Month: November 2011

God Knows You

Many of us, over the years, have memorized scripture.  We memorize it because these are God’s words to us.  They inspire us, help us, teach us.  Paul wrote that all of scripture is inspired and so it’s all valuable to teach, to guide, to help us.  Here’s a verse for you to memorize,

 Bunni, Azgad, Bebal,         -Nehemiah 10:15

Hopefully, you’re smiling, aren’t you?  You are thinking how can this verse help me?  As I read this verse, among a list of other names, it struck me that in a world where we seem to disappear into the crowd of billions God still sees us.   God sees me.   He sees you.   He knows my name.

 I picked this verse from the many in this passage because here are three men you will never hear about in history or  literature.  We will never know more about them other than their names and these simple facts: 

  • They lived during the difficult days of Nehemiah as they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
  • They were leaders of the people.
  • And, most important, they signed their names to the list of those who promised to follow and obey God.
  • Now, for more than 3,000 years, their names are read and remembered by millions who have no idea who they were, but God knows.

 Paul wrote that all of scripture is profitable, so as I read a verse like this I wonder how this verse helps me, guides me, teaches me.   Here’s what I get from it….God sees.   He notices those who follow him.   He sees us.   Psalms says God is intimate with the righteous and here, among a list of 44 names, are three who decided to follow and obey God in difficult days.   Because of their faith, we will know their names.   They promised to follow and obey God.   We will know nothing more about them until we see the Lord, but we know this…  God knew them and He knows you and I.

In Everything Give Thanks

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thes. 5:18

Today is Thanksgiving day in our country. It started with a group of men and women pausing to thank God for his care and provision. It continues as a tradition that has lost much of its initial purpose.

Today it’s a day off, football, turkey, family, pumpkin pie, a nap…..

Today God will find only a brief mention for those who give thanks for the meal, but there is so much more to say.   All that we have, all that happens, all we experience gives us opportunity to thank the One who gave it from His great kindness.

I’m thankful for God’s great goodness to me, for the day, for sight, for health, for family, for a warm home, for salvation…oh how wonderful is that, for purpose, for hope, for love, for food, for clothing, for God’s love in my life, for his constant care, for feet that work, for grace to experience, for friends…oh what a blessing they are, for a God who hears when I pray, for my Bible…I so love God’s word, for my wonderful wife, for children I dearly love, for my grandson, for my parents, for life itself, for this moment to celebrate a good God, for stars that show me how grand God really is, for thousands of other things, moment by moment, I say thank you, God. 

Falling into the Arms of God

One of the memories that I cherish when I think of my son, Nathan, is that when he was a child he trusted me completely.   He would stand at the edge of the pool and I would watch him try to work up enough courage to jump into the pool.  He was just a little boy and he wasn’t too sure about what would happen if he just jumped in the water.  He would look up at me with those big blue eyes and while he was trying to be brave and wanting me to be proud of him, he really just wanted me  to be waiting in the water to catch him.  

On this day, I jumped in the pool and turned around and said, “Jump, Nathan!” and he did.  No hesitation.   He would blindly jump and trust that I would catch him.  I never missed, I caught him every single time.   His complete trust in me was evident because he never hesitated when it was time to jump.  In his eyes, I was strong enough to catch him.  I was there to protect him and he knew it and he could trust that I wouldn’t let him fall. 

I actually remember the day when Nathan worked up the courage to jump into the pool without me being there to catch him.  I told him how proud I was for his courage and how brave he was.  Truth is,  a little part of me is still sad because that seemingly trivial event was the beginning of his independence.  He was growing up and he no longer needed me to be there to catch him.  These days my 25-year-old son is far  too big for me to catch him anymore.   However, I still miss seeing that trust in his eyes.  I long for him to jump, knowing that I would catch him and never let him fall.

I wonder sometimes if God looks at me the same way I look at my son?  There was a time when my son needed me.  He would not jump unless I was there to catch him.   I think of my Heavenly Father with outstretched arms, lovingly drawing me, telling me to jump.  He would catch me.  He would protect me.   I lived a good portion of my life completely trusting God, knowing that He would catch me.  He would always allow me to fall into His arms and I would take comfort in that.  He never missed.   He caught me every single time.

Then one day something changed.  I got confident in my own abilities.  I no longer looked to God like I once had to catch me.   I start to gain my independence and started to think I could make it on my own courage and with my own abilities.   For a while I convinced myself that I was doing great and I didn’t need anyone or anything.

Then I fell.  I came to the clear understanding that I could not make it on my own.

God, my heavenly Father, was waiting right there with outstretched arms to catch me.  He didn’t miss.

For many reasons, we don’t always have that kind of image of God.   Maybe we think of Him as “the boss” and we tiptoe around Him, afraid to make a mistake and get fired.   Perhaps we see Him as “the big man upstairs” and we are afraid He is going to send a lightening bolt to zap us and punish us for not doing this or that.   Honestly, I think we come up with more reasons why not to fall into God’s arms than why we would.   I wonder if it makes our Father sad because all He really wants is for us to love Him and be near Him.  Most of us have spent years in fear of God instead of in love with Him.  Afraid of just about everything concerning God.  And God knows that.

Aren’t you tired of trying to make it on your own?  Trust in Him.  He is just waiting there with outstretched arms waiting for us to jump and fall into His love and protection.

He will never miss.   He will catch you every single time.

Some Time to Reflect

Today was the day I was to start to writing again.  

I have taken some time off to reflect and try to figure out what the next stage of this blog will be.   After taking a few weeks off, I must admit I am no closer to knowing where I am headed with it.  To be honest I have not had any inspiration to write since the death of a friend that I had known for over 40 years.   My blog was linked to his and his to mine.  We spent time over the last year or so commenting on different aspects of each others blog.  I will not only miss him…I will miss his insight.  While I still cannot process his death and I really need to move on and figure out what the future holds for my writing.

Over the course of the last three years, there have been times when writing has been a real joy.  As of this writing,  I have had 297,998 visitors to my blog.  It is amazing to me that the number of visitors could possibly be that high.  I have two sources that count my visitors and they both are within a few hits of each other.  I have had people who have complimented me and some have told me how much they appreciated my writings.   I have also had some criticisms  along the way.  I try to focus on the positive without letting it distract me.   I am very thankful for those who play along and let me express my thoughts.

I started writing this blog in September of 2008. My original intent was to write some thoughts and stories down and store them someplace where my children and grandchildren could read them one day.   I never really intended to have anyone else except them ever read them.   I just started to write and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I had over 100, 000 visitors to my blog.  I then said that I would continue to write until I had 200,000.  I reached that goal and really did not set another goal.  I only told myself that I would keep writing until I lost the motivation and/or came up with another outlet for me to express what I need to share.  I feel in some way that I am coming up to a cross-road and I really need some insight into which path to go. 

I am asking for some input from those of you who read this post.  I will not post your comments and I will respond directly to each and every comment.  As a reminder, I do not write to get comments…I write to challenge, encourage and hopefully point someone to live for Christ and selfishly, I write to leave a record of my thoughts and perspectives for my children and grandchildren to read one day.

As I always say, I love to write… I never said I write well.   I have over 85 rough draft posts sitting in my file.  Waiting for me to review and try to fix or make it better in order to be published on my blog.  Most will not ever be good enough.  Sometimes I worry about being too interested in the writing aspect as opposed to the content and if what I write really helps people when they read it.   God recently reminded me of the sermon I had heard about Mary and Martha.  Martha was frantically scrambling to get everything just right for the Savior and Mary was sitting silently at the feet of Jesus.   Martha had good intentions, but Mary did the better thing.

I worry about getting so caught up in writing that at times I wonder if I set enough time aside for God.   I desire to be more for Christ than I have been.  I desire to be a better husband, father and grandfather to my family.  I desire to be a better friend than I have been.  If I am going to accomplish any of these things before I die I need to take the time sit at His feet and be silent.

Lately, when I try to be silent and still, my brain doesn’t want to cooperate.  I will conjure up  whole conversations in my head, hear snippets  of songs, and think of things I forgot to do or that I still need to do.  I just feel distracted because I have no idea where I am headed and what I can do for the Lord for the rest of my life.

There was a time in my life when I was in the ministry.  I loved teaching from God’s Word and I loved what I did.   But I have been on the shelf for a long time.  I have wandered in the desert like Moses for years and I am starting to think that I will never find my niche again.  I long to be used of God once again.

So as I sit and reflect on the future of my blog and my writings, I am asking the Lord for direction.  I am closing in on 300,000 visitors and when I reach that milestone I am seriously thinking of stopping my writing and take some time to sit at the feet of the Lord and see what He would like for me to do with the rest of my life.   Your prayers would be appreciated.