The Circle of Life

Last night I had a dream. I believe that it was God talking to me. I guess that makes me an old Man.

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams” – Acts 2:17

There have been many men in my life that have been mentors and people that I respect and look up to. Bob McMahon is one of them. Not only does he have a kind and generous heart, he truly cares for people. I see him as an example of what a good christian man should be. It is fitting that God would use him as an illustration in my dream.

Dream “Circle of Life”

I was sitting at a round table with a group of people waiting to see God for judgement. Pretty dreary to start out with. We were instructed to cut a circle out of a piece of cardboard paper to represent our life. In my mind I new that I could not submit anything less than a perfect circle to God.  I traced a circle, the representation of a perfect life. As I began to cut it out, I felt like a 5 year old using scissors for the first time. I poked the scissors through the paper and right off the bat I knew that mine was messed up. Eventually mine was cut out of the paper. As I inspected the rough edges, the jags, and the miss cuts, I realized that mine was in horrible shape. I even thought maybe I could smooth out the lines if I were careful, but also knew that it would make it too small and wouldn’t help. That is when I began to cry.

Then I heard a voice behind me. It was actually Bob. He sat down next too me at the table and put his hand on my shoulder. Like a small child I showed him my mangled circle with a tear in my eye and told him, “I don’t think that I am going to make it into heaven.” The circle that represented my life was a tattered mess. Then Bob reached down into his pocket and showed me his circle and Wanda’s. Even though it had smoother lines, it wasn’t a perfect circle either. He told me that even though mine as so messed up, they were all going to have jags and messed up edges.

I realized that Christ was the only one that had the perfect circle and His would cover mine. Lesson:

  • We all need mentors: People that we look up to and teach us life. I believe that he represented the example of what we are to do for others.
  • Even they are not perfect, but he was willing to sit with me
  • Even with our best intentions, we cannot smooth out our own edges. We can pretend, but it won’t work out in the end.
  • It took him showing me that even the best of us are messed up
  • Life is going to take you for a loop
  • Christ is the perfect circle: A love that has no beginning and no end –  perfect love
  • His covering blocks out our rough edges
  • We should have a child’s heart when living our life. I have seen the tears of frustration when my little one cannot get it right. He is such a perfectionist and sometimes he won’t even try because he feels that he won’t get it right. Not trying to make the next cut wouldn’t be living life though. Eventually our life’s circle will be cut out and presented to God.

Open Door Policy

What a day! It is amazing how many things can break in one day, or at least over a short time period. I woke up and found that my car didn’t want to start (I think the battery is going bad and we just spent some money on it as it is), my computer doesn’t want to work, my IPOD froze (I cannot turn it off to reset it), the washer broke, and the dishwasher is not cleaning well for some reason. Am I complaining (Maybe a little) but what surprised me was what I was thinking.

You see my wife and I are trying to put the house on the market, pay for school, and go to Russia for a mission’s trip. All of which costs money. I started to think that maybe we are getting something wrong and God does not really want us to do something. After all shouldn’t he open the doors for us to make it happen, if it is his will! At least that has been my train of thought.

Have we been trained to think this way? Does God choose the easy way? If it is God’s choice, isn’t he just going to make it happen? That is when I started thing of things that were God’s choice like:

  1. His plan for Redeeming mankind – Christ had to die and rise again. It was not a easy path.
  2. For his Disciples – Many of them died a martyr’s death and lived hard lives.
  3. Scriptures like “Take up your cross and follow me” ring in my ears
  4. etc. etc. etc.

Maybe I have been thinking about this in the wrong way. This is when I remembered something that Dr. Woo was talking about in New Testament class. “When God opens doors, Satan is waiting!” We are in a spiritual war after all, and he doesn’t want the things that God wants. The open door can lead to opposition and not an easy life.

So what am I getting at? In everything give thanks and continue searching for God’s will. Simple answer, but even in the opposition I can count on him to make it happen even if it is not going to be easy. I like easy, but it is praiseworthy when you see God fill in the blanks and make things happen his way.

The next time you have an open door policy, when it comes to God, remember that, “just because opposition comes, it does not mean that that is not the way he wants you to go.” It could very well be the thing he desires for your life.

Christ in the Passover

I wanted to share a video. It is a video that we watched in my “History of Israel” class and in “Old Testament”. With the Easter holiday coming up I thought it would be a good thing to talk about. The Video is “Christ in the Passover” and you can find it at:

But be warned it is 40 minutes long – but it is well worth it.

Passion

At the beginning of this semester Dr. Woo asked us to introduce ourselves to the class and tell the class what we are passionate about. Sitting about halfway around the room and listening to all the wonderful things that people were saying made me think,  “What am I passionate about.” Finally I settled on archeology, but realized that it was not my passion. It is enjoyable just like comics, movies, and stories but I cannot say that I am really passionate about them. They are just interests.

I really do know what I am passionate about. I was just afraid that it would sound too egotistical. I don’t know why because it really isn’t. My passion is “I want to make a difference!”  I want to make a difference in the lives of the people, in my family and in the family of God, in the Kingdom of God, and in the community. I believe this is the desire that God has placed in my life and I need to pursue it in the best way I know how.

Many of you don’t know it but Chaundra and I had a few people praying for us to help us find out God’s will is for our lives. For 40 day we had them praying to help us understand where God is calling us. To be honest we had begun to think that we were being called into the Mission Field. At this point we don’t know if that is where he has called us in the end, but many people felt like we need to concentrate on the answers that God is providing for us now and step out on faith in those areas; even if we don’t understand His direction. God desn’t show us the whole plan. He only shows us what we need to know at the time that we need to know it. Pastor Keith was right when he thought “These guys are going to be more confused after these forty days then when they began.” It was very confusing, but I think that the clarity comes in waiting for the right moment and following what God has for us now. I know what passion God has given me and maybe that is the best place to start. Bob McMahon gave us this verse and I am clinging to what it has to say.

Micah 6:8 (New International Version)
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Beyond what we know that he is telling us personally to do, we need to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. For after all, if we are walking with him, He will always be where He wants us to be.  My suggestion is to find your passion and walk humbly with Him.

Abstinence is Possible

I know that I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks now, but it hasn’t been because I didn’t want to. School has been heavy and the reading extreme, but I was looking on my blog and I saw a link to this one on CNN:

 

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/02/17/abstinence-is-not-realistic-palins-daughter-says/

 

It is quite amazing that when someone agrees with the news that they give it high praise; while when it is contrasting to their view, it is something to attack.

 

So Palin’s daughter has stated that “abstinence is not realistic.” So I decided that I would discuss this a little from my perspective.

 

When I was a child, I accepted Christ as my Savior and wanted a pure life with my future wife. So I decided that abstinence was the way that I wanted to go. As I graduated High School I had achieved my goal and decided to go into the Military. I managed to make quite a few friends that helped me go to bars (the kind that clothes tends to disappear in) and drink and do all the things that I grew up believing to be contrary to what God had called me to do. However, I still maintained purity in sexual relationships with women that I had dated. Yes it was difficult and I lost a couple because of it. Then when I was around 25 years old I met a girl whom I loved very much and decided that she was the one for me. I thought it doesn’t really matter anymore because this is the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Besides I had waited 25 years and I was tired of waiting. Little did I know that shortly after we did “THE DEED” we broke up and my heart was broken. I had given up something that I could no longer give to my future wife. It was a few years later that I met my wife. 

When I met my wife, she told me that God had convicted her to, “Not date anyone that she had not known for at least a year.” Confusing me, especially in this day and age, but at the same time it intrigued me. We decided to be friends and to just do functions with mutual friends and eventually realized that what we were doing was courting. It became a conviction of ours that we would not even kiss until we had at least past that year mark.

Titus 2:11-15 (www.biblegateway.com)
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 15These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority Let no one disregard you.

One year after we met, we went on our first date. This was 4 months after I had asked her to marry me. It was quite a shock to people when we didn’t even kiss when I asked her to marry me. Now 4 months later we could date – according to her conviction, but we decided at this point we only had a couple more months before we would get married and decided that we wanted our first kiss to be at the alter. This is pretty extreme I know and very difficult at that. Either way we were able to go from the beginnings of our relationship to our marriage with a pure relationship. I have mistakes in my life, but I will never regret this decision and I have a true blessing in my wife.

Now we have been married for almost 7 years and I love her more today then yesterday. I did not think it possible, but it is. My point is that purity can be a choice but the road will be hard and it is also possible. Is it realistic, “Yes” and yes I messed up before my wife, but our relationship this time encouraged many people that it is possible! The question is then, “If it is possible, would it then be realistic?” Well that is something that you will have to decide, but either way “know that it is possible!”

Romans 13:11-14
11Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Heart Breaking News!

Recently I read a couple of blogs online that seem not only to reject the God that created them, but also to chide those who embrace him. I know that persecution is not that strong in the United States, but it is in other countries (See Voice of the Martyrs), but it still doesn’t take away the fact that these people are rejecting God. It is heartbreaking news to know that someone is outright rejecting God – that is heartbreaking enough, but to know that they reject and hatefully go after those who do, is even more heartbreaking.

I used to be the type that would argue my point until I was blue in the face. Then I realized that it was going to do no good when they closed to the idea that Christ died for them so that he could spend an eternity with them. This is when Matthew 7:6 came more to light for me.

Matthew 7:6 (www.biblegateway.com)
” Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:5-7 (in Context) Matthew 7 (Whole Chapter)

The “Good News” (Gospel) that we have is a precious pearl and treasure to the Christian. It brings hope. It brings life. It brings joy (notice I said joy not happiness there is a difference). It brings us closer to a God who loved us enough to send His son to take on the penalties of our wrong doing (Sin).

Romans 5:8 (www.biblegateway.com)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-9 (in Context) Romans 5 (Whole Chapter)

But your faith will also bring persecution. They will turn on you and trample you, but just like Paul you have to brush yourself off and continue in the Faith. It is not always easy but it is always for the good.

Now I read things like this with a saddened heart and maybe or maybe not leave a comment, then I move on. It is heartbreaking to leave them as they are, but we have to remember, “Just like the people complaining to Moses, it wasn’t him who they were rejecting.” We cannot give up on sharing the gospel, but remember Matthew 7:6. Give what information that you can in love and pray for those who persecute you – but don’t throw your pearls before swine for they will turn on you and trample it underfoot.

Word of the Week: “Dawns New Day”

Tomorrow marks the dawn of a new day. The First Black President will take office and will go down in the History books as such. Some are fearful for what this means, others are showing their hate, while others are in awe of a truly magnificent new day. I cannot say that I voted for him because of the Political views, but I have to admit I think that he is trying to do something that Dr. Martin Luther King would be proud of. He is trying to bring together the nation into one. It does seem fitting that the Inauguration is the day after Martin Luther King Day. King said that, “He had a dream, where a black man and a white man, Jew or Gentile, Protestant or Catholic would come together.” I think it is time that we do our best to bring the Conservative and Liberal together as well. After all they can be just as hateful to one another at times. This marks Obama as a man that has the ideals of a Hero and although I did not vote for Him, I will hope and pray for him to bring the nation together. Not everyone will like what he does. At times, I am going to hate his policies, but either way I will accept him for who he is: The President of the United States. So for this week I bring two different passages of Scripture and it deals with praying for our leaders and our responsibility as Christians to his authority, as long as it does not oppose scripture and God’s Mandate.

1 Timothy 2:1-6
www.Biblegateway.com (New International Version)
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

Titus 3:1-2
www.Biblegateway.com (New International Version)
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

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