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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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Beware the Frozen Heart

Yes, the title of this post was borrowed from a recently popular animated movie.

And yes, we have watched the movie “Frozen” (gasp!).

Why the “gasp!”?, you may ask.  Well, there is some controversy about the message of and some scenes in the movie “Frozen”.  I suppose that, if you watch the movie while holding a particular worldview, you could read into it whatever you wanted.  What I took away from the movie was a warning about the dangers of and the cure for a frozen heart.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, I won’t spoil too much for you.  One character, Elsa, has secret powers that she attempts to conceal.  In her attempts, she not only harms herself but has a negative impact on her relationships and the world around her.  When she finally decides to “let it go“, thinking she will find freedom, she instead descends further into fear and isolation.  As her sister Anna tries to rescue her, she learns the secret to breaking the “eternal winter” spell:

Only an act of true love will thaw a frozen heart.

As we watched the climatic scenes of the movie, these words of Jesus Christ came to mind:

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:12-13)

I don’t believe that Disney would intentionally put forth an overtly Christian message.  However, from my worldview, I can choose to see the good message that this movie presents.

What greater love was ever demonstrated than Jesus dying on the cross to free us from the “eternal winter” in our souls due to sin?  His one act of true love, and sending the Holy Spirit into those who put all of their faith and trust in Him, will melt away the iciness of sin and isolation and bring an overwhelming warmth into our hearts.  We will be truly free, instead of further isolated and in bondage to fear.

Why did this theme speak to me?  Because with grief, there is a danger of developing a frozen heart.  In our pain, we tend to isolate ourselves and not be open about how we truly are.  We want others to think that we are “OK” so that we can avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation.  But instead of making the situation better, and allowing the opportunity for some healing and love (not only for ourselves but for the others who are trying to help), we create an icy emotional environment.  When we lay down our desire for self-preservation and reach out in love, even serving others and considering their interests as more important than ours (laying down our life), then we free ourselves from the bondage of our frozen heart.

Again, this is just our personal view.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Grief, Spiritual and Emotional

 

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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.

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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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Preparations

Today we helped to decorate the church building, preparing for our annual celebration of His coming.

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Waiting for the Baby

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2013 in Just For Fun

 

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The Wonder of His Advent

These two songs cause me to meditate on the wonder and awesomeness of the birth of Jesus.  I am so thankful and humbled that He came to be my savior.  I appreciate God’s love and mercy towards me, one whose heart can so easily wander astray.

During the hustle and bustle of this season, may we pause and reflect on why so many of us celebrate during this time of year – that a baby was born in a manger and later, as a man, died on an old rugged cross to redeem us from eternal torment.  Thank you Jesus!

Do you believe?

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Just For Fun

 

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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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Homesick

CCI04222011_00001Today Isaac would have turned 13 years old.  It seems so cliché to say “it’s hard to believe”, but those words describe how I feel  This is the third birthday anniversary that we will commemorate with Isaac in Heaven.  So many times it seems like just last year that he left us, while other times it seems so long ago.

I wonder what he would look like at 13 years old.  Would he have facial hair and be shaving?  What would his voice sound like?  How muscular would he be?  Would he like his hair buzzed or longer?

I also wonder if he would still be interested in trains.  How much historical knowledge would have he accumulated about the American Civil War?  Would he still enjoy the outdoors?  What type of work would he be interested in doing?  What other interests would he have?

Finally, I wonder where he would be spiritually.  Would he be following Jesus with all of his heart?  Would he still be concerned about others being saved?

We don’t have to concern ourselves with these things anymore because Isaac is safe in Heaven.  Our spiritual training with him was completed suddenly on April 18, 2011, when it was his time to go home.  I imagine the day that I go home.  After I greet my Savior Jesus and bow at his feet, I expect to see Isaac standing close behind him with that big smile on his face ready to give me one of his hearty hugs.

I’m homesick…

I miss you buddy, so very much.  Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry when I remember all of our times together.  How I long so much just to see you, hold you, and laugh with you.  Happy birthday, my dear sweet son.

Every passing day brings us one step closer.

Blessings to you all,

Andy

 
 

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