Oct 21, 2011

Wondrous Provision - Take 2

So, don't have a lot of time to write right now, but just want to brag on the Lord again. About a year ago the Lord allowed a car accident that totaled my 92 Civic Si. He then provided us with a 2002 Honda Odyssey through several means (including the settlement from the Civic, a no-interest loan, and the capstone of which was an incredibly generous gift from our church family). A few months ago Michelle's old 92 Corolla (yes, they were both 92's) gave up the fight with a litany of issues including the trans and brake system (for starters). The Lord has once again provided through some wonderful means. First, he allowed us to borrow a vehicle from a dear brother in Christ since then until we picked up our new car. Second, He has given us yet another no-interest loan. Third, we have once again been blessed with a few gifts toward the car. Forth, He provided just the right car through the estate of Michelle's grandfather (took tragedy and brought some good out of it). Finally, He allowed all of the paperwork and details to be worked out and we picked up one of the nicest vehicles I've ever driven! Thus, in the last year, He has just plain-old spoiled us, twice over!

I praise and magnify the Lord for His countless, rich blessings. As I think of and look around the world, Christ spoils us so, so terribly much here in America (with great blessings come great responsibility). We are so amazingly blessed even through material things that in the end, don't matter that much. If our heavenly Father delights in giving us good material gifts, that perish, how much more should we believe Him for the eternal things, the very things that He instructs us to look for?! It is a good reminder and an important spiritual lesson. Jesus, thank you for spoiling us so much, and help us to spoil others in return as that is what pleases you!!!

PS - this is after years and years of having troublesome cars or no car at all. We don't understand His timing, but we know that He is good in the good times and in the bad, which reminds me of one of my fav songs. "As Long As You Are Glorified" by Sovereign Grace Music (http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/albums/category/sovereign_grace_music/come_weary_saints)

Aug 25, 2011

Quick Thought for the Day

When I first started martial arts, I couldn’t wait to get past the basics and get to the “good stuff.” I used to enjoy seeing people’s belt displays and couldn’t wait to get my black belt and have the “complete” belt system. I couldn’t wait to learn what I needed to finish. Since then, I’ve learned there really isn’t anything beyond the basics, you just keep coming back to the same things, the same basics, making them better, and building on them. You put solid basics together and you have growth, but it isn’t anything new, it’s just the basics. At some point along the way I began noticing that many of the people who have a personal belt display don’t have their black belt on it. The reason I found out is that black belt is really just the beginning. Black belt really means that you have learned the basics sufficiently to truly begin the journey of learning the martial arts. It is not the end, the capstone, but rather, the beginning of understanding martial arts. You have never “mastered” or “completed” your training if you are a true martial artist. Thus, you can’t have completed black belt and thus, it is not displayed. The belts on the display represent what it took to learn the basics, to get to the point where you can truly begin learning. Thus, the absence of the black belt is a testimony and reminder that you are still on the journey and that you will never “complete” your training.

So it is in the Spiritual life. So often Christians (especially younger Christians) seek after the fantastic, the amazing, the exciting things. They want to know all the “secret” things, the things that no one else knows. They want to know what the Bible “really” says. And, so often, they chase after these things for the things themselves, believing that these are the mark of maturity and having “arrived.” For example, they go to sections that speak of the end times / apocalypse, or read something like the Da Vinci Code that claims to give “hidden meaning” and so on. Or they think, I need to read the whole Bible and then I’ll have mastered it or know all I need to or I need to read or pray like so and so and then I’ll have arrived. Then, they start walking in the Christian life pursuing those things (totally missing the mark, btw) and they get frustrated because they haven’t “arrived” yet. What they (we) often miss, is that just like in the example of the belt system above, we are on a journey where we are seeking to become more like Christ. The things that we do are the basics, such as praying, reading, trusting the Lord, delighting in Him above all else and putting Him first, etc. These are the basic things that we need to learn. So often we speak, talk, or live as if we need to get past these things to be “mature.” Yet, as in the example above, these are the things that we are constantly having to “re-learn” and that we keep coming back to time and time again. The thing is, that truly is the journey and those are the basics, that’s where growth is. It’s not in anything secret or fancy, just in the basics and building from there. As long as we’re on this earth, we will never “arrive” in that sense. The very notion of “arriving” is as nonsensical as thinking that earning a black belt means you have “finished” in the martial arts.