Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blood Everywhere

I am currently in Numbers, as I read through the Bible plan I am doing this year. Between Lev. and Numbers there is enough sacrificing being done that it seems like there would never be anything in the camp that was not stained with blood. Hundreds upon hundreds of animals lost their lives because of the sins of men and the consecration of this or that thing. In Numbers 7 alone there were more than 240 animals that were sacrificed in 12 days.

Can you imagine living in the OT/law system? Every time you sinned another animal, if you didn't do that right you could be put out of the camp, if this or that happened you might be put to death, if you complained against God the earth might swallow you up. This was a scary time to be one of God's people. It seems like it should have been scarier to be NOT one of God's chosen people but the Israelites seemed to get much more punishment than the others- at least up until they move into the promise land.

So back to the sacrificing. If God's people were suppose to give of the first fruit, and sacrifice of their herds and the sacrifice for their sins, doesn't it seem like we are getting off easy? Did God really put all the sacrificing away or does He want something more from me than I am giving? Wouldn't I be more spiritual if I lived more like they did? Wouldn't God be more pleased with me, as one of His children, if I sacrificed more? If I give to the Lord now, wouldn't He be more pleased with me if I gave more-sacrificed more?

That seems to be what many of the world's religious systems are trying to teach their followers- more sacrifice equals more spiritual. But what does God really want from me, and what could I possibly sacrifice to Him that He doesn't already have? What did He really create me for- to give Him back everything that He already has? If He gives all things to me and if what He really wants is for me to just turn around and give them back to Him to show how "spiritual" I am, that doesn't make a lot of sense. He should just not give me anything in the first place and make me a lowly subject, unable to do anything of my own free will.

So what is it that makes God pleased with His children if it is not sacrifice? He wants our hearts. He wants us to love Him more than anything else. He wants our wholehearted praise, thanksgiving, adoration. He wants us to tell others that He is the best and there is none like Him. He wants to be our first love- our highest focus. He doesn't really care about our sacrifice or our money- He wants our heart. He wants us to come to Him with a broken and contrite heart and acknowledge our utter dependence on Him.

Why did God choose Moses to lead the children of Israel? Moses was the meekest person on the earth. Moses knew that he couldn't do it on his own and that he was completely dependent on God. Moses was broken and contrite and we see him often falling on his face before God and crying out for help- this is what God wants from each one of us- not our sacrifice.

Often, I have thought of Moses as being this really strong leader who had command over a stubborn group of people- charismatic and strong- but this was not the man that God chose to deliver His people from Egypt or to lead them through the wilderness for 40 years- He chose someone meek.

I am thankful that God does not require sacrifices from us any more but I am also humbled to think that what He really wants doesn't actually cost me anything but to do it right it costs everything.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Camping Anyone?

A long time ago, when I was young and in the army reserves, we went down to El Paso Texas on our 2 week drill. I think it was April or May when we went. I was an x-ray tech and was part of a hospital unit that would be deployed into a medivac unit if war broke out.

As a 20 year old x-ray tech within a group of 450 doctors and nurses I was about as low on the pole as you could get- I was also a tire guy for most of the year. I was used to working hard, in fact at one point in my time in the reserves the nurses gave me a health study examine and asked how many calories I consumed each day. At that time my normal daily intake was around 8500 and I didn't gain any weight for about 4 years at that rate. I am not as young as I used to be.

During this 2 week drill the commander decided that we should go out into the desert and set up the hospital like we would if we were in a war situation. El Paso is very hot even at that time of year. So we set out in the morning in the trucks with all the gear and at least 1 truck load full of tents. I had never liked camping and this was about to solidify this in my mind.

The morning was crisp and clear, the desert air was nice as we drove along with the windows down and the sun rising over the hills. We drove for at least an hour and finally we arrived at a location that someone chose for us. Only about 20 of us went- the 20 who were young and looked strong enough to do this work I imagine.

When we got out of the trucks a sergeant met us. He had killed a rattle snake and wanted to show us what it looked like so we would be paying attention. By now the sun was well into the sky and the temp was rising, but it still wasn't probably more than 70. We were instructed where the tents should go and we started to unload the trucks and divide the tents up.

When an army tent is up it doesn't look very heavy, but when it is all rolled up in the truck and you have to carry it out, it is very heavy. I don't even remember how many tents we set up, maybe 5 or 10, but by the time we had them all set up we were all drenched in sweat and the temp was in the 90's.

Shortly after was had them set up we did some navigational drills walking to points in the desert with our compasses. The plan was that we would stay out for 3 days and then return to the hospital to finish the time.

Just before noon the balance of the unit- all the doctors and nurses- came out to the desert to meet us- they all arrived in nice air conditioned buses. They all unloaded and the same sergeant greeted them with another couple of snakes to make sure they knew what they were up against.

OK- imagine 450 professional people who are used to being inside a hospital working, now in the desert with the temp approaching 100. We ate lunch, cleaned up and then there was some more navigational drills for us all. Within an hour after lunch 2 people had to be air lifted out of the camp for heat related issues. Within another hour 2 more. Then the buses arrived and all the "grown-ups" got back on the buses and the young people had to pack up the tents so we could return to the hospital. Someone had decided it was too dangerous for this unit, at this time, to do this kind of thing.

Let me be clear that I was very happy not to have to spend time sleeping in the desert but this was a real mess. Now we had to take the tents down and pack them back in the trucks and return them to the base. It was not any cooler when we tore the tents down at 3ish in the afternoon.

Why do I tell you this story and relive this wasted day? In my Bible reading plan I just read through Numbers where the Israelites are getting instructions about who is moving the tabernacle-TENT. We had trucks that actually got close to where the tents were going to be placed and then drove them to the desired location. I can't fathom having to carry the tent all around the desert, setting it up and tearing it down over and over again for 40 years.

Now this tent was the big tent but each family had their own tent and all their possessions in that tent that would need to be set up and torn down on every move. What a lot of work.

God is very detailed in His plan for who would carry the tent, the alter, the poles, the basins and He did not allow any deviation from His plan- ask Aaron's oldest sons. 40 years of wandering from place to place and those who left Egypt, save 2, would never see the promise land. That brings new meaning to life is hard and then you die.

I'm happy to live in this time when my "tent" is set up when I come home from work. I am happy that God is a God of detail and He gives instructions for us to follow. I am happy to live in the age of grace. I am happy not to have to raise animals just so I have a sacrifice for my sin. I am happy that I, and many others, will get to see the "promise land".

God's chosen people were chosen to do some wild things and God blessed them when they followed His precise instructions and He did not bless them when they disobeyed. May we be obedient children of the King.

Monday, February 22, 2010

If you walk and observe- I Will...

Lev. 26:3 "If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, 4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. 6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. 7 You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. 10 You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new. 11 I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

What a paragraph of promise!! Can you imagine what the Israelites must have been thinking when they heard this? Of course Moses had just given them a huge list of things they were to do and not do, but for them this was an amazing promise- "You keep all my statutes and this is what I will do?.

Who is like God Who can hold back the rain or bring the rain? Who can make the enemies flee when none pursue them? Who can make an army of 10,000 flee from an army of 100? Who can keep tools working when they should be broken? Only God can make these promises and keep them.

Yesterday SKH was talking about the land that they would inherit as being occupied versus them going into a land that is barren. How much work was saved by God doing it this way instead of bringing them into new land? Think about moving to a new place, with all your belongings, and having to build an entire city before you can really move in. You have water to route, roads to make, markets to build, gardens and vineyards to cultivate, plant and then wait for them to mature to bring food, housing to erect and the list goes on and on. But if the inhabitants of the city flee, now you have everything you need already up and running for you.

Are we not much different as His children? He promises to keep us and protect us and yet we build our "idols"- we just don't call them that. We call them work, or hobbies, children or grand children. Anything that takes our attention away from God, and the place He deserves is an idol. A vacation home can be an idol if it takes you away from worshiping God. Sports can be an idol. Music, that takes our attention away from God, can be an idol. Sleep can be an idol. None of these things are bad in themselves but can lead us away and become bad. We are so prone to wander.

The balance of the chapter is connected to what will happen if they do not follow God and it is not pretty- neither is it pretty for us. Why are we so prone to wander- why is it such a fight to stay close to the God Who supplies all our needs and satisfies us with good things? What stubborn and foolish people we easily become. He is the One Who can keep us seeing that His way is best and that we should just stay next to Him- we can't even keep ourselves excited about Who God is.

So what should we do? In verse 40 God tells them what to do if their uncircumcised hearts go away from Him. With humble hearts go back to Him and ask for forgiveness. All this is so basic and requires no real work on our behalf, but maybe that is the issue- we are always trying to work out our own plan so we can say we did it.

If we have walked away and built our idols, today we need to go before Him with a contrite and broken spirit and tell Him we want to come home. There is no sacrifice He requires, just a humble heart ready to obey. He knows we will disobey tomorrow, but His grace is sufficient for all our sins and He wants to keep us close to Himself. Ask Him to do that. He loves to answer the prayers of His children who are bringing His promises back to Him.

Let us- today- not try to do this on our own or even make a more difficult plan, but rather let us come to Him as His little children, in belief that He does keep His promises and let us obey Him joyfully knowing that there is no better way. He will be our God!! Amazing!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

PG Weekly Update

The week is over for PG, but we are still at the home show for the next 8 days. Today at the show the traffic was good, but not crazy. We never know what will come out of the show but we got to visit with some people, make some new friends and even tell of God's goodness to us in the past year since we have seen some of our home show friends.

At PG this week- well let's just say that this was the highest sales week we have had since August of '09. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. A week or two does not make a good month or year and so we need to continue to pray that God would continue to bless our efforts and allow us to convert leads into sales.

Also, I have a meeting with the bank early this coming week and God needs to intervene on our behalf to make sure they are excited about our program- when sales ore not brisk and installs are slowed then cash flow lags and this is what they will probably most concerned with. Scary times for all involved- but God is big and He can handle all this kind of stuff. Pray that He would want to intervene on our behalf.

God is Good and He is kind to give us all these blessings.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Have you ever made a gift for someone? Handmade gifts are often thought of us "less-expensive", or a budget conscious way to give- but think about a really nice hand made gift.

My sister made T and I a quilt this last year. T and Kimmy went down with Roberta- my sister- and went to the fabric store and hand selected the fabric. This fabric was chosen specifically by them and for a specific application and for a specific person. "Berta" then asked what dimensions we would like the quilt to be. More specifics. She then laid it all out, basically on the entire floor of her living room, to prepare the fabric by cutting it a certain way and I can't begin to know all the rest of the things that went into this process. She made it, with love, to give to us- no one else.

Teresa and I just got back from China a few weeks ago. While in China we went to many places that sell all kinds of fabric and some of them even sell quilts. I am sure the fabric used in some of those quilts is very nice fabric, but none of those quilts interest me as much as the one that currently covers our bed. Why do you suppose that is? Sure, there is some sentimental value there, but it is because someone dear to me hand selected and hand made this quilt for me. She made it so I would love it and I do.

Why do I go through all this? In J Sarr's message on Wed. night, from 1 Peter 2:4-10 Jonathan was talking about how we are living stones and we are chosen by God. Get your head around that Christians are hand selected by God. Why did God choose me and you to be His children? It was not so He could put us on a shelf to be sold off like some off the rack comforter- it was so we would be to the praise of His glory- Eph. 1;11-14. J Sarr then said something I not only wrote down but underlined in my notes; "we are a gift the Father is going to give to the Son".

OK- now think back on your thoughts about hand made gifts. God the Father selected us to be gifts given to the Son. Again, He didn't choose us to give us to just anyone- He chose us to give to His Only Loved Son. Even more than we are able to give good gifts, the Father gives perfect gifts and if there is anyone that He will not skimp on in the giving good gifts category- it is His Son.

Imagine- we are chosen by the Father to be given to the Son, as a gift. All the "work" that the Father allows to go into us makes the gift specifically for the Son. He didn't choose us because we are so special, but because He knew that since He chose us to give to the Son- that is what would make us special. It's not that the fabric in the quilt is so special by itself, but that the fabric is in the quilt and the maker of the quilt is special to the receiver of the quilt that really makes it special.

When J Sarr said "We are gifts to be given to the Son by the Father" I was distracted by that thought. He may have said something really important after that, but I didn't hear it. Questions flood my mind as I think about being a gift that is going to be given to the Son. What kind of a gift would I be? Would the way that I am using my life be a gift worth receiving? Am I actually a good gift because of how I am spending my life? It really is crazy to think that the best gift that the Father can give the Son is me. I wouldn't be excited about giving me as a gift to the Son, let alone someone else- but for some reason the Father is.

I don't want this to turn into a giant post so I will close with "Are we, each one of us, gifts that are befitting the King of kings Who laid down His life for us?" That's what the verse says, so it must be true. How are you feeling about your gift-ability?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is Prosperity a Trial?

What is your answer?

When it seems there is no way out for me, or when my only answer is to go to the Lord and ask for His leading and provision, it is those times I am most closely walking with Him. When all hope is lost but the One great Hope, this for me is the time when I am most dwelling in the shelter of the Almighty. But when things are going well and life seems to be clicking along "on its own", this is when it is dangerous for me.

I often start to linger less in prayer, if at all, because I have a lot to do to make sure this all gets done- I'm so busy dealing with all these blessings I don't have time to go to the Lord and thank Him for them and pray that He would continue to give them. What kind of stupid thought process is that?

Can you relate? It is so irritating that I would even go this way- but I am human and sin makes us stupid. When we are thirsty we go to the well and we say to ourselves, "I never want to leave here", but then our thirst is quenched and we look around at all that is happening away from the well and we are sucked into going out from the well for too long. If we just get back to the well more frequently we will not end up so parched.

What keeps us close to the well? Fellowship with those who know the thirst quenching strength of the well, the Holy Spirit working in us to give us the desire to always be around the well and a true understanding of how good the water is.

It is difficult for me to have prosperity and not get drawn away from the well, maybe this is why God is not allowing the prosperity I am asking for- maybe He knows I am not ready for that yet. It is hard knowing that much of what we are going through, both in our family's life and at PG is designed, by God, to teach me something. The reason it is hard is because others are depending on me to learn pretty quickly what that lesson may be.

This had to be on the king's mind. Maybe this is why David was always crying out to the Lord- he understood the pressure of getting it right so an entire nation did not have to suffer because of him. He made his mistakes and then had to live with the knowledge that Israel lived in constant warring because of his sin.

I want to learn what God is trying to teach me and I want to learn it quickly so that others don't have to suffer waiting for me to get it. I wonder if there were people under David's rule who could totally see what God was trying to show him, but had to wait for him to get it.

Oh to live close to the well, each and every day desiring to drink deeply. May the Holy Spirit keep me desiring the living water.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Phil. 4:10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

This is another thought brought on through reading "Morning and Evening" and I am just wording it a bit differently.

In this passage it is interesting that Paul says he has "learned to be content". How do we learn something? Sometimes we go to school to learn. Sometimes we watch others do something. Sometimes we learn by going through it ourselves.

Discontentment is not something we have to be taught anymore than we have to be taught how to be selfish or proud- sin comes naturally to our sin nature. But the opposite of those things we must learn and God allows us to learn those things in many different ways and like going to school to learn math or Spanish there is often repeated lessons.

Remember how many times you had to go over the multiplication tables before you really had it down? The teacher gave you those one page tests with many of the exact same problems but they were just in a different order. You could breeze through some of the problems but maybe you had a hard time really getting the 7's or 9's. Whatever the course, learning takes time and discipline.

Paul probably had gray hair when he wrote this. Most likely he was in prison. He had been through many trials and heartaches. He had seasons of having few concerns and had been in a place where the whole world probably seemed like it was crashing down around him.

When I read this passage I often equate "contentment" to dollars, but that is not what he was talking about. We can be discontent in our financial situation, but we can also be discontent in our relationships- why isn't my friend/spouse treating me like I deserve; we can be discontent in our employment, or lack of employment; in or kids success; in our government's handling of situations; our pastor's/Sunday school teacher's personality and the list goes on and on.

So how did Paul actually learn to be content in all things? I believe it had to be that God allowed him to be in each situation, to it's extreme, long enough to realize that from the top or from the bottom the outcome is always the same; God is on His throne and we are not- He gives and He takes away, so blessed be the name of the Lord- In light of eternity does it really matter if this situation turns out like I want it to? He could really and truly say that it didn't matter how the situation turned out as long as God was glorified.

That type of heart does not come from having an easy road. That "semester schedule" is grueling but it is when we learn to trust God and His care.

Right now I know of 4 marriages that are really in tough spots- will they make it, I don't know. The hurt that has and is coming from past sin is brutal and very real, but even in this- God can be glorified. In many of those situations, discontentment was a start to the problem and now the couples must work backward to restore the relationship.

God allows us to go through some hard lessons at times so we can better learn the lessons and that doesn't make the lesson easier or more palatable- but hopefully it allows us to really learn the lesson on the first time through and hopefully as Christians we are able to share what we have learned with others along the way. Our lives are too short for us to make all the mistakes ourselves- we must be able to learn from others.

Sorry this is so long, but I have one more thing to add. In this blog I am just trying to really do exactly what I am saying here; allow others to learn from all the mistakes I have made and give you a glimpse into my "classroom" so hopefully you can glean something to help you in the future. God is so kind to allow us to struggle and recover and we must be willing to share those struggles with others. I know, from some of your comments, that the small amount of sharing I do seems to be helpful to you and there may be someone who can benefit from you sharing with them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weekly update

Happy Valentine's day to you all. I have been married to my sweetheart for 26 years and she has traveled through many a thicket with me- like when she punched me, on the plane, going to Ethiopia and said, "I can't believe you got me to go to Ethiopia with you", but then in the end I believe it was a highlight in her year. Just a little stretching.

Here's the PG update for the week. We had a decent week of closed sales, not exceptional but the signs are there that next week should be very good. We had a lot of traffic, both on the phone and through the showroom, especially yesterday. Again, we need leads to turn into sales, as the bank does not take leads for payment, but it certainly feels better than it did a couple of weeks ago and the guys are encouraged that there will be many that convert to sales.

Please continue to pray that would happen. Pray that the Home show- starting next weekend and going through the following weekend- will be profitable and we would be able to continue to turn some of those visitors into sales orders. Pray also that I would have wisdom in knowing how to be promote PG in both the HS and in the weeks to follow. I have a promotional idea in my head but have not fleshed it totally out yet and a promo can do as much damage as it can do good if it is done wrong.

Thanks for your prayers, comments and little notes. It is so encouraging to know that many are interceding on our behalf and that God has promised to answer the prayers of the righteous. Imagine, The Son, making intercession for us to The Father- pleading our case. That's sort of mind boggling. He is good.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Personal- Perfect- Provider

Yet again I am reminded and encouraged by the way God puts things into our lives at just the right time- like this morning's "morning and evening".

"Just as the sufferings of Christ are more than enough for us, likewise our encouragement is more than enough through Him."
--2 Corinthians 1:5

In this statement we find a blessed proportion. The Ruler of Providence holds a pair of scales. On one side He puts His people's trials, and on the other he puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, the scale of consolation will be just as heavy. When the night falls and the storm approaches, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to His crew. It is a blessed thing that when we are most cast down it is then that we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit.

Why are we often most happy in our troubles? One reason is that trials make more room for consolation. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort, and makes more room for it. Another reason is because troubles require us to deal closely with God. When our purse is full we think we can live without God; but, if our reserves are taken away we go back to God; we clear the idols out of our house, and we honor Him again.

There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul in deep trials and afflictions. They bring us to God, and we are happier because nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer; don't worry about your troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies. [M&E]

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Following are the lyrics to a song off of SCC's newest album that he wrote after losing his daughter. I really can't imagine what must have been going through his mind when all this happened. Their family had adopted this little girl from China and she was run over by her older brother as she was excitedly running out to greet him entering their driveway. What pain but what healing and grace given by the Father.

Today I am wrestling with a different kind of pain- a more temporal one- in wondering what God has in mind for us at PG. Our Father is not cruel toward His children and it does seem like it would be a somewhat cruel prank to have our family adopt John and then in turn have Him not allow PG to continue- but His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are much higher than mine and so He must help my unbelief.

If Romans 8:32 is true then what have we to be concerned with except keeping out heart and affections close to Him? "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?"

I am so thankful that He is in control, that He is good and kind and loves to give good gifts to His children- what more can I ask? Read the words slowly and try to imagine what he was going through as he wrote these and then remember where God has you today. For our good and His glory He has us in the exact place we are to be. I don't have the answers for today any more than I can make sense of yesterday- but He does. What a comfort to know He is working.

Steven Curtis Chapman

I am broken, I am bleeding,
I'm scared and I'm confused,
but You are faithful.
Yes You are faithful.
I am weary, unbelieving.
God please help my unbelief!
Cuz You are faithful.
Yes You are faithful.

I will proclaim it to the world.
I will declare it to my heart
And sing it when the sun is shining.
I will scream it in the dark.

You are faithful!
You are faithful!
When you give and when You take away,
even then still Your name
is faithful!
You are faithful!
And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe
You are faithful.

I am waiting for the rescue
that I know is sure to come,
cuz You are faithful.
Yes You are faithful.
I've dropped anchor in Your promises,
and I am holding on,
cuz You are faithful.
God You are faithful.

I will proclaim it to the world.
I will declare it to my heart
And sing it when the sun is shining.
I will scream it in the dark.

You are faithful!
You are faithful!
When you give and when You take away,
even then still Your name
is faithful!
You are faithful!
And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe You're faithful.

So faithful...

Though I cannot have the answer
that I'm wanting to demand,
I'll remember You are God
and everything is in Your hand.
In Your hands you hold the sun, the moon,
the stars up in the sky,
for the sake of Love, You hung Your own Son
on the die...

You are faithful...
Yes, You are faithful...
When you give and when You take away,
even then, great is Your faithfulness!
Great is Your faithfulness!

And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe You're faithful!
When you give and when You take away,
even then still Your name
is faithful!
You are faithful!
And with everything inside of me,
I am choosing to believe...

...You're faithful...

Thank You Father for Your faithfulness to me even though I deserved death- You gave life. There is nothing I can give to repay this debt of love and You knew that when You gave Your only Son up for us- You just want my love and devotion and even those I can't give unless you work in my heart to put that desire there. This proves that I am just a pot that can choose to be used by You or choose to go my own way and all the rest is up to You. Great is Your faithfulness to me- an unfaithful, unthankful, selfish, yet redeemed- child of the King of all kings and the Lord of lords. Please keep me close to Yourself and keep my affections hot in whatever circumstance You allow.

You are Faithful.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

God's Reminders

It is always interesting to me how God brings different things into our lives at just the right time for our encouragement and discipline. Take, for instance, this very morning's "Morning and Evening". After posting the post last night, God brings the reminder this morning of being content in all things and the difficulties of staying close to Him when we are blessed by Him. Maybe this was His way of telling me that I have not done a great job at being content in Him when I have been blessed by Him.

I do want to share a small, but personal, story about how very personal God is. Yesterday Kimmy asked Teresa if she could look for a certain type of razor at the store, knowing that they were expensive but that these were the ones that she thought worked the best. Granted, this is a small purchase but everything adds up. Knowing what the price might be Teresa went to the store and just prayed that God would allow them to be on sale. When she got to the store she picked up a coupon book just to see what was in it. She looked through most of the book and then came to a $4 off coupon for the exact razors Kimmy had asked her to purchase. You can't tell me that God is not personal and that He doesn't like to show off in even the smallest ways, making them seem big. It could have been another razor, but NOO it was the exact ones she had asked for.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

PG Update

I have been back at PG for a couple days now and it is good to be back in some sort of productive mode- but things are looking pretty bleak right now on the sales side. We have a good batch of leads coming in but people are slow to make decisions right now.

Here is what I would like you to pray for.
We are really at a pivotal point in the life of PG. If something doesn't break pretty soon we could be in a very serious place. Please pray that God would act on our behalf and allow sales to close and soon. What I would really like to happen- as if I have a say- is that He would not only work but that He would work in an amazing way. Here is why I say that.

If He just allows us to squeak through this time there will be those who say that it is because of our advertising, or business prowess that we succeeded. But, if He really blows the doors open then there will only be one explanation and that is Him. Kind of like the adoption process- there is no way that could happen w/o Him intervening.

We have many families whose livelihoods are dependent on PG and I would love to have them continue that course if He allows. This is so much over my head that it isn't even funny, in fact it is so far over my head that I really am not too anxious about it because there is nothing I can really do about it.

Pray that we would be faithful to Him, whatever happens, and that He would work on or behalf and show off His power. I have no doubt that He is more than able to work exceedingly abundantly more than I can ask or think, I am just not sure if He will act on our behalf.

Thanks for all your encouragement and please pray like our lives depend on it.
Ps. 40:16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Great and Precious Promises

God has a way of bringing encouragement at the right time and He uses all different means to bring it. It might be your tongue He has used to encourage a brother or a sister. It might be circumstances that are brighter today than they were yesterday. It might be His Word-full of promises- that just "happens" in your Bible reading plan. Or it may be in a book you are reading whose pages are full of sweet honey for your soul that day. Whatever the means- God has it orchestrated for our good, His glory and our delight.

Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" is that way for me and here is an excerpt from its ever dripping pages- I did change a few of the words to make it less "old English".

"God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; he intended that they should be used. God’s gold is not miser’s money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see his promises put in circulation; he loves to see his children bring them up to him, and say, 'Lord, do as You have said.

'We glorify God when we plead his promises. Do you think that God will be any poorer for giving you the riches he has promised? Do you dream that he will be any less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine he will be any less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said 'Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'

Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, 'This is a precious promise, I wonder if it be true?' but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, 'Lord, here is the promise, ‘Do as You have said.’' Our Lord replies, 'Be it to you even as you will.'

When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonors him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, 'Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, ‘You have said it;’ then his desire shall be granted.

Our heavenly Banker delights to cash his own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your unrelentingly reminding him of his promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is his delight to bestow favors. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun is not weary of shining, nor the fountain of flowing. It is God’s nature to keep his promises; therefore go at once to the throne with 'Do as You have said.'" Spurgeon.

So what of these promises that God has filled His Word with? What am I to do with them? When am I to use them for myself and for others? What might that look like? I have been thinking quite a bit about this since I read this some time back.

I know I am not deserving of God's promises. I don't wake up in the morning and think, "God should do this for me", even if He has promised it in His Word- I just don't think that way. As I write it on this page, after reading the quote again, I have to say that this may be pride on my part. Doesn't God want us to rehearse His promises to Him? Has He not given these promises for me to bring back to Him? Didn't He "show off" to Pharaoh so that the Israelites would look back and tell the coming generations what He did? Well- is it different for us today?

Before I give this example I want to remind you again that I am not worthy to receive any good thing from His hand- He just promises to give to those who obey- and this obedience is not perfection or none of His promises would be good to any of us, because there are none who fulfill the requirements perfectly.

Take Ps. 112 for example. Verse 1 gives the prerequisite and the balance of the chapter is full of promises to grasp.
"Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!"

I read this verse and say to myself- "You fear the Lord and you delight in His commandments" and then Satan follows that up with, "Well, you don't fear Him all the time and you have other things that you delight in, so maybe the following promises are not really for you- they're for someone more sanctified than you". If I believe those lies then I have let God's promises go unused. Remember- His promises will never fail and they are never depleted. It's not like if I get these promises today that someone else will have to go without- His storehouse is never empty.

So again, how can we claim these promises for ourselves and for others? At great risk of sounding proud I am giving this example but I want to make the point clear and I know my own shortcomings all too well.

As my friend you might pray this promise for me- and I hope you will- and I hope this opens a door for you to pray this way for yourself and for others. "Father- I know Chuck is not perfect but I do know that You have worked in his heart and are conforming him to the image of Your Son. I know that he fears You and delights in Your Word. You have promised in Ps. 112 to; make his offspring mighty in the land; please do that so that You might be glorified in his family- so that the world may know he follows You because of the blessing his children are to others.
You have also promised that wealth and riches would be in his house, and that his righteousness would endure forever. Father, You control all the world's finances and it is nothing to You to give to him. You own the cattle on a thousand hills and Your storehouses are never empty- so delight Yourself by giving to one who delights in You.
You also promised that light would dawn in the darkness for the upright; He is not perfectly upright, but You are working in his heart to make him like Your Son and so allow even the dark financial days that we are in now to shine brightly for him and his family. You are the One Who gives abundantly and it is no hard task for You to fill this promise for him. You also promised that it would be well with the man who deals generously and lends; the one who conducts his affairs with justice. Again Father, Chuck is not perfect and he doesn't deserve all that You have already given to him, but I believe You have worked in his heart and I believe these traits are in him, so please deal generously with him now and allow the light to shine for him now."

It is hard for me to write this, but I don't think this way myself and I need His promises prayed for me and for PG. I have no plan "B"- I have plan "A"; Trust God to deliver me from all my troubles. Trust in Him and He will act. Trust in Him with all my heart, don't lean on my own understanding, acknowledge Him in all I do and then bank on the promise that He will direct my path. I am not smart enough to have another way. I am not wealthy enough to bank roll all that is entrusted to me. If He does not act I am done- but oh what a great place to be.

So many times God waited until there were no more options for His children but the one way He gave. I think He did that so there would be no way for them to take credit for the outcome. I am good with that. I don't ever want to accept credit for what God has done.

This is a long post to say that I need you to pray for me- that God would uphold our business and our family in this crazy time. I know I am can't earn any of the promises He gives and that is the point of His grace to each one of us- we don't deserve such an amazingly good and generous Father and yet He loves to lavish all these promises on us so we will praise Him all the more.

Thanks for all your encouragement to me over the past couple years. It is coming up on 2 years since Grant's event. Wow, how time flies.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Father of the Bride Blog

I started a new blog about the wedding process. It is linked on the side under "Father of the Bride".

All the Way my Savior Leads me

It's good to be back in America and hopefully back to a more normal routine, after spending 20 days in China. I like my early morning time, off by myself with my Lord, and sharing a small hotel room with T and John David was not the easiest place to do this, especially with restricted Chinese internet. But alas I am back.

I am pretty sure that life is not about to get much easier- new son home, wedding closing in, business still dragging from the economy and just life in general. But what of an easy life? Is an easy life all that it's cracked up to be? Should there be a draw for me to have it easy? Is the Christian life a life that is supposed to be a cake walk- just a stroll through the park and in the end we arrive in Jesus arms?

There are some who go this way of ease, but it does seem that the ones God uses most are those whom He gives many trials.

One such a person is Fanny Crosby. Born in 1820 and at 6 weeks got a cold. Her normal family doctor was not available so they called in someone else and he prescribed to her parents a paste for her eyes that left her blind. She often said that she would not trade her blindness for sight because with sight she may have been too distracted by the beautiful things God has created to have sung all the songs she did in her mind before dictating them to someone to write down for her. She lived almost 95 years in the dark and wrote some 8000 songs, many under different pen names. Some of those songs are songs we still sing. To name a few; Blessed Assurance, My Savior first of all and All the way my Savior leads me.

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way.

This little lady was used by God to impact generations of believers and though she was born to poor parents and her father died when she was just a year old, she had audience with presidents.

Sometimes He leads us in paths that don't seem best when we start walking, but He knows what is best and He uses those who are willing to be spent by Him and for Him.