God Provides

2 Chronicles 25

I have many stories of how God has provided for us in the past. I know I will have many more before He takes me home. Right now as we wait on His leading, what He is providing is peace. God reveals His loving care to us more and more each day.

This morning I read about King Amaziah of Judah in 2 Chronicles. He had plans to go to war along with the King of Israel. Then he was visited by a “man of God” who told him not to ally himself with this king because “the Lord is not with Israel”. The Lord was with King Amaziah. He listened to the man of God, but he had some financial concerns. This is where the story caught my attention.

“Amaziah said to the man of God, “But what shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel?” 2 Chronicles 25:9a

I am sure he had much more than that in his treasury. He was the king after all. Yet he was concerned for his investment; not God, though.

“The man of God answered, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.”” 2 Chronicles 25:9b

Todd and I just had this conversation yesterday. Well, not exactly, but so close. As you can imagine there are many financial expenditures that go along with starting a business. We were discussing our expenses and we both felt peace about how God is leading. Our “100 talents” are in good Hands. Just as God had a plan for His people thousands of years ago. He has a plan for us today.

 

 

 

Counting it All Joy is Hard

joy

I am becoming increasingly aware that this road we are traveling is not all about getting Todd gainfully employed. In fact, for me it is more about learning to depend more on God; to know Him better and to love Him more deeply.

When I look back over these months or years, whatever the case may be, I want to see that I kept my focus on my Heavenly Father. That I counted this trial all joy; that I experienced more of His peace. Above all I hope that I will see that I drew increasingly closer to and more dependent on Jesus Christ.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”         James 1:2-4

Making Vows, Keeping Vows, Acting Foolishly?

I woke up sad this morning. Today is the 21st day of my commitment to fast and pray for our new business. Before you drop your jaw at the word “fast” and think I have been starving for 3 weeks let me explain. I made a vow to avoid sugar and salty snacks for 3 weeks, and to more intensely pray that God would open doors and make clear his plan for us praying “Thy will be done”.

As soon as I realized what day it was I thought we have not heard from you Lord. Then He brought to my mind 1 Samuel 13. In this passage King Saul was instructed to wait 7 days for the prophet Samuel to come and offer sacrifices. When the 7th day dawned Samuel had not come so Saul offered the sacrifices. Just as soon as he finished Samuel came.

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:13

In the first week of my vow Todd said it may take longer than 3 weeks, my response was I will do this as long as I need to. But somehow my mind tells me that today is the magic day. It is not. Saul was told it would be 7 days and he did not wait. Not only was he told he acted foolishly, but he lost his kingdom. I have no kingdom to lose but I would not want to be considered foolish. I want to be faithful.

This morning my prayer is,

“I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

 

The Prayer that Never Fails

psalm-130

We are soon approaching six months of Todd’s unemployment. We have learned much about trusting God to provide and waiting on His leading and direction. His hand has been on us and we have peace about the future. We have come to a point in time in which Todd feels he needs clear direction. In light of this we are praying more intensely and calling for more prayer support.

So what is the prayer that never fails?

“Thy will be done”

I have prayed about his job situation for years – this job loss came as no surprise to us. These past several months I have prayed specifically for many opportunities that have come his way. I am now changing directions and just opening it completely to God’s leading and direction and praying as Jesus Christ taught us to pray, “Thy will be done”

“Thy will be done” is best for Todd, for me, for our children. God has plans for us, a hope and a future; He has cared for us and will continue.

If you have read to this point, will you partner with us in praying for God’s will to be done? Our desire is to be aware of His will, open to His plans for us, and, above all,  to be obedient servants of Jesus Christ.

 

“Life and Death at Christmas” John Piper

Because I know not everyone’s Christmas is full of happiness, this third week of Advent I want to share something written by John Piper. There can be joy because of the hope found in knowing Jesus Christ.

3rd week of Advent
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it
abundantly.” —John 10:10
As I was about to begin this devotional, I received word that Marion Newstrum had just died. She and her husband Elmer have been part of Bethlehem longer than most of our members have been alive. Marion was 87. They had been married 64 years.
When I spoke to Elmer and told him I wanted him to be strong in the Lord and not give up on life, he said, “He has been a true friend.” I pray that all Christians will be able to say at the end of life, “Christ has been a true friend.”
Each Advent I mark the anniversary of my mother’s death. She was cut off in her 56th year in a bus accident in Israel. It was December 16, 1974. Those events are incredibly real to me even today. If I allow myself, I can easily come to tears—for example, thinking that my sons never knew her. We buried her the day after Christmas. What a precious Christmas it was!
Many of you will feel your loss this Christmas more pointedly than before. Don’t block it out. Let it come. Feel it. What is love for, if not to intensify our affections— both in life and death? But, O, do not be bitter. It is tragically self-destructive to be bitter.
Jesus came at Christmas that we might have eternal life. “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Elmer and Marion had discussed where they would spend their final years. Elmer said, “Marion and I agreed that our final home would be with the Lord.”
Do you feel restless for home? I have family coming home for the holidays. It feels good. I think the bottom line reason for why it feels good is that they and I are destined in the depths of our being for an ultimate Homecoming. All other homecomings are foretastes. And foretastes are good. Unless they become substitutes. O, don’t let all the sweet things of this season become substitutes of the final great, all-satisfying Sweetness. Let every loss and every delight send your hearts a-homing
after heaven. Christmas. What is it but this: I came that they might have life. Marion Newstrum, Ruth Piper, and you and I— that we might have Life, now and forever.
Make your Now the richer and deeper this Christmas by drinking at the fountain of Forever. It is so near.

Big Changes Ahead: A Post by Todd

image(1)

I had to include this picture because I love this guy so very much! The rest is written by him

I received notice on Thursday morning that my job would be eliminated early in 2015.
The company is moving drastically toward digital and they are outsourcing all of the spec art demands overseas.
All of the offices in the country will be closing and the remaining sales force will be going virtual and working from their homes.
Word this morning is that there is a 90 day window for that to occur.
It includes all artists and support staff and the bottom-feeders in the sales force.
This will effect 25% of the workforce with DexMedia, which is about 1000 people.
They plan on only 3 locations in the country to maintain operations; Greenwood Village, CO, St. Petersburg, FL and Dallas, TX.
There are opportunities to move within the company, but not in a graphics capacity, and I’m not interested in moving anyway…although Colorado sounds fantastic… just kidding.
I knew this was on the horizon, so it’s not a great shock, but a little unsettling none-the-less.
Lesa and I are trusting that the Lord will give us absolutely clear direction in whatever path he wants us to take in the near future.
He has always provided for us in the past and He will graciously provide for us in the future.
I would covet your prayers as well and would welcome any and all advice that you may want to give me.
I’m not proud, so please feel free to share your thoughts with me.
I’ve never been without a job, so if the opportunity to go in a direction that is not graphics oriented presents itself, I would certainly look into it.

What Does Jesus Want for Christmas?

20 days old baby sleeping in a christmas nativity crib

Jesus wants us to adore Him. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

For months now my pastor has been preaching about love-Christ’s love. Every week we pray the “Love Chapter” as a congregation; and every week I see new ways that I fall short of loving the way that Jesus loves.

My life verse and greatest desire is “to know Christ” Philippians 3:8. Out of that comes my desire that others know Jesus. That doesn’t make me special or unique. All Christians are called to lead people to Jesus. I have learned that this makes me unpopular. I get “un-friended”. I get called “holier than thou”. People also say things about me like: “you think you are perfect”, or ask me “is that the way a Christian should act/talk/think?”

This past week I have done a lot of self-evaluating. I have asked myself many times if I am forgiving enough, loving enough, merciful enough. The answer is always an emphatic, “no”. I can not out-love or out-forgive God. What I can do is look to Jesus as my example of how to love, how to forgive, how to show mercy. All while recognizing that I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

I also have to recognize that we are all sinners in  need of a Savior. It is my greatest need, and the greatest need of all of mankind. It bears repeating we all are sinners in need of a Savior. That statement does not make me less loving, less forgiving, less Christ-like. It is truth.

John Piper in his Advent devotional, “Good News of Great Joy” asks the question, “What Does Jesus Want for Christmas?” The  answer, he says, is in John 17:26

“I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them”

Dr. Piper goes on to say: “What Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to experience what we were really made for—seeing and savoring His glory.”

What is Jesus’ glory? His Father.  God’s name is holy, capitol “H” Holy. His Holiness is beyond our reach outside of salvation through Jesus. What is the glory of those who are called according to His Name? Our Father. We are to desire and to work toward attaining His Holiness.

I want everyone I know that does not know God to know Him through Jesus Christ. I want all those who know Jesus and are called after His name, Christians, to know Him better and to walk closer to Him.

That is love to me, capitol “L” Love.