My Last Word

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By Jim DeAngelo

Many of you know that Sandra and I are moving to Sahuarita, Arizona. Sahuarita is located just south of Tucson. My son-in-law and I will leave with the moving van and our cars on Wednesday, September 21. When there is a change like this in life, we tend to spend time reflecting on past events and future possibilities.

We have been profoundly blessed by our brothers and sisters at Elim. I can say that I have never been closer to God, happier, and more at peace and content as I am now. Having the privilege of serving the Body and working with those tasked with leading has been an experience I will always take with me.

So, you might ask, “Why move?” Sandra struggles with the effect of months of gray sky and wet and cold weather. We both feel much better physically in the warm and dry Arizona weather, so we are moving to dry out and lose the webs between our toes. I also know that God has called us there. I resisted at first and prayed for guidance. The Spirit showed me we were to make the move. So, moving it is.

The home we have purchased has an extra bedroom, so, if you are inclined, please visit. We will put you up for a time and enjoy catching up on the events at Elim. We will return each summer and have the joy of sharing our lives once again with you all.

My Last Word – Jim

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Oaths and Vows

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By Jim DeAngelo

My prayer for Elim and all Christians is that we experience the freedom that comes from our Lord, Jesus Christ. I was able to share this Sunday just a few examples of how the spiritual laws of judgments, reaping and sowing, honoring parents, unforgiveness, and oaths and vows have impacted my life and the individuals I have had the privilege to share these truths with.

I found I was blind to many of the strongholds in my own life. I thank God that my wife, family, and others who are close to me recognized my difficulties and were brave enough to share them. I’m grateful that I prayed about them and was able to gain freedom through Christ. As a reminder, we must:

  • Recognize we have sinned against God’s laws,
  • Confess our failings,
  • Repent and turn from the sin that has enslaved us,
  • Forgive the person(s) we judged,
  • Accept God’s forgiveness,
  • Ask the Lord to fill our hearts where we have been controlling,
  • Ask the Lord to bless the other person(s), and
  • Where possible, work to bring restoration with the other individual.

I would encourage you to ask those close to you to give you courageous feedback and to prayerfully consider if and where you need freedom through Christ.

Blessings!

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Desires

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By Jim DeAngelo

This week, Sandra and I have the chance to sit in the sun in Tucson as I think about a topic for the Last Word. Who doesn’t desire to receive more kindness or encouragement? Something about people being more patient and thoughtful with us sure would be nice. With this line of thinking, how about being better off financially? I know that we have all thought about these things.

What does the Bible say about this? Galatians 6:7-9 says,

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I can guess this is not where you hoped I would go, but this is what God says about it. If we want mercy, we need to sow mercy; if patience, we need to sow patience. Are we regularly encouraging others? Are we being financially generous? The part at the end about not giving up is important. Sowing and reaping happens over time. If we grow tired of doing right to others, we ruin our own harvest. Now, if we don’t do this through the Spirit of God in us, we do it to the flesh; in other words, it is out of our relationship with Jesus Christ and our willingness to surrender to Him and let the Holy Spirit have control that we are able to do this.

Ask yourself, what seeds did you plant today? If you find yourself angry, frustrated, inpatient, and dejected, it might be time to have a conversation with God on letting Him have control and to look at what is causing you to not have the right spirit. We all will eventually reap the harvest we have planted. This is a spiritual law that has been in place since creation.

As you reflect, take a look at the following Scriptures.

As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. (Job 4:8)

For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7)

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. (Hosea 10:12)

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

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Relationships That Are Worth Having

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By Jim DeAngelo

A brief word on my experience and growth in sharing my front and back stage with others. The process for me was long and involved.

I wish my historical lack of sharing was because I found no one of sufficient character to fit this position in my life or that I had no close friends to encourage me. Neither of these were true. What has happened to me has occurred over a period of time. I had to see myself for who I was: a person with many flaws who could only grow in my walk and character through the work of the cross. This had to go beyond an intellectual exercise. I had to understand in my heart that who Christ said I was, is, in fact, who I am. That it was okay if others accepted me or not and I could lose the fear that if they knew me, they would then reject me. That I needed to show myself better than I really was.

I found that protecting myself was more important than the risk of rejection. What I didn’t understand was that to risk rejection was the first step to real relationships with those who would make a difference in my life. The kind I wanted to talk into my life and I into theirs. We all have blind spots. The areas I was afraid to share, I already knew that the Holy Spirit wanted to change, but I wasn’t sure how to let Him. The areas I didn’t know were even more important. I was protective of myself and, therefore, not honest with myself.

The best prayers I have ever prayed were to ask God to change me to be the best husband, father, grandfather, friend, and follower of Christ I could be. I asked God to show me how to change. Through these prayers, God opened my heart to the change process and the work of the cross. I found a new, changed heart and could share the real me with the appropriate individuals, and the transformation has accelerated. Without this sharing, my progress was much slower. I now find myself in relationships that shared with me and I with them, and I understand more and more what it means to have a closer walk with God.

Some of this learning has been a process. When I am afraid for any reason, I ask God for help to change me to meet this challenge. I never ask God to remove the source of the problem; we are to be overcomers, not avoiders. Removing pretense (fear of sharing my story) is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. This has removed the fear of rejection and allowed me to pray and share with integrity and with pure motives. It is no longer about me. My knowledge, trust, acceptance, and assurance in Christ have grown significantly (though I have a lot more learning yet to come). I have significant friends and individuals in my life who are enriching me in ways I could not even have imagined a few years ago.

Start the process today and pray for God’s help in your life to be who He designed you to be. Expect it, anticipate it, trust in God and His word about who you are. Find those who can share with you about our walk with Christ and our walk with each other.

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Reflections from Oswald Chambers

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By Jim DeAngelo

One of my favorite authors is Oswald Chambers. Chambers preached and wrote extensively in the early 1900s. He saw truth in Scripture differently than I do, and this has helped me grow and see God’s work in my life from new and better perspectives. I am currently reading his book My Utmost for His Highest, which is a daily devotional. As I tend to read based on curiosity instead of by schedule, I found myself reading the inspiration for February 10 a couple days ago. It complements Martin’s sermon this past Sunday, so I thought you would enjoy the message and insight.

  • The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. But Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their power to think and to visualize correctly. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it. (Click here to read the rest.)

God is in everything and is everywhere. I would encourage those who are interested in Oswald Chambers’s work to follow this link.

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God Is There in the Little Things

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By Jim DeAngelo

Our grandson Elijah has been without work for several months and, as is typical of grandparents, we (Sandra and I) have started to get concerned about his future and job prospects. With this as background, Sandra took Elijah out to dinner to Black Angus here in Puyallup to have an opportunity to spend some time with him the same evening Ralph Webb and I returned from a fishing trip to Montana (and yes, the trip was great fun and we did catch some fish).

During the evening meal, they discussed what Elijah wanted to do for a job and his desire to work in a restaurant. When the meal was completed and they were walking out to the car, Sandra reminded Elijah about getting an application. Elijah returned to the restaurant, talked with the manager, and got an application. When they returned from the restaurant, Elijah completed the application and Sandra prayed with Elijah that the Lord would bless the job application and that, if it was His will, Elijah would get what God wanted. Elijah dropped off the application later that evening.

Elijah did receive an invitation to interview, which he did, though he had some concerns on how it all went. Elijah called me on Monday and informed me that he had received and accepted a job offer for the position he had wanted. I shouted “Praise God for answered prayer!” Elijah was very excited, as he had been applying at fast food restaurants, which are not as good an opportunity.

I love how we can take all things to God in prayer. Psalm 116:1 says, “I love Jehovah because He hears my voice and my prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.” I know that God is intimately involved in our lives. Jesus says in Matthew 6:8 that “your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him.” We find it helpful to meditate on God’s goodness to us and how we can always rely on Him in the big things of life as well as the little things. We find that when we take the little things to God in prayer and see Him working in our lives, when those big things come, we have increased faith in His response, because He is always faithful, even in the little things of life.

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