Sacrifice and Gracefulness

Church Update
Not much to update. It’s been nearly a year since we last heard an official word from the airport. Keep praying – God’s timing is perfect, even when it drives us nuts.

Personal Update
Last week I sold my car before I had to put repair money into it that I would never see again. Today, I bought a small SUV that I have been looking at, with money that we have been saving for a down payment toward a new house. It took just about everything we had in that fund. We thought that were going to have to start all over.

In an extremely generous and totally unexpected move, the OTCC family gave Saralynn and me back what we paid in rent over the course of this year as a Christmas gift. The best part? It was exactly enough to replenish what we took out of our house savings. Not only is God’s timing perfect, but His provision is also precise – neither more nor less than is necessary for the moment.

We are exceedingly grateful to all who were a part of that decision, not knowing they were playing a role in this.

Scriptural Thought of the Week
Last week I introduced Paul’s phrase of purpose in his letter to the church in Ephesus, “in order that”, looking at 4:28. Here is another instance from the very next verse.

“Not one harmful word is to escape your lips, but (only) if something good to build up where necessary, in order that it might give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 (my trans.) 

This is a whole lot stronger than in most English translations, but it conveys the force of Paul’s command, rather than impling a simple suggestion. A genuine Christ-follower is not to harm with his/her words. In fact, putting this alongside other passages (see 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:12; and 1 Timothy 2:2), it seems like the fewer the words we speak, the quieter our lives, the better. And the words we choose to utter are to be purposefully helpful and appropriate to the moment at hand.

What would your home look like if harmful words were banned – if only helpful, grace-giving words were spoken? How would your friendship with God be if you intentionally chose to only build up other, showing His grace in every word?

Quote of the Week
I finished Swindoll’s book today that has been on my reading list to the left for several weeks. As usual he was very pointed and convicting. Here is his take on a familiar phrase from Romans 12:1.

“The dictionary would call the phrase living sacrifice an oxymoron, a term that is logically self-defeating. Paul’s odd expression is a lot like telling someone to become a living martyr. How can that be? To become a martyr, one has to die. In this case Paul isn’t asking us to seek our own demise, not literally. He is, however, pleasing for us to give up our life as we continue living it. When we get out of bed in the morning, as we arrive at work and put in those hours, as we relate, as we play, as we carry out our personal responsibilities then fall into bed for the night, we are to do everything as a deliberate act of submission out of obedience to God. That path leads to our becoming a living, breathing sacrifice – dead to anything our Master hates, devoted to everything He loves.”

Quoted from: Charles R. Swindoll, So, You Want to Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005), p. 173. ISBN: 084991731X

 

 

Until next time,

Dan’l

The comments in this blog are always the personal opinions of Daniel Goepfrich and are not meant to be taken as official statements of Oak Tree Community Church, its staff, or its members.

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