All Things Considered … ?

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By Jeff Foerster

Brian asked the question one Sunday, “How is culture staining you?” One of the dangers in my experience here is believing the cultural lie that things are generally supposed to work well or to my liking. If I experience some dissatisfaction, the lie goes, this requires a remedy which is readily available for purchase somewhere, in some form. Either that, or I can journey inward because of my perceived lack in comparison to what I believe I am owed for my efforts.

In order to avoid the pain that life brings, I find myself considering many things: How is my lawn looking?  How much work must I do before morning?  What shape are my finances in?  Do others respect me?  Do others like me?  Do others need me?  What does my car say about me?  Does the way I keep my home give others the right message?  What am I putting in my body?  What am I putting on my body?

Martin suggested we examine the thoughts which visit our minds and carefully evaluate those which take residence therein. Do you spend time entertaining the voice of evil?  Do you let linger hurt or malice or lust or mistrust?  Do you spend “brain time” on acquiring things to make your life better, or on bettering yourself for … ?

How do you spend the resources of your mind? I myself would like to consider all things. There simply is not time to do so. There are many things which we might consider. Here’s one that God has provided:

“Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”  (Hebrews 12:3)

In this weary-laden world I am in danger of losing heart. I will not, because Jesus, the Way, has shown me a way to live here in the shadow lands where all is not well. I will choose to linger on Him who died for me. I will choose to linger on His suffering born of perfect patience and great love. I will linger on His majesty, to be revealed when we meet Him in the air.

We do not battle with physical things, but with powers yet unseen. The war that is waged is for the mind and spirit. Because of Jesus we can be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

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Everything is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

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I was talking with Nate a while back and he wanted to show me a video he saw on YouTube. It was a guy on a talk show discussing all the amazing things we have in our world and how we like to complain about them. His main amazing thing was the fact that we can fly from New York to Los Angeles in six hours, and yet we complain when our flight takes off late. What used to take years now takes hours, and we complain about our flight being late. He kept saying, “Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy.”

That got my mind thinking about how active God is in the world and how we sometimes don’t even recognize it. So many people in Christianity are asking the question “Where are You, God?” That is not the right question. The right question is, “Where are You not, God?”

“O LORD, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:1-14

God is always with us. He will never leave us. Even when we feel like He is not there, He is there. There is nowhere we can go from the presence of our God. That is an amazing truth. We see that all over the Word of God, but we feel alone, as though He is not with us. We have an amazing God, and we forget it. We have a present God, and we complain when we fail to see Him work. Many times the reason we don’t see the works of God is because He is working in a way which we are not expecting or looking for.

In this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, remember that God the Son came down to this earth and became human for us. He came to live a life worth following and emulating. He also came to die the death we deserved. He didn’t stay dead, but He rose again and is now in heaven, and He has not left us alone. We have His Spirit present in our life. We are never separated from His presence. We have an amazing God; we need to recognize it, and it needs to lead to joy and peace during our time on earth.

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My Last Word (Chris Pace’s final Last Word as an Elim elder)

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By Chris Pace

It is the end of an important part of my life; or is it just the beginning? My time on the elder board is coming to an end on January 1. I’ve been serving on the elder board for some time now, and I must say God had a reason for me to be there and the church body has blessed me by allowing me to be there. The wisdom and understanding I was able to glean from the men on the elder board has been the most rewarding gift.

The men God has placed on this board and whom you obediently chose have such a passion for our Lord’s people and even for those outside of this body. It has truly been a humbling experience. Being able to serve you and personally pray for you has also been very humbling and an honor.

God has used this time in my life in many ways. It’s helped me through some tough times through the support of the elders. I’ve also been helped by the time God gave me to know you better and through doing so to support each other.

I continue to offer my services to this body as He has called us all to do, and I will seek to grow in the areas in which God has begun a work in me.

I ask that you would continue to pray for God to continue His work in me. I also ask that you continue to pray for the current elders, that they would continue to seek God’s guidance and wisdom in all matters within their own lives and in the life of the church. I will do the same for you.

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