Lent, pt. 37

Tests, Exams, Quizzes…it seems that every students hates them.

Today, I gave a quiz to my Chemistry students and a test to my General Science class.

test taking

I was bombarded with the usual excuses about not enough time, some students gone, etc.

But I was strong and confidently handed out the papers. It was fun. =-)

Part of Lent involves being tested. Many places in scripture reference tests, trials, or temptations.

I think that Lent can be a good place to go through these tough times.

We know God is gracious and faithful.

If we do fail, there is the safety net of grace to catch us.

I don’t think Lent is about making perfect people. It’s about making trusting people.


As we near Easter, remember that God does not require perfection of us.

He desires our trust.

Do you trust God? Do I?

Let your actions answer that one.

trust

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Lent, pt. 33

I had a cool conversation today.

While getting my phone updated, I was chatting with the employee.

cellphones

He and I hit it off.

And then the conversation went deep.

We discussed topics ranging from death to God’s sovereignty to parenting.

But it was also a great time! I felt like God orchestrated the whole thing.

We both agreed that at the end of the day, God is God.

Things happen in life that may confuse us. We don’t always know why.

But God is God.

Another thing we agreed on is that God does not need to be questioned.

He is God and we are not. Trust that fact.

God is God.


So next time you get your phone updated, stand in line at a store, or wait for your coffee, God may have an encounter designed for you.

Maybe, just maybe, it could be just what you (or the other person) needs.

Lent, pt. 24

I met someone at the Olive Garden today.

Wait, I always meet people at the Olive Garden when I am working.

I am a waiter so meeting people is part of my job.

og soup and salad

But enjoying non-food conversations and liking them is a whole other story.

Enter Laney.

Seven women (2 adults and 5 teens) came into the restaurant today.

I had the privilege of waiting on them.

It was a great experience.

And then I learned that Laney has cancer.

Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma. EHE, for short.

But you would never know it. She was funny and sarcastic. She seemed perfectly healthy.

It is not fair that an 18 year old girl should get a terrible disease.

I always wonder why God lets these things happen.

But I am not going to focus on that. Instead, I want to focus on the goodness of God.

Who am I to doubt the King of Kings?

Who am I to wonder if the Creator of the Universe can handle cancer?

Who am I…?

As I go to sleep tonight, two thoughts will swirl through my mind:

God, please heal Laney

Thank you for being good.

Anatomy of a Miracle

Miracles. What are they? How can they take place? What can we do to make them?

I think it is safe to say that anybody would welcome a miracle in their life. I mean, why not? Healing? Fixing of relationship? More money? ______________________?

Why do miracles take place? As far as I am concerned, God does a miracle as He sees fit. ONLY God can do it and He does not always explain the circumstances!

But I think we have a part. When following a cake recipe, it is important that you get all the ingredients otherwise the cake won’t turn out right.

cake fail

The difference between my wife and I decorating cakes! Ha!

While I am not baking a cake here, I am listing the ingredients for a miracle.

And for the miracle to take place, to actually happen, all three of these need to be present. Let’s go back to the Jordan river to see the Anatomy of a Miracle.

  1. A miracle consists of an Objective Impossible for you to Obtain. The Israelites had a promise given to them many years prior to this point. Literally, God had told them that He would take them to the Promised Land. They had their eyes set on an objective. We all need something that holds our attention. Call it a goal, desire, objective or whatever; you need to be looking at something ahead of you or you will never move forward. Flip the coin. That objective that you want-it must be impossible for you to get. For a miracle to take place, you first need to be looking at something that you cannot get on your own.  
  2. A miracle consists of an Obstacle Insurmountable for you to Overcome. There was a river in the way. A fast-flowing river that would prevent them from entering the Promised Land. Is there an obstacle in your way? Is it something that you cannot overcome? Good. You are on your way to a miracle. If you have a goal but something is blocking you then I see that you are two-thirds closer to God doing something great in your life. Whether that obstacle is a person, an idea, a negative thought, a physical thing, it must insurmountable for you.
  3. A miracle consists of an Opportunity Included for you to Obey. Yes, the dreaded ‘O’ word. The older I get, I keep coming back to the idea that all I can ever do is obey. That is all God asks of me. Yes, He wants my heart and mind but my obedience is that handing over of those things to Him. Every time I get stuck, I get an opportunity to obey. Standing before the river, the command was to step into the river. When facing an obstacle, do I obey and take the step of faith? For the Israelites, it was a literal step. For me, what is my step of faith? For you, how can you obey God today?

It is my opinion that someone would need all three of these”ingredients” for a miracle.

However, one thing I need to make clear is this: God can and will do miracles in His sovereignty. I can’t force God to do something. This might be debatable but I feel like God will do what He pleases when and how He pleases. That is part of what makes Him God.

Let me end 2018 with a recap:

  • A miracle consists of an Objective Impossible for you to Obtain. 
  • A miracle consists of an Obstacle Insurmountable for you to Overcome.
  • A miracle consists of an Opportunity Included for you to Obey. 

Or, just simply obey God with all your heart. No matter how small or unimportant it may seem, trust what God is telling you.

Who knows, you may be experiencing more miracles in this next year! So go ahead and take that step of faith!

step faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crowd or Committed?

“I just wanted to slap them upside the head!”

At least that was the thought going through my mind a few days ago.

My wife and I had a chance to catch a movie. In the theater with popcorn. It is certainly a nice but rare occasion for us.

couple at movie

In the row right in front of us were some teenage girls. And they talked. LOUDLY!!!

After getting shushed at a number of times, they finally left. My wife said later that she would like to see that movie again because she missed parts due to the noise.

Those girls paid the admission price just as my wife and I did. They had a right to be in the movie. Popcorn was available for them as well.

But their attitude and mindset were very different from ours. Travel with me back to our story in Joshua 3.

Here are the first 4 verses to catch you up in case you missed my last few posts.

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.”” 

So here they are, just east of the Jordan river. How were they going to cross over?

The three ideas we have explored so far from Joshua 3. Click each for a new window.

Let go and let God be in control.

Trust God.

Put God first.

What is the next step?

Verse 5 explains exactly what that next step is for the Israelites:

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

One verse with two parts. Part two is for next time.

But I will speak to the first part. Joshua (relaying what God had already told him), told the people to “Consecrate yourselves…”

Consecrate…?

The hebrew transliteration is qadash, which is pronounced kaw-dash’.

This word is a verb. God wanted the people to consecrate themselves.

They had action to take. They were to set themselves apart from the world.

The word simply means set apart. Set apart for a specific purpose.

Think about the million or so people waiting to cross the Jordan. Were they ready for this message? Which ones were committed to serving Jehovah? We don’t really get those details but I am sure that there are some who were just part of the crowd.

Just part of the crowd. Am I part of the crowd? I think those girls at the movie the other night would have been “just part of the crowd.”

For me, I want to be counted in the committed.

Set apart for a specific purpose. Yep, that sounds better than just hanging out in a crowd.

crowd

Are you committed? Or are you part of the crowd?

If we let go, trust God and put Him first, then being committed is easy.

Start today. Wherever you are with God, start there. He has not moved.

And just a little encouragement to take with you:

That huge river you see in front of you? God created it. And it’s not too big for Him.

jordan river