Tag Archives: Bible

Four Years of Continued Growth

Four years ago today, I made a decision, that while it may seem trivial to some, began to change the course of my life.  I began to make it daily mission to read through the entire Bible.  I started with one of those One Year Bible plans, where you read through a few chapters, OT and NT, each day.  I was 33 years old and felt I needed to finally learn something beyond the standard stories I learned in Sunday School growing up.  It was time to truly get a real sense of God’s Word and learn all that He reveals to us there.

So the mission began.  Morning after morning, I logged into my Samsung phone or tablet, and would read.  Some mornings, I plugged it up in my truck and listened on the ride to the office.  I learned a lot that first time through.  I was able to finally know more of the stories and more of the details, that I did not have a clue about, or heard others talk about without any idea of what they were referring too.

One year later, after that first time through, I decided to do it again.  Like reading any other book, often times, you miss a great deal the first time through.  This time, I learned more and absorbed more.  It seemed like with each day, God had something new to reveal, so I stayed intentional in it.  After that 2nd year, there was a new tug on my heart.  I began to read in a way the 3rd year that allowed me to begin linking OT with NT.  Prophesy to fulfillment, etc.  My eyes began to open more and my heart continued to change as I was seeing the world differently.

I look back on where it all began and it is absolutely amazing to me, to see the continued work that God has done on my heart.  I wasn’t going to listen to the ear ticklers, I was not going to let the wind sway me in one direction or another any longer.  Everything I learned, I wanted to be God revealed whether in His Word or through my heart from the Holy Spirit.  This growth continues too.  I am made new in Christ and the rest of my life will be spent learning more and getting to know God on a deeper and more intimate level.  He desires that intimacy with all of us.

Paul said in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing your mind, so that you may prove that the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  My life has truly been transformed and I strive to live like this each day so that the light of the Lord is shining through me.  This is where continued growth comes in.  I’m not going to get this right everyday.  I know that.  I am at war with my old self and the enemy each day, but I am strengthened with the armor of God each day now.  With each day, we spend in His word, the stronger we become.

Ephesians 4:23-24 says “…Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”  Learning this has been a huge part of my life.  I have a new and authentic self in Christ, now.  Knowing Him, I no longer needed to be ruled by my false self and my old nature.

I share all of this to share this.  Each of us grow, spiritually in different ways.  Even in my own home, my wife and kids grow uniquely in their way.  I try to guide them, but it is up to them in the end.  I challenge you, if you struggle with growth, start somewhere.  Start with just reading the Word.  Learn to be intentional about that.  It may take a while to go through, but do it.  After you read it, read it again.  Then you can began to put the pieces together and start diving deeper and deeper.  My pastor, Tim, challenged me this week on how to now dive even deeper though expository study, and that is where I head next.

It all starts somewhere folks.  Trust me, just starting with taking the time to read, will move you in the right direction.  You have to want to though.  I promise you the work God will begin to do on you will be immense.  It may take time, but the more intentional you get about it, the more He draws you in and the more you will get to know Him and build real intimacy with HIm.  It allowed me with real authenticity to just say to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), “I Love You!”  This is my challenge to you.  Dive in.

In his album ’13 Letters,’ Rapper, Trip Lee has a song called Dig In and the hook says..

Bible, check; spiral, check, highlighter check
Now dig, dig
You want to know Him? Got to dig, dig. You want to know Him? Got to dig, dig

That’s where it begin.  Just start digging.  You will get to know Him more than you could have hoped for and the learning and growth never ends.

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Returning to Your True Father

As I have written about many times, I have been on a long spiritual growth journey these last few years.  It has taken me through ups and downs as I’ve learned more about myself and my calling in life.  A big part of that journey is also dealing with the kind of father I want to be and how the influence of my Dad molded my beliefs and direction.   It all correlates to the how I relate to my family (my wife and kids) and how I am now guided through life.

As I shared last month, my life took a wild turn 4 years ago when I lost my Dad suddenly in a car accident.  I struggled with that for some time as I tried to find answers and a sense of purpose in life now that the one person I thought was invincible and a giant in my life had now been called home and stepped into eternity.  It was all so sudden and how to move from that was quite a challenge.

I then shared with you my spiritual journey from there and how I buried my self in scripture everyday to get my life back in order and regain purpose.  This journey began about 3 years ago and has been amazing.  My walk with the Lord everyday has helped me grown immensely as a man.  I recently finished a book called “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge and now reading his next booked “Fathered by God.”  These readings have helped give me better perspective about my purpose as a man created in God’s image and my real purpose in life.  It has helped me to understand that in life we all have wounds that we have to deal with and learn to accept and overcome.  As a man I am called to live the life of a warrior now for God to stand and fight for His Kingdom and be bold in my beliefs and how I share my testimony with all of you.

As I’ve written before, I recognized that the tragedies that are put in front of us are a part of the plan that God puts before us to help us return to him.  That is how I came to grips with my Dad’s death.  He was called home suddenly, but it was a call to return to God.  It is up to us, however to recognize that calling and then find our way back to Him.

Yesterday while reading “Fathered by God”  I came to another realization about God’s plan and purpose for each of us.  My Dad was an amazing man.  He guided my growth even through times where I was an idiot and his influence helped me through the challenges of my teenage years and early adult years in how I dedicated myself to my family and made sure that I was always there for my wife and children.

When I lost my Dad however, I felt I lost that influence.  Who do I turn to now?  Who can I confide in and seek out for guidance as I continue to grow.  At 35 years old, I’m not close to done growing.  The answer came to is that while I lost my earthly Dad, I now had to turn my true Father.  My creator, my redeemer, and my sustainer.  He is the one that I now had to turn to for my guidance and my continued growth to live my existence in God’s image.  I am still an unfinished man and have a great deal more to go.  My time spent immersing myself in God’s Word has become my time to turn now to my Father for my continued growth.  My Dad, Rocky, brought me a long way, and now God is there bring me the rest of the way.  I turn to God for his guidance, Jesus for his salvation, and the power of Holy Spirit.  That is what I now have to bring me through life and to live out my purpose, fully alive in God.  The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive!

So what does this mean for you, especially you men out there who are wondering through life unsure of yourself or who to turn to.  I can testify that we are ALL meant to turn to our True Father.  He is the one that created us and is the the true end of all things.  Turn to scripture and I promise you that the Word of God WILL bring you a long way.  If you allow yourself to open up to God and the Good News, I promise you that your life will forever change.  He has brought me so far these last few years, since I fully turned to Him.  As I said, I have a long way to go still, but I am so thankful that I still have my Father to turn to.  He will never abandon us and will bring us through any storm we come across in life.  He will give you the strength to battle the evil one and sustain you through.  All we have to do is return to Him.

4 Years in the Whirlwind

I have not taken the time to write as much as I would like these last few months.  A few blog posts here and there, but as often happens to us, life and priorities get in the way.  This morning, however, I felt compelled to make sure I wrote something new.  I’ve mentioned this some in my writing and its definitely something that has taken precedence in my book.  4 years ago today, on October, 13, 2009, my entire family and I were tossed into what I call, the whirlwind.  On that day, we lost my Dad after a terrible rush hour accident that claimed his life and two of his co-workers, with injuries to six more of his co-workers.  It was a day we never imagined would happen and dealing with that tragedy was something we never thought we would have to deal with.  We were forced to come to terms with a lot from dealing with our own struggles of faith in why this happened, to dealing with the person that set this event rolling by an act of stupidity.  It was an emotional roller coaster that still plays out to this day.

In dealing with this tragedy, I have had to come to terms with a lot in my own life.  First, the loss of my Dad in such a tragic way, profoundly scarred me and sent me into a dark shadow for many, many months.  I tried to find my way through my faith, but honestly, it was not strong enough yet.  For some time, I did not think a thing else in life mattered.  If something like this could happen to someone like my Dad, who was a wonderful man of God, and an awesome Father, what was the point of things.  I was not angry at God, but I just did not know what to make of it all.

After the first year or so, I began to refocus my life and worked to really make sense of all of the emotions I’ve had to deal with.  I have a wife and children that depend on me and I knew that I could not spend my life dealing like that.  I began to read more books related to faith and then finally found my way to the Word of God.  I made it a point to read every single day.  I knew that through God’s word I could find the answers I was looking for in life and a way to make sense of all of of the emotions I dealt with from this tragedy.

Through this journey, I have learned the power that forgiveness has.  I’ve learned that despite the anger I have for the one that set this whirlwind in motion, I knew that forgiving was one of the only ways to release that anger.  It freed me from the burden of constantly worrying about this guy and was a huge step to move forward.  From there, I learned to simply surrender to God’s will.  To let him take control of my life and understand that He is in control and has a purpose for everything we deal with in life.

So what of this purpose?  What does it all mean?  Truth be told, my brother, Rob, said it best at my Dad’s funeral when he said that we may never know all of the answers until we go to meet God face-to-face.  I do however think there is a reason that has been revealed now.  We often hear the question of why God allows these terrible things to happen.  The purpose of it all is quite simple actually.  These tragedies are are allowed as they bring us back to God.  Often times people stray away.  I’m know exception, but through tragedy, many times people find there way back to God as they search for their own answers.  This was no exception.  I sometimes think that God looked at Dad, knowing he already had a devoted son, and this was a way to grab the attention of the rest of us.

We all deal with tragedies in different ways.  The bottom-line however is that through any tragedy in life, if we surrender and turn to God and find redemption through Christ, there is nothing we cannot overcome.  Nothing is impossible through Him.  Let Him take control.  We will always go through all of the pain and emotions that come with any tragedy, but know that God loves you through all of that.  He is there with you and waiting for you to turn to Him and I promise you, that you will find the healing and the power you need.  He is so Awesome!  If I did not have Him to turn to, I don’t know were I would be now, 4 years later.  I certainly would not be here writing this.  His love and His healing is so real, if you choose to seek it out, surrender, and let Him take hold of your life.

Thank you for reading.  I am closing today with this little prayer that you can say just help on your own journey.  God Bless you all!

Father, thank you who you are and for continuing to love us everyday.  Help us to love you and love each other more and more each day through all of the events of life. Thank you for the redemption we have through your son Jesus Christ.  Guide us each day as we learn to seek you more and let you take hold of our lives.  In Christ’s name – Amen

Dad and me Christmas 2008

All Things Are Possible With God!!!

Every morning I get up and spend at least a good half hour or so in God’s Word.  I started this habit over a year and half ago and it has been a powerful part of my daily life.  For years I was partially engaged and learned the popular versus out there, but never fully dove into the Word and studied it.  I set my reading each day using a set of reading plans that help to guide me through the Word and better absorb what I am reading so as to not just wander all over each day.  Something struck me today as I was reading and it really showed me how God was at work as I spend time in his Word each day.  I always follow each days reading accordingly and think about and pray about it.  What really hit me today is just how relevant each days reading seemed to be to this very moment in my life and how each encounter I have with His Word or in thinking about God in someway brings to light something new that is so relevant to my daily life.  It could be situations with family, with my work, or any other aspect of life.  It’s quite amazing to see Him this way as each day He gives me something to read that has so much relevance to goings on today.  He may provide answers to questions or He may give me guidance in how to handle particular situations.  This may come as not surprise to some of you, but it was funny how it just hit me that way today.  God reveals Himself through the Word in ways that are always meaningful to us if we take the time to really stop and think about what it is He is showing us.

I came home from the office today and when I walked in, my kids were watching a great movie, “Facing the Giants.”  If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it.  As a part of my daily reading a prayer, I typically will pray for my wife and children and pray that my children will live a life in which they seek God each day.  I was very intent about that prayer these last few days.  My kids are always asking questions about the Bible and take an interest in so many aspects of it.  Again, it may seem so minor, but seeing them so intently engaged in a movie like this that ministers to the heart the way it does, is awesome.  It felt like my prayers for their hearts to seek God were working.  They don’t watch this movie just because it is good.  They are engaged in the message that no matter what faces us in life, all things are possible with God just as Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 and again in Mark 10:27.

It is so awesome the work that the Lord does in our lives.  Everything we encounter in life is because He allowed it to happen.  God can open or close any door He wants to in your life.  Spending time each day intentionally reading and meditating on His Word will help you to see those doors that are opened and close.  God has revealed so much to me each day I spend in the Word.  I am thankful for all that He has shown me each day I spend with Him in reading and prayer.  If you don’t have this as a part of your daily routine, think about making it so.  In there you will find so much relevance to your life.  You may burning questions about any part of life be it in your own faith, the relationships with your family and friends, your work, or your purpose in life.  I promise you, He will reveal Himself in the Word.  Take time each day to read and pray on what He is showing you.  You will find so much clarity in your life and will help you learn to live your life for Him and to glorify Him.  You do that, then all things are possible through God.