Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walk on the Water

Matthew 14:26-33- 26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." 28Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

Whether circumstances in life are going good or we are in the midst of trials Jesus wants us to focus on Him. Especially during the trials and tribulations. Peter said command me to come to you and while everything was calm Peter had no problem walking on the water to Jesus because he was focused on Him. When the storm came upon Peter he began to take his eyes off of Jesus and started focusing on his situation, and his circumstance. Then immediately he started to sink. 
So many times in my own life I tend to take my eyes off of Jesus during trials especially the one I am going through right now. When I do that, when I focus on the tragedy or the circumstances in life I lose sight of Jesus and I begin to sink right down into the pit of despair. The beauty in this text is that Jesus knows we are going to do that and when we cry out to Him to save us from the hell we are putting ourself through He is faithful to take us by the hand and pull us up. 
This won't happen with out a little scolding; "O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?" We doubt because we take our eyes off of Jesus. There is nothing the nearness of Christ can't overcome, but when we focus on our problems instead of Christ our problems overtake us. In verse 32 the wind stopped when Peter refocused and realized who was in control. 
Why must we continually focus on Jesus? Well verse 33 says that all who were in the boat saw and worshipped Jesus. Our dependance on Christ allows His life to live through us and others will see that, especially in our trials, and will worship Jesus Christ. 

Friday, May 01, 2009

Sorry I haven't written in awhile. i have been very busy,t hen there are the days
that we do nothing but sit around and can't do anything. Two weekends ago Dylan Jolley and Blake Oliver came to visit us and those two cool dudes, Greyson and I went to Greenville, NC to see ECU Pirates play Baseball. We had a blast. Made alot of memories. Gotta lot of stories to tell from that trip. 
Then this past Sunday through Tuesday Thumper Lyles, Ub Comer and Blaine Lowry came to visit. Oh how we love for people to visit us. We had such an amazing time with Dylan and Blake, then another amazing time with Thump, Ub And Blaine especially the board meetings. ha    

Since I wrote last God has kept me in Jeremiah 17, I read this to Gina last Monday 
and we are still still in this text today. Some text are good to stay in and meditate on. This is definitely one of those text for me.

5"Thus says the LORD:  
Cursed is the man who trusts in man 
and makes flesh his strength,           
Whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.

7"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, 
whose trust is the LORD.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,                                                      
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, 
for it does not cease to bear fruit."

                                                                      Amazing. Oh how many times i try to make my flesh my  strength.
I cry out to God to be my strength and then in no time i am leaning on my own understanding and making my flesh my strength. Oh me of little faith.  God is so good but I always get in the way and when I do God says I am cursed. When I am focused on my circumstances and my trials I am turning my heart away from God and I am like a shrub in the desert that will see nothing good .This kind of living isn't living at all. This kind of living will keep me in the wilderness. I will become sidetracked in the wilderness. Thank God He gives us an alternative. Verse 7 tells us that we can be blessed if we trust in the Lord. That all sounds great but to trust in God we must take up our cross and deny ourself and there in lies the problem. We lean on our own understanding of our circumstances and trial as and tribulations instead of surrendering all our cares to God and casting them upon Him. Verse 8 describes this blessed man; he is a man with deep roots as with a tree planted by a stream. No matter what comes his way he can withstand the heat because he trust the Lord. His leaves remain green during tough times, they don't draw back and wither away. There have been many  days where i felt like drawing up and withering since Brandon's been gone but God gently guides my thoughts back to Him and I can feel the fear
from my circumstances fade away. Not only does God tell us that our roots will be deep and our leaves green when we trust in the Lord, but we will continue to bear fruit during a drought and not be anxious. WOW. We have had a year of drought. We lost our baby Caleb Nathaniel in September due to a miscarriage in the 4th month, then Brandon six months later. I have to ask myself, "How is my fruit during this year of drought?" It is very easy to dry up and wither away if I focus on my drought but when my focus is on Christ my drought seems to fade in comparison to His marvelous light. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Faith of a Child

We are so excited that Graham came to us a few days ago and said "I want to become a Christian." "I want to ask Jesus into my heart." We were blown away. We had not ever specifically talked to Graham about becoming a Christian. But God 
was working in his heart. It seems we just get in the way alot of times when God is at work. Sure we talk about Jesus and Graham knows we have Jesus in our hearts,knewBrandon he Jesus in his heart but we have never addressed becoming a Christian. This was a God thing. Graham is very expressive, and after he told us that we talked about the importance of what he wanted to do and he left the room. Gina and I looked at each other and thought oh well maybe he's just too young or does he really understand what he is doing. A few minutes later he returned to tell us that he had gone to his room and prayed and asked Jesus to come into his heart. We prayed with him and explained the importance of what he had done. Unbelievable! God is so good. . It's not what we do its what God does. Thank you God for calling our/your precious son to yourself!! 
Mark 10:15 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." Matthew 18:3 "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Luke18:17 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
Today Gina and I were in our room discussing things like "why" and "if only" and questions that really do us no good. While we were talking Graham was jumping on our bed. All of the sudden he asked me how I knew Brandon died when I came out of the store? The store where we stopped to get gas on the way to Spartanburg. That was where Mimi called me and confirmed my nightmare after her and momma found out. Immediately after I answered Graham he asked me if I would buy him some batting gloves for baseball. Gina and I looked at each other and smiled. Graham in all his innocence wasn't worried or upset. Gina said if we only had the faith and innocence of a child. Right when Gina finished saying that Graham said, "I'm gonna see Brandon again." I said where are you gonna see him and Graham answered, "in Heaven." Then he went on about his busy playing. WOW. I was focused on the "why's" and the questions that I will not get answers to this side of Heaven, focused on myself and my pain and there Graham is being an example by just knowing he will see Brandon again, trusting God, and resting in Christ. Become like a child. Knowledge comes from the Lord, not from man. Wisdom comes from the Lord, not from man. All we usually do is get in the way being worried about ourselves, instead of letting God work in us, and through us. This is not to say that we will not experience pain and heartache, which we are, but that if we set our minds on things above and not on things below our pain will not seem quite as bad. If you have ever seen a needlepoint when you look at the bottom of it all you see is a mess; thread everywhere going all different directions, knots, just a mess. That is the part of God's plan we see and understand. When you see the top of the needlepoint it is amazing, a beautiful masterpiece. That is the side God's sees and orchestrates. He knows what is best even when we don't understand, and its not till we get to Heaven and see the top of the needlepoint that we will see and come to a better understanding. Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails

Monday, April 20, 2009

I started this post last Friday the 17th but I was not able to finish.  

It is now Monday the The 20th and I am attempting to finish.  I had to 

stop Friday just because I couldn’t write anymore. Friday was such 

a hard day. One month since Brandon’s been gone and it feels like 

forever yet at the same time it feels like just yesterday. What I wrote 

on Friday will be in italic, the rest is from today. 

2 Cor. 4:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing 

greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

 8we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, 

but not despairing; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down,

but not destroyed; 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,

so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11For we 

who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake,

so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

12So death works in us, but life in you. 13But having the same spirit 

of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE 

I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14knowing that 

He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and 

will present us with you. 15For all things are for your sakes, so 

that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may 

cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 

As this day began I prayed and told Jesus that He was welcome here, 

in my life, and in my heart. Not that Jesus is not already in my heart but I 

wanted Him to know that I welcome Him and that I need Him to 

be with me. What an incredibly hard day. One month ago today I woke 

up to the terrifying screams of my mom on the phone telling me that 

Brandon had been in an accident and it wasn’t good. She was inconsolable 

and we were four hours away. The ride to Spartanburg was the longest 

ride of my life after finding out that Brandon was gone. Only by the grace 

of God did we make it, Gina was driving and doesn’t even remember 

the trip; other than the pain that we all were feeling. This day, the 17th 

 will always be hard not that every other day for the rest of our life won’t 

be hard but these just alittle harder. That’s when our dependence on the 

Lord has to be that much more. 

I am still in 2 Corinthians today. God gave me great hope through verses 7-15. 

right from the beginning of these verses we see that we are feeble and weak, 

BUT God is strong. We are weak, in earthen vessels so the greatness of God’s 

Power can be revealed. We have the treasure of God’s power being revealed 

through us, not we may get, or I wish I had but we have.  

Verse 7 uses the term “earthen vessels.”  Why would someone put a 

special treasure in an earthen vessel or clay pot? This treasure is in 

such weak, feeble, worthless vessel so the of power can be of God. 

I am so weak. I can’t even put one footin front of the other without 

God doing it through me. I can’t even put thoughts together other 

than “Jesus” and  “Brandon,” and “why.” But I know that in my 

weakness He is strong, and His grace is sufficient for me, His strength is made 

perfect in weakness. Well I am weak, completely broken. God be my strength. 

Verses 8-9 show us that God’s power is shown through our trials. Paul uses four 

vivid metaphors right off the military battlefield or out of the arena of a gladiator. 

The first part of each phrase is describing our hardships in our earthen vessel. 

The second part is describing God’s power revealed through our trials. First we 

see that we are afflicted, or hard pressed on every side. The weight of the world 

is coming down on us, we are being pressed like grapes by our circumstances yet 

we are never crushed. Next, we are perplexed. This word means to be at a loss, 

in doubt or uncertain. There are circumstances, trials, and tragedies such as the 

one I am going through that we don’t understand and leave us at a loss. The 

second part of this phrase though is our hope, and it says that we are not in despair. 

Despair means to lose all hope. In my weakness I would be crushed and I would 

lose all hope but thank God in my weakness His divine power shines through. 

Paul also mentions persecuted but not forsaken and struck down but not destroyed. 

I mainly wanted to focus on the first two. 

We are handed over to death for Jesus’ sake. This death is physical and spiritual. 

Brandon died to himself so that Christ would be manifest through him and He was. 

Brandon also died physically, not as a martyr but as a servant of God. People’s lives 

have been changed because of Brandon’s death. Salvation decisions have been made, 

not because of anything Brandon did but because he was handed over to death for 

Jesus’ sake, so His life could be manifested through him. Our lives should carry 

around the same death of Jesus so His life can be seen through us. Is Jesus 

being raised up through our sufferings? Whether dying is physical or dying is 

spiritual, as in denying yourself daily, are we exalting Christ in our death?  

Verses 13-15 show us that God’s power can be revealed through our hope. We endure 

death because of our hope in the risen Savior. Followers of Christ share a common 

hope; that Christ has risen from the dead. In this lays our hope, Christ’s resurrection. 

Our hope is grounded in certainty of the final outcome, our resurrection, Brandon’s 

resurrection, after death, based on Christ’s resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection is our 

assurance that one day we would also be raised up and presented faultless before 

God. Our hope, being left here full of lose is that one day we will see Brandon 

again. We have that assurance. We know Brandon is spending eternity with God, 

with no more fears, no more tears, no more regrets, no more wishes, just the 

satisfaction of experiencing the glory of God. The trumpet will sound, and the 

dead will be raised incorruptible. As we go and speak about Life to people, 

we speak because of the hope we have through Christ. Brandon’s life is a testimony 

to God’s power being shown through death.  At the end of this section of Scripture 

we see that all this, the suffering, the death, the pain, the trials are given to us so 

that the power of God will be revealed through us and the grace of God will spread 

and God will receive thanksgiving and glory. 

This has been a powerful text to meditate on. I need hope right now and I am 

definitely weak, having trouble just getting through the day. God’s power is 

being revealed through Brandon’s death and my weakness. Praise God.