I don’t have a reference for this since it was posted by someone I know and she didn’t/wouldn’t openly share the name of the book it was from. I was super concerned after reading it, but I was having trouble articulating exactly why.
Check it out:
3. Do Things You Love
When you constantly deny yourself the people, food, things, and experiences that make you feel the most alive, that sends a pretty lousy message home. Look at your life and see where you’re letting yourself down If you hear yourself saying things like “I love going out to see live music! I can’t remember the last time I did it,” make time.
We’re all busy, but it’s the people who make enjoying their lives a priority who, um, enjoy their lives. Right now, there are thousands of people all over the world at yoga retreats overlooking the ocean, dancing their booties off at outdoor music festivals or whooping it up on the Disney Cruise of their dreams. Really listen to how you speak and pay attention to what you do, and make a conscious effort to increase your joy in whatever capacity you can. It can be anything from spending a weekday afternoon with a great friend to quitting your hateful job to buying a pair of completely impractical but completely awesome new shoes to going on a surf vacation in Costa Rica. It’s about being proactive about creating a life you love instead of meekly living the one you think you’re stuck with. Give yourself the gift of a joyous life while you’re still among the living.
I’ve read it a number of times now, and I think my biggest issue is that there are so many half truths laced into this whole philosophy of life. Do I have a problem with being happy? No!!! I love to laugh. (picture me floating and having a tea party with friends on the ceiling) (Mary Poppins for those of you who don’t get the reference) I love to be happy and to help other people be happy to. I like to make other people laugh and I always hope they are enjoying themselves when we’re together. I love to host events or parties where people have fun.
Why would this excerpt concern me then? I guess the first half truth is that people who make enjoying their life a priority enjoy their lives. I know a lot of people who have set out to please themselves and find happiness who have found at the end that everything they’ve been chasing has been nothing but grasping at the wind.
Ecclesiastes 2New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Futility of Pleasure and Possessions
2 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. 2 I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” 3 I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. 4 I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; 5 I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; 6 I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8 Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.
9 Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. 11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
The second half truth is that pleasing yourself will increase your joy and happiness. I don’t know if it’s possible to find complete joy without doing what you were created for. Joy will come when you find out what God created you for. We have all heard the generalities of being created to worship or to spread the gospel, but I mean beyond that. finding what He has created you for will bring lasting joy, not a yoga class or a cruise.
If we keep searching for moments to bring us happiness and joy, then when those moments pass, where will we be left? We’ll be searching for the next moment. I’ve had quite a few moments lately where I’ve looked around at the mission God has given me here in Michigan, the family he has given me, and the home, friends, and people I work with and I’ve realized just how content I am with life. I’ve tried to figure out which of these things bring that feeling most. I have figured out that being the Husband God has called me to be makes me feel that way. Being the Father God has called me to be makes me feel that way. Being the minister God has called me to be brings that feeling. Overall, following God’s plan for my life brings me the most joy, peace, contentment, and love that I could ever imagine. I’ve tried to gain these things on my own, but only when I found God’s plan for these different areas in my life did I find true Joy. Am I happy? Yes! Is it based on the things I’ve found and attained on my own? No! Only when I found the plan my Creator had for me did I find what I couldn’t get by making “enjoying my life a priority.”
I have seen some very cool birth announcements. I like the ones where they show the different shoes next to baby shoes, or when they put a big brother or sister shirt on the soon to be older brother or sister. There are some very creative ideas out there. I must admit, when we announced Madelyn’s upcoming birth we had a great idea in our minds, but it didn’t come out quite as cool as I expected. We used Christmas stockings and a Christmas tree. We had to set it up and decorate it in April, but we did it. We made a little pink stocking to represent Madelyn’s approaching arrival, but also that she was a Madelyn and not a ……(not sure what a boy would have been named). It was fun. There are so many ideas out there that I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of the new and fun creative ways of announcing a new baby. I don’t know what they did throughout history to make the announcement, but I think the idea of doing something big and cool is definitely a God thing I mean, He used an Angelic Choir for goodness sake. He had a star shine just right in the sky to lead 3 kings to come for the babies 3rd Birthday. I mean, He went all out.
The story of that First Christmas, the birth of Christ, is often told. It has been told in film, in written version, as a story around a fireplace. Our family always reads it on Christmas morning before we pray and exchange gifts. It is an amazing story. We always remember the angels, the manger, the innkeeper, and of course Mary, Joseph, and the Baby…THE Baby. We mention the Shepherds in passing most of the time, but is there more significance to the fact that Christ’s birth was announced by the greatest choir of all time to the lowliest profession in that time and area?
I had a supervisor at a previous job who also owned sheep. He used to tell me stories of how mean, dumb, and dirty they were. It made sense that after working with them, he was often in need of a good cleaning himself. These dirty guys, hanging out on a hillside were the ones who received the greatest announcement of al time from the most amazing heralds of all time. I have to believe that is significant.
Christ is called our Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14). If you look throughout scripture the word shepherd is used over and over to describe His relationship to us. An article “Shepherds” By Anthony D. Palma on www.ag.org lists these distinctive types of Shepherd comparisons for Chrit. In Matthew’s quotation from Micah 5, Jesus is called the one “who will shepherd My people Israel” (2:6*). the Lamb “shall be their shepherd [literally, ‘shall shepherd them’], and shall guide them to springs of the water of life” (Rev 7:17). Jesus is further called the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20) and the One Shepherd (John 10:16; cf., Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24). Peter called him the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4); one writer suggests the translation is“Master-Shepherd.”
The Great News of Christ’s birth was brought to shepherds who chose to
respond, to worship, and to share that news with the whole countryside. The news was given to people who instinctively reacted to it the way Christ reacts to His flock and the way He has called His disciples to react to the news of His death and resurrection. He told Peter that day on the beach, “Feed My Sheep.”
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6 NIV) We are like sheep in how we act. We are like sheep in how we wander and need guidance. The Greatest Message of all time from the most Magnificent Heralds of all time was brought to the lowliest people of that time, because we needed to know what Christ has in store for us. We need to know that He will keep us from want; lead us beside still waters; prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies; and He will annount our heads with oil. We have a dwelling that is eternal and prepared for us in the House of our Lord. He is My Shepherd.
Wow, what a crazy and fun week. I’ve had some time to look back and reflect on the journey to where we are today, but not much. As I write this we only need 5 people to give $15/month and we will have reached our 75% goal before deadline. Wow. The way things have been going, that may actually change before I finish this blog. It has been a miracle after miracle kind of month.
Lindsay and I had about 50% of our budget raised and we talked about how we were going to show God that we appreciated what He was doing to help us. We obviously tithe on everything we earn and even up to the gross, not the net. That’s a given if you are a Christian. Yes, God can get money from the mouth of a fish, but He won’t need to if we do what He has asked us to. We decided that as we reach each 20% mile marker we need to give $20/month to another missionary who is trying to raise their own budget. Well, we had passed 40% and decided to add 2 missionaries that we knew personally. Once we did that, our increase came in at crazy speeds and from unforeseen places. God was proving all sorts of things to us and really just blessing us like crazy.
We had a deadline to reach 60% and we finally blew past that and hit 65%. Wow, we were going into camp season and summer and everything else that brings and were just so happy to have gotten there. We were given a 3 month extension to reach 75%. Ok, that seemed doable at the rate everything was happening. Well, summer was decent with a few people joining our support team, but it wasn’t what we were needing. We were 40 days from our deadline and we posted that we needed 40 people to do $15/month to reach our goal by deadline.
Sadly, we had taken a little too much time to decide who that 3rd missionary we were going to add was. Not that we did it on purpose, but we had just been very busy and distracted and very stressed. One day about 20 days out, I messaged Lindsay about a particular missionary. She laughed because she was looking at their facebook page at that very moment. Ok, no questions, we added them that day.
So, we were leaving for General Council still sitting at 66% and in need of a miracle. We had just added that 3rd missionary and wow, God began to do some amazing things. In a week where I wasn’t able to really do much as far as support raising God increased our support by about $200. Talk about 10 times return on investment. It hasn’t stopped either. We are now 9 days away from our deadline and only need $75/month more. That’s a miracle. God has done a miracle for us.
Why do I call it a miracle…because I’m not very good at raising support. Trust me, there’s plenty of proof to support that statement. In spite of me, God has provided. He told me He would provide for our budget through prayer and it is working. He is doing it.
Now, some would say that I’m saying I give so I can get from God. No, I give out of obedience. I give, because He has commanded me to give. I give, because the more I get to know Him I love and trust Him all that much more. I find pleasure in giving regardless of what comes in for us. During the tough times when we were struggling and there was no increase (we’ve had months and months of that), we continued to give because there is no other option. Not giving our tithe and now our missions faith promises is not an option. I can cut out amenities before I cut out giving, because He can provide for me better on 10% income(which He did) than I can provide for myself on 100%.
Lindsay and I are humbled by every gift given to us. We are humbled by the $5 and the $250. They are the same to God who requires equal sacrifice not equal gifts. We have decided that as time goes on and we pass the 100% mark we will work towards a different goal. Our finances will look like this. We will tithe our 10% on the gross. We will give 10% to missions, and we will put 10% in some sort of savings/retirement. If we can learn to live on the 70% then as God increases not only will we be able to increase for ourselves some nice things, but we will be able to increase our giving. At current numbers and depending upon our Faith Promise amount for each missionary we will be able to support at least 20 missionaries personally and hopefully more. As God increases for us, maybe we can just give them each a raise every year. How awesome would that be?
That’s just how we do it and the journey we are on. I wish I had all sorts of Bible verses to support these things. I know there are some, and as I learn more about Biblical giving I will possibly change some of the things we do and how we do them, but right now, I’m so excited about being able to give back to God. He is fun to give to, because He can always do crazy things with what little we give to Him.
So, we have a new found fascination with cupcakes. Â By we, I mean all of America. Â So, as it happens, I have stumbled upon 3 Cupcake War winners and one Last Cake Standing Winner. Â All I have to say is…well, I have a lot to say so keep reading.
Here is an amateur’s review:
Suger High – Frankenmuth, MI
Lindsay and I were able to go to Frankenmuth for my Birthday this past June. Â We had lunch with her parents and then decided to walk a little bit. Â We came across Sugar High. Â It was hot outside and we had the baby so we stepped in. Â It was a very neat little place that sold cupcakes as well as fun littleÂ tchotchkes. Â We didn’t stay, but I did notice that it had a sign up saying they had won the Ninja Turtle Cupcake War. Â We walked around a bit and then I just had to go back. Â We bought one cupcake and decided to split it and call it my birthday cake.
WOW!!! Â It was very good. Â Lindsay and I both decided it was the best cupcake we had ever had. Â It was a Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake and it was amazing. Â We waited until we were home and each grabbed a fork and shared it while watching a movie. Â By the time we were done we were sad that we had only purchased one. Â It was delicious. Â Great flavor and texture. Â Loved it.
We are very glad we only live 40 minutes from this place.
The Cupcake Cowgirls – Spring, TX
Well, this was our second run in with a Cupcake War winner and we were excited. Â We stopped and each of us chose one cupcake. Â My mother chose 4 to share with the rest of the family that was coming, but I hid ours so we could try them later. Â When everyone was gone, we each decided to try our choice. Â The cake was very good and the flavor of the frosting was good, but the texture left a lot to be desired. Â (FOR US). Â You may love these cupcakes, but I had trouble getting past the whipped buttercream frosting. Â It was a very soft whipped type frosting that had a good taste, but just didn’t have that cupcake feel in my mouth. Â I did finish them, but almost like eating a spoonful of Cool Whip, I felt like I needed something else to really complete them.
You may like this type of frosting so this place might be perfect for you, but I probably won’t buy anymore from there.
Sweet by Good Golly Miss Holly – Orlando, FL
Now, this one I searched out. Â I decided that if I was going to be in Orlando for a week I wanted to see if there were any Cupcake War Winners there. Â Turns out, this place won 3 times. Â Kinda awesome feat if you ask me. Â So, I had forgotten about this place and Lindsay mentioned a cupcake place somewhere close by our hotel. Â It jogged my memory so I took my nephew Adam and left my niece Brianna, Lindsay, and Madelyn at the hotel; and we booked it to this place which was 20 minutes away.
Brianna chose the Blackout Cupcake, Adam chose the S’Mores Cupcake (it was National S’Mores Day), Lindsay chose the Boston Cream Pie Cupcake, and I chose the Peanut Butter Cup, Whiteout, and S’Mores Cupcakes. Â I knew I’d bring 2 of them home so we could enjoy them over the next couple days. Â In fact, the last part of the Whiteout one is in my fridge right now.
We all enjoyed our cupcakes. Â Time Out:::::We all loved our cupcakes. Â I would say the cupcakes I tried were the best I’ve ever had. Â They were perfect. Â Delicious, great texture, amazing flavors, and perfect size for sharing. Â I’m already looking forward to going back in 2 years for the next General Council. Â They were amazing. Â I really don’t have much more to say about them, because you will have to try one for yourself. Â That’s the only way you’ll get it.
Cake Nouveau – Ann Arbor, MI
Unfortunately I have never had one of their cakes. Â My wife saw the owner on Last Cake Standing and mentioned that she had gone to school with Lindsay’s older brother. Â I like connections, so I insisted we stop by one day as we passed near there. Â We walked in and they did not have any cupcakes or other cakes, for that matter, available. Â There were some truffles and cookies. Â We bought some, and even a couple flavors I wasn’t thrilled with…until I tried them. Â Oh My!!!!! Â If their cakes and cupcakes are even close to as good as what I tried from there that day then this place is my winner. Â I’m already planning to get a cake from them for Madelyn’s First Birthday in December. Â This is, so far, my bakery of choice. Â The talent, artistry, and downright great taste of their stuff blew me away. Â If you are in Ann Arbor, you must find them and try them. Â You will not be disappointed.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Â I know you didn’t enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed researching it. Â Hopefully there will be more entries in the future.
So, I hate having to put stuff out there that says, this is our deadline and we’re sunk if we don’t meet it without giving a little (or a lot) of clarity. So, if you are at all interested in the process, here it is.
As a Nationally Appointed U.S. Missionary with the Assemblies of God I had to go through a process to sit here today. Lindsay and I each had to take multiple hundred question tests and fill out applications and learn to juggle while standing on our heads and balancing baby elephants on our feet. Ok, not all of that is true. The application was a little shorter. Anyway, I qualified for this national appointment, because I went to school and took some tests and was ordained with the Assemblies of God. All things that took years to accomplish. National appointment allows me to have access to Speed the Light funds and BGMC funds at some point in the future and it allows me to have a reasonable salary to live on which includes some necessary benefits like insurance and retirement. Yes, I have to raise all of that as a part of my budget, but at least it is afforded to me.
Now that we have cleared that up, I have been given certain deadlines to hit certain percentages of my budget. I am supposed to be doing nothing but raising that budget until I reach 100%. Admittedly, I have probably done more on the ministry side of things than I should have which has slowed me down a bit, but has also just given me a greater passion to reach the schools here in Michigan.
Up until this year, U.S. Missionaries have had a much looser road to their 100%. I have had some even tell me that it won’t be a big deal and they haven’t ever hit 100% and they’ve been on the field for 7-8 years. Ok, so that gave me some preconceptions about how this whole thing would work. Well, U.S. Missions has decided (rightfully so) that they will not be taking a loose attitude with budgets anymore. The budget has been set, because we have a mission and this is the budget we need to most effectively succeed in our mission. I’m glad the change is here, just was hoping I’d maybe squeak by a little. I didn’t.
SO HERE’S MY PART OF THE STORY:
I received a call saying that if I did not reach 60% by the beginning of March I would have my National Appointment pulled and would be given Missionary Associate status. (This would cut my salary in half and take away all my benefits.) Missionary Associate status is not an option for us. We would have had to start sending out resumes to find employment. So, when I said I needed to reach my deadline I was actually serious. Due to some circumstances outside of anyone’s control the National Office gave me some grace because I had 2 large events still to attend and those would possibly help me reach that goal.
I did reach the goal and Praise God we are now on our way to the next goal. This one is a much shorter time period (September 1st to reach 75%), but if we reach this one we will be given a six month extension to complete the initial fundraising portion of our ministry.
So, the deadline was a hard and fast deadline with real consequences for not succeeding. I am grateful to the Assemblies of God U.S. Missions department for the grace they were able to afford me, and I pray that we won’t even come close to missing a deadline again.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support. We “got by with a little help from our friends.” and we appreciate that immensely. THANK YOU!!!
I want to do something Extra Ordinary. I want to go farther than I ever have and achieve more than I can imagine. I’ve been reading over the past few weeks of people who have achieved Extraordinary things. I watched last night as Angela Miller (Angie) sang and blew away the judges, the audience, and the competition on American Idol. It’s amazing that a single person can gain so much notoriety and fame in a short amount of time. I’m amazed with the number of people who can go out on a ball court or field and do things that are ESPN Top 10 worthy. People are capable of achieving the extraordinary.
I’ve read about and seen news about the Boston Marathon bombers. They achieved something extraordinary, just not in a good way. People al over the world do some horrific things that are quite extraordinary and not at all praise worthy. Apartheid, mass killings in Somalia, Hitler, world wide crime and poverty are all things that are extraordinary, or are they?
Very unusual or remarkable.
uncommon – unusual – singular – remarkable – exceptional
These things are not at all very unusual. There isn’t a city I can think of where there aren’t homeless and broken people. There isn’t a country that doesn’t have crime at every level of it’s class system. (Yes we all live in a class system, even if it’s ignored) These things aren’t even always remarkable because we largely ignore them and pretend we don’t see the pain.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO TRULY BE EXTRAORDINARY?????
Live like Christ. He was the direct opposite of the culture around Him. I’ve realized just how much of the culture I’ve allowed in my life as I watch TV with my Baby Girl in the room. Do I want her to see all the crime scenes? Do I want those images to be common place in her mind? Do I want her to have a worldview that is Biblical or dictated by ratings? Christ is Life, the rest is details: was what my t-shirt said back in the day. I want Madelyn to Seek out the HOLY and not what culture tells her to seek out.
In a world where we are called intolerant for saying that sin is sin, I have a question: Is being intolerant bad? When you cut your hand or leg and it gets germs in it, don’t you want your body to be intolerant to infection? When you drop your child off at a daycare or school; don’t you want them to be intolerant when it comes to hiring sex offenders, or is it ok to just hire one? When someone tries to hurt your family, friends, loved ones, won’t you be intolerant and attempt to stop that?
I love the people of this planet. I believe that sin is going to kill people(Romans 3:23). Shouldn’t I be intolerant of that sin and do everything I can to help stop the infection in our society? I DON’T HAVE TO BE UNLOVING TO BE INTOLERANT!!! I’m not unloving when I stop someone from robbing you. I’m not unloving when I don’t hire a pedophile to work with children. I’m not unloving when I tell you that sin will take your life. In fact, it’s the only way I know to truly be extraordinary.
As I write this my wife and I are about to have our first child. That fact neither adds to or distinguishes the reason for mourning over and above anyone else’s reason. We all should mourn the terrible loss of life and innocence in Connecticut today. The feeling in the pit of my stomach reminded me of that day 11 years ago when I heard about the towers. An incredible sick and sinking feeling. How could this be happening? How could such a terrible thing happen? Why would someone do this?
There are no answers that will ever satisfy. They can come up with the events that led to today or they can figure out why this individual was so out of his mind that he would turn a weapon on innocent children, but there will never be a real answer to why it happened except that we live in a broken world. Our world is spinning in chaos on every continent. Every neighborhood, city, state and country needs truth. Every person needs to hear that there is an answer to the questions we can’t seem to find an answer to. It seems very cliche to say that Jesus is the answer. The truth is, He is the answer, but how will the people who are asking the questions ever know that unless we share.
There are people who will struggle with responsibility for years to come. Parents who made their child go to school when they didn’t want to. Teachers who sent a student to the office. Family members who should have seen the signs. The responsibility falls on every one of us. We need to see the people around us, really see them. We all need to look for ways to help someone who may not know how to deal with their situation. We need to intentionally seek out opportunities to love our neighbor. I don’t ever want to be the person in the story who could have made a difference if I had just been paying attention.
There are families who will be struggling to make sense of this. Husbands and wives will be pulled apart by their own grief and not knowing how to console each other. Children who will be sleeping in alone in a room they used to share will be filled with fear because they can’t hear the breathing of their brother or sister. We all have a responsibility. Pray. Seek out a chance to minister and love someone today. Pray that the churches, pastors, leaders, and people in that community can somehow help keep things together.
Everyone has a story. If God gives us an opportunity, we all need to be a good chapter, a turning point, in someone else’s story. We can’t see the end, but we don’t have to. We need to get involved before it’s too late to help.
I learned quite a bit last week about Godâs schedule. As things were falling apart around me I took a few minutes to pray. In the middle of the DTW I found the prayer chapel and just fell on my face. I didnât even want to take the trip anymore, but after those few moments with God He began to move. I know you all were praying, because things began to happen in force. Meetings and contacts that I never could have imagined sprung up. I ended up in a meeting with all the Sectional Youth Reps for the Southern New England Ministry Network. I met with some people who just âget itâ when it comes to the ministry of Youth Alive. It really did end up being a great week. The only flight that was not delayed was the return flight from Boston to Detroit. That was the one that had me waiting for 3+ hours before flying back to Midland. So, I still landed 30 minutes late but Iâm home. Praise the Lord.
As I was reading in Genesis I began to see some things about stories that Iâve mostly just glossed over since I was a kid. I mean, I had seen the flannel graph how much more could there be to them? Well, in the story about Abraham and Isaac climbing the mountain to sacrifice to the Lord a bunch of things popped out to me.
1. Abraham was asked to sacrifice something he loved more than anything.
a. Isaac was promised from God.
b. Isaac was his legacy
c. Isaac was his son
d. He had waited 100 years for Isaac
2. They climbed the mountain
a. Abraham didnât just say ok and then God said just kidding. He had to put action to the sactifice.
b. Abraham had to fight through what he âfeltâ to obey God. (i.e. âI just donât feel called to thatâ¦â)
c. Abraham was prepared to go all the way because he had faith that God would keep His promise one way or another.
3. They built the altar and prepared to sacrifice.
4. Abraham heard from God
a. While he was going about the business of Sacrifice he was able to hear Godâs voice.
b. His obedience showed that he would listen to God
5. God provided a sacrifice.
a. Through that ram God provided a physical sacrifice
b. He provided the promise of nations through Isaac
c. He provided the son Abraham thought he was losing (second time God gave Isaac to him)
d. The mountain is still today called âthe Mountain of Godâs Provision.â
When we make the sacrifice and follow through God will bring the provision. Sometimes when we think weâre in a valley, we are really on the top of the mountain, but we are procrastinating the building of the altar and preparing of the sacrifice. We know God has called us to make a sacrifice, but we donât want to follow through. We complain about not hearing His voice, but sometimes we wonât hear until He knows weâll be obedient. Have you climbed the mountain today, but not followed through on the sacrifice? You will hear from God and receive His provision when you are obedient to His calling. His calling is never for our glorification. It is four our sacrifice so He can be glorified.
When Lindsay and I came to Michigan we made a lot of sacrifices. We left people we loved. We left a house we loved. We left financial security. We sacrificed all of this because we knew God was calling. Weâve climbed the mountain. We built the altar. God has been faithful to provide people who have supported us and gone over and above. He has provided financial miracles and brought support from places we werenât even looking. We are so thankful that people have heard from God and helped us. We know we have more mountains to climb and more sacrifices of our own desires to make. We also know that wherever we build that altar will be the Mountain of Godâs Provision. Thank you for your support, prayer, and love.
So, I was praying this morning. I love saying that. It makes me feel great knowing that I took some time in my Secret Place (Matthew 6:6) with my Creator. I wish I did so much more than I do.
Toward the end of my time with Him, I asked Him exactly what He wanted to say to Livingston First Assembly on Sunday. He gave me a scripture that I pulled up on my computer to research when I was finished. That in and of itself was awesome and amazing, but that’s not “the rest of the story”.
I had a song in my mind all morning and even from yesterday. I had thought about searching it on Spotify and it was the song listed on my iPod to play next, but I decided just to let things play on Spotify and not try to fabricate an emotion or experience because of a particular song. I’m not big on emotionalism in worship and prayer. I want real, and I know that doesn’t always happen because of emotions. I felt like God was being very clear to me on so many levels today so I was loving that just conversational connection with my Father, My Savior, and the Holy Spirit. I sometimes deny my emotions so as not to falsify an experience or have it be all about me. I had even turned the music all the way down so I wasn’t distracted Pokies.
I decided to turn the music back up and just worship for a little while before continuing my study. Within seconds the song One Thing Remains(the song I had been wanting to play all morning) started to play on Spotify. I couldn’t deny any emotions after that. It was like God was saying that He wanted to bless me and communicate with me on every level today. He has a way of enveloping me in His love. I felt this morning like He was wrapping me up and holding me. It was awesome. He explained to me that He wanted a very real relationship with me too, but this real relationship will be on every level if I will allow it to be. You have to go listen to the song to understand just what God was trying to say.
I can’t shut Him out on certain levels and expect that He will talk to me just on His terms. I think we do this with God a lot. I think we do it with each other too. I don’t have any complete answers and I don’t know if I can build any huge spiritual teachings out of this, but I know He spoke to me.
I don’t always share super personal times like this, but I just kinda felt like it today. Celebrate with me that God takes time to speak to the least of us. Truly humbled this morning.
My thoughts on James 1:11 This is only the beginning of what one verse can truly mean. Scripture is so powerful. I reference James 1:9-11. Open your Bible and read it first.
He who dies with the most toys, still dies. I remember seeing the bumper sticker he who dies with the most toys wins. What do they win? They still have the same fate to face as the person who died with not one luxury. In the end the things we have don’t matter. Only a screwed up individual would ask for his 75″ tv at his death bed. Life happens and death happens. Only what’s done in the spiritual will last beyond the dash.
They rich man and the poor man are equalized by their trials (MacArthur). The trials that we are to rejoice in are what erase the distance between the rich man and the poor man. I love the word picture of graceful countenance. I can picture a garden drying up and becoming colorless. That’s how we need to see our stuff. It’s nice for now, but there is no need for it in our relationship with God. I like how the meanings of the word take you from the larger picture to the individual picture. The garden/field/grass/plants will dry up. The blossom with it’s graceful countenance will fall off and die. We can’t just think of this as meant for someone else. The wording is a direct challenge to each of us individually. How do we set our priorities? We need to count our trials as joy, because they get deeper than what’s on the surface and remind us that before God we are all the same. Before God our wealth and success don’t matter. It’s not like when we stand before God all that stuff will be in boxes and suitcases ready to be brought up to our new mansion. None of it goes with us.
I have this picture of me standing before God with these strings attached to the back of me. To my head and back and legs. It’s hard to move closer to Him because all these things weigh me back and pull on me, but the can’t come beyond that invisible separation between Earth and Heaven. So I’m standing there and these things are pulling me backward instead of me moving closer to God. I need God to cut these tethers so I can move into Heaven. I can literally feel the scripture that it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom then a camel through the eye of the needle. I don’t want to wait until I’m standing before God to have these tethers cut off of me. God, please cut them now. Please help me release them and rejoice in my trials because they help me stand before you with humility and honesty. God, I can’t find glory in what I gain on this earth. It’s all just wind (Ecclesiastes). I can’t hold on to it anymore than I can to the wind. God, please un-tether me today, so I can fall forward on my face in your presence rather than being pulled back into the world.