All posts by Travis

God’s Provision

I asked my wife for a blog topic for today and she mentioned God’s provision. I would say if there is one way that God has consistently made himself known to our family, it’s through His provision. My wife and I have been married since June of 2005. I was taking a few summer classes before my senior year of college, and Angela was working at a bank in Marion, Iowa. We found out about a month after we got married, that we were expecting our first child. Here we were newlyweds, expecting a child to be born on spring break of my Senior year of college. God continually made himself known to us throughout those nine months of preparing for a baby. He taught us to be faithful to Him and He would provide all of our needs. Throughout the next year, I was able to hold a job and finish school, Angela was even denied short-term disability insurance that pays for maternity leave, but God still met our desires for Angela to be able to stay at home once our son, Abel, was born. God was faithful in meeting all our needs

My wife and I were consistent “tithers” in the church, but at times my heart was not right about it. The Lord has had to do a mighty work in me to show that he was in charge of every aspect of my life, even the finances. Over the last couple of years, my wife and I have had unexpected expenses pop up, but it always seems like we had enough to cover them. From time to time, some larger unexpected expenses would pop, $600 car bill here, new tires there, etc, and “somehow” God always brought in the extra income. There are countless examples in just the past few years alone.

One verse that has brought conviction in my life is the following:

Malachai 3:8-10 – “Will a man rob God? Yet your are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now is this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

Everything that we have is from God; so when we refuse to return to him a part of what he has give, we rob him, plain and simple. This verse hit me hard. Selfishly we reason, but it we could only use those extra dollars every month we could pay off……fill in the blank….

God has really had to do a work in my heart, because I know that my selfishness longs to be in control of things (especially the finances, since I graduated with a degree in finance). The truth is God’s math is different than ours. It doesn’t make sense to us humans with finite minds and with finite resources, how we will have all of our needs met. But the truth is, we serve an infinite God with infinite resources and nothing is impossible for God.

Please note that God’s provision:

  • Does not equal my “wish list”
  • Sometime means sacrifice in our lifestyle
  • Leads to a greater understanding of his character

The Importance of Godly Fellowship

My wife and I met at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. There was one thing that permeated every aspect of the campus: godly fellowship! Like all Christian Liberal Arts schools, Northwestern claimed to have this type of fellowship, but after living there I experienced it first hand.

Reflecting back, its hard to pinpoint exactly what made the fellowship of believers on campus so great. Was it the required chapel, biblical classes, Christian professors, Sunday Night campus praise and worship? Now that I’ve been away from the campus for a while, I think I’m starting to understand. It’s not one aspect or the other, it’s the combination of everything and the relationships and fellowship that follow.

From Wikipedia I found the fellowship information on koinonia. Koinnoia is a Greek word that means “communion by intimate participation”. The essential meaning of the word koinonia embraces concepts conveyed by the English terms community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. Koinonia can therefore refer in some contexts to a jointly contributed gift. The word appears 19 times in most edition of the Greek New Testament. In the New American Standard Bible it is translated “fellowship” twelve times, “sharing” three times, and “participation” and “contribution” twice each.

This godly fellowship does something to foster spiritual growth that no man-derived method of spiritual discipline can ever hope to recreate. I am a small group, “Lighthouse”, leader at First Family Church in Ankeny since last September. During this time, there has been some really neat relationships developed within our group. My wife and I are again feeling that same tight-knit community of believers that reminds us of our days at Northwestern, and that we experienced when living in the Cedar Rapids area. Godly fellowship is such a beautiful thing, and all Christians should strive for it and cherish it.

Acts 2:42 – “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship (Koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Draw near to God…

… and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). The phrase has been ringing through my mind all week. It’s a great promise nestled in the New Testament book of James. Drawing near to God has been on the forefront of my mind for over a week now. Our church has been studying the Character of God as illustrated in the book of Isaiah, and this week we are looking at the Personal Nature of God. I came to the realization that there have been times in my life, where God hasn’t felt very personal. There have been times in my life, where God hasn’t felt very near. But God has taught me that is He is ever faithful and true to his word, and that if I want God to feel personal, to feel near, then I have to follow through on my “end of the deal”. Does Jehovah God say “I will draw near to you so that you will draw near to Me”? No, of course not! God succinctly puts the ball in our court. He desires us to step up to the plate. In effect, he says, “if you want to Me to be near to you, then draw near to Me”. We can have great assurance in the fact that He will be faithful on his end of the deal, because “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).

Todd’s Blog: Drawing Close

The Joys of Marriage

June 4, 2005 was a great day in my life. The joy and love experienced that day are almost inexpressible. That day I married my best friend and love of my life. Today, it’s hard to imagine not being married. Being married has consumed my life, it effects every single aspect of my life. I’ve learned a lot in the almost 3 years of marriage that we have had.

1) Marriage doesn’t allow room for selfishness
2) Marriage requires a lot of work

My wife and I were not naive of the commitment we were making or have any false impressions that married life would be a breeze. But marriage requires something that’s not natural as humans, sacrificing for others. It’s like there is a tradeoff…the more we are willing to sacrifice for one another, the greater the reward in marriage. I just pray that I will be a more sacrificial husband, and model the love that Jesus Christ shows for his church to my wife.

As far requiring a lot of work, it’s easy to let the cares of this world and the day to day things of life (kids, work, church) take hold of your time. When I say that marraige requires a lot of work, I mean that it requires a lot work to set aside the time necessary to have a healthy thriving marriage. Work also requires getting “dirty” sometimes, some discipline, being willing to do things that you may not necessarily life for the benefit of the marriage (similar to corporate work). Lord, give me a heart that desires to “work” at my marriage!

I love you Angela!

Finding Contentment….

What is contentment? Are we supposed to have it? Is there some aspect of discontentment that is healthy? What does it mean to find contentment? These are the thoughts that have been running through my head all day. I think they were spurred on by some conversation with some friends last night about “what really drives me”.

I have found contentment with where God has placed me and what he has me doing. God has given me a good job that I enjoy. He has placed my family in a good home and good church. God has blessed my family financially and met all of our needs. I have found contentment in God’s provision for my family.

But…God puts in me a sort of “godly discontentment”. A discontentment that acknowledges that we are created to be so much more. I never feel completely fulfilled in my job. Since professing Christ as my Lord and Savior my sophomore year in High School, he has put in me a deeper longing that can’t be satisfied in merely human work. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but I think that it stems from the fact that we are spiritual beings designed to worship a spiritual living God!

I think another aspect of discontentment comes from that fact that we live in a sinful world, in a sinful fleshly body. The earth is not the home of Christians, and sin is not our desire. Yet we battle and toil on a daily basis, but ultimately our discontentment should turn us to longing for the second coming of our Lord and Savior.

Here is something that I hang my contentment on:

Romans 10:9-11 – “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be save; for with the heart a person believes, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed”