Dear beloved in the Lord!
As I have been reading through my Bible again this
year, I just happen to be at the end of Luke right now as
Easter approaches. It is quite tearful and moving for me to re-read what Christ
suffered for us, because of His great love for us. It all was truly unreasonable
and utterly unfair. As I think of Him, being beaten and mocked and punished for
sins He did not commit, I am again sobered. The people He came to save,
screamed "crucify him." Although the leaders and judges found no guilt in Him,
and offered up a known murderer in His place, still they screamed all the louder
for the death of the Innocent One. His friends fled in fear, deserting Him in His
time of greatest need. Nothing has ever been as unfair in all of eternity as the
death He endured in our stead, out of His great love for His Father, and for us.
This hit home for us recently as we were tempted in a certain situation to
complain of a perceived unfairness that confronted us. Then the Lord gently reminded
us, that the unfairness we were feeling was nothing compared to the unfairness
Christ endured for our sake. When these small unfairnesses come our
way, we should actually consider it a privilege to, in a small way, join in the fellowship
of His sufferings. (see Phil. 3:10) We confessed to the Lord the bitterness
we were feeling, and asked the Lord to take back the ground we gave to
our enemy when we allowed bitterness, hurt and unforgiveness to be our response.
We asked Christ to fill us with his Spirit and empower us to continue to
love and serve, at whatever cost to us, walking in Christ's steps. What credit is
it to us, when things are fair and we love? It is no great challenge when people
are grateful for our labors, and we continue to serve. That is a natural and
fleshly response. But the true test comes when things are not fair, or people are
not grateful, and we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, continue to serve. We ask
Christ to give us the power of the Holy Spirit to be like Him in our response to
being wronged. And we continue to love and serve. All our trials pale compared
to what He endured for us. It was not fair, yet because of it we have the
honor and privilege to spend eternity with Him. How can we cheapen His grace
by holding grudges against others, when He holds none against us? (see Matt.
We encourage you to take some time to read Luke 22-24 this Easter. If
Christ can go to the cross for us, and He now indwells us, we can endure all
sorts of unfairnesses through Him who strengthens us. We have His power in
us to love sacrificially as He loved and forgive as He so freely forgives us. May
we walk in the freedom of His love, forgiveness
and grace daily, as we love, forgive, and
give grace to others! Amen (“so be it!”).
We thought you might
like to see a few pictures of things
we have been doing!
This is the group of carolers who
helped us take the gospel to our
street this December. Many appreciated
the article we wrote and
festive Christmas carols we sang.
Here are a couple pictures from the
Sweetheart dinner we hosted for our
church in our home. It was a blessing to
hear the couples share the sweet stories
of how the Lord brought them together.
Here is a picture of the Sumralls, a
family back from two years of ministry
in Korea who visited with us recently.
We were so encouraged by
their visit with us, to hear first hand
all that the Lord is doing, and how
the Lord has used their family there.
This is a picture of a few of the men who attended the
men's meeting, where Bernie helped Fathers
(including himself) begin to prepare letters of blessing
for their daughters and sons, to presented to them
at a Father-Daughter dinner and a Father-Son dinner
here sometime later this year. The men went away
encouraged and we were blessed that several sent
very kind thank-you emails to Bernie.
Linda for the Bealls
“When they came to the place called The Skull,
there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on
the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was
saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not
know what they are doing.”
~ Luke 23:33-34