Going to the Source

Its been a long two weeks for me. Rachel joined our church on a mission in England, volunteering at a festival in southern England. I know that I encouraged her to go as we felt the calling of the Holy Spirit and that this was a time that we needed to learn and listen to what God was saying, but its been a long two weeks with my boys without her. What did I learn, that I need Love and Patience to continue as a leader.

Funny part about this need is that even though these words seem to have a separate spectrum of character, they cannot be without each other. First, the definition of patience is long suffering with Love. However, I don’t think that most people would define patience within Love. Google defines love as a deep affection for something and then into the modern cultures sexual perspective.

We might say that Patience is a by product of Love, but is it really? Many people are familiar with I Corinthians 14:4-8 (Love is patient, love is kind) which might argue this, but I believe that these two are only part of who we are meant to be in the full spectrum. All who believe that Jesus is God also are submitting themselves to the Spirit of God should be submitting themselves to the fruits of the Spirit which is a work of God (also called Sanctification, just didn’t want to throw that out there as I have friends who are unfamiliar with that word). In Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

My point is this, I suck at all of these, not just patience and love….. but really you cannot live one fully without the others. Its easy to believe that you are a loving person, but if you lack peace or faithfulness, are you really living in love? Our greatest call is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. In love, we reach out to others and put them before ourselves rightly (as not out of command but with true humility) that they may know God fully. But without exercising all aspects of the Spirit, we cannot love. However, our saving grace is that God gave to us his Spirit to bring about the Fruit. Which means to love others means to allow him to work within us and our worship and obedience will result in the love to our family, neighbors, road hogs, or disgruntled coworkers not listening to what I am saying. Yes, I have issues with the people around me. But we will never find perfection as long as we are living, this world is only doomed for destruction after the fall of Adam, but I can allow my spirit to be perfected as I am a sojourner here traveling to eternity.

Really in all, I am missing so many parts of being the humble leader that I need to be within my home. But that’s ok as long as I’m submitting myself to listen to what God is teaching me now and to allow Him to pick me up and chastise me as I fall away or go my own course. That is the beauty of His plan and not mine. Where I lack or try to control, He will use to break me down and use me for His purpose down the road. Another subject is consequences of going my own way, but that is another blog. Seek Him with your whole heart and He will reveal himself (Jeremiah 29:13), and as you continue to seek Him, the Holy Spirit will bring about all who we are meant to be.

(Sorry if this blog is rambling or jumbled in thought. Needed to write again to keep writing as I hate to write and would love to end the habit. As I was about to write, my youngest woke up early and woke his brother up. I have multiple sets of ankles in my side as I write.)

Call to Action

As I introduced myself last week, I’ve felt lead to write about what I have been called to do in my life and ultimately affect my family’s life. I need to lead. I used to think that this could just be managing things within my home, but that blew up in my face. This is where I saw my short comings as a husband and a father, this is where the refining fire began to show me aspects of myself that I needed to learn for our future.

Part of life is that we assimilate what we know or have experienced into who we are. My dad did a great job leading the family which must have taken great strength, especially as we were five rambunctious kids. He has always been a good role model but I lost site as I began to take my own path to support myself and then my wife. I began to learn the manager lifestyle. I’ve always had good or decent managers that I have worked under; but they mostly only worked to run their store and to get duties done. They facilitated conversation and supported those who reported to them.

This is how I was “leading” my marriage and kids. I got stuff done; meaning I went to work, helped with chores around the house, played with the kids… I facilitated conversation, which one can imagine meant my wife was bringing most of the conversation to the table and was asking the important questions about how we were supposed to be raising our children. Talking about placing a burden on our marriage. Oh, and I’m not the most considerate guy, taking to mind that my wonderful wife needs her own time regardless if she is voicing it or not. Managing in a reactive style.

Two years ago, Rachel and I went through a time of painful realization that I was disengaged from the family as I was pursuing what I thought was my calling. As we worked through that year with job changes and moving, I learned to be more of a proactive manager, which released some of the strain in our marriage but I was continuing to manage life instead of  living life under my Heavenly Fathers leadership and learning.

Come this year, I knew God had been working in me as I now have a clearer view of what it means to be a husband and father, a leader. As the leader in the home, I’m not above or the only one handling the direction of the home. But it does mean that I finalize the decisions made within our family; it means I take responsibility when crap hits the fan; it means that my wife can let go of the pressure of being the only one raising the kids as I step in to help raise them. My generation is lost due to the lack of leaders in the home; the lack of men and women stepping in alongside of them when they were younger. The idea that money will bring happiness has driven parents from their kids giving many youth and young adults little discernment on who they should be looking up to as role models. I pray and aspire that this will not be how Rachel and I raise our two boys and coming daughter to be left to be blown around without any roots to hold them fast to truth.

This is my past and what the Holy Spirit is calling me from. He has been calling me for a long time to leave behind my feeble attempts to manage life, but I wasn’t willing to hear that short coming. But now he has broken through that point of pride in my life. Cost of gambling with my pride is much too high for my family’s sake. I have visions for each one of them that I believe where given by the Holy Spirit for me to pour into them, but why listen to someone who doesn’t have the strength to face up to life themself?

To keep me from becoming conceited

Reasons For The Hope Blog

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 2 Corinthians 12:7

Just a short break from Luke today. A few weeks ago one of the commentators on my blog asked me “After 14 years, do you not wonder why the god wants you to suffer?” This was in response to a comment I had made about taking longer than usual to respond to the comment he had left on my blog because something I had eaten had cause my colon to rebel. I mentioned that since 2000 I had suffered for ulcerative colitis. This person is an unbeliever and self-proclaimed atheists. His blog is titled My Atheist Life or MAL for short.

This is what I told MAL:

I do not believe…

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Trust In You

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“Trust In You”

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You seeI’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my sideWhen You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand

Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

I will trust in You!
I will trust in You!
I will trust in You!

I Feel Iike God Is Playing with My Emotions

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This morning while I was praying I asked God to give me something to write about. I haven’t blogged in a while. A lot of things have been going on and I have been too overwhelmed to know what exactly to write about. But right away I remembered a dream I had that I thought I would share.

Before I tell you the dream I need to share the behind the scenes. I have had two really tough life events and one of them was recently this summer. I was in my first trimester, we moved to my parents house because we hadn’t found a place to live in. I felt sick, overwhelmed, terribly lonely, and felt tested and unloved by God. I knew God would provide, but couldn’t He see that I was overwhelmed by all the changes in my life? Couldn’t He give me a break? I couldn’t take it anymore. Couldn’t He see I needed help and needed things to get better? Everything just seemed to get worse. When I am at my lowest the devil really tries to torment me with dreams. Every single night I would get a dream and this was the worst. Other than scary me to death, it did help me opened my eyes to understand my perspective of God at that time.

In my dream Andrew and I were arguing. We were yelling and saying hurtful things. We were at a mall that had crazy amount of levels and we took the elevator. The elevator had no walls and it would jerk and go really fast. It was frightening because I tried not to fall off to my death. I felt unsafe, alone, rejected, and unloved. I just wanted love and understanding. Finally, I got separated from Andrew and got to a level that was dark.  “God” guided me and told me to trust him. He told me that I needed to trust him and he made me do a trust test. He told me to keep stroking a hand that he was holding. It was a skeletal, dead skin, wrinkling hand, and it had long fingernails. I cringed. One thing I hate is scary things. He told me to keep doing it and it would turn into a real hand. He would touch my cheek with it and I begged him to stop, but he chuckled and said, “Its okay its fine.”

It wasn’t until I woke up that I realized that it was really the devil tormenting me and not God. I realized then that I really felt God was playing with my emotions.

A few things I learned from all that.

  1. God doesn’t play with our emotions. The devil does that.
  2. I need to know God more so I can fight off the thought.
  3. That even though I am hurting, God has a plan for me and I am not on a waiting list. God is continually working something out for my good.
  4. If I really lay my heart, my emotions, and not hide my feelings from Him. I will open myself up for God to comfort me.
  5. God loves me and you.

Even though that point of my life was one of the worst. It taught me a lot about myself and my relationship with God. Unfortunately, I got to a place of emptiness and total devastation. I felt depleted and worn out.  This is were you end up in when you are not stable [ to be truthfully honest]. God doesn’t blame me for where I was. He wasn’t judging me, but because of my weak points. He wants to make them strong. Fact. God loves us when he corrects us. What makes Him a Father is His honest opinion of where we need to grow.

One of the problems I want to share is that I have a hard time crying out to God. I want to hold things back and not let God know I am weak and need His help all the time. I feel guilty at these feeling and the thoughts. I want Him to know I am strong. It is really silly, but it’s true. I recall one time I really did cry out and I know He was crying with me and in pain as I was. I don’t know why it is still hard for me to do it. The devil tries so many things to get me to that place of freedom with my Heavenly Father. That is why I feel so strongly about the realm of the Spirit. The battle that we don’t see, but feel. The enemy can twist our minds and place thoughts that distract us from going to the Father if we don’t prepare and set our thoughts apart.

Here are a few verses that I have kept to help me.

Phil. 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Ps. 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”

Ps. 38:9 “Oh Lord, all my longing is before You; my sighing is not hidden from You.”

Is. 54:17 “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, Says the Lord.”

This is a very personal journey for me. It makes me feel very vulnerable in the way I have to be open. Expressing my hurts or to show my tears when I want them to stay hidden. More and more openness and honesty I need to give to my Heavenly Father. Learning the definition of a relationship I never understood.  Maybe because I didn’t have a good understanding of one with my own father. All these years down deep I guess I thought with my own father I could live without the openness and understanding, so I wouldn’t have to face the vulnerability by expressing my hurts and tears.