40 years or 97 days!

August 2 was 40 years ago! Reality says it was actually 97 days. It only seems like 40 years  but so much has happened. In fact, I had to re-read my previous 4 posts to catch myself up with my train of thought!

Click here to go back and catch up yourself. Thank you.

Real quick…the Israelites are on the verge of entering the Promised Land!

They had heard from God.

Jericho had been spied upon.

Joshua relayed God’s orders.

They were ready for that miracle.

They had even consecrated themselves.

Here is verse 5 of Joshua 3, “Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

If I may, I would like to speak of the “amazing things” the Lord can do.


Since my last post in early August, there has been a big change in my life.

I got a new job.

I still work at the Olive Garden part-time.

I still perform weddings.

But now, I get to teach science at a private Christian school!

Since this is twominuteswithtim and not twohourswithtim, I will spare the details.

The Lord did an amazing thing in my life.

The Israelites shuffled through sand for forty years before they got their miracle.

Me? It was only 28 years. God called me into ministry in 1990. You can read about that call here and here.

It just fits. Like that last puzzle piece. This job is a perfect fit for me. I am truly in awe of how God worked this out.

puzzle piece

But it has also been some of the most difficult work that I have ever done.

Listen to verse 10, “This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.”

Going into the Promised Land meant they were going to war.

Sure, I can say that I am living in the promised land. I can also say that I am at war.

So while God has done so much to lead me here, there is so much more ahead.

Whether you are on the east side of the Jordan waiting to cross over or…

You have entered God’s promise for your life,

There is work to be done. We are at war friends.

More on the war and fighting stuff next time.

For now, just enjoy God’s faithfulness and don’t forget to sharpen your sword.

sword-sharpening-600x600

 

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Rivers: obstacles or opportunities?

There is a river in the way. But God said that the river would not be an issue. It would not be a problem. Like the Red Sea, God can do something miraculous.

But the Israelites needed to trust. And that is where we find ourselves.

This post is building on the previous two posts.

Click here for the first one or here for #2.

Pretend you are a drone, a thousand feet above the Israelite camp. You can see the Jordan river, which flows from north to south, making up the eastern border of Canaan. On the right (or east side) of the river, there stands Israel. Right now, a nation without a home. I wonder how many tents we would see. Are the animals in pens or able to roam free? This map is an estimation of the crossing location.

crossing the jordan

Everything seems to be ready. Israel is probably excited because they are (after 40 years) about to enter God’s promised land! Only one obstacle left!

Joshua 3 gives us insight to our situation. Here are the first 4 verses.

1Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubitsa between you and the ark; do not go near it.””

From these verses, even though the people were apparently ready, God was not.

Verse 3 tells the people to follow the ark. They should be used to this by now.

Verse 4 explains why. This was new ground, literally. They had never been there before.


Here is the connection to you and I in 2018.

We are ready for God to do a miracle. At least we think we are.

We want God to bolster our financial situation.

We want God to heal broken relationships.

We want God to exact revenge on the idiots in our life.

We want…it seems we are always ready for a miracle.

But are we really?

God had a slightly different plan. He wanted to be in front. He needed to be in front.

That means He gets the glory.

And many times, our desires keep God somewhere other than the front. 

ark of the covenant

The ark needed to go first. That was true for Joshua and the Israelites.

The ark (God) needs to be first in all we do. That is our take-home truth for today.

Let it go…and not the song from Frozen.

Life is not as complex as we think. More to the point, being a Christian is not as complicated as we make it out to be.

Now here is something that is complicated:

complex math

Don’t we tend to live life this way? Relating to this picture, we have the chalk and are creating what we think our life should be like. Graphs for finance, charts for careers, equations for relationships, formulas for God and spreadsheets for kids’ schedules!

How does it all make sense?

Truth is, I don’t think it does make sense. Sure, some people juggle life better than others but at the end of the day, we all fall short. I think one word sums it up.

Control.

We want to be in control. Every choice we make reinforces this idea. The food we eat. The clothes we wear. Where we live. The people in our lives.

We dictate it all so that the control stays within our domain.


The psalmist said it so precise and clear, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

As a shepherd himself, David knew what he was talking about. He understood that when God is in control, everything else makes sense. Yes, David still had to do the work as a shepherd. The sheep needed him.

I am not suggesting that we stop working. There are things in life we need to do.

The Lord gives us the clarity, strength, and motivation for the work in our lives. If we let God be in control while we work, then our life can make sense. Kind of like this:

simple math equation

I want to close this post with three thoughts

  1. As you read the opening lyrics to this hymn, try to grasp the simplicity in the words. “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word;” ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, Louisa M. R. Stead (1882)
  2. This post, more than most that I have written, is directed at me. I write about things that are matters of the heart, for me.
  3. If you find encouragement, comfort or challenge in these words, then God is at work in you too. Looks like we are on the same journey. Stay true to Him. As the saying goes, let go and let God.

 

The X-factor

X+4=7. Solve for X. Remember those algebra days? X is always the unknown. X represents the part that does not have a name or an identity.

The X-factor. The X-factor is the extra part of something. It makes a difference. Provides additional support or backing.

Sports teams know this well. Home field advantage is the X-factor. You can’t really see it. It is difficult to measure. But you can feel it. Its presence is almost tangible.

I live close to Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

lambeau field

The X-factor here is real. Sell-out crowds for every home game. Frozen Tundra.

Yes, the X-factor is a force!

The Word – X-factor

The Worth – We just celebrated Christmas. Or, for this post, Xmas. Why do we call it Xmas?

Here is some information from this website: https://www.vox.com/2014/12/14/7374401/jesus-xmas-christmas

“…the X in “Xmas” literally means Jesus. Allow us to explain.

How can the letter “X” stand for “Christ”?

In Greek, the language of the New Testament, the word Christos (Christ) begins with the letter “X,” or chi. Here’s what it looks like:

Χριστός

So how did that word get abbreviated?

In the early fourth century, Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor from 306-337, popularized this shorthand for Christ…”


Have you made the connection?

In our lives, Christ is the X-factor! He is that extra support. Reinforcement in troubled times. Life comes from him!

The Bible declares that the Holy Spirit dwells in the life of a believer. The very spirit of Christ lives in you and me!

Sure, we can’t always see it or measure it. But we can feel it. The presence of God is very real in our lives.

If Christ is the X-factor and the Holy Spirit lives in us then we become the X-factor!

The Work – There are many days that a believer won’t feel godly. In fact, feeling the opposite seems more true. But whatever you feel today, you are the X-factor.

Live by faith. Your feelings can not always be trusted. Christ will help.

I want to end with an encouraging verse. I Thessalonians 4:1-2

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.”

God bless you on your journey today. See you tomorrow for the letter Y!

 

 

The Waiting Room

Wait. Have you ever waited for something? I waited for these two things recently.

Star Wars…star wars basic logo

Christmas…xmas wait

Yes, of course! We all wait for things or people in our lives.

With that intro, you could probably deduce the word for this post.

In honor of my friend and pastor, I will use my notes from his sermon this past Sunday. He is moving to Springfield, Missouri to work with Convoy of Hope.

I will miss his friendship, preaching, and all around awesomeness.


The Word – wait

The Worth – Here is the passage of scripture that was used. Luke 2:25-32, 36-38.

The Waiting Room. Waiting is simply a part of life. There is actually a room specifically devoted to waiting. We find ourselves waiting for so many things!

But what should we be doing while we wait? How do we wait?

Wait Closely. Stay close to God while you wait. He is never the problem. Spend time praying, worship, reading. Anticipate what God might be doing.

Wait Expectantly. Something good is about to happen. God is faithful so you need not worry. Trusting God is to wait with expectation.

Wait Joyfully. Even if you cannot see what God is doing, He is still doing something! How you wait can determine your joy.

Refining and maturing takes place in the waiting room. Let God do what He wants to do. And yes, often times that means we need to wait.

The Work – Here are a few scriptures.

Psalm 27:14, Psalm 62:5, Isaiah 40:31

These can help you trust God while you are waiting. Let these words sink into your spirit.

God loves you. He wants to help you. If you are in God’s waiting room, just know that He will call your number when it is the right time.

waiting room