Ten Tidbits from Maranatha

My recent vacation was rejuvenating on many levels from quiet walks on the beach, to lazy afternoons, to majestic sunsets like the one pictured above. Of course the biggest takeaway is the teaching itself. After coming home, I love to follow up and review the biblical truth that was shared. The first week I spent at Maranatha, five years ago, I sent out a summary to a few close friends and family. I think it was something like ten pages long. I know, kind of embarrassing. So I won’t give you ten pages, but I will share ten highlights. The parenthetical indicates who shared the tidbit.

  1. God cares more about “them” than you think He does. (David Rudd, Calvary Church, Fruitport, Michigan). This was a lesson taken from Jonah who was too self-absorbed and too judgmental to see that God actually loved and cared about the people of Nineveh. We all encounter some “thems” in life — try picturing the most hateful, mean-spirited person you know, or maybe just the most irritating — a major lesson from Jonah is that God loves them just as much as He loves you and me.
  2. Relationally-driven people are stubbornly committed to building lasting and loving relationships. (Bill Rudd, Calvary Church, Fruitport, Michigan). When was the last time this stubborn commitment was manifested in your life? As for me, oh my. I need to be a lot more stubborn.
  3. Sin spoils relationship. (Bill Rudd, Calvary Church, Fruitport, Michigan). This is true in the horizontal relationships that we have on this earth, and it is true of the vertical relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. There are many reasons we need to take sin seriously, but this is one we don’t often consider. Healthy relationships and sin just don’t go together. As an aside, here are three ideas for recognizing sin in your own life: (1) Pray and ask God to show you where you are out of His good, pleasing and perfect will; (2) Read through the Ten Commandments; and (3) Review the seven deadly sins (There were seven Spur posts last year about them starting here).
  4. Truth-oriented people constantly adjust their lives to align with the teaching of the Bible. (Bill Rudd, Calvary Church, Fruitport, Michigan). This is an endeavor we will not complete on this earth, but one we best be working at everyday. C.S. Lewis said something like each person is always becoming more like heaven or more like hell. One thing is certain, we are never stagnant in our journey. We are making progress all the time, positive or negative.
  5. Good things often multiply at the expense of best things. (Bill Rudd, Calvary Church, Fruitport, Michigan). This statement is a heartbreaker for me, because I worry that some of the good things in my life are pushing out best things. I need to pray that God will help me discern what’s truly best each day. (James 1:5).
  6. In the storms of life, focus not on the storm but on Jesus, and remember that the Lord is bigger than our biggest storm. (David Gudgel, Bethany Bible Church, Phoenix, Arizona). One of my favorite hymns is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” because I love the melody and because that is the answer. We try to make things so complicated, but no matter how insurmountable, painful, or dire your struggle, the most important thing to do is to turn your eyes on Jesus.
  7. Many of us do not take the great commission seriously. In heaven, Jesus may even ask, “what part of ‘go’ did you not understand?” (Doug Van Bronkhorst Interserve International). Convicting, because sometimes we want to define “going” as going to some foreign mission field. But that’s pretty self-serving because we all go somewhere everyday.
  8. Preach the gospel to yourself everyday. (Colin Smith, The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, Arlington Heights, Illinois). I don’t know who first said this, but it’s brilliant advice. Our spiritual amnesia is truly chronic. We have to feed ourselves a steady diet of truth, otherwise the lies of this world creep in.
  9. Ultimately what will happen is the exact opposite of what Satan intended. He aimed to detract from God’s glory, but what happened will result in God’s greater glorification. God knew what he was doing. (Colin Smith, The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, Arlington Heights, Illinois). So glad that this isn’t Plan B, that my God wasn’t caught off guard. Plus this reminds me of Lewis who said, “For God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity.”
  10. The greatest sorrow that you can do to God is to disbelieve His love for you. (paraphrase of Puritan John Owen) (Colin Smith, The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, Arlington Heights, Illinois). Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t it heartbreaking? May we not disbelieve His love this week!

6 thoughts on “Ten Tidbits from Maranatha

  1. kk says:

    After reading these wonderful tidbits, I feel as if I have been given a piece of very delicious, very RICH chocolate cake (plus that 'ole trusty glass of milk).

    Thank you.

  2. I sing “Turn your eyes” to the boys every night. Well, I sing the chorus. I can never get my mouth around the oldish sounding verses.

    That and “Holy Holy Holy” and a couple others. Frankly, most days those minutes are the only “quiet time” that I get.

    Would love to hear more about the conference place thingy.

  3. Sheila says:

    Kristie,

    That last point hit me between the eyes. Yes it is beautiful and heartbreaking and a wonderful reminder that God Loves Me! For the joy — of loving me — set before Him, He went to the Cross.

    I'm enjoying your posts so much.

    Sheila McGee

    Sheila

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