About Me

What should I say? I hope by reading my blog you come to learn who I am. I always want Christ first in my life. I want to consistently show the fruit of the spirit in my life. I want others to be blessed by what I go through and learn from it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


"Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations."

First of all, I know, the holiday called Thanksgiving was a month ago, but I'm not gonna stop giving thanks just because the turkey's gone and the stuffing is a mere memory.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I know people who have been following my blog know what's happened and may wonder what I have to be so thankful about. I mean, I lost a leg, I have troubles with my other leg, I've been laid up for 7 months, unable to drive, and barely able to fend for myself, gotten in debt to hospitals and doctors, and barely have any money. Well, if you think that's going to get me down, maybe you should reread some of my blog entries.

Let me tell you how I see the last few months...I no longer have the pain in my right ankle that was a daily part of my life, and we're working on keeping my other ankle healthy. Seriously, who, besides Darth Vader, has a boot as cool as me? I've grown closer to God and my faith has gotten deeper. I've finally gotten on track with my finances, I've been on top of all my bills and now I have disability so I can remain on top of my bills until I start working so I can ditch disability. I've lost a considerable amount of weight, I'm down about 80 pounds from where I was in March, and I've even managed to lose some weight since Thanksgiving.

All in all, I can say that yes, this has been a tough year, but the benefits have totally outweighed the bad stuff that's happened.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lamenting or Praise?

"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart;
   I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
   I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1, 2

I'm currently reading the Bible chronologically, in the order the events take place. As I was looking through my plan, I realized it didn't have the Psalms included, so I decided to just add a Psalm onto my daily reading and today I read Psalm 9. Psalm 9 opens up with such a great praise to God, I just had to share it.

This psalm was written by David and if you remember, there was a time that David didn't have too much to be happy about. In fact, later in the chapter, David uses phrases like "see how my enemies persecute me"and "lift me up from the gates of death" and the tune this was to be sung to is "The Death of the Son" That doesn't sound too terribly happy, does it?

Most of this Psalm actually talks about how David will praise God because God has helped David and lifted him out of his troubles, and that God has never forsaken those who have trusted in Him.

I need to sing praised to God more. I've really been down the last couple of days because of what's going on with getting my car ready for me to drive it, it's not looking good, it may be a while before I drive it. But I shouldn't let it get me down too much especially in light of what else has been happening in my life. My leg is healing well, I start receiving disability this month and many more things are looking up.

I think I'm going to praise God for the good that's happening in my life rather than lament for the bad that's going on.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Care Casting

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22

There is one thing that almost always can keep me awake at night, money worries. This is a problem I've had for many years because I've only become very financially prudent in the last couple of years. I opened up two credit cards when I was in college (one of which I'm still paying off) and struggles for years to make payments on time and make sure I had enough money in the bank to cover checks that I wrote.

Granted, these were problems of my own doing. I've never made a ton of money, but I've always wanted to live beyond my means. Fortunately, these problems, while of my own doing, were also problems God gave me the ability to deal with. Dealing with these problems wasn't easy, it meant I had to do without some things I wanted. It meant I had to miss out on things I wanted to do. But it also meant I was able to keep up with my bills while I was on unemployment, even get ahead on some. It's also the reason I was able to keep up with my bills over the last few months of total unemployment.

Of course, I also couldn't have done it without the generosity of my monthly supporters who have continued to support me even when I haven't been going out to schools with Coastlands Consultants.

The bottom line is, it was only when I gave these issues to the Lord when He enabled me to overcome them.

Cast your cares on the Lord today, see what He does!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Infamy or Esteem?

"When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”  He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz." Genesis 28:16-19

As I was doing my devotions this morning, I have to admit, my mind wandered a bit. But it wandered as I looked at the date and realized that today is Pearl Harbor Day, a remembrance of December 7, 1941, "A day that will live in infamy." I got to thinking about how, for some people, today is a day of great remembrance, for some a day of sadness, and for some a day of routine.

I also got thinking of how the Old Testament tells us time and again of  how altars were set up as a remembrance, sometimes I think that the landscape over there must have been littered with rocks that were set up as altars.

I think we need to set up remembrances, but they should be to remind us not only of when something bad has happened, but when something good has happened. You see far too many memorials of bad things, the Viet Nam Memorial Wall, the memorial at Ground Zero in New York and the memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Let's decide instead, to set up memorials of esteem. Memorials to remind us of the good things, when we accepted Christ into our life, when we shared Christ with someone else or maybe when we were given the opportunity to witness Christ in the life of a loved one. Let's start making days that will live forever in esteem, not infamy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some More Wisdom, Please.

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”" 1 Corinthians 3:19

This morning I was reading through Job 28, where Job is speaking on wisdom. I encourage you to read it and pay close attention to the last two-thirds of the chapter, specifically verses 12-28. this chapter tells us a bit about wisdom and where it comes from, God. It specifically tells us that God has, "looked at wisdom and appraised it;  he confirmed it and tested it."and when God was done, he gave it to man telling us that wisdom is to fear the Lord and shun evil.

How often to we adhere to that definition of wisdom? A lot of people I know think that wisdom is knowing a lot of things, I disagree, I'd say that's knowledge. Let me give you an earthly definition of wisdom...The ability to put your knowledge to use to benefit yourself and others to the utmost. And since the Bible is the best instruction book (I have a friend that says that Bible means Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) on how to benefit ourselves and others, I can see how the fear of God is where wisdom begins. Please note, I'm not speaking of being scared of God, but the obedience.

Today's entry is short, but it's what was on my heart.

Have a great day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

God Is Indeed Bigger Than The Boogeyman

"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
   or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
   or weighed the mountains on the scales
   and the hills in a balance?
 Who can fathom the Spirit[a] of the LORD,
   or instruct the LORD as his counselor?
 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
   and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
   or showed him the path of understanding?
  Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
   they are regarded as dust on the scales;
   he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
   nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
   they are regarded by him as worthless
   and less than nothing." Isaiah 40:12-17

First of all, I know it's been longer than usual between my last entry and this one, my hope is to write an entry every other day, at the outside, and preferably every day, especially since I like to write about what God's speaking to me. If I haven't written for a couple days, that usually means that something else has gotten shoved in there and it's taking my attention away from God, and I don't want that. But also since it's been a couple days, I gave you a long passage of scripture to read. :-)

This passage is a very good passage to read when there is something shoved in between you and God that's taking your attention away from Him. this passage reminds me of just how big God is, just how much He has to do and to what He is paying attention...and still He loves me. The God who created everything by speaking it into existence, the God who has to pay attention to everything that's going on (that's what being omniscient gets you) and the God who works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and ultimately, His glory, still cares about what's happening in my life.

And unfortunately, I've been a little petty the last couple of days.

You remember, this whole adventure got started by my ankle issues and this blog came into being a week before my right foot was amputated. All this started last May when I went into the hospital, and I haven't been able to drive since. Driving used to be something I loved to do, if I wanted to relax on an afternoon, I'd go for a drive, if I was a bit stressed out, I might take a drive and if I just wanted to get out of the house, I was able to; that's something I haven't done in over six months now. I've been working with Voc Rehab to get myself back to work, and it turns out the person I was working with originally, passed away a couple weeks ago and I've been passed around to 3 different people now since, so I've been set back a month from all that. All I can think about through all this is how it's affecting me, that I can't drive, I'm stuck in the house, blah, blah, waa.

I've decided that, instead of feeling sorry for myself and thinking about how there are things I can't do, I'm going to ponder on God instead. I'm going to think about how big and awesome God is, and how wonderful His works are. I'll drive eventually, I'll get back to my life soon enough, I should enjoy the time off I have right now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mixed Bag of Feelings

"Rejoice always" 1 Thessalonians 5:16

I've kind of had a mixed bad the last few days emotions-wise; on one hand, I've been up and about, able to go to church, I've enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family, and I've even been able to take a few steps without the aid of anything, cane or crutch. On that last part, I hope my physical therapist isn't going to yell at me for doing that...

On the other hand, and the thing that really is muddling things is the loss that a family that I'm friends with suffered recently. This family is an awesome family, I was blessed to meet them just over a year and a half ago when I was working with Coastlands Consultants at a school in Connecticut. This family just exudes acceptance and God's love to all those around, and meeting them and learning more about them actually moved me to tears while I was there. This family has adopted several children with special needs, and some with extremely severe needs. A couple of the kids they adopted they saved (this is going to be strong, but these were the words that were used) on the way to the dumpster. These kids they saved were so severely handicapped they were unwanted. The child that just passed was only supposed to live an extremely brief time, but they had 12 years with him.

I know this family is grieving for their loss, but also joyful that this little guy is now walking and leaping and praising God now. I haven't really resolved my feelings, but I wanted to write what's on my heart. Please pray for the family as they deal with this loss, but also rejoice for the life he lived, a life that opened many eyes to the love of Christ, and one that enabled this family to share that love with many.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let It Snow!

"Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
 Let me hear joy and gladness;
   let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
 Hide your face from my sins
   and blot out all my iniquity." Psalm 51:7-9

I have almost always loved the snow in winter. I'm writing this while looking out the window at the snow covered ground. I know this is not an opinion shared by a lot of people, but they can write their own blog about how much they hate snow. I love looking out the window at a snow covered vista, not when it's on the road, but I can handle that since I do have a four wheel drive vehicle.

But I digress...

The thing I like most about freshly fallen snow is how clean it looks. And I love that the snow can cover over even the grossest, most dreary looking landscape and make it look fresh and new again. The psalm writer uses imagery like this, but I think it goes even deeper than snow just covering up something bad.

As I said, snow can cover up dreary looking landscapes, a fresh snow can cover up old, slushy, gray/black snow that's full of salt and pebbles and make it look fresh and new. The grace of God can do that for us too, but in a much different way, a way that doesn't just cover up the sins, but takes those sins away. Sure, we remember them, we are sometimes even ashamed by past sins, but the love of God and the sacrifice of His son means that those sins are forgiven, in God's mind, they are no more.

And, while I think it's important to learn from our past sins, and make sure we don't make those mistakes again, I really don't feel that we need to be ashamed of those sins. I think that's just Satan trying to stray our minds away from the love of Christ, and the desire to do His will from now on. I once heard a radio pastor explain it the best I've heard it, he said, "Satan reminds you of your past, Christ deals with your future."

So, enjoy the snow, let it remind you of what Christ has done or can do in your life.

Friday, November 26, 2010


"I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30

Just a few Thanksgiving thoughts, I now it's actually the day after Thanksgiving, but I'm still in a thankful mood...

First of all, I'm thankful for things I took for granted last Thanksgiving, I'm thankful I can walk again, a little bit. I'm thankful that I am noticing God's provision even more.

I'm thankful to have been able to see almost all of my immediate family, unfortunately, we missed my sister Tessa. I do love her and miss her, especially this time of year.

And I'm thankful for little things, like I got to see the Patriots win on Thanksgiving.

I'm also thankful for all those people out there keeping the economy going, even if I do thing they're crazy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gentleness and More Rejoicing

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

There are times that I'm not always the nicest person to be with because I don't always react well. Sure, if I'm presented with a challenge, I usually roll up my sleeves and try to work through it, but that's not the reaction I'm talking about. I'm sure that there are people who will read this who know that I do not always react well if I'm told something that rebukes me, or disagrees with me or contradicts me. When that happens, my first reaction is usually one of anger and my first inclination to to strike back. It took me years to realize that, and realize that reaction is wrong.

I haven't conquered this yet, my first reaction usually is still one of anger, but I've managed to temper that a bit. Now, instead of lashing out, more often than not, I just shut up. I've realized that since I don't react well, I shouldn't react at all. So, I'll shut my mouth, try to leave as soon as possible and go process what just happened. That's not the best reaction because sometimes I process a bit to long, but I still think it's better than what I used to do.

Now I'm going to change subjects...I realize I should have put some pictures up yesterday as I now have some pictures on my new foot and me standing on it. Be warned, these pictures were taken on a Saturday morning/afternoon so I'm not all put together, but I wanted to share them anyway...

This is my foot all by itself. I found out at almost the last second that I could customize the color and a design of the socket, so I picked green for the color. I asked them to put a cross on it because I always want to remember the decision I made months ago...that whatever happens, God will be glorified. That cross is actually laminated into the socket, it's a part of my foot.

Here's me standing in the dining room, something I haven't done in a few months, stand without holding onto something. And you can see the dog in the background.

Lastly, this is me in a room I haven't been into in months, the kitchen.

Thanks for reading today.

God bless!

Monday, November 22, 2010


"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
  Worship the LORD with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs.
 Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
  Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100

A wonderful thing happened this weekend...I got my foot! And I was able to walk into church! Now I really feel like things are starting to pick up speed. For the last month and a half, I've felt as though I've been in a kind of holding pattern. I knew I was healing, and that's extremely important, but I also was looking forward to the next step...literally.

I've been able to go places I haven't gone in months, on Facebook, there's a picture of me standing in the kitchen, I haven't been in there in months. I'm not back to normal yet, but just the fact that I can get up and around a bit is huge!

The mechanics are like this, for now; I have the foot on for an hour and a half, twice a day. During the hour and a half time period, I'm to be walking for about twenty minutes, in 4-5 minute blocks. So far this morning, I've gone into the kitchen to get a bowl and toast a cranberry English muffin.

The only bummer I've found so far is that I haven't lost quite as much as I thought I had, but I was only about 5 pounds off, that means I've only lost 78 pounds as opposed to 83. Since I've been weighing myself on one foot, I've had to use my fingertips on the wall to steady myself, and apparently that took 5 pounds off my weight.

People have been asking if it hurts; it only hurts if something isn't right. For instance; if it's slightly askew, meaning I haven't lined it up right with my kneecap. It also might hurt if I need to put some more padding in the socket. My residual limb will continue to shrink and since I need to keep consistent pressure all around, I need to pad my limb with socks, as pressure is supposed to be equally distributed all around what's left of the leg.

If you are praying for me, thank you! Please give thanks for something awesome happening this weekend!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cover Your Needs in Prayer

“Therefore I will teach them—
   this time I will teach them
   my power and might.
Then they will know
   that my name is the LORD." Jeremiah 16:21

I've said it before, when I read about the same thing more than once during my morning devotions, it's probably something God wants me to learn. Though today I'm hoping it's something I've already learned, but maybe God wants me to write about, or maybe it's just something that God's confirming for me...

It's actually kind of appropriate that this is the way my thinking is going this morning, because that's what I want to talk about; the uncertainty of whether or not we're doing what God's telling us to do.

I ran into this this summer, as I was working through the decision of what to do with my foot. On the one hand, I could just sit back and say, "God will heal this, therefore I need to do nothing." I could also have said, "I'm going to make my decision totally independent of God and just listen to the doctors." What I decided to do was say, "I will take into account what the doctors say, I will also pray about it and see if I can learn God's will on the subject. Then I'll make the decision."

The way it ultimately worked out was; I heard the recommendations from the doctors, then I took two weeks to pray, and seek Godly counsel on the subject. I even worked out for me to take a trip to Pennsylvania during this decision time so I was able to talk it over with some of my best friends. When it came to decision time, I decided that, while I did trust that God could heal my ankle, I didn't want to close myself off from other solutions because, ultimately,. that would be putting God in a box and saying "Sure, God, I know you can do it, so do it." I set the date for the amputation surgery, believing that if God wanted to heal me, He would, but I couldn't keep putting it off.

Do I feel this is what God wanted me to do? Absolutely. I'm even more sure now that I'm on this end of the surgery. Did I believe that God could heal me? You betcha. I was praying (and had others praying with me) for healing up to the point and even while I was in the room, prepping for surgery.

If all goes well, I will be getting my new foot in a few hours. I can tell you what that means to me, but I can't get the full impact of that across in these words. In a word, it means freedom. I had been in pain from my right ankle for the last three years, I no longer have that pain. I have been hobbled by the issues in my right ankle for the last few years, I'll no longer be hobbled by that. And even in the shorter view, I've been in a wheelchair for the last six months, I'll be out of that soon. I haven't been able to drive my car for six months as well, plans are in place for getting that fixed.

It's very hard to know we made the right decision on the front side of that decision, we only really know if we made the right decision after we've gone through with it. I was sure I had made the right decision before I went through with it and what's happened since has only confirmed what I was feeling. I know that for me, it's because I bathed it in prayer and asked others to pray with me, and God granted me the clarity and confidence to be sure about it beforehand. I wish I could say He'd do that with everyone if they believed Him like I did, but I can't. Sometimes God still chooses to withhold that from us, I can't tell you why but, if you refer to my last post, I already know I'm not as smart as God.

What I can say is that you have a better chance of having that confidence if you make sure to cover your decisions in prayer.

My hymn for today is "Sweet Hour of Prayer"

  1. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    That calls me from a world of care,
    And bids me at my Father’s throne
    Make all my wants and wishes known.
    In seasons of distress and grief,
    My soul has often found relief,
    And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
    By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
  2. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
    Of those whose anxious spirits burn
    With strong desires for thy return!
    With such I hasten to the place
    Where God my Savior shows His face,
    And gladly take my station there,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
  3. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    Thy wings shall my petition bear
    To Him whose truth and faithfulness
    Engage the waiting soul to bless.
    And since He bids me seek His face,
    Believe His Word and trust His grace,
    I’ll cast on Him my every care,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." 1 Corinthians 1:25

I often try to logic out the things that God has done in my life, or the things that God asks of me, and what I continually find is that I can't. I think there are a couple reasons for this...1-I'm not smart enough, I feel as though I am fairly intelligent, but God is smarter. 2- I can't see the big picture like God can, I can only see a small part, and often not very clearly. 3- God's wisdom is not only wiser than man's wisdom, but different.

I often hear people say things like, "a loving God wouldn't...", or "if God cared about us He would..." I think God both loves us and cares about us, He just does it better than we do.

This entry is going to be very short because it's relatively simple, we can't always see why God does what He does, and if He does make it clear as to why He did something, be happy with that, for the rest, wait until you see Him in Heaven and ask him then.

Let's learn to be content with that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Prayer and Timing

"In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." Psalm 18:6

I know sometimes, people think God isn't listening, God doesn't care, or God is too busy with something else that He can't be bothered with them. That is not true. I want to share a couple verses today that speak to prayer, and they're both out of the Old Testament, which is a bit unusual for me.

First of all, if you read this verse, you can see that the author truly believed God heard his cry, God heard his prayer. I just did a quick search on Bible Gateway about heard prayer and got several examples of prayers being heard. So, you can either believe that God hears prayers, or that the Bible just managed to get the examples of when prayers have been heard, I choose to believe that God hears prayers. I believe that, because I've had prayers answered.

Check out this other passage..."A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." Psalm 90:4

God is outside of time. If God waits a thousand years, it's like no time at all to Him. The same holds true for a hundred years, a decade, a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute, a second, since God is outside of time, man-made measurements of time mean nothing to Him.

Our problem is that we're too often like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, saying "I want (insert thing wanted here), Daddy and I want it now!" We want immediate gratification, we're too often not willing to wait even a second for it. We're almost under the impression that since God already knows out hearts, He should already provide our want before we even have to pray for it.

First, I'd be willing to say that God does fill many of our needs before we even know we need something, but since we don't realize it, we don't attribute anything to God. Also, I'm pretty convinced that prayer is mostly for us, not for God, He doesn't need reminding of what we need or want. We pray because the Bible commands us to (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17) and because it changes us, not God's mind.

I've written before about God's permissive will; nothing happens without God's knowledge and without god letting it. He doesn't cause everything to happen (because God cannot cause evil) but He does allow everything to happen. Since God knows everything, and knows us better than we even know ourselves, doesn't it stand to reason that He knows what's best for us?

I'm sorry, I've gotten a bit rambly today, so let me sum up what I was trying to get to...God hears your prayers, God answers your prayers but in His timing, not ours and God's timing is perfect. Remember, sometimes God's answer is "no" because that's not what best for us. But most of all, God loves you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Listen and Do

“We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.”Job 5:27

This is an interesting verse, it's said by Job's friend, Eliphaz, and if you read Job 4 and 5 you can figure out that it's probably said in a rather patronizing manner. I'm going to encourage you to do something that you should never really do, take this out of context. Take this verse, pick it up, and place it just after anything Jesus said, or Paul said, or Peter said or even James said. Wait...James already said something like this, check out James 1:22-25.

Ironically, I was thinking about something like this while my mind was wandering while I was reading my Bible. One of the things I've learned to do when I find my mind wandering while I'm reading is to start reading out loud. By the way, for anyone writing something important that other people have to head, this is also a great way of proofreading your work. I find reading things out loud force me to focus more on what I'm reading, because it doesn't just involve my eyes doing something, it also brings in my mouth, which forces my brain to engage. But again, I wander...

Think of how many times things would have gone better if you had just listened to what someone told you. I recently have had some success with losing some weight, I still have quite a bit to go, but since I've lost 80 pounds so far, I'm kinda happy. [I know, I did cheat the last five or ten pounds, I just had them cut it off. ;-)] But I only had that success when I decided to listen to what people were trying to say to me, but I also had to change things up, so I went to Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers was great for me, I had people who could help me out by giving me instructions but also provided a way of accountability for me. I know WW isn't for everyone, but I wouldn't be surprised that one of the reasons they're so successful is because they're running on a model that could be called Biblical.

Look at the apostles, they went around in teams, gave instruction, and lived with people to provide an example and accountability. And it speaks on this in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

To sum up, this is not a commercial for Weight Watchers, I simply used them as an example. What I am trying to say is follow the example of the Bible, read, listen, and do what it says. Ultimately, it will be a blessing to you, it probably won't make life easier, but certainly more rewarding and purposeful.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Beauty of Nature

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20

I love living in Vermont. Sure, I have more friends in other places like Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, because I haven't lived here in a long time and lost touch with a lot of people, (I'm working on that!) but I think it's beautiful up here. If I had my druthers, I would actually have all my friends move here to Vermont.

There are so many beautiful views up here that you can't help but notice them when you drive almost anywhere. Wednesday, I was at physical therapy admiring the view out the windows, the other day I was driving back from Rutland with my pastor and we were commenting on the view, and I've often enjoyed the picturesque view of Royalton you see while driving on I-89. It's images such as this...

You actually get a some of New Hampshire in this view, but it's taken standing in Vermont
Whenever I take the time to admire the beauty around me, I can't help but see God in this creation, I just can't imagine that all this ended up here by random chance. I know there are awful things that happen too, and I honestly can't imagine why they have to happen, but then, I'm not God, I can't see the whole picture, so I try not to dwell on the bad things that happen.

Looking at the view from the top of Killington, or Brandon Gap, or even from the parking lot at the hospital, I can totally understand Romans 1:20, I can so see God's hand in that creation, and I am incredibly thankful that He allows me to experience it.

Today's hymn is "This Is My Father's World", I hope you take the time to read the lyrics and maybe take some time to get outside and enjoy the nature God has out around you.

1.      This is my Father's world 
 and to my listening ears 
 all nature sings, and round me rings 
 the music of the spheres.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 I rest me in the thought 
 of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; 
 his hand the wonders wrought.

2. This is my Father's world, 
 the birds their carols raise, 
 the morning light, the lily white, 
 declare their maker's praise.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 he shines in all that's fair; 
 in the rustling grass I hear him pass; 
 he speaks to me everywhere.

3. This is my Father's world.  
 O let me ne'er forget 
 that though the wrong seems oft so strong, 
 God is the ruler yet.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 why should my heart be sad?  
 The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!  
 God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bring The Rain

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”Job 1:21

As I sat down to write this entry, I heard a pretty loud noise outside, that I could hear coming closer, but very slowly, so I looked out to see what it was. I live on a dirt road, and if any of you reading this currently live or have lived on a dirt road, you know that periodically it needs to be graded to be a usable road. If the road isn't graded, it will eventually turn into a pothole filled, dirt track that you would need a 4x4 to drive. What I was hearing was the grader. If you've seen one, you know it's a large tractor with a plow blade underneath it to turn up the top layer of the dirt. Here's a picture...
The process is similar to what you have to do to the soil in a garden, turn it over to be able to put the seed in the ground, otherwise you'd just be scattering it on top.

I realized that this has sort of been my life in the last few months. My life has been torn up and been made different than I ever thought it would have been by this point. What amazes me is my ability to praise God with all this going on.

I don't say this to heap praise on myself, I say this to illustrate what God has been doing in my life. Not only have I maintained my relationship with God, but I believe it's grown stronger and deeper. There is a strong urge, when things go wrong or something bad happens, to just curl up, stay away from everybody and feel sorry for yourself. To be honest, I felt like that for a while this summer. I was angry, I was grumpy and none to fun to be around, the only way I was able to break out of that is because of what God has done in my life. It was not on my own.

What I really wish is that it didn't take this health crisis for me to grow closer to God. But as I live through this, I realize that sometimes we need a good grading, we need the soil of our lives turned over and plowed up for us to be able to be used. I believe God will use me for something, I believe God has already used what I'm going through to Glorify Him. I can say that because I have glorified God in spite of, and sometimes because of what has been going on.

The song I'm going to share today is called "Bring The Rain" by MercyMe. I'm sure I had heard it before, but we sang it in church on Sunday and I've found it has new meaning these days. Read the lyrics and you'll get a better picture of how I feel.

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

I hope you don't need to be plowed up like I was, but if you do, I hope and pray you will be able to praise God because of it, and seek a way to be used as well.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scriptural Sword

"And Jesus answered him,  "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"" Luke 4:4

"And Jesus answered him,  "It is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'"" Luke 4:8

"for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,'and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"" Luke 4:10,11

"And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"" Luke 4:12

I wish I knew Scripture better.

There are many reasons I wish I knew Scripture better, but the biggest reason is to be able to refute Satan when I am tempted. If you look at the passages I have at the beginning of this entry I have four times when someone quotes Scripture; three times it's Jesus. I can appreciate that Jesus probably is able to memorize better than I am, after all, he's God. And if I had so much written about me, I think it would be easy to memorize it since it's about me and my life.

The third out of four times that scripture is quoted though, it's Satan doing the quoting. That's why I think it's even more important that we know scripture as well as we possibly can; if Satan is going to quote it to us (and he will misuse it) we need to know it so we know when Satan is misusing Scripture. That's kind of a convoluted way of saying "If we know it, it can't be used against us."

Satan is a master manipulator, he knows us better than we know ourselves, he knows what tempts us, and when to throw that temptation in front of us. And it wouldn't surprise me if he gets even greater pleasure when he can use Scripture to tempt us to sin.

The best way for us to know Scripture is to study it. The best way for us to refute Satan is to build a wall of knowledge so he can't break through it. And, according to Ephesians 6:17 it's the one offensive part of the Armor of God. 

So, pick up your sword!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


" Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

My devotion that I'm reading through is titled "Battlefield of the Mind" and it's all about how Satan can get into your head and play mind games with you. And yesterday's reading was about, you guessed it, anger. Anger is something that I don't deal with a ton, I try to resolve issues as quickly as possible. I think I would define anger a bit differently than most and say that being angry is different than being mad. I've been mad, and I've been angle, but in my head, mad is something you get in the heat of the moment, and if it's not dealt with it can turn into anger.

Anger is mad, but longer.

As I said, I've been mad, I don't always react well to bad news, or someone confronting me with something, or if someone has decided to force their opinion on me if I don't agree with it, and even if someone is mad at me. I've learned a couple of things to do when this happens...1- I need to shut up fast. Since I don't always react well to confrontations, I tend to say things that I might regret later, so now, if I feel a situation is running in that direction, I just clam up and try to remove myself from the situation as quickly as I can. The second thing I've learned is that I need to deal with that issue as soon as possible, the apostle Paul put it better in Ephesians 4:26,27 "“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."

I tend to dwell on things and I'd rather the things I dwell on be good things, hence the verse I put at the beginning of this entry. I believe we can train our mind to think and react better when issues arise, and we do it when we start by conciously thinking about things that are good, noble, praisworthy and honorable, and then we find we are unconciously thinking in that direction.

I did a quick search about what holding on to anger can do to us and the first page I found gave several effects of anger, and none of them were good. The thing I've most come to realize is that anger rarely hurts the person we're angry at, by being angry at someone it doesn't cause them to have high blood pressure, headaches, acid reflux, or any of the other effects on that page, those affect the person who is holding on to that anger.

I know there is some sort of perverse comfort in holding on to anger, but it's not doing what you might think it is. That "comfort" is Satan messing with your head. Do not give the devil a foothold! Keep him out!

I want to share two things with you; first is a card I received this week, here is the cover...

And here is the inside...

This was from a student at a school I wasn't able to get to this year, it's actually the school we were at when I hurt my ankle. It made me laugh and I hope it makes you laugh too.

The other thing I want to share is a hymn; "Be Thou My Vision" and I'm listening to the "Be Thou My Vision: Celtic Hymns" so it's got a Celtic feel to it, which I like a lot.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word,
I ever with thee and thou with me Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight;
Thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower:
Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
Thou mine inheritance now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart;
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O Bright Heaven's sun!;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

If we make God our vision, by day and by night, if He's our best thought, that's the biggest step we can make toward getting anger out of our life. If you are holding onto anger, let it go. Talk with the person you're angry with, but talk with them, hold a conversation, don't talk at them and attack them.

God bless you!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

One Month Since Surgery

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Well, it's been a month since I had my foot amputated, actually almost to the time, too. As i think back on the last month, a few things come to mind...

1- Some things have been harder than I thought, some things not as hard, I guess it's almost evened out in terms of how hard things are. Some things that I hadn't really put much thought into, because I thought they'd be pretty easy, are harder tha I expected, like getting into and out of the car, that's the place I think I've come the closest to falling. But one thing that I thought would be harder would be the want to use my right foot. sure, I've tried to put it down on the floor once or twice, but I thought I'd be trying to use it to balance myself a lot.

2- I've been able to see even better, how god's been providing for me. One of the thigs that was really worrying me as October got closer was how I'd be able to pay my bills, I've spent the last year making sure I was caught up, and even ahead, on my bills, and I know that October was the last month I'd be able to rely on my savings to get me though. But God provided (!) when I was in the hospital, I received a letter from Social Security telling me my Supplemental Security Income was approved. That, combined with what my monthly supporters have continued to send, just about exactly covers my monthly bills.

3- Even though it stinks that I have to go through this, I've been able to see how things have worked out to make it easier. I'm not diabetic so things are healing better than anticipated, physical therapists are very happy with how my leg is shaping up, I even had one tell me the other day that I was in great shape, I'm sure she meant my leg. (It's the only time I can remember someone telling me I was in good shape!) And I've told a few people that if this was going to happen anyway, and from what I've learned about my situation it probably would have, I'd rather have it happen now, while I'm in my thirties, than when I'm in my sixties or even older.

4- I said before the surgery that if giving up my right foot is what it takes for me to have a deeper relationship with Christ, I'm ok with that...and I still mean that. My relationship with Christ has deepened so much over the last month, it's been amazing. I'm closer to God, I feel the fruit of the Spirit more in my life and my quiet time has become a time I look forward to, not just something I feel I have to do.

I'm so thankful that I made the decision that I made months ago; that no matter what happened, God would be glorified in this. That has been key in keeping perspective in all of this. While I don't believe God caused this to happen (see James 1:17) I do believe God allowed it to happen. If God is Omniscient (He can see all) and Omnipresent (He is everywhere) and Omnipotent (He is all-powerful) then nothing can happen without Him allowing it to happen, that's God's permissive will. So, if I believe God allowed this to happen, I have to believe it will work out to my ultimate benefit, because of what Romans 8:28 says; "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How Do You See God?

"I lift up my eyes to you,
   to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
   as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
   till he shows us his mercy.
  Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy on us,
   for we have endured no end of contempt.
 We have endured no end
   of ridicule from the arrogant,
   of contempt from the proud."   Psalm 123

How do you look at God, what do you see Him as? I'm reading a book on prayer, and in the chapter I just finished, it talks about different ways to see God. That got me thinking about how different people see God. Let me start this out by saying that whatever I come up with, it will be imperfect and nowhere near a truly accurate description of God, I don't think words can give an accurate description of God. To truly know God and who He is, I think we need to wait till we see Him in Heaven.

But until then, we have to use words...So, how do you see God? For those people who had bad parents, you might shy away from using a father as an example of God, for those who have issues with authority you might not want to use the term King, and for those of you who struggle to keep your life consistent, you might not want to think of God as a rock. But the Bible uses all those images, and several more to describe God. Just do a quick Google search and you see that there are many names for God, and I have a book that lists (and gives scripture for) 64 different names for God the Father, 124 different names for God the Son, and 52 different names for God the Holy Spirit, for those of you keeping track, that's 213 different ways the bible describes God.

So, do you view God as that annoying boss who's always telling you how to go something? Do you view God as an authoritarian parent who never lets you do anything? Do you view God as that nosy friend who always has to know your business? The nerd you hang out with who never lets you have any fun? God is none of those, He loves you, he only wants what's best for you and He paid the ultimate price for your sake, His Son. I can't imagine anyone that those views describe doing that for me.

I'm going to share a hymn that's rather rare, but if you do a search for it you can find it, it's called "He Paid a Debt He Did Not Owe"

He paid a debt He did not owe;
I owed a debt I could not pay;
I needed someone to wash my sins away.
And, now, I sing a brand new song,
“Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.

He paid that debt at Calvary.
He cleansed my soul and set me free.
I'm glad that Jesus did all my sins erase.
I, now, can sing a brand new song,
“Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.

One day He's coming back for me
To live with Him eternally.
Won't it be glory to see Him on that day!
I, then, will sing a brand new song,
“Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.
Yes, Jesus paid a debt that I could n
ever pay.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't follow Me

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1

I used to think that Paul seemed a bit full of himself when he wrote this verse. As I read the Bible more and as I come to know more about Christ and the apostles, especially Paul, I've decided that this statement is ok for Paul to make. (I know, you were worried, right?) But it's not a statement I would ever make.

I get concerned when people come up to me to tell me what a good job I'm doing handling this situation...because I know I'm not doing much of all except letting God take over. But maybe that's good enough. How often do we let God take over? More than likely, we try to take control, we want to be in charge, and we want to take the credit. As often as someone comes up to tell me what a good job I'm doing, I tell them as quickly as I can that it's not me, it's all God, I don't want the credit.

As I was thinking about this, I started to wonder if that's really true is this blog a good thing to do, isn't it still me writing this blog for others to read? Am I doing it for me? Let me say this as plainly as I can...GIVE THE GLORY TO GOD. I appreciate what people say to me, and I'm happy to keep sharing as long as God gives me something to share, but the second I write this blog to get any fame or glory for myself is the second I want someone to call me on it, and maybe the time I stop.

Let me share a story with you..
The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride.
He walked into town and found a group of people by the well. “I’ll show myself to them,” he thought.
But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind.
“Throw your cloaks down,” he said crossly. “Don’t you know who I am?”
They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move.
“Miserable heathens!” he muttered to himself. “I’ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me.”
But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the market place.
“The palm branches! Where are the palm branches!” he shouted. “Yesterday, you threw palm branches!”
Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother.
“Foolish child,” she said gently. “Don’t you realize that without him, you are just an ordinary donkey?”

That's me, just an ordinary donkey without God I wouldn't be able to accomplish much more than getting myself in trouble. So, please don't think of me as anyone more special than anyone else.

While I do think it's ok for us to follow Paul's example as he follow Christ's, I don't want people following me; I'm a sinner, I struggle with anger, lust, sloth, gluttony, and sometimes I don't react like I should, I'm not always kind, I should be more patient, loving, and careful. So don't follow me or my sinful example.

Let's walk alongside and follow Christ's example.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where To Look?

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:10-14

I love to go camping. I'm not talking about the giant motor home-with-all-the-gadgets type of camping, I'm talking about a tent, campfire, and sleeping bag type of camping. I was thinking about this earlier today. I'm not sure why, it's kind of chilly today and the day after tomorrow will be November, but I was just thinking about how I want to go camping but can't right now.

But I probably will be able to next summer.

Yup, that's right, hopefully next summer I'll be bale to do something I haven't done in years because it's been too hard to. I haven't been able to go camping in the last several years because I was worried about my ankles letting me get up off the ground, I've been worried it'll be too uncomfortable and I've been pretty tied to my CPAP machine. I did camp a bit the summers of 2006 and 2007 at Soulfest in New Hampshire and I loved it. I don't know why, but I think things taste good when cooked over an open fire or on a Coleman stove.

Being able to look past what's going on right now has been key in having such a positive attitude as I've gone through my amputation and as I sit at home with no way of getting myself around. That's not going to last forever, I will be able to get out and do things eventually. And that eventually is getting closer and closer. I'm only a couple of weeks away of getting measured for my temporary prosthesis, and about a month away from actually receiving it and being able to learn to walk with it. I can't tell you how excited I will be on that day, when I can walk out to my car, get into it and drive myself somewhere, hopefully to a school where I'll be ministering at with Coastlands Consultants. 

The verse I shared at the beginning of this entry speaks to this, I think. Look ahead, look to the prize. Later in that same chapter (Philippians 3)  Paul writes "...let us live up to what we have already attained" and "But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," Look past what you're going through, you will get through it. Look to the future, when you can use it to minister to someone goig through something similar, or the same. Look to when you can see how God brought you through it.

But if you'll be looking for me, I'll be the one in the tent, or maybe the one cooking over the fire.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Take Some Pictures

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

Every Wednesday, I attend a small group through my church, and we are currently working our way through the book of James, I believe I've referenced this group before. We rarely get through more than three or four verses in the hour and a half meeting time, but I love it, we really get into the verses and see how they apply to our life.

This week, one of the verses we talked about was the one above; we spoke about reasons for ministry or reasons for standing firm. We talked about how it can sometimes lead to a "carrot on a stick" mentality; we do good, and stand firm to receive the reward. I believe that a Christian that is standing true will actually be the reverse of that, we receive the reward because we stood firm.

What's the difference you might ask. The difference goes to your motivations. I'm not staying truthful to God through my current trial because I think He'll reward me for it later, because I'll get a bigger mansion in Heaven or a snazzy looking crown for it. I do it to please God, to glorify Him regardless of the reward.

When you love someone, you want to do things that please them, things that make them happy, not because it will get you a reward, but simply because it will please the other person. In my opinion, this is a very simplified definition of sanctification. Another simple definition of the term sanctification (and one that's more Biblical in my opinion) is that it is the process of our faith working itself out in our life. It is the fruit of the Spirit manifesting in us, because our faith is growing and taking over more and more of our life. And eventually, we can see the result of that fact. As we maintain out faithfulness, and persevere through trials, we can see how God has blessed us.

My screen saver is a slideshow of pictures from the last several years, well over the last decade. I have it there to remind me of the good times I've had and how God has blessed me, not surprisingly, they are mostly from times when I've been in ministry. Let me encourage you to take some snapshots of times when you can see how God's helped you though a difficult time, maybe they can be actual photos, mental snapshots, or even written notes reminding you of when God has been faithful. Remember Psalm 85:15 "But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."

Today's hymn is "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

1. "Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
* "Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
2. Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Positive vs. Negative

"I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:19-23

I admit, yesterday I kinda had to force my blog entry. I still think it's true, I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't, but you can see I didn't put a lot of effort into it. Today's entry is out of what I read in my quiet time this morning.

Read, the passage from Lamentations, how true it is.

I have days where what I read in my devotional book, and what I read in my daily scripture readings don't always line up. not to say that they contradict each other, but they will be on different subjects. But then I have days like today where they do align, and then I make sure to pay extra attention, because I think it's a lesson God really wants me to learn.

Today everything lined up to tell me how important my mindset is. I feel as though I've kept a pretty positive mindset through all of the issues with losing my foot. People have commented on it, and I believe it's shown out in my recovery process. My leg is healing very well, the doctor who removed my stitches said so, I was out of inpatient rehab in less than two weeks, the therapists who have come to the house have been impressed in how I'm coming along and managing my daily tasks. I believe this is all because my mind is laser focused on getting better and getting back on my feet so I can get back to ministry.

Sure, I've had my rough spots, the other day I tried to put down my right foot to steady myself, twice. but I choose to not focus on the bad days, and I choose to set my mind on getting back to normal.

I'm not one of those "Power of Positive Thinking" people, I'm not going to tell you that if you just focus all your positive energy on something it'll all work out. But I will tell you that I believe you can be happier if you set your mind on positive things. Could I let everything bad that happens be an obstacle? Yup, but it won't help anything. Could I sit here and moan about missing my right foot? Yup, but it won't bring it back. Could I cry and complain that everything is too hard for me? Absolutely, but it won't get me back to ministry.

So I choose to be positive, I choose to overcome the obstacles so the obstacles don't overcome me. And I choose to get back on my feet, even if one of them will be made of titanium.

Today's hymn I believe to be a hymn of hope, it's titled "God Will Lift Up Your Head" and I found it on Jars of Clay's Redemption Songs cd.

Give to the wind your fear
Hope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up, God will lift up, lift up your head

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
Lift up your head

Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command
Then shall we wandering on His way
Know how wise and how strong
How wise and how strong

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
Lift up your head

Through waves and clouds and storms, He gently clears the way
Wait because in His time, so shall this night
Soon end in joy, soon end in joy
Soon end in joy, soon end in joy

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

American's Idols

"They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'" Exodus 32:8

I had a hard time trying to decode two things today...1- If I was going to write anything and 2- What I was going to write about. I ended up doing anything but writing. I watched TV, I watched stuff on my computer, the occupational therapist came, I watched some more TV, I took a nap, played around on the computer, turned the computer off, then I turned the computer on and decided to write about idols.

I find it amazing all the stuff we can find to put in the way of worshiping God, and yes, I do look at this blog as a form of worship. I would say it's worship because it's designed to glorify God.

As we can see from my verse at the start of this entry, the Israelites were pretty quick to put up an idol and so are we. At least I'll claim to. Think of all the stuff we put as an idol that gets in our way; work, kids, TV, music, our home, other people, specific causes, sin, money...feel free to add something else to this list. One thing to take note of is that a lot of those things are good things, it's fine to work to support ourselves and our family, our kids are wonderful gifts (not that I have any, but I hope to someday) but if we let those things take our focus off God, they become an idol.

I don't want to come off preachy, I've put up my own idols, but let's work together to kick idols out of our way, and focus on the most important thing, God.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's That Smell?

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." II Corinthians 2:15

Today at church I realized that being in this wheelchair, I've been opened up to a relatively set of smells due to the level of my nose...armpits and breath. I don't say that to gross anyone out, and I certainly don't want to offend anyone with whom I go to church, and I'm not saying anyone at my church smells bad, but it's just a realization I made. With this realization, I realized that our mouth and armpits can give off a wide variety of smells, but they could be grouped into two categories; good or bad.

That got me thinking about the aroma that I give off, is it a good or bad aroma? Now, I was finally able to figure out the new shower situation this morning and I finally took a one-footed shower, so I hope that in terms of that way, I'm giving off a good aroma, though I'd also settle for an absence of bad aroma. But I'm not talking about aroma in those terms, I'm talking about the attitude that people are left with when they have met up with me. Do people leave an encounter with me thinking that I stink or that they are better off for having run into me?

And in this case, I wouldn't want to settle for an absence of a bad aroma, I want to actively be giving off a pleasing aroma, and that pleasing aroma is Christ. I like what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2, when he talks about what he wanted the people in Corinth to see in him. Look in verses 2 and 3 "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

When Paul left Corinth, he didn't want people to be talking about him, or the words he used, or how he spoke, he wanted people to remember the subject on which he spoke, Christ and Him crucified. I've had the opportunity to speak with a lot of people through the process of my amputation and I hope that when I've left them or when they've left me, they've left with the impression of Christ.

If they haven't, I need to do a better job. Sure I could get a t-shirt or something made up that says I glorify God in this situation, but I'd rather have my words or better yet, my actions saying that I give praise to God in this situation.

One of the things that I've had to work on over the last several years, and I'm still working on it, I haven't perfected it yet, is my pride. I like to be right, I don't think there's anyone who enjoys being wrong, but there are times I've rolled over someone in a conversation to make sure I'm right. And even if I'm wrong I like to get them to admit I'm right...you get the picture. But one thing I've realized over the last several years is that sometimes it's more important to be loving and Christlike than to be right.

But that's kind of a side note, to get back to what I want people to be left with when they run into me I'm going to share another worship song, I'll take a break from hymns. This song is probably the most hymn-like worship song I've heard, it's "In Christ Alone"

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

When I've left someone, I want them to see Christ in me, how do I do that? By making sure that Christ alone is the only thing in which I put my hope. If we commit to know only Christ and Him crucified, we can't help but give off an aroma that's pleasing to God.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Know God Watches Me

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

There's only one thing in this life that can truly cause me to worry. It's the one thing can can consistently cause me to lose sleep, to be distracted and to be a pessimist. Want to know what it is? I bet I'm not the only person who worries about this. It's money. I found out the other day that I'm going to be stuck with several thousand dollars worth of doctor's bills. I incurred these bills when I was in the hospital in New York, the hospital forgave my bill with them, but the doctors I saw all billed separately, and I need to work it out with them for payment. I had applied for Medicaid, but that came in effect a bit too late to cover these bills.

I was fretting about these bills as I was doing my devotion this morning, and one of the passages I was reading was the one above from 1 Timothy chapter 6. I know it's not the situation I'm going through, it's written to people who have too much money and focus on it excessively, but I took something out of it I think because I'm focusing too excessively on money, or rather my lack thereof.

I'm forgetting to put my hope in God, how can I not? I managed to incur tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills over the last several months and was all of it forgiven by the hospitals? You bet it was. I still have a lot of issues to go through dealing with my amputation, the prosthesis and other things, and I have insurance. How can I not praise God and continue to trust Him that it will all work out.

I'm not saying that I won't have to pay anything. I'm not saying that the bills will all just disappear, they may but I'm not praying for my bills to go away, and I'm not saying God will definitely work it our a certain way. What I am saying is that God will work it out. It could be that God will provide a way for me to pay the bills, it could be that someone else will help me out, and it could be that the doctors will forgive the bills. But that's not what I should be focusing on, I should be focusing on God's provision.

That verse really reminded me of the passage from Matthew chapter 6 talking about worry. If wou want to check it out, look at Matthew 6:25-34.

And because of that, my hymn for the day is "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"

Why do I feel discouraged
Why do the shadows come
And why does my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And i know He watches me


So I sing because I’m happy
And I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me

So I sing because I’m happy
And I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches
And I know He watches
And I know He watches me

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

High Expectations

"If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us." II Chronicles 20:9

I'm home! Yesterday I was discharged from rehab, that meant that I spent less than two weeks in rehab, praise God! I expected to spend a much longer time in rehab, I thought I had a lot more to learn. But since I've been in a wheelchair for several months now, I had already learned a lot of what they were going to teach me. Isn't it neat to see how God had been working all throughout this summer?

I read the verse I shared at the beginning of this post and I realize I should have been expecting something pretty good. You see, I decided a while ago that I would stand in God's presence, I would give this to Him and see where He would take me. And he took me out of rehab days earlier than I expected.

Once we truly learn to stand in God's presence and give our will to Him, we find that things turn out consistently better than they used to, why? Because we're praying God's will, not our own. (See Matthew 6:6, 21:22) And I'm not talking about praying the way I used to pray. I used to pray that I would get my will but make it sound good by adding the phrase, "If it's your will, God."

Don't misunderstand me here, I am not condemning people who are praying in God's will and using that phrase, I'm specifically condemning the way I used to pray; praying my will but disguising it to make it sound better to other people. I am only condemning the way I used to do things, please do not see this as an attack on you. But you can take it to heart if you're doing what I used to. :)

Now, I prefer my prayers to sound a bit more like what we find in Matthew 6:9-13
"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'"

And I prefer my attitude to be a bit more like the attitudes of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found in Daniel 3:17,18 "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." That was the attitude I strove to have going into my surgery; I knew my God could heal me, but even if he didn't I was going to glorify Him anyway. And that's what I'm doing, I lost my foot, but I will continue to praise God and thank him for what He's done in my life.

Today's hymn is a short one, but good and true nonetheless; "Be Still, My Soul"

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on my side,
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
In every change He, faithful, will remain.
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly Father,
Through stormy ways leads to a joyful end.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where to Look

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Peter 3:16,17

I know a lot of people might get some ammunition out of the following statement, but I feel the need to say it anyway...I am not as smart as I would like people to think. I would like people to think that I am brilliant, that they can come to me when they have a question about anything, that I could sit and hold a conversation about very heady topics like particle physics, medieval literature or even sports statistics, but I can't. Most of what I know about physics, I've picked up from "The Big Bang Theory", the closest I've come to medieval literature is "A Knight's Tale" and I steal most of the sports stats I know from the commentators, probably the only thing that comes naturally to me is spelling.

The truth is, to learn something we need to study it, if you want to learn math, you study, the same is true with science or literature. Why do people think that's not true when it comes to the Bible? People think they know what's "Christian" because they know how they feel about a situation. I don't want to use this blog as a forum for debating any issues of the day, what's right and what's wrong, because if you're reading this, you have the capability to find out for yourself. Want to know what's right in a situation? Check our instruction book. Want to know where God's opinion falls on the hot-button issues of the day? Read your Bible, that's our instruction book. Christians have compromised on issues, not all Christians, and I'm not going to say what issues, because that's not what this is about, but Christians need to read the Bible to see what God says about things. Stop compromising, read your Bible.

I don't claim to be perfect, I don't have it all right, I am sure I've compromised as well, but I can change that, you can too. As Christians, let's seek God's will more, let's look to see what God says on the subject before we go and shoot our mouths off about it.

Take My Life and Let it Be...

1. Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
2. Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
3. Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
4. Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5. Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Give Credit Where Credit's Due

"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:6-8

My stepfather and I have a little joke, when one of us visits a church for the first time, the other one will ask if the sermon is a "Do good, do good, do good" sermon. You see, each of us have been to too many churches where the pastor will get up and preach about how we should be good, sometimes it'll be because it'll cause others to be good to us, sometimes it'll be because then God will see that we've done good and reward us, and sometimes it'll be because someone has been listening to too many Christmas songs and tell us we should be good for goodness sake.

Only once have I heard a "Do good, do good, do good" sermon preached where I also felt a good reason was given, this summer, my pastor preached a sermon where he said we should do good because it glorifies God. That's a "Do good, do good, do good" sermon I can get behind. We shouldn't be doing good because we get something out of it, we should be doing good because someone else gets something out of it.

The verse I quoted today confirms the idea of doing good to glorify God. If someone can't accuse us of doing wrong, God should get the credit. If we react well to a situation, if you consistently handle yourself with grace and patience, God should be glorified. Don't take the credit for it, don't just brush it off because you're embarrassed or because you think a "good Christian" should be embarrassed about it, give the credit to God!

A while ago, I made the commitment that God was going to be glorified in whatever happened with my foot, and I am sticking with it. A few people have commented on how well I am handling this situation, and before, I would have brushed it aside, thanked them or even said something like "Well, I do what I can" and made a joke about it. If I'm going to glorify God, I have to give Him the credit for every good thing that's coming out of this. Remember James 1:17.

This kind of attitude needs to come out of humility; we can't think to well of ourselves if we're going to give credit to God, it can be a tough thing to take the credit off us. Society will tell you to take all the credit you can, be an individual, be strong, be self-sufficient! Let's buck that trend, let's be God-sufficient, be strong enough to tell someone that you can't do it on your own and you needed God's help, and strive to be one with Christ.

I love today's hymn..."When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"

1. When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Suffering...No Way

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10

I don't want to get stuck on suffering. I don't want to give the impression that I'm depressed, feeling sorry for myself or can't get past what I've given up because I'm not, I don't and I can. The problem for a lot of people though, is that they can't get past what they've given up, they're stuck in the past and often a bit resentful about it.

The verse up there tells us two things that will happen; suffering is the first thing Peter promises. As Christians, we know Satan is going to oppose us and make it hard to do what's right. Sometimes, if something is too easy, I end up wondering if it's the right thing to do. I know God can make a way and make it go smooth, I don't want to say anything that might hint that God is not sovereign, 'cause He is. But if I am questioning what I'm doing, and it is super easy, I might sit down and evaluate it again to make sure it's lined up with God's word.

The second part of that verse is what I want to focus on "...will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." Once you're done suffering, God himself will restore you, he'll bring you back to full, set you right and stand you back on your feet. He'll restore your strength, help you to stand firm and steadfast. I love that word, steadfast; it means unwavering. I can see that happening in me; I've suffered, I don't think I'm done suffering, it'll be hard for a while. I'm in good spirits, but that's not because things are a piece of cake, it's because of Christ in me, enabling me to keep my spirits up.

Psalm 147:3 supports this promise "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Jesus has power, Jesus saves, and continues to protect us, and restore us. That's why today's hymn is "All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name"

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel's race,
ye ransomed from the Fall,
hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget
the wormwood and the gall,
go spread your trophies at His feet,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Go spread your trophies at His feet,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every kindred, every tribe
on this terrestrial ball,
to Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all.
To Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all.

(Alternate wording to the above verse)
Let every tribe and every tongue
before Him prostrate fall
And shout in universal song
the crownèd Lord of all.
And shout in universal song
the crownèd Lord of all.

O that with yonder sacred throng
we at His feet may fall!
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Will They Know Me?

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." 1John 3:18-20

I really hate it when I do stuff like this. I don't know why I was so frustrated yesterday, but I was, and I tried not to take it out on my occupational therapist, but I think a bit of hostility broke through. Sure, it's understandable that I'm a bit frustrated, but for the most part, I'm really not all that angry. Look at yesterday's post, I think I am at peace with what's happened with my foot. Maybe it was because she was asking me to do things that I couldn't really do all that well with two feet, it could have been any number of reasons, but that doesn't excuse what I did yesterday.

So I decided to deal with it, but not how you might expect...I prayed that I would change my attitude.

I could tell that the number one reason I was angry and frustrated was my own doing. Last night, and this morning I kept repeating the phrase "Lord, change my attitude, make me more willing to work with her." And I think it worked. I ended up not having her today after all, but I was ready to.

I've found that quite often, the biggest problem we have in dealing with other people is our own, pride. Scripture speaks often on humility, and how to deal with others; we need to treat the needs of others at least as highly as we treat our own. (see Philippians 2:4) Galatians 5:19-21 tells us where anger, impurity, selfish ambition and a host of other bad attitudes and actions come from; our sinful nature. Verses 22 and 23 tell us how we ought to act, what should be coming out of a life that is sold out for Christ. The nice thing it that even if we mess up, we can ask for forgiveness, and I will. I've asked God to forgive my attitude, and if I see that therapist again, I'll ask her forgiveness. Asking forgiveness is tough, but it might be the one thing that is the most telling about who is truly the lord of your life.

My hymn for today is one I always thought of as a campfire song because we sang it around the campfire at summer camp all the time..."They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love"

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Week

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:11,12

Well, it's been a week. Pretty crazy to think how someone's life could so drastically change in just seven short days. To be honest, I'm truly struggling to decide if it's changed for better or worse. I know someone reading this is going to think I'm not being entirely truthful here, but if you've seen me in the last few days, I think you'd believe me.

I think it is a matter of perspective.

I'm not saying my life got easier, so if easier is your only criteria of something being better, we're not on the same page. I can't say it got easier, I mean I just lost a foot, but I still think it changed for the better. It used to be I was just cruising. Sure, I'd read my Bible most days, even pray most days too. I was even a missionary, that's a pretty good deal, right? I wish. I loved what I was doing, but at the same time I still didn't get it.

Don't get me wrong, I know I was at Coastlands because God put me there, and I wasn't doing it halfheartedly, it's not like I was when I was in high school. I was there and I loved it, and God enabled me to succeed at it, but I still was missing it. I needed more, I needed to step up even more. I was getting by, I was skating in my relationship with Christ, God wanted more.

God wanted more of me and wanted me to want more of Him. Well, you did it God. I want more of you, I want to give you more of me.

I love James 1:18 "But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." That's where I am now. I don't read my Bible because I feel I have to, I read because I want to, I pray because I want to, I strive to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit because I want to. Does that mean if we don't want to, we shouldn't? Absolutely not! Sometimes we're not going to feel like it, but we still should because the Bible tells us to. My hope would be that while you are doing it because you have to a bit of you wants to want to.

I'm getting a bit rambly so I'm going to share a hymn with you now..."Come Thou Fount"

1. Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

God Bless You!