When I tip-toed into to our bedroom this morning to help my wife up for the day, I sat down on the floor by her side and just spent some time simply looking at her peaceful, slumbering face resting upon her pillow. From there my eyes wandered up and across the room to three pictures of her that I had hung on the wall. One photo was taken when she was 21 when we were at a park a couple months before our wedding. Another picture that is wedged between the two door frames in the room was recorded a few months after our wedding as Piper was reading in our little (old-funky) apartment. And the final shot was taken of Piper standing in the kitchen of our house that we lived in before we moved to Oklahoma. At that time she was in her late forties.
While lost in thought of all the fun times that we have had over the years of our relationship, my attention was broken by the sudden awareness of the bright glare of the sun upon the glass in the frames as it escaped through the slits on the blinds behind me on the large bedroom window. At that moment I sat back on my hunches and smiled as the Lord brought to a climax what He had been showing me a few moments previous to this event while studying His Word.
Earlier in the morning as I had sat down to my computer bible study program with a hot cup of Starbucks Home Blend coffee, my attention was immediately drawn to the side bar which opened up to the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown concerning II Timothy 1:7 and the phrase “a sound mind.” The authors stated that “The Greek is rather ‘the bringing of men to a sound mind.’” That comment opened up another whole line of thought for me concerning that verse. Not only was Paul teaching the young Pastor Timothy that the Holy Spirit would give him a sound mind, but he was also implying that he would be enabled to bring a sound mind to those he taught.
From there I turned to the Bible displaying II Timothy chapter one on the left side of the page and read down to the end of the chapter in order to find out how this would be accomplished. Verses 12 through 14 make it very clear that the Apostle was talking about “the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me…” Paul was proclaiming that the teaching of the Word of God, the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ was the means of which to give men a sound mind!
The Easy-to-Read translation of II Timothy 1:14 says “This teaching is a treasure that you have been trusted with. Protect it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us.” It would seem that the Word of God is so powerful, so true and so special that we must keep a watch on it as to protect its ability to work in and through us! The Word is the power of God to recreate a person’s heart and renew his or her mind and body as well as change any circumstance that they may face. As I meditated on this, I recalled Moses’ and Joshua’s words of encouragement to the children of Israel as they entered the Promised Land. Both of these leaders of the faith implored their followers to “choose this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15 – God’s Word ©) They were asking them to make a decision for either the gods and/or the natural ways of their ancestors or of those of the one true God.
That decision brought me back to our Pastoral Counseling classes in Bible College where I learned of the “OW!” technique of helping others with problem solving. The letters represent “Options” and “The Word.” The system is easy, you simply sit down with the individual seeking guidance and get the facts, look at the various OPTIONS and then give them the WORD that has to do with the situation and the OPTIONS available. The point being that THE WORD is the power of God to intervene and change the situation and/or meet the need.
In our recent experiences, we came in contact with many individuals, Christian and not, who were very quick to give us their personal opinions but were not too interested or supportive of our desires to seek and follow the WORD’s answers. Their personal opinions did nothing to relieve the situation, comfort our hurting hearts and emotions and leave us with any Biblical expectations.
I recently read of an FDA investigation into reports that some common herbal and vitamin natural remedies on sale today contain only traceable amounts of the stated ingredients. Instead they are filled with fillers like rice, wheat, soy and in some instances included harmful nuts and plants that caused dangerous allergic reactions. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/11/07/study-herbal-supplements-full-of-contaminants-substitutes-and-fillers/) My thoughts alluded to this study as I came to the conclusion that our personal opinions of what we think people may need are like nutrition less fillers (that can sometimes be harmful) instead of the nourishing life-giving, life-changing power that only the Word of God can give!
Like I said, the Word and the Word alone is what gives us biblical expectations of God doing in, for and through us. It is the power that gives us the ability to get up each day even when it’s dark and dreary outside and/or dark and dreary in the current circumstances of our lives. That brings me back to this morning with my wife in our bedroom.
When I realized that the sun was brightly reflecting off the three pictures, I glanced back to my wife asleep in the bed and observed that the sun’s bright and warm rays were also shining down on her and I immediately thought of our personalized version of Malachi 4:2 that I confess numerous times daily over my wife. And I heard the Lord saying: “Piper, know that I the Son of Righteousness has arisen this day with healing in my wings, burning off that fog of confusion and sickness that has clouded your mind and you are like the calf that is let out of the stall and are going out leaping, jumping and dancing for joy!”
Now folks, those words and the picture they painted in my heart and mind were just what I needed to brighten up my morning! It didn’t matter that we’ve been going through some tougher times over the last few weeks with some of her symptoms. The only thing that mattered is God’s truth about her! That’s encouragement! I’ll be perfectly honest. I really don’t want to hear people’s opinions about my wife’s situation anymore! I only want to hear… no… I only NEED to hear Papa God’s Word which is His WILL concerning Piper’s outcome!
I think that this is also some good advice for each of us to think about as we open our mouths to share something to another person in need. Are we going to give them some nutrition less filler (or opinions) or the life-giving, life changing power of God’s Word? I think that I’ll make my opinion to be a re-statement of His Word! Have a great mid-week! Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… What or Who’s OPINION am I expecting to share today?”