Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rehearsing God's Goodness

I just returned from Italy and am back at work today. Yesterday was a long day, as when flying west you have to make up the time change, so I had a 33 hour day. But when considering how they used to travel- by boat, or horse- this was a really fast trip.

Italy was good and we are putting containers together to ship here. It's always good to see what they have that I haven't seen or that is moving more briskly for us.

While I was gone the team here really put together a nice sales week and I believe that God is going to allow us to have our largest sales month since Jan. '08, and if today goes well it may even be better than that. Regardless of the numbers God as really blessed us these pass few months with many sales and how can we help but praise Him for His work on our behalf.

With that in mind- I am struck by the fact that in both Moses' and Joshua's life, when they knew they were going to die, they got all the people together and verbally rehearsed all the amazing things that God had done for the children of Israel. They had verbal tradition to pass these stories on to the generations that followed and that is what they used. They were faithful with what God had given them and even though we have so many other forms of passing God's faithfulness on, we must not lose this form.

Reminding others of what God has done for His people should never get old and should always be on the fronts of lips. We must be quick to praise Him for what He is doing today and for what He did yesterday.

Thanks for all your prayers on our behalf and please keep it up.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Internaional Business

I'm currently in Italy looking for more exciting material. I am traveling w/o T and while there are always times in marriage that it is difficult, I do miss her when I am out and she is home. We do have some awesome partners here in Italy who take very good care of us with regard to our slabs. Just very nice people to have as partners.

PG is having another good week w/o me, which is awesome. I will give you an update tomorrow for the week.

Please pray for the situation in Ethiopia. While I don't know all the details it does sound like there in more corruption going on there and this is so discouraging. Without God to protect the kids they are defenseless and we can only rest on His promise to care for orphans. Pray for wisdom on the human side and pray that He would quickly come to their aid.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quote of the Week

Teresa- watching the Office as Michael and Dwight are standing in the cemetery-
"Are they at a dead person's grave?"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

All Over the Map- literally

I'm feeling a bit like a posting slacker here, there are 47 posts so far this year and last year by this time there were closer to 150. It also seems like there are less comments coming, so maybe I am less encouraging, maybe reading and writing blogs is less en vogue, or maybe you are all just tired of "hearing" me talk- whatever it is I will just keep sharing.

I do think that people need to share with each other what is happening in their lives- not necessarily on the web for all to see- because it seems many are encouraged to see what God is doing in and through others. My life is no different than anyone else's life in many respects- I am just walking this pilgrim road, often falling down and getting back up so many times each day that it seems like I am in football drills- down, up, down, up.

I have been reading through Deuteronomy for a little more than a week and am coming to the end and it is so amazing to read God's promises of blessings and curses that He gave to the Israelites through Moses. I can't imagine being Moses when God said to him- right before he dies- Deut. 31:16 "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, 'Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?' 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.

God had just told him what He was going to do for His people if they followed Him and what He would do if they did not and the choice seems like a no-brainer. How hard it must have been for Moses to hear God say these words. Are we not the same way? God promises to bless us as we follow Him, tells us He loves a broken and contrite spirit and yet we run after other loves, have low affections and are proud of the grace that God gives us.

Oh that He would save His chosen and return quickly. Imagine un-distracted worship, singing w/o a wandering mind, listening w/o my mind jumping off topic, pure service w/o hypocrisy, perfect relationships and looking into Jesus' face and having Him say "Well done". How can what I am doing here be well done? How can "up and down" be well done? I am thankful He remembers I am but dust and He loves me anyway. He takes me back after I sin- unconditionally. What a good God we serve.

PG this week was again very busy. We didn't have as many sales as the last couple weeks, but hopefully we will finish the month- next week- really strong and have our best month in a long time. Many things feel much better than they have in a long time, but we need God to continue to bring those things to us so we can continue this pace. It's good to have 2 teams installing and getting a good amount of hours. It's good to feel like there are not enough hours in the day, for a change. It's good to have to be concerned about whether our inventory is going to be enough to make it through until containers arrive.

Please pray that as I travel to Italy next week that;
-I would know what and how much to purchase. It's all speculation on my part, but not on His. I need wisdom to know what to get.
-We are getting some video footage in order to make a commercial for tv and our website and so we need wisdom to know what people will be interested in seeing and we need for the weather to be nice enough to shoot it. It is not always sunny in Italy.
-We need for our machinery to keep working w/o putting lots of money back into it. Our digital template machine is giving us some challenges again and it is not something that we can do, easily, w/o- nor is it inexpensive to repair. We are contemplating- no pun intended- purchasing a new one and having the other as a back up, but this is also expensive.
-We need the constant reminder-especially when things are going well- that God is the Giver of all these things and He alone supplies our needs.
-We need to be thankful for all He has done and is continuing to do in and through us. He is Good and I can't imagine going through life w/o His leading, direction and provision. What an Amazing God we serve.

One last thing. Yesterday one of our friends came up to me and told me that they had promised to pray for PG everyday and they were sorry but they had forgot to pray 2 days so far. What awesome friends we have- for someone to feel bad for forgetting to pray for 2 days in as many months. Thanks for all your prayers- even when you miss here and there- God is still working in an amazing way at PG and much of that has to be because you all are praying.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good Reminder

"Galatians 2:10

Why does God allow so many of his children to be poor? He could make them all rich if he pleased; he could lay bags of gold at their doors; he could send them a large annual income; or he could scatter round their houses abundance of provisions, as once he made the quails lie in heaps round the camp of Israel, and rained bread out of heaven to feed them. There is no necessity that they should be poor, except that he sees it to be best. “The cattle upon a thousand hills are his”—he could supply them; he could make the richest, the greatest, and the mightiest bring all their power and riches to the feet of his children, for the hearts of all men are in his control. But he does not choose to do so; he allows them to suffer want, he allows them to pine in penury and obscurity. Why is this? There are many reasons: one is, to give us, who are favored with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus. We show our love to Christ when we sing of him and when we pray to him; but if there were no sons of need in the world we should lose the sweet privilege of evidencing our love, by ministering in alms-giving to his poorer brethren; he has ordained that thus we should prove that our love standeth not in word only, but in deed and in truth. If we truly love Christ, we shall care for those who are loved by him. Those who are dear to him will be dear to us. Let us then look upon it not as a duty but as a privilege to relieve the poor of the Lord’s flock—remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Surely this assurance is sweet enough, and this motive strong enough to lead us to help others with a willing hand and a loving heart—recollecting that all we do for his people is graciously accepted by Christ as done to himself." Morning and Evening- Spurgeon

More Prayer Requests

This is a letter from my friend Michelle- the founder of the orphanages in Ethiopia. Please read it and then please pray that God would work His will and show off His power to us as we try to understand which direction He would have us go.

"Dear Prospective Adoptive Parents,

Thank you so much for your patience awaiting news on the status of our work in Ethiopia. I know it is very frustrating not to hear news, and I plan to send you all an update each Thursday

I want to be completely forthright and let you know exactly what is happening. First, I am so sorry that I unintentionally misled some of you prior to my recent trip to Ethiopia, saying that our orphanage license was completed. Although that is what I understood from Getachew, our Ethiopian program director, apparently he meant to tell me that he had been told the final paperwork would be finished in two days. I understood him to say that the final paperwork WOULD be finished in two day, and didn’t understand that he had been told this but that didn’t mean it would actually happen.

So this is the current situation. As you probably know, we started in Ethiopia with a license for African Widows and Orphans Project. We invested a great deal of money in the projects but soon became aware that the money was being misspent by Ethiopian staff. Additionally, in over a year they had not finished paperwork on even one child. We didn’t feel we could continue with these staff members, but learned that according to Ethiopian law we couldn’t fire them.

We quit funding AWOP in Ethiopia, which was a legal way for us to discontinue working with these dishonest men. We moved the children and our supplies from AWOP to a newly licensed entity, Tsega Orphans and Widows Service. We had excellent leadership and staff there and for several months things went well. Eventually, however, the Tsega staff learned that it was illegal to move the children from one orphanage, AWOP, to another orphanage, Tsega. Apparently if an orphanage closes the government reassigns children to new orphanages.

Upon learning of this mistake Tsega was no longer allowed to operate, other than to care for the children in our orphanage, while an investigation was done. Apparently over the last three to four months a lot of bureaucratic paperwork has been accomplished to nsure the children are safe and things are being run correctly.

Prior to my trip I had understood that everything was completed and Tsega could once again gather children’s paperwork for adoption and do humanitarian projects. Upon my arrival in Ethiopia, however, I found that the license actually had not been completely renewed.

In the past the DPPC office has been in charge of things such as this renewal. We have a good relationship with a gentleman at the DPPC and he wants to help us. However, about a month before I traveled the government had established a new office, the Charities Department, that handles things related to non-profits and NGOs.

I visited our friend at the DPPC and he made an appointment for us to see someone at the Charities Department. We went to that appointment and I was very sure that the gentleman would give us the remaining paper needed to renew the license. However, the gentleman said that the papers wouldn’t be finished for a week or two. This was on a Monday. I explained that we have children to feed and that donors wouldn’t support them unless we have the license renewed. He asked when I was leaving and I said Friday. He said he would try to have it finished by then.

Enthusiastically I went back on Friday to see the gentleman, but the offices were closed due to a Muslim holiday. With great sorrow I had to leave Ethiopia without the completed license. I realized that there is nothing I can do to speed things up – this is totally in the Lord’s hands. We will delight in seeing Him work and we will know that He accomplished this and wants us to continue to work in Ethiopia. If I could have persuaded the gentleman to give me the paperwork I would have given the credit to myself, but as it is obviously the Lord must work for anything to happen.

Getachew returned to the office the Monday after I left and they told him to come back on Wednesday, which he did. At that appointment they told him to quit bothering them, that they would call him when it was finished. Obviously that was discouraging for all of us.

The encouraging news from a few days ago is that finally things seem to be moving! After a couple of months of things being stagnant we are seeing action. Getachew told me that local government officials from the area where our orphanage is visited, were very pleased with what they saw, and wrote up a positive report. Apparently the remaining step is that representatives from the federal government must look at the facility and write a report. I would like to say that will happen by the end of the week, but given all that has happened so far I have no idea when it will occur.

So to sum this up, Tsega cannot do ANYTHING in Ethiopia until this license issue is resolved. They cannot gather paperwork on children, they can’t sponsor children, they can’t admit new children to the orphanage. They can just care for the children living in the orphanage.

Everything I saw at the orphanage was very good. The children are all healthy and those age 6 and older go outside the orphanage each day to attend a local school. There are many nannies with the kids and everyone relates together as a family. Things are going well.

The very difficult thing is that the children living in the Tsega orphanage are basically stuck there at the moment, unless the license is resolved. As we learned from the problem with AWOP we can’t move children to a different orphanage – that is for the government to do and they could send them anywhere. Paperwork is ready on the children, but nothing can proceed further without the license renewal. So none of the cases can move forward at this point.

Tsega has a few children who are not living in the orphanage – their paperwork was in process and they hadn’t yet moved in when this license issue started. Because those children are living with relatives or guardians rather than in an orphanage they could move into any orphanage and then be adopted through the agency that works with that particular orphanage. So if you are interested in children not currently living in the orphanage there is a greater possibility that those children can be adopted.

We had a major board meeting yesterday and realized we cannot continue to support Tsega for an unlimited period of time without being able to do any projects. We decided that we will wait 90 days for the license to be resolved, and if it hasn’t been by that time we will need to pull out of Ethiopia and turn our projects over to one or more different organizations. We are not sure how this will affect the children living in the Tsega orphanage. Our understanding is the government would disperse them to various orphanages, and whether or not you could adopt the children is uncertain.

So these are prayer issues:

1. Pray that the government will quickly process the license renewal. There is always the possibility that they will not approve it, although there is no reason for them not to. We want to see the Lord at work here and know for certain that He wants us to continue this ministry. Nothing is done quickly, but the Lord can certainly speed things up. Nothing much can happen until this is resolved.
2. Pray for finances for us to continue to support the projects without money coming in. We obviously need to pay salaries, buy food, pay for school, medical care, etc.
3. Pray for Getachew as he has a very frustrating job, trying day after day to get this resolved. Please pray for encouragement and peace for him.
4. Pray for the children, that they won’t be trapped in a nearly impossible situation.

Please contact me with questions. I intend to send updates to all of you each Thursday, and of course if something major happens prior to Thursday I will let you know immediately.

Please be aware that if you have applied to an agency you have the option of going through that agency’s traditional program rather than working with Kingdom Kids. Should you decide to do that please let me know. Otherwise I encourage you to hang in there and see what the Lord does in the next couple of months.

This passage from Scripture has helped me a great deal in the past few weeks. I hope it will speak to you as well:

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’”
- Jeremiah 18:1-6

I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything!

For His glory,
Michelle Gardner"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Please Pray With Me

I have a very good friend- has been our friend for about 20 years- who is going through some tough times right now. He is a person who never wanted much, or anything, to do with religion and God, who didn't like to go to church and wanted his son to grow up w/o being forced to do those things either. He is one of the nicest people I know, but up until now he has not been a believer. He doesn't live too close to me so we have just been doing our own work and haven't talked to much lately.

He and his wife are having some marital issues and this has been very hard on him, but it seems that God is using this situation to bring him to Himself. God works in mysterious ways. He is reading a Bible, going to visit with a pastor and has really started to change. God needs to bring him to a place where there is no other place to turn and then needs to open the eyes of his heart so he can understand the Word.

Please pray for my friend- that the Holy Spirit would work in an amazing way and truly change his heart for good. Pray for his wife that she would also be changed into the image of Christ and they would have their marriage healed. Only God can do these kinds of miracles and He will if we keep asking. Please intercede on his behalf. I'll let you know what God does. Fun to watch.

PG Weekly Update

The week at PG was very good, but no records. I like it when God stacks a record on top of another record, but not this time. We still need for people to be ready to go so the guys can keep working on the fab and install side, so pray that we would get people who are ready to go in right away.

God has been doing an amazing job of getting people to us who want to purchase the material we have in inventory and that is awesome.

It is also amazing to think about how God has worked on our behalf, and as it says in Deut. it is not because of any righteousness on my part but because He chose to bless us. We must remember, if and when He prospers us some more, that it is Him who has given the abundance and it is He Who sustains us in any of our endeavors. It is easy to start to do well and then all of a sudden think that this is because of something that we have done. We must work hard and smart but if there is any success it is because He allows it.

Moses told the Israelites to never forget where they had come from and Who had brought them to where they were- we must do the same. We must never be proud of the grace that God has extended to us, because He is the One Who gives and He is the One Who can also take away.

Looking forward to another amazing week as He provides for us in some crazy way so that He alone will be able to gain the glory from this. Thanks for your prayers and please keep doing that.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Post on a Post

SKH posted on his blog about being cynical. Very good post and reminder.

I hadn't really thought about cynical people until I got a little older and started to see more people this way and I never want to be this way- it's a horribly sad way to live.

I met someone this past year who only trusts one person in the entire world- everyone else is out to get them. I know they have probably been wronged by others, sometimes intentionally, but if this is the result then who really is being hurt by all that they won't let go of? This person's life is filled with many good things and they can't enjoy them because they are too concerned that someone else might be there to take advantage of them tomorrow.

We need to think about the love of God and how He works ALL things together for our good- even, and maybe especially, our pain; even if it brought on intentionally by others. The pinnacle of victory for all of humanity was a very intentional crucifixion of a perfect man. Perhaps there is no greater "God works all things together for our good" moment in history than that time and Christ was perfectly capable of getting out of the situation if He so chose. He could have been cynical but He chose to say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".

Life is hard and then you die- another SKH saying, and if we go through this life thinking it is supposed to be easy and everyone is supposed to treat US really kindly then we are going to be both disappointed and probably cynical.

I have wronged so many people in my life, some intentionally and some unintentionally, and for that I am sorry- I have had the same done to me. I can't allow those hurts to ruin the rest of my life- I must forgive and move on. This may be harder for the girls to do than it is for the guys, but this is not a gender commentary.

It is helpful to remember that God is on His throne, His arm is not short, He sees, He knows and He cares. We must leave these things up to Him and rejoice that He will come again someday and make all things right.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Purpose for a Purpose

Do you ever look forward to something so much that you can't sleep the night before? I have a friend who is a serious fisherman. Even though he has fished for years I would guess that he still can't sleep the night before he goes fishing. Maybe for you it's not fishing, maybe it's camping, a quilting show, grand opening of your favorite restaurant, going to Disneyland, Black Friday- whatever it is, you are eager to get at it.

Did you wake up this morning eager to get at whatever God has for you today? Do you love your job opportunity so much that you have a hard time sleeping? Are you so excited about what God has for you today that you wake up thinking about it? Col. 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

"Whatever" actually means whatever. It doesn't say if you are in "full time ministry"- we are all in full time ministry. It doesn't say if you like what you do and you happen to get paid for it. It doesn't say if you like your boss or even if you actually get paid- it says, "Whatever". So if your job is on "Dirty Jobs" that is whatever. If you are a mom of 15 infants and toddlers- that is a whatever. If you are the CEO of Toyota right now- that is whatever.

I know lots of people who don't like their job but I think one of the problems may be that they think of what they are doing as a job, rather than as a platform of ministry opportunity. God has each one of us in THE place He wants us. Think about that- THE PLACE. I know a guy who works for Safeway as the "bread guy". He is so over flowing with grace in his stocking the bread that almost everyone who knows him calls him "Smiley Bill". He's the bread guy. That isn't too glamorous or even important on a worldly scale- but he is not on a worldly scale.

He has a platform that I don't have and he is using it for God's glory. You have a platform that your pastor doesn't have. You have a platform that God gave you specifically- you might translate that word platform for talent. Remember the parable of the talents and the master was happy with the way 2 of the "servants"- that's us- used their talents but He was angry with the 3rd one and sent him into eternal destruction?

How are you using your talent/platform for God? Are you excited to use that platform today or are you trying to jump off your platform onto another one? Do you think that being a missionary would be a better platform than the one you are on? Aren't you a missionary where you are right now?- and you don't even have to go to language school.

I think if we truly believe that we are working for God- in our work- that we will be much more satisfied in that work because we will understand that He prepared for us to do this work from eternity past and He knows exactly what He wants us to do. He planned for us to be here right now, doing exactly what we are doing, created us to actually be good at what we are doing and He gives the strength and the wisdom to do it-AND He never makes mistakes.

He put us where we are on purpose- for a purpose. Are we excited about His purpose?

Same thing- only Better

Interesting that the next days posting for Morning and Evening says almost the same thing- just more succinctly.

"In my prosperity I said, 'I will never be moved.'"
--Psalm 30:6

Give a man wealth; let his ships continually bring home rich cargo; let the winds and waves appear to be his servants transporting them across the ocean; let his fields yield abundant crops; let uninterrupted success come to him in business; let him enjoy continued health; allow him to conquer foreign territories; give him a bright spirit; let him have a joyful song on his lips, and the natural result of such an easy life to any man (even if he is the best Christian who ever breathed) will be presumption; even David said, "I shall never be moved;" and we are not better than David, nor half so good.

Brother, beware of the smooth places on your life's journey; if your pathway is rough, thank God for it. If God always rocked us in the cradle of prosperity; if we were always bobbed on the knees of fortune; if there were never clouds in the sky; if there were no bitter drops in the wine of this life, we would become intoxicated with pleasure; we would think that we were standing strong in the Faith, but, in reality, we may very well be more like the man asleep upon the mast of the ship, each moment in jeopardy of falling.

We bless God, then, for our afflictions too; we thank Him for our changes; we extol His name for losses of property; for we feel that if He had not disciplined us in this way we might have become secure in ourselves. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial, indeed. Thank God for your afflictions; they may seem severe, but they are sent in His great mercy. Spurgeon's-[M&E]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who needs Prayer?

I was thinking earlier this morning that I can often fall into the trap of thinking that those that are doing well need less prayer. If someone's life seems to be going along really well, it seems like they need less prayer than the person who is really struggling with something difficult, but I am not so sure that is true.

When things are really on the edge for me and PG I am most inclined to be fervently praying and asking for direction at every turn. At times, God has so humbled me that I can't even make the simplest decision w/o asking Him for His leading. When He then provides for PG, and me, I can quickly get into the mindset/heart-set that there is some room to move now and I don't have to "bother Him" as much right now because I may be able to answer those questions myself.

What a foolish and proud place to go. I think that I need more prayer when things are going well so I don't try to lean on my own understanding. When things are going well it is easy to start to think that the reason it is going that way is because we are working hard and doing the right things, not that He is providing for our every need and He is enabling me to follow His directives.

Only He can even give the desire for me to want to follow Him, or look to Him for direction. Only He can make our work prosperous. Only He can take my vain attempts at doing something right and make it turn out really good. He must get all the credit and He must be looked to for direction in each and every decision we make.

My heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, prone to wander and leave the God I love and He is the Only One who is able to bind my wandering heart to Him and seal it for His courts above. Oh that He would do that each minute of every day.

Where's the Food?

As we walk this pilgrim journey we can often be tempted to doubt the Lord's provision for the things we need, and this is sin- no less sin than that of the Israelites in the wilderness. When we read the OT it is easy to take God's side when finding fault in His people and agree with Him that they are rebellious and ungrateful- but are we not the same way?

Since I am reading through Deuteronomy right now, God is allowing a glimpse into the life of His people as they were in the wilderness- getting ready to take possession of the Promised Land. I think about His specific instructions in making the Tabernacle, counting the tribes, putting leaders over certain groups, hygiene clarification, worship directives and even the order in which to set up their tents. And what about all those animals? I guess I never really thought about all of them in the wilderness before.

With all their sacrifice requirements- even in the wilderness- there had to be millions of animals out there with them. So God fed His people with manna but did the animals eat manna, or was there enough grass everywhere to sustain them? I have flown over parts of where they were and there isn't a lot of grass there now.

The important point is not how God supplied, but that He DID supply. Since God led them into the wilderness He then had to provide for them there. It is obvious that if He led them into a place that had lots of water and grass that He would have been providing for them by bringing them to the grass, but sometimes He provides by bringing the grass and water to us.

I can get anxious when I think about How He is going to provide for some thing today, but He tells us that if we commit our way to Him, He will act. If He leads us, then He promises to provide for us where He leads- no matter how much of a desert it looks like- He will provide. Not only will He provide for us but He will provide for those who go with us. He does not take us into the wilderness to let us starve or die of thirst- that is what angered Him so much with the Israelites- they couldn't see past their next drink of water or sack lunch. We are not too different.

He leads us into green pastures and beside still waters, even if we can't see them- they are there and we just have to wait on Him to show us. Easier to write than to do. The water in the desert tastes much sweeter.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

PG update

Well today ends another week that God has brought us through. It really is amazing to think about all the things that we have been through, all the days, months and years and all the crazy ups and downs.

Many have been praying fervently that God would bring us the needed sales in order for us to continue and this week He over delivered. A weeks ago we have the largest sales week we have had since last Aug. and this week we/HE beat that. I haven't had time to see how far that goes, but maybe since May-June.

We are currently in the Everett home show and it is going well. This show always helps us since people know where we are instead of the Seattle show people often don't have any idea where Granite Falls is.

Please keep praying, as we can still use plenty more business- although this kind of week certainly helps. God is so kind to us- even though I don't deserve it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Windy Days

"God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers." Spurgeon.

2 Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

While we were building our house- we started in the winter and finished the following Thanksgiving- there were times in the construction of the house that wind storms were kind of scary. While we were in the framing stage, and everything was not all tied together with plywood and the straps were not yet installed, it would have been easy for the structure to blow over in the wind. In fact, one night at about midnight the wind was blowing so hard that I go up and drove the 12 miles to the site just to make sure the house was still standing. I found out the next morning that our framer had done the same thing.

Today when the wind blows hard I am already confident in the structure of the house because it has been tested- the wind has blown hard against it and it is still standing.

Our walk of faith in God is like this. I think often we don't like to be in the middle of trials because it is uncomfortable. When the wind is blowing hard against your house it can be disconcerting, unless that same wind has blown there before and you can look back and remember the previous storm. When we look back at the previous trials that God has taken us through it builds our faith in Him. It doesn't build our faith in what we can do any more than than the house that is standing makes me feel confident in my ability to stand out in the wind and take the storm.

The storms in our life magnify how powerful God is to carry us through. We must trust that He is able to carry us through the fieriest storm or that He is able to calm the storm- whichever He knows is best for us. Neither of these depend on us except to trust Him. When the wind blows on the house I still may wake up and look outside but I am not worried about it falling over because it's strength has been tested and proven. If the wind had never blown how would I know it's strength?

It's the "storm chasers" who are right in the middle of the wildest storms that get the most amazing pictures. Job had an idea of what it took to endure hardships, Abraham could tell you about a storm, Moses had a tale to tell, OT Joseph knew a thing or two about ups and downs, Peter understood his weakness and the power of Christ's hand in the storm and they all could look back to see God's provision in each one of those circumstances in their lives and I can't believe they would want to undo any of those days- even though while they were there it was difficult.

Let us not try to get out of our trials. Let us rest- as difficult as it may be- in knowing that He doesn't leave or forsake us. May God give us grace that we might be able to enjoy the storms of life, with all their force, knowing that He is able to save us to the uttermost and in that understanding let us enjoy the process of seeing His deliverance come in the most unexpected and unexplained ways.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chosen for Affliction

Is. 48: 10 Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.

If He has chosen us for the furnace of affliction will He not also go with us in that same affliction?

Shaking my Head at His Goodness

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!

So- you must be hard to impress. Did anyone actually read the last post because that seems to me like one that should have gotten some "God is so good" kind of comments back. So I'll give you some more to think about.

Though I can't give you all the particulars I will give you as much as is prudent. A few days ago we sold some material that is not in our normal inventory and we have to go to an outside supplier to get it. The project manager who sold the job heard that there may be some of this material in the warehouse that was "damaged", but still may work for this project. The cost was supposed to be about 35% of the regular price and so it was worth taking the drawings down to the warehouse to see the material and see if this would really work.

When I arrived at the warehouse the material was still not viewable and so the guys had to bring it out with the forklift so we could see if it really would work. They brought it out and removed all the packaging and asked me to come and have a look. When I walked up I didn't see anything that was obviously wrong. They asked if I could see the "damage" and I told them I could not and they would have to point it out to me- that's a good sign that it will work when I can't see the issue.

They told me that some of this material had been finished differently in spots but it was really hard to tell from this angle and they would have to change the angle to be sure. As they were changing the angle they told me that some of this material had been put in the "damaged" area that was really not damaged but they were not entirely sure if this material fell under that section.

After changing the angle we looked and looked some more and could find nothing wrong with it. I asked if this would then still be under the same discount and they said "yes". They said that they must have known we needed a good deal on this material when they put it in the rack whenever that had happened. I told them that God knew we were going to need this material, knew we needed this particular color, at this particular time, for this particular client and had them set it out for us to get a discount on good material. I then had to tell them the crane story from yesterday.

I don't believe they are believers- I just met them yesterday- and they really didn't have any comment when I recounted God's goodness about the crane and then this. We are to be quick to praise Him but often we miss seeing what He is doing because we are too busy trying to figure it out for ourselves. I could not have figured this out for myself-ever.

God allowed us to NOT spend a bunch of money in the last 2 days- Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow. He is good.

Monday, March 1, 2010

God's Kind of "Funny" like that

So, this morning I gave the update on PG and asked you to pray that God would keep our machinery running so we would not have to spend extra money. So here's the result of your prayers and God's work.

I knew that the crane guy was coming to work on one of our overhead cranes. So here is the back side story. Last year the crane mysteriously stopped working. We had a crane specialist come to the shop and the diagnosis was that the hoist itself was not repairable and it would have to be replaced- $7500. Well we decided that we could get by with just one crane for a while.

A while after that another crane guy came by and told us that he could do the same job for half the money- still $3800.

Last week the other crane decided it was time to stop working so now we had to do something. The new crane guy brought the hoist and went to work. He took down the hoist and out up the new one and tried to get it to work. He worked and did everything he knew how but couldn't make it work. Then he figured out that he had brought a 460v motor and we are running on 208. Our production mgr. told him that we really needed this to work today and then asked if he could get the correct motor today. "Nope, none available anywhere close".

This is where God works all things together for good. Since the new motor didn't work our PM asked if he could look at the old motor and see if there was a way to fix it. "Sure- I'm already here". So he tears the old motor totally apart and finds nothing wrong- zero- zilch. SO he puts it all back together again and it works perfect. We think the bill will be $500-ish.

I guess God figured we didn't need that crane last year and had to make it a little adventurous before He would allow it to get fixed.

I always pray that He would things so that when it is all said and done that there would only be one answer for the solution and that would be Him. I think that is what happened today. He is good even if He does keep us on the edge of our seats trying to figure out what He is going to do next.

PG update

The Seattle Home Show is now over and we tear down today. Over all the show was much better for us than it was last year but God has to take those contacts and bring them to PG and then turn them into clients.

When I think about how much advertising we do and then talk to people who live within 10 miles of us who have never heard of us I am amazed. It's obvious that God is the best "advertiser" that we have, as He is the only One Who can make sure people hear our message when we do advertise.

Closed sales last week were closer to the norm and it would be nice if we had actually signed more up, but we are working as hard as we can and God has to move people to sign up.

We have the Everett Home Show this coming weekend and so it will be interesting to see what God does in this one.

Please keep praying that we would have the clients God would have for us, that we would walk more by faith and less by sight, that we would be thankful for what He does bring, that He would keep our equipment running so we don't have to spend dollars unnecessarily, that I would have wisdom to know what to do in each situation and that we would be quick to tell others about our great God. God is good and thank you for your prayers.