Archives For Faith

Perfection!

December 13, 2018

My life is not perfect. But, I am where God wants me to be. Whenever I get doubtful of that, I am immediately reminded through His Word and through past experiences that God knows what He’s doing with me. 

But, I’ll be honest, if it were up to me, it would be easier. Things would be almost “perfect.” 

It’s that endless search to be “whole” in some kind of way … and we quickly look to things, possessions, opportunities and things of the like to do so. 

I would have the abs I want. I would have the muscles I want. I would have the clothes I want. I would have the phone I want. I would have the computer I want, the car, the house, and so forth and so on. 

But, that’s not perfect. That’s just stuff. I would stay on the topic of material possessions, but that’s a whole other discussion in of itself. 

I’ll admit, the places and plans that we have for our own lives sound “perfect,” but I am beginning to see that those thoughts come when we seek to have a life that’s without challenges and trouble. I’ve been guilty of this more than not. 

In so many ways, it’s like God has been keeping me from trying to have it so “perfect” down here on earth and in my own definition in an effort to keep me from missing the experience of relationship and life with Him and Christ Jesus both here and in heaven.

And, then there’s the irony around this desire. We simply cannot and will not be able to experience the “perfect” life by way of material possessions or life circumstances that are consistently in our favor. 

1 Peter 5:10  (NKJV)

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect,establish, strengthen, and settle you.

Interestingly enough, I have found out over the years that I have learned to walk out my faith in Christ, that “perfection” requires a bit of suffering. 

I acknowledge that I don’t know what kind of suffering you’ll experience. The New Bible Dictionary defines “suffering” as “conflict, pain, corruption, drudgery and death.” 

But, we have God’s Grace (God’s unmerited favor) on our lives to get us through those periods of suffering. 

2 Corinthians 12:9  (NKJV)

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God will “perfect,” or make us whole, suitable, adapted for something! Our understanding of why we are still here, being the best we can be, living the life we’re supposed to have, starts with God in Christ Jesus! 

He’s the only one whose able to “perfect” our hearts and our minds so we can keep from running to “stuff” to help us perfect something to our own adaptation. 

Along with perfecting us, God will establish, strengthen and settle us, meaning that he will make us strong and make us rooted and grounded in Him as we focus on Him rather than the circumstances. 

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Lately, I’ve noticed that whenever I write and blog on matters of faith as it relates to the Bible, Biblical principles, God and Christ and life being a regular Christian, the more readers I get. 

For my wife, Rachel and I, we do not think that is merely a coincidence. 

I’m grateful for those who are even the least beat curious as to what I have to say in literary form … very, very grateful! 

I really love writing and blogging online. It is one of the things that I enjoy doing whenever I get the chance too, and at one point, I was consistently doing it on a daily basis.

I hope to actually do it more often with the hope to share more of who I am with you as well as give you an inside scoop on what the Lord is, and has been doing, in my life. 

Which takes me to one of the reasons I’m writing again — my wife Rachel. 

When Rachel and I were just friends, she would read my blogs so many times a week. She would read my articles and discover the real me … the me that spoke through my blog the truth of the Gospel and expressed the personal challenges of living as a Christian in this day and age. 

I actually am going to give the idea of blogging about my life as a Christian a try. I don’t think I actually talk enough about my faith online except for my social media channels and I’m beginning to think that’s where my voice belongs. 

There’s a lot of people who need encouragement, truth and love. And maybe it is time to serve more with what I’ve got. 

Considering the world the way it is, I don’t think I can afford not too!

Trusting God!

November 5, 2018

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My wife and I had a candid conversation about trusting God with our hearts. We talked about my career path and her career path … mostly mine.

For example, I love the idea of pursuing a Ph.D. and I may do that sooner than I think. But, I also like the idea of earning more training in the media realm, particularly Journalism and Creative Writing and even Graphic Design (Art, Illustration).

When my wife Rachel and I attended a nearby college preview day to see what they had to offer, I was really excited by what I learned. Then came the questions … does this make sense, will this work, and so forth.

I’m learning not to cringe if I get excited over various topics or ideas that light up my heart. Where do we learn that “cringe” feeling over things that light us up, the things that make our heart soar?

My guess is shame. That among other issues of course. We feel like we can’t have certain things in life because we are either not worthy of it and God certainly wouldn’t want us to have certain things … or we lack believe that God is a giver of good gifts.

Matthew 7:11 (NKJV)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Theirs just some things that God will not let me have … at least not yet. And it is not because God is cruel, unloving and unfair. Far from it! God loves me and loves you, and often times I see that love in play when He withholds certain things from me that are not for me and gives me the things that He desires to give me out of his abundance and out of his love for me. This is actively God’s Grace and God’s Mercy. His Grace and Mercy means way more to me than material things.

Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

My wife spoke this point to me: “trust God with your heart!”

Note, not “trust your heart,” or “follow your heart.” We both knew that could lead to some very interesting, treacherous places.

So, in the midst of all of the questions I have about what’s next, I have learned to just relax and see the Lord in the midst of it all. We want to be sure not to lean on our own understanding of the issues of life, but to reach out to and acknowledge the Lord in our life … the Lord of our life … trusting God and Christ Jesus as we go forward.

 

A Merry Heart

September 5, 2018

"Angelo Rules" by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

“Angelo Rules” by Team TO and Cake Entertainment

 

One of the things I’m grateful for is a “merry,” or cheerful heart. My wife woke up one morning to this scripture she shared with me … Proverbs 17:22 …

A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

It has been days since Rachel and I read that scripture and discussed it in length. We know that there’s a lot going on in the world, our culture, our own life and our family and it can be kind of tough to actually be “cheerful” or “merry.”

It has actually been really nice that she’s been reminding me of how cheerful I always tend to be. In fact, the running joke is that I don’t really need too much more caffeine because of how cheerful I am most days.

Usually you have to wait for the holidays for that, right? A dozen or more genuine “Merry” Christmas responses should do it, right?

But, what if it was a choice.

What if we chose to see the blessings that God has given us. I woke up that morning because the Lord so willed for me to be up and alive that morning. I have a sound mind. I have a portion of health and strength. But, more importantly, I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And that’s enough to be cheerful about.

But, note the wording in the scripture. “A merry heart does good, like medicine….”

The world is full of things in front of us by which we can medicate ourselves. But, the end result will only be an artificial cheerfulness, an artificial and temporary “merry” state, a temporary happiness.

“A broken spirit,” sadness and desperation is draining. It is completely opposite of being cheerful. As the text says, it “dries the bones.”

But, when we find ourselves in God’s Word, spending time in prayer and consistently focusing on Christ in our circumstances, the real medication for our ailment of sinfulness, we can have a “merry” heart, which does good like medicine.