jersey has stopped due to the pandemic. I’ve enjoyed several years of sharing God’s Word and working with the elders at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel and pray God’s richest blessings on them as they continue their good work there.
But I’m extremely grateful for the ways God is using me these days. I’ve been teaching New Testament Greek to a couple of friends via Zoom and would love to start a new class for those who are interested (see my post of a couple of days ago for information). I’m also leading a discussion group on my little book Saved! Rescued from God, by God, and for God.
I am particularly thankful that my work with a group of Ethiopian pastors is going well. We are working our way through my booklet Ten Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better! Although this course is being done virtually, we are having some good discussion about effective preaching in their culture.
Here in the States I’m being used to share messages virtually with several churches. Fifth Avenue Chapel in Belmar, New Jersey, is having me do two series in the New Year. The first is a study of the book of Titus and the theme is “A Spiritually Healthy Family.” The second is looking at “Having a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit.” I’ll be videoing each of those messages and will post them when they are completed.
Finally, I’m so thankful for the editing and writing work that I get to do. I’m involved in my friend Alex Strauch’s new book on Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20. I always have my own writing projects that I’m working on and will sometimes inflict, I mean share, some of that work on this blog.
Thanks for reading my update. This gives me a great opportunity to thank the Lord for His continuing to use me in my dotage. Now, I’ve got to think how Linda and I should celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this coming June 5th!