Things I've Learned Over the Years

Things I’ve Learned Over the Years

By Paul R. Blake



            Some lessons come later in life. I might be tempted to say, “Why couldn’t I received these lessons when I was younger and could have made good use of them?!” Here begins the first lesson: sometimes we have to grow in faith, wisdom, experience, and patience before the lessons can be understood. I am thankful that the longsuffering Lord gave me time and space to learn them.

            Children need to hear their parents pray for forgiveness and confess that they have the same temptations as their children, not to imply permission or justification for the children’s sins, but to communicate that they are striving together against the same sins.

            Explaining bad behavior is not the same as excusing it; excusing it is not the same as accepting it; accepting it is not the same as forgiving it. Forgiveness has conditions: honest regret and unqualified confession.

            Wherever there is guilt, there is a “should.”

            Your heart is a mission field for your mind and faith.

            God never violates our “no.” Free will is a blessing to the faithful and a burden to the rebellious.

            Doing everything perfectly results in no profit (Rom. 4:1-4). God has to add to our account to make us profitable (vs.8). “When you have done all you can, say, we are unprofitable servants; we have only done our duty” (Luke 17:10).

            Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.

            Mature love will inevitably experience pain. Pain ultimately reinforces mature love.

            God doesn’t tell us why we suffer; He just tells us how to get through it. If we knew the why, we would focus on fixing something that cannot be fixed rather than focusing on enduring what will eventually pass.

            No one on his deathbed ever regretted obeying the gospel.

            At the moment of exhalation: archers release their arrows, weight-lifters release their hefts, mothers release their babies in childbirth, and Christians release the encumbrance of the flesh in this world as they pass to Paradise. Each of them experiences a great relief and ease from the task of carrying their burdens. It is an exhalation that expresses a profound liberation.

            Jesus is not the Firstborn redeemed by a lamb (Gen. 13); He is the Lamb that redeems the firstborn.

            The things that are true of Christ are true of me when I am in Christ. I am free to live the way Christ wants me to live (Rom. 6-8).

            Ahab was a successful king: politically, economically, and militarily; but by the only standard that matters, Ahab was a failure. A truly successful leader must submit to God. This is true for presidents and politicians, as well as elders and evangelists.

            The atheist has to look at a baby sleeping, at a child at play, at a summer sunrise, at a quiet snowfall, at aged folks laughing, at a sun-warmed ripened tomato, at a dew-drenched rose, at the star sprinkled sky, and at spring bursting forth and try very hard not to think about God. How sad is his life; how tragic is his passing!

            I will not say, “Here endeth the lesson.” Lessons come daily. I must be a humble student, alert and watchful for them.

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