Observation Deck

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Wow! Would you just look at that view!! Looking at the above picture, if we were standing there with that view, the “awe” factor would set in. Many times when we see glimpses of God’s handy work, we share similar expressions. However, not all of God’s handy work is seen as an “awe” moment even though it is Him working.

Over the past few months, God has been doing some extremely obvious work, yet through the depth of pain. How do we decipher that our pain is a work of God? Why does pain have to be our motivator?

It began with a goodbye….from a new family I had grown to love and find a place within. Reality said that it couldn’t last do to circumstances neither party wanted to part from. A destiny that was only for a time; yet an experience that kindled a fire deep within. I never wanted to leave, yet I fought to accept the things to which I could not change. The courage to grow from the experiences to which I could; and the wisdom to know when to start a new chapter faithfully.

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You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 NIV)

The desert moments tend to follow the feelings of loss. David experienced it a lot during much of his writing of Psalms. I went two months without a chance to preach; a time that had me questioning my calling again. Yet God, in His awesome way, opened multiple doors at different places that kept me busy for a month solid. It brought back the passion, it brought back the intensity I feel to share my Savior’s love, and it brought me a desire to do nothing else but serve Him full-time. The problem?? My interpretation of full-time service and His wasn’t the same. My desire has, is, and always will be to serve Him from a pulpit or within a ministry’s walls FULL-TIME. Again, the problem here is I already am in full-time ministry….I’m just not calling it that enough!

It was an interesting observation, when a friend told me that maybe God was already ready for me to serve Him full-time; it was ME who wasn’t ready for the service HE wanted me to do. Until I was content with when He was having me serve through Terminix, I wouldn’t be ready for what my heart desires! Something stuck….it’s was like my heart opened to the lives He has helped me affect in the past 3 years. It was then that David’s continual verses in Psalm 63 rang real in my heart:

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Psalm 63:2-5 NIV)

Since then life has been a roller coster ride. People I hardly know and people I’ve grown close to kept approaching me non-stop with heart wrenching stories and needs for prayer. So many I helped by praying, listening and empathizing; others I felt helpless except to just give them hugs. One customer greets me at the door with her eyes bloodshot and the glistening of tears at the corners of her eyes and says, “I lost my Gary!” I was in shock….and quickly felt my tarts well up and my heart sink. This was man that I enjoyed time with and they together brightened my service experience. I even had to treat his usable outhouse!! “Gotta keep them spiders from biting me in the (butt)!” he would say. And now, unexpectedly due to pneumonia and lung cancer undiagnosed, he is now dead.

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. (Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT)

Interesting how these words now ring like an infinite-pulsating alarm that cannot be shut off! He and I at one time planned on having a “God discussion,” yet that never happened. Guilt and inferiority races through my mind as I let a good man go who was perfect for the Kingdom of Heaven. Was it my fault? Of course not! I know that God and he only know that, but it still bothered me! But alas, as God only does and does so well, this isn’t the end of His point to be made.

The next day, while pumping gas in my work truck, I received a call from another customer to whom I’m close with and she tearfully told me of her uncle Larry had passed away the night before; PLUS HER 8-year-old daughter had just got out of Riley Hospital for a mild heart attack!! Are you kidding me?? Another death of a close friend/customer and then a young girl with a HEART ATTACK??? What in the world is going on God??

Larry and I began our friendship with a duck. A beautiful white duck with a magnificent orange bill….that loved to follow me around. It was the most hilarious encounter to date; and because of that duck, Larry and I grew closer as friends. The knowledge of his sooner-than-expected passing sent my heart into a near state of shock. He was battling lung cancer and was last told he had less than a month to live from the original time of six months. He and I did begin the talk about Jesus and never got to finish. He expressed his desire to talk more and we stated we would….our next visit. That visit never happen.

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It’s hard….not to take these losses of precious life to heart. If Christ is the center of my life, then why do I feel that these people I claim to hold close to my heart didn’t see enough of Him in me? Why didn’t I share more of Jesus with them to where I KNEW that they knew Him too? Why do we hesitate as Christians to share what we say we love so much? I cried so much the next full day.

All this added to the faith jolting that I’ve had following the journey of my new friend Brent from Nevada that was watching the unexpected life passing of his wife Jennifer occur. So much pain and so much redirecting; yet as stated before, God is showing us He’s in control! The observation of all this in my life was profoundly mimicked by my Sunday School lesson today from Romans 9:14-21:

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:14-21 NIV)

No matter what I want for my friends, my ministry, or my family; one thing is for certain, GOD IS IN CONTROL AND HIS PURPOSES ARE HIGHER THAN MY EXPECTATIONS! What are you observing right now that God is working you through? What is His next unexpected move gonna do to solidify your faith in His trust of your life?

Live like there is no tomorrow! Don’t let any other moment pass you by to share Jesus with someone! And believe that no matter what the unexpected will bring that He is drawing you closer to His glorified purpose….IF your faith will endure the sculpting!

Amen!!

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Faith Gone Viral

Faith-Going-ViralIn the early 1990’s the movie Robin Hood came out starring Kevin Costner portraying the classic story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  The action was good, the story line kept you excited, but the LOVE….kept us drawn in.  Maid Marian shouts from the castle tower while being held captive by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham “ROBIN!!”; to which Costner proceeding to catapult himself over the castle walls to eventually save the love of his life! During the credits at the end, the theme song played just sinking in the movie’s climactic moment of love conquering all; Everything I do by Bryan Adams played and you could just feel your heart just pitter-patter to the love shown throughout the movie.  “Everything I do, I do it for you….I’d fight for you, I’d lie for you, Walk a wire for you, I’d DIE for you….”  This chorus alone left many teenage boys promising their lives for their girlfriends….only that was NEVER the case! 🙂  Have you ever in your life felt like dying for someone you love?

Recently I have been unexpectedly hit with stories of people who are fighting for their lives both physically and spiritually.  This has left me perplexed about the depth of my commitment to not only my marriage, but my relationship with my Savior.  Then….God began to show me a side of life up close (figuratively) that has literally shook my faith to its core.  In doing so I have began asking if my faith’s foundation is solid or hallow?  Let me explain, as in many of my previous blogs, I have done a lot of challenging of others based on what God has been laying upon my heart.  Now, this one is not only for you, but for me as well….and most importantly, Brent & Jen.

the-perfect-relationshipFor them, the epitome of their faith didn’t start with their marriage; it began with their first challenge and so forth.  Now, they are faced with the greatest faith challenge ever.  A little over 7 weeks ago, Jen was involved in a bad boating accident where she was thrown from the boat after hitting an object in the water.  Multiple issues landed her in intensive care where she has been fighting for her life since.  In the mean time, Brent has been being the supportive, responsible, loving & sacrificial husband trying to understand the purpose God has for this moment in their lives.  Lots of prayers from family, friends and once strangers alike have been pouring out.

Brent and I never knew one another until fate had us meet by my job at Terminix.  You see, Brent and Jen live in Nevada and I in Indiana; however Brent has a home at a Lake community I service and I went to service that home when I spoke to Brent the first time.  Our original business conversation turned into a ministry discussion where he and I bonded like brothers under one God.  From that point on, my heart has been in tune to not only He and Jen’s story; but it cracked open a spot in my heart to look at the depth of my own faith.

Last week Brent was in Indiana to do business and then Florida because Jen was doing really good.  She was up walking, eating solid foods and was within days according to doctors to be going home; thus he was told it was safe to leave town to do business.  That is when the unthinkable happened.  Last Tuesday evening just after arriving in Florida, Brent received a phone call that Jen had went into cardiac arrest.  A procedure at the hospital went unexpectedly wrong due to an undiagnosed issue and it sent her into cardiac arrest.  She was without a pulse for 12 minutes.  She now sits in a coma needing a life-saving emergency surgery and her body seems unable to have the procedure without possibly ending her life.  Thus begins the challenge of faith.

Broken humanly, yet his spirit is astonishing from the outside.  He says it best:

As we are now in week 7 of this surreal journey, you can imagine how weary my spirits have become both physically and emotionally.  So I (we) must lean on and trust in God more than ever before that His strength, wisdom, power and direction be fully revealed and granted to us.  Clearly, there is nothing about this situation that makes sense from our human perspective.  Only when examined from God’s perspective do we have a chance to gain a small glimpse at a greater story and purpose.  Lord God help us to know what we are to do, say, act and think during this time.

Even in the mist of tragedy and strife, he leans on God with his faith that no matter if she lives and all glory is personified to God for it; or she goes to meet her Savior in the heavens–he TRUSTS whatever God has in store.  I cannot remember the last time I have allowed my faith to be displayed that dominantly and faithfully!  Brent’s story of love and faith has went VIRAL.

Viral Faith

1    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
 3   By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
–Hebrews 11:1,3 (NASB)

Brent is showing the ASSURANCE of what he’s hoping for; either Jen to be miraculously healed or to meet her Heavenly Father in heaven.  His attitude, his words, his actions mimic the reality of faith in Jesus Christ!  The other half though that makes the faith complete and I feel many of us LACK is the CONVICTION of things not seen.  When we cannot see what we desire or want somewhat immediately after we pray….”in faith”….causes an almost immediate doubt in our faith.  Our human frailty cannot stand not knowing, thus the temptation is always there to just go with the flow.  Brent has helped open my eyes in the mist of such tragedy to pray for TRUST more and the convictions to follow!

What we need is to be SET FREE of our bondage of doubt and not have to have tragedy cause our faith to increase where it needs to be all along!

By Faith Not Sight

Sometimes I’m sad, I know not why
My heart is sore distressed;
It seems the burdens of this world
Have settled on my heart.

And yet I know … I know that God
Who doeth all things right
Will lead me thus to understand
To walk by FAITH … not SIGHT.

And though I may not see the way
He’s planned for me to go,
The way seems dark to me just
But oh, I’m sure He knows!

Today He guides my feeble step
Tomorrow’s in His right …
He has asked me to never fear …
But walk by FAITH … not SIGHT.

Some day the mists will roll away,
The sun will shine again.
I’ll see the beauty in the flowers,
I’ll hear the bird’s refrain,

And then I’ll know my Father’s hand
Has led the way to light
Because I placed my hand in His
And walked by FAITH … not SIGHT.
—Ruth A. Morgan

Set Me FreeDear Lord,

I lift my friend and brother in Christ Brent up to you.  His heart is in deep pain.  His eyes are embracing a sight of his soul-mate that isn’t meant for your temple, your body.  Father I embrace your truth that with a faith of a mustard seed we can ask and it shall be done and so by this blog and by the fingers that type this prayer, I ask you for healing.  Healing in his heart for the scars that are being left from this world.  Healing of his emotions to allow them to not represent the effects of this world; but the promise, assurance and conviction of your word through his faith in your Son.  Father, may every angel’s hand be upon his beautiful bride Jen and as she lays in a comatose state that not only will you heal her physical body, but also her heart for whatever may be left undone in her life.  For the areas needing the most attention physically Lord, I pray with an honest heart that your will is to be glorified by her miraculous healing and testament of your power still in this broken world.  Your body does not welcome dysfunction from the world; thus her brokenness is not welcomed.  I claim it out of her body in the name of Jesus Christ!  May all who read this blog Lord follow this lead and pray with all their faith in you for your work to be done in this situation.  In Jesus precious name I pray….AMEN.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
–1 John 5:4 (NASB)

Brent & JenLET OUR FAITH GO VIRAL FOR PEOPLE LIKE THESE…..