Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My trip to Starbucks

Good Morning!

   Here I sit at the local Starbucks killing time as the wife gets her nails done. Such an interesting group of people sitting soundly, having overpriced coffee and talking about their problems. I couldn't find a empty table, so I had to ask the table of three ladies to join their group. I started off reading the Internet, but the loudness of all around me wouldn't let me stay focused. There is the older group of men that I see often sitting one table over talking about "how life used to be." I wish there was an extra seat at their table so I could barge in and just sit and listen. Even though I'm not that old (I'm turning  50 in a week) I have great memories of my early days. Sometimes I spend a bit too much time in my personal Twilight Zone episode sledding down the big hill behind the house.

   The ladies sitting next to me are busy talking about pregnancy issues. I do my best to seem over interested on my screen, so as not to make them feel uncomfortable. I say a silent prayer for the one who is sharing her longing for a child and the difficulties of all the tests she is undergoing.

    At another table, there is a couple looking into each other's eyes. Not sure, but I tend to believe that they are having troubles. It just sucks, for lack of a better word, to see people with pain in their hearts. I hope they walk out together with a promise of better days.

    So what does all this have to do with "Leadmetothecross111?" Well to tell you the truth, I'm not sure. When I woke up this morning, I knew God was with me. So he must be here at Starbucks too. But, if he is here beside me, then he must be here beside everyone else. He must be hearing the heartache of the woman wanting a child, the troubles of the intimate couple, and the hearts of the men wanting to fill up with the joys of the past. I can only guess he's saying "Hey, I'm standing right here! I can hear you! Ask me to sit down and I will.  Invite me into your heartaches, and I will grant you peace. If you just believe, I am here."

    How comforting to those that follow. He is with us all the time and everywhere we go. How much easier the days gone by are when we give Him our troubles and worries. As a new follower, I am finding this gift beyond my abilities to say thank you. I've yet to get past the feelings of the man who stands at the water's edge as the waves reach for the shore, who looks out to discover "truly" how small he is. How in all the bigness of things that He still looks down on me. But He looks upon all of us.

    Would it be rude to interrupt the lady next to me, the couple, and the men and tell them He is here? He's the one who can help you. I'm proof of that.. Maybe yes, maybe no. I'm not going to give it the old college try. Keeping one's mouth shut at times is Godly too. Approaching others can be a tricky deal. If it was the football game or the election, it would be easier to jump in. But "God talk," that's a different story.

    Everyone is leaving now. My coffee is getting cold. And the day ahead calls my name.

    I instead will use the powers He gave me and call on His name to Bless them all. "Lord bring hope to that woman and Bless her with a child to love. Bless the couple so that today they will feel love towards each other and see only good days ahead. Fill the older men with peace in their hearts to enjoy today like those of the past. Bless these people, so that each one will walk out the door with Your light shining upon them. But most of all, give them peace so that they know You are with them, and they will hear Your voice calling them to Your heart.

   "Yes, you can sit here I'm just finishing up," I said to some patrons looking for a table. They thanked me. "You're welcome," I said, "Have a Blessed day." They looked at me kinda funny. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't say anything to the others after all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Note to Self: Keep Reading

  It's been some time since I have been able to post about my Biblical journey. I have a book problem. You see I'm the type of guy that loves books. I can't walk into a book store, or Costco with out buying something new. I am now reading six Different Bibles, including a children's picture version. I'm using the picture book as a way help visualize the stories. Throw in one or two companion books for reference material and now I'm looking for a bigger study area. I also purchased the starter package from Logos Bible study software, to as they say "seal the deal." I've halted my reading at Genesis 35. Spending the last two weeks reading all the other materials and Bibles to catch up. I want to be in alignment with all the books so I can learn something from one that I might have missed in another.

 Here's my reading list:
  • The Illustrated Bible Story by Story
  • Sparkling Gems from the Greeks. 365 Greek Word Studies For Every Day of the Year To Sharpen Your Understanding of God's Word  by Rick Renner
  • The Message Bible
  •  YouVersion Bible App for phone
  • New King James Version reference Bible 1974
  • New Living Translation Bible
  •  Zondervan Handbook of the Bible
  • Joseph by Charles Swindoll
  •  The NIV Daily Bible
  • 1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible   by J. Stephen Lange
  • The NLT Chronological Bible.
  •  The Jesus of the Bible   by Stephen M. Miller
  •  The Portable seminary   by David Horton
  •  Adventuring Through the Bible   by Ray C. Stedman
  • Logos Bible Software Starter version

Books completed :

  • In the Footsteps of Jesus   by National Geographic
  • The Circle Maker   by Mark Batterson
  •  The Power of Kindness   by Piero Ferrucci
  •  The Prophetic Blessing   by John Hagee
  •  Not a Fan   by Kyle Idleman
  •  The Greatest Story Ever Told   by Fulton Oursler
  •  The Book of Job   by Stephen Mitchell
  • God the Evidence   by Patrick Glynn
  • Desiring God   by John Piper
  • The story of Joseph and the Family of Jacob   by Ronald S. Wallace
  • How to Study the Bible Illustrated   by Robert M. West

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tell Jesus I'll call Him back.

"Honey, the phone's ringing. Can you get it?"
"Sure thing dear. Hello? Who is this? Jesus you say? The real one, or is this a joke? John, he says it is Jesus. I think you better take this!"
"Tell him I'm a little busy with my life right now sweetie. I'll touch base with him later."

Oh how we hate it when the phone rings. Whether we answer the phone or let the answering machine get it, it's a choice that needs to be made.  "Answer it. You never know who's calling," my mom use to say. "It might be good news."  I never really spent much time wondering about who was on the other end. But times are changing.

It's been four weeks since I brought home the new Bible. I'm reading it religiously (no pun intended.) I've added other guide books to my library and invested in Logos Bible software. I needed extra help to take on this journey. But am I ready to take His call? Am I ready to become a follower rather than a fan?

 I was reading an article on following Jesus. The author noted Abraham and Jacobs' answer to the call of God. "Yes," Abraham and Jacob both replied. "Here I am!" (Gen 22:11; 31:11)
Without hesitation, these men spoke with brave, strong hearts. The phone rang, they answered. They listened without question, hung up and followed.

I hear the phone ringing now. It's a soft chime, but It's there day and night.  I'm pretending not to hear it. Frankly, I'm scared. I'm afraid He's going to ask me to follow Him and I don't have an answer yet. I know I want to, but I'm not sure I'm worthy or ready to give up the old me. I don't yet have the courage of the fishermen who threw down their nets and followed. (Mat 4: 18-22 ; Mrk 1: 16:20) This is the only me I've ever known. Will my wife and family even like the new me? Will I like the new me? Ehhh! Can't I just be me and read my Bible!

I need to take it slow. He left His number in my voice mail. I'm planning on calling Him back very soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Where are you?

I think one of the most frightening verses in the Bible for me can be found in Genesis 3: 8-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man[a] and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Where are you Adam? Wow, I can't imagine the fear he must have felt when he heard those words. How he must have heard in the depths of his mind Satan's laughing voice, "He's coming, and you have nowhere to run." He has no explanation to give for tasting what he knew should never have been eaten. He has no alibi to resolve his foolishness, and lack of self-control. He has gone where he knew he should never have been, and has crossed the line of no return.

As a father and husband to the love of my life of 18 years (just last week) I feel this verse to my core. I am not perfect. I am a hypocrite in many ways of the world, but I am a work in progress.  Like Jabez, I ask every morning "That your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain." (1 Chronicles 4:10)!

I know I have the power to lie, steal and hurt. I believe that sometimes it's harder to do the right thing than wrong. Should I give the extra ten dollars back to the angry cashier? Should I tell the wife I was where I was not? Should I kill those that I hate? What keeps me in check is fear. Fear of Him that seeks me. Fear that Hell has no fury like a women scorned. Fear of losing my children's hearts as they see what lies behind the mask. Fear of destroying their trust and stability of family by my thoughtless and selfish actions. Fear of spending time in jail!

I am not fighting any demons on these issues (which is good since my wife is going to edit this.). My heart is peaceful, joyous, and in check because I do live with a sense of healthy fear. The wolf lies in wait for us to open the door.  He waits to feast on our hearts and happiness.  All of this is what keeps me working to stay the straight and narrow.

I never want to have to hide from Him, my wife, children or neighbor as they come to walk in the garden.

 Lord help me never to hear the words "What have you done?"  Genesis 3:13

Monday, October 22, 2012

The business Covenant

For many years now, I have been trying to run a small financial business. I've worked long hours and I've had plenty of expensive training. Yet I still find myself struggling to turn a consistent profit. I looked back on my time past and came to realize that the reason for all the hardship and struggle is 
 I guess I could just type out all the Scripture verses that could go along with "all things are possible in me," but we all know them. I've heard them a thousand times in church. It's not the hearing or knowing that works out life's problems, it's the action you take with that knowledge. What am I doing in my daily life to look up for help, and know that it's there? What change do I have to make in my beliefs to trust the one above? These are the changes that I have had to make.

 Last week after an awakening from His words. I started to make that change. I knelt down and asked Him to buy my business for free. I asked only to keep me on as the working partner. To follow His rules and His rules only. To take the purpose of the business from a self serving ego driven outcome to working for the benefit of my family and the greater good of all.

I will confess that I have lived a life of financial selfishness. I count the pennies as the dollars fly out the window. I am a cheap soul. I provide a safe life for my family, but I could spend much more time being responsible to Him above than I do. I could provide more money for donations and charity with an open heart (with no need for recognition) than I do. I could trust in the words that follow.

2 Corinthians 9:10

New Living Translation (NLT)
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity[a] in you.
I have now changed the name of my company to include the word Covenant as a reminder from this point on that I've entered into a new him and I. That I am now responsible for all things in business as in life to God above, and not my Ego.
Last week was the first profitable week in a long time. I wrote the check this week with a grateful heart, that he heard my prayers. I will answer his call to be a good steward of his blessing and use them to glorify his name and not mine.

Deuteronomy 8:18

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

18 But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

UPDATE: 3/07/2015  I'm still struggling.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bibles Bibles everywhere which one do I read

I took a few hours before work today to visit the local Mardels book store. I've been looking for awhile now to find the right Bible that calls out "You're going to love reading me." I must have looked like a lost soul standing in front of 100 different styles of Bibles when I was asked "Can I help you?" by a sales associate.With help, I was able to narrow my search down to four books. And after a lengthy comparison, I choose the 'Chronological Life Application Study Bible NLT.' I liked the extras that it included, such as maps, notes and pictures of the old world. It brings the readings alive and understandable. This will add to my enjoyment since I am both interested in the Word and the historical time lines. This is the soft cover leather bound copy.

 "Your word is the lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

 I just finished the new book by Mark Batterson "The Circle Maker." I found it to be a very good read and a book that you can put into practice talking to God. I will tell you that I struggle reading books on prayer. I find myself feeling unworthy of all the gifts that they tell me I should ask for. It is a dilemma for my mind. I know I am unworthy as a sinful man, so what right do I have to ask for things of this world? I do pray for health and safety for my family. I think that anything other than that is really not a need, just a want. How does GOD feel about me living a life unable to match His, and yet still asking for unlimited financial wealth and other worldly goods? I believe He hears me. I see His blessings in my everyday life. This book talks about circling your prayers with power and opening your eyes to see that He does hear our pleas. Once prayers are answered, use them to glorify His name. (my thought.) Use your blessings for the greater good of all. I've now taken my business into a covenant with Him, and already see His hands working with me. Here is the point of my contract with Him. I am not looking for the prize. I'm looking to make the change that the deal will force into my life. By making me change to follow His lead, I stop acting on my own selfishness and think not "what would Jesus do'" but "what does Jesus want me to do."


Sunday Oct 14 2012

 We went to church this morning. This was our second week at a new service called Twilight. It was a four week series about angels, ghosts, demons and spirits. We found the church via a mailer that we received. I guess God must have wanted us to go and check it out or we would not have found it in our mailbox. We showed up the first week and met many nice people. They were warm and welcoming, not over bearing which has turned us off before. The message was good. The pastor was great, and we left looking forward to attending again. This week the pastor talked about demons. I am sure "the devil himself" did not want us to hear this service. Just as the pastor started to talk, the women behind us start a nose sniffing marathon that lasted the whole service. When she wasn't sucking in her runny nose, she was coughing up her lungs.I think there were at least a dozen people coughing as well. It was such a distraction to hear what the pastor was saying. But we fought through it. Who knows if she was part of the plan to fill us with distraction. If it was, it did not work. We will be back again next week!