Friday, December 16, 2011

The Light Behind

As I pulled  up in my driveway today after work, the Sun had set and a darkness was overcoming the land.  I climbed out of my car and glanced up, which I do nearly every day this time of year.  Up in the sky was a spectacular landscape of bright stars shining down.  The stars are one of the things I like most about being back out in the country.

A few hours later, after the kids were in bed, I took the garbage out as we finished up the dishes.  As I opened up the trashcan, which was nestled up next to our garage, I decided to look up again and see one last view of the beautiful stars.  As I looked up, our bright porch light blinded my eyes.  No stars could be seen through that bright, piercing porch light.   I knew the stars were out there, but I absolutely could not pick them out.  I then looked back away from the bright light and again was blessed with the beautiful stars.

How many times, when staring at the problems in my life, do I feel like God is not there.  As I keep my eyes focused on my problems, I cannot see God at work.  Even though he is there transcending my problems, my eyes cannot see him because I am too focused on my problems.  When I look away from the problems and focus on God, I can then again see his Light and gain strength to deal with my problems.

There is no doubt that taking our eyes off of our problems and acting like they are not there is not going to solve them.  This is stepping into denial which gets us nowhere.

 Instead, this situation challenged me to look away from the problems from time to time and look straight at God forgetting everything else.  When I do this, I gain the strength needed to look again at my problems and find the solutions to them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to GOD and the PEACE of GOD which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4: 6-7 NIV

Unresolved, unfinished, lacking, incomplete.  These are all synonyms of how I feel at times. 

I have spent so much time planning, envisioning and daydreaming about THE DAY that I will finally reach that place of Nirvana.  I will reach this or that particular goal, and I will feel complete.  Life will make sense, all of my struggles will be gone and all my relationships will be how I want them to be.

 I would set a particular goal. I would plan exactly how I was going to get there, and I would dream of the day that I reached that particular goal.  The next day, I would wake up, something would go wrong and mess up my perfect plan and I would throw my hands up.  It didn't go EXACTLY like I wanted it to, so I would give up and forget the whole thing in anger and frustration.

Life is not Perfect.  It does not always go like we plan it to.  In fact, in my experience, it never goes like we plan it.  Life is full of errors, defects, mistakes, and alternate paths.

So what does this have to do with Peace which transcends understanding.  This verse tells me that we can live with unresolved issues in a imperfect world.  I can have peace when the world is full of chaos and when I have unresolved conflicts in my own life.  I have issues that are not resolved.  I do not understand what causes Devan's autism.  I have relationships with loved ones that are not what I want them to be.  When I look at these issues and then examine my abilities to deal with them, I become overwhelmed.  I do not have the resources to handle them all or actually any of them on my own.

God meets us in the Middle.  Where we are lacking, God takes up the slack.  Where we do not understand, God directs our path until we get it.  When we screw up, God offers forgiveness.  Therefore, we CAN have peace which transcends all understanding even though our human nature says otherwise.  We can be OK, even though our lives aren't exactly the way we wish they were.

TIP:  Every few months, take a glance back at where you were then and where you are now.  Do you notice patterns?  Are you moving closer to where you want to be or futher away?  This glance back can often bring some interesting surprises.  You just may be making more progress than you thought you were.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Break My Heart, Lord

Break my heart for what breaks yours.  Those words in a popular song by Hillsong United often resonate with me.  I have found myself thinking intently about them lately and trying to figure out what they really mean.

With 24-Hour News, internet and cell phones w/ internet, we are exposed to story after story after story that could and probably should break our hearts.  There are earthquakes, starving children, tornadoes, domestic abuse, disease, cancer, death, greed, and all kinds of cruelness in our world.  And more than ever before, we are exposed to all of these facts of life every single day.

I am fully convinced that all of these things do break the heart of God.  He did not create us to go through all of this pain, and did want our world to be so BROKEN.  The fact of the matter is, however, that we do live in a broken world and bad things happen.

As a Christian, I often feel  guilty because my heart is not always broken when I am exposed to these things.  So many times I hear about these horrible things and my heart turns callous.  I get down on myself because I can hear about the earthquake destruction in Japan or Haiti, and not feel the pain and loss that I should.  At times the thought quickly disappears and my mind moves to some small thing in my own life.

I have finally realized that as a human, I honestly cannot take all of that pain on myself.  It would bury me.  If I would internalize and have a broken heart for all of the pain and loss that I hear about, I could not survive the pain.

Lord, Break my heart freely when you want it to be broken.  My prayer is that I am in sync with God enough that my hard, callous heart can be broken when it needs to be.  When I need to feel and internalize pain of others, I pray that God will break my heart when he wants to and in turn spur me into action to do my part.

Again, my focus needs to be on knowing God and spending time with him and not on trying to conquer the world in his name.  I do not understand or have the answers for all of the pain in the world, but I know the ONE that does.  I can stand on that.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Don't Know

These three little words have changed my life.  What leads me to feelings of anxiety, depression and anger are often me trying to figure out and control the world around me.

How many countless hours and nights have I spent over-analyzing and obsessing on things that I am just not meant to understand right now.  When this thinking begins, it goes in circles and leads further and further into confusion.  The thing that gets me out of this cycle is realizing GOD IS GOD and I am not.  If he is GOD and I am not, then, it is not my job to understand everything.  I only task is to understand what is given to me at that particular time and obey what God tells me to do.  So, basically I need to quit trying so darn hard.

A few months after Devan (my son) was diagnosed with Autism, I went to the internet was going to find out what caused  this and how we can get him out of it.  What started as  hours and hours researching, studying and obsessing finally ended in me on my knees saying I DON'T KNOW GOD, but you do and that is OK.  I was then at the point where I could sit back, relax and go to work on helping Devan (not as the commander of the project, but as a simple laborer doing what I felt lead to do as we went along.

Why does God allow Cancer to come back in people when they have so much to live for?  Why does he allow that, but then let others walk away cancer-free?  Why does the drunk driver walk away from the accident unharmed, but the innocent child lays dead?  If we have a loving, sovereign God, why is there so much hurt and pain in the world?

I don't know and that is OK because God does know and I can rest in that.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Joy is in the Journey

What if you were offered a trip for two to Pike's Peak? You and your best friend get to fly to Colorado and visit this beautiful mountain.  You have two options.  Either you can:

1)   Climb into an enclosed chairlift at the base of the mountain.  The lift is enclosed by 4 walls with no windows.  Inside, you find two recliners, a television, and headphones that plug into each chair.  You can sit and watch television or recline your seat back and fall asleep as the chairlift climbs the mountain.


2)  Start at the base of the mountain with your friend, a map and all of your climbing gear.  From the base, you slowly and steadily will climb up the mountain.  You will ache, sweat, get a few cuts and probably cry.  You may get into an argument here and there with your friend and you may take a couple of paths that are dead ends.  When you reach the dead ends, you just stop, go back to the main path, and begin up again.  Slowly, but surely, you will reach the top of the mountain.

Which route will you choose?  In either case, when you reach the top and look over the peak, you are going to see a spectacular view that you likely will  never forget.  I firmly believe, however, that if you walked up the path, instead of rode the chairlift, the view is going to be more beautiful.  Your relationship with your friend and and your belief in yourself will also be strengthened.

So many times in my life, I want to take the chairlift up.  I want to ride up with ease and comfort and reach all of my destinations with little effort on my part.  I want to be an excellent speaker before I step up in front of the crowd.  I want to be a spectacular author, before I start writing.  I focus on getting my kids raised and seeing them walk across the graduation stage, before I even have them potty-trained.

The Joy really is in the JourneyIf we focus entirely on the goals or destinations in our life, we will not appreciate them when we reach them.  I have found that it is important for me to look ahead, plan and reach for my goals, but have also realized that it is just important for me to come back to the here and now and enjoy the life God has given me today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Love Is Blind

"Come now, let's settle this,", says the Lord.  Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.  Though they are red like crimson, I will make them white as wool."  Isaiah 1:18 NLT

Love is Blind

We have all heard that phrase a thousand times.  We know the guy who loves his girlfriend so much that he is absolutely blind to the fact that she treats him terrible.  Or, we probably have heard the stories of the girl who stays with her husband after he cheats over and over again, because she always thinks this time it is going to be different.

We probably know the parents of a child that continues to make bad decisions  The parents love their child so much that they keep bailing him/her out.  In this case, the conscious mind refuses to see what the subconscious mind knows is really going on.

It really is true.  Love can be blind.  In our human experience, blind love often leads to ENABLING our loved ones and preventing them from taking responsibility for their mistakes.  This BLIND LOVE actually turns out to be detrimental to the growth of the one that we love.

So, where did the idea of BLIND LOVE come from.

From God, of course

In the above verse, God is saying that though our lives are a complete mess and we hurt him all of the time, he sees us as white as snow if we accept his provision.  God loves us so much that his LOVE IS BLIND to our sin.  He sees us as white as wool, when our lives are stained by sin.  How can this be?  Is God an enabler?  Does he turn his back to our sin so it prevents our spiritual growth?

A Loving but Righteous God  (Not an Enabler)

God does love us so much that his Love can be Blind, but he is also a JUST GOD.  Someone has to pay the price for our MISDEEDS.  Through Jesus, God provided a WAY for him to see us as WHITE AS SNOW but to still have payment for our sins.

Therefore, if we accept the free gift of Jesus, and admit that we are broken people without him, then God sees us AS WHITE AS SNOW.

Thank you Lord for providing a way for me to be acceptable in your eyes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Promises of God

Information Overload

Every day we are bombarded with so much information.  We are living in the age of information overload.  With all of this info flying around, it is hard to stay focused on what really matters and what is important. 


I have always been especially drawn to the promises of Self-Help.  I have spent literally hundreds if not thousands of dollars on programs, books, tapes and techniques that promise to help me face the struggles and weaknesses in my life.  Many of these programs do provide good information, but I rarely finished them because I would get close to the end and realize that it wasn't going to meet MY EXPECTATIONS.  I feared reaching the end of the program and realizing that it didn't fix me. 

Like I said, many of these programs do offer some good information and have offered me a few clues here and there on how to deal with my anxiety, depression and other life struggles, but they never gave me the fulfillment that I always so greatly desired and needed. 

God's Help

What I have found out is that the ultimate help comes from God.  I simply cannot face these daunting tasks without looking at them honestly and giving them to God.  I do not have the power to overcome, but he does.  When I accept his power, I can take a deep breathe and work on these things knowing that he is in control and will see me through.  Besides, he already knows how it all ends.  I just need to come along for the ride.

God's Promises

The biggest thing that has helped me over the last 3 1/2 years has been to take a hard look at what the Bible says and challenging God:  Do you really mean what you are telling me in that big thick book?  Can I take those promises for myself and OWN THEM?  Did you mean those words for me even though they were written so many years ago.

We Can

It has become increasingly obvious that we can take those words in that big thick book and own them.  If God says it, he means it.  If I can focus, internalize and meditate on those promises, then things change and I change.  It is so simple, but has been such a profound discovery in my own life.

I have decided to devote a significant portion of what I write on this blog to taking THE PROMISES OF GOD, one at a time, really hashing them over, and deciding if we can OWN THEM in our crazy lives today. 

With all of the miracles that have occurred in my life over the last few years, it has become clear to me through prayer, that one of my main purposes in life is to inspire, encourage and challenge others to find true joy and peace through taking God at his word.

What do you think?  Do you ever struggle with doubt?

Monday, October 17, 2011


This past weekend, we went to the new movie, Courageous.  It was a great movie that I highly recommend everyone see.  It was very inspiring but very sad in some parts as well.  So am I a courageous father?  The short answer is no.  But, there is GOOD NEWS.  With awareness of where I am at, and with God's help, I am becoming a more COURAGEOUS father.  Here are the challenges that I drew from the movie:

I am to LEAD my family

I believe that as a father, God has asked me to lead my family.  This task seems very overwhelming at times, because I have enough trouble leading my own life.  I simply do not have the strength to lead my family as I am supposed to on my own.  I think the best way I can lead them, however, is by getting on my knees and asking God for the wisdom and strength to lead them as he wants me to.  He promises to provide if I will just humble myself and do it and believe that he will provide.

They want ME more than WHAT I CAN GIVE them.

I have heard this said often, but really started to think about it more after the movie.  Yes, my kids want things.  We all want things.  But, deep down, they want me to spend time with them way more than any material things that I can give them.  And when I say they want ME there, I mean they want all of me.  I can sit in the same room as them, but actually be a 100 other places in my mind.  When I get a chance to spend time with my kids, I need to be there not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.  I need to shut my mind out to all other distractions and focus on our time together.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Related to this, I was challenged from the movie to spend time with them doing what they want to do, not just what I want to do.  Yes, I would absolutely love to play football with Devan, but if he would rather play with his Toy Story characters, then so be it.  Me taking interest in the things that interest my kids shows them that they are loved and appreciated for who they are.

Actions speak louder than words.

They are watching.  I can tell them the right things to do all day long every day, but until I start walking my talk, then they are not going to pay attention.  I need to focus on my actions and make sure that I am setting a good example for them in all that I do.

Be a Mentor

There are literally thousands of kids out there in our communities who do not have a father-figure present in their lives.  If you do not have chidren, your children are grown or you just have some extra time, then invest in the lives of these kids.  You will never know from this side of Heaven the difference you could make in their lives.  There are so many opportunities out there including mentoring and coaching.


For me this one can be difficult.  Every kid is different and unfortunately there is not an Owner's Manual in the placenta when they are born.  Also, as I look over my life, I have met many people who are not happy today because they were spoiled as children.  On the other side of the coin, I have met just as many people in recovery meetings who have broken spirits because they were physically or verbally abused as children and that still affects them 20 years later.  But, the GOOD NEWS again is that God will help me in this area if I just ask for direction and guidance and learn what he has to say about discipline in the Bible.

Like I mentioned earlier, this was a great movie and it really made me evaluate my fatherhood.  I once heard it said that many, if not most, fathers would be willing to DIE for their children.  The real question we each need to ask ourselves as Fathers is "Are we willing to live unselfishly and set a good example day in and day out for our kids"?  If I really think about it, that might be tougher than the former.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Humility is found in the knowledge and understanding of who GOD is and who I am in relation to HIM
HE is the Creator and I am the Created
HE is Omniscient yet I know just a little
HE is Omnipotent yet I am powerless on my own
HE is Omnipresent yet I can be just one place at a time re
HE holds the future in his hands yet I hold just one moment at a time
HIS love never fails yet there are limits to my love
HE is everlasting yet my time here is limited
HE can wipe away sin yet I can forgive but cannot forget
HE has no fear yet I am fearful
HE is independent yet I am dependent
HE knows what’s in the heart yet I only know what I can see
TODAY, I will rest in the peace of knowing that I do not have to TRY to be GOD anymore