Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Struggle

I am humbled by the number of people that have viewed this page. It boggles my mind to think that people all over the world have stopped to read my thoughts. Whether on purpose or by accident, people have visited this blog and have been very kind to me about my murmurings. 

The biggest struggle I have with this whole thing is when I think, "Who am I to be sharing my thoughts about my faith?" I so often fight with the sinful nature and whether I win or lose, I still don't understand why God has asked me to share my stories through this format. I am far from perfect or a model Christian. 

I'm not alone. In Romans 7, Paul writes of his own struggle with his sinful nature. He tells us:

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

What do you struggle with today? What is it that holds you back following Christ wholeheartedly? Ask Jesus to help you in your struggle. He will bring you through. 

If you don't know Jesus personally, ask him into your heart by praying this simple prayer;
"Jesus. I acknowledge my need for you. I know that you are fully God, that you died for me and that you love me. Please forgive me of my sin and help me to live my life for you. Thank you Jesus for loving me."

If you prayed that prayer for the first time today, tell someone about it. Even comment below and let me know. I will pray for you as well. 

I'm grateful for all Jesus has done for me. It is by faith in Him that I will one day be with Him. Until then, I continue to fight the good fight as I press towards the goal. 

So, despite my failures, I will continue to share of the things that God is doing in my life. I'm not perfect, but I will trust God with my life and continue to struggle. It's worth it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Learning to Breathe

My family and I are camping in a beautiful park in Ontario, Canada called Bon Echo Provincial Park. It has amazing scenery, great swimming and a demand for calm that is hard to fathom even when experiencing it. 

Today, we were out in my brother-in-law's boat, swimming in the middle of the lake. It was here that I learned to snorkel for the first time. To say that I was the source of my families laughter would be an understatement. I snorted more water than an elephant taking a bath. 

Just before leaving on vacation from work, things have been extremely busy. We have had tight deadlines, large demands and limited staff. Just when you feel like you have one thing accomplished, another large task gets dropped in your lap. It has meant many long days and labour intensive tasks. 

In chapter 3 of Ephesians, Paul finishes with a prayer that truly puts things into perspective:

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Sometimes in my Christian walk, I wonder: "Will I ever get it right?" and then I read a passage like Paul has written above and remember to take a breath and look to God to help me as my only source of strength and not my own ability. 

At work, I have had to take a step back, breathe and trust the team I work with to get it done and to think outside the box when situations seem impossible. I'm very fortunate to work with the people that I do. 

As for snorkelling, I need to remember to breathe (through my mouth) and just slow down and enjoy the beauty that lies beneath the waters. (That's a whole other post in and of itself). It all takes practice but eventually I will figure it out. Fortunately, I have a very patient and forgiving family that understands what it means to learn to snorkel. (I think they are still laughing though.)

Are you facing a struggle today? Do you have a bad habit that you think you cannot break? Do you have a situation that seems insurmountable? Read through Paul's letter and remember to take a breath. Sometimes, we forget that we serve a limitless God with our limited imagination. 

Take the limits off, breathe and watch what God can do. You will be blown away. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

He Knows

Right now, a very close friend of ours needs a touch from God for a blood clot between his lung and his heart. The next 12 to 24 hours are crucial critical as mentioned by the medical staff. 

At work, we have a very large project with a very tight deadline. The task seems insurmountable but the project needs to be completely quickly as it is critical to our business' success. 

In my devotions, I was reading the story of Jonah and how God had a tight deadline for Jonah and it involved Jonah for the redemption of the great city of Nineveh. God needed Jonah to go whether he wanted to or not. 

In the above three instances, there is a crucial need and a necessity for action. Often in life, we find ourselves in tight spots wondering what's next but ultimately it is not about what we know or don't, but rather Who knows. Our response is simply to trust that God is sovereign and that He will bring us through whatever tough situation we face. 

So for my friend, I ask that God intervene guide this situation. With work, I ask God that He would give wisdom in making the right decisions and the strength to make it through the next month. Most of all, I thank God that He uses people like Jonah (you and me) that don't necessarily listen the first time to accomplish His Will because after all, He knows!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Here We Go Again ...

When I started this blog a few years back, I had my life all figured out. I was pastoring in a church, getting back on my feet after a marriage that failed and loving life. 

2016 has started off with a bang and a million things has changed since this whole journey began but God is really laying on my heart to write again. It started in Bon Echo at the Pump House beach when a friend questioned why I hadn't blogged in a while. She missed reading it. To be honest, I didn't really think people cared about what I had to say and also that my time could be used on better things like dropping my wallet into the middle of that lake. 

Have you ever gone through a time where you felt that God really wasn't speaking to you or that your existence really wasn't important to the grand scheme of things? Maybe it's a valley, slump or rough spot but to you, you just don't feel that you're really important. You're not necessarily spent with life to the point you're looking for a way out (and if you're reading this and that's what you're feeling, please know you are important and to talk to someone) but you just don't feel your life really is going to alter the coarse of the world. There are days like that. 

In 2 Samuel 9, King David was looking to bless someone from Saul's family because of his friendship with Saul's son, Jonathan. He asked Ziba (one of Saul's servants) if there was anyone alive from Saul's family. Ziba told him that there was one of Jonathan's sons still alive but he was crippled in both feet. In these times, people who were crippled were usually beggars who sat outside of temples and at city gates begging for money. Dave summoned for Mephibosheth to come to the palace. That day, a man of insignificance became a man of importance. His life changed. 

God has your life in His hands and when you least expect it he will choose you as His son or daughter to rise up and be a person of influence; sometimes without you even knowing it. 

I blog because I want to encourage someone to keep going and live a purposeful life. I don't know who reads this (or if anyone does), but if God wants to help one person to go from feeling insignificant to important, alone to loved or empty to empowered, then I will continue to take the time to share my thoughts through this medium. 

I'm not in a church as a pastor any more. I have a beautiful wife and the cutest son in the world. I enjoy my job (has its moments) and love the people I work with. I have a good life but I still don't have it all figured out. Life is messy sometimes and not always fair. Know this, God loves you and cares for you today and at the end of it all, that's all that really matters. 

So with that, here we go again ...