Archive for April, 2010

I am reading the Pentateuch.  I started Deuteronomy last night.  As I read, I have noticed a few things.  The first one is that God has not changed!  His methods have not changed.  His requirements have not changed.  I never realized how many Old Testament characters believed in and served God outside of Israel and God’s covenant with Abraham.  Melchizidek, Job, even Balaam who fell prey to his own sinful desires.  As I recognize a separation between God’s dealings with mankind and God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and their descendants, I recognize a great harmony between the Old and New Testaments.  As I read Genesis, Exodus, (OK Leviticus creeped me out just a little, skin diseases, hair falling out, discharges….), Numbers and Deuteronomy I sensed the same God, the same message as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts or any of the epistles. 

One of the other, and more pertinent things to my current life was God’s dealings with Israel in the wilderness.  They were given the end of the story, but the path to get there was a moment by moment thing.  When the cloud/fire lifted they went.  When the cloud/fire settled they stayed put.  God was “a lamp unto their feet”.  He only provided enough information to get them to the next stop on the journey to the promised land.  It was enough to fray even Moses staunch faith in The Lord, just enough to cause him to strike a rock instead of speaking to it, just enough to keep him out of the promised land.  For the people it was too much.  They couldn’t wrap their minds around Hebrews 11:1

Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Of course they didn’t have that scripture but it was certainly what God was calling them to.  So every step of the way, they whined, they cried and when push came to shove and they faced the giants they failed.  Then they tried to fix it themselves and they failed again.  I can’t avoid the “Just In Time” information flow of the Holy Spirit but I pray that I can avoid the outcome that Israel experienced.  I have already spent enough time in the wilderness!  I have already felt the sting when I have stepped out of God’s timing.  I stand at the base of Mt. Horeb.  He has given me a vision of the promised land but the landscape between Horeb and Canaan is cluttered.  There are too many paths.  I am in a hurry.  I want the Trip-Tik or to have the Map Quest  page that gives me the route, ETA and potential tie ups along the way.  With each new development my mind races to figure out all the possible scenarios.  Sometimes it seems like the way gets foggier and foggier, until that moment when he parts the Red Sea or the walls of Jericho fall.  So here I wait for the cloud to lift and lead.  The camp is uncomfortable.  The enviroment stressful.  I am ready for the promised land but..

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6

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     Pivotal life moments stir the soul.  Mine has been stirred in so many ways over the past 9 months.  As I look back over that time I see God moving me more and more to total reliance on Him.  I am reading through Luke again and several verses jumped out at me.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”  Luke 12:25

And of course to follow this up I ended up in a Wednesday night class focused on Philippians 4.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…”

So what does this have to do with the wedding?  As I look at this pivotal event, I consider all that I have achieved or failed to achieve.  As I look at the lives of my siblings and the widely varying values that they hold dear, I feel  that desire to achieve and succeed stir in my heart.  It is not the urge to glorify God, though I am tempted to clothe it in that.  It is a desire to base my self worth in an external value system.  One that looks at outside achievement.  It is the stuff that traditions, expectations and pride are made of.  Whether it is look at my degree, or look at the beautiful facility we have, or see how musically skilled we are, it rejects the utter worthlessness of it all without God.  I can remember a time in my life when I was full of thoughts of all the things “I” was going to do for God.  It may have even crossed my mind of how much He needed me.

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out”   Luke 19:40

All at once a great statement of the utter worthiness of Jesus to be praised and the absolute independence of God.  Guess what, what I can do for God does not depend on my education, my intellect, my musical skill (thank goodness) or any other quality that I possess.  It depends on God.  Anything that I can possibly do, he can raise up the stones to do.  I think of the wedding at Cana.  I wonder if the vintner was there to see Jesus in one moment of Deity surpass perhaps a lifetime of work and training.  Jesus has the best wine.  So does this mean the vintner should just hang it up and quit?  Does it mean that I despair of doing anything or just sit back and let God do it all because he can do it better… no it is the calm assurance that in Him I can do it better; it is joy that he lets me do for Him in spite of my flaws; it is in this assurance that Jesus’ words in Luke and Paul’s in Philippians takes take root and flourish. Be the vintner for God (okay make grape juice), be the manager for God, be the dishwasher for God but do what God calls you to, not what seems right in the eyes of men.  Micah said it aptly,

“He has showed you, O man what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (4:8)

So if the pivotal moments in your life lead you to question the path that God has placed you on, STOP IT.  Be still and let God be God.  What others value, what others achieve is between them and God.  Keeping Him at the CENTER of your life is between me (you) and God.  Daily disciplining myself to experience God’s Glory in my life becomes paramount.  Then comes the education, that He has for me; the ministry that He has for me; the job, that He has for me and the Peace and joy that comes with letting Him be God.  He is A LOT better at it than I am.  So daily I seek God.  He has set me on a path, in the dark with a lamp, so I can see just enough for my next step.  Let me be satisfied, let me be at peace.  Amen.

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The wedding

Well it’s done. I am a father in law. One step closer to being a grandpa. Of course it is one step closer to great grandparenthood for Tito and Tita (my parents). As I went through the various events associated with the wedding God spoke to me in so many ways. I certainly will not be able to cover everything that I want to in a single post (yes there will be a sequel). Time spent with my family is always thought provoking. When you add the amazing type of our relationship with Jesus that marriage is to all of the normal emotions and interactions of a wedding and wow.
God recently refocused me on my personal priorities with Exodus 21:5. God comes first, then wife and family follow. Everything else falls into place after that, especially myself. He had me seal the deal with a tangible symbol, the earring in my right ear that reminds me that “I love my master, I love my wife, I love my children and I will serve Him forever.”. I have chosen to give up permanently my freedom to serve God and my family. Being unusually stubborn and selfish, God called me to this tangible expression of my dedication. One that I see every morning. But in this case eternal servanthood is the most amazing freedom. This is the heart of the mystery of our relationship with Jesus and the mystery of Godly marriage. As I watched John and Julie exchange their vows the wonder of it filled me with joy. I pray Exodus 21:5 over my son daily. (the earring is wholly optional and not recommended unless you feel moved by God 🙂 ).

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     Big week this week!  Just enjoyed a wonderful Easter weekend with my family and at BCC.  As we worshipped and studied, God really spoke to me about some things that I had never considered.  Probably the biggest one was on Saturday.  We celebrate Good Friday.  We celebrate Easter.  What about Saturday,  sandwiched between the suffering of the greatest sacrifice ever made and the glory of the most magnificent triumph ever, past present or future. 

 How often do we find ourselves on Saturday.  That blank day between the suffering and triumph.  At least as we watch the events unfolding we can focus on the horror, the pain.  We can anticipate the miraculous escape, the triumphant turning of the tide as God magnificently brings the victory.  Then it doesn’t happen the way we want or expect.  The night falls,  a restless night, perhaps without sleep, certainly with disturbed dreams.  Then what about Saturday, what do we do.  The dawn rises but all we can see is Friday’s darkness.  The birds are singing but all we can hear are the screams and jeers of the crowd; the hammering of the nails; the moans of his mother; the pounding of our own heart.  What about Saturday.  What do we do?  What should we do?  Some will run.  Some will hide.  Some will lose faith and return to the life they had known before they felt the Master’s touch.  What should we do?  Yesterday Pastor Nate spoke of faith defined,

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

If Friday is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter Sunday; Saturday is Faith Saturday.  Saturday is when we remember His Word.  Saturday is when we remember His touch.  On Saturday the fellowship of our brother’s and sister’s in Christ becomes paramount.  On Saturday we cry out to God.  On Saturday we worship, we cry, we hurt, we heal…inspite of ourselves.  On Saturday we grow and mature as on no other day.  Perhaps that is why Saturday is in God’s plan for us.  I have experienced a few Saturday’s in my life.  Some I am still experiencing.  While the Sunday mornings are great!  It is the Saturday’s that draw me close to God and close to God’s people.  It is in the midst of Saturday the I make strides towards Phillipians 2.  It is on Saturday that God makes those subtle changes in me that draw my spirit, soul and body closer to having His attitude and His values and to truly having His love.  It is on Saturday that we practice Hebrews 11:1 like no other day.  Do we trust the promise?  Are we certain of our hope?  I say in the midst of it all with Joshua,

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

 Are you in the midst of Saturday?  Be certain Sunday morning is coming, and when it does the most miraculous thing, the most miraculous change will not be in the situation that you are experiencing, it will be in YOU!

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