Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 24

Wisdom Persuades and is Persuadable

We have strong opinions on how something should be done. We really believe our opinion is the best way to do this thing. Ever been there? Ever had a day when you haven’t felt this way about something?

These situations may involve decisions that are made in leadership team or business meetings, or in conversations with our roommates or spouse on the “proper” way to place the toilet paper on the roll (just so you know the paper goes down over the top :-)), or on how to strategize while playing a game, or even deciding what is best to serve for a holiday meal.

We may have always done something a certain way—or believe our thoughts on how to do certain things have been thoughtfully and carefully discerned—and are right.

We may be right.

We may be wrong.

Or, we may be neither.

The more important outcomes for such disputable matters are how well we preserve relationships, and how well we “play with others on the playground.”

There are many different and okay ways to do things that are not doctrinally mandated from the Scriptures. Yet it’s so easy to wish others would just get on board with what we are sure is the best way to do a particular thing—the right way :-).

Wyndham has for years practiced  wisdom that understands the need to persuade and be persuadable. Wisdom finds a way to reason together:

learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
  “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD…
(Isaiah 1:16b-18a)

We can dig our heels in, insisting on our way…or we can seek to persuade and be persuadable. We can reason together.

Wisdom knows how to do both.

So how do we persuade without being obnoxious?  I refer again to James 3:17.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

There is a way to persuade that comes from a pure heart. This way begins with prayer and a desire to do whatever is most pleasing to God, no matter how we are affected by a decision. Persuasion coming from a pure heart communicates this spirit through words, demeanor, body language, tone, and attitude. Humility, or lack thereof is visible. God resists the proud, and so do people.

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  (1 Peter 5:5b)

While trying to persuade, pure hearts are also persuadable—because they listen and desire to learn. Because they value relationship over winning.

Peace-loving-persuasion ensures that respect is given to other opinions, and condescending comments or gestures are avoided. Nothing undermines persuasion more than obstinance and disrespect.

We are more able to persuade when we speak with consideration to others—considering how our comments will be heard, considering our tone, considering our body language, considering where others are coming from. However, when we begin with a pure heart these attributes follow.

Wisdom knows that to persuade you must reason, come to the table with a pure heart, be considerate, and be humble. These same qualities allow us to be persuaded by another’s thoughts as well. Wisdom is full of humility, with a willingness to be persuaded.

Wyndham, through his wisdom that comes from God, has reminded me that it’s okay to try to persuade (though I don’t usually need much reminding). In fact, God calls us to seek to persuade others to follow God (2 Cor. 5:11). In opinions, if we can persuade through a pure heart, consideration and humility it’s all good. If we can’t, we then get to practice humility. In groups and in family, I’ve seen Wyndham try hard to persuade, and also have seen him be persuadable. And whichever is the outcome, when he comes out of the arena of reasoning, he agrees to come out united. I have watched him when his opinion didn’t “win the day” come out of the setting with the decision to be united with the group’s decision—in such a way that you would never know which way he leaned. (I would know, but you wouldn’t.) 

May we all gain wisdom to persuade and be persuadable.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 23

Wisdom Teaches Friends to Fish

By Jimmy Allen

I wrote this article five years ago. Though Wyndham can no longer fish, he has taught many (including me) to fish—physically and spiritually as described in the scripture below. His wisdom to build lasting friendships and to train others lives on.

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

*******************************************************************************************

This past Friday, I drove 300 miles, got a sunburn, and threw up several times. It was one of the best days of my life. I have been privileged by God in many ways. The list is too long to recount. One way is definitely in the amazing friendships which have encouraged, challenged and changed me. For the past 25+ years, two men have long stood on my closest friends’ list. They represent the past, present and future. They are spiritual generations in the flesh.

I got a phone call from my friend Gary Sciascia, saying he would be travelling from Phoenix (where he serves as lead evangelist) to Boston for a few days. Subsequently, I heard that my friend Wyndham Shaw would also be returning from Europe (where he was training elders) about the same time.  Somehow and some way, the three of us planned and then got together for a half-day fishing trip I will never forget.

Prior to departure, Captain Wyndham asked me if either Gary or I had ever been sea-sick. I assured him that I had fished on the White River in Arkansas with my dad as a boy and would be fine.

Wyndham had chosen the Merrimack River in beautiful Salisbury, Massachusetts, as our departure point. It was a beautiful sunny day . . . but windy (note to reader: remember the windy part; wind causes waves and waves rock the boat). We sped over the mighty waves and began to catch several fish almost instantly at our initial destination. We snagged seven or eight mackerel, and I was feeling great and ready to return home triumphant. Then Wyndham announced that we were about ready to begin to fish. I asked what we had been doing up to that point. He replied that we now had our bait! About that time I began chumming the waters. I lost my cookies.

Gary had not journeyed from Phoenix to the East Coast just to watch a grown man be sick, so he baited up. Pretty soon into casting mackerel, the stripers began to hit. They were ferocious. And we had the time of our lives. I have caught bass in Arkansas, but these would have eaten those guys and their families in one gulp. Wyndham was yelling at Gary about how to hold the dip net. Wyndham was untangling my line from Gary’s. Wyndham was steering the boat and taking the fish off the hooks. Okay, Wyndham was pretty much doing everything. Gary was laughing and reminiscing . . . and then, I threw up again.
All in all, it was a memorable day. 

For over 25 years, Wyndham has been a primary mentor and older brother to me. For over 25 years, Gary, that college guy the Lord bumped me into at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been the most loyal younger brother and friend a man could have. And for a day, I got to travel back in time to when the three of us had a dream to see a church grow in North Carolina and then around the world.

For me, the day was not really about the waves or the fish. This was a day about friendship and one man pouring his life into another, who then does the same. I will probably not have many special times like this again in this same threesome this side of heaven. But the generations were represented in a way that only God could have put together. One man poured his life into another, and he into another, and he into another.

Wyndham not only fishes, he teaches friends to fish.

It is more than just a plan or a program. It is the greatest adventure ever. It is hearts uniting. It is spiritual warfare of the highest order. And today I stand very inspired looking back and looking ahead while living out today with people I love. I thank Wyndham for his wisdom to build deep friendships, and then teaching them to fish (literally and figuratively).

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 22

Wisdom is Impartial


 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
(James 3:17, emphasis added)

Impartial.

Impartial is hard.

Especially when it concerns people with whom we are partial (duh)—our family and friends. When friends and family are involved, it’s easy to be ruled by emotions rather than reality.

How different would your decisions, your counsel, your reactions, and your opinions be if “nameless individuals” were part of the situations you evaluated, or conflicts you sought to resolve?

Wyndham has always been considered “a safe place,” in part because of his wisdom to be impartial. One’s position or relationship to him really didn’t matter. This did not always come easy, however. He learned wisdom from God as he sought to determine WHAT was right, not WHO was right.

What a miry walk we walk when we let personalities rule our emotions, rather than principles of right and wrong.

Principle over personality.

This is an axiom he practices and teaches. What’s the Biblical principle? What is right?

Jesus, in Mark 12:14 is seen among men as a man of integrity.

They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not…?”

How I admire this quality in Jesus. How hard this quality has been for me, one who has often been a people pleaser, wanting everyone happy. This is something I have worked hard on in my character. Could the description of Jesus be said of us? Or would it more likely read…you are often swayed by personalities, because you pay attention to who they are and how they respond, stretching God’s truth in accordance with your emotions. Ouch.

I must often ask who I am most trying to please–God, or someone else. God, or me. (I can be partial to myself as well.)

I’ve often watched Wyndham imitate this quality of Jesus as he made hard decisions, unpopular decisions, “reacted to” decisions—all while seeking to be impartial and to practice principle over personality. But like I said earlier, this quality has also made him a sought after “safe place.” 

How does partiality/impartiality play out in our lives:

  • When we are close to a husband or a wife in a marriage and take sides without hearing both sides, and subsequently fail to point both back to the Scriptures?
  • When our child appears to be wronged by someone and our hair begins to bristle, but we don’t hear the “other side of the story?”
  • When someone we know is hurt by someone who they see as an authority figure, and we protect either the authority figure or the other person without hearing both out?

(Proverbs 18:17 is such an important teaching of wisdom: The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.)

  • Or, when we assume someone is “more right” because of their education, standing in society, or even ethnicity?
  • When we are asked to do something “shady” by a superior, knowing if we don’t do it our job could be in jeopardy?
  • When we listen to and participate in “put-downs” or gossip, assuming information is accurate and needs to be spread?
  • When we realize someone we love is not following the Scriptures, but they are really nice and sincere so we just “let it slide” so as not to create any uncomfortability?

Impartial or partial? What is right over who is right? Principle or personality?

Which one wins in our lives.

Wisdom from above is impartial.

Principle over personality, and holding to what is right over who is right is not “loveless,” but expresses sincere love for another.

Impartiality exhibits true, unconditional love. Partiality is sentimental, but not loving. Partiality creates false security and leaves others with greater concern over what we think than what God says. That’s not real love. Jesus spoke the way of God in accordance with the truth, while embodying perfect love and extreme grace.

Partiality is subjective, rather than objective. This creates insecurity because it’s based on feelings rather than a truth that does not change. Therefore, partiality is inconsistent. Impartiality brings security, maybe not always felt in the short run, but true in the long haul. We all need advocates in our lives, but we need advocacy backed with truth.

I often want someone to take “my side,” but not at the expense of truth. While I always know I’m deeply loved by my husband, I count on his impartial counsel. I am eternally grateful for this. I’m thankful that as an elder he takes seriously this charge:

 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. (1 Timothy 5:21)

 

Enough for Today

Ever have one of those days where you have feel…OK God, I’ve had enough for today!?

I’ve had a few of those lately. In fact I had several just last week consisting of some sadness, some difficult (physically) days of caregiving, troubles “at work,” our condo flooded from the unit above and has to be gutted, friends are experiencing some really difficult situations, the car broke down with the needed part back ordered for a month, and I got lost on the way to Wyndham’s doctor’s appointment and then got pulled over for going through a yellow light. However these things are not worth comparing to the difficulties of those experiencing devastation from recent natural disasters…which then brings me guilt for feeling discouraged about the above mentioned “difficulties.”

Whenever I feel I’ve had enough for today God reminds me, “I’ll give you enough for today.” Enough grace, enough encouragement, enough joy, enough love, enough of anything and everything you truly need.

 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

When Jesus was facing his most difficult time he encouraged his disciples with these words.

  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble… that’s a promise, and it’s certainly true. If I’m living for this world I’m cooked. However, he continues…but I have overcome the world. Now that’s good news!

Because he has overcome the world, he can lead me through good times and hard times. His perspective is eternal and unlimited. He gives me everything I need, and helps me “take heart.”

I am reminded of a familiar Psalm.  

 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
  he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalm 23)

Too often I have pictured this Psalm like this—A chubby, fluffy lamb lies peacefully on a lush, green, flowering field beside sparkling steams. These streams curve amidst rolling hills while a gentle breeze brushes  wispy clouds through brilliant colors of the setting sun. Aaaaahhhh.

Whose life is like this?

A few weeks ago I watched a video that stuck with me and has helped me numerous times. It moved me, and reminded me that I must stay close to the Lord to truly have enough for each day, to find rest in the green pastures, and to have my soul restored. I’ll never read this Psalm the same way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x8MwiTs0hM

God wants me to feel dependence on Him, one day at a time because he alone can give me what I need.  He gives me enough for the day, each day. Just like the manna God sent to the Israelites—which was just enough for the day

He knows that each day has enough worries of its own (Mt. 6:33) and he will take care of me one day at a time.

So, I will stay close to him as he leads me to and through the green pastures where I will be given enough for today.

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 21

Do You Really Love Me?

By Gordon Ferguson

Wisdom knows that love supersedes wisdom. As 1 Corinthians 13:2 teaches–We might fathom all mysteries and knowledge… but if we don’t have love, we don’t have anything.

In this post, Gordon Ferguson shares a practical application on what it means to love God.

That title contains a question asked of Peter by Jesus (John 21:17). Peter was smitten by the question, the context shows. There are perhaps some subtleties involved in the Greek language here, but the question is no doubt a probing one. Jesus said that love for God must involve heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). In light of that, do I really love him? Do you? A probing question indeed!

I was raised in a legalistic religious setting and rebelled against it. Both the setting and my rebellion produced a lot of guilt inside me that has honestly been difficult to get rid of. It is easy for me to question my love for God, and honestly, his love for me. At best, I’m an imperfect being, try as I might. I am one of the crowd having what has been described as “accused conscience.” Therefore, it is easy to wonder whether I’ve done enough or been good enough to say honestly that I really love God.

I think back to a conversation with Wyndham that led to a pearl of wisdom that has helped me with my guilty conscience struggles. We were discussing a leader whom we both knew, although Wyndham knew him far better than I did. The person had experienced some serious marriage problems and at the end of that painful trail, had decided to leave God. As we discussed his plight and his actions, Wyndham said something like this: “You know, I think maybe the best way to show God that we love him is to hang in no matter what we are going through.”

As I thought about it, I had one of those “Aha” moments. Agape love is not just a feeling and perhaps not even primarily a feeling – it must include actions, especially when those actions are hard to muster. What loving parent ever wanted to get up in the middle of the night to clean the floor after a sick child emptied their stomach on it? Similar examples could be multiplied.

Here is where the definition of a true friend comes in. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). When I think about who my real friends are, I think about those who have seen the worst of me and still stay with me. Wyndham has seen me at my best and at my worst, and his friendship remains constant.

His practical explanation of what love for God really means has been demonstrated in his love for me. If there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), Wyndham is that friend. Using him as a human starting point, it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine God doing at least as well as him! Of course, God is infinitely better at loving than even Wyndham, but Wyndham being able to love me at my worst helps me to understand and accept God’s love – even at my worst.

God’s Word comes in at least two forms: the written form and the human example of what is written. Jesus was the ultimate human example of God’s heart; those like Jesus are that real life example in the present tense. Okay, Lord, I may not feel all that I ought to feel, but I confessed Jesus as Lord, and I will never back down! Do I love you? Imperfectly, but yes. Thank you, Wyndham!

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 20

Wisdom asks “So how was the ride home?”

Often, as we have had opportunities to help couples with challenges in their marriages we have observed unresolved issues from the past which continue to cause troubling relational dynamics in the present. Our marriage counseling sessions would always begin and end with prayer, and were filled with applications of the Scriptures as they related to real life challenges the couples faced.

When one person hurts another we have learned the importance of verbalized apologies. Real apologies. Ones that do not contain the words “but” or “because” or “I’m sorry if you feel like I…” or anything else that deflects personal responsibility. For a real apology merely focuses on taking personal responsibility for something that hurt or wronged another. We have learned that it’s not only important for one who has hurt another to apologize, but it is also important for the hurt person to verbally state, “I forgive you.” Resolution is key. Otherwise, feelings fester and turn into bitterness.

When apologies and forgiveness happen the way God intends for them to happen spirits are refreshed. Often in these sessions, tears of relief and reconciliation were enjoyed by the couples and by us.

However, wisdom knows that reconciliation is deeper than words and must penetrate the heart in order to truly overcome harmful dynamics. Over and over, as we would meet couples for follow-up sessions, Wyndham would wisely ask the question,

“So how was the ride home after the last session?” 

The ride home often tells the story. Anger, “I can’t believe you said….,” or silence showed that the “reconciliation” was mere words—not from deep in the heart. Luke 6:45 tells us that our words expose our hearts.

  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

It’s the ride home, it’s what we say to ourselves or to a spouse or friend that shows whether we are really resolved, or whether we have just said what we think was expected of us, or what would make the conversation end.

The ride home is what really matters. Repentance and forgiveness begin in the heart. Then, the right words follow. Next time you attempt to reconcile a relationship use God’s wisdom to search your heart and ask—So how is my ride home?

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 19

GARBAGE OUT, GARBAGE GONE!

by Gordon Ferguson

My Boston years allowed me to spend much time with Wyndham, from the day I arrived until the day we left. I found my way through the rough patches in my life by asking him to share his wisdom with me, which he freely and frequently did. I couldn’t begin to list the many pearls of wisdom I received from God through him. They were numerous, but became a part of me to the point that I cannot easily separate what I learned from him and who I am today. Not surprisingly, I quote from him and use his life example frequently.

One of my early memories in Boston was trying to work through ministry issues that I either didn’t understand or didn’t agree with. I recall a day when Theresa and I were driving over to get with Wyndham and Jeanie for a discipling time. I don’t remember what the inside of their abode looked like or what borough it was located in, but I remember the parking lot. When I drove up, I saw a dumpster and felt like my world smelled just like it did.

All of my bad attitudes were near the surface and came out quickly. Wyndham, in his patient way, somehow dealt with all of my “junk” and sanity was restored! I remember that parking lot as I drove away, because it seemed to now be located in a different world than when I drove into it. I remember thinking to myself that Wyndham must feel like a garbage dump, but I feel like I could fly! Of course, I learned in time that his ability to help others sort through their issues without letting it ruin his day was rather an amazing gift. In fact, it was two gifts rolled up into one: helping others process their pain while protecting yourself and your family. I have never been able to do both at once in the way that he can.

Since we left Boston nearly 15 years ago, I have called Wyndham many times to get help. I have made trips to Boston just to get time and input from him. When I hear his voice or catch sight of him at such times, my heart starts settling out immediately. It has learned that when Wyndham is near, God is near. (I’m crying as I write this.) He has absorbed an incredible part of my pain through the past 30 years, and I’m just one of those for whom he has done this.

Wyndham, I’m expressing much love and appreciation on behalf of all who have been so blessed by your wise and loving heart. May God bless you for being an amazing demonstration of his principles, “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” and “the greatest of all is the servant of all.” 

 

 

 

 

 

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I could fill a daily blog for years with wisdom I have learned from Wyndham. However, I’ll stick with one day a week. Each Wednesday I will share wisdom gleaned, not just from me, but from our family who saw him day and night and from friends near and far whose lives he has touched.

Many of you have already told me you wish to share wisdom you learned from Wyndham. If you wish to contribute to this collection please email me at shaw.jeanie@gmail.com with the subject line—Wednesday Wisdom. If you wish to receive these blogs in your inbox, feel free to sign up to follow the blog.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 18

Wisdom Remembers Generations to Come

Though extremely limited in energy, Wyndham finds time for the next generation. Wisdom understands that Jesus and his teachings must be instilled in coming generations if this world is to have hope. I learned more about wisdom as Wyndham asked me to set up some time last week for him to visit with a young man who is entering college. He recognized this disciple’s convictions and desired to instill vision in him—for ways the young man might consider making a lasting impact for God.

I remembered as a young girl the inspiration I gained from a few women in the older generation who were making a difference in this world…yet stopped to talk to me. Wisdom calls me to make more specific times to share, as it takes forethought and deliberate conversations to instill God’s greatness and love to the next generation(s). Never underestimate the difference your words and actions make to young eyes who watch and listen.

A few weeks ago Wyndham turned 65. As is our custom, with each birthday every family member expounds on a word that describes something we love or admire in the birthday person.  Our eight grandchildren are continual beneficiaries of their Papa’s practice of Deuteronomy 6:1-9. (Look it up. It’s a great scripture to memorize!) I loved each of their meaningful words as they shared. (Well, I didn’t fully understand 8-month-old Colette’s words…though she made her voice known.)

The next generation listens…and watches.

Pictured here is a card from our 7-year-old grandson. In phonetic spelling it reads, “You taught me to how love God and now it’s my turn.”

He gets it.

The following week my daughter recounted to me a conversation between Micah and his close friend. On the way back from summer football camp Micah’s friend inquired about the book which was in the back seat of the car. Micah told him it was his Bible, to which his friend asked, “What’s the Bible?”

Micah then explained that the Bible teaches about God and Jesus, and proceeded to tell him the books that were in the Bible from Genesis through Revelation (something he had been working on).

He told his friend he would love to teach him about the Bible, as he shared, “ I’m a Bible teacher. That’s who I am.”

He then showed his friend Galatians 5:22 which speaks of the fruits of God’s Spirit. After reading the verse, he asked his friend…”Which ones do you think you need to work on?” Micah then told his friend that he needn’t feel bad, as he had to work on self-control as well.

Next, he excitedly showed him Jesus’ first miracle in John 2, telling his friend how amazing Jesus was. He reminded him that he would love to teach him more about the Bible any time.

Yes, Micah…it’s your turn.  

Wisdom remembers that the next generations are listening and watching.

May wisdom rule our conversations as our lives speak of the wonders that God has done…and continues to do.

O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
  I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old–
  what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
  We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,
  so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
  (Psalm 78:1-7)

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 17

Wisdom Finds the High Road

It was a pivotal time in my life. A time when I could have sold my soul to bitterness. Thankfully, Wyndham’s wisdom (and humility) prevailed.

We had been in the ministry for eight years. I was 28 years old and Wyndham was 30.  He had been preaching in a traditional type church for 3 years. We had led campus ministry for the previous five years, but this was his first preaching job. The church was growing, but the leadership was not united. In fact, one of the leaders would stand at the back door after Wyndham came down from the pulpit and pass out negative literature about us to the people who were leaving.

One woman called and swore at me, and I never even knew why. We were away one week when one of the leaders called and told my husband he should find a new job, as he wouldn’t be able to stay there. Fired. The reason stated was this. “We don’t have any problem with what you are preaching. It’s the Bible. The problem some people are having is that when you come out of the pulpit, you expect people to follow it! And they don’t want to change.”

I was angry with the leaders and their decisions. I felt we had been wronged and were treated unfairly. That was true. I felt, as James and John (in their immaturity) stated in Luke 9:54 like calling down fire from heaven to destroy them.

As Wyndham delivered his last sermon I was waiting for him to “let them have it”— firmly rebuking them.  Instead, he took the high road. He called them to follow Jesus, but then apologized for anything he had ever done to hurt anyone.

What?!  I then struggled with my husband. Why didn’t he let them have it!  Bitterness was growing in my heart.

But he understood the wisdom that comes from God.

  Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18)

He found the high road and took it, never giving in to bitterness but trusting that God would take care of us. We just needed to be humble and trust God. I had to have some talks with the elders and some soul searching times with God. I realized that Jesus could have sinned even as he hung on the cross. Perhaps he faced his greatest temptation while on the cross! The temptation to be bitter. He was unimaginably mistreated. Yet he said to the angry crowd as they spat and swore and crucified him, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”  (Luke 23:34).  As I read I thought…what do you mean? Of course they knew. Why did he say that?

I do believe they still needed to repent and be baptized to be forgiven (Acts 2:38). But, perhaps Jesus said those word to rid any temptation of bitterness from his heart. If Jesus was not bitter, what right did I have to be bitter? I don’t deserve forgiveness, but Jesus gave it to me.

So, I let it go, and following the example of Wyndham’s “wisdom from above” –truly forgave. God’s word was still true, and his plan for the church was still his only plan. I have hurt others so who am I to hold on to hurt?

I shudder to think where this bitterness would have led me had my husband not taken the high road. I would have lost my soul had I held on.

Soon after, a brother that had been converted in our campus ministry asked if we would be willing to move where he lived to start a church. 13 disciples were there and were willing to support us. One of the families invited us (along with our two girls and a child on the way) to live with them. We had no insurance and no money—but a lot of faith. God blessed that decision and never deserted us. Instead, he blessed us. 

We all have temptations to grow bitter. Yet we all can make the decision to take the high road. Which road will you travel? Wisdom finds the high road.

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham -16

Wisdom Speaks Aptly

Jeanie Shaw

It happened to me yesterday and again today. In fact, few days go by without someone telling me something like this:

Wyndham believed in me, and his words gave me vision to see myself as God sees me, not how I see myself.  When I didn’t believe in myself, his directed and encouraging words (full of vision for me) changed my life.

They tell me what he said, when he said it, and how this has affected their lives.

Wisdom knows the power of words aptly spoken.

  A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.
 Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters.
(Proverbs 25:11-13)

While most of us can remember words that damaged, fortunately we also remember specific words that gave us courage to keep going and faith to believe what we couldn’t see. Words that reminded us of our value to God and to others.

I watch and learn as I hear Wyndham continually look into people’s eyes and offer them vision and hope for their lives. He tells them ways God can use them to make a difference in this world—and that they are needed. I hear him give loving correction when needed, yet these words also end with vision and hope.

I get busy—and must remind myself to have these conversations. I have good intentions and think these things about others, but thinking them and taking the time to express them are two different things. Truth is, these conversations take consideration and deliberateness. After awhile, they will more naturally flow from our mouths. When I take the time to think though who, when, and how to encourage, as the Scripture below states, it really does make a difference. I know it does for me.  I am motivated toward love and good deeds when I’m encouraged.


Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:25-26)

This Scripture tells me I need to do this more and more! There is also more that’s needed than just “showing up” (though that’s a great start as we surely can’t have these conversations without being with each other). God wants us to encourage each other while meeting together!

So, beginning today, on this particular “Wednesday of Wisdom with Wyndham,” join me in being deliberate with someone—taking time to encourage them in a specific and meaningful way.  Not only will you be wiser, but these words aptly spoken may change a life for the better.