Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday {in focus} ~ In Someone Else's Words

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
{2 Corinthians 3:1-6}

This Friday in Focus is a little different than usual. The above is one of my favorite verses to turn on myself as a mirror. Is my epistle one of Christ or one of myself? Does it minister to others? Or is it bitter and selfish, keeping the glory of God buried or hidden beneath my own dingy exterior wall? Will my friends and family and those who I work for receive encouragement or love or a glint of faith and hope when they look upon this epistle? Or will they read a horror story of how lousy my day has gone or review the creases of an argument that occurred before I walked out the door that morning?

It's one thing to be transparent and hang your dirty laundry out for all to see so you can receive others' commendations for how horrible you should be allowed to feel in any given circumstance. It's another to be transparent with the love of Jesus, sharing your testimony of how His blood overcame your worst nightmare in this earthly life to bring you into a place of His grace and glory.

There are a few books on my desk right now that I am savoring every word of. Why? Because I've gotten to know the authors, and every one of them is an epistle of the heart of Jesus Christ. I love every one of them. You know you're close to an author when you can hear their voice reading their written word to you. The Pastor you've listened to for twenty-plus years, who has lead you and challenged you to grow in your walk of faith. The woman whose voice resonates in your heart because she thinks like you when you always thought you might be weird. The woman who takes those things you've hated about yourself but realized there was a purpose for them and exposes the weirdness for what it really is - the image and likeness of God. The woman who tells you its okay to find your voice and use it; others will listen. You have something to say. And the women who continue to encourage you onward in your own writing dreams. These are the hearts I love to read, who I perk up in my seat and listen to as they spill their hearts across the written page.

The Word of God is most important. His truth comes first. But He's also blessed us with fellow epistles to glean from. Others who understand our deep desires and heart needs. Today I celebrate them. Who do you enjoy fellowship with and the opportunity to glean from? What living epistles do you enjoy reading? Who has turned your life upside down for the kingdom of God?

Here are a few of mine mentioned above and where to find their writings:
Pastor Robert Engelhardt - Speaking in Tongues (Heaven's Language)
Edie Melson - The Write Conversation 

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