One of my favorite ‘go-to’ verses is Romans 8:28 — “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. Though the fact that God works all things together for good is a wonderful promise, we must not ignore to whom this promise is made — to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. So what is the evidence that a person loves God? The answer to this question can be found, among other places, in John 14:21— “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Jesus also plainly says in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” And what exactly is God’s purpose for those who love Him? The following verse makes it clear — “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (vs. 29). Is being conformed to the image of Jesus also our purpose and greatest desire?
The next consideration must be; What is ‘good’? When God works all things together for ‘good’, who determines what this ‘good’ is? One definition of ’good’ is ’agreeable or pleasant’. In our limited or carnal way of thinking, that’s the thought we would likely embrace. But another, and more accurate, definition of ’good’ in this verse is ’virtuous, profitable, or advantageous’. Sometimes what is virtuous, profitable, or advantageous is not what is agreeable or pleasant to our flesh, but are we more interested in earthly happiness and comfort or eternal righteousness and holiness? If we do love God and do want His divine purpose to be fulfilled in and through our lives, we will see all that He orchestrates or allows in our lives as ’good’ if it serves to destroy pride, lust, envy, and wrath in our heart and produce selfless love, humility, longsuffering, and total resignation to God. What could possibly be better than that?
It’s now been over four months since my hand was injured. With three surgeries behind us, which were basically to put everything back together and stabilize the bones, we are awaiting two more procedures, one in August and one in December, where they will remove all the plates and screws and graft in some new tendons. My ongoing recovery has also included therapy 2-3 times a week in Gainesville which is a 150 mile round trip. The UF Hand Therapy room has become our second home and the people we encounter there have become like family to us. Determined to do my part to regain full use of my hand, I also spend many hours of each day doing my ’homework’. Now when we pack to go out of town, my hand has its own suitcase filled with all kinds of torture devices, spare compression gloves, ice packs, etc. There has been no infection, no setbacks, and I now have back some limited use of my hand — glory to God! Though we still have a ways to go, His grace will undoubtedly continue to carry us through to complete restoration.
In April we traveled to Georgia for a bull riding in Loganville and a rodeo in Evans. The first weekend of May we were back in Pensacola, Florida for the annual Tate FFA Alumni Foundation Rodeo. A few days after surgery #3, we headed to the 4L Ranch Rodeo and spent Sunday morning with United Christian Fellowship in Summerville, Georgia — it felt like going home! June began with the Southern Rodeo Company in Shady Dale, Georgia, the site of our first cowboy church service 20 years ago! Then we were back with 4L Rodeo in Dahlonega and Glenwood, Georgia before ministering at Circle Cross Cowboy Church in Lake City, Florida. July was spent in Wedowee, Alabama; Savannah, Tennessee; and Ringgold, Georgia. Though we do encounter many obstacles that attempt to impede the preaching of the gospel, God’s Word is going forth, and it will not return void but will accomplish what He pleases and will prosper in the thing for which He sends it!
The Wednesday night meetings in our home continue to provide priceless fellowship and teaching for all those involved. What a blessing it is to come together with a group of people who are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and never hesitate to extend God’s love to those in need.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)