BWFLI team stretching and blessing the next generation of leaders at East Texas Baptist University
Cliff Shiepe, best-selling author, inspires students
ETBU students gathered at midnight to discuss “What’s Next” and job market tips
Former All-American, All-Pro Bill Glass stirring the athletes
ETBU Steering Committee Chair Emily Prevost and BWFLI President Brenda A. Smith sharing a celebratory moment
“Put on the shield of faith to ward off the fiery darts of the evil one.”
One of my favorite visuals is the spiritual armor from Ephesians 6. I try diligently (but not truly consistently) to “put on the armor” each morning before I start the day. One of my most important pieces is the shield of faith. It isn’t the tiny little hand shield, but the large one used to form a strong front for the entire line of warriors. It required several people to stand together connecting their shields in front, along the sides, and over the heads. It created an iron box which protected from the flaming arrows.
These days those arrows are flying fast. If I walk into the day without the protection, I am a sitting duck. What are those darts? Discouragement, distress, distrust, depression – all those D-arts. And there is a vocal track which accompanies the whizzing weapons. “You are not good enough; your children are hurting and where is God? You are making a mess of everything.” And as the song says, “on and on and on and on it goes. BUT faith says, “No, you are my child and you are in my plan. Your family is Mine and I have them in my hand.” NOTHING can separate me from the love of God.
What darts are aimed at your heart? Where are your soft spots? Enlist others to stand behind the shield with you. The last part of the armor verses says, “having done all to stand firm, pray at all times in the Spirit.” Join with others to form a shield which the enemy of our souls cannot pierce.
Let me pray with you – and you pray with me. Let’s be soldiers of the Cross together.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“You spoke life into me by coming to campus.”
The young woman earnestly spoke, then hugged. God opened the door and gave us the great opportunity to begin conversations and create connections. The faculty and administration invited us to inspire, and the Holy Spirit invited us to lift up the name of Jesus and point to the way of Life.
May represents graduation, final exams, and a moment to breathe, but it also represents unknown pathways, new careers, marriages, and disappointments. A campus administrator asked us to continue conversations about perseverance because pot holes lie ahead and the graduates need hope and endurance.
Please pray for all of our Presidents who will be charging the graduates for the last time, wanting to speak words which will cement a foundation laid for them. Please pray for our school trustees who face hard decisions. And please pray for the students to shut out the noise of the world and hear the still, small voice of God.
A Living and Holy Sacrifice
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
“10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel (Ezra 7:10, NASB).”
“8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8).”
“1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2).”
Many students will return this summer to Christian homes, godly friends, and supportive churches.
But unhealthy situations will no doubt arise, and the supportive culture of the Christian campus (or at least Christian ministries on campus) will not be there for a number of students. Remaining pure and having a heart for God do not happen by chance, but by commitment and a disciplined pursuit of God.
Pray for students as they make plans for this summer, and as they return to their homes and communities, that they will purpose to follow God, rather than the culture in which we live.
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Weekly Thought – April 10, 2018
Fred used every opportunity to explore and illustrate principles of life. Their vacation home on Lake Barkley was name “Smiths’ Viewpoint.” He was careful not to foist his opinions on others. However, when asked he articulately shared. Continuing with his thoughts on stewardship, we demonstrate how he loved to see the deeper meaning of every experience.
Please continue to pray for the What’s Next Roundtable sponsored by BWFLI. We are grateful for your support. It is a critical component of our work.
Peace and Encouragement
It is time in the Christian church we start making peace. There is a promise of blessing for the peacemakers, but none for the dividers. We unfortunately take out our hostility on each other and cover it up by saying that we are standing for the faith. Yes, we are called to be firm for the truth, but sometimes there is subterfuge in the way we take that posture. We can hold strong without hostility and hatefulness. When we attack and snarl at each other over points of doctrine we are not moving toward peace.
Understand I am not saying we shouldn’t be faithful to Scripture and call out those who teach heresy, but when we are brothers and sisters in Christ, we should never use our words and actions as heat-seeking missiles.
I think of my visit to the Catacombs in Rome. Our guide was a delightful English priest. As we got out I thought I would shock him by saying, “Father, I am a Southern Baptist.” He brightened up, slapped my hands together and exclaimed, “Good! Pep me up, brother, pep me up!” He heard Baptists were somewhat demonstrative. I am surprised he didn’t ask me to set up a pot luck buffet for the group…we Baptists are definitely renown for our on- the -spot feedings.
“Father, I enjoyed the tour and as I walked through it struck me that early Christians didn’t have the luxury of denominational life.” He shook my shoulders and replied, “My brother, it is not the form that separates us that is important – it is the hope of the Resurrection that unites us.” When I get to heaven I hope this ordinary Baptist will spend time talking with that priest who shared the hope of the Resurrection in the spirit of peacemaking.
As part of our stewardship of relations, we owe each other encouragement. There is enough pressure and tension today without loading an unnecessary guilt and criticism on each other. I once heard the President of the Sloan-Kettering Laboratories speak of his country doctor. He acknowledged that there was little advanced medical technology in his little black leather bag. But he believed many got well because of his father’s kind “You are going to make it.” That encouragement unleashed the magnificent and amazing power of the body to heal itself.
There is so much we are learning about how stress and tension immobilize the healing process and how the positive aspects are capable of mobilizing the body’s defense. I would love to see a study on the relationship between the hope of the Christian experience and the healing process.
This week think carefully about: 1) How am I being an instrument of peace in my home, community, workplace, church? 2) What issues are stumbling blocks to peace with other believers? 3) How can I encourage others this week?
Words of Wisdom: “When we attack and snarl at each other over points of doctrine we are not moving toward peace.”
Wisdom from the Word: “I have had great joy and encouragement because of your love, for the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.” (Philemon 1:7 NET Bible)