Skip navigation

Tag Archives: God

As is the case with everything it starts with God.

I’m speaking to believers here of course, but take the time to really reflect on God and who he is.  Infinite, immutable, omnipotent, righteous, perfect in every way.

Really get in there, think about this.  Sovereign, in control of everything.  Knowing the end from the beginning, working all things to his glory and to the good of those who love him.  The only thing in existence worthy of praise, because through him all things are made.

Now, stop and look at yourself.

Whoring ourselves out to anything that can offer you a quick fix to your immediate pleasure.  Even in our most righteous state, we are still unimaginably self centered and dirty.

Really get in there, into the darkest recesses of your mind where no one but you can hear the most intimate desires of your heart.  Really focus on that for a second, is that desire for God?  Is that desire wholesome?  Is that desire a desire you honestly believe God looks favorably upon?  Sin, is in the heart, not the act.  By sheer desire for a thing, apart from God, we have committed idolatry.  Like disobedient children, we choose our own way, completely defiant and ignorant to the right punishment we deserve.

The wages of sin is death.  There is no other way to look at that.  Now hold that thought for a moment.

Perfect God, compared to fallen man.

Focus on this now for a moment.

We deserve nothing, nothing but wrath.

Really stop and be honest with yourself, innocence vs. guilt.  The guilty should die no?

Yes, by all rights we should die.  Yet, instead of wrath, instead of death, instead of destruction, we receive mercy?

Not only mercy, but we receive God himself, as a living sacrifice to atone for our sins.  To not only die for us, but to live the life we couldn’t possibly live.  One of perfection, of righteousness, then obediently take death on a cross, and separation from the perfect communion with the God head.

We not only received this INCREDIBLE salvation, but we also received a place alongside God as co-heirs to the throne.

We are not worthy.

We will never be worthy.

We owe our everything to God, for his mercy, for his steadfast love, for his promise, for his good nature, for himself.

So how do you love your neighbor?  The same way it began with God, and ends with God.  You love them the way God loves you.

Unendingly, sacrificially, mercifully.


Advertisements

/begin spill

I’m not really sure where to start on this, but I feel compelled to talk about how incredible my wife is. 

She consistently supports me when I feel like I’m in over my head.  She allows me to lead, and remains respectful in her dissent.  She maintains and controls what would other wise be anarchy in the home.  She’s an amazing mother, nurturing, and disciplining in equal and proper proportion.  Selfless in her service to her family.  She seeks to find what it is that brings myself and her children the most joy, and works towards those ends.  Her love is a beautiful and humbling thing to behold. 

My wife has a bead on me, and is truly my best friend.  She challenges me to push beyond what I would normally settle for, and is continually used to temper and humble me.  She’s the one person I want to go to bed with, and the one person I want to wake up next to.  I can’t imagine being apart from her, or trying to face this world without her.

Do we fight?  Yes.  Do we always agree?  No.  Do we both love God and trust him to lead us?  Yes.  Do we face trials? Yes.  Does that matter?  Yes. 

God knows what he is doing, and he knew what he was doing when he brought us together.  It pains me greatly that knowing joy through my wife, and my children, I would so quickly have (and did at times) settled for less growing up.  It also makes me realize, this joy pails in comparison to that which I will feel when in the presence of our father.

/end spill

The job market continues to dwindle, government spending continues to rise, and people continue to go hungry.  Marriages crumble, lives are shattered, and hearts are broken.  Wars continue, and families fear for the safety of their loved ones.  Housing market falls, your monetary value shrinking with it, and your bills increase.  Traffic’s at a stand still, gas cost way too much to refill, and it’s all starting to make you feel ill.

So, let me ask this.  What is going right?

Two things we discussed yesterday in church, and it’s wholly gospel related.  Sovereign God, and God Centeredness.

As we see what is falling apart around us, failed machinations that our own sin filled hands have wrought, do we see what he is building?  If God is good and His will is perfect for the good of those who He has called to His purpose (glory); why aren’t we lamenting at his great work in us and around us?  If God is sovereign and we profess his sovereign nature, why don’t we get excited about the possibilities of what is to come when those derailments happen?  Why do we worry so much when we know that He is enough, and that our needs will be met. 

The answer?  God is not enough.

At least that is what our actions and our thoughts cry out as we fight and worry and complain about what is upon us, as if it were something we could control to begin with.  The chief end of man at that point becomes, survive at any cost.  Your focus is you and you’ve abandoned the God who made you.  I’ve abandoned the God who made me.

The truth of that statement is so simple, yet so profound, to realize that you continually fail.  That thought should invoke inside the Christian a heart of repentance and an awe for the grace that has been bestowed upon us.  To realize that we are incapable of saving ourselves, of being righteous and as God centered as we should.  We should be bursting at the seams with joy, to know that we are truly loved and forgiven.

So why aren’t we?

The only answer I have for that is one I find through prayer and scriptural meditation.  I’m designed to worship, but my sin nature drives me to seek immediate gratification.  I want the next best thing, not the one right thing.  My heart is fickle and prone to wander; and love like anything important, requires work.  I have to continually seek his face, to focus on what was done for me, and take stock of what is being done FOR me, and shift the perspective away from done TO me.  We also need to break away from our relative view of what is best for us and understand that we can’t know all angles.  Our God is good, and what is in store for us will be of like nature, and that is something we can rest in.

First I want to define a few things up front before I begin.

 


Grace: Mercy, forgiveness, freely extended to individuals who deserve only wrath.

Belief/Faith: Treasuring Christ above everything, and living in a manner that reflects outwardly the inward Joy of that profession.

Weight: Value or cost of something. Not necessarily a burden, although the cost or value to one might seem burdensome given it’s elevated cost to the one who assumes that weight. (it will make more sense as you read)


 

Recently (this past Sunday) I began a discussion with a friend of mine from church regarding God’s Love vs. His Justice.  I want to outline this briefly to provide a basis for further development.  We know that God’s Justice is perfect, and that our trespasses against an infinitely worthy/innocent/glorious God carries the penalty of death and eternal separation from God.  We also know that by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice at Calvary we, upon accepting and having faith in him, have his righteousness imputed to us.  This is a legal action, nullifying our transgressions before God and allowing us to be in his presence in fellowship forever.  The question this raises is, why? 

Why would God in his perfect justice offers us, horrible sinners (yes all of us), a free pass?  This we define as Grace, and is fueled by one of God’s other characteristics, his Love.  Stick with me, this isn’t a Rob Bell moment.  We know that Hell is real and not all will receive this pardon or Justification.  So it’s safe to assume at this point, that there is a weight to Grace.  Freely extended, but not freely applied?  Yes, I believe that. 

It all sounds so simple, say a prayer, make a profession, and I’m safe.  True believers know this isn’t the case.  Like the man who finds the treasure in the field and gives away everything so that he can have that treasure.  Did he get more than he gave?  Did he make these sacrifices in sadness?  No, he assuredly received more than he gave, and did so gladly and without regret.  The faith runs deep, is transformational, and works in an equivalent manner.  No, our faith is not works based.  Yes, our works are faith based, and faith is the price of our salvation and reception of this imputed righteousness.

So lets evaluate Faith, and I will keep it very simple here.  Faith as I stated above with belief is placing Christ above everything, including yourself.  The truth is, this manner of living is not unlike living in servitude.  You seek to please your master, with love, through service in accordance to His Will.  You also, were bought and paid for, with his blood which he in turn paid lovingly for you.  Now to a non-believer this cost seems amazingly high.  Both the fact that Christ had to die, and the idea that servitude is the path to freedom.  The truth of the matter is, you are already in slavery before becoming a servant.  If you weren’t, no cost would have been paid for you.  We were all slaves to sin.  That sin drove us to place ourselves above that which deserves Glory (God) and heaps it upon ourselves.  I liken this to slavery, because in this scenario, we are not truly accounted for.  We are another slave, fighting for our own portion, which is maggoty bread compared to what rests on the masters table.  Yet as a servant, we are at the table with our master.  In servitude one is looked after, their best interests met in order for them to greater serve.  It’s a bond of love, and fellowship, sealed in service.  It is symbiotic in a sense, and provides what Sin so readily destroys, harmony or shalom/peace.  (do not read that God NEEDS us so much as he WANTS us)

So what is the weight of Grace?  That isn’t so easily defined, but one could surmise, the weight of Grace is:

The most heinous act in history; which merits the most glorious freedom for the believer.  That price was paid at Calvary, and the price for the believer is: Love, faith, and service for the one who died, and glory for the One who sent Him. 

As John Piper said in a sermon once, (an excellent sermon if you have an hour to listen) and it rings true here.

“We get the savior, He get’s the glory.  We get the great Joy, He get’s the honor.  Is that ok?  Good knight that’s ok!  It can’t be any other way if there is a God and a sinner like me.”

 


 

Parting thought on being a servant…

Lets take a moment to address something else for those who find the idea of being a servant repulsive or indignant. 

In our western culture the idea of “servitude” seems like something that devalues an individual.  We as believers are called into adoption, as heirs, to the throne.  We are not equal, but, part of the family.  How often do you cringe at the thought or service to your parents?  Siblings?  Cousins?  Children?  These are intimate relationships and fellowship, just as the relationship that is formed with the believer and Christ. 

You are cared for, provided for, and loved; but your worth does not exceed the worth of your master.  That does not diminish a thing.  I fully believe that every human is built with a desire to serve, it’s intrinsic to our nature and our happiness.  I do not think this is a coincidence. 

So with that; who or what are you serving?

So as I sit here, still stuck on an energy rush from this weekends excitement and the one to come, it hit me. 

How easily do things grab hold of us and jerk us into new directions.  I’m generally a very focused worker.  I’ve lately been a bit stand offish about my video game play, and been anti gadget.

Yet, here I am, tinkering endlessly with this modified nook, anticipating long hours of play with my friends this weekend, and unable to focus on my job.  Albeit I’m doing my job, its with great determination that I remain on task.

How much more or less is our faith a part of our being when we are so easily pulled this way and that? That our hearts and minds are so easily redirected.  I’m thankful to say that I’ve continued to read the word, remain in prayer, and give glory to God in what I’m doing and in what is being done for me… this time.  This isn’t always the case for me, or for others.  To witness that these idols come and go, serves as an amazing contrast to Gods steadfast nature.  Why would we need anything more? Why do we forget that?  That answer is both simplistic and complex, sin, or that our chief idol is ourselves and not our Creator. 

Three years and five months ago we welcomed a beautiful little boy into this world.  I finally met him, but you knew him for at least 4 years and 2 months, effectively giving you two a 9 month lead on daddy.

will and mommy

And 8 months ago we welcomed in a beautiful sign of God’s grace and mercy into our life with our baby girl.  You’ve known her 1 year and 5 months, again a 9 month lead.

2011-02-08_08-19-10_279

You know our children, you love, in abundance, our children.  You carry on for them when I would break from the strain and you do it time and again.  You help me to keep them in and aware of the word of God and you intercede, respectfully, on behalf of our children when they need it.

2011-05-07_18-54-37_952

You love our God, and your role as a steward to our children so much that you have gladly abandoned what the world demands of a you.  Refusing to allow any inappropriate secondary influences take precedence in our children’s lives.  You inspire me to be a better father, as you inspire me to be a better husband, which inspires me to be a better man and Christian.

You care for me with a love and a heart that is greater than you even have for our children, and for that I give glory to God.  Our children don’t know it now, but one day they will realize how amazing their Mother is, and see her Father reflected in her.  In that way, they could have no better mother.

Happy mothers day baby.

 

2011-05-07_10-08-59_812

Here I am riding to find your present mommy!

2011-05-07_11-16-11_276

Here I am holding your presents from me my mommy!

And uh, this may not make sense yet, but it will.

shipped

I love you.


Recently we were told to take our 7 month old daughter Maggie to be reviewed for early intervention. She qualified! In all areas of development! It was like being hit with a sack of rocks. More so for my wife even than I. Our daughter nearly died during child birth, and was without decent oxygen and blood circulation before they successfully removed her. So to some end we knew that this might be possible, and we of course knew she was behind or not quite right on some of her milestones. However, having it there in your face is just overwhelming.

Fortunately through the state of Alabama and members of our faith family who are occupational therapists, we gathered a lot of great information and had a review conducted in our home for placement almost immediately after the initial review. We were told hand in hand is the one of the top early intervention places here in Alabama so we sought placement with them.

We trust God for everything.  He who promised is faithful, and if he has his eye on the sparrow we knew that he had his hands firmly rested on us.  That being said, Amanda and I spent a lot of time discussing in depth our Savior and then I placed the infamous question on my wife. 

“What if God is most glorified in our daughter being mentally handicapped?”

 


The Joy of a Husband {

I take my role as Spiritual leader in this house very seriously.  This was a time of necessary spiritual growth, and I was lead to, well, lead.  However, this was a time when I wanted to give my life up for my wife so she wouldn’t feel that pain of facing this realization!  We can’t place our joy in anything that is not eternal; our children included.  They are a blessing, and a source of joy, but inevitably we must fix ourselves firmly on our Savior. 

Though my flesh and my heart may fail me, the Lord is my strength and my portion forever.

It was a night of tears, prayer, and anguish.  Amanda continues to amaze me, she recognized immediately that she was more interested in the hand of blessing and not the hand itself.  The most amazing part of that to me, was she was MORE upset that she wasn’t loving God as she realized she should.

                   Wow. 

I continued to pray over my wife and daughter as she prayed for herself and for Maggie.

3 Amazing things happened:

  1. The following day our sister in law sent an email pouring her heart out to Amanda essentially discussing the exact same thing we had discussed in private the night before.  Also saying that she had felt compelled to pray for complete healing for Maggie, and was praying for our peace.  It’s worth mentioning no outward signs have been given regarding the emotional struggles my wife has been dealing with. –thank you Spirit-
  2. A few minutes after our prayer request went out for Maggie to be accepted into Hand in Hand, another email came in to let us know we were accepted into Hand in Hand.
  3. My wife felt the Spirit move and found Joy in seeing God at work in her life.  The word was alive and she now understands what it means to find Joy in God.  This of course, to me, is the greatest.
    The greatest Joy of a teacher is when their students can grasp it.  More importantly when that student is your best friend and greatest earthly love.  I’m so thankful God allowed me to be a part of that growth.

    } dnabsuH a fo yoJ ehT


So now where are we on Maggie? Hey, don’t you have a son too?

The Joy of a Father {

During the giggly bear’s evaluation (Maggie), they had marked her off for quite a few things.  Some of the more specific ones was not even attempting to mimic speech, using her hands around the midline, bring things to her mouth, lift up on her hands while on her belly.

So guess what she’s started doing?  Yea, and today while I was at work she apparently was using a sippy cup.. 

sippy cup

We aren’t where we need to be yet, but I have faith we will get there.


Now for my road dog (Will).  Will has a habit of grabbing phones and having long fake conversations with people.  Lately he’s become increasingly more upset that I go to work everyday.

“Why you go work air-day daddy?” “You go work day daddy?” “No, you no go work day daddy.”

It’s sweet, but it’s become something that grates on my nerves constantly explaining myself for keeping the lights on to my kid…

Anyway, today Amanda gave me a heads up that he was pretending to talk to me on her cell phone over messenger.  So I stopped what I was doing and dialed her cell phone and had a (surprisingly) lengthy conversation (well for a 3 year old) on the phone.  As I hung up the phone and I heard:

“Ok, I go now, I love you very much daddy”

… there aren’t words.  Seeing my son grow, seeing his love, his personality, and now starting to see signs of his grasping of the Gospel….. As we were pulling into the neighborhood the other night from who knows where hearing that little voice:

“Mommy, Jesus loves you, and he loves me too.”

                   ….. The prayer that my son will one day be my brother ….

talkin to daddy

…….We’re working on it!

} rethaF a fo yoJ