'Are You a Work in Progress?'
by Travis Wiginton
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We have all seen the signs "A Work in Progress" along the roads...
or near construction sites.
We know that it will slow our progress down.....
but is necessary to complete the work and make progress better in the future.
My father-in-law's profession was road construction and he said that so many times,
drivers became enraged with him and his crews....due to the construction work.
Isn't it amazing how we want better roads, but we don't want the inconvenience?
Likewise, God slows us down at times in order to do work in us and then through us.
I was 'slowed down' by cancer and was not to speak nor do things for awhile,
but hopefully I am better able to do things now.
We learn some things and find out that 'being' is more important than 'doing'.
The 'doing' can not happen to the degree (quality as well as quantity) that God desires without the 'being'!
Jesus compared our 'being' to lilies of the field (Matt. 6:28).
You are 'one of a kind'....designed to glorify God...as only YOU can.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....and the Beholder is God"
Also the work God does in us and through us, is not just to fit us for work down here, but for the glories of Heaven.
A man who was chiseling on a stone for a building was asked, "What for?"
Pointing to a place in the new building, he replied, "I'm preparing it to fit in up there."
Likewise Earth is preparation for Heaven!
Responses to my 88 website articles are very much appreciated and indicate that these have helped the 'progress' of many of you.
Allow me to share one of the most precious responses dated Jan. 27th, 2006.
His name is Bill Tarkington Jr. a long time friend and very active member of Nicoma Park Baptist Church east of Oklahoma City where I used to pastor.
Here are excerpts from his e-mail concerning his bout with cancer:
"Hoping this message finds you and all your's doing well.
Just want to tell you how God has blessed me during this 'Cancer thing'.
My diagnosis was that I could expect to be deceased within a few months,
but almost certainly (80-90%) within 36 months.
In Feb. I will reach the 36th month mark with the cancer still in remission!
Cancer forced me to re-examine everything, pushed me closer to the Lord than I can ever remember being.
I am not...and was not...to the point that I was ready to die...
because I still had much I wanted to do.
It's not so much that thought of death...
but the suffering that I feared.....and still do for that matter.
But I rejoice daily that it is evermore apparent that I shall not leave this earth.....
until HE decides it will be.
So regardless what evil comes my way...
I rejoice in the knowledge that my original conversion was real and has been confirmed to my satisfaction.
I rejoice that during my sickest days, HE worked more than one miracle in my life and these give me more testimony than ever before.
I rejoice in each day, more I am given and hope to use it profitably.
Every time I went to surgery or was just so sick, death would have been a relief.
I always had in mind that verse from Proverbs that Travis taught us while he was our pastor and I am determined more than ever, to "Trust in the Lord with all my heart,
to not lean to my own way, and to acknowledge HIM in all that I think, say and do, knowing that HE will direct my path as promised".
I rejoice that I am still a 'WORK in PROGRESS'!
I rejoice in the knowledge of all the prayers that went up for me then...and even those now.....though I am sure they are fewer since most folk think that remission means 'cured'.
Cancer is not something I would wish on anyone,
but I can say that the 'good in it' that I have experienced made it worth the suffering.....so much so that I would not undo it if I could.
I will never be the same as I once was..... because of it.
In the things that matter most, I am better off for having had the experience.
Frankly, I do not want to go back to being as I was before cancer.
I can truthfully say that I am a much better Christian for having had the disease.
I do not credit GOD for the disease, but the GOOD that has come from it."
I am sure that the other helpful influences in Bill's life were his supportive wife and children, a Godly Mother and Father (who in spite of a handicap, became a successful businessman and community leader in the town, church and schools).
SCRIPTURE AND THOUGHTS WHILE PREPARING THIS PAPER:
1) Where there is life, there is growth. (John 15:5)
"I am the vine, you are the branches. You abide in me and I will abide in you.
Then you will bring forth much fruit, for without me you can do nothing."
2) Jesus is the Shepherd and we are His sheep. (John 10: 27f)
"My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me."
3) Ephesians 2:10:
"We are God's workmanship (poem) created in Christ Jesus for good works which God ordains!"
4) Psalm 37:3:
"Trust in the Lord and do good and He works."
5) Hebrews 6: 1f:
"Let us go on from first works and become a workman, rightly dividing the word of God."
6) Philippians 1:6:
"We are confident that God is performing a good work in and through us 'till the coming of Jesus Christ." This includes redemption, sanctification, and eventual glorification
7) Let us go on to maturity, for the important thing is NOT growing older....
but growing toward the maturity that God has for us.
C. Oswald Chambers wrote:
"Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently, we take root nowhere."
Without root, there is no growth.
"We receive Christ and are rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith."
8) Psalms 37:3-7:
"Trust in the Lord;
delight in the Lord;
commit your way to the Lord;
rest in Him
and He will bring forth your righteousness."
I love the old song "All The Way My Savior Leads Me".
Let us remember that we are not what we once were...
and we are not yet what God wants us to be.
He is our Coach and the Bible is the Playbook that we are to live by!
Jesus in Matthew 5:48 tells us: 'to be perfect' (complete and mature).
"I Am Resolved"
(Words by Palmer Hartsough....1844-1932)
"I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world's delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife.
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.
I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the Living Way.
I am resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.
I am resolved and who will go with me?
Come friends, without delay.
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We'll walk the Heavenly Way.
I just talked with Bill and he is doing fine.
His (and his wife's) spirits are high and his support involves many.
I'm sure that Bill would appreciate your prayers also.
On this Fathers' Day, La Moyne and I want to pay homage to our wonderful Fathers.
We cherish the memories of Jim Harris and Woodie Wiginton and thank them for the wonderful examples they set.
They were 'Works in Progress'....
and we pray that those of us who follow in their footsteps, will leave Godly legacies also.
(On June 18, 2005, I wrote an article about 'A Farmer's Faith')
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Let me congratulate you on another wonderful article Travis. Being a cancer survivor myself, I too can say yes, it does change you into a more caring and compassionate person. Yes, we are indeed a work in progress, but the one who is doing the work, just so happens to be a MASTER BUILDER! (smile) Eph. 2:10-For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Not in our good works, but IN HIS!) I would like to join you in paying honor to our fathers both heavenly and earthly! Blessings, Sharon