Welcome to my ongoing journal of my journey with God!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflected Blessings

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. (Eph 1:3-4)

As I reflect upon this past year my heart is filled with a barrage of emotion. There is the obvious sadness and grief at the loss of my precious Angel Girl, which has had an unfailing pull on my soul. But there are several other areas that warrant some honest reflection.

My faith has led the charge and has grown stronger than I could ever imagine. The daily dialog and prayer I seek carries me and eases the unsettled times I encounter. This devotion has truly ignited trust and comfort within my spirit.

The love of my life has found yet another avenue to which I have fallen for. Our interaction and conversation has taken on a whole new course of honest intimacy. This in turn has carried through to our whole family dynamic and has entrusted a God centered home that extends far beyond our humble walls.

The friendships I have forged have been some of the most sincere encounters I have had to this point in my journey. These new relationships have strengthened my spirit more than they know, and I hope they will continue to be part of my life. There has also been a renewing of recent and past acquaintances that have shed a renewed light in my soul. I pray that as you have lifted me up and mentored me, that I am able to respond with equal reverence.

My sadness rest in the notion, that the loss of my baby girl is the source of all of this wonder. It is the gift she has brought me in her absence. I pray these blessings would have eventually found their way despite this unforeseen sorrow. God knows the truth in this and with His graceful wisdom; I know He will allow this truth to settle in my heart in His perfect time. 

I trust that this past year has brought you the blessings you sought, and the coming year brings you the prosperity of faith that will fulfill all of your endeavors.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Challenge of Faith

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) (Rom. 8:24-25)

A good friend of mine has a teenager that is challenged with the wonder of Asperger's. This in turn throws challenge in the direction of both him and his wife, and when faith enters the picture it takes this challenge to the extreme.

You see, their son is extremely bright and a believer in Christ. But, he is also highly analytical and has a tendency to need concrete answers. This is where the challenge lies. He has determined that the all-knowing God creates evil by not stopping evil. The fact that the arrival of Christ, the reception of His arrival, and His crucifixion was set in place by God, confirms to him that God knows and controls all. The knowledge of these predestined events falls to our path and us. Knowing God has this control, removes the option for free will in his eyes. He continues his argument with various evil entities that have shadowed this worlds history. If God knows these things are to happen, why does He allow people of this realm to be born if they are doomed and will never have a chance to receive His mercy?

My response is to say that it is difficult to explain faith on an analytical level. My faith rest in my heart even though there are still times when I question the actions of God. I do believe that God knows all and we do not. So, in our scope, we do have a choice or the free will to steer our path even though God already realizes our outcome. This is what makes it our journey. It is how we handle our earthly experiences that propel our growth or our demise. Even sinister evil may repent in the end and if true repentance rest in the heart, forgiveness is at hand.

I do know that a consistent, simple, sincere prayer for awareness and guidance is the key to bringing this truth into the heart. Once there is a twinkle of this truth, grasp it, and it will blossom and grow.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Choice to Choose

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (Rom. 6:16)

As I lie at night and reflect on my day, I realize the many choices I could have made could alter my path as to where and how I rest. This passage is referring to our choice to obey God or become a slave to sin. I can also read it to mean…choose to follow God and allow Him to carry you out of despair.

To take this further, despair can lead to desolation and gloom. When I find myself in this hopeless state, my mind tends to wander into what ifs, whys and if onlys. These thoughts turn into blame, and blame gets me nowhere, which leaves sin just around the corner. This is where I need to refocus my path back to God, and realize that this despair is only temporary and God is the one true constant.

I am riding the wave of grief. This is part of my journey, and will continue to enslave me in despair if I allow it to. It is up to me in these times to choose to focus on, and obey Gods truth, knowing He will bring me back to the peak of righteousness. I know as each time I go through this process and find God as my healer, it will diminish the power of future encounters with this misery.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Gravity of Grief

Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains. (Prov. 14:13)

The gravity of Grief involves uneven distribution. As it circles around, it is like a weighted ring that fails to find consistent balance. Although I have experienced some joy, the impending wallow remains at an unknown distance in this unsteady cycle.

I realize that this specific turn in the rotation likely stems from the season that is upon us, but there is a different emotion attached to this wave. The days leading up to, and even the day of that Holy time went smoothly and the joy of Christmas day was evident. Now, as things settle back into the normal routine of life, the obvious has become even more vacant.

The reality of my circumstance has succeeded to bear heavy on my heart once again. I recognize that this cycle is temporary and will swing away from my consciousness as long as I turn to God for comfort and guidance as I have in my recent past.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Cor. 1:4)

I pray that as I move through the cycles of grief, I remain diligent in seeking Gods comfort knowing that he is the source of my peace in these and all times.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Encouraging Faith

When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. (Rom. 1:12)

Growing up, I wasn’t much of an encourager. I’m not sure if I lacked the ability to notice the positive and follow it up with thoughtful critique or was stuck in the act of self-gratification that blinded my view of others willingness to achieve. From this viewpoint, encouragement was all but absent early on, whether I was the provider, or the beneficiary.

In these early days, the encouragement I received would start out optimistic, but then fall void upon a negative follow-up. This pattern fell into my hands as I began my encouraging ways. It has taken a long time to realize that this unproductive dialog halts the growth of not only the recipient, but that of the source as well. I am now learning to pause on the positive and see it for what it is…wonderment!

This wonder of progress that I have begun to observe involves numerous individuals. Whether family, friends, co-workers or even complete strangers, I am beginning to encourage the positive and allow personal opinion to fall away. The area of encouragement itself spans many different subjects, from ordinary routines, my professional environment to faith-based conversation and growth.

Recently, this has not been more evident than when faith has been involved. I rely on this spiritual journal to lift me up and keep God’s Word prevalent in my daily journey. Many readers have shared with me that this journal has encouraged them along their faith walk. Seeing others faith strengthened encourages me to continue with these writings. I have had more honest and uplifting conversation as a result of this journal, which has inspired and encouraged me more than you know.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quiet Observation

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (1 Cor. 13:12)

The past few days have brought a bit of clarity to my overall perspective. My outlook is far from crystal clear, but I have realized an obvious shift in how I view the state of my surroundings.

It is my responsibility to observe with an open heart, and allow any and all situations to find a resting point before bringing them to my own conclusion. There have been too many times that I’ve permitted my surroundings to instantly dictate my response, emotion or even purpose. More often than not, this has lead to strife or conflict. Whether simple or severe, this tension is unsettling for the soul and removes God from the equation.

When I quiet myself and observe slowly, I see a different picture than the flash that I initially saw. This lets me know that I do not have all the answers and my viewpoint is just that…my viewpoint. Others have a different view all together. It is God that has accurate perspective and knows the truth in all situations. So, being patient in these times, and allowing God’s truth to surface is helping bring my clouded view into focus.

I pray that the cloudy reflections I see around me find focus and clarity through Gods truth and that I recognize these times through His view.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a Joyful Christmas!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

I have been in reflection mode much of this week, and as this season comes to its climax, I give thanks to God for carrying me through. So, I will stay humble and continue look to Him to carry me the rest of the way. God has given me the peace that has guarded my heart and mind as I have been living in Christ. He is the one who has kept the warmth in my heart, the calm in my mind and allowed some joy to settle in my soul this holiday season.

I wish everyone a joyful Christmas and encourage you to carry the essence of this season with you throughout the year and always.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fanning the Flame

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:6-7)

My spiritual path has led me through the valley, over the hills, across the plains and deep in the seas. The point is, I have been all over the map in my journey, and my consistency would fall where my comfort level settled. When I hit this comfort level, I would become complacent, and the spiritual gift that God gave me would begin to smolder.

These times would sneak up on me, and before I knew it, this gift was down to a flicker. This left me to wonder what was wrong and how did I get here. I would then re-map my steps to bring me around the globe once again. These times have been so spread out and sporadic, that to pinpoint the root of this exhaust was not in my grasp.

Through my recent circumstance I have found myself starting anew each day. This has shortened my path around the globe so that Gods gift can remain at a warm ambient glow. This daily fanning of the flame is giving my relationship and reliance on God the oxygen it needs to keep the flame of God’s spiritual gift ablaze.

I am finding my journey today more powerful and full of love than ever before. Self-discipline has become second nature and my selfish desires seem to be fading away. I know this is due to the daily awareness and willingness to fan into flames the spiritual gift that God has given me.
May God bless you and give you Grace!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enduring Faith

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (Jas. 1:3-4)

There have been several times on my journey in which I have felt tested. Many of these times I did not equate faith as being the central aspect of what was on trial. Most of these times I was blatant in the assumption that it was all about self, be it pride, ego or self worth that took the blow. I now know that it all comes down to faith.

It may seem strange to some, but when God allowed Angel’s earthly journey to come to an end, anger never entered into my process. I found myself falling to faith. I had to make sense of MY unimaginable. The only way to grasp what happened was to have constant conversations with God – it is not that I received the answers, but I gained comfort.

This comfort allowed me to realize that God has the ability to soothe my sorrows. If he can bring calm to my soul in times such as these, I know that he has the power to bring resolution to any and all situations. Though I must be diligent in my endurance and allow patience to be my strength, I know in the end, God will rest His comfort on me.

The sadness I have in my heart for my Angel Girl still exists. God did not remove it. It has become part of who I am through God. It doesn’t define me, rather allows her to live within me always. This is what falling to faith has brought me, and I KNOW going forward as life’s tests arise my faith will endure.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prayer of Purpose

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (Rom. 8:26-27)

As I have been going on these last few days I have had some internal struggles. My writing yesterday touched on the surface of this struggle. My calamity stems from my undefined purpose of this journal. I continually pray and talk to God about the direction and ultimate goal of these words. But, it is a continual dialog that seems to be going around in circles.

When I came across this passage, it reminded me God knows our heart through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. This is simple to say, but we must trust it to be true. God created us with a complicated mind that has a tendency is to try and solve the riddle of life. He knows this, and I believe that He wants our curiosity to strive for those answers — it is what drives us to know Him.

So, I will continue to pray in circles as to my purpose of this journal and the barrage of other happenings in my life, knowing that the Holy Spirit will translate the truth in my heart directly to God. This will allow me to rest on the peace that the purpose of these words will find their way. Whether their purpose is to help me or others gain understanding and faith through God or it is just an exercise in the written word. The passage that follows the one above states:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Rom. 8:28)

I pray that I am able to let go and let God, and allow the Holy Spirit to be my translator to Him so my prayers are heard for the truth that is in my heart, and that my purpose is revealed.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Monday, December 20, 2010

God's Reflection

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Rom. 12:2)

When I began this ongoing journal, I was not exactly sure of its direction, purpose or where it would lead. As I write this entry, I am still not clear of the ultimate goal. I do know this journal has me focusing on how God is working in my life on a daily basis, and I am driven to share it with others.

An inner feeling a month ago prompted me to sit down and write. I had thoughts that where swirling around in my mind and they needed a place to rest. That is how these words find there way here. My course is to pay attention to my relationships and interactions through my day and to try and see God’s reflection in the process. This is the source of my inspired words.

Seeking His reflection daily in my journey has transformed me away from myself. It has given me a new way of viewing the world around me and how I think. God seems to enter into every decision I make, and I catch myself deciding my options based on His word. This is relatively new and comfortable to me and the end result becomes less important knowing He is in the equation.

My hope is that you find this journal helpful in your own spiritual walk. It just takes willingness to notice that God's reflection is all around you. Remember, the source of the reflection is more than likely you!

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Walking in the Light

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12)

It is difficult to really grasp that this earthly journey I am on is just a flash of time in the span of my eternal existence. Going through year-to-year, day-to-day, or even minute-to-minute can seem so drawn out and at times never ending. Time seems to come to a halt and I get entrapped in various circumstances. This is that “when will this be over” mentality.

The truth is, it will never be over. The circumstances and events I experience stay with me and make up my journey, they help define the path I take. As I am learning to walk in the light of the Lord, I am coming to recognize that the darkness that comes upon me is a reminder beacon to allow the Lord to light my way. It has taken my current experience to know this to be true.

As I now know this truth, I will now aspire to bring the light of the Lord into all experiences, be they dark or light. God doesn’t want me to just rely on his comfort in times of darkness; he wants me to celebrate with him in times of joy.

This passage is telling me, as I walk this truth in this physical life and rely on the Lord in all circumstances, He will transform my existence through eternal life. So as I take my next step, I will reach for His hand and walk with Him the remainder of my journey and beyond.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Power of Being Humble

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. (1 Pet 5:6)

I have never been one to think of being humble as a weakness…in contrast I have also never looked at it as a strength. There is relief in the notion that I am not always right and to give way to the wisdom of others, especially God. This frees the burden of the illusion of perfection and allows my power to come from weakness.

There are times I allowed myself to be stubborn and suffered through the battle of establishing my stance. This always leads to ill will and judgment towards others and the result is the damage of stress. These humbling opportunities pertained to people, places or things, which are prevalent through the course of life. I have found peace in giving way to alternative answers in these situations.

To humble myself before God is an entirely different matter. As a physical being, I am attached to the physical world and measure myself against things my human senses experience. So when things happen that are out of my control and I feel that God has made a mistake, my need to challenge His purpose is exposed. This happens because I do not know the mighty plan that God is unfolding.

The passing of my Angel Girl has taken this truth to the extreme edge of my humility. I still question the “why” of this tragedy, but have seen wondrous things come from this heartbreak. When I become still and submit to Gods authority, I realize that His plan is greater than my little world, but my little world helps make up His mighty plan. And that is very humbling.

I pray that going forward I am humbled by the fact that I am not the focus of Gods plan, but Gods plan is where my focus should lie. He alone will lift me up and I will humble myself to Him so that my power will be shown in my weakness.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Judgment Journey

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. (Matt. 7:1)

This is a simple and direct scripture in that it is crystal clear as to what it conveys. But there is more going on here than what is seen at face value. The Spirit of God lives in all believers and the ember that is waiting to catch fire dwells in all others. So, to come to a personal conclusion on anyone is to cast judgment against God Himself.

There are times when the act of judgment comes upon me without notice. Before I know it, I have formed an opinion of someone for something they have said, done or even accomplished. I am aware that this usually stems from some kind of insecurity or fear from my past. It may consist of just small idle chatter or involve a much deeper offense of some sort. I must remember…the standard I use in judging is the standard by which I will be judged. (Matt. 7:2 - versed in the first person)

God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? (Jas. 4:12)

When I am able sift through and discard these judging thoughts as they surface, I realize it is not my place to cast judgment. This authority, rest in the hands of God alone. I do not have the knowledge of purpose to know why some may do what they do. But God, in His ultimate wisdom, does!

I pray that God will act as my Divine filter and His Spirit that lives within me will steer my thoughts away from the slippery act of judging others.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To God's Own Self Be True

No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit (1 Cor. 2:11)

This message is very powerful and fulfilling. God has placed His spirit within me, which is that of the same spirit that dwells in Him. He gives this to me freely because I know and believe in His son Jesus. This allows His wisdom and Love to grow in my heart and links my personal connection to Him. The next line of scripture defines this…

And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. (1 Cor. 2:12)

Shakespeare wrote the phrase “To thine own self be true” which is such a profound statement, yet it clearly states a self-barometer mode of filter. I have stated many times to my self and my children that “you can’t lie to yourself…you always know your own truth.” And this is true, but lacks the Divine wisdom that is needed to grow.

When I apply this scripture to this line of thought, it gives a Divine measure for this internal gauge. I know His inner connection exists in spirit. I also realize that as I learn to rely on His truth, rather than my own, I will gain wisdom that is of the spirit and not self imposed.

I pray that I release my hold on my own self-imposed truth, and allow my inner spirit, which is a gift from God to bring Divine truth alive in me for clearer spiritual wisdom.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do You Love God?

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” (Matt 22:37)

This is a continuation of my December 12th entry of “The Simplicity of the Gospel”. After some reflection, I felt I needed to give deeper attention to the Love I show in relation to and toward God. When I stated “simplicity”, I was referring to concentrating on these two all-important commandments – To love God with all your heart…and, Love your neighbor as yourself. By living in these two states, everything else will fall into place, and I know this to be true.

When writing this, it prompted me to look at my Love for God. I say that I Love God by the words I use, but how do I express my Love for the creator of all? I could say it is the respect and kindness I show towards family, friends and strangers I encounter through my day-to-day journey. Yet, that tends to cover the Love your neighbor as yourself aspect of this scripture.

So what does “Love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” look and feel like? I can’t hug God and show him physical comfort. I can talk with Him and share my worries, joys and blessings…but is that loving God? I am not sure. I do think that it is one way to show my willingness to rely on Him. And, as a father, when my children share with me in this way, I feel respected and loved.

I feel this step is essential to initiate my Love for the Almighty. I also feel it is imperative to live in the Word to the best of my ability. I can’t be a saint, but I can reflect and consume His living Word so that it changes me from the inside. This change is then reflected back to God. This reflection is the love for Him that He has planted in my heart. It defines the respect and awe I have for him in my efforts to please Him.

I do Love the Lord God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

May God bless you and give you Grace! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Virtue of Purpose?

I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. (Ps 57:2)

Through this chapter of my journey, I have considered myself a patient person. I have been placed into various roles on several occasions because of this quality. The one thing I have come to realize is that I have taken this virtue for granted and not allowed it to bring the glory it is purposed for.

By my own definition I view patience as being still with others in times of anxiousness. This quality may also fall in line with certain situations, places or things. I pray in the calm of my emotion that I discover Gods purpose for placing this upon me, and let it bring the glory to God it was intended for.

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy (Col 1:11)

This journal entry may seem a bit self-serving, and that is not its intention. My goal is for you to realize what virtue God has bestowed upon you. With self-discovery or known knowledge of the special gift he has placed in your hands, I urge you as well as myself to pray for clarity to bring it to its full potential. Through this fulfillment, I know we will be strengthened and filled with joy!

May God bless you and give you Grace! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Afraid Factor

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

There are times when going into unknown situations causes my fear to kick in. This may include attending an outing with relative strangers, going on an interview of some sort, or allowing myself to join a group in which I do not know anyone. All is fine until the day or even the hour is upon me…then the churning kicks in, and the thought of canceling out chimes in. This scenario has been prevalent in my past and still creeps in from time to time.

This “afraid” factor is me being concerned with what others think of me rather than allowing God to be the ultimate authority of who I am. God is telling me here that I am not to be afraid or discouraged, because his strength is all I need. This is taking this scripture to a simple, personal day-to-day level dealing with ordinary circumstances, but I feel that is what is necessary to have the Word work in my life.

I know as I go forward, I will see strangers and unknown events as a challenge to grow in God. When I am afraid, it means that I am allowing God to be absent. When I bring him to the forefront, he will strengthen me and the fear I experienced will not be a factor in how I proceed. He will be victorious!

May God bless you and give you Grace! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Simplicity of the Gospel

…You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)  

This to me is the simplicity of the Gospel. Simplicity does not always mean simple. There are times in the course of my days that obstacles spike up suddenly…driving in traffic comes’ to mind. There are many other instances where this simplicity is challenged. But, it is up to me to realign myself with these most important commandments. Jesus followed up this passage with:

“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” (Luke 10:28)

What this Golden Rule tells me is, when I follow this in my heart, all other commandments are fulfilled. And when Jesus tells me I will live, He is letting me know that eternal life is my reward.

When I write these journal entries, one of my goals is to keep them short and simple. I do this so that there is less of a burden to follow along and grasp what my thoughts and beliefs are. With this in mind, think of the simplicity of the Gospel. God wants us to grasp what he has presented to us. It is easy to get caught up in trying to over analyze the Word of the Lord. However, if we keep it as simple as this scripture, our life will follow the Word and the Word will be known to us.

May God bless you and give you Grace! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 
(1 Cor. 10:13)  

When temptations and distractions reveal themselves to me, it sets off an internal conflict. This conflict starts with an inner dialog of the “should’s” and “should nots” and then transforms into “will I’ or won’t I”. Ultimately there is a conclusion to the direction I chose. I say all this because when temptation is present, this conversation always takes place. This is God warning me that danger lies ahead.

I do know that God will not allow temptations to be more than I can resist. I always have a choice, no matter how luring the temptation. This choice is what defines Gods allowance towards these distractions. I have to be diligent to remember that a temptation is nothing more than the enemy trying to entice me away from God…and the enemy is very cunning!

The trap of gossip is one of those clever moves that work its way into my surroundings. If I’m not careful, I will interject my two cents just to feel accepted in the pack. If I catch my words in time, which at times sneak past my lips, I think of God. This helps me intercept this scheme and I try to remove myself mentally or physically from the event.  

With this in mind, I now pay crucial attention to those conflict conversations that arise, and proceed with caution. It is at this point I ask God to show me the way so I can endure the enemy’s attack. I am doing the best I can in this area, but there are times when the strategy of the assault is so clever and subtle that before I know it, I have fallen prey. I then repent and ask God to sharpen my defense for future encounters, because temptation is always lingering in the shadows.

May God bless you and give you Grace! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Choice to Accept!

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. (James 1:21)

Life is a journey of the choices we make. I would say that from the time I was young, into my teens and through early adulthood I had a yearning to know God, yet I felt the need to resist this relationship. This resistance was completely based on fear. I genuinely thought that if I stepped into the light that I would be stranded with no way to retreat. 

I know now as I choose to step, and continue to walk with Him, that the idea of retreat is unnecessary. As I move forward, I see that walking with God is what carries me because His word was planted in me from the beginning. The yearning was God’s whisper, for He was just waiting for me to accept His saving truth.

There are many consequences as a result of not choosing to take that step, and all the filth and evil lead that charge. The steps themselves can come from a number of different circumstances. There may be a judgment you hold that consumes you. If you allow God to be the judge, it will release that hold and will no longer consume you…and that is a step towards God. If you are struggling with forgiveness, no matter the reason, give this burden to God. Realize that when we forgive, it doesn’t make what someone has done right in our eyes, but rather gives God the authority for that vision…and that is a step towards God.

As I choose to take the steps I take, the yearning of God’s whispers keep my soul moving forward. I humbly accept the words that God has planted in my heart, and it is up to me to whisper them to you.

May God bless you and give you Grace! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What is Your Everything?

If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 
 (Mar. 9:23)

This is an all-powerful statement, especially when you identify what “everything” stands for. I believe that God has the power to create, change, heal, or destroy any and all things as he chooses. However, God wants his children to set their own sail. He prefers to be the wind that navigates us through life’s current.

I know that God does not cause bad things to happen, but rather allows them to happen through the course of life. My belief is this is for the purpose of growth and faith building. Which is a Divine plan that draws us back to him. I do believe that if I was convicted in my faith to the depth of my core without reservation what so ever, I could ask for anything and I would receive it. Yet, there is that little resistance point in which just a sliver of doubt can hinder my sought after results. I know this all to well as some months ago, I prayed with all of my heart and soul as part of my life just slipped away.

I then found myself abandoned in an ocean of uncertainty. I floated in this contemplation and disbelief for a while, and slowly, I started to swim. I have now built a raft and I am floating where the current takes me. Once my direction is clear, I will set sail and allow the wind to carry me the rest of the way.

My “everything” stands for my faith…and God is the wind that carries me!

May God bless you and give you Grace! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

May God Bless You and Give You Grace!

This statement has become my closing testament to my readers as I exit my journal entry each day. I thought I would give some background as to my intention by these chosen words. 

The word “May” for me is to HOPE and EXPECT with all my being that the phrase that follows comes to truth in your life. “God” is the ALMIGHTY, POWERFUL source that has the power to bring this truth alive in you. “Bless” as defined brings PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS, and ENCOURAGEMENT through DEVINE FAVOR. “You” are the recipient, and my guest on these pages and I am grateful you have stopped by. God wants to bless YOU, because you are HIS CHILD. “Give You,” states that it is a gift that God will BESTOW upon you — and He gives this based on your measure of faith.

“Grace” needs a bit more explanation. I recently attended a teaching by James Ryle that shed new light on this extra-ordinary word for me. He quoted the popular definition, and my bible’s definition of Grace as unmerited favor. This perspective defines mercy rather than Grace, and God knows we all need mercy! The real definition of Grace, in which he has given a rebirth to, comes straight from Jesus himself… 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Cor. 12:9) 

So Grace defined by Jesus is His Power! The POWER OF CHRIST! And may it come upon you most in your weakest times to pull you back to life...as it has for me.

I hope this has given you insight as to how much I cherish and respect you as you follow along side me on this journey.

May God bless you and give you Grace!  Or should I say… 

I hope and expect that the power of God Almighty brings you prosperity, happiness and encouragement through His Divine favor that he bestows upon you, His child, and that the power of Christ rest within you always, especially in times of need! 

NOTE: There is much more to “Grace” than I am able to illustrate in these few words. I encourage you to listen to the teaching of James Ryle called Amazing Grace. http://truthworks.org/

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

1 2 3 God...

A few weeks ago I awoke with the statement “123 God” imprinted in my mind. It was a little strange, but I accepted it and wrote it down. I decided to read every verse in the Bible that coincided with this combination. This would include all of the 1:23, 12:3, and 123’s that there were in the Old and New Testament.
I was at a loss, nothing jumped out at me. I highlighted verses that I thought had a particular meaning, but nothing really connected on the level I was expecting. That was, until last night. I was preparing for my blog entry, which was on another subject entirely, and there it was. It just popped off the page!

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News... (Col. 1:23)

This is so crucial for me. Even though I am committed to my faith and this new journey I have begun, I have a tendency is to become complacent. Complacency for me shifts my gear into idle, and I do not want to stand idle as God and the Good News is moving in my life. So, I am going to stand firm in the conviction of this truth, but I am also going to move with it and go wherever it takes me.

Right now I have been moved to write this journal. I am learning many things about myself on this journey, and I hope the things I learn bring you comfort!

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Acoustics of God's Echo

While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. (Jer. 7:13) 

In church this past weekend, our Pastor referenced this scripture in his sermon. When he did, I had flashes of things I had done and temptations I surrendered to. In these times, I allowed God’s voice to fall on deaf ears, yet His echo would resonate within me.

Some of these things or temptations involved: judging others based on first impressions; spending money on things when I shouldn’t; or making excuses not to do something, when it was in my full power to do so. These behaviors, along with others enveloped me in the past, and continue to sneak up on me from time to time in the present. 

This is where God’s echo comes in. I knew the error of my wicked ways in these times, because God would tell me. When I chose not to hear him, His echoes persisted and got through my insulated exterior. They continue to bounce around waiting to be heard. Thanks to God’s acoustics, some of these echoes are now being heard, and without any distortion.

I pray that I will hear all of God’s echoes from behaviors past before they fade away. 

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Do We Have Control Of?

I have thought of this entry for a while now, and it is difficult for me to discern what my purpose is in sharing it at this time. I pray that my writing is clear and that my words make since.
As parents, Stephanie and I are loving and supportive. I feel we add just enough discipline to maintain an even balance for our kids as they grow to adulthood and beyond. In the area of worry and the continual battle of trying to keep them safe…we struggle just as all parents do. So in the constant dialog of: Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? And the myriad of other pressing statements, we are guilty of this concerning protection. Although, I have learned that try as I might, I will never know God’s plan. For Job said I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. (Job 40:4)

The night that Angel left us, she was under our roof and our protection. Her passing was sudden and unexpected. The actual cause remains a mystery to the medical examiners office and us. The struggle to keep her “safe” was out of our hands that night. This quandary has led me to believe that control is just an illusion.  It’s like a child holding a kitten too tight just to cuddle and keep it safe, and then gets scratched in the process. The child then learns to loosen their grip just enough to apply gentle comfort. 

I could have gone several directions as a result of Angel’s passing. And by no means am I the only person to go through something like this. It is nothing compared to what Job endured. Yet, standing just a few months removed from the stark emotion of this surreal happening, I thank God that I have fallen in the direction of Faith. There is no other way that I will be able to keep my sanity, but by the Grace of God!

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Steering God?

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (Ps 139:23)
When I lay awake at night and reflect on my day, I will pray and have closing thoughts and conversation with God.
There are times I catch myself trying to steer God. Such as asking him for guidance and then suggesting where that guidance should come from. These occurrences are subtle to me, but God hears them loud and clear. Being the patient God that he is, he just waits for me to catch up and realize the error of my ways. I then have to snap out of it and humble myself back in line with Him.
God knows my thoughts and needs before they are even a twinkling flash in my complicated mind. He is just waiting for me to recognize and ask for those needs myself. Life is much easier when I’m in sync with what God already knows I need. This is a process that is slowly unfolding for me.
My prayer is to allow Gods guidance to flow in my life, and for me not to drive using my own road map.
May God bless you and give you Grace!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Do You Define Sin?

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Rom 3:23)
When I would hear friends, studied Christians or Pastors use the word “sin” and this word was preceded by “we all…”, well, it just rubbed me entirely the wrong way. I took it as a personal attack on ME. I mean, who do they think they are…they don’t know me. This usually resulted in me not hearing what I needed to hear in the remaining conversation or teaching.
Maybe it is the word that I had an issue with. It sounded so criminal and dirty. Like I was evil and headed to hell without any hope. So, I decided to change my definition of sin to that of the last sentence of Rom. 14:23, which I have paraphrased into the first person: If I do anything I be believe is not right, I am sinning. Now, this definition is only as solid as my own moral compass and as with any compass it will swivel and turn until it finds due north.
The scripture at the beginning of this entry is very direct and inclusive in its meaning. Lets take “everyone”; does this include infants that can’t even speak? Well, I would say they are safe as far as the act of sinning, but Adam ignited the curse that we all eventually submit to. As far as everyone else, and by everyone, I mean myself (I don’t want to personally attack anyone), I have chosen what was “not right” more than I care to discuss…so according to my own definition, I’m a sinner. As far as God’s glorious standard, Jesus is the only one that I know of that qualifies in this area. He came and absorbed the sin of man. And, as long as we talk with Him and are genuine about releasing our sins to Him, He will continue to wash them away.
May God bless you and give you Grace!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Foolish Ways

Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. (1 Cor 1:27)
There was a time when I had all the answers, but somehow I didn’t score well on the test. This foolish behavior didn’t get me very far. I would stumble and fall yet didn’t know why. It is also hard for me to learn when I become stubborn in my thinking. When I have humbled myself and allowed the illusion of my self-righteous power to be put into check, I always discover something about myself and grow in the process.
As I venture through this phase of my journey, I need to remind myself that the choices I make help define who I am...and I declare that I do not want to be shamed by being a powerful fool!  
Going forward, I pray for wisdom to recognize when I am being foolish and the humility to withdraw from my self-righteous power struggles.
May God bless you and give you Grace!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where Are You Fishing?

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The road that leads to destruction is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. (Matt 7:13)
When I was younger my mom took me to one of those paid fishing ponds. I rented a pole, they gave me some bait, and I could throw my line anywhere in the water, and presto a fish! The place would even fillet my catch for me. Even as a kid, this quickly lost its luster.
A few years back, a friend of mine took me out to the Gulf to go fishing. We went out on his boat under less than perfect conditions. We were out on the water for hours. We would have to focus on specific locations in the bay, we couldn’t just drop a line anywhere and expect results. Even when we found a prime spot, frustration would set in as the enemy would swipe my bait. I finally settled in and became patient. I would cast out, let settle, and slowly reel in over and over again. At last, a bite! I yanked back and set the hook. I reeled in, let out the drag, reeled some more again and again, and after working up a sweat, I finally hauled in my catch. I was overwhelmed with accomplishment and was ready for more!
The contrast between these two scenarios illustrates the importance of focused, patient attention. It’s not to say that when I was at the fishing pond, I was headed for destruction, but the end result had no meaning or substance. As I have gone through my life to this point, there have been many times I was able to throw my line in anywhere for instant satisfaction and let my desires lead the way. This always led to disappointment, heartache, low self worth and/or destruction.
As I sit now, I am learning to fish with my heart, which is surrounded by the love of the Lord. I know that when I remain aware of this love, that my decisions are more in tune with his will for me. This is not always easy for me…but I’m working on it.
May God bless you and give you Grace!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Timing of a Solid Foundation

It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. (Luk 6:48)
My parents divorced when I was around seven, which left my mother to go-it-alone with six children. She somehow instilled in me the traits of being a kind, honest, and a loving person. There was rarely if ever any mention of God in her subtle discipline. As far as church, I would get myself to Catholic Sunday school (CCD), and that only lasted as long as I decided to go…which wasn’t long.
My father was Catholic and went to church every Sunday. On my visits with him every few weeks, there was never any mention of his faith or God. It was all just fun and games…let the good times roll, so to speak. On his end, there was no discipline because he was the good parent.
With this foundation laid on sandy soil, my faith had plenty of opportunity to move around and lose it’s footing. I had always considered myself spiritual and referred to myself as a Christian. I had that “good person” mentality about me that would hopefully get me through life. But something always seemed to be missing.
Now, married with teenagers, my family finally found a church that spoke to us. We became involved and my faith started to become real and based on truth. I decided to get baptized again (I was baptized as an infant) on Palm Sunday of this year. It was a wonderful day and my rebirth added water to my sandy soil and helped create the solid foundation I have now.
The timing of this was crucial, because God knew I would need solid ground to stand on in the coming months. I know that if I had sandy soil under me when my Angel Girl left this earth, I would have sunk to the depths of sorrow and it would be complete purgatory.
What is your foundation built on?
May God bless you and give you Grace!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks for My Blessings

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.  Col 3:15

This Thanksgiving has an empty place for me, and I’ve decided to fill it with the blessings that have brought me peace.

First and foremost, I have been blessed with a strengthened relationship in God. He is my pillar and without him, my life would be completely empty. He gives me purpose and helps me find peace. 

My second pillar of strength is my wife Stephanie, who brings holiness to our marriage (1 Cor 7:14). She gives me council and an ear to listen. She is my shoulder to cry on in times of need. She is my love, and I give thanks to her for her patience in me. 

Third are my children Dalton, Dylan and Angel, for they are my best teachers! I continue to learn through them that the little things are far more important than what we think of as the big things. Just as a pebble dropped in a pond starts with small ripples…these small ripples are the cause of the bigger waves. 

Finally, my extended family and friends for which the previous blessings have a landscape to take root and grow with interaction and support…I give thanksgiving to you all.

These are the things I am thankful for. Everything else is a direct result of or just filler in this life journey.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How Do You Spell Fear?

My initial definition of fear is probably like most you. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain. Now this describes what I encounter when there is an unknown element lingering in the midst and I am UNSURE of the outcome. If I knew what the outcome was to be, then there would be a much calmer approach to the end result.

Then there is the fear of exposure like; if people get to know me, they won’t like me, I walk or talk funny, I’m the wrong color, I’m too tall or too short, I’m not talented enough, and so on. This judgment-based fear is tricky for me, because it resonates from deep inside and is sometimes hard to filter. The best I can do to help adjust this is to lessen my tendency to judge others, which easier said than done. But I’m working on it.

Now the fear of God, for me, is a bit more complicated. If he is a loving God, why does the bible refer to the “fear of God” so often? My NLT Bible defines fear as “To have reverential awe of God; to be afraid or apprehensive” Job feared God and stayed away from evil. (Job 1:1). My definition of this biblical fear has come to mean an awesome respect for God and his authority and not to bring shame to his word by the actions that I do.

When my daughter Angel was rushed to the hospital, I experienced a culmination of all of these fears. This was an emotion that had me trapped in the what-ifs, whys, not me’s, and desperation. You see, this wasn’t suppose to happen to me because I was special some how. I have discovered that I am special, and so is everyone else. But being special doesn’t give me a pardon from the course of life.

Many blessings have happened since Angel’s passing. I wish she could be here physically to see how powerful her life was and the effect she had on so many. I do know that she is looking on from above and helping to soften my fears as I venture through this adventure called life.

May God bless you and give you Grace!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It Is Better to Give Than to...

All of us can finish this scripture without even thinking about it…for Jesus stated, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 21:35. I was listening to a teaching from James Ryle last week, and he made a statement that was very profound to me. He said, “You cannot give away that which you do not have”. Now that may seem obvious to most of you, but to me, it was very enlightening. I then decided to make a list of the things/traits that I do have.

Here is a condensed version of some of the things that made my list: Faith, Patience, Love, The Gift to Listen, Artistic Ability, A Home, and Money. There is more, but these are some of the things that came right off the top. Now the question is…how do I give these things away?

So this is what I will try to accomplish since these are things that I possess…

  • Faith: Share my belief in Christ and how he has comforted me in my journey.
  • Patience: To be still with others in times when they are anxious.
  • Love: Be there without judgement in times of need for family, friends and strangers alike.
  • The Gift to Listen: James 1:19 – “You must be quick to listen and slow to speak…”
  • Artistic Ability: To share my God given talents when given the opportunity.
  • My Home: My door has and will always be open.
  • Money: Although I do not have much, I will loosen my grip on this complicated possession.

I know with the first few of these; the more you give it away the more it will come back to you. I am willing to venture that it is also true with all of these.

As I put this into practice, I will share my progress in future entries.

May God bless you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seek and You Will Find

I write in my journal every night. I explore many thoughts, topics, prayers and council that I have encountered during my day. There is one topic or prayer that makes its way onto my pages every night in some way…this being the guidance of the Lord. I have versed this in many different ways, such as: Please Lord, lead me down your path and I will follow; Dear Lord, I pray I recognize your guidance and have the courage to follow; Dear God, show me your way and I will follow it faithfully. This is how I attempt to seek and pray that the Lord will give me direction. I fall short of recognizing his guidance more often than not, but it is up to me to stay diligent and remain aware of his gentle nudges. Proverbs 3:5-6 states

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,

And he will show you which path to take.

It is hard for me NOT to rely on my own understandings to be the way I proceed most times. It is the times when I stay quiet and listen that his path takes shape and I tend not to stumble.

The broad path that I have followed in the past was full of my own understandings and self-righteousness. As I seek the Lord and follow his will for me, I find a much more focused path to follow…and follow it I will!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

God's Gentle Nudge

This is my first post in this blog I have created. I am not all together sure what I am doing, but I have inner thoughts and feelings that need to be expressed. I hope you find it helpful, enlightening, or it may just give you something to think about. So here goes...

I have been on a journey of learning to walk in spirit with God. It seems I have been on this journey all my life, although unaware of it. God would give me a gentle nudge one way or the other. Sometimes I responded to this gentle guidance and other times I chose to go it alone in my own self guided direction. This would undoubtedly lead to struggle, or at least lengthen the learning process of his lesson for me.

When I was younger I was not tuned in to this being God, or hopefully I would have given more attention to this unsolicited help. This isn't to say that I would have followed HIS WILL with all my heart. There is this ego and pride thing that tries to intercept this holy nudge. I have come to refer to my ego and pride as the enemy and my conscience as God's gentle nudge.

When I say unsolicited, it means that I have not asked, prayed or solicited God's help in any way. This is why God is so wonderful! He wants to help and guide us even though we have not requested his assistance. Now, just imagine if we actively seek his assistance through prayer and daily conversation (Yes! Talk to God daily). The nudge will then turn into a treasure map of spiritual growth and the more we follow this guidance, the more treasures we will discover.

So, pay attention to God's gentle nudge, and as long as you don't push back, your life will come ALIVE!