Thoughts on Helpful Conversations

Yesterday was such a blessing, and I want to publicly thank the Lord for it. We had our annual church Thanksgiving dinner together. It was so wonderful to be able to gather together with so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ and enjoy a meal with each other. The food was amazing. What a wonderful God we have Who has made so many rich flavors to enjoy. I smoked a turkey and thought it came out okay. But there was so much to eat, and so carefully prepared by so many, that the time was just a real blessing to my soul.

But my favorite part of these gatherings is the conversation. The men I was able to talk to yesterday were such an encouragement to my heart, and all of them, in their own way, challenge me to live more faithfully, more holy, more deliberately for the glory of God.

There was the conversation I had with a Godly young man, and music teacher. He also happens to be our church accompanist. We spoke of the challenges that exist in the education world, particularly about the sad disinterest among many students with the subject of music. We discussed how he, as a Christian, has a unique appreciation for music that comes from being redeemed by Christ and therefore understanding music as a tool to worship the Lord and glorify Him. I shared a book from our church library with him entitled A Gift of Music, which I hope will be a blessing to him.

There was a conversation with a brother about the progress on the rebuilding of his saw mill that was burned in a terrible fire many months ago. While this was a huge blow financially and personally, he testified that He could see the Lord’s provision in all that has happened, and declared “there is always much more to be thankful to God for” than we realize. This was a very hard blow of Providence on him and his family. But he has remained faithful and trusting the Lord through it. What a wonderful testimony of God’s grace in a soul.

I talked with a brother about Romans 7, and the various views on this chapter, but that the vast majority of reliable commentators and preachers have understood this to be Paul as a believer, aware of the continued presence of indwelling sin. It is hard to understand how a Christian could not appreciate this inward struggle, since it seems to be the universal experience of every child of God. We want to please Him. But we have an enemy within that is at war with us.

To my surprise, another dear brother gave me as a gift a copy of the newly published “The Saints’ Happiness”, a series of sermons by Jeremiah Burroughs on the Sermon on the Mount. Wow! What a thoughtful act of kindness from a friend and how blessed I am to now have it. But even more blessed will I be if I put it into practice. I have already read the first sermon and have been touched by the insights that this Puritan and pastor have written. I had been recently reading Jeremiah Burrough’s book on Hope, and this is a wonderful addition to that.

Speaking of reading, we talked about encouraging more reading in 2022 by maybe re-starting our reading group that we had once had. Previously we read a book a month. Maybe that was too much. We talked about maybe doing a quarterly book and then gathering together to discuss it. I’m looking forward to prayerfully thinking about this for 2022.

There were many other helpful words spoken, but I was fed very generously last night with these Godly conversations. How precious to have such friends to gather with and talk to. We have been given much. We have much to be thankful for. And we have, therefore, a duty to bless God for these things and not take them for granted. the Psalmist says “Talk of His wondrous works” Psalm 105:2. I hope we did so. God is so good.

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