Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Love Dependency

Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; let those who love Your salvation say continually, "The Lord be magnified!"
Ps 40:16

I do not think I have ever met anyone who was so excited to have complete dependence on someone else. I hear it almost hourly, "No daddy, I do it." My kids are champions for this one cause...I will accomplish it without your help. I know the elderly think about it as well. My wife recently told me the other day that she knew of someone here in Belgium (not a believer) that had their date of death already picked out. They had arranged in a legal document how and when they were going to die. There main reason, they did not want to be dependent on ANYONE!

So naturally, I think it is a completely foreign concept to need someone else. I never had to teach my kids to want to do something by themselves, they just, you know, wanted to do it.

Close your eyes, think of someone who is victorious. It probably is one who has it seemingly all together right? Those who are victorious in the natural are the strong, the bold, the brave, the witty, the wise, and the wealthy. To those with "everything" all together the very thought of relying on someone else is completely ridiculous. 

How can you be victorious, or have it all together, and need someone else?!?!?!

When I appraise God's salvation with eyes of the Spirit, I, without hesitation, declare my need for Him and my desire to be even more dependent upon His provision. Those who love the salvation of the Lord will be rejoicing the loudest. Those who choose dependence on God soon find that the world and all its anxiety cannot take away the source of eternal joy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Favor and Character

Every morning as I am taking my boys to school and handing them over to other caretakers for the day I pray for them. There are a few things I ask God for concerning them and their day at school. One of these things is favor. I pray for favor with their teachers AND with their classmates.

Today I realized my oldest son is 7 and I have been praying for him to have favor with his classmates and teachers since he started going to school, almost 4 years ago. It has been a request for many years and the verdict is in...Dutch has favor with the people at his school. Dutch is invited to ALL the birthday parties (even the girls only parties). Most of all the teachers know Dutch and they all say without a doubt he is the best kid in school. Ok, so maybe they don't say he is the best, that might be a father's exaggeration, but nevertheless, you could ask anyone, he receives praise from many. All this to say God is answering this prayer. But God is not answering it in a way that I had originally thought.

Today as I dropped the littlest man off, Finnik, I continued this tradition of prayer for favor. I realized I don't want the favor to stop with their school peers and teachers. I want it to continue on even outside of school and into university, into their career, into their marriage, etc. So even as I am praying for favor with the school and classmates, God really impressed on my heart that as I ask for this favor He is doing an even greater work in their hearts. The favor I am praying for means God will transform their character into a character that can only reflect a God given quality or the kind of favor that will bring the most glory to God. It has to be able to transcend this time period in their life.

I am thinking when I pray for favor:
God is going to show the teachers and students how great my kids are.

What God is thinking when I pray for favor:
I am going to work on Dutch, Titus, and Finnik and show them what TRUE character really is.

Only God will sustain the kind of favor I want for my kids. This favor will not be some mystical witches brew but a developed character that is uniquely demonstrated so that others will practically be drawn unto my boys.

When we pray for favor, God answers by transforming our character so that we can accurately define and model what the God of favor actually looks like. It is more about a work on us and our character than it is about how others might or might not see us. It indeed is a dangerous prayer, to ask for favor, because God will work on your perception and your character.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Adversary of My Efforts

I woke with a thought last Sunday afternoon. As I prepared myself for the day and made my way down to the kitchen, the thought persisted. It was a really serious moment for me.

I reflected over the course of the last year at all God was doing with my family and in my life personally. I then focused my attention on the last 4-5 years of my life. I then thought about my current situation and where I was going.

Ok enough with the beating around the bush, the thought was...

What if I am wanting something they do not want
What if I am experiencing something they do not want to experience
What if I am preaching something they do not want to hear
What if I am going somewhere they do not want to go
What if I am singing something they do not want to sing

I know, sounds deep right, well, it was something I had in my mind all day long and could not shake. I did not necessarily have a particular context.

C.S. Lewis says it like this, Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different. An adversary to my efforts has long been, not a bad decision, vision, or revelation, but rather time. I want things moving faster than they are. I am consistently falling prey to frustration at the drudgingly slow pace of response and the lack of promptness when it comes to shifting a culture.

If you, now entering the second month of the year, are finding yourself frustrated with results. Maybe you, like me, are not seeing things move fast or flowing the way you thought they should be flowing. Do not lose sight of what God burdened you with. Reconnect to the Word, which carries the promise that not only will He never forsake you (Deut 31:8), but He also is glorified when you produce fruit (John 15:8).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

God's Promise For 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Those 3 words are surreal at this moment. It seems only yesterday I was sitting around the Christmas tree with my family celebrating Christmas here in Belgium, which was last year. This Christmas, however, was different than last years Christmas. This year my whole family was able to enjoy the comfort of a Christmas in Texas with my parents. It was truly a joy to witness my 3 boys run through the living room of my mom and dad's house being noisy and so full of energy. I am sure the countless substances, full of sugar were not helping either.

2015 really has snuck up on me. Maybe it has for you as well. Maybe you aren't exactly ready for 2015, and all that it has to offer. Maybe there are still things from 2014 that are left undone, or discouragement is keeping you from seeing this next year as a promising new chapter.

Today at church I heard a great word from Dr. Joseph Dimitrov that brought a sense of assurance and peace to my heart...

You have crowned the year with Your bounty, and Your paths drip with fatness.
Ps 65:11

Meditate on the reality that God is outside of time and has already witnessed all that 2015 has to offer. He is not bound by 2014's disappointments, nor is He shaken by 2014's regrets. God knows your past, and even greater, He knows your future. Rest in the assurance that you are more valuable to Him than the flowers that He clothes with beauty, or the birds of the sky that He feeds everyday. He has crowned this next year with HIS goodness. Let go of the past and what is frozen in time, do not worry about tomorrow and what it might bring. Lay hold of God's promise that this year is crowned with His bounty, and look for it. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression Meets Jesus

I won't pretend I was the greatest Robin Williams fan of all time, or that he revolutionized the way I see movies. Honestly, I may be in the minority, but I never enjoyed his appearances on Conan, or his standup routine. I thought he was too sporadic and unorganized in his comedy routine. I enjoyed the more subtle and straight forward comics.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed him as an actor. The movies he starred in are easily recalled as favorites and I think he was brilliant. I think Hook stands out as the one I remember the most. I also enjoyed his voice as the genie in Aladdin.

After the news of his passing, the outlets of social media flooded my feeds with sadness and shock. A phrase that was stated over and over again was something I struggle with when it comes to individuals with mental illness such as depression.

"If you are struggling, please get help"

This plea is almost always from individuals who are not themselves walking in a mental illness. This is it stated as a way to ask those who are struggling to see the conditions and circumstances, read between the lines and get better. The intentions are meant to be for the good of the individual suffering. However, individuals who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses don't see life so easily.

In light of this tragedy, my perspective is that we live life differently and hopefully, as a societal whole, we could alter the influence of mental illnesses such as depression. Instead of pleading with someone to get help, if you see or know someone battling, YOU step in and do something, say something, be involved. Break the unwritten ethical code and intrude on someone's life. Change the course of the normal and everyday routine, burst the individualistic bubble that people with depression live in. Stop waiting for someone to ASK for help! Be so involved yourself, that someone who suffers, or is plagued by chronic depression will not have room to entertain the thoughts that would lead them to hopelessness.

You may not have had access to Robin Williams' life and been able to communicate to him, or be his friend. That's not what this is about. This is about the thousands who suffer everyday around you, with thoughts of hopelessness in which it is NOT too late for them.

Self-help talk may last for a little bit, but it doesn't ultimately connect someone to the real issue and reason mental illness exists. In the book of Matthew Jesus summons His disciples, gives them authority to heal every kind of sickness and disease (10:1). Suicide eventually becomes a solution for many who suffer. A logical conclusion for many is to end the functioning of the entity creating the problem...the brain. There is a better solution. God has sent His Son, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:12 says that no one has seen God, but if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected. You, me, we are the visual of God for people to see. If you are abiding in Christ you will be the very picture of God for someone else. Healing, wholeness, restoration, reconciliation, these are ALL God's business and I want to be about God's business.

I personally could do better about reflecting this truth for those I interact with daily. Please don't resolve your level of helping people by making a statement of "get help...if you need it," instead, be so involved that
YOU see the warning signs,
YOU recognize the disease,
YOU become part of the solution for the healing needed in someone else.