Monday, May 13, 2013

Tested and refined by fire...

I am using this blog to make an announcement. It was simply to much to post on Facebook, however, I will put a summary out there. I was originally going to use Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. You know the a time for everything scripture. One that is so popular during sad times to get people through tough times. But I was directed towards another script, and I especially like The Message version of it.

1 Peter 1:6-7

6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

Ten months ago we moved from Illinois to Ohio. If you remember that blog, I was experiencing a surreal moment. It had finally hit me that we were moving. We were leaving a state that both my wife and I had lived in for 38 years. We were up-rooting our family for a fresh try at life. A change of scenery if you will and truly it was. There were hills and no flat land. People were different and the pace of life was not what we were used too. We came by faith trusting God that he would take care of us. Little did we know that my wife and I would learn so much about each other. We were almost eight months into a marriage and life that we had never experienced in 15 years of marriage. Make sense? Are you confused? I'm not. This is now a marriage that we both love and cherish. Nothing will divide us again. EVER!!

In ten months here in Ohio, my wife and I have learned to depend on each other. We have learned to get through the challenges of life that came our way. We learned to grow up and make decisions on our own depending on the Lord and praying our way through decisions we had to make. We were healing and learning to love each other deeper every day and we still do. A lot of decisions we have made by faith and trusting that God would lead us along. Our faith came out pure, tested, and refined by the fire, and proven pure. God had proven faithful to us and taken care of us.

Well the time has come to go back to the homeland of Illinois. There have been many things that have played into this decision. Family is the main reason. There have been many answers to prayer that have brought us to this point. We find ourselves taking the step of faith of going back to where we came from. We came to Ohio to heal thinking that this is where God would want us permanently. At first the visits to Illinois were in the mind frame of "glad we don't live here anymore." and then transformed into "our time is short in Ohio and this is where we belong." When that feeling came to both of us, we committed it to prayer and trusted that if this is what God had for us, then he would open the door that no man could open. Finally the last picture was hung in our house here in Ohio and the call came the next day for a job for my wife in Illinois. I told my wife that if this was God's timing, he would make it happen.We sought Godly counseling. We have spent tons of time in the last month talking through this. We have spent time in devotion, the word, and in prayer. We know that God will provide for this move.Well it appears that it is Gods timing and in less than four weeks we will make the journey back to Illinois.

It appears that God has fulfilled his purpose for us here. The timing was right for us to come to Ohio. Now God's timing is right for us to move back to Illinois for the purpose of our family, not just immediate, but for extended as well. Soon my Dad will lose his wife of eight years to cancer. There will be some transition for him and our family. There have also been other relationships within our family that have healed. We know that this is where God wants us. We are excited for the opportunities for our kids, our family, and to get back involved in the church we love that supported us through our worst times.

Our experience in Ohio has been invaluable. It was the escape we needed at the time. It was one of the best learning times of our marriage thus far. It made us appreciate what we have and where we came from. We know for the rest of our lives that God will lead us, take care of us, and provide for us just as he does for the birds of the air and the creatures that wonder this earth.

So what can you take away from this? Here is your answer. God is good, God will provide, and if you trust him, your faith will be rewarded. God will hide you in the cleft of the rock through the storm and troubles that come your way. When God gives the all clear to come out, a rainbow will show you that you did right and he will do what he promised.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A beautiful flower

One of the things that I may never hand down to either of my sons, is mowing the lawn. There are a few reasons for this. One, I love to do it, it is something about the patterns in the grass that make me feel organized. I am a straight line mower. Second of all it is time where I think about life. Third of all I love the smell of freshly cut grass. This time of year I am mowing quite frequently. Lastly I love to look at the lawn after it is mowed. It reminds me of how beautiful something can be when taken care of with love and care.

This year I even find myself pulling weeds from where the new flowers and hosta's are coming in. In pulling those weeds, God kinda of got my attention. In the past I have just pulled the weeds as best I could without digging deep in the ground to get the entire weed roots and all. I always wondered why the weeds came back almost instantly within a few days. I thought by just giving a good yank on the weed from the ground, it would kill it. As I was working on pulling weeds, I started to dig the roots out as well. The next week came a long and no weeds have grown back in where I had pulled the weeds from the roots the week before. But new ones started to pop up in other places. So with the same process as the others, I pulled those as well from the roots deep in the ground. It really is a never ending process. No matter what precautions you take, weeds are going to happen.

For the past two weeks I have been chewing on this whole "pulling the weed" thing.  I thought about my life and how far God had brought me. I realized how deep sin was rooted in my life. My spiritual life was the flower in the garden and the things that were stopping it from becoming beautiful were the things like sin, acceptance, anger, and approval amongst other things. In fact as you have read from the very beginning, my spiritual life was dead at one point. The weeds of sin had over come me and I had allowed them to kill and devour my spiritual life. I had been strangled from the root level.

Our spiritual life is something that constantly needs to be kept and weeded. Sin is going to try to pop up in different places and if we are not vigilant, our spiritual life will be strangled by the roots of sin. That will lead to broken lives, broken marriages, and broken families. All this from mowing the lawn and taking a gardening util to dig up weeds.

Friends, this blog entry is not complicated, maybe even a little cliche... BUT... the message is clear. We have to be aware of how sin works, how it can destroy our lives and everything we know about it. Sin doesn't take long to starve us (the flower), in face it can be quick. So my point, be vigilant, spend time in the word, spend time talking to our great redeemer, and make sure that we are doing all that is needed to stay grounded in the spiritual dirt that gives us eternal life forever in Christ.