Posts Tagged ‘Toledo’

This is our first Newsletter since the closing of The Lewis House.  Below is a link to the PDF version with live links for donations and contacts.

GuidryOH4-14

 

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Change is a part of the Christian walk.  Some change is sudden and some change comes slowly.  Last Friday our whole world changed but our hearts did not.  As The Lewis House website is no more I wanted to post this here.  The Lewis House is gone, a sudden death, and our lives have been turned upside down since this was recorded but our heart of ministry continues unchanged, building the Kingdom of God one relationship at a time…

 

 

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“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”

Hebrews 13:8

 

The fancy word for today’s topic is “Immutability”.  That is the last time you will see it in this post.  However the bible tells us that in a world of change biblical perseverance calls for a unique constancy from Christ Followers.  God declares his own character when he tells Moses that “I am that I am”.  This Hebrew word, which became the very name of God to Israel, declares His eternal constancy.  It is here that we find one of the prime qualities of biblical perseverance for the believer.

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren ; Romans 8:29

It is only by this miraculous transformation process and the submission of our will to His will that we begin our journey to biblical perseverance.  So then do we  live in the same place, do the same things, never change what we eat or do for the rest of our live?  Clearly not.  We do not even have that kind of control on the circumstances of our lives.  Change is introduced to our existence every day, every hour and every minute of our lives here on earth.  This is where we see that biblical perseverance is a spiritual gift not a physical effort.  It cannot be faked or practiced by human effort.  It is manifested in the lives of those who serve and have a personal relationship with God.

Consider Daniel.

3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles,…6 Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego. Daniel 1:3,6

Talk about change.  As a young man Daniel was ripped from his home, dragged half way across the known world and even had his name taken away.  This Babylonian tactic was specifically designed to destroy perseverance.  Do not be deceived the Enemy is out to destroy your perseverance.  He wants you to come out from under the covering of Christ where he can have a clear and open shot at you.  The Babylonians did everything they could to shake Daniel’s identity as a child of God. But what happened.

8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank ; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.  Daniel 1:8

In the midst of all of this change Daniel did not change.  It is important to note that Daniel remained under Jesus Christ in every aspect of his behavior.  This brings us to another important aspect of biblical perseverance.  It expresses at all times the character of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control ; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:22-26

Biblical perseverance is never rude or arrogant.  Perseverance that does not fall in line with His Word is not biblical and is not godly.  When we truly walk in biblical perseverance we are like a lighthouse in the storm.  We go on to read:

9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,…17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom ; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams  Daniel 1:9, 17

But let there be no mistake.  Satan HATES biblical perseverance and he believes that he can destroy it.  Daniel continued to face opposition throughout his lifetime.  Many other saints both biblical and historical persevered to martyrdom.  Regardless of the physical outcome the Spiritual truth remains the same and the lighthouse of faithfulness shines in the darkness.

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What a wonderful week!  It started off a little rough, Nisa was not feeling well but she came around just in time for us to make the trip to the Assembly of God Fine Arts Festival for the Michigan District held in Lansing.  While it was great to be able to watch so many teens on fire for God and sharing their talents, it was even more wonderful to see Allana blossom this week.  It was really about two weeks ago that she seemed to make a real breakthrough but she really shined this weekend.  Even after the busy two days of Fine Arts she was up and ready to go to hear Dustin Reed bring a great word at Compelled Church and then share a wonderful evening of fellowship and vision with CityLight Church!  I am so thankful for God’s miraculous hand in all the events of the past year and a half.  I am so thankful for God’s gift of Perseverance during this difficult time in our lives.  However as we look at this Biblical concept a little more closely it becomes clear that God does not just provide Perseverance for the tough times.  This gift needs to be a core characteristic of every Christian.

Peter in his second recorded epistle links this quality to our participation in the divine nature of God!  Everyone appreciates getting gifts but how special it is when one receives a gift that extends from the very nature of the giver.  So many gifts are gifts of obligation but when the gift proceeds from the heart and represents the very being of the giver it becomes that much more special.

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord ; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:2-7, the bold is mine)  

Even more important this gift is one that is critical to the transformation process that Life in Christ Jesus brings.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

But we all, with unveiled facebeholding as in a mirror the glory of theLord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to gloryjust as from the Lord, the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18

It is only when we persevere, remaining “under” Jesus Christ that the wonderful transformation into His Spiritual image can take place.  While it is a gift from God perseverance also requires intentionality from the recipient.  It is a gift that only functions when the recipient is fully focused on the giver.  Kyle Idleman tells us that idols are created when gifts from God become more important than the giver (gods at war).  This is what happens when perseverance becomes completely focused on the events of our life (usually the negative ones) and not on Jesus Christ.

For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.  Psalm 63:7

Don’t wait for disaster to strike to rest in the shadow of His wings.  The more we remain there, the more we will experience the joy of true perseverance.

 

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“Now may the God who gives Perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus”

 Romans 15:5

I have been thinking a lot about perseverance lately.  I had the privilege of being a guest of YESFM and Tommy Briggs to share a week of devotionals called The Morning Munch.  This word perseverance kept rolling through my mind as I looked to prepare for this time of sharing.  After this year of walking with Allana through the treatment protocols for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia it seemed like an appropriate topic.  After all the keynote verses about perseverance that we all know are found in Romans 5.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Unfortunately it seems that too often an exploration of perseverance stops with this idea of suffering and that they are forever linked as cause and effect.  This important quality of Life in Christ deserves a closer look.  The Bible has a lot to say about perseverance.  The word most often translated as perseverance, endurance or steadfastness is the Greek word Hupomone.  As with so many Greek words (and English too I might add) it is a combination of two roots, Upo and Meno.

UPO- about, under

MENO- abide, remain, stay, continue to be, survive, held or kept continually

Breaking it down and putting it back together again brings us to this idea of remaining under or about something.  Often it seems that this idea is taken to mean remaining under the problems and trials that life brings.  When asked about a trial going on in one’s life “We are persevering!” seems the easy answer.  We may not use that word anymore but when we distill down all the answers we give and all the advice that is coming in it comes down to abiding under the trial until its end.  The problem with this view of perseverance is that it is focused on the trial, the trouble, the problem, not on our amazing God who is the ultimate solution.  Hupomone  is not about “super-moaning” through life as we bounce from trial to trial.  Biblical perseverance encompasses Romans 8:37 “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us.”

The source of perseverance tells us a lot about it’s characteristics.  Our title verse makes it clear where perseverance come’s from.

Now may the God who gives perseverance…”

Biblical perseverance is first and foremost a gift from God.  This is one of those gifts that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:11

“If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him.”

 

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Faith Gun

We recently played a family game called “Snake Oil”.  The premise is pretty simple.  You have a hand of 6 cards and you need to combine 2 of them to create a product which you the “sell” to the player who is “it” and has a particular profile based on the buyer’s card.  My now second youngest daughter (yes I typed youngest first) needed to sell a product to a soldier and this is what she came up with, The Faith Gun.  She pitched it as a weapon which always hit the target you were aiming at as long as you believed.  Well as comments from my children often do, it got me to thinking about this product and its application to our lives as Christians.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”  (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Paul consistently describes the Christian life in military terms.  We are in a battle and the enemy is powerful.  “Be if sober spirit, be on the alert.   Your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8 ) However God does not leave us un-equipped and unprepared for this battle.  The key is that we need to avail ourselves of the training and weapons at our disposal.  So let me introduce you to the Faith Gun.

1.  The Faith Gun becomes instantly available to every born again Christian when they place their belief, trust and obedience in Jesus.

Our spiritual arsenal becomes instantly available when we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a result of our decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who isgiven as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.   (Ephesians 1:13-14)

2.  Proper use of the Faith Gun requires submission and training.

There is only one training manual for the Faith Gun, The Bible.  However there are many resources that God places in our lives as we develop maturity and skill as Soldiers of Christ.

” It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  (Ephesians 4:11-16)

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (1 Timothy 1:14)

It is up to us to take advantage of all of the training resources that God provides, measuring each one by the Manual.  This of course requires that we know the Manual, read, study it, make it a part of our lives. As we do this in submission to the Holy Spirit and living in the presence of God the Faith Gun becomes an extension of our lives.  Snipers will tell you that becoming “One with the Gun” is a vital part of hitting difficult targets.  It is even more true in our Relationship with God.

Faith Gun2

3.  To be effective the Faith Gun not only hits the target, it chooses the target.

Unlike weapons of human manufacture, the Faith Gun not only allows the Soldier of Christ to hit the target, it chooses the target to hit.  This is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts for us to swallow.  It violates our need for control.  It violates our need for direction.  Yes the world teaches that we need to be “one with the gun” so that we can accurately control and direct it.  God teaches that we need to be “one with the gun” so that it can control and direct us.  It is when we do this that God reveals the wisdom of the world to be foolishness. “For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (1 Corinthians 1:19)  As we become more mature in our handling of the Faith Gun this is of even greater importance.  One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to provide a target rich environment.  One might think that the more targets their are the easier they are to hit but for the undisciplined this far from true.  I am reminded of a hunting expedition that I was on in the hills of Pennsylvania.  I came upon a single doe standing broadside to me at about 30 yards.  I carefully aimed and brought her down with one shot.  At that moment I realized that I had walked into a whole group lying in the brush as they stood and froze for a moment.  After easily taking the first doe I tried to take another unloading the rifle in a target rich environment of 12-15 deer, and didn’t hit anything.  In our target rich environment allowing the Holy Spirit complete control is crucial in order to accurately strike the targets that God has directed us to.

4.  The Faith Gun selects its own ammunition, perfect in every way to impact the target.

The Faith Gun only come in one caliber, LOVE.  It is within in that caliber that God provides many types of ammunition.  Choosing the correct type of ammunition for the intended target is far beyond our ability.  How sad it is when we actually allow the Faith Gun to choose the target but then go off half cocked loading our own choice of ammunition.  We have many “reasons” for doing this, “I am good at this”, “I know what is needed”, “All the books say…”.  Volumes have been written, preached, rewritten and re-preached on this subject so I am not going to try to tackle all the different types of ammunition available.  I will give some general guidelines.

*Under no circumstances will God call you to use ammunition that is incompatible with the caliber of our Faith Gun.  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)  I could appropriately quote this chapter in its entirety as a guide to the ammunition appropriate for our Faith Gun, but you know what go ahead and read it for yourself.  The results of using incompatible ammo can be devastating.  When we try to slip ammunition containing hate, greed, jealousy, disdain, selfishness or fear into our Faith Gun the resulting explosion can scar us and those around us in horrible ways.

*It would be wonderful if God would always give us clear miraculous guidance in the appropriate ammunition for every situation.  I know that pastors in particular wish that this was true.  It is in these cases that unity with Scripture becomes all important.  In order to achieve this you have to KNOW the Word of God.  This involves reading it. (Hmmm…is sarcasm an appropriate ammunition…Paul used it so….).  In these cases I would suggest that utilizing the ammunition that best expresses the intent of the caliber is the best choice.  The Bible is a remarkable document.  When you measure situations against the whole of Scripture the Holy Spirit will often make clear what the best ammunition is to achieve God’s intent.

5.  Ultimately the Faith Gun operates to and for the Glory of God.

This point dove tails with the idea that the Faith Gun chooses its target.  We often desire and I have even heard it preached that the Faith Gun is here for our protection and comfort.  Scripture is clear that as Soldiers of Christ we operate for the will and Glory of the Father.  We operate in suffering, in poverty, in wealth, in comfort, in every possible human condition for the Glory of God

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http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/allanaguidry/journal

Here is the link to my wife’s CaringBridge journal.  It gives the most complete and up to date information on where we are at in our treatments.

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