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Christian Blog vulnerability

Wounded Healer

“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” –(Proverbs 14:13)

We have a picture of a clown in our home that our middle son painted when he was eight years old. It’s a simple watercolor portrait–traced in pencil and then painted with quite a bit of skill for a 2nd grader. Some of the color on the clown’s green eyes ran a bit before it dried, but it only adds to the appeal.

Anyway, I often take my Sunday afternoon nap on the futon that sits against the wall underneath the clown. Last week, I woke up looking at the painting, and noticed something I hadn’t before: the clown is smiling AND crying at the same time. That’s life, I thought–especially right now.

These days, so many moments are both happy and sad at the same time.

‘Tis a bitter sweet existence.

Clarification: I understand that questions of faith have yes or no answers; there’s no maybe in God’s kingdom. But have you ever found yourself saying, along with the father of the boy only Jesus could heal, “I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief?”–(Mark 9:22-25)

Yes, sometimes life in Christ isn’t all fresh water or salt, it can be a brackish in between. But that’s OK, because, according to the apostle Paul, crippled Christians make the best swimmers.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (emphasis mine)

Here’s to the wounded healers!

And Jesus is the biggest one of all. Hebrews chapter four tells us that Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, because, just like us, he experienced the ups and downs of human existence–yet was without sin. That’s why we can come to Him with confidence, knowing He will help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Like the old King James translation says, “Thou hast known my soul in adversities.” – Psalm 31:7b

There’s another place where David says God actually comes closer when times are tough and our hearts are broken. He does this in order to lift our crushed spirits (Psalm 34:18).

After all these years (our son turns 25 today!) it’s time to give the clown painting a name. From now on I’m calling him Wounded Willy. He’s happy (like a clown should be) but he’s also sad (because life ain’t always the circus).

Do you have any life scars? Maybe God could use you as a wounded healer to extend His grace to others.

Yes, you!

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Christian Living Trust

Fully Rely on God

My mom was an avid reader of Guideposts, a Christian devotional magazine. In one issue, when she read an article about a man who handed out little rubber frogs with the caption, “F.R.O.G. – Fully Rely on God— she was motivated to get involved.

A quick check at an online retailer found bags of suitable frogs by the 100 count; a pack of lined note cards (to cut into strips) and a ball of red yarn completed the supplies needed to go into the F.R.O.G. business.

Here’s one of my mom’s earliest models. It’s a bit tattered, because he has made the rounds with many in need.

Mom made several dozen and began handing them out to friends and neighbors. She also supplied Nancy and me enough to hand out for our nursery home ministry. Altogether, she made and shared about 200 F.R.O.G.s before she became too sick to continue.

After mom passed away, we decided to hop 🐸 into the F.R.O.G. business ourselves. Ours didn’t have the carefully handcrafted look of mom’s, but they served the same purpose

The residents at the nursing homes and assisted living centers where we sang were thrilled with their little green friends who reminded them to totally trust God. A running joke every month was, “Don’t keep two together, or you’ll soon have more little froggies than you know what to do with!”

At one particular retirement home, the same sweet, smiling resident continued to ask for a frog every time we came. I kept thinking, “Didn’t I give you one last month?!” This went on for awhile—until I heard her whisper to a friend—after taking yet another frog— “I have three more in my room!”


Fully Rely on God, it’s a great idea, but are there practical applications? I think I’ve found a couple. Perhaps you can help me think of more!

My first down-to-earth utilization of F.R.O.G. is the “Phillipians Filter”:

“Finally brothers, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think of such things.” — Philippians 4:8

My apologies for the handmade illustrations. I spent all my money on my catchy domain name.😆

My second illustration of our amphibious acronym is called “Proverbial Math”:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

Again, please excuse the homespun illustration. I need a graphic artist!🙄

All things considered, maybe the concept of fully relying on God can’t be reduced to a simple formula. Perhaps that why the Almighty told a guy like Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

All the same, as fallible followers of a Holy God, we seek tangible ways to put His promises into practice. Hence, the popularity of F.R.O.G., WWJD and the like.

Today, and every day, may we: turn away from sin, hop to Him, and keep our eyes on the prize like we’re watching flies!

🎶 It’s not easy bein’ green. 🎶
Categories
Christian Blog

Answer to the Man

When I started my first job at 16, dad said to me on my way out the door, “Answer to the man.” “What do you mean?”, I asked. “Son, when you’re on the boss’ time, do what he says without complaining.” I took my dad’s advice that day, and it made all the difference.

The Apostle Paul, in prison and facing execution, said something similar to his young apprentice, Timothy.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.

2 Timothy 2:3-4

I’ve never been a soldier, but as a teacher on an army post, I rub shoulders with people in the military every day. One thing I’ve noticed is there’s an Army regulation for almost everything a soldier does. I once asked a military friend, “Don’t you think a ten point checklist to park and secure a combat vehicle is a little over-the-top?”

“What I think is irrelevant. I do my job and follow orders. Anything else is an indulgence.”

*SSG McMurtry (Just a cool Hollywood sounding name. Not the real guy’s.)

Impressive. “But what if there aren’t specific orders or regulations for something?,” I asked. “How do you respond?” “That’s when you follow the commander’s intent,” he said.

He explained that, in a combat situation, all written orders are assumed to be fluid. No plan survives intact once there’s contact with the enemy. The commander’s intent is a short statement written in bold print that essentially says, “Whatever happens, this is the most important thing to accomplish.”

VERY impressive. I started looking for commander’s intent statements in the Bible.

I found Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians, who were living under intense persecution.

Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

Philippians 1:27

And Jesus’ charge to His earliest followers:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Matthew 28:19

Answering to the man (God) can be challenging. If there was only an app called FaceofGodBook, with those little red numbers over the icon–you know, messages from heaven?

However, we do have the Bible, and we know what Jesus did, and we also have the Holy Spirit. And that’s enough to know the Commander’s intent.

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

Hooah!