Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's the Plan

Christ left Heaven- where He was the center of unending, perfect praise- to come to earth to be the center of all out rebellion and enemies trying to kill Him from the time of His birth until He gave up His life to die on the cross. That was the Father's plan and Christ was the agent of that plan. There is no way that we gain Heaven or eternal life without that plan. How often do we really think about that?

So, since that is the plan and Christ was willing to lay down the comforts of Heaven and equality with the Father, to have the Father turn His back on Him, what should our response be?

All too often I find myself stuck in the seen things of this world; stuck living as if all that is around me is the most important while neglecting the truly important. What will it profit if we gain the WHOLE world and yet lose our souls? If that statement is correct- and it is- then what will it profit if we gain the smallest fraction of the world and lose our soul?

We will only realized the disparity of our existence completely when we reach Heaven. We can't even begin to comprehend how much better it will be there as compared to where we live now. We can have a dream job, amazing spouse, incredible kids and grand kids, live in the most beautiful place on the planet and when we reach Heaven we will have to say that we lived in the ghetto compared to what we have just been given.

Every relationship we have now will pail in comparison to the one we have for all of eternity with Christ. The best of times with other sinners will be as compared to enemies when we hold it up to having a perfect relationship with Christ for all of eternity.

So today, we must live as if it is our last day- because it might be- and we must love each other enough to encourage and exhort one another to love and good deeds, no matter what others say and we must live in light of eternity; we must live on unseen things.

May The Holy Spirit give us a glimpse into what Heaven will be like and may He give us the faith to trust that it will be that good. Talk about Heaven, think about it, encourage one another with it and know that it is coming sooner than we might imagine; maybe before today is done. Oh that He would come back today.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Good Reminder

2 Chronicles 20:5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6 and said, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 'If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you— for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.' 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

A couple of interesting points, to me, in this passage.
It seems like the Israelites always go back to God's deliverance of them in the past as a reminder of Who is really in control. I am not sure how long after the the wilderness this was, but it seems like it has been a good length of time and they are still bringing it up to show how faithful their God is.

I love the last line of his prayer; "For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." Shouldn't this be our daily understanding of who we are and Who God is? I also love that God delivers them even though they are not perfect and they had sin issues, He still keeps His promise. He knows our frame, that we are but dust, and He still loves and cares for His own.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Are you Praying?

Many of you prayed for a beautiful sunny day for the wedding and God answered amazingly. Now I need you to go back to praying for that amazing provision of sales for PG. We have had a bunch of people who are interested, they come in, get some ideas, tell us they are excited and then they don't sign up. We need you to pray for signed contracts, and projects that can be installed soon. this keeps the staff busy and keeps the bank happy.
I am positive that God can bring this to us, I am just not sure that He will and you can aid in this process by asking. I don't want Him to say to me that we didn't receive it because we didn't ask Him. Let's ask in a big way. We would love to be buried with sales and for Him to show off- like with the weather- that He can do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. Please pray we me to this end.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heaven or Here

Yesterday at small group we asked the guys if they were given the choice to immediately go to Heaven, or stay on earth to collect billions of dollars for just another year, which would they choose. The answers were mixed, but there was some good discussion as to the reason and thought behind the answer. I often pray that Christ would return today, even if His return comes before the wedding and even if I never get to be a grandparent, I want to go to Heaven right now. But if God chooses to keep me here He must, and does, have a plan for the days I am here. Here's something from today's Morning and Evening that fits right in with that thought.

"If we live, we live unto the Lord." --Romans 14:8 "Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on the battlefield? Why are His children still wandering here and there through a maze when a single word from His lips would bring them into the center of their hopes in heaven? The answer is that they are here in order to "live unto the Lord" and to bring others to know Him as well. We remain on earth as farmers who scatter good seed. We are the "salt of the earth" to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life." [M&E]

I believe it is completely Biblical to long for Heaven and to frequently pray for Christ's return, but it is also Biblical to be left here on earth to complete the work that He has started and planned fr us to do. We must not grow weary in well doing, but we must serve the Lord for all the days He has ordained. We should be looking for every opportunity to serve and taking every opportunity to ask if others are ready to meet the Savior. What a day that will be and what a life that can be, if we just keep our eyes focused on the eternal rather than the temporal.

What are you doing with the moments you have left here? If today were your last day, would you be happy with the way you spent that day? Are you ready to stand before the Father? What an amazing day that will be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Have I REALLY let go?

It seems I pretty frequently have the opportunity to tell Grant's story, which is often the first part of the story of preparing me for this time in my life. I often say something that includes the idea that until we really let go of the things we are holding onto, we can't really say that we are ok with God taking them away from us. I use that with regard to my kids and with regard to PG.

I thought I had come to a place more than a year ago where I could say that if God took away PG I would be fine with it because I was coming to grips with the fact that I am not in control and He would have to make it work if it were going to continue. While I think I truly have grasped that it is completely God Who provides and that I am 100% dependent on Him, I still am not sure that I REALLY ok with Him taking it away.

Maybe this is where we are supposed to be in the first place; I'm not too sure of many things anymore. If God wants to take something away from us what is the point in fighting Him for it? There is no way we can win against the One Who can't be beaten, we can't change His mind, so should we just be content to have our hearts changed to match His heart?

Not all who read this are business owners, so maybe I need to place this more to the kid side of the argument. IF God wants to take our kinds away from us, what can we do about it? He has promised that everything He does is for our good and so if He does take away our kids, then this also is for our good; right? Isn't it a lack of trust if I don't believe that if He takes them away that it is not for everyone's good and His glory? Shouldn't I just trust Him and like Job say "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord"? Isn't this the right attitude?

We shouldn't put our kids in harm's way, we should take them to the doctor when they are sick, we should make them wear their seat belt, but if God decides that they have been our stewardship opportunities long enough, then when He takes them back we should only be left rejoicing.

I realize that kids and a business are 2 very different things, but often they swap places of concern in my own heart. Am I really ready to give up either one right now? I can't say that I would have the same attitude as Job right now. Maybe PG is more important to me than I am willing to admit to myself. There are many families who are either very dependent on PG or pretty dependent, for their livelihood, but in the end they are not really dependent on anything but Gut to supply all of their needs.

Please pray for me and for PG that God would bless us with much needed sales and with those that are ready to be installed. Pray that He would provide for all our needs as He has promised. Pray that I would know what it is that He would have us to do in the future. Much of what is happening right now is from working the things we have implemented in the past. This is all too big for me and is way over my head. I am completely dependent on Him to keep us going. Please pray that this would be His will as if it is, nothing can make that not happen. Pray for my own resting in Him. He is good to bring us thus far, I can only hope in the Great Hope. It is all I want to hope in.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Impossible Weight to Carry

To continue the personal purity thought some more; I was thinking this morning, as I lay in bed knowing it was time to get up, that often I compare my own personal purity, or lack of is a more accurate view, I am quick to compare myself with others. This is also a dangerous place to be.

There will always be someone that is potentially falling more short than we are, but this is not the attitude that God wants us to have. My desire should be to live as pure a life as I possibly can and with the aid of the Holy Spirit scrutinize every speck of action, motive, speech and attitude through the lens of God's Word. I must be praying that the Holy Spirit would convict me of my sin so that tomorrow I would be holier than I am today.

This is such a frustrating place to be because I know my own sinfulness and I know that tomorrow I will potentially fall in the same areas as I did today and yesterday. God requires that we be holy, which is an impossible requirement for us. How can I be holy in my entire life when I can't even master the sin in one small area of my life? The frustrating and yet real answer is that I can't and that is why I so desperately need Christ.

So passages like 1 1Peter 3:8-12 become both more frustrating and more exciting. 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

"Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

I am not naturally drawn to unity or to being sympathetic. Brotherly love is not the normal vein of my wicked heart. To be tender and humble is not how most people would quickly describe me and yet this is what God is telling me to do. My first instinct is TO repay evil for evil and TO revile when someone reviles me. My lips and my tongue are quick to speak evil and deceit and it is not my normal tendency to seek peace and to then pursue it.

This is just a few verses in a small chapter and yet I can't even get this right, how does God expect me to be holy in all He tells me to do? The encouraging part of this is that when, for even a brief second, I get part of this right, it is so unnatural for me to do any of this that I know the Holy Spirit working and He has given some measure of victory, even if it is tiny. Only through His power.

Look what He promises to do for those who live this way; His eyes are on the righteous and His ears hear their prayer. I want God to be on my side. I can't afford to have against me, which is where He will be if I do evil.

Ps. 24 gives the answer again of who is able to stand in the presence of this Holy God. Notice that there is no comparison to others here. The possibility of standing before God is based on our own personal purity; not the difference between mine and my neighbor's.

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

I want so much to be blessed by God, and He has given much more than I deserve already, but I don't want to be the reason that God withholds His blessing from others around me and the only way that this can be ensured is my own personal purity. Trust me, I feel the weight. Much too great of a weight for me to carry on my own.

May the Father look at me and see me clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness only. May He see a child who desires to be more holy today than I was yesterday. May He be delighted to bring me to a place of more purity each day and in turn be a more pleasing sacrifice to Him. I am so inadequate for the task and yet He knows my faults and yet still loves me. There is the example we are to follow in every way. May we be conformed into His image more each day.

Here is how amazing God is. I JUST finished writing this post and I opened up my Morning and Evening entry for today and this is what is written for THIS morning. Don't tell me that God is not kind!

"Behold, I am vile."
--Job 40:4

"Here is an encouraging word for you, poor lost sinner! You think you can not come to God because you are vile, but know this-- there isn't a saint living on earth who has not felt the same way. If Job, and Isaiah, and Paul were all compelled to say, "I am vile," will you be ashamed to make the same confession? If God's grace does not clear the sin from your life, how else do you plan to get rid of it? If God loves His people while they are still vile sinners, do you think that your vileness will keep Him from loving you?

Jesus is calling you in your vile condition, so trust Him today. Right now say to Him, "Lord Jesus, you have died for sinners; I am a sinner; sprinkle your blood on me." I tell you that if you will confess your sin you will find pardon. If you, with all your heart, will say, "I am vile, wash me," then, you will be washed now. Even though you woke up this morning with all kinds of sins on your account, you will come away from this reading with your debts forgiven, and you can rest tonight accepted by God in Christ. The rags of your sin will be exchanged for a robe of Christ's righteousness, and you will appear as white as the angels.

Listen! Don't delay! Now is the right time. Trust Jesus to make you clean, and you will be saved. Oh! May the Holy Spirit give you faith in the One who makes even the filthiest sinner clean."

God's timing alone has to make you shake your head. I did not read any of this before I posted and yet how could God bring these words to me this morning? WOW- He is good.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

PG Personal Purity

We had a pretty bad month last month and this week was pretty pathetic as well. We have containers coming in with new material and it would be awesome if God decided to let us have a bunch of sales to pay for them.

It is so hard to wait on Him for all we need, but in reality it is only Him that we depend on for all our needs. Please pray that He would allow us to have some contracts signed this next week, that people who have already signed up would be ready so we can install more rather than less. Every day that goes by that the schedule is not full is an install opportunity that is lost forever.

What does this Great God have in mind of us as we try to do what He desires for us to do?

On a similar but different thread, I have been thinking much lately about personal purity. As I read through my Bible reading plan I am in Solomon's life and of course recently past David. I am struck by the fact that God punished the entire nation of Israel for David's personal sin. As a leader, of PG and other things, it makes me realize that if God would punish an entire nation for the sin of a man who was after His own heart, He would certainly not spare those around me for my own sin.

Maybe God is punishing PG for something I have done. This is such a precarious place to be in. There is no way that I can ever be holy enough to not deserve to be punished, there will never be enough purity on my part for me to deserve to be blessed and this is so difficult to carry. God knows our weakness and He has created us to be like we are and yet I am still responsible for my own actions. If I do what is right it is only because God has allowed me to desire it. If I do what is wrong it is completely my responsibility.

May He allow us to lead holy and blameless lives so that He would want to bless us. please pray for that for me.