The Newsletter of Gayle Erwin
July, August, September 2003
Have you ever said, “I give up. I can’t do it.”? Most everyone, at some point in their life, spouts that statement. Usually it results from despair and failure, which actually is not a bad starting point.
So, what’s the secret of changing directions and finding success? Let me share two biblical principles of phenomenal grace. First, when Jacob landed in his famous moment, away from his family and wealth and awaiting death at the hand of Esau, an angel (obviously a pre-fleshly appearance of Jesus) appeared and challenged him to a wrestling match. In spite of this strange encounter, Jacob, ever the competitor, took him on, and on, and on.
After a night of fight, a draw was the best he could achieve. No victory. Then, Jacob, recognizing who his opponent was, did the smartest thing available to him—he gave up. “You must not leave here until you bless me.” You miss this moment if you don’t understand contests in that ancient world. Then, since the winner was the stronger, he gave a gift to the loser. Gift-giving was a show of strength! So, then, if you had a case filled with trophies, you would merely show how often you lost.
When Jacob demanded to be blessed, he was calling himself the loser. God’s response? You get a new name, Israel, because you wrestled with God and won. Whoa! He just gave up. How could he win? Ah, that is where the secret kicks in. When you want to win with God, give up. So, examine your wrestling. What wears you out? Could you be wrestling with God? Then give up and ask him to bless you!
Second, Paul reveals the most glorious provision for us in 2 Corinthians 3:17,18: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. NIV
Here we are offered the opportunity to become God’s problem rather than our own. This is the process: We rip the veil off by believing in Jesus, thus exposing ourselves (face to face) to God. This could also be called immediate confession of sin or need. Then God shines His glory (mercy, grace, compassion, forgiveness; see The Father Style) on us and He transforms us. Please note that “are being transformed” means that it is an on-going process happening as often as needed and happening to us. We are not doing it, God is. Furthermore, not mere transformation, but “into His likeness.” So, if I keep my state of being instantly before him, I become God’s problem which He accepts and does the changing. Whoopee!
— Gayle D. Erwin
When God Prays by Skip Heitzig. Perhaps a decade has passed since I last saw a book that so clearly and attractively describes Jesus. By carefully walking through the prayer of Jesus in John, Chapter 17, Skip weaves his smooth, easy-to-read descriptions with his unique illustrations. This is a book for everyone, but pastors will find much to purloin from. Tyndale House Publishing, $11.99, hardcover. You can order a copy at 505-344-2728.
A dear friend of Servant Quarters, P. K. Hallinan, happens also to be one of the leading writers of children’s books of America. I am blessed in that he usually sends me a copy of his latest publication. Obviously he is aware of my reading level.
His newest venture is, I believe, his best, consequently we have made special arrangements for you to receive a copy if you are interested. His newest book, entitled Thank You, God, and published for beginning readers (and those who read to beginners) by CandyCane Press of Nashville, will warm your heart and be a delight to give or read to children you know. Even my 90-year-old dad couldn’t resist reading it and wanted a copy. It’s a coffee-table book for us. Though you can find it in places like Barnes & Noble, we want to make a special offer to you. So, here it is:
You can send $11.00 to Servant Quarters (or call 1-888-321- 0077 and use a credit card) and we will have a signed copy sent straight to you or to the child you designate. I know that the child won’t appreciate the significance of having a signed copy, but, if Jesus tarries, someday it will be a heritage.
Moms, dads, grandparents, get those checkbooks
and addresses out!
Amen to the article, Wars and
Rumors! It’s so easy to
see God on America’s
side and Iraq (and other Muslim countries) as “them.” But I was
reminded during that war that God is on his own side (like the Captain of
the Lord’s host who met Joshua in his battle with Jericho and was not
for Israel nor its adversary).
Thank you for the reminder that our Lord desires that not one Iraqi (or Muslim) should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
I appreciate your clarity regarding Wars and Rumors. The misguided identification of the USA as a Christian country rather than “a secular country” formed by predominately Christian men with Judeo-Christian values, has been the source of many other misconceptions. One is the view that God deals with America as a nation as He would with Israel as a nation and this leads to further misinterpreting of scripture.
On another note, I would like to add some clarity. The article on Martin Savage of CNN was identified to me as false. A member of my fellowship now in the Middle East with the military has shared with me that there was no truth to the email that has been circulated. He did say that though the story is false the character of the soldiers presented by the story is not.
One more thing. Are you sure you are not suffering from A.D.D. (attractive deficit disorder)?
I should know better than to eat and read your newsletter at the same time. The story about the soldiers in Iraq made me cry. Tears and pizza don’t go well together. Thank you for walking in Him.
Bill and Jeanne H.
Several of you wrote to
me stating that the story of the soldiers and CNN was not true.
We apologize for that; however, I imagine that CNN wishes it were true.
This week I carefully wrapped another Jesus Style in a nice thin gold braid (I still can’t use wrapping paper—I think it’s a guy thing) and placed it on the desk of our Fire Department’s Division Chief’s desk. A few weeks ago he and I were discussing leadership and he told me that he believed in being at the “bottom of the pyramid,” in regard to supervising people. I shared that I agreed and told him I knew of a book that describes that very concept. “Oh really?” he asked. I told him that I would get him a copy and he delightfully explained that he would like to read it.
Later that day, two Christian Captains in the department noticed the book on his desk and were encouraged that I had “sown a few seeds.” One Captain told the Chief that he had better read that book and not just look at it. “And when you’re done with it, I have another book for you.”
Those are pretty brave words from a Captain to a Division Chief. This Captain has also read your book as it was a gift from me. I would give that book to anyone and never worry what they might read.
I have read and re-read Handbook for Servants about 739 times now. I reviewed part again today after finding my child in a bit of naughtiness (a lot this summer). The short section on anger and managing it as a believer has helped me many, many times. Today, I think it saved the life of a child.
Additionally, after reviewing other parts of it earlier this spring, I was moved to begin a small group in my home. An easy step for some, but a giant leap of faith forward for me and my house. I truly appreciate that the writing in that book is short, direct and to the point. It helps to keep the important ideas on top and accessible. I have plenty of other long boring books about theology and doctrine, but often they sit on the shelf. Handbook for Servants is already worn-out due to constant use.
Once again, we were blessed by your sharing the Word of God in a way that only “Gayle” can do. Our hearts were touched by your clear presentation and teaching of the scripture, your humor, but, most of all, by your most obvious love for our Lord Jesus. The folks in the church always thank me for inviting you to come and share with us. Thanks again for coming and sharing, and a special thanks to Ada, for blessing us with her presence. She is so special to Jeri and me.
My husband and I were at the Pastor’s Conference in Branson when you spoke. We sat on the front row at all the sessions (No, my husband wasn’t your twin. We were the other couple). Anyway, we bought all your books and a series of your tapes. Thank you for everything. I loved your books, especially the “story” books. They were wonderful.
I received such a blessing from your sessions. The love of Jesus was with you even in your facial expressions. This was the best conference we have attended in years. Looking forward to seeing you next year.
Duane and Pam Cox
Australian astronomers have informed us that there are 70,000 million, million, million stars in the universe (and that is only from the visible universe), which, they also add, is ten times the number of grains of sand in all the beaches and deserts of the world.
Now, are you ready to be impressed?
God has named all the stars. Stop and think of how many names you know. A good portion of this world has the same names. Less than one tiny beach-worth. And you can name only a spoonful.
Further, God’s thoughts for us are like the sand. And His thoughts are good!
I like that!
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