Wow, and just like that the year is coming to a close. As I began to journal this morning I was doing more reflecting. I went back into the journal where I had written a year ago today. I wanted to see just what was taking place then and what Jesus had said to me. This process never fails to enlighten me. My biggest epiphany was seeing where God has brought me this year believing I am a new creation. Living life believing this doesn’t replace my humanness. What it does is change my focus from looking at dad and my brother (a little at my mom) and instead, looking at Jesus only. It’s awful to have to admit my level of sinfulness to me was built around whether I looked as bad as I thought dad or my brother looked. All year long I’ve begun to see my sinfulness as Christ sees and forgives. In so doing, my sin is right along side of my dad’s and my brother’s. There is no rank order–they are all sins.
This coming year is starting with me having my eyes open like they have never been before. Good grief, seeing Jesus and me together is so amazing and humbling at the same time. He sees all that I am/have done in my flesh and He loves me and wants to be with me and be my friend and guide. I get to experience this every day of this coming year knowing it’s no longer a hope, but a reality! Wow, I cry with JOY flooding my heart!
Last night was our Celebrate Recovery one. It was to be a testimony for the large group time and we sometimes use a video testimony when a live one isn’t accessible. Instead of an actual testimony, the leader who puts this together used the Skit Guys’ production of God chiseling away on man to make him into more of His Likeness. I can’t remember the name of it or I’d add it here. Boy, did this skit hit home for me. It was a perfect representation of God’s Work this past year as I’ve endeavored to live each day believing I am a new creation. There is so much God has needed to chisel away from my beliefs and to replace those lies with TRUTH about Him, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.
I’ve reflected a great deal about being a new creation of late. As my journey continues I simply have to write this because it is the truth of my journey. I suppose as this new year is about to enter I will continue to be awakened. The more I awaken the more my passion builds to help others believe this truth for themselves. As I was sharing in our small group time last night one young man was all teary as he shared. The reality of God’s chiseling on his life hit him as it had me. We think God will discover the hidden darkness in us if we let Him chisel too deeply. My word, to think God doesn’t already know this darkness and wants to take this darkness and replace it with LIGHT–HIS LIGHT. What a grateful soul I am!
All of a sudden the Christmas vacation ended and the reality of life at home hit full swing. I had scheduled extra counseling appointments into yesterday making it a very full day. However, it was a productive one and it was nice to be into a routine again after the fun of a week with all my family.
As this year is coming to a close and my focus on living the life of a new creation is becoming more real, I’ve discovered so much about myself I don’t like admitting. To see oneself as a new creation, one must see God’s Work. In seeing God’s Work in looking at oneself, one can’t help but see his flesh. Boy, do I see it like I’ve never seen before. I’ve written so many times about comparing myself to dad or to my brother. God, on the other hand, gave us His Son to keep our eyes upon. The amazing reality about keeping my eyes on Jesus is that He opens our eyes to His Holy Spirit. In so doing, I find loving grace and strength to confront my flesh with a new desire to not live submitting to the desires of flesh. Satan wants to bring me back to comparing with dad and my brother, but Jesus stands in this gap so I look to Him and receive strength to live more fully as this new creation.
Growing in the reality of being a new creation is the most beautiful gift I could ever receive. How little I knew what this glorious gift was like!
The Oklahoma kids are on their way home. All went smoothly at the airport for them. They are grateful with all of the delays that they hadn’t needed to deal with any of them (thus far). My oldest grandson who use to live with us for a couple of years, asked me last night if I was ready to have the house quiet again? I told him that answer is yes. He said, “I thought so. You use to tell me that.” This morning I am enjoying the quiet again.
No family is without their drama and mine is no exception. Taking this drama to God and leaving it with Him is one of the hardest things we have to do as parents or grandparents. I know He uses all things to His honor and glory as we live through the drama of daily living. However, it isn’t until we open the drama to Him and let Him lead us through it that He can use it to glorify Himself and then use it to help others. I sure know this first-hand from my own living of life. How quickly we try to retake control of things we need to keep surrendered. The “gift” of choice God gave man is used as a curse in the hands of Satan. Only when we leave this to God can we get Satan to flee. Our choice has to also include the many times in a day we need to surrender and choose to let God deal with our enemy.
Earlier this past week I used the phrase, Worship & Trust. Well, this is the key to watching God perform His miracles in His own time. Today, I surrender again.
Today we come to the last day for our family being all together. How quickly a week can slip by. It is packed with activities we save for the last day–bowling and pizza to follow. As our grandkids continue to grow and some of them enter into their early adult years, they can easily choose their own paths. However, thus far, each one seems to enjoy this week of being together. I am most grateful for this. Early tomorrow morning I’ll take the Oklahoma family to the airport. In the early evening our oldest grandson will fly back to the Air Force base where he is presently stationed. I am a fortunate grandpa and dad who has a family that comes together.
In spite of the weather, Christmas was beautiful. Church was cancelled due to icy roads and the entire day was one where no one felt safe being out on the roads. In spite of that, the day was wonderful. Christ was honored and our family was all together with the exception of one who was out of state. It was a joy.
There are times when it seems I’m doing so little for God and then I get the reminder that family comes right after my relationship with God. Taking a week to honor family and its importance is a right thing to do. Growing up, I use to live for the day to be away from my family, today I look forward to every minute we can be together. Then to realize our family of God is even bigger and better. It is amazing how God transforms us and turns the ugliness of past into a beautiful life where we can live for Him!
Today, the Word became flesh. Christ was born, not to rule the world (that time will come) but to save each one of us. How grateful I am!
Today the roads are a solid sheet of ice so church has been cancelled and I don’t know how the family members who are coming to share gifts will get here. We will simply play out the day and enjoy whatever takes place. All that man does on Christmas besides celebrate Christ’s birth itself is something which can wait anyway. So, today more than anything we rejoice in the TRUTH that Christ is born. Hallelujah!
It is Christmas Eve. All is calm and all is white. As daylight begins to show itself I can see the beauty of the snow covered world around me. God gave us His Son to give us a route to Him. That is why we call Jesus our Savior. He saves us! The ills of living life are not stopped because He saves us. However, they do not have to own us any longer. I was reminded of this truth once again as I had my devotions this morning. Again, I needed to Worship and Trust our Almighty God who so graciously gave us this pathway to Himself. “I worship you Almighty God–there is none like You!”
As I am nearing the end of the Psalms in my bible reading, I have found 15 of them which are given the title, “A Song of the Stairway”. Most of these are written by David. The footnote to this title states that these were songs to be sung as one climbed the 15 steps of the temple in Jerusalem. Each step took you one step closer to God’s temple for the purpose of worshiping Him. The author of this translation says that these 15 Psalms can also be used in our life’s journey. We have a choice to take whatever circumstances we encounter in life to God or we can choose to keep them within ourselves. These encounters can be great ones or crushing ones. As we take each step will we choose to worship God no matter what we are carrying up the steps?
The recent events of present are ones that can cause a person to question God and His truth that He is merciful and always a God of Grace. Will I choose to believe this or will I choose to stuff the event to see “just what God will do with it”. If it turns out OK, then I’ll believe God is a God of Grace and Mercy. I could easily put in this blog a number of events from my past where I chose to question God. Today, however, I am choosing to Worship and Trust.
God IS a God of Grace and Mercy. We all too often want to determine what Grace and Mercy look like. However, if we TRUST God in spite of our selfish wishes, we will eventually see a purer and far greater outcome than we could ever imagine. So, today I will continue to Worship & Trust my Almighty God!
Today feels like the day after. What I mean by this is that yesterday was a day where one is left wondering–God, what is next? It started with my brother-in-law notifying us that his wife had passed. We knew the time was close, but that never removes the grief one encounters when the time actually comes. A couple hours later I received a call from a new counselee needing help–“today”. I was able to meet with him and set a path for future meeting times and provide the truth of HOPE. Later in the day I was given more troubling news. The one needing to talk also used the term–Worship and Trust. These three words were given to him when he was contacted by one praying for him.
This morning I have been given the option of staying tuned only into the grief of man or I can choose to Worship and Trust while I see this grief. I can see the issues of yesterday clearly, but as I look at them and allow Christ to enter into the scenes I see outstretched arms which long to embrace. I can worship this Savior and Trust every move He makes. I don’t know the timing of these steps, but I do know He will take them and use all of this to His Honor and Glory. So, today I choose to Worship & Trust, not just now, but throughout the day.