Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Living Letter of Recommendation

"You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
2 Corinthians 3:2-3

One night as we were having dinner with several friends, we discovered we had all chosen names for our children that had certain meanings or character qualities of people we each hoped our children would have. During that time a godly man, Mark G. Cambron, would come to our church and hold Bible conferences and we named our youngest son after him. Several years ago when we heard he had passed away I felt a mixture of emotions. I realized that I had never been able to think of Dr. Cambron without thinking of Christ also. He was a living example of a heart and a life changed by the Lord. He faithfully witnessed to the Jewish community in Florida and studied and read the entire Bible each year. Words of thanksgiving and praise were as much a natural part of his conversation as were the funny stories he told. He understood scripture and was a gifted teacher until the day he died. God blessed him with a sharp mind until the very end. Even though we seldom saw him, he always remembered us by name when we did. He always responded when we corresponded with him.

He loved to encourage people and to answer questions about the Bible. I had the privilege of asking Dr. Cambron several questions about his walk with the Lord. One of the questions I asked was, “What was the hardest thing he faced in his ministry?” In response, he shared that in one of his first churches he tried hard to get the church to go in a more Biblical direction. After several years of nothing changing and being unable to pinpoint the reason for it, he left feeling like a failure. Many years later he was in Los Angeles and one of the people from that church was living there. When he heard Mark was coming to California, he asked if he could meet him for lunch. The man told him he wanted to apologize to him because in that first church he had always supported him to his face, but behind his back he did everything he could to hinder his ministry. He asked for forgiveness and Mark forgave him even though it hurt to find out the man he thought had been a supporter was the one opposing him. He praised God that the man's heart had changed and he was given understanding as to why the ministry had been thwarted. He was thankful for the opportunity to show the man grace and forgiveness. There were other trials over the years, but his life remained Godly, his faith intact, and his spirit thankful. 

I loved to watch Mark Cambron teach and answer Bible questions because his face glowed and that was when he was the most alive. I loved how he praised God and I loved his grateful spirit. I loved how he related to both gentiles and Jews and how he related to the rich and the poor in the church. I loved how women as well as men sat at his feet to talk about the Bible. I loved how he loved the children in our church as much as he loved the adults. I loved how he loved to tell stories and entertain us and then move us to tears with the truth of God’s love. I loved how he had taken our pastor under his wings and became a spiritual father to him, encouraging and mentoring him in the ministry. I loved when he performed the Passover for us and there was not be a dry eye in the house and I still pray that my Mark, will grow to be like him because he was a reflection of his heavenly Father!

I was a little sad when we heard that he died. That was because I didn’t get to see him after we moved to California. He lived daily waiting for Jesus to appear and I had hoped he would live until the Lord’s return, never having to face death. Yet, at the same time I am excited because he is in the presence of the Lord he loved with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength. 2 Timothy 4:8 says, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing!" That was Doctor Cambron. Lastly, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day…for our light affliction which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." These verses describe Mark's life! He lived his life with hope firmly placed in the great God and Savior who had died for him. He spent hours in the word saturating his mind with God's truth and let the Holy Spirit guide him. What he put into his mind and heart flowed out and what we saw was Christ. I want so badly to live that type of life – a life that reminds others the Savior lives! He definitely did by being a letter of recommendation written on a human heart. Those who knew him wanted to know the Savior he loved. How do we do it? Like Mark Cambron did – spending time with the God He loved and allowing the Lord to transform him daily while always looking and living for His blessed return.

Prayer: Father, I thank you for the blessing of knowing Dr. Cambron. I thank you for his lifestyle and the gifts of teaching and exhorting that he had. I thank you for his love for people and His faithful service. I praise you for the many people he led to the Lord and helped grow. May we respond to the great commission with the same obedience and passion and compassion that he displayed. Amen.

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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!