July 14, 2008 was a difficult day for our family. We lost a child to miscarriage. Though God certainly sustained us through the trial and has given great hope of this goodness through the trial. While, I have not frequently written about the topic, it is certainly one that we are reminded of consistently. Even though miscarriage is commonly a hush hush subject, the hurt is real because the life was real. My wife and I know a lot of people who have endured or are enduring much more severe trials that either of us have endured in our lives. Many people, myself formerly included, simply do not know the best way to respond to situations like this. The truth is, the response to these situations never change, for God alone can sustain and heal the broken hearted. There are many beautiful promises written in God’s love letter to mankind, but do we believe them in the midst of trial? I mean do we REALLY believe them, or are we just giving lip service to them?
Today, two years later, the loss still hurts, but there is no victory for death for it holds no sting. Praise God for his giving of new life and for life eternal.
The year 2010! Incredible! My life has now spanned parts of four decades!
I love the beginning of the year (except for the fact that it is 14 below zero as I sit down to start writing this blog). I would say that more than I love the beginning of the year, I love new beginnings. I love that daily I am offered the ability to start fresh and a new with God. I know that in Christ I have received forgiveness for my sins and that he offers new mercies each day. I can take it “day by day” for God provides enough grace for the situation at hand.
While I am still fine tuning some of my personal spiritual goals for this upcoming year. I am confident of one thing: the God I serve is bigger than any of the problems or situations that I may face this upcoming year. During the past year, God has certainly made provision for my family, in what should simply be considered “miraculous ways”. God Bless your 2010! Serve God with all your heart, soul, and mind!
Please pray for Tommy and Amber Flinn and their baby boy Miles Lawton Flinn. Miles was born late Thursday evening and has been having difficulties breathing. Please pray for God’s merciful healing on this baby’s life! Tommy and Amber are believers who trust God, but they need the peace of God to transcend every aspect of this trial.
“And they implored Him (Jesus) that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured” ~ Matthew 14:36
Let us enter the throne room with bold, confidence before our Lord that we might implore Jesus on behalf of Miles!
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:14-16
The Lord has laid these scriptures on my heart. They are such powerful words tucked away in the New Testament waiting to be read aloud (maybe even shouted) with great passion. I am just in awe of how wonderful and merciful of a high priest we have! Jesus knows what temptation feels like, he knows the weakness of mortal flesh, and for that very reason we can call on his name when in the midst of suffering and trials. We can draw near to the throne of grace because we have unique access to a holy and just God. We have access to draw near to God, going past the outer courts and into the holy place, because of the blood of Jesus which accomplishes what the blood of bulls and goats could never do (Hebrews 9:12-14, Hebrews 10:4). Jesus is the ultimate atoning sacrifice for our sins! And just what does he promise…that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need! Admittedly, we are needy people, thankfully we have a God who can handle that!
My family and I were able to enjoy a little rest and relaxation this past weekend, as we extended a business trip of mine a few extra days for a mini-vacation. It was nice to have a little break from the normal routine.
On the trip I was simply reminded of God’s goodness to me and my family. Especially as the weeks close in on my wife’s due date, I am extremely grateful for the Lord’s blessing and provision for my family. The Lord continually meets all of our needs.
I just pray that I will continually see the blessing of the Lord as simply the “blessing of the Lord” and not something that I earn or deserve.
Proverbs 10:22 – “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.”
It’s easier to preach about God’s sovereignty than to have to rely fully upon it. Yet that is where my wife and I find ourselves. See her post. Even though His sovereignty is easier to preach about than rely upon, my wife and I have taken great comfort in the knowledge that God is in control of this situation and this situation did not take Him by surprise. He has given us much comfort, grace, and peace to deal with this situation no matter what the outcome may be. I am so grateful to serve a God who cares about our everyday needs and gives a greater grace for those in need.
With the recent flooding and destructive tornados in Central & Eastern Iowa, I thought it would be an appropriate topic for a post.
I have always been fascinated by the weather…
…I remember as a young child standing at the front door of my family’s old farm house with my Dad watching the storms roll in accross the corn or soybean fields from the west.
…I remember being part of a TAG class in middle school where I was able to do an independent research project, and I chose to do it on the weather. I spent a couple months, or however long the class was, researching different aspects of the weather. I distinctly remember just how unpredictable the weather patterns seemed to be: droughts, floods, thunderstorms, hail, tornados, blizzards. I mean sure the weathermen/women are able to use their forecast models to get an estimate of what the storms may do, but they always seems to fall back on the “unpredictability of mother nature”.
I am not a fan of the term “mother nature”, even though it’s a phrase I find myself using every once in a while. I feel like it’s the world’s way of trying to eliminate the thought of an almighty, creator God who is in control of the universe. I take great comfort in the knowledge that we have an omnipotent, omniscient God who is concerned about the daily affairs of men and women.
God, in his sovereignty, was not surprised or confused about the flooding or devastating tornados that have hit Central & Eastern Iowa. I am thankful that God often uses things that look destined for destruction and despair to bring real hope and real life into the lives of people throughout this earth. May God work mightily in the lives of people who have been affected by the storms. May He bring about grace and hope in their lives!
My wife and I have been recently reflecting on the concept of storing up treasures here on earth, and she eloquently beat me to blogging about it, but I feel the need to add some of my own thoughts…
The preacher at my wife’s grandfather’s funeral, reminded us to hold on to things loosely here on earth, because you can’t take any of it with you. This was not some earth shattering teaching that I hadn’t heard before, or something that I really felt I had a problem with. But upon further reflection, I have been taken back to the beginning of our marriage and it’s humble beginnings…
In June 2005 we were married. I was going into my senior year of college and a full-time internship at AEGON. My wife worked at Farmers State Bank as a personal banker. We rented a small two bedroom apartment, but it was enough. We didn’t have a lot of stuff nor did we need a lot of stuff. Three plus years and two kids later with a third on the way, we are starting to collect a lot of stuff. Not that “stuff” in itself is bad, it’s the worldly aspirations to store up treasures on this earth that is bad.
Would I like to drive a newer vehicle? Have a faster computer and laptop? bigger garage (to store “stuff”)? finished basement? fenced in lawn? snowblower? etc, etc… of course I would. I would like to have all that “stuff”, not because I need it, nor because I feel like it’s some status symbol, but because they would all make my life more convenient.
But what is at the root of wanting a more convenient life…
God has used the words of a humble preacher in Southwest Nebraska to kick me in the behind and to remind me to stop finding contentment and convenience in the things of this world, realizing that I will not be towing a U-Haul with me when I pass on. Praise God for his simple lessons that he teaches us in this life to bring about change and more godly living.
This past Sunday at First Family Church, Pastor Todd finished preaching through the book of Isaiah, with sermon title “Released”. It was incredibly insightful. Here’s the link to the audio: “Released”
We had just finished a 5+ month series through the book of Isaiah and the character traits of God where we, as a church body, have been challenged to be “Captured by His Character”. We were challenged on week one of the series to drop our preconceived notions and biased versions of God and develop a biblical view of God.
We look at many different character traits: Holy, Judicial, Redeeming, Sovereign, Chastening, Restorative, Loving, Transcendent, Responsive, Exclusive, Faithful, Personal, Truthful, and Victorious.
God has been pressing on my heart that my understanding of God, should change someone’s life. Pastor Todd wrapped up his Series with a summary statement, that “Gods attributes release me to action”.
Oh…if I could just live every moment of every day as thought I truly believe He is who He says He is! What a holy spirit empowered life I would be able to live!
The Lord has really been laying it upon my heart to strive to have deep roots of sound doctrine in my life. He has been teaching me the importance of guarding the truth and selling it not (Proverbs 23:23).
I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the ineffectiveness of the American church in reaching and saving the lost, is because we don’t truly understand who God is. When referring to the American Church, I am referring to American church that for the most part is ineffective and resembles the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3. The church today, doesn’t have a proper understanding of God’s character. Which is why I am so greatful for our church’s latest sermon series on the character traits of God. It has spurred me on to realize that it’s everyone in the church’s responsiblility to know and hold forth sound doctrine. It is important because God’s character is on the line. We should all strive to have the qualification necessary for elders in Titus 1:9 – “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
The bible is very clear in its exhortation to hold forth sound doctrine and refute those who contradict, but the American church has become passive, not wanting to offend. I believe that revival in the American church is going to start with sound doctrine, with the willingness to refute the blatent contradictions that are creeping their way into the doctrine of former bible believing institutions. Why are we surprised this is happening? The bible clearly warns against the infiltration of false teachers and deceivers. Satan fully understands that if he can remove the effectiveness of the “salt of the earth” (Christians), then he will have success in the short term.
Take your stand on the truth of the gospel, and guard the truth of God against those who wish to pervert it!