God speaks in unexpected ways.

The events of the last few days have really put life into perspective for me.  Our 2 year old daughter was air lifted to Children’s Hospital with a skull fracture and subdural hematoma.  Through the course of everything we were shown how awesome God is, and how blessed we are to have so many people who truly care for us and who are willing to step up when we need them.

A  verse comes to mind:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord  (Jeremiah 29:11-13) 

Perhaps it is through traumatic and life changing events that God gives us a little kick in the pants to remind us that He is still there, still watching over us, and still loving us.  We can’t forget that He has everything taken care of, everything planned, and everything thought out for His glory.

Don’t wait for something spectacular or miraculous to thank God for all that He does in your life.  Don’t wait for others to do something wonderful for you to thank your friends for being who they are and for being there for you.

Take the initiative and go bless someone today!

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Men of God: Joseph

I want to take a look at some of the men in the Bible who were all-in for God.  These men are who you think about when you think of a man of God.  Men like Moses, Joseph, David, and Jesus (ok, so the last one is a bit obvious…).  I want to look at not only what these men did that made them Godly men, but also how they were Godly men despite what they did.

Let’s look first at Joseph.  As the youngest of 10 brothers and the favorite son of his father Joseph was a spoiled little kid.  Just look at his coat, in those days that would be like your dad giving you a Mecedes for your 16th birthday!

Joseph’s arrogance and pride as a young man would be his down fall when his brothers had finally had enough, took his clothes and threw him in a pit (not a good day for anyone!).

This is where I see Joseph’s time as a man of God truly begins.  This is also where we start to see a lesson from Joseph’s life.  Sometimes, even when you feel like you are doing everything right, playing by all the rules; God has another plan for your life that you won’t understand, and that may not seem fair.  From here on out that is pretty much Joseph’s life!  Despite some awful circumstances Joseph makes the best of his situation.

He does the best job that he can for his captor, and Potiphar’s household is blessed because of Joseph.  At this point I am thinking that God will reward Joseph for his positive attitude and hard work.  Does He?  No!  He gets thrown in jail because he won’t sleep with another man’s wife (makes perfect sense…NOT!).

Thrown in jail most of us would give up.  I mean, come on!  He made the right move to not fool around with a married woman right?  A fair and just God would reward him for that, not get him arrested.  Instead God put Joseph in exactly the right place at the right time, even if it was the last place Joseph expected to be.  He became a big shot in the prison, for all intents and purposes he was running the place.  He was perfectly positioned (by God) to interpret the dreams of the cup bearer and the baker, which led to him becoming a trusted confidant of the king.  Going from prisoner to the second most powerful man in Egypt isn’t too shabby!

The thing is he could never have done it if he had given up and walked away from God when things got hard!  We have to always remember that God wants good things for us.  He wants us to prosper and have a good life.  No matter how awful or desperate things seem at the time, God always has a good plan!  That is a truly reassuring thought!

Joseph’s life teaches us that all our actions are important, and all our actions have an affect on those around us.  Joseph’s actions as a young man; an arrogant, spoiled, full of himself young man; caused his brothers to sell him into slavery.  His actions later in his life caused those around him to trust him completely (because wether they knew it or not he had God at his side!) and to give him control of an incredible amount of things (what warden in the world is going to turn the prison over to one of the inmates…it would be suicide!).

I know that I am not the most eloquent and this is just my ramblings, but the take away message is this:  No matter what our situation in life; wether we did something wrong and are in a bad place, or wether we feel like we have done everything right and God is just punishing us for no reason; all we can do it to be humble before God, to thank Him for all that He has done for us, and to do the best we can in whatever situation we find ourselves in.  God always has a plan for us, a good plan, we just have to trust Him enough to follow Him no matter where He takes us!

Something to think about while you work…

Here is a quick thought to get you thinking of higher things while you slave away today.

After the fall of man in the Garden, God told Adam and Eve that now they would have to work, sweat and toil all the days of their life to survive (Gen 3:17-19).  “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thes 3:10) Because we sinned we now have to work hard for what we have.  Before that, God provided everything and all we had to do was enjoy it and enjoy Him.

So now that we have to work, what does God tell us about work?  He tells us that the work we do should not be for the things of the world but for His glory.  Yes, the work we do provides money for us to buy clothes, food, a home, and lots of other stuff.  But the primary responsibility that we have is to work for our heavenly Father, to do His will, and to give Him glory.

“Then they (the disciples) asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’  Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'”

That goes a little above and beyond clocking in everyday just to get a paycheck!  The physical work that we do each day is a byproduct of sin; the real work is believing in and following Christ.

God commands us to do His work and to do it in such a way that others notice that we are working for Him.  “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that you daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

Don’t be one of those people who depend on welfare or some other program to provide for you.  Get up and get to work!  And don’t think for a second that God does not see and know all the work that you do for Him; “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (Heb 6:10)

Have fun at work today!

Is the image of man two sided?

It has been far too long since I posted anything so please bear with me as I work the kinks out!

I feel that there is a strong duplicity in the image of what a man is supposed to be.  The picture of a man that we so often see is one of strength, someone who is not afraid to fight, who is not a sissy.  On the extreme side the image that comes to mind is that of the ultimate fighting competitors.  It seems like the world almost tells you that if you can’t stand in a ring and go toe to toe with someone until one of you is bloody and gives up, you are not a real man.

On the other side is the image of a man that God gives us.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves ith compassion, kindless, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Col 3:12

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

God does not tell us that we have to be a physical bad ass, but that we must act justly and kindly with love and humility.  He does tell us to fight, but not physically (necessarily), spiritually!

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.”  1 Tim 3:11-12

We need to fight for God not by knocking people out, but by knocking out their fears and preconceptions of God so that we can help them find salvation.  Don’t forget that God will alway fight for you if you are following him faithfully (Ex 14:14, Deut 3:22, Neh 4:20).  I’m not saying that if someone was threatening my family I wouldn’t step in physically, but the act of physical fighting and toughness is not what defines us as men.  We are defined by our spiritual strength, our mental toughness to stay focused on God in a world that constantly tries to pull us away, and our devotion to God who fights for us every day.