|A Letter From Edmund:|
I always say that we are to teach Bible truth in order to correct human principles, but we can’t do that at the expense of actually living out those Bible principles. How do we live them out? How do we act justly. How do we love mercy. How do we walk humbly. What does that look like, exactly? I’ll ask you again in a moment and give you what I think it’s an answer but first let me share with you about being thankful.
Being thankful in the good times is easy. It’s when times aren’t so great that we have our work cut out for us. Gratitude is a muscle, and in order to have a heart of gratitude you have to work out that muscle consistently, in both good times and bad.
It’s been a crazy week. I want you to remember something in the midst of the chaos: there’s always something to be grateful for. Even as America is heading into some uncharted waters and peace has yielded to riots, looting, hate, anger, and vengeance- gratitude must win the day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ignoring or brushing off frustrating leaders and the disturbing news of the day. I’m just so sick of pointing to the fire – I’m ready to go grab a bucket, scoop up some water and extinguish it. I realize my bucket isn’t nearly large enough to put a dent in this flame but that’s exactly why I’m focusing all resources I possibly can on stories that give hope and inspiration. They inspire me to look for the good in a situation, and spur me to action. If that is true for me it is likely true for you as well, and that would mean millions more buckets helping to put out the fire.
We are to teach the truth and correct principles, but we can’t do that at the expense of actually living out those principles. How do we live them out? Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. What does that look like, exactly? Glad you ask again. I about a perfect example last weekend in Ferguson, Missouri with the local Tea Party there.
A couple weeks ago I spoke with a young woman with terminal brain cancer. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to be given a death sentence at such a young age. If anyone has reason to complain, mope, and give up hope is this young woman. But she’s battling this disease with every fiber of her being. She was determined to play in a basketball game, and the team had to adjust the schedule because they didn’t know if she’d live long enough to make it. Well, she made the game and she even scored the opening basket, which was an inspiration to millions.
Many said that would be her last game, but she wasn’t having any of that. Last Friday night, despite being too weak to practice for 2 weeks straight, she appeared in her 2nd game and scored again. She collapsed to the floor after attempting the shot. Because of her efforts, despite suffering from constant nausea, vertigo, headaches, memory loss, inability to focus, weakness she has raised more than $350,000 for pediatric cancer research. Simply awesome. People like this young woman stop many in their tracks when they are caught in a cycle of complaining:
So these are the questions I keep asking myself. Who am I to complain about my situation? Who am I to complain about the partisan divide? Who am I to complain about anything?
Thanksgiving is the beginning of what I like to think of as the trilogy of holidays and I love that Thanksgiving is first up because gratitude is so crucial to well-being. The problem with complaining is that it accomplishes nothing and drags everyone else around down into the muck.
There’s no denying we’re living in difficult times and certainly the Bible points at the time we are all living in as the time of the end of the Grace Dispensation. But while a life of comfort, completely void of adversity sounds pleasant, there’s actually a big problem with it. Mainly, it’s a complete and total lie. No human being in all of history has ever lived a life free of adversity, pain, sorrow, regret, and to pretend otherwise is an exercise in futility. Besides, adversity reveals our character. The way we handle adversity has immense power and influence on others. It can teach, inspire, and motive them. Look at people like diagnosed with terminal cancer and still able to play basketball and raise thousands of dollars in charity.
I said to the Shout team at the beginning of the year that this 20015, I was going to do my best to view any adversity I would be facing in a new light, I am also going to encourage others to do the same. I will not complain about the pressures of life, I will not complain about the ingratitude of others. However I said that there is one thing I will do. I will be thankful for another opportunity to show other people that there’s another way, a better way, than what the world teaches. His name is JESUS.
I hope that you will continue to be encouraged by the effort of this ministry to bring the light and eternal hope of the life of Jesus Christ. You do the same by encouraging others to look up to Him and please continue to share your stories in ministry with me, they give me great hope, strength and faith.
It is my continuous prayer that for 2015 and the years ahead, that the Lord will give us all wisdom to understanding on how to deal with adversity. Always remember that adversity comes in all forms and shape and it is only by the gift of the Discerning of Spirits that we are able to identify it. It is my prayer that in all we do in our lives that adversity will make us stronger and better people to worship Him that lives for ever and to help those who are still waiting for that wonderful revelation of Him that lives for ever.
In My Own Words,