Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 65

Wisdom Makes People Feel Special

By Micah Gonet

This week’s post is by our grandson, Micah, who is 8 years old. He asked if he could write a “Wednesday Wisdom” about his Papa. Wyndham loves deeply…such that people want to express how much they feel loved. Thank you Micah. We love you. 

We’re putting a lot of effort and planning to go see Papa in Boston these days.  Because he can’t walk, he can’t come down to see us in Connecticut, so we go up there. It probably easy for him to feel like, “Hey guys, I can’t walk!  Can you help me?”’  and to just be selfish.  But instead he decides to think about us and not himself.  For example, I was outside in his yard the other day playing ball with my cousin Caleb. Mom called me up to the porch where Papa was watching us play.

I said, “Man!” cause I didn’t want to stop playing. But I listened to my Mom and went up anyway.  Then Papa gave every cousin a 20 dollar bill!

Here is another reason Papa makes me feel great: Once when everybody went out to eat at a restaurant, I stayed with Papa at his house. I wanted to watch a football show.  He wanted to watch a show about fishing. He watched the football show with me even though he didn’t want to. That’s how he shows how much he cares about me.

About a year ago, when I had a baseball game on the weekend, Papa came down to Connecticut and stayed in a hotel just so he could see me play even though it is hard for him to even get into the hotel. That also shows how much he loves me and cares for me.  After the game, he gave me a big hug and kiss. 

Back to the story about the money: When he gave me that 20 dollar bill, it made me feel so good.  But giving to everyone made Papa feel so good, and that shows how amazing he is. Although it’s hard, he pulls through and never gives up. Even though he can’t walk he still sticks with Jesus and always does the right thing.  Even though he can’t do much we still can do a lot with him.

He reminds me of the scripture in Philippians 2, verse 3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.  That is exactly what Papa does. 

And I love watching the Red Sox with him.

I love you, Papa.

Your Buddy,

Micah

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 64

Wisdom Holds to God’s Hand

Today as I ran errands I noticed several couples walking hand in hand. I reminisced and felt a little sad. I miss this. Walking together is certainly not possible. Hand holding is not easy, as Wyndham’s hands are tender to the touch and quite shaky.  Even as I took this picture I heard, “ouch.” 

Thankfully, we both have a strong, loving hand to hold. Wyndham knows the source of true strength. Wisdom holds to God’s hand.

I’m reminded of a well-loved song beginning with the words,

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

I need the strength and security of God’s unchanging hand. Every day I need to grasp that hand. While it’s not a physical hand, the spiritual effect of his presence with me is real for both of us.  It’s not a “nice thought” to hold to God’s hand. It’s a necessity! His hand sustains me. I’m humbled that he stoops down to feel with me and make me something I can’t be without him—as he holds on to me!

  You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great (Psalm 18:35).

The following thoughts are taken from a chapter in my book, “Every Day is a New Chance.”  I share it in hopes that the thoughts (near the end) on Psalm 23 encourage you as much as they do me.

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

My friend: We’re going down the street. Hold onto Grammie’s hand.

My friend’s grandson: Gwammy, I’ll hold my own hand!!

(He then clasped his hands together.)

I had to laugh when I heard this exchange. Children often blatantly do the same things we do—only we are more subtle. We even know how to explain our actions in ways that make them sound quite noble. Such as:

God: You’re going through life. It can be tough. Follow me; hold onto my hand.

Me: I’ll hold my own hand. Thank you, but I don’t want to trouble you. (See how polite that sounds while telling God no?)

Why in the world would I think holding my own hand—depending on myself to direct my steps through life—would turn out well? I’m extremely shortsighted compared to God. He sees the big picture. I can only see a part.

Holding to God’s hand can at times feel childish, too restrictive for our exploration, or hurtful to our pride. Shouldn’t I be able to navigate my life on my own? Why should I need someone to guide me? After all, who can I trust but myself? These thoughts and questions can haunt the back roads of our hearts and minds, causing us to want to “hold our own hand.”

How do we know when we are trying to hold our own hand instead of God’s?  Simply put, when we rely on ourselves and our own understanding. This can be seen when we fail to spend time in God’s word, seeking wisdom and instruction for our daily lives. When we fail to pray for daily wisdom and guidance. When we don’t live the lifestyle Jesus lived and calls us to live.

Certainly, if we hold to his hand we will follow him, and thus will be serving others. We will be teaching his truths. Frankly, holding to God’s hand doesn’t mean that I will be safe from pitfalls, tragedies, and suffering. These, my friends, are all along the landscape of the world in which we live. God did not create it this way; man distorted it this way.

Holding to God’s hand means we have solid footing when we encounter these challenges. It means we can feel his strength, comfort, and guidance. God has prepared something much better for us, but we still have to walk through this life.  As time passes, I see and experience more of the challenges and suffering in life. However, I can’t imagine traveling this road without my faith—without holding to God’s hand. Holding to his hand, I feel free. I am secure. I am hopeful. I know where I’m ultimately headed. I’m full of peace and joy even amid pain, challenges, and suffering. Many of us are familiar with this beautiful passage of Scripture:

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. (Psalm 23:1–4)

For years I pictured this verse in a way that was not reality for the desert shepherds of David’s time. I envisioned God taking me to rest in plush, green, rolling hills. I recently learned that the “green pastures” familiar to the writer’s landscape were actually far different from what I had seen in my mind’s eye. They were bits of grass scattered among the rocks of the barren desert hillsides, where condensation from the sea winds allowed sprigs of grass to grow.  As the sheep followed their shepherd, he would lead them through these hillside “green pastures.”

The grass on the hillsides was just enough for their sustenance for the day.

The sheep had to follow the shepherd each day to have enough green pasture for their survival. Sheep left on their own would wander, searching for grass, and eventually die. Staying close to the shepherd was a matter of life and death.  It’s really no different for me. If I wander from my shepherd, holding my own hand, I’ll end up spiritually starving. However tempting it is to rely on myself, I can never take myself to heaven. I can never produce the fruits of God’s Spirit in my life without them flowing from him.

May we have the wisdom to hold to God’s strong and loving hand.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 63

Wisdom and Friendship

By Jack Frederick

It’s late, just after midnight. I’m sleepy, but I remember how I spent the day…I visited my old friend Wyndham, and his lovely wife, Jeanie. 

Wyndham has a few wrinkles on his brow, many of them put there by his friendship with me. I remember the times I hurt or disappointed him, and the times I made him laugh, the fish we caught together, the children we raised together, the poor we fed together, the disciples we made together, the times we cried over lost sleep and going out to find sheep who wandered. As I was about to lay down tonight I remembered the words of an eighteenth century hymn…

How sweet, how heav’nly is the sight,
When those that love the Lord
In one another’s peace delight,
And thus fulfill His Word.

The waterworks began to flow, unabated. I had held it together during our visit today, though my voice cracked here and there. We remembered stories together. I told him I kinda avoided the passage in Romans 16:16 where Paul told us to give one another a holy kiss, but I kissed him on his slightly balding head. I held his hand. I hugged him more than usual. I miss him. His physical health is waning; mine, too, but his change is more dramatic due to a difficult neurological disorder which robs his strength but not his amazing wisdom and insight. I have known brilliant men & women, lots of successful people, scholars and the like…but I’ve never known a man or woman so gifted in wisdom. The difference was always magnified by my inherent lack of wisdom; I always blamed it on growing up without a father to teach me, I felt like I was always ten years behind my age in wisdom while Wyndham was maybe 20+ years advanced. God gave me gifts, too, I was smart in a few things, I had the whole rocket scientist thing going on and I had passion & zeal, but wisdom would add depth I had never known.

James says of God, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). That’s the way it was with Wyndham, I felt he was willing to be my friend, willing to teach me how to gain wisdom and “show me how” to apply this in life, yet he never made fun of me for what I lacked. And Wyndham was really lame when it came to things like mechanical stuff, working on cars; I would fix things for him just to get to spend time with him. He taught me, and brought out the gifts God had given me, helped me see these and use them.

Wyndham (& Jeanie) taught me (us) so much about working in the ministry, how to lead spiritually in churches and in our family. I was like Peter with Jesus, I wanted to learn but I did some dumb things; he was gracious, he rebuked me when I needed it, but I learned by walking with him. We were discipleship partners and friends. Our wives and children were close friends. Last year during our visit he grew weary and asked me to help him from his motorized chair into bed, not an easy thing. Then after I wrestled him onto the bed he said, “you gotta pull my shirt off”…a tight tee shirt, even more difficult with him lying down. It was difficult…and awkward…we began to laugh, then he began to cry as he said, “Jack, take care of my family.” Yes, I cried. I told him I would, but reminded him he might live longer than me… I stay up so late, drink Mountain Dew and eat fried chicken. I live life at breakneck speed, even though I’m old.

I thought about the hymn…
When each can feel his brother’s sigh
And with him bear a part;
When sorrow flows from eye to eye,
And joy from heart to heart.

I’ve shared things with my friend Wyndham, things I may have shared with no other person, because I trust him as a friend to always do what is best for me. I feel a deep sense of gratitude that God put such a friend in my life, to have such a beneficial impact in my life. I feel a sorrow because we are not often together, and because we are aging and face life-limiting health challenges.

One reason I go at the pace I do, to so many places and into so many lives, is because I feel I have been given so much. Not that God has made me a great person, but God has put into my life great men & women who shaped my life, Wyndham being just one…a very special one, but there are so many who bear responsibility for making me who I am, in good ways.

I am grateful for Wyndham & Jeanie, for their friendship and for their family which is like an extension of our family. My kids look at him as a second dad. I hope for each of you that God puts someone this amazing in your life, and I hope you have the courage to go for it and the humility to allow the potter to shape you…both God the potter and those He puts in your lives.

And one more thing: I’ve argued with Wyndham, maybe more than I’ve argued with anyone ever. As elders in a large church, a fellow elder Greg Nevil once called us on the carpet and asked to get together with us to work out things as he saw us wrangling with one another. Great relationships don’t happen because two people just naturally agree and get along. Great friendships are forged in the fires of trials and conflicts as we love one another, and love God so much we will not let go.

The poet Edgar Guest said, “it takes a heap o livin’, to make a house a home.” That is true of friendships, too.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 62

Wisdom Values the Dinner Table

Amazing connections happen at the dinner table, but only if we actually sit and talk at the table. Has the “art of the dinner table” been lost?

Wisdom values the dinner table. Or rather, what can happen around the table.

What happens at the dinner table? Unfortunately the atmosphere can too often include screens, complaining, anger, and a downright mess. But dinner tables done right build family, connect with others, create precious memories, and prayerfully  help the “diners” see God  in action, resulting in a desire to grow in relationship with him.

Our family, for many decades, has taken a week in the summer for family vacation. Since Wyndham can’t travel anymore, we did a “staycation” this week. It was fabulous, meaningful, and fun. We played, prayed, swam, did crazy Olympics, played tennis, corn hole, and gathered often around the dinner table. The crazy antics brought laughter and tears to Wyndham, as he watched. 

Jesus was a firm believer in sharing meals. In fact, Matthew 11:19 tells us that Jesus came eating and drinking.  He valued shared meals and realized the impact they have on all involved. He ate with sinners (Matthew 9:9-11), and invites us all to his feast (Matthew 22:4). He shared dinner with close friends (John 12:2), and in Luke 14  used the dinner table to teach valuable lessons.

Tonight, as our family of 17 gathered around the dinner table I asked the question…What happens at the dinner table? Here are some of their responses (both kids and adults):

We talk about the highs and lows of our days.

We celebrate birthdays and victories or encourage someone who is discouraged.

We laugh.

We listen to each other and find out how everyone is doing.

We encourage each other.

We talk about our schedules.

Sometimes we throw food (spoken for the 18-month-old).:

We have friends over to build relationships.

We meet new people.

We try new foods.

We pray.

Wyndham has always valued and protected our dinner table. Over the years we have built family around the dinner table. We’ve explored emotions. Laughed. Cried. Shared fears. Shared victories. Shared defeats. Truthfully, every mealtime wasn’t just like this. Sometimes they were hurried, sometimes someone was in a mood, or was distracted—but the sum of the times around the table added up to feelings of love, warmth, and family that linger with us.

Our dinner table has also seated many a neighbor or acquaintance, who often shared they had never before been invited to dinner with a neighbor. Many Bible studies began at the dinner table, resulting in changed lives.

Wanderers from the faith (mainly because of Wyndham’s persistent desire to see hearts restored to God) have felt loved, welcomed, and safe around the dinner table. I can think of numerous men and women who were helped back to God because of his commitment to use Monday evenings to have dinner with some who had wandered from their faith.

Something happens around the table as we connect with one other. The senses of taste, sound, smell, and sight somehow morph together to imprint our hearts, leaving us with a feeling of  love and belonging—family. Jesus knew this, and realized that sharing meals together would reveal hearts, melt hearts, and capture memories. He shared many such meals with his closest friends as well as strangers and sinners. These meals helped them never forget his love and call. We still remember him together through communion…which by definition is not an individual or solo activity.

Wisdom knows that the dinner table is powerful. It doesn’t have to be pretty to “do its thing.” But it must be filled with love.

May we all create such dinner tables as we follow Jesus’ example.

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Gloria

A few years ago Gloria made a short video, “Understanding God’s Gifts,” where she spoke of her cancer as a gift. ( http://www.icochotnews.com/?q=node/2725.) While cancer has taken our dear friend and certainly doesn’t feel like a gift, I have a feeling that today Gloria sees it as a priceless gift—her vehicle to glory—a gift of inexpressible value.

I am also quite sure, though we grieve the loss of her physical presence, that we have received an amazing and valuable gift that will keep on giving—the “Gift of Gloria.” Gloria’s life was (and will continue to be) a gift. A testimony. A sermon. A source of comfort. An example. An upward call. A reminder. A smile producer. A reminder of all good things in Christ. An encouragement as we finish our race. A mentor. A friend…and much more. My eyes have shed many tears, as there will be a gap until I see my dear friend again—but my heart is full remembering beautiful, effervescent, radiant, and glorious Gloria.

Gloria’s life had the ripple effect, amidst joy and in suffering.

and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  (Romans 5:2-5)

As Gloria, through God’s spirit, only let suffering cause her to grow in all these qualities, she (through God’s pitcher… as she so beautifully expressed) poured this love out onto countless others. As she poured out God’s love, the outpouring created a ripple effect—crossing oceans and spanning continents.

Several of her character qualities that stand out to me and have called me higher are:

  • Humility. Soon after I met Gloria, in the late 80’s, I remember being at a staff meeting with her in Lexington, Massachusetts. The staff had grown quickly, as many ministers migrated to Boston, and soon overwhelmed the little office building. The administrative staff struggled to get work done on Tuesdays (staff meeting days) because of the traffic of people wandering upstairs through their offices, especially to use the phones. (This was in the days before cell phones.) In response to this difficulty, the church installed a pay phone (yes, they were a thing back in the day) in the downstairs staff room. I remember Gloria (who was an elder’s wife by then), looking for a dime to make a call. One of the administrative staff told her that she was welcome at any time to use the upstairs phones. But Gloria used the downstairs pay phone. She would never want to be or cause one to stumble through any sense of entitlement. Gloria’s definition of leadership matched Jesus’ definition. Gloria always saw herself through her deep understanding of her personal discipleship—a servant of Jesus.

 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.
  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Mark 10:43-45 NLT)

Gloria always saw herself as a servant of Jesus. No wonder she was so joyful!

  ‘…In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  (Acts 20:35)

  • Laughter.  How her joy radiated. My first taste of this came soon after we moved to Boston. I don’t remember the occasion, but we were seated on stage at a Sunday service in the Boston Garden. Gloria’s chair had inadvertently been set up with the back legs of the chair too close to the back edge of the stage. Yes, in front of thousands of people (though we found out that amazingly many had missed the crazy happening) her chair went backward and she fell back, her legs flying in the air. Thankfully, she was not hurt at all and we laughed hard afterward. Gloria could laugh at herself, and she could find the joy in most any situation. I will miss laughing with Gloria. She would place herself with and beside those who were hurting and struggling—and help them find the peace and joy Jesus offers. Her life was surrendered to Jesus, leaving her with the freedom to laugh at the days to come…and to enjoy God’s sense of humor through his creation.

  • An expresser of the Word of life. Gloria always had a scripture on her heart. She knew that the power of God was expressed through his Word. She understood that the impact of her words came through God’s words. I can rarely recount a conversation with Gloria where scripture was not used. It  just flowed from her heart and through her lips. This scripture expresses well her heart.

Be blessed, GOD; train me in your ways of wise living.
  I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
  I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches.
  I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
  I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.
  Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life; not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.
(Psalm 119:12-18 MSG)

Because of this, she offered hope. Solutions. She knew God was the fixer. She offered his words of life, without grumbling. Yes, she shined like the stars in the sky as she firmly held to the Word of life. She certainly did not run or labor in vain. Countless lives testify to this truth.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
(Philippians 2:14-16)

  • A learner. Gloria knew a lot. However, she never felt she had it all wrapped up. Gloria was always eager to learn. Her pursuit of growth, her study of the Word, her sharing of weaknesses and ways she longed to grow, her vulnerability, her listening ear—all testified to her eagerness to learn. Suffering taught her. Things gone awry taught her. Joy taught her. Trials taught her. Children taught her. The newest Christian taught her. A struggling Christian taught her. Life taught her. I believe this heart to learn kept her spirit exuberant. She awaited the new treasures of wisdom God had in store each day. Learning was great, because not only did she draw closer to the heart of God, but she had more to give! And giving was her life.
  • A friend, mentor, and confidante. Now my tears flow. Gloria was my friend. She cared about my life. She asked about my life. She cried with me. She prayed with me. She laughed with me. She added flavor and zest to life. I confided in her, as she was a safe place. But as a true friend, she did likewise with me. Gloria was authentic. As a daughter of God, a wife, mother, Nonna, sister, friend…and many other roles, she was the real deal. The heart of her husband trusted in her. Her children and grandchildren have risen up and called her blessed. 

Gloria will forever live in my heart, and I know I am one of many who share this sentiment. I’m grateful, Gloria, that you know I feel this way about you. I so wish I could celebrate your life with many others next week, but I can’t leave home now. You know that, and would advise me such. We miss your physical presence deeply, glorious Gloria, but now thrill that you are with him in Paradise. This is what you lived for, and you did it! You have finished the race. You did not stumble in, but in the words of Hunter Thompson…

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”

And more spiritually stated by the Apostle Paul,

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT)

You have finished well, dear Gloria. I’ll see you later, my friend. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your example, Thank you for your life. It’s changed mine.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 61

Wisdom Remembers God is at Work

It’s good to be reminded of modern day miracles. Changed lives.

These two “miracles” brought us lobster rolls a few days ago, which were delicious. Even more satisfying, however, was the reminder of God at work changing lives. Bill and Lara are friends, and also “kids” of some long-time friends. They came to visit Wyndham. Bill thanked him for changing his life. Truth is, Wyndham didn’t change his life, but what he shared with him did.

Wisdom reminds us that God’s word does not return void. Period.

8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:8-11)

Lara had been raised in a wonderful Christian family and became a Christian while a teenager but wandered from God when she went off to college. During this time, she met this guy, Bill, and fell in love. He had no real knowledge of the Bible or any semblance of the lifestyle of a disciple. Though Lara had let go of her “first love” with God, she knew she wanted a relationship like her parents. So, when they became engaged to be married she asked Wyndham if he would perform their wedding. He was happy to do oblige but insisted that they do some pre-marriage counseling with us beforehand. We explained that we believe a marriage needs to be built on a strong foundation (with God as the architect) in order to thrive and withstand the challenges that come with life. Thus, we would use the Bible as we met together to talk about marriage and their lives.

Bill was captivated by the Scriptures, and asked Wyndham to study the Bible with him. The Scriptures came to life before his eyes. He desired to change his life and follow Jesus. His excitement over the Scriptures and his learning how to build a relationship with Jesus reminded Lara of what she knew was true and right. His zeal was contagious…and she recaptured her love for God. A few weeks before their wedding Bill was baptized, and Lara was restored to the church.

Today they are strong disciples, teaching their young children the realness of God and love for the Bible. Seeing Bill’s changed life (even though they now live in another state) and the strength of their marriage and family impacted his mother in a great way, and she was recently baptized. He has great vision for all of his family.

Sometimes I get stuck and wonder how things can change. Other times I get discouraged and feel like miracles are out of reach, or only meant for others.

Wisdom remembers that everywhere the Word of God goes and is implanted, lives change. If you feel like you don’t know what to say or what to do, don’t worry. Read the Bible. Share the Bible. It’s powerful to change lives, and reawaken hearts grown cold. Ours and others.

Never underestimate the power of God and his word.

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 60

Wisdom Searches

We hope you have a happy 4th of July (no matter where you live). I’m taking a break from posting an article today, while continuing the now six- hour search for my car keys. It will be wise to continue looking, as they will be pricey to replace.

I’ve searched all the likely places, as well as the unlikely ones. I’ve searched the “ripe” trash, and have even searched in the freezer. They are somewhere, I just don’t know where.

I’m eternally grateful God sees us as valuable treasures..and searches for all who are seeking him. He never quits searching. He searches the freezer and the trash of our lives, looking for hearts that seek him. When we find him, he keeps seeking us out, as his desire is to support us throughout our life of service to him. What an amazing God.

I pray I find my car keys, but even more I pray to always seek God’s face.

“And you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve him with single mind and willing heart; for the LORD searches every mind, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will abandon you forever. (1 Chronicles 28:9 NRSV)

 
“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  (2 Chronicles 16:9a NLT) 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 59

Wisdom Doesn’t Know What to Do

Wisdom means we always know what to do, right?

I don’t think so. In fact, wisdom knows that we often face circumstances and situations when we have no idea what to do.

That’s why wisdom prays.

In 2 Chronicles 20, the men, women, and children of Judah stood watching their King Jehoshaphat. Their land was being invaded. They looked to their leader to learn his well-thought-out plan of action. Yet, Jehoshaphat had no idea what to do to help his people. He had no answers.

In having no answers, he had THE answer.

He turned to God. He reminded God of his promises as he prayed:

Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 

                                                                                                (2 Chronicles 20:12)

Wisdom doesn’t have to know what to do. Wisdom must know where to turn. Jehoshaphat displays great wisdom while not knowing what to do.

Wyndham has consistently set an example for me, and for our family by NOT always knowing what to do—yet always knowing who to turn to. You see, prayer is not merely something we do to check off our spiritual activities for the day. Prayer is dependence on God. Prayer is desperation. Prayer is relationship. Prayer is essential. Prayer is trusting even when we have no idea what to do next. Wyndham likes to begin and end the days with prayer. He would begin vacation times with prayer, begin car rides with prayer–even fishing trips with prayer. When he would visit with someone he would ask to pray with them, and when someone visits us he wants to pray with them.

We began praying with our kids when they were newborns, and we still pray with them. We love to pray with our grandchildren, because we, like their parents, long for them to know the Presence of God.

One of Wyndham’s favorite scriptures is in Exodus 33. Moses is faced with the “I don’t know what to do or where to go” dilemma. So—he prays.

Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’
If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. (Exodus 33:12-15)

Wisdom knows that when God’s Presence is with us… we will be okay.

If God’s Presence is not with us, we can have all kinds of fabulous or not so fabulous ideas and plans…but we had best not move forward.

God with us, God’s presence, God’s wisdom—is everything.

Wisdom prays.

I took this picture a few nights ago because it’s a common scene. Whenever Sam comes (a couple times a week) to help with some of the routines like showers and getting Wyndham into bed this scene is familair– Sam praying with his dad last thing at night. (I have also learned that he and our daughters pray by phone together very early in the morning once a week.) No one asked them to do this. They have learned wisdom, because they don’t know what to do.

We can’t fix our situation. We don’t know what to do. But our eyes our on him.

God’s Presence is what really matters.

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 58

Wisdom Believes in People

By Leigh Kinnard

One of the qualities I admire the most about Jesus is his ability to see each person individually and to encourage each person to be the best they can be. Jesus sees our strengths and weakness, and he has vision for what we can become as we follow in his steps. Jesus brings out the best in people.

Vision is a powerful motivator. I appreciate the people in my life who have believed in me and who have had vision for the person I could be in Jesus. One person in my life who had vision for me was Wyndham Shaw.

I grew up on a farm in Henderson, North Carolina. My grandmother taught me about God through nature. I knew God loved me, but I didn’t know how to respond to the kind of love God showed me.

During my high school years (the early ’70s), I became friends with Mitch Mitchell and his family through the church we attended in Henderson. Mitch went to college at NCSU. He would come back during the summer and share what he was learning in the campus ministry there, which was led by Wyndham.

Wyndham, Jeanie, and Mitch

I was searching to find God’s truth and his will for my life. I jumped at the opportunity to visit the campus devotionals which were held each Friday night in Raleigh. I’ll never forget the first time I went. I was blown away by the fellowship, the singing, and Wyndham’s message calling us to be disciples.

After my first visit to the devotional, I talked with Wyndham. I was so touched by his genuine concern for what was going on in my heart. He encouraged me to keep attending the devotionals, even though I was still in high school. I sensed that he looked deep into my soul and saw my longing for God. Wyndham’s compassion gave me hope that I could be close to God and find his will for my life.

I kept going to the devotionals until I went away to college in West Tennessee. I took Wyndham’s encouragement with me on my journey. Each time I talked with Wyndham, he had the ability to make me feel like I was the only person in the room. He had genuine concern for what was going on in my life. I now know that he was this way with EVERYONE! I would always walk away from those talks with Wyndham feeling loved, encouraged, and believed in.

I appreciate how Wyndham values each individual person. That’s what Jesus did. I feel convicted by that. I want to be like that. In John 13:34-35, Jesus gave his disciples a new command. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” From the first time I met Wyndham I knew he was a follower of Jesus because of his love. Our interactions were brief talks during fellowship, but I always walked away feeling like I had been in the presence of Jesus.

I have never been with Wyndham and Jeanie in a ministry. I’ve never been with them for a long period of time. My history with them is one of brief interactions. They probably don’t realize how those brief conversations changed my life and made me a better person. I realize it, and I appreciate their love and encouragement.

I have tried to thank Wyndham over the years as our paths crossed at various seminars, church services, and retreats. My husband Steve and I have had opportunities to be around Wyndham and Jeanie during these times. 

We have watched them teach, serve, counsel, and lead. Their humility is inspiring, their faith through the toughest times is an upward call, their love and joy are amazing.  To me, they are wonderful examples of how to make the most of every opportunity with people. They love each person with an individual and personal love. Their love reminds people of the love of Jesus. I have felt the love of God through them.  Each time we have talked, I left our conversations feeling those same feelings—loved, encouraged, and believed in.

Wyndham, thanks for believing in this farm girl from Henderson all those years ago. I pray I can believe in others the way you believed in me.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 57

Wisdom Sticks with God—No Matter What

Have you ever been in a situation where someone who is supposed to be living as a Christian messes up? Maybe they sin grievously. Perhaps in the process they hurt you and/or others. We can probably all recount such situations. Since Satan always tries to capture us, this shouldn’t really surprise us. The church is (and always will be) filled with imperfect people—of which I am one.

I have watched wonderful Christians stay devoted to God for many years, following his Word and living life in a way that pleases him.Then, in later years I’ve seen those same individuals decide that sin is too compelling, or his Word is too narrow. They leave the Lord, neglecting his words, and his love. There are few things more painful than watching someone slip away. Over the years that I’ve been a Christian I’ve seen such situations all too often.

Someone else’s (especially someone we love and respect) response to God and his word can challenge our faith—or strengthen it. Often times the one wandering still claims to be okay with God. Such hypocrisy leaves a trail. It can tempt us to respond in unrighteous ways. It can hurt our view of God, embitter us, or cause us to think if “they” can’t do it…why should I think I can. Or, we can rationalize that another’s action gives us an excuse to follow suit. On the other hand, another’s actions can strengthen our convictions about what is true and right.

Wyndham has viewed such difficult situations by simply holding to the Scriptures. His responses have helped and strengthened me. He has often referred to the powerful scripture from Romans 3:3-4.

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?
Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar.

Wisdom knows that God is true—no matter what anyone else does. Wisdom knows that what God says is true, no matter what anyone else says, or thinks. 

It can be tempting to let ourselves off the hook when someone else does wrong. We can think another’s sin means it no longer matters how I live before God.

Am I still called to forgive?

Am I still called to be a functioning, devoted disciple of Jesus?

Am I still to live a life of purity?

Does God still believe that the church is his plan for spiritual family, and that my involvement in it is vital?

The answer to each of these questions is a resounding “yes.”

God is always true no matter what anyone else does.

His word is still true.

His plan is still true.

I love this fact, because I can always count on God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is not dependent on anyone or anything.

I love this because no one else can make my decisions about God and his word for me.

One of my favorite poems (by Mother Teresa) entitled “Anyway,” depicts our temptation to quit or to rationalize because of another’s actions, thoughts, or words. The last stanza reads:

“In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Wisdom knows that God is true, no matter what.