Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Successful failures??

Yesterday was one of those days where the past came and haunted me. Here I sat in my self pity. We are in Ohio and yesterday I was home sick for the familiarity of home. I miss our church and I miss the comfort that I felt there. The thoughts crept into my head.. "If you hadn't made bad choices, you would still be home." Needless to say of battling with that all day and questioning God why Ohio, I was ready to go to bed. I had explained to my wife that I was just waiting on the next step and wondering what in the heck God had in store for us. I was getting impatient and wanted to get on with this thing we call our life. Needless to say I was depressed, frustrated, and discouraged.

I woke up today depressed and expected more of the same. So far that was happening. All three kids got up and were in less than wonderful moods. It made for a very miserable morning. Seriously if one child even looked at the other, there was a verbal altercation that followed. So my plan was to keep myself busy, try to block the worries of life and try my hardest to cast out the thoughts that yesterday had taken their toll on me. But God in his wisdom had something different for me this morning.

After dropping my two oldest kids off at school, Chuck Swindoll came on the radio and spoke about Saul. Saul was the first king of Israel. Saul was anointed by God. God inspired Saul and he was all about leading God's people and doing the Lord's will. If you remember Saul eventually disobeyed God and ultimately his life ended with failure. What a tragic ending of a life with such promise. One fatal mistake and it destroyed Saul's life. Because of Saul's disobedience he became selfish and became bitter at God. As I am hearing this on the radio, I am like wow that was me about nine months ago. I had failed in every way possible. I failed as a father, husband, friend, and child of God. Ultimately because of this, my reputation was gone. Any belief that people had in me was gone. I was known for my sins and that was that. My life was in ruins and in ashes. I was so deep in sin that I had started to drown. My life was headed to a very tragic ending. I had hit bottom.

Yesterday my wife called me as I was taking my youngest to school. God had used her to give someone some hope with our story. I have had a similar experience with a great friend of mine a few weeks ago. God had taken my failure and turned it into a story of hope and encouragement for others. Our story has started to help others in a way that we wouldn't have imagined. God has taken the ruins of my life and turned it into something beautiful to minister to others.

I came home and read my devotions. This was the first paragraph.

"There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you."

That is exactly how I have been feeling the last couple of days. I openly admit that I am confused. I just want to get on with this life and serve God. I am very impatient and sometimes feel like I am not doing my part. It leads to frustration and lots of questioning. But I need to quiet myself and seek God and focus back on him. I don't want to step outside of God's will for my life. God is already using our story to touch other lives and marriages. There is not one life story that is exactly the same as ours, but God will be using certain aspects to touch others. I truly believe on the other side of this fog lies something that the Lord has in store for me. I know it will be awesome in the eyes of the Lord. 

What can I learn from Saul? Disobedience leads to the destruction of life. Live to be inspired by God, do his will with complete obedience. The reward is being used by God for his purpose and his glory. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

When one falls, the others feel it...

I came back home from my Grandpa's funeral, with a lot of thoughts and it has taken some time to process them. Dr. John Bowling president of Olivet Nazarene University gave the eulogy. Dr. Bowling started the eulogy off with a metaphor about the great big red tree's. This metaphor has stayed with me and it is so true of the church and family. So I will do my best to summarize it. Dr. Bowling told about the great red tree's root system. One would think with such mighty tree's that the root's would go deep into the ground and bury themselves with in the rocks of the earth. But not so, the root system of a big red tree is shallow. How do they survive winds and other things that threaten their life as a tree? The great big red's tie into the root systems of other surrounding tree's. The roots lock into each other and depend on one another to survive. If one falls, others around that fallen tree feel the effects. With that Dr. Bowling went on to talk about my Grandpa.

I don't think I heard much after that for a few seconds. My mind immediately raced to my family. My wife, my kids tie into my root system just like I tie into theirs. When I fell, they fell too. When I couldn't survive the temptation of sin, it had a direct affect on them. As I tuned back into the service, I listened to my Grandpa's pastor talk about my Grandpa with his message. The pastor had met with our family a couple of nights before to hear stories and descriptions about my Grandpa. The pastor then took that information and used it. I learned so much about my Grandpa that day. The one thing that truly rang out to me is how he loved his family and this day I was feeling his death in my life.

The funeral was a week ago tomorrow. Every day since that day, my Grandpa has not been far from my mind. I do miss him, but over the years the distance came between us and I wasn't as close as some of the others were to him. Do I regret that? Of course I do. I can't change that now. What I can change and continue to change is how I live my life as a husband, father, and friend. My view about love and how to love has changed since last week. Rather than just loving my wife and kids unconditionally, I need to love those outside of that so called "circle" as well. I wan to love like Jesus loved others. Besides their faults, sins, good or bad, I need to love everyone through Jesus eyes for they are a child of God just like myself.

As I sit here today, I am even more determined to be Jesus to my wife, kids, family, friends, and strangers. I am determined to be unselfish and give my all in everything I do. I want the best for my wife and kids first and foremost. I also want to love all who I come in contact with and leave an ever lasting mark of Jesus on their life much like my Grandpa did in his life for others. I didn't know until the funeral was over that my Grandpa had one last lesson to teach his grandson. That was a lesson of how to be like Jesus...

Grandpa I miss you and even though we weren't close these past few years, I feel the absence of you in my life. I am thankful that you left the heritage and legacy you did. I am so very thankful that you raised my mom with a Godly heritage so that she could give that to me. I will cherish the gift of Jesus that you handed down to your family and all those who you came in contact with. I hope that you are enjoying heaven to it's fullest extent. Heaven became an even a better place when you walked in the gates. We will continue to tie in the roots of the Godly legacy you left for us to follow. We feel your absence, but you are not from us nor as we from you. I look forward to the day that I can see you and all my friends and family who went before in heaven. Until then worship, dance, laugh, eat, and drink in the presence of God. Don't forget to get a few rounds of golf in as well..