I’ve had a chance to listen to a few sermons from Chip Ingram, a man I used to listen to on my morning drive to work everyday in the car – boy do I ever miss the way he’d show me God’s character in such depth! Listening to his voice is like hearing an old friend. He’s recently had a series about Great Christians and specific things they do. It’s not intended to be legalistic rules or anything, but to give you ideas if you’re serious about deepening your walk with God in this life.
One of the things he’s talked about that great Christians do, is they make great sacrifices. He gave an example of a couple that were in China, who were doing the dangerous work of spreading the gospel there. They were found out and the authorities came to their home asking who was the pastor – it was common there to have women actually be pastors. The wife told them she was the pastor so that her husband (the real pastor) would be spared. They took her, beat her, and imprisoned her.
When Chip asked the man how he dealt with that – with the anger and rage from knowing his wife had to undergo that kind of punishment, the man responded in a completely surprising way. He said that when his wife was let go and brought back to him, she wasn’t upset or angry for the treatment she received. Instead she was reflective on what a great honor it was to suffer so much for the gospel of Christ.
I thought that example was such a beautiful picture of a wife loving her husband and God, as well. Loving him enough to protect him from danger and harm, because of all the good he does for God.
In our everyday lives, sacrifice can seem like it’s impossible to do – especially to that extreme, but even the sacrifices that we choose to make have a great impact on our faith and the people who know us.
I remember going to my Christian school as a young girl, and my parents making sure I knew that the teachers there were making a sacrifice for us and for God by working there instead of at a public school where they would obtain more income.
I also knew that my parents made a great sacrifice financially by sending me to a Christian school. These sacrifices I saw adult Christians make left a lifelong-lasting impression on me of what people of great faith do for God, for children, and even for strangers.
It taught me that nothing was as important as knowing God and following His will for your life. It taught me that having that kind of mindset led to altering your life around that instead of money, success, or other earthly temporary pleasures.
Another thing that resonated with me that Chip said about great Christians, was that they read great books. I have to admit, I tend to love books and collect them for our personal library in our house, but I don’t spend as much time as I truly desire in reading them and re-reading them. This past couple months of 2016, I’ve made it an intentional pursuit to read more great books – and hearing Chip commend this habit made me smile – it’s so true! In just reading a couple of really great books so far, I’ve been touched deeply on matters of faith and how I display it.
Reading Stepping Heavenward, a book written by Elizabeth Prentiss in the 1880’s, was such an amazing little book! It’s written in a journal style following a young girl’s life as she becomes a woman, wife, and mother. There were probably 100 lessons I found from it alone! Again, such an amazing read if you’re a wife or mother and want to know a true representation of what that means in God’s eyes!
And sweet Oswald Chambers! Apparently he didn’t write many of his wise sayings down himself, however his wife took it upon herself to write down the great teachings her husband would say. The devotional collection that is so intense and deeply thought-provoking was collected and written by his wife. This is so encouraging to me – since I have a husband who has incredible insight into many different things – ideas and great thoughts I would never come up with, but he doesn’t want to waste the very limited free-time he has in writing them down. Maybe I can help him there (lol)! Reading through it (it’s designed for every day of the year to have something to read and reflect on), has been wonderful.
If you have any ideas of great books to read, books that have changed your perspective on life or God or were enjoyable, please let me know!