Two Rabbits with One Arrow . . . Maybe Three!

The Mongol saying "killing two rabbits with one arrow" has the same meaning as "killing two birds with one stone".  Simply said, we'll accomplish two tasks with one effort.  Here's to it!

November of last year a pastor challenged me to share 10 Bible Verses I was thankful for.  It was meant to be a holiday challenge, but I didn't finish.  However, it was a great idea and great ideas deserve being revisited and repurposed.  For the next 10 weeks we will look at 10 passages I am thankful for, and why I am thankful for them.

Here are some ground rules I plan to abide by that were not part of the challenge, but will make it more personal:

1) I will use verses I discovered in personal study that aren't already "popular" favorite verses (i.e John 3:16, Romans 8:28, etc.).  But yes, I'm glad those verses are there too!!

2) They will have a  "testimony" about why I am thankful for them.  We can be thankful for the Bible without our stories, but this will serve as a devotional and memoir.

For those attending Immanuel's Wednesday 7pm service, I will also use these verses in our devotions.  #tworabbitswithonearrow #twobirdswithonestone!!  Kidding aside, I want folks who may not read the blog to know what's here. #repurposing (Couldn't resist one more!!)

Sticking with repurposing . . . what follows is the only entry I made toward the challenge.  I haven't changed a word, and it has been my "life verse" since December 3, 2005.  I hope it meets you where you are today.


Bro. Tony

- The following was posted on my FaceBook Timeline 12/3/2014 -

Today, I am thankful for Jeremiah 45:4-6 (I consider this passage my life verse)

Thus says the LORD: Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up—that is, the whole land. 5 And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the LORD. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.” (ESV)

Today (December 3) is a day our family fondly calls Isaac Day. Ten years ago, we were serving in the country of Mongolia. Isaac was just 7 weeks old and the epitome of a healthy boy. He had stopped nursing on Friday evening, and that Saturday morning stopped breathing in my arms. He had contracted RSV, which onset double pneumonia, and then in the hospital got pseudomonas (bacteria) in his lungs. He was on a ventilator for 2 weeks, evacuated to Paris, and eventually brought stateside before we could return. Its a long, harrowing story, but it ends with the blessing of God's miraculous preservation of my son.

Those first days, when I was weeping over his bed and pleading for God to heal him . . . I sought a word from the Lord to comfort my soul. My devotional on December 2nd had been from a portion of Jeremiah that included chapter 45. I had chosen to memorize the verses above, and had just worked on them for a day, but was instantly reminded of the promise in them as I looked at my son.

In light of the distress the coming judgment had caused him, God promised Baruch (Jeremiah's scribe) that he would not be spared the dreadful invasion or captivity . . . but He (God) promised that no matter what happened, or where he (Baruch) was, God would preserve his life. It is a passage that screams security and providential favor for those pilgrims who may be facing a great and dreadful obstacle in their life.

Thank you God for Jeremiah 45.4-6

But It's Wednesday . . .

Are you guilty of saying "yes" when maybe after a little consideration a "no" would have been in order?  Every now and again Laura has to remind me that my birth certificate says I was born in Missouri,  not on the planet Krypton. (That's Superman's home planet for the comic book illiterates out there).  At some point every year or so I find myself regretting that I took on a task because I simply failed to consider what it would cost versus the things I need to do, or would rather do.

Our first thought should be that regardless of what we may have agreed to, it does not negate the BIG yeses in our life.  We are to love the Lord with all our heart soul and strength.  Love our neighbor and our family, eat, drink, work, and even sleep. (consider Matt 22:37-40; Ecc 2:24; Psalm 127:2)  Some of what we oblige ourselves to may be more or less critical, but none override those primary commitments we have.

Often someone wants to talk with me about finding balance in life, ministry, family, etc.  What I sense is they are usually seeking  permission to say "No" to one thing in order to say "Yes" to something they know is greater.  Thankfully the Lord has given us a clear word on this.  It's not an easy word, but it is clear.  In James 5:12 we are commanded not to swear by anything, but simply let our "yes be yes and our no be no."

Consider this when you've said "Yes" to something you know you probably should have said "No" to.  Among other things Believer, we owe it to our Lord Jesus Christ to honor Him through our commitments even if they have proven inconvenient.  The context of the command in James actually regards patient suffering under trial, using Job as the believers example.  By application, we continue faithfully through a trial and anticipate the compassion and mercy of God, not make or seek some vain, lesser hope (like swearing by heaven).  Again, we proceed provided we do not sacrifice commitment to our Lord, family, ministry, personal health, etc.

Besides, and let's never forget, we probably said "Yes" because it was something worth doing in the first place.  Maybe I shouldn't have called the blog "Tuesday with Bro. Tony" and then decided to start on the first Tuesday in April.  What if a Tuesday gets covered up and I can't write until Wednesday, or not at all that week?  "Well," I said this morning (since I started writing I've already had two meetings), "if someone was to hit the link this morning, I don't figure they were concerned with the day of the week in the first place."  Let's finish what we start with joy, honoring the Lord in it all.

So here's to honoring God with the big yeses, as well as the little one next Tuesday (or Wednesday, or Thursday, or maybe next May!)