Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
(Acts 4:13 – NASB95)
“Having been with Jesus.” Oh, how I wish people would recognize me as one who has spent a lot of time with Jesus. I’ve had plenty of time on my hands the past 3 months to be with Jesus, but it has been difficult. Dealing with physical issues related to open heart surgery, fatigue, and mental fog, made it challenging to focus on the Lord. But it also made me realize how dependent I am on the Lord for EVERYTHING and how much I take His gracious gifts for granted (things like good health, mental clarity, endurance…).
Have you spent a lot of time with Jesus this summer? Would you say that you have grown closer to Him in the past 3 months? Is His character (fruit of the Spirit) more on display in your life now than it was earlier in the year? Has there been a bountiful crop of spiritual fruit in your life in the most recent harvest? That’s what we are going to study this Sunday in John 15, one of my favorite passages in the Bible, yet one I have never preached before. I hope you will join me so we can feast on the Word of God and learn what it means to abide in Jesus.
Medical update: I have an appointment with my cardiologist next week (9/16), but from what I can tell everything is going well with my heart. The new aortic valve and ascending aorta seem to be working just fine and I haven’t had any atrial fibrillation (A-fib) episodes that I know of for about 3 months. I am on medication for it but I’m curious to know if the meds can eventually be discontinued if the surgery got rid of the A-fib problem. I have experienced intermittent pain migrating from my forearm to my upper leg to my low back to my foot, and most recently to my lower abdomen. Doctors don’t know why it is happening but fortunately I’m running out of body parts. I know the Lord is using these experiences in a cursed world to refine me and make me trust in Him more thoroughly for everything. To God be the glory!
This Sunday evening, we have an outdoor BBQ at the church. I hope you have RSVP’d and are bringing some friends for a great time of food, fun, fellowship, and fabulous music. I hope to see a lot of you there!
Special thanks to all the gifted men who proclaimed God’s truth to you in my absence. I am blessed to have a number of gifted and godly friends. I trust you were blessed by their ministry.
Thank you so much for your faithful prayers over the past 3+ months. Your kind words, cards, emails, texts, phone calls, visits, meals, and gifts have been so very encouraging. I hope the Lord will give me the privilege of showing my gratitude by loving you and leading you to a closer and more fruitful walk with Him. I’m praying that He will work mightily in and through our church as we seek Him together.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 – NASB95)