For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Eph. 3:1-6 ESV
All of us who are believers in Jesus Christ have been given gifts of the Holy Spirit, and we have each been given specific assignments by God, which we are to fulfill. But, we don’t all have the same gifts, and we don’t all have the same assignments.
For example, back in 2004, the Lord Jesus called me to write down what he teaches me through his word, and to place it on the internet, so that the internet (the herald) could Run With It (See: Hab. 2:2-3). He called me to be a messenger, primarily to the church here in America, I believe, to expose lies and deceptions, to teach what is biblical truth, and to confront sinful practices, idolatry, and spiritual adultery within the church, as well as to call for repentance and obedience to Christ, and to his Word (1).
And, then, in 2011, he gave me another gift, the gift of writing songs. He would put the tunes in my head, which I would then record, and then I would pray for words, and then he poured the words into my mind. Then, I recorded the words with the tunes, and I would sing the songs, too, so that people could hear what they sounded like. The last one he gave me to write was in 2016, but that does not mean he won’t give me more. And, he often uses these songs with the devotions he gives me to write each day, so they go hand-in-hand (2).
Then, just a few weeks ago, he led me to write a book about my life, most specifically regarding the years I have been married to my husband, but also including a little bit of my life prior to my marriage of 45 years. It is a story of abuse, betrayal, adultery, faithfulness, a Christian walk, Christian service, obedience, and commitment, and it is also a story of hope, healing, deliverance, grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness and restoration (3).
Yet, whether writing out my devotions, or writing a song, or writing a book, the gift the Lord has given me and the assignment he has given me is writing, and it is writing his messages, and these writings are for you and for me, to encourage us, to light a fire under us, to spur us on to love and good deeds, to give us hope, and so that we may know there is healing for our wounded hearts and deliverance from our sinful conditions through Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior. By his stripes we are healed. Amen!
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. Eph. 3:7-13 ESV
When I read here about Paul being the “very least” of all the saints, but yet he was given this grace to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, it brought this passage of scripture to mind:
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Co. 1:26-29 ESV
I can definitely relate! I grew up in a poor family, abused by my father and emotionally neglected by my mother. I was not regarded as worth much to anyone, I don’t think. I didn’t think I was very smart or that I had the ability to learn much. I really struggled to learn much of anything. And, then I married a man much like my dad who was sexually addicted from even before I met him, although I did not know that when I married him. And, we have had a difficult marriage because of his addiction, so I have gone through much hardship, pain and suffering from my husband, too.
In the church I also was not regarded as much. One pastor was threatened by the wisdom God was giving me, and he told me, in my early 30s, to wait until I had gray hairs on my head, and then people would listen to me. And, here I am 68 years old, and I still have most of my black hair. And, then there were other church leaders who were abusive, disregarding of and dismissal of me, who were all too anxious to just throw me to the curb rather than to be bothered with me. One of them told me that he was warned against people like me – people with strong convictions – and that he was to encourage me to go someplace else where I would be a “better fit,” he said, and he even offered to help me find such a place.
Yet, God had use of me, for this calling on my life was what he had prepared for me from before the creation of the world. And, he allowed me to go through all of that abuse, rejection, and persecution throughout my life to prepare me for this ministry, for what he was going to have me write about. I can write passionately about a lot of these subjects because I have lived in these situations on one end or another. So, I can speak from experience, and from a heart that has lived it, feels it, and cares deeply about it.
Yet, I struggled with this calling, even before 2004, and this present ministry, when I knew this was God’s calling on my life, because I kept getting rejected over and over and over again, because I was a woman. But, then the Lord spoke to me through Luke 7:36-50, regarding the woman who wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. A Pharisee criticized the woman and looked down on her, but Jesus honored her with his words.
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Vv. 44-47
What the Lord said to me at that moment is that he called me, a despised woman, rejected of men, to this ministry, because the men, who were supposed to be doing this, were not doing it. And, now he is paralleling for me the three things she did for him that they did not do, but should have done, with the three assignments the Lord Jesus gave me listed above in this writing and linked to below. Wow! Glory to God! All praise to Him!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:14-19 ESV
Amen, Amen and Amen! Oh, the riches of his grace to you and to me!
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph. 3:20-21 ESV
Abide With Me / Henry F. Lyte / William H. Monk
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Monday, January 22, 2018, 2:16 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this testimony of your love and grace in my life, the life of your servant and witness Sue.