Monday, November 30, 2009

Trust in God Alone

Ps. 62:5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

These winter months are often difficult in the stone business and I would guess that this year will be no different. As I try to plan for what might be ahead I am brought to the realization that I again have no idea of what will be coming. I am left with the simple truth that it all depends on God to bring us through.

I look at these verses and the words "Alone" and "All Times" jump out at me. I have no second option and there is never a time that I do not need to be trusting in Him. How can I go on if He is not leading? I have no strength except that He gives it. He holds me up and He covers me with His strong right hand. He promises to provide and He must be the One Who does provide or there will be no provision.

All I can do is pour out my heart to Him and wait for His answer, though that is very hard to do. I want to work and struggle to take care of "my part" and I am starting to realize more and more that I almost have no part in the success of any of the endeavors He allows me to be in.

Please pray with me that I would have courage to walk by faith and not by sight and that He would be delighted to show off His power in all that He is doing around me. He is my Only Hope, why would I look for help in another?

Busy Time of Year

December is almost here and 2009 will soon be over, but before 2010 arrives there are many things to do, friends to see and family to visit. This year is Garrett's last high school basketball season and there will be many concerts and parties to attend.

This time of year is always hectic and I am not saying that is necessarily bad, but there is a danger with having the "list" so full. I think the tendency is to make room for lots of other things at the expense of our time with the Lord. I know for me this has been easy to do in the past and I want to change that this year. Much like wasting Christmas break.

How do we make sure that we don't get our focus off of Christ and on to other things? I am no expert at this, but for me it seems that when I view my time with Him as the MOST important thing then it is easier to put other things aside rather than Him. If I view Him as the most necessary, the highest and best way to spend my time then all the other things can fall in after Him. I think it was Mueller or Moody who said when they knew they had a really busy day coming they would spend an extra hour in prayer that day.

There is just no greater treasure or joy that will come to us, then if we spend our time seeking to know His heart and communicating our heart to Him. Don't let "Vanity Fair" delude you into thinking that "it doesn't get any better than this", because in His presence there is FULLNESS of joy and in the end there is really no lasting joy in Vanity Fair.

Ps. 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Live on unseen things.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Garden

Picture in your mind a garden plot that needs to be worked. Lots of weeds and grass, sticks that need to be pulled out, rocks that would be in the way of making nice rows. Under all this current mess is good soil- you have witnessed it first hand. Nice, dark, rich soil that will grow something beautiful and bountiful.

As you are pondering what might grow there someone walks up to you; someone you don't know. You give him the once over, looking up and down his strong frame. Nothing here too spectacular to report except his hands are weathered from lots of work. It looks like he knows his way around the garden seeing multiple patches on his knees and holes in the toes of his boots lead you to believe these are his favorite gardening clothes- if this indeed is the gardener.

You're small and frail compared to him and the garden spot you are imagining is quite far from where you are right now and so he asks you if you would like to ride in the wheelbarrow. As a kid, riding in the wheel barrow is a fun treat, until you get dumped over. That seems better than walking and you are interested to see what might be going in the garden- having no real intention of working hard enough to actually plant anything in that spot; there is too much work to do just to get in the vicinity of growing anything, but you will watch.

The wheel barrow is well worn and it has seen plenty of dirt and tools in its time. This is not a fancy model but it seems he is getting a lot done with it so in you hop, amongst all the gardening tools. The wheelbarrow is a bit crowded with all the rakes and hoes, shovel and picks, so you hang on to the side and enjoy the ride. It's a bit bumpy, but it is better to be bumping along and not walking than it is to be walking along and not bumping.

As you ride you are starting to imagine the produce that will come out of this dirt. Will there be lettuce, or tomatoes? Hopefully no broccoli or cauliflower. Beets would be good and some potatoes, green beans, snow peas. This is starting to get exciting. Who will have to be the weeder. You don't like weeding.

You finally roll up to the spot and you hop out. I wonder what he will do first. I wonder if he will ask you to help. You are kind of small and wimpy compared to him. Maybe He will just do it all and let you watch. All the tools are gone from the wheelbarrow and it is just you and he standing there. You look around and the other tools are actually working in the garden; they are actually living tools. The rake is Jenny, the shovel is Sam, the hoe is Jimmy, and wait, what kind of tool are you?

All these tools seemed little and wimpy in the wheelbarrow and now they are doing their tiny bit of work in the garden. As fast as each one is, it is going to be a long time before there is any produce, but they are getting a little work done. The gardener is giving strength to each one as they run out, he brings the water to make the soil softer, he keeps the sun behind the clouds so it is a little cooler, he is encouraging everyone and he is telling them exactly what to do next. All they seem to be doing is working on the tiny little space around them and not even looking at what others are doing. Will this really turn out right?

The time goes by so fast. You had forgotten to look at your watch, so you don't even know what time it was when you started working. This is hard work, but he is so kind to work for and he seems to know exactly what you need before you even have the need, that it doesn't even seem like real work. How can this be, you have been in the garden before and you know how hard it can be, but this time it is different.

You look around you and see that all the tools are at least as weak as you are; they don't seem to be experts at what they are doing; like you, they are certainly not the highest quality tools in the shed and yet this gardener is using each one and they are really making a difference.

At the end of the day the garden has been all plowed up, planted, weeded, watered, the sun has come and the plants have grown, the harvest is completed and you are looking at a feast prepared for you by the gardener, and what a feast it is. How did he get all this out of that one little garden spot using all those flimsy tools? You will probably never know the answer, but you loved being part of the process and the feast sure is amazing.

We are all tools for the Gardener to use. He has promised to give us strength, to provide for our needs, to sharpen us, to encourage us, and to keep using us until He is finished with us. If we are faithful to follow His instruction He will bring the increase. He also promised to allow us to partake in the feast. We can't boast of anything in this process except that He chose to use us.

May we be tools useful for the Master.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I just finished watching "Collision"- a video of a "debate" between Christopher Hitchens, an anti-theist author, and Douglas Wilson, a Christian pastor.

I came away with a couple of things, and I think you should watch it.

1. Pastor Wilson is a gift from God to The Church. "Copiousness" is a word he uses to describe himself. That is true, true. I am thankful that God gives different gifts to the Church and that I do not have to be as sharp as he is to be of service to The King.

2. Hitchens states along the way that the reason he is intrigued with Wilson, even listens to him, is that he really believes what he says and he even lives it out. We can have all the answers to every question and it is still the power of the Gospel that wins heart, not our great debate. It is us living/walking the Gospel much more than talking the Gospel that wins hearts.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. God is SOO Good.

Thanks Be To Our Great God

Thanksgiving is a time when we get together and praise God for all He has done in our lives, though I am convicted of my lack of continual praise throughout the year.

Many Christians would start off with “Salvation” at the top of their list, and I have listed that in previous years but there has never been a time, in my own life, that this has been as true as it is right now. The idea that we are “Jars of Clay” is a good reminder that we are chosen to carry the message of the Gospel and that is our only contribution- carrying. Vessels made to carry the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ. That Christ has chosen me, dwells in me, strengthens me and intercedes for me is so amazing. I am not deserving of this grace and yet that is what I have been given.

When people list health as an item they are either flippant about it or they have probably been in a valley where health has been diminished. To think that our bodies go through all they do and we don’t end up in the hospital all the time is pretty amazing. I am thankful that germs are not visible. I am thankful for kids who have remained alive this entire year.

Family would be on my list and our family is much larger than those ending with the name Weinberg. Many of you have been through more with us than our bio families have. Many of you have been our encouragement and "exhorters" along the way. We have loved watching you grow in the Lord and it is fun to see Him work so visibly in your lives. We love the part you have played in our lives and in the lives of our kids and this is not just from the “old people” but also from the young.

Food, clothes and shelter have to be on this list. Though we often take these kinds of things for granted, our perspective has been seriously altered this year after returning from Ethiopia. Why was I born in America while my Christian brothers and sisters were born in Ethiopia? Why do we have more food than we ever need and they are struggling to get food for tomorrow morning?

Faith in trials, testing building perseverance, increased love for the lost, increased love for the saints, grace abounding to me a wicked sinner, forgiveness and removal of my sins, fruit in ministry, fruit in my own life and the lives of those around me, heaviness that is ok knowing that He knows what is best, justification, a measure of sanctification and the hope of glorification and my Savior making intercession for me at the right hand of the Father waiting for me in Heaven.

What is there that I need? Only salvation in Him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Clay Pots

2 Cor. 4: 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

SKH is going to teach through this passage this coming Sunday and I have been thinking about it these last couple of days. I believe that when Paul penned these words he would have been thinking about clay pots like these in this picture.

Jars of clay are just baked mud, and that is what we are. These pots were and are very common, breakable, cheap and not necessarily very nice to look at. As in the picture, they are used for every day things, in this case kitchen work, but they also could have been made in different sizes and used for things like bed pans.

It makes more sense to hear that we are but dust when you think about us being pots. A clay pot and our earthly body are very similar in that when buried both will soon turn back to the dust, or dirt, we once were.

We are these jars of clay. The treasure of the Gospel, something very precious, is stored inside of us; common, not so nice to look at, breakable jars of clay. Can the pot say to the potter "I don't like what you made me into"? Well, all we are is a vessel to be used to carry the light of the Gospel to the world. It seems like we should look something like these pots, but have light beaming out from us. If there are cracks in us there should be light flooding from each one of those cracks.

So, in the end, what difference does it make if we are persecute, afflicted, perplexed and crushed? If the Master has many pots that He can take off the shelf to replace us with, then should we just be happy to be used while He chooses to use us? Shouldn't we be excited that we are being used for something as useful as carrying the light of the Gospel?

Then what about the results? Where will the credit go if the Gospel actually bears fruit in the lives of those around us? Can we boast in our effectiveness in sharing the Gospel? How could we if we are but clay pots? That is what Paul is trying to say, "How can I boast in anything if I am just a normal, common, fragile pot that can be replaced at any minute?"

So as I walk today I must remember that I am only a vessel that God is choosing to use to carry the Gospel. I want to be a clean vessel so that as much light as possible can get out of me into the world. I must remember that I am chosen, but not because of anything that is of value in me, but that God chose to choose me because He is gracious.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Life changing words

"How do we have our faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus is, and all He is for us: His life, His death, His work, He Himself revealed to us in the Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts. Not striving to have faith, or to increase our faith, but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need.

Here I feel is the secret: not asking how I am to get sap out of the vine into myself, but remembering that Jesus is the Vine- the root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit, all indeed. Aye, far more than that. He is the soil and the sunshine, air and rain- more than we can ask, think, or desire. Let us not then want to get anything out of Him, but rejoice in being ourselves in Him-one with Him- and consequently, with all His fullness. Not seeking for faith to bring holiness, but rejoicing in the fact of perfect holiness in Christ, let us realize that- inseparably one with Him- this holiness is ours, and accepting the fact, find it so indeed." Hudson Taylor.

This, for Hudson Taylor, was a life changing realization and many who knew him previously said that from this time on he was a completely different man. Hard to imagine that he was as godly as he was up to this point and that his life really changed so much that others said this about him later.

May this be said of us as well.

Privileged Citizenship

What would it be like if the President of the United States were coming to your house? If he were coming tomorrow; what would today look like for you? Would today look different than yesterday? Let me see if I can get some of the things down that might happen.

You might purchase a new outfit; you do want to look your best and this is probably never going to happen again. You certainly would be cleaning more frantically than you did yesterday; you don't live in the White House, but what you do have needs to look as good as it possibly can. What will he want to eat when he comes? What if you make something that he really doesn't like?

Then what about his political views? You certainly don't agree with all he is doing in America, or the rest of the world for that matter. Should you complain about his foreign policy? Should you complain about his health care program, or should you just be thankful for the privilege it is to be a US citizen? Should you give suggestions on how you would run all that he has to run, even if you don't know as much as he does? Would he actually listen to your points since he knows you don't know all that much?

For sure he has checked out your background and he probably knows way more about you than you do about him. That might be strange; knowing that he probably knows how much is in your checking account and the people you called this morning. He will bring his people with him and you don't really have any "people", except your kids. The neighborhood is going to a traffic mess and the local and national news is going to have a field day searching out everything you have ever done and sticking it on some show; making it sound like you are some crazy person. Don't they know you are just some ordinary person? Do you really need this grief? Is it going to be worth the hassle in the end? Maybe you should not have invited him in the first place; now your going to be a target for every news reporter around.

Snap out of it; he's coming and you have a bunch to do before he gets here. You must look good and you need to at least appear as if you have your act together.

OH, just kidding- he's not coming.

Now stop and think what it would be like if the King of kings were coming to your house. Oh wait, He is there all the time. Maybe He is so familiar to us that we don't remember how special He is. Maybe we complain about His plans, even though we have no idea about what He is doing and we certainly don't have the understanding he does. Is He special enough to us that we make a big deal about being a citizen of His country even if there are things that we don't necessarily like about His policy? Is being connected with Him bringing suffering to us, or are we just flying under the radar so no one knows we are His people/ If too many people know then there would be all those people taking shots at you and your kids.

If I were the King I wouldn't allow all this pain, and I would make sure everyone had what they needed. If I could control the weather I wouldn't let droughts happen or earthquakes and tsunamis bury people alive. Should I bring up my disagreement? He brings His people with Him- angels- and they are wondering why I not more thankful for what I have been given.

The King is accessible to us every moment of every day. He is special, whether we give Him the place of honor or not. Why do we act as if there is no royalty in our midst? Why do we take for granted the privilege we have? Why complain when we have no idea what He is doing? Why second guess His motives? Why do we not ask when He has the power and portion to fill our poverty?

The privilege is ours, given by the King for His glory, and we must be thankful for all that we have and not take any of it for granted. Is your house ready?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


2 Cor. 3:2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.

If we are to be letters "read" by others as a "resume" for Christ's work in our lives, what do they read? Are we the ones who people are talking about as being so different than we were before that there is no argument as to His work in our lives?

We can't be "talkative" and just have all the answers and no life to back it up. May His light be shining in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


In 1 Samuel 15 we read of the telling of God rejecting Saul as king over Israel. I can not help but think how often I have done the "same" thing, though I was never king over anything and haven't ever gone into battle, I have done almost all that the Lord has told me to do.

God is serious about obedience; instant and complete. God wants us to listen and obey more than anything we can sacrifice. As a kids I only would think of sacrifice as literally a sacrifice of an animal. We don't sacrifice animals anymore, but there are sacrifices we can make, but that is not God's choosing. He wants us to obey His Word; He wants us to listen. We must be in the Word to listen and know it to obey.

Can you imagine being Samuel, having to tell the king that God rejected him? Can you imagine Saul's thoughts at this time? We must be on our knees following as closely to The King as we are able and pray that He keeps us ever closer.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Successful Kids

My dad sent this to me and I thought you all might enjoy it. Our job; Col. 1:28- every man complete in Christ.

I Don't Want to Raise Successful Children
Lysa TerKeurst

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

I don't want to raise successful children. That's a shocking thing to read, and a shocking thing for a mother to type. So, let me clarify.

I used to define success according to my child's report card. Good grades and academic achievement would surely equal a good child with great potential in this world. But then several of my children wound up being average students with average grades. Though we carted them off to tutors and spent many a late night at the kitchen table helping them, they remained average. And I remained concerned and frustrated.

One report card day I found myself facedown in the fibers of my carpet crying and wondering, "Where have I gone wrong as a mom?"

I dug into Scriptures. I begged God for wisdom and discernment. I prayed for God's perspective with each of my kids. Finally, one day it dawned on me - what if I simply chose to embrace the natural bent of each of my kids as God's way to protect them and keep them on the path toward His best plans for their lives?

What if my A student needs academic success to prepare her for God's plans while my average to below-average student needs to be steered away from a more academic future? What if my sports star kid needs that athletic excellence for his future assignments by God, but my benchwarmer kid is being protected from getting off course by her lack in this area?

And that's when it finally dawned on me. My job isn't to push success for my kids. My job as a parent is to recognize the unique way God created each child and point them to Jesus at every turn along their journey toward adulthood. Yes, I want my kids to learn and thrive and grow up educated, but it's not a flaw in me or them if they don't have straight A report cards and trophy cases full of sports medals.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (NIV).

I am challenged to ponder these words, "... in the way he should go." Are we training our kids that the "way he should go" is to chase worldly achievement or to chase God? Whatever they learn to chase as a child, they will chase as adults. Therefore, we must be challenged to honestly assess the way we are pointing them to go.

My daughter, Hope, is one of my average students. She has also warmed many a bench in the sports she's tried, and can always be found hiding on the back row of the stage during school concerts. Using the world's benchmarks for achievement, Hope wouldn't be seen as a child positioned for success. But God...

This past January, my 15 year old Hope, shocked me when she announced she wanted to go to Ethiopia with some missionary friends of ours and live in the remote African bush for the summer. Yes, she may not have trophies and straight A report cards but she does have a heart of gold. And because she's not entrenched in sports and academic pursuits that could have created obligations for her summer, she was free to go to Africa. Free to chase God in a really big way.

One of the first e-mails she sent me from Ethiopia read, "Mom, I've fallen in love with the AIDS orphanage children. They rushed at me when I held my arms out and I tried with all my might to hold all 30 of them at once. I love it here."

Now, don't get me wrong. I do expect Hope to return to her studies this fall, give 100% effort, and finish her high school career having done her very best. She will most likely then go to college. But she probably won't be delivering the valedictorian address or wearing the honors cords and medals. She'll be the one with a vision of a dying AIDS orphan pressing against her heart ready to chase God's plans to the ends of the earth.

So back to my original statement, I don't want to raise successful children. It's true, I don't. Though Hope's sister coming behind her is an A student and can always be found on the front row of school performances - we don't chase after success for her either. I trust God that she needs those things in her life for the plans He's unfolding in her life. We train with that bent in mind. But, we don't chase it. Just like Hope, we point her in the direction of God at every turn and pray like crazy.

I stand by what I said and I'll say it again, I don't want to raise successful children. Because--- raising God-honoring adults who will set the world on fire for Christ is just so much more rewarding.

Dear Lord, being a mom is a really tough job. Please help me, teach me and show me how to define success for my kids. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Hurting, Healthy Humanity

Yesterday I talked to 2 different people about the turns their lives had taken and the heaviness that was associated with those turns.

One person's child had been addicted to meth for 6 years and had finally quit "cold turkey". Their own family had 4 siblings and 4 separate dads. They told me that when they had received Christmas cards from friends with family pictures of 4 beautiful children all up skiing it was really hard to take. "I want that and I have been faithful to teach my child about God and yet I didn't ever have that", was the statement. Crying out to God in the middle of the night; wrestling until there was no more strength to wrestle and then just having to wait on the Lord to not only renew their strength but to work a miracle of allowing the child to be off drugs.

Why would God allow something like this? This person has a ministry that I may never understand. This person has faith to watch God work like few others I know. While they said they were ashamed of their complaining to God about His provision during the trial, and feeling like they were one of Job's friends, they were allowed, by God, to see Him take care of their concerns. They now can help others go through something like this and be an encouragement.

The other person was Kinder H. who many reading this will know. T and I saw her in the grocery store and she appears to be doing great. What a life God has given her and what a ministry He is allowing her to undertake. More often then not I have no idea what is going on in the lives of those around me. I believe God wants us to be connected more closely to those around us, but I have to be paying attention and actually want to connect. That has to come from God, as it is not natural for me to be like this.

Pray for these people; people whom God has given unique places and circumstances to minister in ways many of us can't. The holidays are difficult times for many people; broken homes, kids not walking with the Lord, family members who are no longer here, all these things are difficult to go through, especially w/o the Lord. May we be a light in their lives to share the Goodness of God.

Friday, November 20, 2009


"The ploughman sows and harrows, and then leaves the harvest to God. What can he do else? He cannot cover the heavens with clouds, or command the rain, or bring forth the sun or create the dew. He does well to leave the whole matter with God; and so to all of us it is truest wisdom, having obediently trusted in God, to leave results in his hands, and expect a blessed issue." Spurgeon

What have we to do but wait? Is. 40:31

He is All I need

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

I have no understanding that He does not give and I must trust that He will give direction for the things that concern me, as I in no way have the wisdom and discernment to get there from where I am. He has to Provide, He has to Protect, he has to stir hearts and convict of sin, He has to change the hearts of kings and rulers to bring about His purposes and He can do all these things but He wants us to ask, and then to acknowledge His working after He does it. I needed to have the path straight as I can't see enough of what is ahead to stay on the path if it is not straight.

"All is a very inclusive word", Hudson Taylor. Do I trust Him with all my heart and in all my ways do I acknowledge Him? Oh for grace to trust Him more.

Little Old Lady

Yesterday was one of the craziest, roller-coaster, kind of days I can remember in a long time. I can't really list all that happened here, but I do want to relay a story to you that I think will encourage your heart.

Amid the phone calls and trying to figure out what direction I should go, with regard to all that was coming my way, I called my parents and my mom was telling me what is going on in their lives on the other side of the state. She then asked me if she had ever told me the story of the little old lady who was praying for her. I said, "I don't think so".

I need to give you some background before I start the story. My mom was born to missionary parents in Japan, and was raised there. Her mom was also born and raised in Japan as a missionary kid. Her dad's parents were missionaries to China. Grandpa's name was Timothy Pietsch and he was a missionary to Japan for more than 50 years. She has been around missionaries for her whole life. My mom's name is Sally Sue, but grandpa always called her "Suzy".

When she was in her mid 30's she and my dad had gone to a church, I am not exactly sure why they were there, in Canada. They were living in Washington State at the time. While they were there a little old lady came up to my mom-whom she had never met and had no idea her name- and they were talking and this lady said, "I pray for the missionaries every day". Mom has heard this kind of thing before and she apparently didn't respond as enthusiastically as the lady would have liked and so she said it again and then she added, "I pray for a missionary in Japan named Timothy Pietsch. In fact, around 30 years ago, this man was going across America speaking in churches and he asked everyone in every church he went to to pray for his daughter Suzy Pietsch and I have been praying for her everyday day ever since". My mom then said, "I am Suzy".

This little old lady had been praying for my mom, because grandpa had asked her to, for 30 years. What can we do? Often people say, "The only thing I have left is to pray", or something to that affect, but prayer is our first and greatest weapon, not our last resort. Mom told me that as she is aging she is awakened more often in the night and she just prays when that happens. We need to encourage our elderly to pray for Christ's Bride more often, as they generally have more time. We should all be praying w/o ceasing. God works when He hears the hearts of His people begging Him to work. How's that going in your life?

I am finally realizing that it is not as good for me to be really busy, as this is a tool of Satan to keep me away from the throne of grace begging for His mercy.

A short list of requests;
His continued provision for PG.
Agency work for Ethiopia and provision for the children.
Shaping of our local Body.
Wisdom and direction with so many things that are beyond my own understanding.

Please Pray.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cross Contemplation

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

J Sarr spoke last night from 1 Peter with an emphasis on considering, understanding and dwelling on our own salvation. In order to be able to live on unseen things we must first have some idea, though not complete, of what is the object of our hope. We must have some type of assurance that what we are living unto is worth enduring whatever trial we may face here and now.

The cost of our salvation was great. Since God makes all the rules He could have designed a plan that did not include the death of His only Son. To think that He would even start the process of reconciling us is incomprehensible; why would He want to save sinners in the first place, especially when He knew how we would be toward Him?

Why did He not just start entirely over at the flood? Why does He save even one, since there is none righteous? Why send His Only Loved Son to live 33 years on this earth and to endure all the pain and agony, the humiliation and sorrow, that He carried with Him here? He could have come as a Conquering Hero, as He will someday soon, and The Father could have demanded sacrifice for our sin another way, but this was His plan- to show the riches of His grace to the coming ages, Eph. 2.

Since He did not spare His most loved Son, since He turned His back on Him when He took our sin on Him, since He raised Him from the dead to conquer death for us, since He lavished redemption, forgiveness and grace on us- in the fullest measure- since in all things He has not skimped in any regard, but has given according to His abundant great love, what have we to fear?

If He gave His most precious possession to win us back, after we messed up the story, then why would we think even for a moment that He would not handle the rest? It makes no sense that He would bring us this far to leave us trying to fend for ourselves. We can no more fend for ourselves than we can take care of our debt of sin.

May we rest in His care and provision and rejoice in so great a salvation, a salvation that cost The Son His very life and The Father His Only Son. This kind of thinking should help us to live on unseen things.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I was talking to someone last night and was not articulating very well the point I was trying to make. So maybe I can "say it" better here.

For my entire life I have been one who is excited about things; sports, golf, food, and more often then not, the work I was currently doing. I have plenty excitement for those things and like to share my enthusiasm with others about what I am most excited about. While I really believe that this is from God, to enjoy ones work, I also see God working in a very different way, in my life, while still giving me joy in my work.

If I am working with someone today on a design project and we are really clicking along, I am very excited about what the outcome of that project is going to be. I will be excited to see the look on their face when the everything is put in place. In my mind I can see it before it is done. But God is doing something in me that has never been there before. As much as I am excited about the project, I am often more excited about sharing what He is doing in my life and in the lives of others.

As much as I am excited about the look on their faces at completion, I am more excited when they get excited about eternal things. We finish talking about colors and textures and what stone to pick and then we go to something that will never diminish in value and never go out of style.

I don't know how God does those kinds of things but I am praying that He would continue to work in my heart and give me greater loves and affections and enable me to leave behind things of lesser value. He must do this work. In my own heart I have none of those desires and so He gets all the credit for changing me. He does the work slowly and I don't even know when it started and what sparked the change, but I don't really care about that anyway, as long as He is working.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


1 Peter 1:6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.

"If the Christian did not sometimes suffer heaviness he would begin to grow too proud, and think too much of himself, and become too great in his own esteem. Those of us who are of elastic spirit, and who in our health are full of everything that can make life happy, are too apt to forget the Most High God. Lest we should be satisfied from ourselves, and forget that all our own springs must be in him, the Lord sometimes seems to sap the springs of life, to drain the heart of all its spirits, and to leave us without soul or strength for mirth, so that the noise of tabret and of viol would be unto us as but the funeral dirge, without joy or gladness. Then it is that we discover what we are made of, and out of the depths we cry unto God, humbled by our adversities." Spurgeon

The heaviness makes me long for Heaven all the more and as Spurgeon states "makes me cry out to God" for He is my ONLY Help and Salvation.

What should we do?

Look out your window-if it is light- and see all there is that God created. Look at your hand and imagine all the is happening inside of you right at this moment. Try to comprehend the vastness of millions of galaxies and that the Milky-way is a small one.

Think about the immenseness of The flood. How did all that water get on the entire face of the earth so quickly and where did it all come from?

Think about the plagues in Egypt and the exodus. How did they know where to go and how did all that water stack up? How did the bottom of the sea go from being all mud to completely dry in an instant?

There are days the sun stood still, battles where 300 men defeated 10,000, boys killing giants, fire consuming water soaked sacrifices, hungry lions mouths shut, men standing in the furnace and no smoke smell on their clothes and that is just a few in the OT.

Then there are kings trying to kill The King but failing, water into the best wine, lepers healed completely and instantaneously, feeding of many thousands, walking on water and even raising the dead.

Why are all these things recorded for us? What is the purpose of these stories? Is it because they make nice Sunday School pictures? I heard so many of these stories, so many times, in SS and they never have impacted me more than they do today. As a little kids they are fun to listen to and I think we should still tell them but as an adult, in the middle of my own need for a miracle each minute to keep my heart beating, they are great reminders of Who God is.

The storm outside this morning makes the branches tap on the side of the house. It makes interesting sounds as it blows small objects up into the windows. The rain sporadically hits the window and then only the skylight. God's power is on display in the smallest of ways in this little storm. We don't want to encourage Him to show off His power in the form of a storm.

If you have seen the video footage from Manila you may have seen 20 foot deep water going through the streets. Maybe you have seen where the water was coming into the city, rushing furiously through buildings and houses. If Jesus were physically her on earth and He wanted to, He could have been awakened from His sleep and walked outside and stopped that storm with a word. I often forget what it must have been like to be the disciples in the boat. "Peace be still" and it was.

What does this all mean for us today? Crazy financial times, crazy weather, need and pain growing every day and no sign or promise of it diminishing. What should we do? All these stories and all the things we see around us are to build our faith. When something crazy happens to us today we must remind ourselves and others that this is the hand of God. Everything we have and are is from Him and He is the One Who created and sustains each and every living thing.

When you're tempted, as I often am, to think about the "flood" around you, whatever that flood may look like, we must think on the things that are true; God keeps His promises. He is always faithful. He never makes a mistake. He is the One Who supports us in the "flood" and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. "My God shall supply all your need" including whatever is needed to get through this storm and into the next. We must pray that He would give us faith to trust Him.

So, when you are tempted to fear or worry about what will happen, remember that the Israelites had to walk through the water stacked up on both sides of them. They only had one way out and that was the way God provided. He used that one way out to defeat the enemy, but they still had to go forward not knowing what the outcome would be.

Faith is not faith if we know what is going to happen. The only thing we can be sure of is that God provides and He is good and He will not give us more than we can handle. I can't imagine not having Him to rest in. Oh for faith to trust Him more.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Promise Keeper Worth Following

Joshua 21:43 Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

That last verse is staggering. Imagine if every single promise we ever had made had been fulfilled. We don't set out to break our promises, but we are not in control of enough things to keep them all.

"I'll pick you up at 5" is followed by, "Sorry, my battery died and I couldn't get a jump". Or how about, "We'll go to Disneyland next year for your birthday", is follow by, "Sorry, we had to buy a new refrigerator and we can't go now". These things are out of our control and yet we make promises we can't keep.

That is the real issue; we have no control- we have no power to change the circumstances. But God does. He is omnipotent and He knows what is coming. He knows He can drive the enemies out with a weak army's "help". He controls the weather that allows crops to grow and produce. He makes the corn grow tall and puts 5 ears on each stock instead of 2. He makes cows to calf and calves to grow.

So why would we be interested in serving other gods? We think we are not like the Israelites- we don't serve idols. Really? Are there not idols- things that take our focus off of God- in our lives? Are there not things that distract us from following God more intently? Are there not things that diminish our time spent with God? Maybe it is your job- work harder and smarter. Maybe it is your kids, or spouse- finding significance in who they are. You know what they are in your life.

Choose who you will serve today. Make that choice wisely. D.V. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. I can not serve Him myself, because He is holy and jealous and I am not holy. If I forsake following Him after having said "I will follow and serve Him only" He will not forgive but will consume me. It doesn't seem like a hard choice, but our spirit is willing and our flesh is weak. He is worthy to be followed but He must provide the strength to follow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oh to Know

"Remember when you got into the word and it wasn't because you had a sermon to prepare or you needed to learn some things or there were some doctrinal problems or you knew that to progress as a useful servant you had to continue on in the things of the Word of God? Do you remember when you just got into the Word because you wanted to hear something from God? You wanted to know something about Him. Do you remember when you just prayed because of Him? Is your heart burning for Him?" Paul Washer

I have been thinking about this for a couple of days now- pretty convicting. I need to be desperately dependent on God, because I have nothing to bring to the table. I have nothing of value that He did/does not give and yet often I am proud of what "I have done". I need to get over myself and never get over Him.

It is much easier to be desperately dependent when things are way too hard for us to handle ourselves; way too big for us, way out of our ability to think of a solution. But am I desperately dependent when things are fine/good? Not so much. When it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel I quickly forget Where the light is coming from.

I was lying in bed, a few hours ago now, and was thinking about this in connection to a family. We want our kids to come to us and ask for what they need-petition. We want them to hang out with us and do stuff-fellowship. We want to know what they are thinking-communication. But what would it look like for our kids to REALLY try to get to know us-love? What would it be like if I really knew my own parents; asked them what they wanted along the way, what their dreams were?

Obviously God's will is perfectly done because He is omnipotent, but do I go to Him in prayer and read His Word to me with the sole desire to know Him? Not to know what He wants for or from me, but just to "look in His eyes" or to "hear His heart".

Teresa often says to me "You don't even know me". That is probably true. I don't take the time to really know anyone. I have to start with the One Who is worthy of knowing and He has to change me so I have the desire to really know others. For someone who likes to have many irons in the fire that is difficult because it takes time to know people on more than a surface level.

It will take eternity to know God as He deserves to be known, but then there will be no distractions, no sin left to fight and then we will get to know the One we should most long to know. Until He comes back or takes me home I must be striving to really know Him who Who He really is.

Oh that He would change my selfish heart.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sin Seduction

In Joshua 7 there is a story that many of you know. The story of Achan taken the devoted things and burying them in his tent. God had commanded that no one do this and yet he knew, while he was stealing them, that it was wrong and yet he did it anyway.

Recently I witnessed something somewhat close to this happening. The people involved knew they were doing the wrong thing-even while they were doing it- and they still went ahead and sinned. They have come forward and asked for forgiveness and truly seem to be repentant, but there are still consequences.

In this story 36 men died as a consequences for Achan's sin. They lost a battle that they had no business losing. God's name was run through the dirt, as other nations watched them be defeated. None of this had to happen except sin got in the way. Then, even Achan's family and livestock had to pay for His sin with their lives. None of the other people or animals had anything to do with Achan's sin, yet they had to suffer the consequences of his sin.

So much of life is like this. We often think our sin doesn't hurt, or even effect, anyone else and often that is not even close to the truth. Sin makes us stupid. In the situation I have been watching we will not know the far reaching consequences for quite some time and will certainly never know the full extent of what they are. It is sad that we allow sin to quench the working of the Holy Spirit's work of conviction of sin in our lives and then we fall headlong into every greater sin as we just keep quenching His work.

We must stay close to the Word and be praying that God would grow and change us into His likeness. We must be more and more like His Son and hate sin increasingly every day to be made holy even as He is holy. Our sin does effect others but more than that it tarnishes the name of Christ to a lost and dying world.

Oh! to be like Thee, oh! to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

He must do the work so He can get the glory. May He do His work in us and get glory through His working in us. There is no greater testimony than a changed life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not Rocket Science

In Joshua 1 God is talking to Joshua and telling him what is going to happen from here on out. God is really telling him much more than He tells most people. "No one will be able to stand before you", "I will give you this land from here all the way to here", "Be strong and courageous and follow my Law and I will give you success".

There are a lot of promises in these 1st 9 verses and God doesn't tell Joshua to do too much. God is the One working, not Joshua. Joshua has to be strong and courageous and to follow the Law that God gave to Moses and that is it.

Why strong and courageous? God knew that Joshua was going to be tempted to be afraid. God knew the people He would deliver into their hands were mighty compared to Joshua, but not compared to Him. Joshua would be tempted to look on the outward appearance of his enemies, but God was way bigger than they were.

God also knew that it would be very tempting for Joshua to not stick to the Law, but to turn away from these commandments. No other nation would be doing the things that they were told to do. Not other nation would be sacrificing so much of their livestock to atone for their sin. No one else had to keep the Sabbath holy. It would be easy to start to fall into the practices of other nations and God knew that would be difficult for them to do.

He keeps giving Joshua the same commands because He wants to make sure that Joshua gets it. Kind of like when we tell our kids, "Be home at 8. What time are you going to be home? Do your friends know that you have to be home at 8? What time was that again?" It was important for Joshua to get it so he could pass it on to those he was leading.

The commands are limited and the promise is huge. Do this and "I will make your way prosperous and you will have success". All the work is on God's part. He will be with them, He will deliver, and He give success. What a comfort that had to have been. All Joshua had to do was be strong and courageous and follow the directions God had given and God would take care of the rest.

Isn't the same promise true for us today? Do we not just have to trust and obey and He will take care of the rest? Even though the things around us seem large, can't we just see that God is so much bigger than they are? Don't we just need to stick to the Word, hide it in our hearts, and let God take us where He wants?

It is certainly not rocket science, and that may be our problem. We try to make it more difficult. Trust God and obey Him. He has the rest covered.

Anne Hartline- Possesor of The Prize

At the very end of small group last night I got an email from "Caring Bridge". John, Anne Hartline's husband, has been keeping everyone up to date on her condition and it looked like her time with us here was getting short. She graduated at 6:45pm yesterday.

I saw her last week and she really looked good. I have been trying to get to see her at least once a week, as it seemed that she was on her last steps of her journey here on earth. What an encouragement she was/is to me and to so many others as well. I just wanted to reciprocate the encouragement, if I could, in some way.

We talked about Chemo, adoption and Ethiopia- she liked being able to "travel" to Ethiopia from her "throne" in the living room. We talked about how God has to take care of not only each one of our needs but all the needs of all the people in the entire world and how overwhelming that is for us to think about. We talked much about her ministry here and the way she was living her faith out. She told me that it was very interesting to her how she always had thought that her ministry was to kids as a SS teacher. She loved the kids and she faithfully served in that capacity for many years, but then she found out what her REAL ministry was.

She touched many little lives, one of which was Grant in the 3rd and 4th grade, but she touched so many others when she got cancer some 12 years ago. Her main ministry, it seems, was in how she suffered and died, more than how she lived what she called her normal life. And she really lived as she was dying. She lived for Christ, being poured out as a drink offering as many of us looked on. Her pouring out enabled others to be filled up.

We talked about "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain" and how in our suffering that concept makes so much more sense. When we have it all it is so difficult to live for Christ because we get so distracted by things that don't really matter that much. When we have to face up to the fact that the end here is close- more often than not we don't pay any attention to the fact that we all are currently dying- we look at passages like this and really understand that it will be so much better when we are with our Savior than it will ever be, or has ever been, here on earth, but until He calls us home and says, "Well done", we must continue to do the work He has for us to do. That work takes on so many different forms and in Anne's life it was all the way from the SS class to the "chemo lounge", but God had prepared her to do that work perfectly.

Anne is leaving a hole in our little community but God knows exactly what He is doing. He gave her relief from the pain and suffering for the 1st time in a long time. Today, and for eternity, she gets to bask in the Sunshine of The Son's face. She got to meet face to face the One who gave her the reason to live. She has no more distractions or sin left to fight. Today she has the Prize.

How are we doing at being poured out? Are we trying to keep the cup upright so nothing spills out? We must be poured out into the lives of others and while we are poured out we are continually being filled up. Don't try to keep your cup full by not spilling over onto others, try to spill over as much as you can and watch Him keep you full.

We will miss Anne but she ran, blessed others, shared the Gospel, reflected Christ and finished. Is there much more to this life than that?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All we Have

I was listening to a sermon yesterday and the preacher- Paul Washer- was talking about Romans 3 and the Gospel. He said something that hit me like the statement "God is not my crutch, He is my stretcher" hit me.

A man came up to him after a sermon and said, "You're right brother Paul, all we need is Jesus" and he responded, "All we HAVE is Jesus". Think about that for a minute. All we have is Jesus. If we have Jesus what else do we lack? If when all is said and done and we have Jesus, are we coming up short in any category? On the opposite side, if we have everything we want in this world and we don't have Jesus, then what do we really have?

A short post but well worth thinking about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Neighbors VS. The World

I have been thinking quite a bit lately on the balance between "go into all the world" and "love your NEIGHBOR". More than once I have heard, in recent days, things like "we don't need to go around the world to care for the needy, because we have so much need here". I want to start a discussion on that topic, though I don't have many of the answers yet.

Why should we adopt kids from other countries when there are orphans here? Why should we go half way around the world to help widows when there are widows in our own neighborhoods? Why go to the Philippines to help street kids when there are street kids here? That list can go on for a long time.

Here are some things I want to stick into the hopper. Our example of ministry is Christ and did He only go to the people of His home town? Past that, did He go only to the people of His own nation? When He healed people did He heal only Jews? He could have healed any number of Jewish lepers but He chose Naaman the Syrian. He could have asked for water from any number of Jewish women, but He went to the woman from Sychar. Those are a couple of easy answers but I would like to hear your answers, from both sides.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fasting Tuesday

We are told more than once, in the Bible, that we should be fasting. Jesus said "when you fast" and there are examples of church leaders fasting when making decisions concerning personnel and where they might minister. I sometimes hear people say that we are not to let anyone know about our fasting. This is difficult to back up Biblically when in Acts 13 and 14 they fasted together for one purpose, so they must have known what they were fasting together about and in the OT there were even national fasts.

I light of those things I would like to encourage some of you to fast along with our youth ministry staff on Tuesdays from now until the end of Jan. We have our snow retreat, with the high school students, and this has often been a time of spiritual blessing for many of the students as many have come to Christ or have had their lives really changed by these 5 days. This year's theme is "Living on Unseen Things" with the "Pilgrim's Progress" as the featured reading. National speaker Sean Higgins, our youth pastor, will be the speaker. He is cringing as he reads that:) WE have an awesome youth pastor.

However much you can fast on Tuesdays would be great and please pray for both the staff and the students as we prepare our hearts for this time of spiritual battle for the souls of the students and all of our spiritual growth. There are normally about 100 people who attend.

Tomorrow, if you join us, could you also add to your prayer list an important meeting I have on Wed. Please pray that God would work in a mighty way and that hearts would be changed and drawn to Him in a new and vibrant way. I can't really say much more than this and that God really has to work in order that there would be change. He is big and He can and does work, especially when we go to Him, in our complete dependence on Him and ask for His working on our behalf.

Thanks for joining us and I will try to keep you posted with some more prayer requests as the Tuesdays roll along.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More of God

1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

There is more of God to be had in times of suffering than any other time." J.Piper

If this John Piper quote is true then should we not greatly rejoice in our trials if we truly want more of God? The question came up in our small group today, "Should we then pray for trials in our lives, as this brings us closer to Christ?"


Complete Stranger?

Eph. 4:3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—

Last night I had the privilege of meeting someone, whom I never had previously met- and she came and had dinner with our family. She came into PG and we got to talking about life, family and of course rocks, but it didn't seem like she needed to be anywhere too soon so I invited her over for dinner with us and it was so fun.

It is amazing the bond we have with other believers right from the start. There was really nothing awkward about having a "complete stranger" over because we were not complete strangers. I think everyone was encouraged by the end of the evening and we now all have some new friends.

There may be any number of excuses not to invite someone over, but those all lead to missed opportunities for joy and encouragement on both sides. Try it out some time.

It is easy to think that our local body is "the church" and yet "The Church" is so much bigger than how ever many people you see in the pews around you each Sunday morning. We are going to spend eternity with these people, we should start to get to know them.

Have a blessed Lord's Day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Last Minute Provider

God seems to have a similar method to the way He does things. I am not trying to say that I have God figured out because He is way to smart for me to even begin to do that, but it seems that He does have a pattern at least on the way He provides.

Example; on Tuesday one of the guys and I were talking about how we-PG- only one side of next week's schedule filled up, which would mean that we were going to have to let a few of the guys take next week off, as we generally install with 2 teams each day. When we have people with signed contracts that doesn't mean they are ready to go and there were just not many who were ready to go.

I told him that it is difficult to wait on God because it seems like He always waits until the last minute to fill the need. In the Hudson Taylor book there are countless times when God provided literally almost to the minute of when the need had to be met. God did that again at PG. We started out with 5 jobs on the board and yesterday by the end of the day we had 9. He is good.

Remember the Israelites standing in front of the Red Sea? The water was not up 3 days before it needed to be up. The lions in the lions den weren't vegetarian lions. There was not a feast for 10,000 people waiting when the disciples were hungry and so were the people- it was provided one person at a time as they broke off the food and past it around. God provides The way of escape in the necessary time and in the necessary way.

Knowing this pattern- last minute provision- actually makes it harder and easier to trust. Harder because you have to wait until there is no other way and it is totally up to Him which requires a lot more faith, easier because as we see this pattern and we see that He always provides what is needed we can just wait until the last minute and expect Him to provide.

He is so kind. Please keep praying that He would find favor to bless us and pray with thanksgiving for His provision.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't be Afraid-Have Peace

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

You should read John 14-16 as an encouragement today.

I have been thinking a lot about how much pain and trouble is all around me and how many trials and opportunities are around me right now. I can not imagine trying to do life without the Helper. I am so far over my head at every turn, so lacking in wisdom and discernment, so weak and yet I have the Helper, the Comforter to guide, strengthen and direct me. I would be lost without Him.

Can you picture the scene through these 3 chapters? Jesus is telling His disciple all they need to know. He is telling them about going to Heaven to prepare a place for them, about being the Only Way to get to Heaven, that those who will get to Heaven are those who obey His Word, not leaving them as orphans but sending them a Comforter, being connected to the Vine in order to bear fruit, being hated by the world because He was hated, the work of the Holy Spirit, turning sorrow into joy and then He ends with 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

What a difficult time this must have been for them. They had been with Jesus for 3 years and He had been their teacher, friend and comforter and now He was leaving? These grown men had to be saying, "We can't do this ourselves, we aren't smart enough, strong enough or enough in number to do all this. There is too much work and not enough workers. We're scared about what is going to happen" Jesus has the answer and He is the Answer.

In vs 33 this is where we live- in tribulation. Life is hard and then you die is where we are called to live as believers. God did not call us to a life of ease. They hated Him and they will hate us, but only if we are not the same as they are. Jesus was hated because He was light in a very dark world and He called people to repent from their wickedness. Are we hated because we call sin "sin", or do we just let it go unchecked?

There are so many promises in these 3 chapters and one of them is that Jesus went to prepare a home for us and He is going to come back for us, but while He is away He left us a Comforter Who knows the encouragement that we need. He knows more about what we need than we do. I can't imagine trying to do this life without Him. We have a Father Who loves us very much and wants what is best for us, we have an Advocate before the Father Who knows our temptations- because He came to earth to have those temptations- and yet He never fell to them, and He left us the Comforter who instructs us in the way that we should go and convicts us of sin.

Oh that today would be the day of His return and yet if it is not today He has work prepared for us to do and souls to bring into the Kingdom. Maybe today will be he day that you are instrumental in leading someone to Christ and maybe that one person is the last one on this earth as we know it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fruit Trees

"The key to suffering rightly is to see in all things the hand of a merciful and good and sovereign God and 'to live upon God that is invisible.'(Bunyan) There is more of God to be had in times of suffering than any other time." J.Piper

I want you to read these next 2 paragraphs with our souls in mind, but it is amazing that God created these trees in such a way that they need the "trials of winter cold" in order that they would produce fruit. It is also incredible to think that God has to make sure the temperature is very precise for a certain amount of days in order to bring the trees out of dormancy, but then if He allows the temperature to get too cold again after it is warm for a little while the blossoming fruit will be killed and the tree will not produce fruit that year. The tree will not die from this, but no fruit will come until the next cycle of cold and warm.

"Most hardy fruit trees need a certain amount of cold winter weather to end their dormancy and to promote spring growth. When winters are too mild, spring growth is delayed, irregular and slow, the period of blooming is extended and the possibility of frost injury increased.

Extreme cold during winter dormancy, however, may kill the fruit buds. Winter weather rarely threatens apple, pear, plum and sour cherry varieties. Sweet cherry trees are relatively sensitive to cold until they become dormant. Peach trees are very vulnerable to cold weather; peach buds can be killed by midwinter temperatures of 10 degrees F below zero. The stone fruits--cherry, peach, plum and nectarine--can lose cold hardiness due to extended midwinter warm periods. Damage to the flower buds can be extensive, especially if the warm period is followed by a very cold period."URI GreenShare

Each one of us are unique "trees" and God knows exactly what is needed in order that we would produce fruit. He prunes us perfectly- wrong pruning reduces fruit production- "Plants" us exactly where we will grow best, giving us the right amount of water and sun, sends the cold and the warm at precisely the right time and then allows the fruit to grow.

The trees in an orchard are not lauded because of their amazing fruit production, it is the orchardist who is praised when he takes some little trees and crafts them to bear lots of big, beautiful fruit. The same is true with anything that is created; the Creator gets the glory.

I love that statement, "There is more of God to be had in times of suffering than any other time". I want as much of God as I can get and I think it is true that the suffering gets more of God into our souls. It is so hard to remember that when we are in trials, but He doesn't gives us more than we can handle and they are all for our good. We have to live on those unseen things, especially when the trials keep get added to the ones that were left over from yesterday and last week...

"Oh for grace to trust Him more".

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This is pretty inspirational.

Spiritual Warfare for Souls

Eph. 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

We are in a spiritual battle and the battle is over souls; ours and those around us. There are no actual swords clanking, or literal arrows flying, but we are in a serious battle. It is interesting that we are to put some things on, all provided for by God, and then we are to stand firm and our complete "offensive" strategy is to pray.

We might ask our Commander; "Do you want me to go and attack that guy over there, or hit that one over there?" and He would say "Stand firm and pray". So who then is doing the real work of the fight? If all we are doing is praying- and that is a huge all- then who will do the fighting? The answer is "Who" with a capitol "W". God is the One Who fights for us and we are to pray that He would fight off those who would try to take us out.

Yesterday was a spiritual battle and today may be the same, though from many praying there were some spiritual victories won. I was told that in the last 2 days 2 people have been brought into the Kingdom of His marvelous light. This is God's work, in God's time, done by His Hand and an amazing truth to behold- God saves sinners.

But the battle to keep their souls is also His to wage, but the spiritual forces will not like having lost those 2 souls. We must pray for these new believers that The Word would be planted deep and they would understand what they have chosen to do and that this would be real and lasting fruit of repentance. It is often the low point of ones life that causes this kind of turning from sin and the low points are hard to get back out of. Much pain and hurt comes along with giving our lives over as servants to The King.

"Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think . . . . It is wounding work, of course, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving. . . . Where there is grafting there is a cutting, the scion must be let in with a wound; to stick it on to the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back, or there will be no sap from root to branch, and this I say, must be done by a wound." John Bunyan

Please pray for these 2. Pray for them now and pray for them often. God is so good.

Picture the Glorious Scene

Romans 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

I have read these verses, or have heard them read, so many times I can't begin to count, but often this is the way the Holy Spirit works. Hearing them over and over it finally sinks in when we need to really hear it most.

This is way too rich a passage to cover in a blog post and some people tell me that if the post is longer than one screen it is too long. I think this one will be too long:)

I want to just really focus on v34 and even in that verse the latter half. "Jesus- Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us". Picture- as small as our minds are and as big as God is- this scene. This is really happening right now and all the time. God on His throne- bright as the brightest light- magnificent beyond our imagination- beautiful beyond our comprehension. There Jesus sits, Hebrews 1- because His work is finished He is able to sit down- the radiance of His Father. Can we even vaguely imagine the glorious scene? Let's try.

In your mind do you have the picture? What is Jesus doing there? He is making intercession for you and for me. He is our Advocate- He is "going to bat' for us to the Father and saying things like, "You can't hold that against him, I have already paid for that sin" or "She needs this and You promised to provide this for her". I am taking liberty, maybe that I should not, but Jesus is pleading with The Father in some fashion on our behalf. That is amazing. We have a perfect Advocate in Jesus, to The Father and our Advocate loves us more than we even love ourselves. He was willing, and did, lay down His life for us that we might live.

If He was willing to lay down His life for us and since The Father was willing to send Him to earth to die, then why do we think, even for a minute, that He would not provide for us everything that we need? If He has provided our greatest need then why would He not provide for some very small need? The answer is obvious. We wouldn't give our kids a car but tell them before they drive it they have to go and get a key made so it will start. We who are evil can give good gifts how much greater The Father.

There is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ- NOTHING. Remember that as you go about your days. Christ and The Father have you completely covered-completely. There is not that little thing over there that is not covered- it is all completely covered. How encouraging is that? That should put some power in the tank. That should lift the burdens and give strength for us to run and not get weary. That should help us run with endurance the race set before us. That should be the pre-game pep talk that convinces us that we are more than conquerors- we can't lose. The game is going to be rough, but we already know that we win in the end because Christ gives us the victory that over comes everything, including the grave.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Please Pray for me Today

Please pray that I would have wisdom so far past my own today.

Big, difficult things happening and so little understanding and ability on my own. Only God can make this all come out right and for His glory.