Thursday, December 31, 2009

Update time

*God answered my Christmas wish (and your prayers as well) and sent our friend Christen home on Christmas Eve. She's recovering well, from what I understand and was taken off bed rest the other day. Yay!

*The job I applied for, where I had to answer a question on Christianity, which I posted here a few weeks ago, never responded. Oh well, it was fun to write and hopefully spread a little of God's love into the editor's life. :)

*I just finished explaining what a relationship with Jesus is to a militant atheist/former Catholic. Chances are the words fell on deaf ears, but maybe it put a dent in the defenses he's thrown up to protect himself from religion gone bad. Say a prayer today for anyone in your life who needs to see through the haze of deception and focus on Jesus. Maybe 2010 will be the year they finally see the true light.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Jesus!

...and Merry Christmas to you, too!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and finds time to reflect on the blessings God brought all of us 2009 years ago.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Friend in Need...

Ever had one of those friends that was just so wonderful you didn't understand what you did to deserve having such an awesome person in your life?

Those kinds of friends are rare, and if you've never had that, I pray God blesses you with such a person soon.

We've actually been blessed with a few such people. Two of which are our best friends from Phoenix, Aaron and Christen (and their awesome little boy, Xavier, too).

Well, today we learned Aaron had to take Christen the to hospital last night for hip pain. After several hours, tests and uncertainty, the doctors returned and said she had blood clots in her legs and lungs.

Christen is a wonderful mother, incredible wife and one of the most important people to enter our lives since we gave our hearts to Christ. And now, two days before the celebration of the birth of our Lord, she's lying in a hospital bed instead of sitting home wrapping presents and drinking egg nog with her family and friends.

Those of you who know me understand I'm not the sort to pray for God to change His will on things. In fact, I'm possibly too far to the opposite end of that spectrum.

However, tonight, I'm going to go out on a selfish limb and beg all of you to join me in praying that God would heal her so she can return home to watch her beautiful son and loving husband open presents Friday morning and share in their joy as they celebrate the life of our savior.

Father God,
There are plenty of angels in heaven... this one needs to stay down here with us, Father.

Please. Please heal her, make her healthy once again. I beg you, Father. That's my Christmas wish as your son.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

And, to anyone reading this, I'm begging you to pray for Christen. Pray she heals. God can do anything. He can certainly heal her. And with all of us praying for her, he'll know we need her here.

Thank you and Merry Christmas...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!

When everyone stops to think "What do I want for Christmas?" I offer up this wish:

That I would be visited by the greatness of God.

Merry Christmas to all! May God's blessings pour over you and bring you the kind of joy you won't find in earthly presents but in His presence.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God jobs

The Lord really does work in mysterious ways... or maybe He gets me work in mysterious ways, or both. Yes, that's it. Both.

I've been applying for telecommuting writing jobs like crazy lately. Last Thursday, one of the companies I applied to sent me an email stating they wanted to offer me a job, but not until I completed a fresh writing sample for them in the form of an essay (this was after they read my resume, writing samples and links to my online work).

Seemed a little odd to me, but I kept reading anyway.

It then went on to say that as soon as I had 24 hours to devote to completing this assignment, I was to email them back and have them send it over, at which time the clock would start ticking.

So, knowing I couldn't address this Friday, Saturday or Sunday, I fired off an email about 5am on Monday, knowing I'd have the ability to get it done yesterday. Well, by 8pm last night, I still hadn't heard back from them and began wondering what happened. I finally decided they didn't have their act together and if/when they finally responded I would just delete the email. After all, another writing job fell into my lap yesterday and it seems to be rather profitable.

However, for some strange reason, I just felt that even if they were late, even if I did have other work coming in, I'd still do the right thing and give it my best effort should this belated email ever download to my inbox.

Fast forward to this afternoon at 2:45 and what shows up, but that very email. I grimaced a bit, then opened it and began reading. In the first few sentences they clarified that I had 24 hours to complete this email, which meant I had to have it back to them no later than close of business TODAY. Seems they sent it yesterday and somehow or other it didn't get delivered until this afternoon.

Once again the urge to delete it popped into my mind, especially since even more work came my way today. However, that same feeling I had last night came to mind and I continued to read the email. Once I hit the essay subject, I smiled, looked up and said "Yes, God, I'm listening."

So, below is the essay I sent them, less than an hour and a half after getting their late email. The top portion, in italics, is the essay subject they requested I write about.

"What does Paul mean, when he says. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I reasoned like a Child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part, then I will know fully, even as I have been fully know. (I Corinthians 13:11_12)

Before we can understand what Paul meant in his first letter to the Church at Corinth, we must first comprehend the context in which the letter was written. Paul penned this missive in the year 55 A.D. with the idea in mind to address the immoral conduct of the Christians in Corinth. At the time, Paul was teaching in Ephesus, some three years after planting the church in Corinth. While there, believers from Corinth brought news to Paul of lawsuits and factions between the members of the aforementioned church. A second group of believers also came to Paul, proffering questions about marriage, public worship and other queries regarding a Christian lifestyle.

Troubled greatly by these reports and questions, Paul sat down and drafted the first of two letters to the church in Corinth, with a heart to address these troubling concerns and shepherd these souls back to a more God honoring lifestyle. The worldly ways of Corinth were corrupting these new believers, drawing them away from their chosen path and as such, it was up to Paul to guide them back to the straight and narrow.

To that end, Paul filled his first letter with persuasive language in the hopes of putting their goals back into focus for the people of Corinth. God had bestowed upon Paul the power to shepherd this flock, and such a responsibility wasn’t something Paul took lightly.

In the aforementioned piece of scripture, Paul is conveying the idea that Christians who truly embrace the Lord have matured beyond the ways of the world, and while they may not completely understand the life God calls us to, we must remain faithful that He understands and will guide us until the day we transcend this life and rise up into Heaven. Full understanding and revelation will be ours at that time, as all will be revealed.

Just as it was in 55 A.D., fixing your mind and heart on Jesus is extremely difficult in our culture. With immoral advertising on television, radio, the internet, on billboards and in nearly all retail outlets, immoral entertainment in the form of Television shows, music and games, as well as unethical behavior from non-believers permeating modern culture, it becomes very easy to slide back into worldly ways once you’ve removed yourself from them and embraced the Lord.

But, we must all realize that just as children learn the error of childish ways when they mature, we must also evolve intellectually and spiritually, trusting in our Father to guide us, knowing in our hearts that while the vision in the mirror may not be as clear as we’d wish it, that vision is what He wants us to focus upon from this day to the last.

Needless to say, I'm extremely curious to see where this goes from here.

God bless!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Amongst other things, Angie and I have recently made a pact to spend time every night reading our bibles together and then discussing what we read, journaling on it, etc. Since we don't have a small group to fellowship with, this is the best thing we can think of to fill that void. While it doesn't replace a small group, it's certainly better than doing nothing.

One of the joys to it, for me, is that we don't get involved in big 10-15 person discussions about certain points, or feel shut out of the conversation, as has happened in the past in small group settings when there are just too many people involved. (They call them "small" groups for a reason. ;) ) Just to clarify, we used to belong to a huge small group that neared 20 participants at one point. While it was filled with some of the most wonderful Christians we've ever met, unfortunately, 15+ people is just too many for an "intimate" discussion.

However, when it's just Angie and I, we can really dig deep on some things and often a certain passage will jump out that we might not be able to discuss further in a small group, since most are lesson based, not daily reading based.

Yesterday's was 2 Peter 1:5-11

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I've certainly felt nearsighted and blind recently, which is probably why this jumped out at me. However, even when I didn't feel that way, I completely missed the impact of the verses. Faith, goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. If I were filled with these every minute of every day, what a great life I'd have... in fact, it might be the very life He designed me to live. What a concept!