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Through All Of It

A dear friend recently turned me on to the song “Through All Of It”, performed by Colton Dixon.

Sometimes the lyrics or melody of a song hit you right in the gut.  In this song, both of them do for me.

Here are the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This is has been the story of my life

[Chorus]
I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

[Verse 2]
You were there when it all came down on me
When I was blinded by my fear
And I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments
You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

[Chorus]
I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Through all of it

[Bridge]
And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives, I
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to

I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy
I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/c/colton_dixon/through_all_of_it.html

I can relate to almost every word in this song, as I assume most of you can also.  The second verse really gets to me, especially given all that we’ve journeyed through these last four-and-a-half years, “when it all came down on [us]” and “[we] struggled to believe”.  God was there, and continues to be, through all of it.

Through the pain of intentionally bad choices and unintentional disaster, my God has been present in my life.  I could always feel Him, faithfully and patiently waiting for me.

I hope that you can experience Him today, no matter what mountaintop or valley you may be in.  He has demonstrated His love for you through His Son Jesus.  God loves you, through all the circumstances of your life.  Be encouraged…

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Spiritual and Emotional

 

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Faith

This past week I listened to someone preach through Hebrews 11, the “faith” chapter of the Bible.  I began to think about what faith really is and looks like.  I thought that I could write a post about faith, Hebrews 11, the faith “hall of fame”, and so on.  But as I recently laid down and had a few moments to meditate, the thought came that I should write about what faith means to me.

First of all, how do I define faith?  Well, let me use the Biblical definition:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)

If I could put this into my own words, I would say that faith is my conviction to trust God’s promises, that I have a future hope better than this world, which hope I cannot see at this present time.  I can understand that there are things invisible through observing the things that are visible.  I understand that there is a Creator by observing the things that are created.

My faith comes from believing that God’s Word is true and that He demonstrated His love for me by sending Jesus Christ to take the penalty for my sins in his flesh.  Through believing in His Son, I receive the Holy Spirit of God, who helps me and strengthens my faith.  Through believing that, on God’s accounts, I am now crucified and raised with Christ, I now have guaranteed eternal life and victory over sin.

As I read through Hebrews 11, I see many great Biblical “heroes” who demonstrated great acts of faith.  I read about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, Rahab, and so forth.  I read that people subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, escaped peril, received ones back from the dead, and more.  But then I read that others were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, cut in half, tempted, killed, or were nomads.  The Scripture says that the world was not worthy of this later group and that they did not receive the promise of their faith during their lifetime on earth.  However, they, along with us, will receive something better from God.

Faith is not just mountaintop experiences, although such experiences are wonderful.  Faith is also walking, well faithfully, though the valleys of life and still trusting God’s promises even when we cannot see.  In Scripture, I don’t see the faith that some of these preachers on television and the radio speak about.  I don’t see God instructing us to speak the word and believe without wavering to get a new car, house, job, or money, money, money.  I once heard someone say that the world will be drawn to God when they see how he causes us to prosper.  I could understand the point trying to be made, but wouldn’t unbelievers also consider God when they see someone trusting Him when their world is falling apart around them and they have a worldly reason not to trust Him?  I’m not saying that the only way to point people to God is through suffering, and believe me I am not going about looking for more, but I want us to consider what would really make a lasting testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness in someone’s life.

My faith in God has caused me trust Him even while in the darkest valley of my life.  Faith has helped me to realize that God knows what is best for me at all times, even when evil happens to me.  He can turn that evil around to work good in me, if I don’t fight against Him.  Faith has led me to trust God at a deeper level and to set my eyes more on the unseen than the seen.  OK, that part is not always true because there are days when what I see pulls at me to indulge in…well whatever.  But through faith in believing God’s Word that says I am crucified with Christ and dead to sin, I can overcome the temptation and press on towards Christ and my promises awaiting in Heaven.  If I do stumble, I also read that even the great “heroes” of the faith stumbled at times, but God was merciful to them and he is also merciful to me.

So, what is faith?  Is it believing that God will give us our wants, or that He provides us with all of our needs?  What is our greatest need?  Is it not to have His forgiveness and mercy?  I believe that is my greatest need.  Through faith, I believe that all of my sins are forgiven and I am completely righteous in God’s eyes, not because I feel like it (because I don’t) but because God says so.

I don’t believe that faith can be stagnant.  I heard someone say that faith is not like a pond but is like a river.  We can’t rely on a one-time faith experience, but should exercise it daily to keep it vibrant and growing.

Blessings,

Andy

 

 

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Is there really an agenda?

Education. Common Core. These are hot topics among the cultural and political discourse of today’s United States of America.

There is plenty of heated debate coming from both sides of this issue, the result of two colliding worldviews about who is responsible for raising children. However, beyond opinion and rhetoric, what are the facts? If the Common Core Standards are intended to prepare and equip our children to succeed, what could be so bad about them? Are these standards really part of an agenda to change the American way of life?

The two videos below address these topics and questions. Beyond opinion, facts are presented to support their conclusions. It is up to us to decide whether these facts are correct and verifiable.

“Building the Machine”

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) produced this first video titled “Building the Machine“, a movie about the Common Core Standards. The full 40-minute documentary is presented below:

“Agenda”

Below is a six-minute introduction to a film produced by former Idaho Legislator Curtis Bowers. The movie, which is titled “Agenda: Grinding America Down“, is an in-depth documentary about the impact of communist ideology on today’s America and the proposed solution to stand against it (hint: it starts with the children). I urge you to buy and watch the full 90-minute movie:

 

“Conform”050214book01

Just this week a new book was released titled “Conform” from Glenn Beck (although he claims that he is really not the author). I have not yet read this book. From listening to some of the discussion about it, I assume that the documentation and conclusions would be consistent with those presented in the two movies noted above. You can learn more about and buy the book by clicking here on Glenn Beck’s Website.

The Common Core Initiative

Representing the other side of the debate, below is a link to the Common Core State Standards Initiative Website, which presents its documentation about the formation of the standards and the common “misconceptions” about them. The “Myths vs. Facts” section counters many of the conclusions presented in the two videos above:

Home | Common Core Standards Initiative

The Decision

I urge you to take the time to educate yourself about this matter, research the facts, and consider world history. You decide – is there really an agenda to change the USA from within, beginning with our children, or will the changes to our educational system really benefit us (including spiritually) in the end? What does world history teach us about moving towards a collective/communist society? Which side of this educational debate stands with God, truth, and liberty?  Who do you believe and trust?

(Note: There are honest, decent parents, teachers, and administrators working within the system of our public schools. They act and serve in the best interests of their children and of the children they teach. They have nothing to do with creating the standards that the curriculum and lesson plans are built around. This debate is not about their intentions or qualifications, but rather about the system itself.)
 

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Where’s the fire?

How many times have I intended to write a post, only to not find the determination to follow through?  I even started several of them, but could not seem to find the proper words to bring them to completion.  Being frustrated with my lack of passion to write, and wanting freedom from the duty to try to complete my earlier thoughts, I recently cleaned out my “draft” posts and decided to start afresh.  So here we go…

Spring is almost here.  It is the time of year when the earth brings forth new life and we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior.  It is also the time of year when a dark cloud hangs over the anticipation of a particular date – April 18.  It will be almost three years since our beloved Isaac passed on into heaven.  Even after the long cold winter we experienced, it is still difficult to be fully excited about the change in season, at least until we pass that day.

So, how am I?  Well, I wish I had some fire lit under me to tackle my callings in this life (hence the title of this post).  Most days I feel as if I float through life.  The enthusiasm that I had the first and even second year after Isaac’s death, to turn around the experience to help others, has diminished somewhat.  I still want to share with and help others who are grieving after the death of a child, but it is not my driving force and passion.  Everyday life has returned to – well – everyday life.  I go to work, Brenda home schools the children, we gather together in the evening, and we wrap-up our day.  Then we do it all over again.  Were we supposed to return to this hum-drum routine?  Or, rather, should we not be serving our Lord joyfully through the “normalcy” of everyday life (and not considering it “hum-drum”)?  How long do we have to endure this life?

I think there are really only three things that keep me going these days:  God’s word; the unconditional love and support of my wife and children; and my relationships with close family, friends, and brethren in Christ.  The word of God has been my life support.  If there is one positive from this experience, it is that I have learned to cling to the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, especially when the world offers other means of false comfort and peace.  I realize that there are things about God that I don’t understand, and I am trying to be OK with that (do I really have a choice?).  I wish I had answers to my big questions.  But if God didn’t give Job the answers to his big questions, then I should be content with the same.

Lately, some annoyances in my life have really been getting under my skin. I have been impatient with others and harbored bitterness over some perceived injustices.  I know the Lord calls me to forgive (up to 490 times right?), but doesn’t that only apply to my “brother” and doesn’t he/she have to apologize first?  You see how I rationalize my anger?  Oh yeah, I can be angry, as long as I don’t sin, right?   Anyway, I’m not liking that stinky attitude coming out of my heart.

I hope you don’t mind me just being honest about where I am spiritually.  We could really use your prayers.  I wish I could share some great spiritual insight and breakthrough with you, but it seems that I’m just wandering through the desert land.

On a lighter note, I did want to share a recent family “selfie” below.  Yes, we do have a new dog.  His name is Stride and he appears to be a collie/German shepherd mix.  He is a little over a year old.  We adopted him near the end of 2013.  We have been challenged to get used to Stride’s energy and personality, but things are improving and we are learning to accept each other.  Our previous family dog, Mikey, died suddenly in early October 2013 while we were away on vacation.  That was a very sad experience for us.  Also, our two cats that Brenda and I had from early in our relationship died within a short time frame.  So, the last half of 2013 was a little rough for us as the older generation of our pets all died within a short period.  For us, losing a pet is not nearly the same experience as losing a child, but it is sad and difficult.

100_5658

Well, I think I will actually close a post for now!  If a fire kindles underneath me, maybe I will write a little more often in the future (no promises though).

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Andy

 

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The Thanksgiving Glass

This evening, we attended a special Thanksgiving Eve service at a local church.  We sang different styles of songs of thanksgiving to God, from hymns to contemporary “praise and worship”.  Several individuals shared powerful testimonies of God’s work in their lives.  We left the service full of inspiration and gratitude.

Towards the beginning of the service, the following video was shown.   It made me think about how thankful to God I really am or should be.  Sometimes, I take Him for granted and don’t pause to appreciate who He is and what He has done for me.  My prayer is that we all pause during this Thanksgiving season to thank the One who has given us life and redeemed us from an eternal destiny apart from Him.

May God bless you richly during this Thanksgiving holiday.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Hid with Christ

Some days I wrestle with the words, trying to discern their meaning.  Yet, today the words SHOUTED clearly right off the page:

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Col 3:1-4, emphasis mine)

What, I’m dead and my life is hid with Christ in God?  That means that I am no longer in me but in Him.  I have been spiritually circumcised out of my flesh and placed into the body of Christ.  Though I still walk in this flesh and these bones, I am already seated at the right hand of the Father with Christ:

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Eph 2:6, emphasis mine).  Notice the past tense.

Through faith, Christ has put His righteousness on my account, taking my sins on His.

And (Abraham) being fully persuaded that, what he (God) had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Rom 4:21-25, emphases mine)

Every promise of God to me is already fulfilled in Christ:

For all the promises of God in him (Christ Jesus) are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2Co 1:20, emphasis mine)

Through I may not yet experience these truths in my present physical reality (I am still walking on this earth and living and breathing in this fleshly body), it does not change the truth of God’s Word – that positionally, in His eyes, I am in His Son:

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. (Rom 4:16-17, emphasis mine)

I am not my own, I am His.  I belong to Him; therefore, what can any power of earth, heaven, or hell do to me?  Absolutely nothing!  Oh, I might be persecuted, face hardships, get a disease, or even be killed, but absolutely nothing evil will ever pluck me from His hand:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:31-39, emphasis mine)

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2Ti 1:12)

I just had to rejoice in these truths today.  Thank you for allowing me to share them with you.

Blessings,

Andy

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Christian Studies

 

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Brother Phil Robertson’s Personal Testimony… It Is A Blessing To Hear!

This is a reblog from “Settled In Heaven Ministries“, a blog that I occasionally read. The post is the personal testimony of Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame.

Settled In Heaven Blog

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in News and Culture

 

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