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Hope of Glory

Hope of Glory

Oh Lord, your precious blood covers me.

I am made blameless and holy.

Through me, your light shines.

I am yours and you God are mine.

Although you prepared it, I walk a path I do not know

But always trusting the way you lovingly show.

Until the day I see your face,

Hope of Glory, I will cling, always through your grace.

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At The Valley’s Edge

Psalm 27 Psalm 23

Lately, God has been speaking to me about the journey we all walk through in life. For the believer, He has shown me it works in a cyclical pattern. We have times of rest, times of knowledge and understanding and times of testing. Over the summer, it was clear that God had me in a season of knowledge and understanding. He opened my mind and my heart to knew ways of thinking and began to transform them. Now, he has laid heavy on my heart about the inevitable valley.

God has led me to edge of the valley. As I look in on the uncertainties of life, I can feel fear knocking on my heart. I can already feel the pressure of the darkness beginning to weigh in. In my heart of hearts, I do not want to walk across this valley. However, the God I know tells me it is for my good. He has purposed this valley. It is for me to grow in my spiritual maturity. It is a time of testing the knowledge he has already given me about himself and to turn it into wisdom. He has promised me he will guide me and he will never forsake me. In the valley, is where I will meet my God face to face. I will see his power made great in my weakness and his grace will be sufficient. In this shadowy place, I will be confronted with the weakness that lies deep in my heart and I will either trust the Lord and be changed or I will flounder and remain the same. I want to run away from this place but in doing so is running away from God. The Lord tells me be strong and courageous do not be afraid for I am with you. I don’t know all that lies before me. I don’t know how dark it will be but I do know my God will not leave me. I know he has been preparing me. I know he is faithful to do all he says he will do. I know there is nothing outside of his control and I know my God loves me. I can walk confidently in him who has placed his spirit within me.

We can not prevent these times in the valley. We can choose to try to run or escape them learning nothing from them or we can go through it actively trusting the Lord so that we may grow spiritually and see Him in an a more intimate way. For those who have built their lives on the firm foundation of Christ, the valley is a storm that tests your roots. The storm will push and press you but you will be be unmoved in your faith in Christ and will have grown from the down poor. If you placed your trust in yourself or others, when the storm hits, you will be pulled up and laid low but even in the devastating winds and impacts you can cry out to the Lord and he will come near.

How will you choose to walk in the valley?

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A Time of Wandering

When I was a new sheep in your pin, I relished my new place. As you came near to me, your ways were contrary to my sinful ways so I fled from you. Although I was yours, I did not know you well and your ways prevented me from going my own way. You allowed me to wander. You kept a close eye on me always walking behind me. You saw all that I did and where I had gone. I wandered down dangerous paths and near cliff edges until the day I wandered too close. I wandered closely to a thorn bush it ensnared me with its thorns. I could not get loose. The more I struggled to free myself the more entangled my fleece became. I was stuck. I was helpless and I could not free myself from my inequities. I called out to you. My God, My God save me! Help me! Free me from what ensnares me! There you were, right behind me as you always had been. I had not seen you through my wandering but you were there. You laid your hand upon me and told me, “be still, know that I am your God. Do not struggle any longer.” As I stayed still, you patiently and gently freed me from the thorns. I drew close to you never afraid of your ways because I knew you loved me and your ways protected me. I turned from that place and I walked with you back to the flock. I had your peace knowing I was going your way. I was in your flock and I could rest in your presence.

Even though I have taken up your ways, occasionally I lose track of you. I will have had my head down busily working away at what was in front me and I begin to stray. In your mercy and grace, you throw the rod in front of me. Your warning of the path I am on. I quickly pick my head up and see your face and turn the other way. You are always watching me and I am always in your care. I look back from a distance at that thorn bush that had ensnared me, and I am thankful. It is now a place of repentance and deliverance. It is a place where I met you face to face and I began to know you.

When we are first brought into Christ’s flock it is a joyous time. We are thrilled to be there and have a new home and a new way, but as the shepherd draws close to us we begin to rebel. His ways conflict with our fleshly ways and our desires to do it our own way. During this time, many of us flee for a time. We run away from him because we want to do what we want to do. We do not understand why we must follow him in his exact ways. He allows us to wander. He is ever present during our wandering time but we have no recollection of him. He allows us to make foolish choices and walk dangerously close to edges but at all times He is there because nothing is done outside of his presence. He is walking behind us. It is when we come to a situation in life we cannot rescue ourselves from and we have become helpless that our heads and our hearts finally are opened. We see where our actions have led us. He is there to calm and to free us. In that rescue is where we go from knowing that he our new master to seeing him face to face. We are prodigal sons returning.

Even though we are following him and attentive to his voice, we are not immune to becoming too busy with this world and lose track of him. He gives us warnings with his rod of discipline and it is in our best interest to pick our heads up and turn the other way to meet with him.

Supporting Scripture

Luke 15:11-32

Matthew 18:10-14

Psalm 23

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Building an Ark

I started playing Minecraft with my son in attempt to enter into his world and minister to him. I decided it would be fun to go over a very common story of the Bible, Noah and ark, and rebuild the ark in Minecraft.

As we went over the story and “labored” to build the ark, God pointed out that I am also building an ark in the minds and hearts of my children.

Noah was credited as being a righteous man. God decided to save him and his family from the devastating flood waters that were to come over the whole earth. Through his mercy, He gave Noah specification on how to build this enormous ship that was house every living creature on the earth and Noah’s family. In the account of Noah, it was said that Noah did everything the Lord had commanded.

Although in scripture it does not give details on how Noah felt about the task that was set before him, from my own life and from my experience trying to piece together the ark in Minecraft, times of being overwhelmed and frustrated had to be there.

As I look ahead at the job that lays before me, teaching my children about God and demonstrating His love to them, I can easily get overwhelmed. Too many times, I feel as though I am barely surviving myself and barely holding on to my sanity so how can I put forth the intentional effort of teaching these children. God then in his mercy and grace reminds me that the ark was built one plank at a time.

Noah, was given specific guidelines on how to construct the ark and we are given specific guidelines on how to raise our children through scripture. It took Noah time to build the ark and it will take time to build a firm foundation in our children. No doubt, there were days where the amount of tedious labors of sawing and hammering was overwhelming and all that shown forth was a small section of an enormous project. We too experience these days or weeks of tedious laboring to teach our children in the way they should go, being consistent in our discipline saying no for the thousandth time and our patience and our perseverance being tested at every point.

Even in these times where we want to give up we must remember of the flood that is coming. One day that child will no longer be under our watchful eye and protection. They will leave the homes that cared for them and they will encounter the worlds disparaging ways and what we have spent building in the hearts and minds of our kids will be there to either guide them back to safety or encourage them towards the world. When we point our children to Christ daily, when we share our faith and our struggles, when we teach them his truths we are slowly but steadily building that ark inside our children. We are training them in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.

Noah could not save himself or his family from the judgement that was to come over the world, but a mighty and merciful God provided a way and saved them. When we point our children to Christ daily we are building an ark inside their minds and hearts. It is not us who will save them but Christ who has given us the way of salvation, we are to just be steadily obedient in his commands.

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Living the Salt Life

The other day as I was putting away some clothes, I asked my 4 year old son what he knew about God, he responded “not so much” and I asked do you want to know more about him and he responded the same. I really wasn’t surprised, why would he want to know more about God. Learning about God is not nearly as entertaining as playing toys or video games and he definitely hasn’t been struck with hardship to need to lean on him. Then yesterday morning, I lended a ear to the dental hygienist cleaning my teeth and she used the phrase “they really are good kids” several times and it always followed a questionable decision or action the kid made.

After these interactions, the word apathy got stuck in my head along with “good kids”. The word apathy means: absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement and lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting. The definition of “good kids” is up for interpretation but I’m talking about those who behave moderately well that do well enough in school and make fairly wise decisions staying away from any severe mischievous behaviors.

God had me contemplating the two together and he made the connection for me. Could our endeavors to raise “good kids” actually be raising apathetic adults? Most of us have been raised in middle class homes, not really ever living in want with open doors to many opportunities. We are taught in school, at home and by culture we can be whatever we want to be, we can do whatever we want to do, we can live however we want to live, believe whatever we want to believe with little to no consequences. The attitude of self is celebrated and revered with you have to go get what you want, strive to be the best you and make sure to carve out that me time. Parents raise “good kids” to do well in school and to behave well but allowing some “normal” questionable behavior because after all kids will be kids and teenagers will be teenagers and they will do what they will do.

So what is the harm in raising “good kids,” is that not an admirable thing to do? Satan is crafty in his ways of deceiving and he has stealthily entered the majority of families with the ideals of raising “good kids.” He has convinced parents that going to church on Sunday and raising the kids to be good is good enough. He has convinced generations the only way to be successful in life is getting the best education possible, to be well rounded in all sorts of sports and hobbies and to never give up on their ideas and dreams for themselves. As our minds have been set to try to attain these goals, it has been turned away from God. We have given up Godly wisdom from His Word for earthly wisdom. We have given up discipline and self control for instant gratification and indulgence. We have dismissed God’s plans and purposes for our future to attain what we want for ourselves. It has left generations apathetic toward God and fostering new ones.

What does God say about these “good” people?

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:15-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As believers, we are to live salty lives for Christ. We are not to look, sound, and be like the world. We are to live transformed being new creatures and living in a foreign land. We are to raise salty kids. Asking what does God have planned for you what is your purpose in him. Teaching them his ways and his words over everything else. We are to put everything in our life through the spiritual grid to sift out anything that causes us to stray whether activities or mindsets. We are to be confident in Christ stepping into deep waters he has called us into, awakening us with a thrilling passion to pursue him more not living in shallow warm water that lacks passion. We are to exchange our apathy for zeal and zest for the Lord and lead and teach our children by example and challenge the worlds way and live fully alive in Christ. No longer strive to raise “good kids” but strive to raise kids with the foundation of reverence in God, cultivating minds and hearts that have been permeated with God’s truth and his ways. Let’s show our children how to love God with all of our heart and all of our soul and love others as ourselves.