July: Golden Apples in Settings of Silver

Yesterday I sent the first draft of Lesson 8 to my dear editors.  It seems as if the last couple of chapters have been more difficult because of the interruptions of life.  But there are some encouragements along the way to keep me on task.

Last Sunday, 4th July, a gentleman involved in Alpha shared in the church service how he felt when he was able to use his gifts of evangelism to introduce friends to the Lord.  As I write these ELL Bible Study lessons in the Gospel of John, I feel exactly as he said.  During the week, prompted by daily Bible readings, I knew I should write and tell the Director of International Ministries who oversees my writing project.

I wrote:

“I read this morning in Hebrews 10:24-25 and Ephesians 2:1-10 and want to thank you for ‘considering’ me and ‘stirring up’ the work that God had for me to do.  As the gentleman who shared in Sunday morning’s service about Alpha said, “My heart is full.”  That’s exactly how I feel as I write this Bible study.  I know the teachers are praying for me and Ellen and JoAnn have done so much repetitive editing work at a time when they are both very busy.  They are gems.  Isn’t the Body of Christ wonderful when it is fit and healthy and primed for work?  I am really looking forward to what lies ahead as the teachers do the real chalk face work with it.  Thank you for stirring it all up to begin with.”

She replied:

“Your words about the wonderful Body of Christ were like “apples of gold in settings of silver”  … I hope you don’t mind – I forwarded it to our pastor.   He is going to be preaching on the Church this Sunday, re how we are all strategically placed into the local and universal Church in order to glorify God and build His Kingdom in unity.  You stated it so well, and I know he will be delighted with your joy at such an arduous task you’ve chosen to tackle!”

This Sunday morning, 12th July, several people who attended the first service told me in the foyer that the pastor had indeed shared my email.  I was encouraged, but also strangely anxious because I didn’t know what he had said.  He shared something else in the second service that Dave and I attended.  I had unusual heart palpitations all afternoon.  Then before bed, I felt drawn to read the evening’s Living Light.  It started with Proverbs 25:11.  “Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket.”  Full circle!  The peace and joy of the Lord flooded back.

Thank you, Lord.  I feel very encouraged.  You really do use the body of Christ for your glory.  I love you.

As always, Anne

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