Our New Home!

Our New Home!
The sun sets on our first full week in Oklahoma!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Time to Practice!

I noticed as I was helping my wife up for the day today, that I saw a story in just about everything I cast my eyes upon!  I have always had a very active imagination which I have funneled over time into literally 100’s of puppet skits, four original VBS programs, un-conventional Family Fun Nights, song lyrics, a couple of books, youth and children’s lesson plans and sermons as well as countless years of original Christmas pageants!  But today was especially interesting as the most common of objects suddenly opened up vivid examples for numerous storylines yet to be written!

As I stopped to comment to my wife and question what was going on, it dawned on me that I had prayed during my morning study time that according to Paul’s prison prayer at the beginning of the book of Ephesians, He would “create in me the spiritual sensitivity to clearly and lovingly develop the spiritual senses to see, hear, taste, smell and touch Him in the affairs of my daily life.”

In this all important prayer (See Ephesians 1:15-23) Paul is asking the Father for spiritual enlightenment for his readers back then as well as for us today.  What immediately popped up in my mind as I meditated on this prayer was the phrase “Spiritual Discernment” and with it I felt a resurgence of the greatest frustration I have experienced along the journey that my wife and I are currently endeavoring to walk through in our quest to reach Papa God’s designated completion for us.

Besides dealing with the personal trauma and pain in seeing my wife go through the phases of Alzheimer’s, I have had to deal with the insensitivity of other Christians who seemed to be sorely lacking in any sense of spiritual discernment toward our situation.  There is an advertisement for an Alzheimer’s medication on TV where the spouse of one afflicted with the disease among other things, comments that they are now acting as the other’s protector… a role that Nancy Reagan played with great stamina and courage during the later years of her husband President Ronald Reagan’s life.  When I heard that line on TV I couldn’t help but call out, “Boy, don’t I know that!”

Now I may not know all the specifics on why these folks continue to respond in this manner, but the Word does point out various reasons including the lack of an intimate knowledge of God’s love for them, fear and the need to spend more time in the Word of God with the associated leading and instruction of the Holy Spirit that turns one from the leading of the intellect to the leading of the heart.  

The commentary series that I have been recently employing makes the point that Paul isn’t praying for something that his readers do not possess, but that God would reveal to them, through their personal hunger and search for the truth, what they ALREADY have in Christ.  For us today, that truth is only going to be found in His written Word… ie; our Bibles!  Dr. Warren Wiersbe the author of the commentary entitled “Be Rich” states that “The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us from the Word and then gives us the wisdom to understand it and apply it.  He also gives the power – the enlightenment – to practice the truth.”*

I like the idea of practicing the truth!  It is like practicing at any sport we desire to get better at.  We keep practicing it until we improve and develop the intended skill necessary to excel at the game.  My wife and I have taken a lot of heat over the years for “practicing” our faith in the Word.  Like I’ve said in the past, although we may have made mistakes along the way, we have humbled ourselves, learned from those mistakes and then brushed ourselves off and gotten up and back into the game again!

It is kind of like the other night when I was helping my wife to get ready for bed and she was extremely weak and I was extremely tired from all the fun activities that we enjoyed with our visiting kids last week.  For a moment there I had an almost over-powering desire to pout and throw in the towel, but I quickly caught myself and instead allowed a righteous indignation to rise up in me and I yelled out “Devil!  You will not have your way with Piper and I tonight.  We are NOT QUITTERS and we will not give up on each other nor will we give up on the Word of God!”  Then despite the way I felt, I began to laugh and sing praises unto God.

I have striven throughout the years of my Christian walk to study and intimately know the Word of God… and at times like the other night… that conviction has paid off with dividends!  I’ve been told that I have lots of patience and that I am a plodder that sets his mind toward a goal and never lets go! (that last comment was supposed to be a negative toward me and my dedication to my wife’s health… but as you can tell… I took it instead as a positive comment and a compliment…  and about four years later, I am still plodding away toward the goal of God’s total and complete healing for her!)

Are you informed when it comes to intimately knowing the Word of God and all that you ALREADY have in Christ as a member of His family?  And with that knowledge burning inside you, are you a plodder or a quitter when times get tough?  I’d bet that deep inside you… you’re NOT a quitter but one who diligently seeks to practice the truth!
Hummm… when I look outside I can see that the sky is clearing and that it will be a good day to get outside and practice!  What do you say?  Want to join me?

Have a great rest of the week, and as you do keep asking yourself… “What truth am I expecting to practice today?”

*”Be Rich” A Commentary on the book of Ephesians by Warren W. Wiersbe, chapter 3

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