Archive for February, 2018

Why

There is a common thread throughout all of my reasons.  That common thread is that I serve God because of who he is.  I serve God because he is amazing!  I serve God because he is unconditional.  I serve God because he is the perfect Father.  I serve God because he is personal.

The reality is that when we are asked “Why do you serve God?” or even “Why do you believe in God” people are too often looking for Janet Jackson faith, “What have you done for me lately”.  When we engage God on the basis of this type of faith it carries us far from the Hupomone faith of Scripture.  We are tossed on the waves of circumstance and appearance.  We become subject to the very thing that Paul warns about in Ephesians 4:14, As a result we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by the craftiness of scheming;

Joseph is a great example of a man whose faith relied not on the circumstances that he found himself in but in who God is.  Abraham followed the directions of God by faith in who God is.  Paul tells us that it was that faith that God recognized as righteousness.  This is a good thing because Abraham like so many of us slipped up on more than one occasion!  When Moses asked God who should I tell the Israelites you are, his answer was “‘I who I am; Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you'” Genesis3:14.  This is not to say that God does not remind us from time to time all that he has done from the creation of the world throughout the history of mankind (Psalm 106 for example). However when the rubber meets the road faith requires us to choose him, simply because he Is.  When we rely on circumstances and appearances our faith becomes mechanical.  We run the risk of falling into the trap of tradition that God condemns through Isaiah, “Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words, and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,…'” Isaiah 29:13

God wants us to love and serve him because of who he is.  He is not a gumball machine that we put our Quarter of Faith into and out pops the thing that we desire.  We need to desire him.  This has been a long learned lesson for me.  We are so invested in things and circumstances.  But what happens when things and circumstances go bad.  It is only when we serve him because of who he is that we can stand with Job and say:

“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him…” Job 13:15

Job understood that circumstances did not define his relationship with God.  His relationship with God was defined by who God is!  I serve God because he is God and because he is God I know who I am.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  Romans 8:15-17

 

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Why

The question was actually posed to me some time ago by a young German woman. I had befriended her and her husband in an online game that I was playing. She quickly became aware of my faith and one day as we chatted about life she abruptly posed this question.

Why do you serve God? What does he do for you?

My mind quickly went to all the theologically correct answers that I had learned over the years but quickly discarded them. First of all I don’t think her English was up to taking in a bunch of “Christianese” (and my German was certainly not up to conveying anything other than hello and thank you). Secondly my guess is that perhaps somewhere she had already heard the platitudes. She was looking for something more intimate, more personal. She really wanted to know , why did Sam Guidry (or Flamefanner as my gaming friends know me) choose to serve this god. I gave her an answer. I do not even recall what it was, however it set me to thinking and so I give you:

Five Reasons that I serve God: Personal

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.       Hebrews 4:15

We have reached reason number four.  Reason number one is that God consistently amazes me.  Number two is that he is unconditional.  I can count on him regardless of my circumstances.  Number three is that he lets me see myself as he sees me, not as the world would paint me or as circumstances color who I am.  The fifth reason is wrapped up in all of these.  He is not some distant being who manipulates the world around us and requires things of us.  He engages us, amazes us, impacts us and shows us how he sees us through the lens of Jesus Christ and all His wonderful promises.

How amazing it is to be personally engaged by an omniscient God.  He always knows just what I need even when I don’t.  I was recently looking at the Caring Bridge journal that I kept as we walked the journey of Allana’s Leukemia.  It was toward the end of her first course of chemotherapy.  Allana was at her weakest (until the bone marrow transplant treatments).   We had been battered by the brutal side effects of the chemo.  Allana had just lost her hair.  It was at this dark hour that an omniscient God engaged us in a most personal way through a young nurse.  This is not to make light of the incredible support and care that he provided through His people and directly through the ministry of the Holy Spirit but at this time, at this moment we needed something special.  I am guessing that that something special came through a young lady who may never know the place she holds in our hearts. I will let the Caringbridge post speak for itself.

The other was through a nurse, a young lady in the healing profession who stood over and for Allana tonight and prayed her heart out. The presence of God filled the room as she proclaimed healing and peace and blessing over Allana and myself. The uncontrollable tears that are for me a sign of a special stirring of the Holy Spirit (Lord anytime you can come up with a different sign for me I will really be ok with that!) came and I think all three of us just bathed in that presence. God truly directs the steps of His People and he directed her to be at the right place, at the right time and then used her to bless our socks off.

Today was a day of weariness, loss and some pain but more importantly today was a day that God reminded us….again…. that Leukemia has won nothing. The Victory is won and Jesus is His name.  Caringbridge, Allana Guidry January 25, 2013.

And yes, my eyes are full of tears again.  How can they not be when I have such a great God and Father who loves and cares for me in such a personal way?  While the circumstances may enhance the intensity of God’s personal intervention here, it is only one among a multitude of instances.  As Allana and I have moved along in our faith walk He has repeatedly engaged us in a deeply personal way that helped us to grow and mature in our faith (the great unconditional impacting the conditional).  Whether it was speaking the phrase “fan into flame” so deeply into our hearts or inspiring Allana to proclaim the “True Beauty in Christ” that is our true identity.  He has moved us to be in just the right places for the growth that we needed throughout our time together.  Separately he turned our hearts to Him at a time when we were both dealing with the repercussions of our own poor decisions before bringing us together, companions on the walk of faith.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

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As I sit here waiting for Allana’s last appointment here at The Clinic for some time, I am reflecting on God’s intervention in those early days of treatment. After a tumultuous first round of treatment at Flower Hospital where God intervened in a miraculous way, we were referred to the Cleveland Clinic.

Caring bridge Post 02/08/2013:

…This is not to say that Thursday morning went super smoothly, the keys to the rental car that my parents were driving ended up locked in the trunk right at the time that we were supposed to leave. But God had it under control, AAA arrived in record time and the hospital said they were able to shuffle things for us. He brought Jeff T and Larry B to our door on a prayer walk and they prayed for both Allana and I this brought us peace in this moment of turmoil. However neither of us had peace as to which way to go. I wanted
her admitted and the treatment started right away, but I knew it was out of fear NOT out of an understanding of God’s will.

Allana seemed to be strongly leaning towards delaying or even discontinuing treatment, especially if all the tests were clear. She so desperately wanted to stand on complete healing.

After the bone marrow test and the discussion with the doctor it was time for the rubber to hit the road.The doctor started to move on the assumption of admission and I stopped that and said we had a few questions.We asked our questions but they were really immaterial to the prayers of our spirits with the Holy Spirit for clarity and peace.

I waited for Allana to make her objection and prepared to engage the doctor for her, but she looked up and quietly said, “let’s do it”. I turned her head towards me and looked her in the eye, ” You don’t have to.It is YOUR decision.Are you sure?””I am sure.” she replied. Instantly the peace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit rolled over us. The outcome was what I had wanted all along but the path I had been headed on to get their was not going to bring the peace that I was desperate for, even though the end would have been the same; the road would have brought more fear and lessened my clarity with the Holy Spirit.

We do not serve a God who holds or a faith that promotes that the end justifies the means.  In fact I would suggest exactly the opposite is true.  Our faith in Jesus Christ is one where the means justifies the end. Paul tell’s the Philippians:

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; Philippians 1:27

The verse starts with Monon, only, alone.  This one thing do, Paul says.  It is not about the result.  That is in the hands of God.  It is about the means.  We can arrive at God’s intended result and be so far outside of His peace because we did not conduct ourselves worthy of the gospel of Christ, we did not walk according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4).

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Why

The question was actually posed to me some time ago by a young German woman. I had befriended her and her husband in an online game that I was playing. She quickly became aware of my faith and one day as we chatted about life she abruptly posed this question.

Why do you serve God? What does he do for you?

My mind quickly went to all the theologically correct answers that I had learned over the years but quickly discarded them. First of all I don’t think her English was up to taking in a bunch of “Christianese” (and my German was certainly not up to conveying anything other than hello and thank you). Secondly my guess is that perhaps somewhere she had already heard the platitudes. She was looking for something more intimate, more personal. She really wanted to know , why did Sam Guidry (or Flamefanner as my gaming friends know me) choose to serve this god. I gave her an answer. I do not even recall what it was, however it set me to thinking and so I give you:

Five Reasons that I serve God

Britt Nicole’s song Through Your Eyes summarizes this weeks reason.

‘Cause you stood right there
And then you broke apart the lies
You told me I had something beautiful inside
You brought to life the part of me I thought had died
‘Cause you stood right there until I saw me
I saw me through your eyes (saw me)
I saw me through your eyes (saw me)
I saw me through your eyes

God sees me through the divine lens of His Word not based on the shifting sands of my human condition.  Then he provides Scripture, His Written Word, and the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to the Truth that He sees.  In a world where our identity too often rests on the circumstances of our lives what a blessing it is to have an anchor of truth about who I am.  The cool thing is that this anchor isn’t the kind of anchor that holds me in one place battered by the waves and storms of life.  It is a “Sea Anchor” (sea an·chor- sē ˈaNGkər/noun/ an object dragged in the water from the bow of a boat in order to keep the bow pointing into the waves or to lessen leeway.)  No matter how bad the storm gets I can hold on to the promises of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to move forward, becoming more and more like Christ, maturing in my faith.  When the storms of life get rough we are so tempted to cut the line freeing ourselves from our anchor because the lie is “This anchor is driving you deeper into the storm where you will be destroyed.”  It seems that running before the storm letting it guide us with the wind and waves to our back is the better course of action.  Indeed it is the path of least resistance but that is not the path that we are called to.  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37.  Conquerors rise out of conflict.  They come through the storm not get driven before it.  No matter how bad it gets the anchor is always there and even if you do cut the line, even that is a lie.  We only have to reach out our hand in faith and it turns us back into the wind and back into His plan.

I am the well loved child of God

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

I am an heir with all those rights and privileges

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”   Romans 8:17

I am forgiven

“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43

I am saved

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9

My life is not an accident or a series of accidents

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11

When we become solid in our identity as God sees us then we can walk the journey of Spiritual Maturity with Paul the Apostle.

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;  however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16

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