Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Courage- Do you have it? 

Are you as courageous as you'd like to be? Are there things you're afraid of? Spiders? Snakes? Death? Poverty? Driving a car? Heights? Death? The unknown?

Do you know what is the #1 fear almost every year? Public speaking. 

Ok, that's kind of strange to me, but heights isn't strange. I don't like heights. I actually don't know why that is but it's true. Here's what I do know; when I am doing something up on the roof I really don't like being up there at first but soon after I'm up there working and kind of forget I'm that high up I forget it.

Courage comes from experience. In all those things, save death (Which is #5 BTW), the experience we have being in and around them changes our fears to courage. It's a trust issue really. We are afraid something will happen that is often times unfounded. 

In your own life there have been times that you have been afraid of something and when forced to just go do it that fear turned into something else. Maybe you needed someone to push you further so you had to go do it. Maybe it was an emergency and you had on choice. Whatever the circumstance, when it comes down to it, our fears diminish as we face our fears and do the thing.

Holding spiders or snakes. Driving the car on busy freeways. Being on the roof and even public speaking. 

Speaking of- pun intended- I have joined a Toastmasters group and the purpose behind TMs is to get people in front of a group, small at first, and just show them that they won't die or pass out when standing behind the lectern and saying a few words.

I know that comfort is often where we like to live. Stay within your comfort zone is what your body might be saying to you, but that doesn't allow us to stretch. we should be pushing to get out of our comfort zone and do the thing that is most difficult.

Courage and trust go hand in hand. As I have watched God work throughout my own life I have been fearful of things that are around the corner. Not in a paralyzing way but it's hard to lead a family or business and not know that the future is bright and that you have a good grasp on what's around the corner for all those you love. The term "security blanket" comes to mind. But security if completely false without placing our hope where it needs to be.

If I trust in my own plans I have no way to make sure that the succeed. If I trust in others that is also a slippery slope because they don't have any way of delivering at all times. The rich have more of a cushion but we have seen many very wealthy people fall from the top.

What's the point of all this? Work hard. Work smart. Face your fears and then go do the thing. In the end, it's all up to God to bring us to where He knows we need to be and yet he expects us to go out and be the most we can be as we trust in Him.

He can give us courage to face our biggest fears and if we place our trust in Him then it doesn't even matter if we fail because in the end we have Him. Nothing can separate us from His love and though others fail, sickness comes, disaster falls in our laps or even death, we have courage to face the days ahead because we have Him.

Go run hard and live full out. Be courageous and trust Him. It'll be ok and you'll have peace doing it too.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

People- Can't live with them, shouldn't live without them

What is life all about anyway? So many things we are supposed to do. So many people and things clamoring for our attention. We are always running and it doesn't seem like we are finishing, always cleaning but it's never clean, always working but so seldom do we get ahead.

Yesterday was one of those days. 

Relationships take a lot of work. We people have so many messes in our lives and the overlap is pretty crazy at times. The small issue that I might be trying to resolve needs to necessarily go through another person to have final resolution, but what one doesn't know is the state of that necessary person's mind at the moment of interaction.

Let's say that you and I are trying to find a solution for X and person "C", who is most capable of giving the answer, is available to give counsel. You and I are thinking that person "C" is ready and able to help with the solution only to find out that "C" has had a horrible day of their own and it seems like their own house of cards is falling. Train wreck ahead in many cases.

Is it then about the solution to the problem that has to be solved or is it about something else?

I think it's about something else; the relationship in front of you.

I am often caught between desiring to meet deadlines and goals and to push myself harder while at the same time building people and helping them be all they can be. Those are often in direct conflict with each other.

In the end the relationships in life are the things that will make or break the rest of our lives.

I have an acquaintance who is VERY wealthy. He has a huge yacht, helicopters to get to the ship and a private jet to get from point A to point B much faster. In terms of life comforts he is lacking nothing. Except the fact that for some reason his family is never with him on holidays and so more often then not he spends those days by himself.

It seems from the outside that he won in business but not in life. Would he be richer if he had all those things taken away and was able to spend the days with his kids and grandkids? I think.

Cherish the friendships. Work on them. Work through the difficulties. We are all bone-heads at times. Forgive and move along because the grudge we may be holding is weighing us down more than anyone else.

Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ's forgave you. Good words there.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Seasons, Nothing more than Seasons

 The chilly air feels good this am as I enjoy it and the quiet for a little while, but if we were outside in shorts right now it would get cold pretty quick. But if I go outside in pants and a sweatshirt now, in about 5-6 hours I'll be too hot. It's almost like there is a season inside of a day.

If we pause for just a bit while going through our day and look around at people there are seasons going on right in front of us. Whether it's the little ones playing without a care in the world except when the next food gets delivered to them after they wash their hands, or the older gentleman who has some Dementia setting in after a long and productive career and is now waiting for someone to bring his food to him in an assisted living center and everything in between; there are seasons.

Some seasons that I see are the obvious calendar seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, infants all the way to the very elderly, temperature seasons, financial seasons, stage of life season like school and no school, DINKs, empty nesters and so many more. What are all these times about anyway? What would it be like to have NO seasons?

Frankly, I really like seasons; at least that is what I say out loud. Do I really like all the seasons? Or maybe I like some seasons and not others. I think that is truer than ALL seasons. Maybe you can relate.

There are aspects of each season that I like on the calendar. I like short days of winter when sleeping is easy because it's cold and dark or having a snow day. I like spring because there is a freshness in the air and everything is starting to come alive and the sun is shining, sometimes. I love summer because the days are long, it seems like it's very productive and I can get some vitamin D. I love the changing of the colors in fall, the smell that is associated with burning leaves and the anticipation of the holidays right around the corner.

In all those times the same things that I liked one season might be the exact opposite as in another time- like the length of days. How can it be both?

There is time and season for everything. That is not the internal issue that I face and maybe you do too. The issue is often times I want to be in a different season than I am currently residing. I think it is good that the smell of a Christmas candle goes great around the holiday season but seems completely out of place on the 4th of July.  

What's the point? I believe God created us to enjoy the changes in and around our lives. He could have made it so there were NO seasons at all, but for our enjoyment He gives us variety; variety at every turn it seems. There is just not 1 kind of tree to see when we look out the window. What would it look like if that we the case? Boring.

The key is enjoying the seasons of our lives without complaining where we are, loving the one we are in and loving the one that is coming. Spring always follows winter so get ready to love spring on a snow day. Get ready to love winter in the summer because it's coming.

The seasons I am really talking about are  the life seasons. Love the little years because they go away fast. Love the middle years with a million things happening because the kids will be off and gone and...crickets. Love the financial slow times because the craziness is coming right around the corner. Love the boom but not so much that you think it is staying around forever because financial winter follows financial harvest.

I desire to enjoy each season more as I am in it, not just looking forward to getting out of the current season I am in. I love change but maybe that's a form of discontentment. 

If this resonates with you I hope you can find some enjoyment in the season you're in right now but get ready, there's a new season coming soon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

God in the Darkest Night

Lots happening these days around the Weinberg house. 

Today we welcomed a Japanese exchange student for the next 3 weeks, Grant is working on his 2nd week of a new career, Dad is launching about 5 new things all at once and mom is left trying to figure out how to make all the things stay together with everyone going from place to place.

I started meetings early this am and got home at 9:30 and while driving home with one of my partners we talked about what is coming down the pipe, where God is taking us and how it seems like not much is within our control.

While I certainly have no lack of opportunities to distract me and there is not a want of things to do, I do wonder lately what God wants from me and how low He may let me/us go before He shows me more of His plan.

When we had nothing and remained at nothing it was pretty ok, but when you increase your stuff, habits and expenditures, then it becomes a little harder to go back to nothing. Is that what God wants? _________ (Long pause), not sure right now.

I'm not really that attached to all this stuff but it does make for some great opportunities to minister to others and, frankly, we are spoiled ourselves in this ridiculous house, but...

I am reminded of Hab. 1:17 and following-
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

When life is crazy and abundance flies in our faces, well, it's easy to take that for granted. When there is a lot more month than there is money that is a whole different story. 

So what does God want from us/me today? Maybe you are finding yourself asking the same question. 

The following song seems to be a great solution to where we are currently living and as much as it resonates in my heart it kind of ruffles my feathers a bit as well. All God has to do is say the word and business comes in like a flood. He has everything at His disposal to turn a very "red month" into a large "black month" and yet at this exact moment in time it doesn't seem like He is ready to do that for us.

He knows exactly what I need and while on one hand that is comforting on the other hand I think, "Really is this what is best for us right now?".

We shall find out soon enough. While I hope and pray He changes the course soon but the only guarantee I have is that He is in control and He knows what's best. 

Hang on Baby, the roller coaster ride is certainly not over yet. 

BTW- it's been a long time since it has rained here in multiple ways. JS

As Long as You Are Glorified
Sovereign Grace Music

"Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings 
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

CHORUSOh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long 
As You are glorified

VERSE 2Are You good only when I prosper 
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree 
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy 
You are true when I’m parched and dry 
You still reign in the deepest valley 
You’re still God in the darkest night

BRIDGESo quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You"

Please quiet my heart Father- make me know you are not only there but that You have everything under Your control and plan and that You know what is best, even when I resist, try too hard, work too much, worry too often and grumble because it seems like You're purposely making me wait. You have to do that because I won't without you doing it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Affliction- blessings the Lord gives w/o requiring us to ask for it

This one is longer, but will be very profitable for those undergoing severe trials of any kind. This is all from
Charles Bridges but I thought you might be encouraged as I was.

"I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me!" Psalm 119:75

"This is the Christian's acknowledgment: he is fully satisfied with God's ordering of his affairs. 

"The Lord's dealings are called his judgments--not as having judicial curses--but as the acts of His justice in the chastening of sin and in the administration of their measure and application.

In regard to himself, David acknowledges the Lord's particular faithfulness. And this he knew, not from the dictates of the flesh (which give the exact opposite verdict)--but from the testimony of the Word and the witness of his own experience. It could not be doubted, much less denied, "I know, O Lord, that Your rules of proceeding are agreeable to Your perfect justice and wisdom. I am equally satisfied that the afflictions which You have laid upon me from time to time, are only to fulfill Your gracious and faithful promise of making me eternally happy in Yourself." 

How blessed is the fruit of affliction, when we can see God in it--that He is of great compassion and of tender mercy; that His thoughts toward us are thoughts of peace, and not of evil! This is a difficult, but most comforting lesson in deciphering the mysteries of God's providence.

Under the severest chastisement, the child of God must acknowledge divine justice. Our gracious reward is always more, and our chastisement always less--than our iniquities deserve. "Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?" Indeed, he is in trouble--but he is not in Hell! If he complains, then let it be of no one but himself and his own wayward choices. "I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right," and who can doubt God's perfect wisdom? 

Who would charge the surgeon with cruelty, in cutting out the cancerous flesh that was bringing death upon the man? Who would not acknowledge the right judgment of his piercing work?

So when the Lord's painful work . . .
  separates us from our sin, 
  weans us from the world, 
  and brings us nearer to Himself--
what remains for us, but thankfully to acknowledge His faithfulness and love?

The assurance of the Lord's perfect justice, wisdom, and intimate knowledge of our respective cases--leads us to yield to His ordering of our affairs in filial silence. 

Thus Aaron, under his most grievous domestic calamity, "held his peace." 

Job, under a similar painful dispensation, was enabled to say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" 

Eli's language in the same trial was, "It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to Him." 

David hushed his impatient spirit, saying, "I was silent, I did not open my mouth, because You are the one who has done this!" And when Shimei cursed him, he said, "Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has ordered him." 

Hezekiah kissed the rod, while it was smiting him to the dust, "The word of the Lord which you have spoken, is good." 

This is the consistent language of the Lord's people under chastisement: "I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right!"

The confession of justice may, however, be mere natural conviction. Faith goes further and speaks of divine faithfulness. David not only acknowledges God's right to deal with him as He saw fit, and His wisdom in dealing with him as He actually had done--but he saw also God's faithfulness in afflicting--not faithfulness though He afflicted--but IN afflicting him; not as if it were simply consistent with His love--but that it was the very fruit of His love! 

Just so, it is not enough for us to justify God in His providential dealings with us. We have abundant cause to thank andpraise Him! It is not enough to cease from murmuring at God's afflictive dealings with us. We must realize that they are a faithful display of His mercy and love to us!
Yes, the trials appointed for us, are nothing less than the faithful performance of God's everlasting promises. And to this cause, we may always trace the reason of much that is painful to the flesh, even though it may not be apparent to our eyes. If we determine to take note of its gracious effects in our restoration--needful instruction, healing of our backslidings, and the continual purging of sins--then we can say, "The faithfulness of God is gloriously displayed!" 

The Philistines could not understand Samson's riddle--how meat could come out of the eater, and sweetness come out of the strong. In the same way the world can little comprehend the fruitfulness of God, in the Christian's trials--how his gracious Lord can sweeten the bitter waters, and make the painful affliction--the remedy of sin. 

The Christian, then, finds no inclination in having any change made in the Lord's providential appointments, distasteful as they may be to the flesh. He readily acknowledges that God's merciful designs could not have been accomplished in any other way. Under such painful trials, many sweet tokens of divine love are granted--which under circumstances of outward prosperity, could not have been received with the same gratitude and delight.

Affliction is the special token of our heavenly Father's love. It brings us into conformity to the image of Jesus, and prepares us for His service and kingdom. Affliction is the only blessing that the Lord gives without requiring us to ask for it. We receive it, therefore, as promised, not as threatened. When the "peaceable fruits of righteousness," which it brings about in God's time and way, spring up in our hearts--then humbly and gratefully we will acknowledge the righteousness of His judgments and the faithfulness of His corrections.

You who are living at ease in the indulgence of what this poor world can afford--how little does the Christian envy your portion! In some future day, you will surely be taught by experience to envy his! To the Christian, the world's riches are daily becoming poorer, and its pleasures more tasteless. And what will they be, and how will they appear, when eternity is at hand!!" 

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

Monday, July 8, 2013

Waiting, for the LAST Moment

Playing the waiting game is not the kind of game I enjoy. Have you ever heard or even said, "The anticipation of a vacation is as much fun as the trip"? If the trip is going to be so fun shouldn't it just stand on its own once you are on it?

Let's go back to Christmas as a kid. Was Christmas day as amazing and the entire month's expectancy in my head? Not so much. I have wasted so many Decembers in anticipation of the 25th it's embarrassing. 

So, waiting; what's so good about it? Is it different for a Christian than it is for someone who is not? I’m going to add in this passage because it seems fitting for those who are waiting and working and waiting some more.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
 He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

As I contemplate the stories in the OT there are many that had to do with people waiting on God to deliver them, bring them something or make something out of nothing. I can’t think of one incident when God “showed up” early and delivered with a month to spare.

1 Kings 17 is the story of Elijah, the widow and the drought. Elijah had told Ahab that there would be no rain in Israel unless Elijah asked God to make it rain; there were others in the Israel beside Ahab; Elijah was there and so was this widow and her son.

Elijah’s brook dried up and so God told him to go find this widow who would feed him. Do you suppose Elijah was thinking she had extra food and water? Picture in your mind what this widow looked like. What was this widow thinking before Elijah showed up? We actually get to know what she was thinking because she tells Elijah, but first…

Elijah gets to her place and asks her for some water; really? There’s a drought; where is she supposed to get water for him? Even as she was going to get the water Elijah asks her to bring him some bread. Did she know who this was? The passage doesn’t say that she had a bad attitude about getting the water or the bread, it just tells us her reply.  “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” Now picture again what this widow looked like; probably something like the starving people we see but “don’t see”.

Now if I am Elijah I am feeling pretty humbled right about now. I just asked this widow for water and bread and that’s her response. I might even be questioning God’s judgment right now with something like, “You told me to come here because this widow is to feed me and she doesn’t even have enough food for herself”.

Except that Elijah knows the God of this story has a plan for this woman. This woman woke up that morning thinking she was going to prepare her last meal and die and Elijah and God show up and change the story around.

She didn’t have 5 jars of flour left and 6 jugs of oil. She was on her last of both and she was still prepared to share it with Elijah.

Do you suppose she was praying all along that God would bring her rain, flour and oil? Do you suppose she had given up hope that God would actually deliver her? It seems like it.

In our own lives there are times that it seems we are down to the last possible moment, cent or breath and there is no other way out and God “shows up” and restores. He doesn’t do this when we have “5 bags of flour left” any more than He did that for the widow, but He does deliver; in His time, in His way, for His people.

"The believer who waits for the Lord endures the delay in a spirit of confidence... waiting with expectancy and yet with the humility that defers to His timing and methods. True faith is not leverage to force God’s hand. True faith waits for God in a posture of confident submission." Ortlund

He’s coming. Don’t worry. But don’t be thinking He’s coming “early” because He’s coming at exactly the right time. His time.