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Purpose Salvation Uncategorized

Perseverance

As I sit here writing this, I feel it very important to tell you that I do not write posts in bulk and schedule the posting weeks in advance.  I want to be intentional with what I share with you, and this topic was next on my heart to share.  I was also surprised when sitting in church on Sunday, as it was the title of the sermon.  It is amazing how God validates and guides the choices we make at times.

I wanted to address the topic of perseverance, as I feel that this is one that I need daily reminders in regards to God’s Promises to us. How do we, as mere mortals thrive on an earth that is far from perfect?  A world that has stresses in so many areas?  The troubles in relationships, with finances, health issues, among many others can be paralyzing at times.  How is it that we can keep ourselves moving forward?  In short, we cannot do this on our own.  In John 6:40, a very clear promise is made.  It says, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will rise him up on the last day.”(ESV)  Why should this bring us comfort during times of uncertainty and stress?

I would like to use a movie analogy to explain my sophomoric understanding of God’s Word, and how I see it in relation to my life.  As we watch suspenseful movies, many of us sit on the edge of our seats in the anticipation of the next happening.  Many times we are on “pins and needles” until the credits start rolling.  I have also seen many movies that are just as suspenseful and action packed, but a well-intentioned friend has let the ending slip prior to my viewing. (This could also be due to the fact that I generally wait for it to come out on DVD).  I find myself not nearly as “on edge” in those situations.  If we know the ending, why spend time stressing ourselves out?  It only serves to move our focus from Him, thus moving us away from His Will.

In coming back to the topic of perseverance, this should allow us to focus on His Will on a daily basis.  This should allow us to remain sharp in our focus on the “last day.”  It does not mean that it will be easy, it does not mean it will always be painless, but it does mean that it will be worth it.  Our biggest decision in life will not be financial, nor will it be related to health decisions.  Perseverance comes down to our commitment to the decision that we make to invite Jesus in and follow Him.  If you would like to discuss anything related to this, please feel free to contact me.  I look forward to meeting you at this same place tomorrow!

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Purpose

Uncertainty

Uncertainty…anxiety…the word that plagues us most…worry…

These are common feelings for every person, but I think that I cornered the market on worry prior to 2014.  What would I worry about?  I worried in any situation in which the outcome was not 100% certain.  In other words, I worried about everything.  Would this light turn green?  Would I lose my job today?  Would my wife realize that she married a moron? Would my future child love me?  I may be exaggerating, but only slightly.  This type of worry consumed me, even when it was completely unwarranted.  This is the go to play from the enemies playbook. If you focus on everything that can go wrong, it removes your focus.  It adds fear, and fear can paralyze you.  The interesting thing is, 99.9% of my fears would probably never come true (except for the green light, it always stays red for me).

God has interesting ways of showing us His Grace, His Mercy, and His Power.  The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is one that I found ironic, fitting, and in His Plan.  It does not have the same effect on any two people.  It is one of the most unpredictable diseases that you can experience, and you never know what the next hour may hold for you.  What a humbling experience for someone who thought he was in control of his own life. I was so consumed by fear, but I found something very interesting.  It is said that the best way to conquer a fear is to face it.  I had no choice but to face this fear, and I found that the only way to do that was to turn to Him for everything.  As much as I had been living in turmoil prior to June 24, 2014, I found that it faded very quickly as I turned to God in a sincere, broken manner for the first time in my life.  I had always been concerned with what people thought, or how I looked.  How would I deal with walking with a limp, with crutches, or possibly being in a wheelchair? I remember the night that God very clearly told me that those things didn’t matter, and that through Him I would always be the most confident person in the room.  In saying that, I don’t mean the confident (sometimes cocky) person that I externally portrayed before.  I mean the kind of confidence that can only come through God.  It doesn’t make sense, from society’s way of thinking.  I can’t count the number of times that I have been asked if I would like them to hold my crutches while I have a picture taken.  At first, I would hesitate and say “sure.” Now I look at it as this is His Plan.  This is who God made me to be.  You don’t get rid of your legs for a picture, so neither will I.

This is the greatest gift that I have ever been given.  I thank God everyday (yes, there are frustrations) that He has trusted me with this part of His Plan.  I was speaking with 7 or 8 close friends who are strong men of God.  We were talking about our greatest fears.  As surprised as they were, I was even more surprised when I said that my greatest fear was to wake up the next day and be completely healed.  After the surprised looks, I explained it by comparing it to seeing a policeman’s blue lights in my rearview mirror.  You see the police car’s lights, and you begin making promises of reading your Bible from cover to cover.  The police officer gives you a warning, and you speed off while forgetting the promises you made.  This disease is God’s reminder that I have to turn to Him to provide strength for my day.  It is also His Promise that He will.  God’s Plan very rarely looks like ours, but it is so much greater than anything that we could imagine.  I have to remind myself of this everyday, and I don’t even wish to pretend that it is easy.  The peace doesn’t come from knowing that I could lose all ability to walk, but it comes from knowing that if I do, it is in His Plan.  I look forward to sharing that Plan with you as He reveals more of it in His Perfect Timing…

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Uncategorized

Once someone is diagnosed with a disease…God would not require anything else…right?

The first question that I received after my diagnosis was…”So, you are going to quit working, right?”

I almost had to sit down after that was repeated 20 times over a week.  Why would I need to stop my life?  Was it because I was slower in how I moved?  Was it because of the crutches that I used?  Was it because of the “blue tag” sitting in my center console, which evidently is the automobile equivalent to a “scarlet letter” emblazoned upon my clothing?  Had I changed as a person?  Had my work ethic changed?  Was my sense of purpose being threatened? Was God surprised by this, and therefore done with His Plan for my life?

To understand this question, one must understand perspective.  Many times you may hear someone say, “I don’t know how they are doing that with everything that is going on in their life.”  If you step back to analyze that comment, everyone has something going on in their life, but their perspective changes around those experiences. I was in a conversation with a friend one day when he said, “you only have two choices, STOP or GO. You made the right choice and have the right outlook.”

I reflected on that statement as we continued to talk, and then it hit me.  I didn’t think that I fell into either one of these options.  While you can always STOP on your own, to GO is not always a choice we control.  Control is what we desire, and it is one of our biggest pitfalls.  To lose control is scary, but it can be the most positive spiritual happening in our life.  God always wants us to TURN to Him, and sometimes He makes that our only choice.  As I shared that with my friend, I let him know that God is the only thing that makes my life possible.  Yes, physical things are now harder, but life seems easier.  It doesn’t make sense from an earthly standpoint, but I look forward to sharing with you the ways that He does this for me…

 

 

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Purpose

God’s Way of getting my attention

I was a Christian…I think…I grew up in church…my earthly father is in full-time ministry, so that had to solidify it.  I was always a “good” person. I didn’t have any dark secrets in my past, or a huge turnaround to spark this earth shattering testimony…what could God possibly use me to do?

This is a dangerous trap that many of us fall into in our everyday life.  While we all have problems, most that will be reading this on a computer screen do not have to worry about where they will find clean drinking water today.  For crying out loud, the water in our toilets is cleaner than people in many areas could imagine.  Problems are all in our perspective.  Clarity can come in many different forms, but almost always involves a change of perspective.

I was a person who could have been described as many things, but if I had to nail it down to one descriptive phrase…”worrying control freak” would sum it up.  I worried about two health-related issues for a few years.  My doctor had mentioned that he almost tested for multiple sclerosis before we diagnosed it as a compression issue in my spinal column.  I had also had an eye doctor mention that I was at a higher risk for a detached retina because I was near sighted in one eye.  Although the chances of either were minuscule, I let those creep in to the back of my mind at the weirdest times.  It was ridiculous, because I was a former college athlete with a Master’s degree in Exercise Science.  I ran 5-20 miles at a time…for fun.  I knew that these were not anything to worry about.  I mean, I didn’t worry about winning the lottery. My chances were about the same.

Fast forward to June of 2014…I went to the doctor because I thought I had gotten whiplash from a rollercoaster that I had ridden at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. We decided to do a full MRI, and I knew what they were looking for when they added one for the brain.  I knew enough about my history to be fairly confident of the outcome.  As I expected, one of my biggest worries came to fruition with the outcome…Multiple Sclerosis!  As the next week flew by, I had been poked and prodded more than I could have ever imagined. I went in for a routine eye appointment one week later, which was standard protocol before they started my medication.  The exam ended with a surprise…”You have the best optic nerves for anyone that I have seen with MS!”…followed by frantic typing…”but we have to get you to the retina specialist immediately…you have a detached retina.” That was the last thing I remember before the sobering sight of a huge needle coming towards my eye.

My worst two fears came true within a two week period, and I was surprised by the thought that came to my mind during that time.  All I could think was, “What is there left to be scared of now?”  I look forward to sharing with you what I have learned over the last two and a half years, along with how God reveals himself to me everyday.  I have had many people ask me why I am so joyful, and I look forward to sharing that with you daily…

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Purpose

What is a warrior?

What defines someone as a warrior? Affinity for Violence? Physical Strength? Emotional Strength? Superior Intelligence? Or is it just the willingness to do what is needed to carry out the purpose one has been commanded to accomplish? Many different ideals and ideas will result in people considering themselves warriors. Many of these “warriors” will claim victory in the battle, but few will realize the victory in the end.  What good is physical strength or superior intelligence against the dark ways of our spiritual enemies? Only the armor of God will persevere through the battles waged in spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:13

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Join me on my journey…God has blessed me with the unique opportunity to reach out to those who are going through battles (i.e. everyone), whether they be visible/public or invisible/private.  He has shaped me more since 2014 than I could have ever imagined.  The posts will be a raw look at what God teaches me daily, not a journal of my illness.

p.s. I purchased this domain in October of 2014, without fully understanding why I did it.  In that time, I randomly began getting requests to speak in various settings.  God began to clearly show me the path that He would have me go with this, although only a piece at a time.  If there are ever any questions, requests, or things that I can answer, please contact me.