A Weak Finish

By: Susan Bea Good

“Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10/NLT)

I have a three-part theme when I coach basketball: “Work Hard-Make it Good-Finish Strong.”  Hard work and making a good effort are focused on the end result of finishing strong.  Weakness is not an option! This will continue to be my coaching theme, however, I have recently realized the value of weakness in another sense that has nothing to do with sports.

The Apostle Paul learned at the end of his own years of hardship that God offers His strength to those who finally realize they are weak.  Paul was the epitome of strength of conviction against religious hypocrites.  He showed personal bravery while being threatened in storms, enduring shipwrecks, and being snake-bit. He refused the easy life he could have enjoyed as an educated Roman citizen and instead sang with joy while shackled in a Roman prison. Yet Paul boasted, not of these dramatic physical and emotional experiences, but of the resulting spiritual weakness that was his after enduring relentless personal attacks from those whom he loved.  Paul was “weakened” and ruined by evil men…and he knew that his God ordained it!

Though he asked three times for this brokenness to be removed, Paul’s God said, “No.” And Paul learned the greatest lesson of his life- God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.

Few are privileged to finish this life understanding their own essential dependence on God.  For sure, this weak finish will have passed through many types of pain, including personal betrayal and broken heartedness.  Yet as this end appears God slowly removes our self-sufficiency and replaces it with His own sufficiency.  He has said that He is enough for us, and when we are truly weakened we can see this to be true.  What a blessing to finally realize our dependence on the strength of the Almighty!  God is great and God is good!

This blogger writes to encourage faithful Christ-followers to see God’s Big Picture and purpose to be a part of it.  Adonai Eloheinu!

 

 

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Non-Negotiables for Effective and Biblical Abuse Ministry

A Cry For Justice

Recently we composed this statement of what we call our “non-negotiables” for abuse ministry. We call them this because they are not points that we are willing to “agree to disagree” with. You might say that this list serves as our philosophy of ministry in this field, and in capsule form states fundamental truths that every abuse ministry must embrace if it is to be effective and biblical. These are the hard-learned truths which determine all of what we do here. They also serve as the criteria by which we evaluate books, speakers, and organizations. Unless such entities adhere to these non-negotiables without reservation, we will not recommend nor endorse them to our readers.

For those ministering in domestic abuse situations, please read this list carefully. If you find that you do not concur with all points in this list, we encourage you to prayerfully reevaluate your beliefs and your practice.

1. A clear…

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We Must Understand What Reviling is and What the Reviler Looks Like

Hard to accept but true!

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Luk 6:22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!

1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one.

1Co 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus…

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A Vital Sermon to Hear – What is Wrong with the Visible Church Today?

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I delivered the following sermon yesterday here at Christ Reformation Church as part of our ongoing series in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the Sermon on the Mount.

You can read or listen to the sermon HERE

Do you wonder if the true church even exists anymore today? Of course we know it does, but where is it? Why is it that local churches are so commonly havens for the wicked? How is it that the righteous are cast out? Well, it turns out that the very same conditions existed in the days when Christ was here on this earth.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus identifies what a true citizen of His kingdom looks like (the Beatitudes) and then he exposes the phonies. In His day those were the Scribes and Pharisees and their crowd.

They are still with us today and in many, many cases local churches…

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Local Churches are Giving Standing Ovations to the Wicked (Part 2)

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Php 2:19-21 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. (20) For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. (21) For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

We continue now in this series of articles to expose the evil in local churches that, as in the case of one “Pastor” Andy Savage, enjoys a comfortable place among those who claim to know Christ. That claim, of course, is very dubious and highly suspect. How can Light abide darkness, or righteousness dwell with unrighteousness?

You will notice the experience of the Apostle Paul as he describes it here in his letter to the church at Philippi. He is alone. Almost all alone. This is the APOSTLE Paul! The Apostle commissioned personally by Christ. The…

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Grandma’s Greatest Gift

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One Day of Fungi Finds at Grandma’s

By: Susan Bea Good

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (I John 5:14/NIV)

For many years I was privileged with opportunities to fellowship with my seven grandsons. Fungi collecting, basement-campouts, river-making in the sandbox, playing catch over the garage roof, bike riding and chalk art in the driveway, Star Wars, Rikki Tiki Tavi, U-Tube puppy videos, and shooting baskets were some of the activities I shared with my favorite boys.

When they were toddlers they listened intently to my made up stories about “Bouncy Bunny.”  The moral was always that boys should listen to and obey their parents.  This is ironic as I am presently barred from direct influence upon these grandchildren due to accusations that I questioned their parents’ authority.  One of my deepest desires of life was to be a godly influence on my grandchildren.  My current designation as the “bad” grandma would seem to have destroyed that hope.

Because we cannot absorb all He has to give in one big dose God usually unfolds His work a little at a time.  I believe He has been slow-working His good through the attacks upon my grandma-status.  I’m convinced now that my present “broken” position is far more valuable than the whole one I held before.  The grandma who was “so, so, so, so fun” is now gone.  But I am sure that God is working in ways I never imagined.

I’m realizing that there is (and always was) only one effort of lasting value that I can offer my grandsons- I can pray, asking God to do good for them…and then trust Him to do so!

I am sure that God is good…and that He is working.  I’m no longer weeping over my felt-loss.  Now I’m waiting- for God to finish doing what no amount of grandma-effort could ever accomplish.  I’m embracing His will, even if it means that I never regain relationships with my grandsons in this life.  Asking for their good and choosing to trust God is the greatest gift I can give.

This blogger’s purpose is to encourage faithful Christ-followers to see God’s Big Picture and be a part of it.  Adonai Eloheinu.

 

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Are We There Yet?

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By: Susan Bea Good

“So, if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.”  (I Peter 4:19/NLT)

Years ago one of my very young sons was an impatient traveler.  Early into every trip he would ask, “Are we there yet?”  He was never satisfied with the honest answer, instead he would offer a deal- “How about two minutes?”  His daddy and I would always agree that two minutes sounded about right, and that seemed enough to encourage our boy that the trip was almost completed.

This past year has been for me like a terrible too-long trip.  I have prayed without ceasing that the end of this journey was near.  During this time I discovered that many of my friends are also on their own too-long travels.  Some are new widows, others have had many decades of struggle that have them badly worn.

I’ve asked God repeatedly to hasten the completion of my present painful journey.  Not long ago I asked Him to convince me that He is still moving my life towards a good conclusion.  Indeed He has convinced me that He’s a gracious Father who has actually been patiently carrying me as I learn just how sufficient and complete is His power and sovereignty.

Sixty years a daughter, forty as a wife, and over three decades as a mother…the relational-pain which spreads over this time has overlapped and culminated in this past terrible year.  I can testify that in all this time God protected me.  God fought for me.  God saved me.  He never left me alone!

My newly found precious church family enlisted me to teach the children on Sunday mornings.  We are almost finished with the book of Genesis.  Joseph’s testimony of God’s faithfulness is documented in the final chapters.  When his journey of suffering was complete he made this statement to his repentant persecutors, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”  This is how God works with us today!  He is faithful to carry us through the journey that seems too hard and too long to survive.  He never puts us aside or loses interest in our cause.  He is with us until the end!

Sometimes God shares a glimpse of our destination before it comes into our sights.  As with the two dreams He gave to the teen Joseph, God sometimes gives us a clearer picture of the route we are traveling.

Following Joseph’s journey has been such an encouragement to me that I have chosen to adopt his attitude for myself.  I am grateful now for the years of pain, especially this last period of intense suffering.  God has shown me that my trials were a blessing to some who watched and saw that He was faithful.  They were a blessing to me also, as God worked to convince me of His goodness.  I am hoping and praying earnestly that this time will produce a continued reward that far outweighs the difficulty invested in the journey.  I’m convinced it will!

This blogger’s hope is to be an encouragement to faithful Christ-followers as they recognize God’s Big Picture and purpose to be a part of it.  Adonai Eloheinu!

 

 

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