Posts Tagged ‘God’

Where?

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Where?

One of the things I enjoy most about living in Colorado is being so close to the mountains and great hiking trails.  Often, when we hike, my children enjoy it when we go “off trail”.  It’s adventurous to delve into an unknown section of the mountain and forge a path that is not exactly like anyone else’s.  However, in doing so, there are greater risks involved.  There is the possibility of getting lost; being caught in a briar patch; slipping and falling off a cliff; or becoming stuck in a ravine.  Sometimes, you have to turn around and backtrack in order to find your way through.

Though my wife would probably disagree, I always think the rewards far outweigh the risks.  My kids love the adventure.  They enjoy being part of choosing our direction and creating a new experience.  Sometimes we make up stories about fictional creatures that might live in the mountains.  We use the unique trees and protruding rock formations and streams as points of interest in a story that is not just being told, but is being lived. All in all in, it is quite fun.  UNTIL…

Do you remember growing up and hearing your mother say things like… “It’s all fun and games until someone get’s an eye poked out?  Or  “until someone get’s hurt.”

Well, it happened!  Not the poking of an eye…but, the getting hurt part.  While we were hiking off trail down a ravine, one of our children – I won’t mention who (She is the oldest…female…getting married) – slipped and fell.  Sat right on a cactus…OUCH!  And, while trying to break her fall, she put her hand right on the cactus.  It looked like a pin cushion!

At this point, the adventure switched gears and became a rescue mission in which we attempted to hike over a frozen stream and up a ravine while assisting our wounded team member with the throbbing hand and porcupine buttocks.

The younger children began to make up new stories about a creature named CACTUSBUTT.  The wounded team member was not amused!

She survived and we discovered that the best way to remove cactus needles is Elmer’s glue! (thank you Donovan, Google and smart phones for that discovery).

Even with the risk, I love adventures. And I love the parallels I find in real life.

Life is full of the unknown.  It is full of risks. And everyone approaches life differently.  Some attempt to play it safe and only journey on well –lit paths where many have traveled.  Others only go where no man has gone before. Some make it up as they go along.  Others attempt to prepare for every obstacle and schedule out their travels to the minute.

I would say that I’m somewhere in the middle.  I enjoy studying the trails and history left by those who have gone before me. And yet, I still like to risk it all and venture off where others have feared to go. Either way, even with careful planning, life events have a way of catapulting us into the unknown.

Maybe it’s supposed to be that way.

Maybe that’s the only way that God can get us to relinquish our desire to control our lives and truly trust Him.

Proverbs 16:9 Says:

The mind of man plans his way,

But the Lord directs His steps.

In recent years, a lot has happened in our lives that I have wanted to control; I have wanted to change. The path has been rocky; new, full of the unknown.  And while I embrace the adventure, in the midst of it all, I truly just want to go where God wants us to go and lead my family into the adventure He has for us.

However, as much as I plan… sometimes I get it wrong.  Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going or what the next step is.  Sometimes, I have to humble myself and ask for help.  I need directions.  I need to say I was wrong.

In times like that, I’m so thankful that no matter what, even when we get it wrong, there is a God that loves us and is directing our steps!!

He is directing the adventure and going ahead of us forging the trail that even our best-laid plans could not create!

His direction is always more powerful than our plans. Out of love, He directs us to our ultimate destination.

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If I Ruled the World!

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Life
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Have you ever sat and daydreamed about what you would do, if you ruled the world. I mean… really ruled the world. Ultimate power, anything you wanted. Whatever you said would be done. I have thought about this and here are a few things I would change:

 First off, broccoli would taste like chocolate. In addition, so would every other vegetable that is supposed to be good for you but is the table nemesis of millions of kids at dinnertime. “Eat your broccoli… it’s good for you!” Well, if it’s so good for me then it should taste good… like chocolate! There is no way that something that tastes that putrid can be good for anything! Just saying! All of you broccoli fans just keep eating away… I’m holding out for the chocolate version… and it’s coming, because I’m going to rule the world!

Second, and I hope I don’t offend anyone with this, just being honest. I would make all “passing of gas” smell like flowers. Wouldn’t that be great?! I mean, no more blaming it on the dog, or on a child or relative. No more nervous stares in the middle of crowded elevators when the smell is passing by. Instead, people would turn to you and say, “Thank you!, I love the smell of roses!”

Next, everyone would be nice. There would be no mean people! Traffic jams would occur only because everyone was preferring each other, not because of road rage. Moreover, the court systems would go extinct because no one would be prosecuted and no one would sue anyone and everyone would just be nice!

Lastly, everyone would be a millionaire. There would be no poverty or lack of food for anyone. There would be no homeless people. There would be no sickness or need for doctors. All disease would be banished.

If I ruled the world, everything would taste good, nothing would smell bad, everyone would be nice, and no one would have a need.

Sounds like heaven doesn’t it? But… I don’t rule the world, and neither do you. But, God does and He has created a real heaven. Heaven…that place sounds real good. No wars, no disease, no evil, no sorrow.

The hard part to understand is, if heaven is so great, then why didn’t God just put us there to begin with? Because this place called earth is no heaven! There is death and disease and mean people and really bad days. So what’s the deal?

Think about this… if I never saw darkness, I would never appreciate light. If someone wasn’t mean to me, then I would never know when someone was being nice. If I had not experienced pain, I would not truly appreciate comfort.

The reality is if I ruled the world I would create a world without consequences and people would basically be robots who just did what I said, because that is the only way I could make everyone be nice and not let there be any pain! God wants a relationship with us… His creation. And He wants us to choose a relationship with Him. But if He makes us choose Him, then we do not have a genuine relationship. So, He gave us all a free will. And in our freedom to choose, we as people sure do bring a lot of pain, and heartache to one another, don’t we? But, we can also choose to follow God. We can choose to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We can choose to repent, say we are sorry for all of the bad choices we have made with our freedom and we can receive God’s forgiveness. And we can spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Heaven will be full of people who chose God. Who received His gift of forgiveness of sins through His son Jesus Christ. And it will be full of people who can appreciate His love, peace, kindness and forgiveness because they have experienced the pains of life.

The bible says in James 4:14-15, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Our lives on earth are a brief moment in the light of all eternity. And I think we would all love to rule the world and have things our way. But, if we had everything our way, would we really appreciate what we have? Would we truly understand what a gift life is? And would we appreciate God – the true ruler of the world, who in His infinite wisdom does not give us everything we want, but does supply all that we need for now, and is preparing a place for us in Heaven.

You Matter

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Invitation
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I meet so many people that are looking for purpose, a reason to live.  I meet so many people who are longing for something more than existence.

That is why I am so excited about what our church – New Hope Worship Center, Batavia, NY – is doing. Over three Sundays, we will be presenting the You Matter Connection. 

Three Messages about why you matter!

You Matter because:

God Created You

God Loves You

Christ Died for You

Simple Messages that will change your life.

Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_BBOyhvd7A

And the Church website: www.newhopebatavia.org

If you’re in the area…stop by!  We’d love to see you!

Give it away…

Posted: August 4, 2010 in Life
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RYAN ARNOLD

I hear a lot of talk about giving our lives away. People have many causes and agendas that cry out for full commitment: giving of yourself selflessly for the sake of others. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I would say that I embrace this type of call.

I believe in living for something greater than yourself. Treating others the way you want to be treated. Nevertheless, it is easy to live life for ourselves.

But in the end…the question does have to be asked… “What did I do that mattered?” Tough question: one that I do not always want to ask myself. Much less, one I want to answer.

At times, life seems meaningful and I feel that I understand what it means to “give my life away.” Then, I hear a story. Not just any story, but a story of someone who truly gives away their life for the sake of someone else.

Just this last week, a young man by the name of Chad Arnold had gone into the final stages of liver disease. His life was coming to an end. Then, his brother Ryan decided to do something heroic. He decided to give 2/3 of his liver in order to save his brother’s life. The operation went well and was a success. Chad is in recovery and it appears his life has been saved.

However, Ryan…well, He is now in Heaven. He gave his life for his brother.

My heart is broken for the family. Moreover, I am crying out prayers from deep within for God to fill them with the peace and grace for this season that only He can bring.

At the same time, I am personally filled with some shame and conviction. I feel ashamed that I have ever acted as if I know what it means to give my life away. I am convicted that I too often choose my own comfort over the inconvenience of giving of myself.

Ryan, your life…your sacrifice is already affecting the lives of many. Your sacrifice is causing me to reassess my life, my choices and the time I have left on this earth.

Lord, be with Chad and the rest of the family.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.caringbridge.org%2Fvisit%2Fryanandchadarnold&h=f6b38

Love…So, Who’s Afraid?

Posted: June 23, 2010 in Life
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Perfect love casts out fear… 

It is amazing to me how one simple phrase can carry such power and challenge me so much. 

Perfect love cast out fear…

If you asked me if I am a person who loves…I would say, “Yes”.

If you asked me if I love people, I would answer, “Absolutely”.

Of course I love people.  Of course I want the best for others. Of course I want to forgive and grant people a second chance. Of course I want to show kindness. Of course I want to show love through my actions and my words.

Then…why does love so often escape me in the moments I need it most?

Why when I should offer forgiveness do I find myself wanting to judge?

Why when I should offer compassion do I find myself callous and cold?

Why when I should offer understanding do I find myself being critical?

Maybe it’s because, if I’m honest with myself, often I am afraid.

Afraid of being too vulnerable; afraid of being hurt; afraid of giving someone love when they don’t deserve it. Afraid…If I truly surrender all and love unconditionally that I will somehow lose some of who I am.

Then there are those words… “Perfect Love cast out all fear”.  So what is perfect love? 

This phrase comes from a passage of scripture in the Bible which reads…

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:15-21 NASU

Maybe I struggle with showing love because in and of myself, love is not perfected.  Maybe perfect love can only exist when I surrender to the one who made love…the one who is love; the one who gave His life to prove love.

The more I understand God’s love for me the less fear I have in loving others.  He showed the way in giving His all for me…for you.  For this I love Him…and because of this…I am not afraid…and because I am not afraid…I can love.

Perfect love casts out all fear