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Be amazed and wonder

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Quotes, Tim Challies

 

The Statute of Limitations on Sin

With each passing day, more and more accusations come out about past indiscretions. Sexual misconduct. Terrorism. Conspiracy. Bribery. Doping accusations. PEDs. Fake news.

The headlines prompted me to wonder, What is the statute of limitations on sin? Is there anything in my background I need to be afraid of? Any skeletons in my closet that I should fear coming to light?

I am not perfect by any means. Never was. Never will be. There are certainly things in my past that might cause me to be embarrassed, but nothing that would bring an indictment. That being said, that doesn’t mean I don’t experience false guilt at times. At times like this, I need to be reminded of what Scripture tells me about forgiveness.

If I confess my sins, God promises to forgive me (1 John 1:9). He buries my sin in the deepest part of the sea (Micah 7:19). He removes my sin from his presence, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). God chooses to forget my sins and will not remember them (Isaiah 43:25). I am totally and completely forgiven.

Even though I know this to be true, the enemy still accuses me and heaps false guilt on me. He whispers, “Who do you think you are? Don’t you remember that you did _______?” He stands before God and condemns me for my sins. But when that happens, Jesus comes before the Father as my defense lawyer and says, “Father, I died for those sins, and Mark has already confessed them.” (1 John 2:1-2).

While the world may have a long memory and bring up my past failures, God has a short memory when it comes to confessed sin. He chooses to no longer remember what Christ has forgiven. Jesus reminds the Father that his death covered my sins.

Thank you Lord for dismissing the statute of limitations on confessed sin.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2017 in 1 John, Scripture, Theology

 

Wheeler Family 2017 Newsletter

Here’s the highlights of 2017 for our family. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or your favorite soft drink and enjoy.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Family & Friends, Photos

 

Good news for the rest of us

Book Review: Blessed are the Misfits: Great News for Believers who are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, or Just Feel Like They’re Missing Something, by Brant Hansen

Christian books tend to be written by megachurch pastors, people with an outstanding testimony, those who have overcome great odds to become wildly successful, and others who have a riveting story to share. While we encouraged and entertained by these books, many times we walk away wondering why we don’t have a similar story to tell.

Author and radio host Brant Hansen has written a book for those of us who feel like we don’t fit in. We wonder why we still struggle with sin, why we aren’t passionate about our faith, why we struggle to tell others we are Christians, and why we feel like we are missing the key ingredient for a victorious faith. The author writes from his own experience of being an introvert and an “Aspie” (he was diagnosed with Asperger’s on the Autism Spectrum Disorder scale).

The book addresses topics such as if we don’t feel God’s presence, what to do when we don’t like talking to people let alone sharing our faith with them, and the struggle to pray. Written from the context of the author’s own struggles, the book is very personal and real. While I wouldn’t say it is the most encouraging and uplifting book, it is one which is very honest. It will encourage you to embrace both who you are and how good God is.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2017 in Books

 

Letting people see behind the curtain

The Great and Powerful Oz always hid behind the curtain. He did not want people to see he was just an ordinary, failed magician from the Midwest.

As leaders and pastors, it is tempting to follow that pattern of letting people only see our powerful, charismatic persona, and hiding our weaknesses behind the curtain. However, we need to allow people behind the curtain to see us as we truly are, a mixed package of strengths, weaknesses, and frailties.

On many occasions, the apostle Paul spoke of the importance of modeling. He provided an example for believers to follow (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Timothy 4:12-16; Titus 2:7-8). But Paul also revealed his struggles when he spoke of his thorn in the flesh and how he begged God to take it away (2 Corinthians 12:1-10).

I have tried to pull back the curtain to let people see how I am responding to a broken leg. I struggle. I vent. I vacillate from hope to discouragement. I waffle from confidence to despair. I am impatient. I trust God’s plan. I’m tired of hurting. I know God is in control. I want to fast forward and skip the next few weeks of rehab. I am resting in God’s timing.

I ride a roller coaster throughout each day. I am confident and encouraged in the mornings. I am diligent to do my exercises and rehab. I am working my way through several books, trying to use my time profitably. But when I get tired, I become discouraged. The days are long and tedious. I feel achy and weary in the evenings. I told Carol last night that I am tired of hurting.

Although I am not preaching from a pulpit these days, I am teaching from my recliner. People are watching to see how I deal with trials and difficulties. Hopefully, it is a good example of how to suffer well. I would like to provide an example like David in Psalm 42 where he cries out to God in despair but then ends in a statement of confident hope and trust.

One thing I appreciate about Scripture is that it paints the individuals with warts and all. We don’t receive an airbrushed portrait of Abraham or David, but we view their strengths, weaknesses, successes, failures, and everything in between. Scripture lets us see behind the curtain. That is my intent in these blog posts.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in Character, Personal growth, Scripture

 

Repenting about rehab

One definition of repentance is to change one’s mind. That being the case, I have repented about rehab.

I initially viewed rehab as a means to an end. I needed to do the exercises in order to get back to work. However, after two conversations yesterday, I have repented and placed a higher importance on rehab. Rather than viewing it as a means to an end, I now see rehab as my primary task.

Left to my own devices, my sense of drivenness and responsibility would have had me back at work preaching this weekend. And I would have paid for it dearly since I can’t stand for very long and since sitting in any position becomes uncomfortable after a short period of time. Fortunately, our elders saved me from myself by counseling that I wait until January to resume preaching.

In addition to my exercise regimen, my physical therapist said that I needed to lie down and elevate my foot above my heart at least twice a day in order to reduce the swelling in my calf and ankle. Giving me the assignment to rest made me realize my thinking was backwards.

Numerous people have given me permission to heal and recover. Several have told me to take my time and get well. However, I realized that I still had not given myself permission to rest and recover.

I now repent of my previous attitude and will head for the couch. If my work is to rest, then I am going to work.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Character, Personal growth

 

Of red tape & gridlock

Towards the end of my stay in the rehab center, I applied for a temporary disability placard. Since I need a walker to get around, it would be helpful to park closer to stores, doctor’s offices, etc.

Following the guidelines for MA RMV, I mailed in my application dated 11/20. I called this morning to check on the status. I was told that the processing time is two months. Since I applied the end of November, I should hear something in February. If I wanted to present it in person at the Boston RMV office (90 miles away), I could receive it that day.

By the time I receive the placard, I will no longer need it … hopefully.

As some friends are wont to say, “We’re the government and we’re here to help.” SIGH! 😦

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Massachusetts, Personal growth