Tuesday, January 18, 2011

God's Comforting Hands

Gods Hands Pictures, Images and Photos

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

Over the last several years, I have been amazed at the number of times that God has given my family signs of comforting and confirmation when it was needed most.  I feel so honored to have the privilege of serving a God who loves and cares about His people so much that He is willing to do this for us.  I know that signs from God were not uncommon 2000+ years ago and I believe God still provides signs for us today, but many times we are too busy or distracted to recognize them.  How wonderful it is, though, when we do recognize God's signs in our lives.   

One example for my family occurred about 3 years ago.  We were in the midst of the custody battle with my parents over our children (story for another time) and were really feeling beaten down by the whole process.  We knew God was in control and that it would work out fine, but we had been put through the ringer and were just totally worn out.  We were having a particularly hard day so we decided to go out as a family to have some pizza at a local pizza place.  While we were eating we noticed a family at a nearby table kind of looking over at us nervously a few times.  We wondered why , but just ignored it and kept eating.  When they got up to leave, the man walked over kind of sheepishly and said that he had never had anything like this happen before, but he was certain God had told him to pay for our supper.  He placed a $20 bill on the table and then left.  We were so dumbstruck that I'm not even sure we said thank you.  God knew that we needed some encouragement and He used this family to show us that He was right there with us.  What a great encouragement it was!  To this day we get teary when talking about that experience. 

God has blessed us many times with these types of signs.  I am thankful to say that it has happened often enough that we are no longer dumbstruck when it happens, but are usually able to immediately recognize God's hand in the situation and praise Him for the peace that these signs bring.  Recently we made some very big decisions regarding where to live, how to best live out God's principles in our lives, what church to attend, etc.  We have felt peace about it, but for me there had been some lingering doubts about how fast we acted and what loose ends we left behind.  In the last few days all of those loose ends were neatly tied up without me really understanding why or how it happened.  It certainly wasn't through any actions that I undertook.  It was clearly God once again telling me to just follow Him and do as He directs and He will take care of the rest.  I am thankful for the encouraging signs that God sends to reassure his people that we are indeed within His will.  May each of us have the peace that comes with knowing that God alone is directing our paths.

In the Blessed Name of Jesus,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Introduction

As I start this blog, my prayer is that God will use my humble efforts to bring glory and honor to Himself.  I believe it is God's desire for this blog to be an encouragement to men and families who are somewhere along the same narrow, winding road that myself and my family have been journeying.  Our journey has been interesting, glorious, heartbreaking, edifying, eventful, wonderful, difficult, glorious, terrible, uplifting, eye opening and joyous- in no particular order.  Through it all, God has been faithfully watching over us and directing our paths, even when we didn't like the direction He wanted us to take.  He has been there to show us the immeasurable joy that comes from following His direction and also the immense sorrow that can come as a result of doing our own will instead of His.  My personal desire is to be available in service to those who are going through the same types of things.  I hope that by doing so I can help others avoid some of the pitfalls that we encountered and also learn a lot from what other people have gone through. 

As time goes by I hope to fill in the gaps in greater detail around our specific journey, but for now I will start with a brief introduction.  My wife and I grew up worldly, with no concept of what it meant to truly follow God.  When we got married we pretty quickly realized that our lives didn't properly reflect God's plan for His people.  We were Christians and our Southern Baptist beliefs pointed to the fact that we were 'saved" and that should be enough, but that just didn't seem right to us.  We did quite a bit of searching in the Bible to try to discern God's will.  Early on we discovered Paul's teaching on the head covering and attempted to put that into practice, but faced such heavy persecution from "family" and "friends" that we convinced ourselves that everyone must be right and that God was punishing us for attempting to go outside the bounds of "normal" Christianity.  Over time, though, God freed us from the grips of those people, which allowed us to truly follow His direction.  It was a very painful freeing and I plan to post on that in greater detail at some point in the future, but it will have to suffice for now to simply say that God put us in a position where we didn't feel the need to answer to anyone but Him.

Once we were in that position God really began to open up the Bible to us and direct us towards an increased focus on truly living for Him and following His directions for our life.  We truly realized that we needed to take what God was showing us and put it into practice.  This included a greater emphasis on having Christ-like character qualities, modesty, head covering, plainness, separation from the world, etc.  We began to implement what God was teaching us and started experiencing the joy that comes from doing what God says.  We also began feeling God telling us that we shouldn't go at this alone.  We didn't know where He was leading us, but we opened ourselves up to His guiding hand.  Through a chance encounter, we ended up finding out that there was a group of very conservative Mennonites living just outside of a nearby town.  Not only that, but someone who we had just met invited us to attend a fall festival at her house where several of the Mennonite group would be in attendance.  We jumped at the chance and ended up meeting them and receiving an invitation to attend church.  After attending the first time, we felt God telling us that this is where he wanted us to be and that is where we attend today.

There are a TON of details that need to be filled in and I hope to get the opportunity to do so in future postings, but this at least gives you an idea of where we started and where God has lead us today.  We don't believe that we have all, or even most, of the answers.  God is teaching us something new every day and we still have a long way to go and a lot of things left to discern.  It is our sincere desire to grow in our love for Him and knowledge of His plan for our lives every day and at this point that's all we can do.  We trust God to help us work through all of the details and invite you to join in as we continue on this journey.

In the Precious Name of Jesus Christ,