Thursday, January 29, 2009

He Wins Victories

This is a bit delayed, but church on Sunday was a huge blessing for me. We did a bit of a study on God as our banner and what that means. Pastor Tim gave us a list of a bunch of passages that use this term... (Numbers 21:8, Numbers 26:10, Psalm 60:4, Isaiah 5:26, Isaiah 11:10-12 Isaiah 18:3, Isaiah 31:9, Isaiah 33:23, Isaiah 49:22, Isaiah 62:10, Jeremiah 4:6, Jeremiah 50:2, Jeremiah 51:12, 27, Ezekiel 27:7, Luke 2:12, Matthew 12:39-40, John 2:11). Anyway, Exodus 14:13-14 as well as Exodus 17:9-11 really stuck out to me as we studied the character of God.
Exodus 14:13-14--But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."

Exodus 17:9-11--So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand." Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.

This is very interesting. In both of these situations, it was clear that only God could win the battle. I love how He does things in such a way that we cannot take credit for them. He must receive all the glory! The interesting thing is the differences between these two situations. The first one, the people didn't need to really do anything. In the second one, the people had to take action! Pastor Tim pointed out how the second can be a picture of prayer in that Moses was not at all directly involved in the battle and yet God chose to have Moses put his hands up and when Moses did, they started winning the battle. In the same way, while we are not at all directly related to many situations that people face, we ought to lift them up to Him in intercessory prayer. Another thing to note is that intercessory prayer is difficult. Ever tried praying for an hour? If you haven't, I highly encourage you to do so. I have not had the opportunity lately to do so... or rather have not made the opportunity to do so, but it really sets your mind on things above as Colossians 3:2 commands us to do. I am reminded that He is the one that fights and wins battles... I must do my part, but He ultimately produces the results. As I go to in this interview on Friday at 8 am, I must do my part, but ultimately, it is completely up to Him. If He wants me to have this job, I will have it, and if He doesn't, I will not have it. Pray that His will be done and that I would be diligent in doing what He has me do.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Interview

It is pretty weird I guess that I have never had to apply for a job... and never had to have an interview. God simply placed the opportunities in my lap. I cannot thank Him enough. While I absolutely love my job, I think the responsible thing for me is to pursue other jobs that are closer to my goal (being able to support a family and buy a house). I must say... it's an interesting balance trying to be completely content, and yet not settling for less than He wants me to pursue. Anyway, I had my first interview today (over phone) and God blessed. I thought twenty minutes would be a long time... we ended up talking for nearly a half hour. :) Honestly, I was quite nervous, but He completely calmed me down during the interview. He is good! I will be scheduling a time for an in-person interview and an exam probably sometime next week. I can't wait! Pray that His will be done and that I would accept it fully regardless of the outcome.

I have been studying Romans the last few days. I read Romans 5 a couple times today. I know it's nothing new, but verse 7-10 are such a wonderful picture of what He did for us.
For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

One thing that Pastor Tim often reminds us of is that we always need the gospel. No matter what situation we are in, we need to hear the gospel. It's not just something that we need to go and tell people that don't know Him personally (although that is extremely important), but it is something we need to constantly be mowing over in our minds. I find it amazing that no matter how many times I hear this, it does not get old. It's an incredible thing to give your life for someone, but I am going to die anyway (unless He comes again first). He was perfect... He didn't need to die and yet He chose to save me when I rejected Him. When I told Him to back off so that I could do things my own way... He loved me and died for me. When I tell Him that I want to do things my own way now, He still loves me and offers forgiveness. Two words come to mine... Amazing Grace!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Walking Worthy of His Calling

We just finished our pre-playoff season of team handball. God blessed our team with a 9-0 record. It has been a ton of fun, and I've had a few opportunities to mention things of the Lord. I was planning on playing at the Staple Center tonight, but God used my pastor to inform me that things at NBA games are not really all fun and games (no pun intended). The whole atmosphere is really not a wholesome environment with the immodesty of the cheer leaders and all. While I think going to such things can be okay if one's focus remains on the Lord and there are people there to keep you accountable, but it's just not an ideal place to put yourself in (especially as a guy). For this reason, I decided that it would be best for me to not take part in this event. Yes, it would have been fun to play in front of 15,000 people, but really, that doesn't matter. I am trying out for the Olympics next Saturday fully expecting to not play in the Olympics or attend the training camps even if they do graciously choose to accept me. My mom was researching some random things, and we found out that the president of the team handball Olympic committee is really quite corrupt, and I will not play under his leadership. Yes, it is that bad! So, if God wants to do something with this, He has His work cut out for Him. :) I will go tryout and do my best and then see what God does. If He does nothing, that is completely fine, and I will be thankful for the experience.

I think I have blogged about this before, but both in Awana and in our evening devotions, we have been studying Ephesians. Really, you can never get too much of the Word, so I know that I am not wasting my time if this is the second time I've posted about this passage. Frankly, I think there will be things that I've posted about five or more times, and it will still be beneficial. His Word will always accomplish what it was sent to do (Isaiah 55:11). I read Ephesians 4 today and was thinking specifically about verses 1-3.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

First of all, it is amazing to me that Paul... being a prisoner (not exactly the most fun thing in the world) sees himself as a prisoner of the Lord. His focus is on the fact that if God had not placed him there in prison, he would not be there. The whole idea of walking worthy of His calling is a lifetime challenge for me. I will never be worthy of His calling. He doesn't need me, but He wants me. What a privilege it is to serve Him! He sets out some nice guidelines to help us walk worthy of His calling... being humble, gentle, patient, being tolerant in love, being diligent to preserve unity and peace. Tolerance is a word I hate. I hate it because it is used in such a worldly way. It is used to push Christians out of revealing the truth. We are not to tolerate sin! The tolerance Paul is speaking of I think goes more along the lines of long-suffering and patience. The fact is that we all don't agree on everything... we have our differences, but we are to preserve the unity of the Spirit. We are the body of Christ, and the body must work together in order to function well. That was more or less a side note. The point is that we need to live in such a way that we are worthy of His calling. Yes, I realize it is impossible to stand up to His standard of perfection, but we can put every ounce of strength into living for Him, and He is pleased by this. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Working for Him

Work has been going pretty well the last few days; however, I was informed on Friday (pay day) that the company didn't have enough money to pay me. As it first meets the eye, this is generally not a good thing. As I have been thinking over it the last few days, I have great peace knowing that when it all is said and done, my work is to be for Him... that pay check is a blessing, but it not the ultimate goal of working. Our work is to glorify Him, and generally, He blesses us with money to go along with that work. I know that He is completely in control and that this is for His best! I have sent out a few applications to different places over the last several months, but I sent out one to Cal Baptist University yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I actually fit all of the qualifications quite well. It would have to be a God thing for it to work out. I am excited to see what He has in store. Maybe the current company will turn around and be able to pay what I will need in order to support a family someday... maybe they won't. Regardless, I know that He will lead me... and with that, I have great peace. I am still working... even more so for Him, and we'll see what He does with it.

I have been sick the last few days. I have a nasty sore throat, but this too shall pass. :) Team handball has been tons of fun... it looks like I will have the opportunity to play in the Staple Center (where the Lakers and Clippers play) next Saturday. :) I am stoked! Olympic tryouts are on the 24th, so I'm preparing for that as well. Please pray that my focus would continually be on Him. If I am doing this for the sake of making myself great, I pray that He would not allow me to succeed in anything. I want my success and/or failure to be honoring to Him, not about me.

I read 2 Samuel 13 today. Honestly, I didn't get much out of it. It is pretty sickening the corruption that existed... even in the kings house. While not all blame can be put on parents, seeing David's sin, it doesn't surprise me that his son would sin in such a bad way. I pray that God would give us courage and strength to stand where the people before us fell... and to be godly parents to our children. It really does make a difference!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

How God Tests Us

Church was great this morning. I am continually blessed by the teaching of Pastor Tim. I learn so much through what God speaks through him. The sermon this morning was about how God tests us.

God uses tests to develop His relationship with His people. He uses test to show-ff the priceless value of our faith and to bring praise, glory, and honor to Himself through the display of our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7). He uses testing to help us learn the fear of the Lord in order that we wouldn't sin (Exodus 20:20). His testing makes us humble and reveals what is truly in our hearts (Deuteronomy 8:2). Often times, He lets us try things our own way to show us just how weak we really are. We took a look at King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:29-31.

He made cities for himself and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great wealth. It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did. Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

God blessed Hezekiah amazingly. He was a king that feared the Lord... and yet, God "left him alone" for a time so that he would realize what was really in his heart. Honestly, it's a completely stupid thing he did... to share with his enemies all about his wealth, but that's exactly what we do when we aren't depending on God. We can do some very bad things when He isn't helping us be obedient. Remember that every good thing comes from above. We would not obey if it weren't for Him helping us. Sometimes He tests us through trials, and other times He tests us through great blessing. His tests are meant for us to pass in order to glorify Him. We must stay fully committed to Him!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Resolutions for 2009

New Years resolutions have good aspects and bad aspects. They can be bad in that you feel horrible if/when you don't stick with them. In that I know that I will fail in some of these things, I am not so much focused on keeping them entirely, but rather sticking with it when I do fail at these things. Last year, I kept my resolutions completely to myself. I actually stuck to them for the most part, but this year, I decided to share them because it will help keep me accountable to sticking to them. In that the body of Christ is made to work together, I would request your help and encouragement in doing these things to the best of my ability for His glory.

  • Pick a verse to meditate on and/or memorize for the day.
  • Spend at least some time in the Word daily… preferably over 15 minutes.
  • Make prayer lists and pray for them daily.
  • Put time with Him before anything else.

  • Study and take the GRE.
  • Get Microsoft certified.
  • Apply and hopefully start graduate school.
  • Learn SQL more in depth.
  • Learn CSS more in depth.
  • Completely code the Hard Thing project and Awana camp project.
  • Read at least five Christian books that draw me closer to Him.

  • Stay involved in sports (basketball at church).
  • Exercise and workout at the gym a couple times per week if possible.
  • Spend more time playing with Jonathan.

  • Build stronger relationships with godly friends and spend more time with them encouraging them in the Lord.
  • Stay committed to the Lord and my future spouse within all of my relationships.
  • Not spend excessive amounts of time with anyone that has values that could dim my sense of right and wrong.

  • Figure out if my current job will be able to pay what I’ll need to support a family and if not, find a new job.
  • Do my work as for the Lord rather than for men.
  • Show myself to be a diligent worker making wise use of my time and my employer’s time.
  • Work on my some of my own projects on the side.

2009 is here!

It was a great blessing having a day off of work today. I actually slept in until about 9:30 am... something I never do. It was a great day with the family. We spontaneously decided to go up to Big Bear and go snow tubing. I've never been snow tubing before... but it is a blast. Skiing is up another notch, but it was still a ton of fun. A few of the Hearns (some friends) joined us up there which made it all the more fun. No one got seriously hurt or anything... just some bruised knees and other body parts. haha It was a completely blast! Anyway, I really don't have a whole lot to say in this post other than I desire a God-filled 2009. There is an amazing peace that comes from knowing He is 100% in control of everything that happens in 2009. Not only that, but He is good! Combine these two and you have a great 2009!!! I am excited to see what He will do. Yes, there will be times that everything comes easy... and other times where there will be tough trials, but He will do all things for His glory in our hearts. This is a unique time of life... lots of transitions and changes. It has some scary aspects to it... and I think the lack of security in this time is a great encouragement to depend completely on Him. I am excited! Have a happy God-filled New Year!