Skip to main content

Thoughts From Chuck Swindoll

Dear Friends,

I opened my email today to find the following “thought” sent to me by a friend from Honduras. As I happened to be searching for one to send out, I thought I would simply pass along the one she sent to me. (She must have known I have a busy week)! It is by Chuck Swindoll, and is taken from his book, “Great Days with the Great Lives.” This selection, entitled “It’s NOT About You!” is based on 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. I pass it along because it addresses an error that is rampant in the modern church – the idea that God’s “job” (in relation to us) is to build up our self-esteem and make us comfortable, happy, healthy and wealthy.

Swindoll’s thought, though contradicting that, is a much more biblically defensible position. It is far less popular, yet it is true. It’s not what many want to hear, but it is far more in line with God’s overall aim for us – that we be Christ-like, godly, and God-dependent people in whom the image of God (deformed by humanities fall into sin) is being restored. And I should add that in carrying out that endeavor, God will use all the means at his disposal to bring that about – even if it wounds our self-esteem, makes us uncomfortable, sends us into times where we are decidedly unhappy, lack good health, and lose our wealth. With that said, enjoy!

It's Not About You!
"I need to underscore a foundational fact: God's goal is not to make sure you're happy. No matter how hard it is for you to believe this, it's time to do so. Life is not about your being comfortable and happy and successful and pain free. It's about becoming the man or woman God has called you to be. Unfortunately, we will rarely hear that message proclaimed today. All the more reason for me to say it again: Life is not about you! It's about God.
How can I say that with assurance? Because of Paul's response: "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (vv. 9–10). That's it! He got it too. And he went with it for the rest of his days.
When you and I boast of our strengths, we get the credit, and we keep going under our own head of steam. But when we boast in what He is doing in the midst of our brokenness, inability, and inadequacy, Christ comes to the front. His strength comes to our rescue. He is honored.

Don't miss that point. The very things we dread and run from in our lives are precisely what brought contentment to Paul. Look at the list:

I am content when I lose.
I am content when I am weak.
I am content with insults.
I am content when I'm slandered.
I am content in distresses.
I am content with persecutions.
I am content with difficulties and pressures that are so tight I can hardly turn around.
Why? "Because when I am weak then I'm strong." Knowing that brought the apostle, ablaze with the flaming oracles of heaven, to his knees. What a way to live your life—content in everything—knowing that divine strength comes when human weakness is evident.

That's what gave the man of grace true grit. It will do the same for us.”

If you have not read (better yet, if you have not studied) the book of II Corinthians, I would encourage you to do so. It's a fascinating book and challenges a lot of the presuppositions we simply adopt into our thinking without giving them much thought at all. In fact, like Jesus, Paul takes the honored values of the world, and turns them upside down. The Gospel always does that. And the more one seeks to know and apply the Gospel to their life, the more they will see this is true.
PS - I just finished reading a wonderful short book (45 pages) by Tim Keller entitled, "The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness - The Path to True Christian Joy." I highly recommend it! It is packed with some powerful insights (which again go against the flow of the "me" gospel).


Living in the Grace of Jesus,
Pastor Jeff


Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts From Rick Hamlin

Dear Friends, This "thought" will likely seem more relevant to those who are past the child-rearing stage -- though it can surely offer hope to those who are in the midst of it! It was the March 1st reading from my 2018 edition of the Daily Guideposts devotional which I quoted from a few weeks back. The author of this particular entry is Rick Hamlin. It struck me as an entry that offers hope to the burdened conscience, and for that reason I pass it along to any parents who may need the encouragement it offers. Enjoy. "You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:19 "It's interesting what we can remember and what we regret. When I think about the kind of dad I was when my kids were younger, I hate to recall the times when the two of them tested my patience. Two boys, three years apart, roughhousing indoors, the playful tussling that turned into wrestling matches threatening to destroy

Thoughts About the History of Lent

Dear Friends, As today is “Shrove Tuesday” and Lent begins tomorrow, I thought I would pass along some interesting facts about the history of Lent. Sometimes we know about it, but don’t really know about it! So, for today, I have put together some background information about Lent. Information varies depending on the source, but I tried to weave together an accurate, historically reliable, and generally accepted summary of the basic facts! Enjoy. Lent is the approximate 40-day season between Ash Wednesday and Easter, during which Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant believers prepare themselves spiritually for Easter through prayer, Bible reading, and a focus on spiritual disciplines like fasting, self-denial, and a commitment to acts of generosity. The word “lent” comes from the Old English word “lencten” meaning “length” and was used to refer to the springtime season in the Northern Hemisphere when the days were lengthening as the sun rose earlier and set later. Lent is

Thoughts From Tim Challies

Dear Friends, I know it's Holy Week and most of you were probably expecting an Easter "thought." But it will not be. Not this year anyway! Instead, I wanted to send out a thought that has to do with prayer. Expectant prayer. Believing prayer. Earnest prayer. Prayer that actually anticipates that it will receive what is asked for. Prayer that is offered not only believing God is able, but also willing. Not simply that God can (which we all know), but that He will (which some often doubt). I know (since some have told me) that some believers consider the second part -- the conviction that He will -- as being a bit presumptuous, or contrary to a humble posture before God. But if I read the words of Jesus correctly, it seems to be an attitude He wants us as God's children to have when praying to Him who is our Father. Today's selection happens to be from Tim Challies, and is entitled "Expecting Results." Enjoy. "When you pray, petitionin