Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Confused: I’m supposed to do what?


Did you ever have those moments where you think you know what direction you’ve been called, but only to question it down the road? Perhaps you really felt you were acting on obedience from God, but there came a time when you questioned why you were even doing this in the first place? You may ask yourself if it was even His calling after all, or if it was just your own wishes and desires that were coming through. I know I have.

As I was reading Exodus last night I came across a passage that struck me. To backfill, this is when Moses first got the call from God to go free His people. He went and approached Pharaoh for the first time demanding that he set them free. Pharaoh became angry and thus made the slaves work even harder. The slaves began to resent Moses, asking why he did this to them, pointing out how much worse he made the situation … then you read this:

Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.” (Exodus 5:22-23 ESV)

That’s when I stopped reading and wondered what I would have done in his situation. I wonder if I would have walked away confused, shaking my head, pondering why I even tried. Would I have gotten frustrated, angry, sad, hurt, [fill in the negative emotion], etc. until I finally just gave up on the situation and moved on with my life?

Moses didn’t. He got to experience “the rest of the story” that so often we miss by walking away. It was certainly filled with challenges, but he never lost sight of Who he was doing this for and why.

Far too often I’ve started something that I never finished. Far too often I made commitments only to break them at a later time. Far too often I let conviction stay at conviction, and not let it lead me to repenting. I’m going to change that, now. I want to experience the rest of the story … His story that He wrote for me …

Lord, increase my faith!
Light Your path for me daily
Help me push through confusion to build confidence
Help me exercise spiritually to build trust
Let me never miss the rest of the story, Your story
that you planned for me long before I was born

Yours,
~Matthew

Friday, October 23, 2009

It’s all in your aim …

Sometimes I get lost in Christ being my savior to the point where I miss the fact that He’s Lord. I had a discussion a while back with someone close to me about how he clearly sees a creator, but he doesn’t feel that worship is what his idea of a creator would want. He most certainly wouldn’t like the idea of a Lord.

As a child, we may want to rebel at times, or perhaps even show disrespect, but in the end it’s the comfort of the parent that makes you feel safe, secure, and loved. I draw this analogy with the knowledge that family to some of those who read this was far from safe, secure, and loving. Aside from that, I trust you understand the point that I’m drawing here regardless of your views. Personally, I couldn’t imagine a hands off God. One who abstractly reveals himself in a little game called life where we run around trying to determine what Truth is. Thankfully, that’s not our God. However our God is also our Lord. I’m reminded of this when I read the following passage:

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. – Haggai 1:9 (ESV)

Some people find a God that punishes offensive, and while I understand that our first reaction may be to get defensive at times we have to realize a few things. For one, God is always sovereign, something not easy to swallow for a non-believer. One other point may be that we need to be corrected, how else do children learn? But most importantly it’s all done through Love. Look at the years and years and years of disobedience that went on between incidences of punishment.


So when I read the passages above it’s a sobering reminder for me to check my aim. Am I living for my kingdom, or His? Am I worried about getting my house in order, or His? And as I heard in a sermon one time, when it comes to my children, am I worried more about getting them in Harvard … or Heaven?

Checking my aim,
~Matthew

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time to Boast a Little

I thought I’d take a minute and do something a bit different; I thought I would take a minute and boast about myself! So if you’ll excuse the typical post, I need to brag about a few things in my life … so I hope you don’t roll your eyes too much with me puffing myself up and all but here it goes … *clearing throat* …





There are times that I go to bed broken for having let my words of anger and frustration boil over to my amazing children. (It’s a weakness I have controlling my temper sometimes)

Sometimes, I talk to my dad like he’s an absolute idiot, and then realize most of the time he was right, but I rarely apologize. (It’s a weakness I have of thinking that I’m better then everyone else)

I suffer from anxiety, in fact, sometimes my heart palpitations drive me so nuts I think I may just be going crazy. (It’s a weakness I have of trusting myself more then Him)

I let my friends fade away sometimes because keeping up with the social stuff is a lot of work (It’s a weakness I have about social situation, another anxiety issue)

I sometimes just imagine ways of getting even with someone that hurt me (It’s a weakness I have with being so defensive sometimes I want to take revenge)

I like walking away and not looking back – you know those situations where you really messed up? (It’s a weakness I have with internalizing some issues rather than dealing with them)

Sometimes when I’m striking back I manage to find a really good button on my wife … you know, the kind that really hurt? (It’s a weakness I have of trying to always win an argument, get my point across, or simply hurt when someone is calling me out on something)

That’s not boasting? Oh, yeah, I suppose this world may not consider that boasting. We usually hear others:

Toughen up! [pride]
Keep your issues private! [lack of community]
Do what makes you happy! [gain the world, lose your soul]
You earned your way to the top, forget about everyone else [lack of love]
It’s all about image! [pride again? That’s a nasty one …]

However my instruction manual tells me otherwise:
2 Cor 12:9 - 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

You see, the thing is that:
I’m not a perfect husband …
I’m not a perfect dad …
I’m not a perfect son …

Heck, I don’t even feel I’m really good at any of them; but I’m thankful to God I’m not … because it’s the power of Christ that is filling those gaps and reshaping me. I don’t accept where I stand, I need transformation from the only One who can give it to me, but I need to open myself up first. I am going to open these weaknesses and wounds with gladness, so that He can do a good work in me.

Without opening up (boasting of) our weaknesses, we present Him with a sign that reads “No Vacancy”. That’s one sign I don’t want to be handed at the end myself …

“Under Construction”
Matthew

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Unclogging My Pipes

The last several days have been rather difficult for me. The children seem to have found new ways to challenge me, I seem to create my own household projects/repairs (like yesterday's garbage disposal mess), and I've neglected nurturing the most amazing wordly relationship I have and that is with my wife. I could make excuses like, "Hey, it's ok, we all get busy", but where does that get me? Back in the same place next month.

So today I rediscovered my favorite place to pray and read at lunch; the top of a stairwell in my building. Seldom used, it's old, dusty, dirty, but most importantly, it's wonderfully quiet and away from this crazy pace we all live at.




It wasn't until then that I began to look back on my day. There was something different this morning, that much I knew. However it wasn't until I got out of the "noise" that I could hear Him again.

His words? "I love you"

It made me recall how I used to often, and recently not enough, simply tell my wife when she's in the middle of having a bad time, "I love you". Sometimes nothing else is said; sometimes nothing else is needed.

Then I thought about last night again. How after I unclogged my pipes (kitchen issues) my day began to change. I showed untypical patience to an untypical crying 3 year old getting ready for bed (turns out she's sick today). I showed untypical patience to my son who for the 100th time it seemed asked the same question about a book for bed. And my wife showed me what I have been missing SO much ... some time together after the kids go to bed for some tea, a snack, and reading His Word together, and simply talking.

Things seem to be flowing better ... He did a work on my pipes as well ...

I feel guilty/grief that I wasted several days in my ignorant and stubborn flesh, and while part of me says 'let go', another part wants to hold on to that feeling as a lesson learned.

For Paul states

2 Cor 7:10 "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death."

So I encourage you ... find that stairwell of yours ... pull aside to pray today; pray from the heart. Let that "godly grief" fill you, not to bring you down, but to lead to you a place without regret. Let Him unclog your pipes ... let Him flow through ever fiber of your soul.

I pray that in the chaos of your day, in whatever termoil your facing, in whatever pain you're expierencing, in whatever frustration and anger that your are fighting, that he just grab your attention, pierce your soul, and you simply hear Him say: "I love you"

Living for the King,
~Matthew

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Don't lose the wonder ...

This morning I sat down to make a few minutes to read. I usually don't do this in the morning but have gotten inspired to do so lately by the stories and joy from a friend of my wife. So I grabbed my Bible and sat on the bed. I was prompted from one of my devotionals to open up Psalm 19, and to be honest my first thought was "*sigh* I know this already". I've read it many times, and while one of my favorite passages (it subtitles my blog) I wanted get something fresh on this first of hopefully many mornings like this. But I didn't argue (too much) and sat and read it anyway. It starts:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.


It's then that infancy hit me again. I've walked away from the basics (or at least started to) ... amazing basics, but basics. I crave that deeper theology, that challenging doctrine, that conviction to push me further, but in that I lost sight of just sitting back and marvling at our awesome God. I've even felt a little more attacked lately and realized that though the stuff I have been craving lately is wonderful, I still need to take a step back, get on my knees, let the tears flow in joy, and just think "you picked me?" ...

... He picked you too

Diving deep into His ocean of love is amazing and filled with wonderful Truth. However let us never forget the view we saw from the surface that made us want to take that jump in the first place.

We worship an amazing God

Freshly Amazed,
~Matthew
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