Keeping Up The Fight

It can be hard to keep fighting, especially when it feels as if the odds are stacked against you. There’s a little part of us that wants to lie down and just hope that the difficulties we face will blow over on their own. Not so. We need to keep at it, encuraging ourselves to fight for what matters and not allow ourselves the false security of sleep.

Rest, of course, is crucial element, but true rest — rest of mind and heart as well as of body. That sort of rest is rejuvenating, enabling us to get up and continue. Laziness stays down, and many times never truly rests, but simply lounges. Vision and direction rise up and keep forging ahead and taking new ground.

I need to keep moving. I need to stay awake

New Places, New Beginnings

It’s remarkable to consider all of the ways that this past year has been unpredictable. The only constant is change, they say, and that’s especially been true for us. I guess things have finally begun to calm down, prompting me to reflect and consider more fully what I value most and what I really want my life to look like.

It’s easy when you’re coming and going to never truly engage and really dig deep where you are. Now that things have had the opportunity to settle down, I think it’s time to make the life I want to live begin right now. Of course that doesn’t mean that I’m to force the process along, but sometimes we need to be active in order to enter into the things we’re meant to.

I really hope that God shows me how to walk with all the responsibilities I have in a way that satisfies and succeeds all of the goals that I should meet. I’ll just trust that He is the one who knows best, and who knows what steps I should really be taking and what relationships should be deepened.

New Year, New Things

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

Reset.

This year is going to be different than previous years. Everything we hold dear may be shaken but that does not mean that we will lose what is truly valuable. Shaking can reveal the foundation beneath the above-ground things we see, for better or for worse.

When all is revealed are we exposed or are we recognized? Would you expect to hear a howl of shame or shout of celebration when the hidden is made public?

Clearing can make way for new beginnings.

We are in Colorado. What to expect?

A Call to Holiness

The call to Christ is a revolutionary call to holiness.

I have begun to see how much we live in a culture that is contrary to the life Jesus demands of us.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:3-4

When I consign myself to remember that my culture is at enmity with God it really helps me.

This means:

  • The average movie is not acceptable for me to watch
  • The average level of modesty is not acceptable
  • The average food is not acceptable for me to eat

The call of Jesus is not to be average or to be acceptable to the world. How can expect to see change in the world if we are average? Being different for good reasons yields good things. I would prefer to be healthy and holy than acceptable to the world.

I should not be surprised if there are a lot of things I cannot do. I should focus on God and focus on the things He gives me.

I would prefer to enjoy Jesus with clean hands than enjoy a world which is passing.

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.

Isaiah 40:6-7

Our God is a God of salvation

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished; your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host: “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!” Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death. Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.

Excerpts taken from Psalm 68

Our God is a God of salvation, and he is unstoppable.

His heart is to protect and defend the helpless, the weak, the broken-hearted and those who can “help themselves”

He is strong. He is mighty to interrupt the status quo and redefine “the way things are.”

He plays by his own rules. He supercedes the “laws” of bondage, sin and death. He breaks chains. He utters “life” and men rise from ashes.

He gives us beauty for our ugliness; wholeness for our inadequacy. He fills where we are empty.

We abandon ourselves to be adopted. We release our hopes to receive the hope of the world.

Open yourself to a holy invasion — surrender.

Lessons In Discipline

Recently I’ve been reapplying myself to the practice of discipline, namely in the area of Bible reading.

Traditionally I have the tendency to perform things when I feel like it, and it’s not all wrong, and it’s not always in neglect of the things I need to do. Recently, however, I’ve been encouraged to make myself some disciplines so I can have them in my life with consistency. Reading the Bible, for one, is a spiritual activity that affects my life more than I can even imagine. Investing myself in Bible reading as a discipline has led me to read much more lately than I ever have, and it has awakened in me a hunger and desire for even more.

It stems partly from the “Thrive” class I took at City Bible Church. There Marc Estes encouraged us to pursue the things of the spirit as a discipline, and he mentioned a series of events which leads me to think more about this. He said that thoughts lead to feelings, and feelings lead to actions. If this is true, I also think that actions can fuel our thoughts, which effectively completes the cycle. So if I invest myself in actions, then it causes me to spend more time thinking upon what I invest in, which may in turn affect my feelings, which may actually make me want to.

While most people may wait until they want to do something before doing it, doing something can actually create in us the desire to actually want it.

When it comes to reading my Bible, or praying, or spending focused time alone to speak with God and fellowship with Him, it is very important that I invest myself. If I do not feel up to pursuing these things or if I am not experiencing as great a desire as I need to have, then by pursuing them with actions before I have the desire, I can create that hunger which will enable me to move to the next level of pursuit.

That’s where I want to be.

Days Go By

Time progresses, and I’m left feeling like these moments feel so temporary. Days, weeks, years … they all seem so short when viewed behind me. It is very easy to lose myself in things I won’t remember or I won’t ever be proud of. Sure, it feels nice sometimes to “chill” and relax through each evening, but how proud am I of these moments as I reflect back on my life?

I don’t feel that worth is tied up in physical acheivement but I do believe that there is merit in being a good husband and a good father. I realize in times like now that it can be so simple to be average when I’m not nourished like I need to be and I don’t have a vision for being these things. A vision is so important to be successful in really feeling like I’m walking in being who I’m meant to be.

Recently I’ve been spending more time taking things more slowly, but in a different way than if I were inactive. The last few days we’ve listened to less music. I’ve spent more time working on making small improvements on the state of the living room, the dining room or the kitchen, and making sure to interact with Elisha and help show him what things are good for playing with and teaching him new skills and words.

I realize that so many decisions come from how I feel, and I need to apply myself more in diligently doing what I know I ought to. There’s a balance to it, and I want to find a place where I can improve our home, bring things in order, learn more and seek the Lord but in a way that isn’t rushed, stressed or unnecessarily uncomfortable. Instead, I want it to be uncomfortable only as fruits and vegetables are uncomfortable to a microwave diet — where the unfamiliar is the good, and the familiar is a derision from what is best in me. For these things, continued practice will change me, and change will help me gain a taste for things I should really have a taste for. Pursuing discipline for its own sake and embracing discomfort as some manner of virtue in itself is not wise, and may only lead to unpleasant, unhappy experience with little value.

I want to know the things that have value and exercise them, not think on them. I want to know and apply the things which matter the most. The goals of knowing God spiritually and blessing Deborah and Elisha physically place demands that I be of a certain mind and strength that I need to have. It requires that I think about the things I put into my body and exercise self control in how I apply my strength and about when I choose not to apply my strength. It means I need to be diligent but I must also be equipping my own needs so I have enough to offer them.

And that is why I want to read more and take things more slowly for the sake of pursuing things that matter most and not the things which threaten the quality of my time. I need to budget my time as well as all my resources.

Lord, help me to be used for what matters and to not be distracted. Help direct me in the things which equip me for my life and filter out the other pursuits which take away from you and my family. Thank you for this opportunity to be blessed with beautiful people in my family that I get to cherish every day. Help me dwell with my heart at home here, and with you.

A New Beginning

“Starting over” is a phrase which can feel overused, but are there times when you feel so refreshed or encouraged, its as if you’ve been given another chance?

In “Laughing Your Way To A Better Marriage,” Mark Gungor explained the reset button. He said no matter how much better his son was at video games, he liked that he could press the reset button and put them on a level playing field again. Obviously that might be a difficult circumstance from the son’s perspective, but sometimes all of us need the ability to restart and put things back they were before, and to return to where things were okay and fair.

I feel the need to take the time to refresh and restart more often, but luckily I have a wife and family that is really gracious and compassionate with me. I’m so fortunate to be married to such a wonderful and understanding woman!

Today, I just need to take a break. Tomorrow, I embark on lining up priorities and sketching out some vision.