We are here at Polishing the Pulpit, finished with our first day of this week that’s surely one of our most chaotic weeks of the year and surely one of our favorites. I spoke twice and Glenn spoke once today. We got about 1000 books moved into a space in the exhibit hall. We had two meals with groups of Christians. We babysat for two sessions when our daughter Hannah was speaking. We went to WalMart to get all the things we forgot to bring, including Glenn’s socks. We could not afford to buy what I, personally, forgot to bring, because it was my whole big pouch of jewelry. So it was a lot of sentimental necklaces and bracelets and pairs of earrings…many of which items were made and/or given to me during the week of PTP in previous years by sisters who are in the encouraging business. But I will not get to wear them this year at PTP. Kathy Carroll will actually be glad my jewelry pouch was left behind, because she’s the audio “czaress” who hates the clinking sound of my necklace that sometimes makes its way onto the recorded version of the lesson. This little pouch on my dresser at home is surely the “small stuff” and I think I will not sweat the small stuff this week. In fact, it is the gold and pearls (and mostly imitations, at that) that should always be secondary to the meek and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:1-6), so Im hoping I can maintain that commanded adornment this week (…and I need an extra measure to counter the excited spirit of my grandchildren down the hall and a couple of floors down, which is antithetical to the I Peter 3 meek and quiet spirit. They are SO jazzed about being at PTP that excitement is in the very gait of their steps, the volume of their voices, and in the agony of the dreaded bedtime at night. They are most excited about their classes beginning tonight and we are all very thankful for those sacrificial teachers and volunteers who are making their PTP dreams come true!…and giving us just a second!)
I’m about to go and talk to a group of ladies about the great and precious promise of I Corinthians 10:13:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I’m going to talk about the inclusive nature of that little two-letter word no. There is not one single temptation that will ever be presented, in any form, to Cindy Colley that will not come in a package with God’s tailor-made provision for my victory. Every single time the devil, however strongly, may try to pressure me, through people or plans, to seek the kingdom second…every time the sorrow of the death of a loved one grieves me to the point of utter despair…every time tragedy strikes my life…every single time the people I love disappoint me…every time I’m extremely lonely in service…every.single. time, the way of victory will come in the very same package with the trial.
I just have to prepare my heart to be diligent in finding the way of escape. I cannot be unfamiliar with His Will and expect it to come to my memory when I need it most. I cannot suddenly fall down on un-calloused knees and think I’ll even know how to beseech Him for the escape route. Service cannot be foreign to my lifestyle and then suddenly find me being its object when I desperately need the help of those around me. If I am going to find the Lord’s strength of Gethsemane, I need to find His moments of solitude on the Mount of Olives and on distant shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Those of us who are in Sevierville this week for PTP are on the spiritual mountaintop. It’s Temptation Prep- 101. Let’s study, absorb, worship, serve and pray like we know the devil will be hot on our trails when we go home. Because He will.
But God is faithful, who will with the temptation, provide a way of escape.
God is faithful!