There is an amazing thing about God I never knew or understood in my younger years–His GRACE. I’m sure my handle on it today is only a minor portion of its depth and width, but what I do know today far surpasses what I misunderstood earlier in my life.
There was a point in my life when I hated God knowing He would take my brother to heaven and leave me here to suffer the consequences of his sin to me. What did Grace have to do with this? Grace forgave my brother and took him to heaven when he drowned, but where was Grace for me? Little did I understand that the entrance for Grace began when I started to open up about the secrets I held within. Satan had me believing his lies rather than believing God’s word where we are told to confess one to another (James 5:16).
There is so much about abuse and children that I would like to change and stop. God, on the other hand, gave man free will and abuse sits right in the middle of “free will”. Yes, man has the ability to punish abuse once it is known, but to remove the effects of it on the abused is something only God’s Grace does. Knowing that the poison put into a child by the abuser can one day be used as a medicine for some other victim is a perfect example of GRACE. GRACE removes the stigma of secrets and turns it into a passion to share. WOW, GOD IS AMAZING!
It is so good to be here in Oklahoma for this week. It is amazing to watch your grandkids grow into adulthood day by day and moment by moment. The decisions being made and the struggle with living committed to Jesus rather than to self. This is truly a human characteristic that doesn’t fade as life goes on. Even our grandson here has gone through the voice changing. He will be a freshman in high school this next year. It is a joy to come and just be with them for this period of time.
God is amazingly at work everywhere. It is me who gets locked into “my world” thinking God needs to do this or that. Then, I go someplace like Oklahoma to see how much He is working here and to hear folks say God needs to do this or that. We humans do have a narrow focus which God is always broadening to help us see what He sees. Joining Him in this broadening world is forever His goal and mine too. I just need to keep the blinders removed as best as possible.
It was such a privilege to get to be part of the cheering section for my granddaughter’s graduation yesterday evening. She is part of a huge class of seniors with something like 750 students in the class. She was chosen to sing the national anthem for the ceremony. She does have a magnificent voice! Grandpa is very proud.
The last two days have been major yardwork days helping my daughter with the remake of flower beds both redesigning and planting. Some major mowing needed to be done but almost all of it is now done. Today will finish a few more details. The neighbor walked over and said that the graduate should be out helping since all of this work is being done in her honor. My daughter assured her that the timing of this work being done at graduation only coincided with our trip. All of this work is being done only because of her–she loves yardwork just like I do and was waiting for our arrival to do it.
God is continuously good–what more can I say!
Yesterday my oldest grandson turned 25. Without telling the story, my mom said when he was born that God would likely use him to glorify our family. He is truly doing just that. He is in the air force and is completing his training in dismantling bombs. There is a name for this which escapes me as I write this. He just found out that when he finishes the first of August, he will be stationed at a missile base in California. He is pleased with this for it is right on the ocean and a day’s drive to Idaho. We are very proud of him!
Today is my granddaughter’s graduation here in Oklahoma. She is graduating in a class of well over 600 students and sits in the front row. She is singing the national anthem as a solo for this. She is also a 4-point student. Grandpa has much to be proud of!
More and more God is confirming His calling into this field of counseling. He is doing this by showing me that I am not growing into being a new creation. Instead, He is affirming that I am a new creation who is growing. Just as an apple tree is an apple tree from the time the seed is planted to when it bears its first fruit, a new creation is a new creation from the time Christ enters one’s life. I have never felt so sure about something as God is helping me to be regarding this. Greatly humbled, but very assured.
I’ve always loved coming to Oklahoma where our kids live. Each time I’m here I think I could live here. There are so many connections we’ve made over the years through our kids and their church. It would be like a second home and family already in place. I “think” I would struggle with the clay soil and trying to garden in it, but who knows???
I was able yesterday afternoon to talk with my son-in-law regarding the counseling program we’re beginning at our church. He is a Ph.D. counseling psychologist so I wanted his impression. He is aware of biblical counseling he said, he just hasn’t had any first-hand experience with it. It was interesting to me that his question regarding it was the same as the retired counselor at home who is going to work with me to get it started. The question is, “How well do the two approaches respect one another?” This was never directly addressed at the conference I attended, but what I did notice was that the majority of the presenters were Ph.D. or Masters’s level psychologists or counselors. They never disrespected one approach over another. The bigger picture centered around making God the great Healer, rather than a “man’s way. We don’t disrespect God using man’s medical work and we don’t disrespect God’s using man’s counseling work. Man should never think his work is ever anything more than a tool in the Hands of God.
We’re in Oklahoma and so glad to be here for Julia’s graduation. Turns out another friends daughter is graduating so we got to attend her party yesterday afternoon once we arrived. So many great folks are here. We will leave for church shortly so my post is also short. I just know God is working and I want to be part of His hands while we’re here.
It is quite early in the morning and already God is working. The devotional I’m using was published 4 years ago, but God is using the message today as I read it. Every day He reminds me that the day is His and the details of the day are His also. I don’t need to fret regarding them. He orchestrates if I only let Him do so staying out of His way. What is also amazing is that I get so much more done in a day than I do otherwise.
I had written yesterday that it was a blessing to have the school delaying our meeting until after the trip to Oklahoma today. I had made a list of what I needed to get done and Kathy had a couple things for my list too. Not only did I get all of the list completed, God interwove into the day a visit from a dear friend, a time with one of the Celebrate Recovery men who is struggling, and a surprise trip to my grandson’s first day of employment where he now works. I would have never thought all of this would be in a day, but God already knew and there was no stress in any of it. How I love our God!
Today I was to go to a school I work with on a monthly basis. I was hoping it wouldn’t take too much time since Kathy and I are leaving early in the morning to fly to Oklahoma City for our granddaughter’s high school graduation which is next week. I have some last minute gardening things to complete which I didn’t want done until right before we leave. Well, I got a text this morning asking if it would be ok to delay our meeting? I happily agreed so now the day is open–God is so kind and good!
On Wednesday of this week I got a message from my dear college friend who has been my singing partner for 54 years. He wanted to send the message he sent to me to all of our college grads who had attended the reunion last weekend. He felt they needed to know I have a story of God’s redemption and healing. He encouraged them to order one of my autobiographies. The thought took my breath away, but then I never want to step in the way of God’s leading, so, I said, “OK”. Yesterday I received messages from classmates who had already ordered and one who had done it digitally so he was already reading it.
Over and over again I am amazed at God’s kindness. Before the reunion I felt as though it were 50 years earlier and I was in hiding about “who I am”. Some of that went away by simply attending it. However, God wanted more than “some of that ill feeling going away”. He never stops using His Work to encourage someone else. How AMAZING OUR GOD IS!
Last night we had a powerful meeting with our Celebrate Recovery leadership team. A good deal of truth came out of the meeting starting with our ministry leader. He struggles with his worthiness to be this leader. I identify fully with this “feeling” as I’ve struggled with this my entire life. Who of us is worthy? In our humanness, no one; but in our new creation, we all are because of Jesus Christ living in us. This leader said someone recently asked him if he were a “lifer” in CR? His interpretation of this question was that it was a “put-down”. However, for me, it is a calling from God. It is a ministry I personally need and it is one where God continues to work and demonstrate Himself mightily over and over again in the lives of those who come.
God is such an AMAZING GOD. No man takes his weaknesses and makes them into his strengths. God on the other hand, takes all of our human weaknesses and turns them into His Mighty Works as He transforms us and uses this transformation to demonstrate to others what His Power and Might will do as we continue to live daily with Him leading our lives.
As this journey continues I am beginning to notice something changing. I have never known daily living that didn’t have significant temptations to escape realities of living in it. As a little boy it would be to go away from the house and lose oneself in play or pretend. As an older boy on the farm it was going off to the fields without dad so you could be away from the fear of his moods. As a man I would live in a mindset that would attempt to block the torment of daily living. I found internet porn and that was a big blocker. However, living today no longer has the overcoming temptations to escape life. I find myself wanting to live life and assist others in doing the same with their own. While this is going on I don’t need to escape any longer. What I am writing here has been on my mind for quite some time now, but I’ve been cautious about putting it in the blog thinking if I do it will generate a host of condemnation which I’ve always feared in days gone by. I’m not sure if this will generate anything other than my revealing what life has been like in this body/mind of mine. God is truly teaching me to rely more and more fully on daily living in reality in Him and with Him.