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Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9

I had a fun day cooking in the kitchen and hanging out with friends on Thanksgiving eve. I was out and about pretty late and had a moment I pulled over in my truck and just reflected on how good God is and His blessings. Then a tweet came across the wire about lead worship leader Andrew Pray passing away after an accident. I looked at the photos of him and his family and it wrecked me. I was sad for his family but at the same time I was sad for those that take their life on earth lightly. God gives us people to do life with and it saddens me to see division in families and how some people treat others as disposable. I’m so thankful for my family and friends and that I get to do life with them. The above passage is one of the last tweets Andrew sent before he died.

First I’m thankful for my boys and that God gave me the opportunity to have kids in this lifetime. Those two boys humble me and have brought responsiblity and maturity to me. I’m thankful for my parents and my siblings and that I still have them in my life. God has also blessed me with incredible friends to do life with. Lately I have formed some really deep intimate relationships with many of them and I love having that accountability and the opportunities of growth in my walk with them. I am thankful I have a vehicle and a home to come to every night. But most of all, I thank God everyday for peace. My life is very calm for the first time in a while and I feel refreshed. My health is better than it has ever been and I feel strong in my walk because of the time I have had to draw near to the Lord.

“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10

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There are times that when you donate your time to the Kingdom, you don’t always get the “thank you’s” or see the results of what you did. That’s because the Glory belongs to God, not us. He uses us for His purposes. But there are times that we do get tangible blessings for the work we do in the Kingdom from time to time. I try to look at them as encouragement to further the Kingdom. I was able to donate my time to a Music Therapy school recently and they are using my photographs to make brochures and thank you cards. This saved them hundreds of dollars in having to hire a professional photographer. I also donated to the Forgiveness Wins campaign that Land of a Thousands Hills is promoting. Today I got a couple nice cards in the mail from both thanking me for my time and giving. It was nice to see my pictures on the thank you card.

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Family

God has really laid upon my heart the importance of family. My family has seen so much brokenness for most of my life, but recently I’ve seen a lot of healing. I’ve been more bold in speaking into different members of my family and have tried to be a rock for everyone as a whole. My family is huge and I am blessed to have so many of them here. This was an important week overall for me with my immediate family. My sister had her baby today and I was able to go down and spend time with her and my new nephew. My Grandma turned 80 this week and I enjoyed a long conversation with her. It’s been difficult for her to lose her son (my uncle) a few months ago. She is such a Godly woman and she prays everyday for me to have peace in my life and that God will bring an amazing companion to me. My Dad brought my sisters here last week and it was a great to spend time with them. Then I had a fun week with my own two boys as they are always a blessing. But my family isn’t just my blood relatives. I have an amazing church family and friends. God really has put some great people into my life do grow in my faith and to do life with. I also have some individual friends that I have become close with that I invest my time in who make me a better person. I feel overwhelmed when I think of all the blessings of amazing people I have in my life.

My Grandma

My Dad and my brothers

My Step Sisters

My kids

My Community

My friends

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I think this video is so powerful. Johnny Cash filmed it on his deathbed. Trent Reznor wrote the lyrics and they really capture something as believers we get caught up in – our stuff. I’m not just talking about material things, but our accomplishments, popularity, needs, wants, etc. We spend all our time and energy living for things that will eventually fade away. In Biblical times, Ephesus was this amazing city that was supposed to stand the test of time and now it lays in ruins. Johnny Cash also sees this in his own career and his fame. The lyrics say it all – you can have it all, this empire of dirt – because in the end, it all turns to shit and you will hurt. 

Jesus spoke about the Beatitudes very early in his ministry. We always hear about the ten commandments, yet we never hear much about the Beatitudes. Why is that? Probably because they are the blessings no one wants.

Blessed are.. the poor in spirit.. those who mourn.. the meek.. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.. the merciful.. the pure in heart.. the peacemakers.. those who are persecuted..   Matthew 5:3-10

What kind of blessings are these?  Think about it – we always say we are blessed when we are happy, or make money, or healthy, etc. I will admit I find myself saying this all the time. Yet Jesus preaches the opposite. Blessed those who are persecuted? Who finds this a blessing?

Do not conform  any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Romans 12:2

Jesus is saying we are closer to the Kingdom of heaven when we are closer to our weakness. True humility comes from our weaknesses, not our accomplishments. Romans is saying to live a life radically different from the world. We can only see this radical change from the inside out, not the outside in. Behavior modification is only temporary because eventually what is inside our hearts will reach the surface – the things we truly want and desire. The more out of touch we are with our own personal poverty, the more judgemental we become. We want and we blame when we don’t get our way. So our choice is to own our sins and not deny them. We need to see the blessings of having a pure heart and a renewed mind that comes from our weaknesses.

“Spiritually prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

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Tonight I watched the movie “Courageous“. Sometimes these faith-based films can be a little cheesy, but they carry a powerful message. “Fireproof” and “Soul Surfer” were great movies too. I have had several men tell me I should see this movie. It’s about four law enforcement officers going through some tough trials in their family. They end up putting their faith in God and he works through all them despite their shortcomings. It really hit me hard as a man because I carry the responsibility to be the leader of my family. I have failed in so many ways over the years in this. I’m thankful to God that he continues to stick with me and work in me to grow stronger in this area.

I have been praying a lot lately to be a better example to my family. I pray every morning for an opportunity to be a better man and husband to my wife. But for now, I can be an example to my kids. Both of my kids have really got involved with their discipleship groups. I am blessed that they both have good Godly men leading their groups. Cornerstone is doing this church-wide study of Experiencing God. I started this study awhile back and never finished it. A small group contacted me and asked me to join them in their study and I have decided to do so knowing my kids will be doing the study in their own group. I have been praying for an opportunity to step up and lead my own kids in devotions. So we are going to spend each week discussing what we are learning in our groups together. I loved sitting down with Ty tonight and helping him look up verses in his Bible for his homework. I have spent so much time trying to find the courage to be a Godly example to my kids and now he had blessed me with that. God is working in my family – He is so amazing!

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Today I helped moved a friend and her husband to a new home with a group of people from Cornerstone for Second Saturday. It was great to get out and be a light in the community and to fellowship with some wonderful people. Just hearing Debbie’s story of how God brought her and husband back together after years of both of them struggling to be single parents on their own was encouraging. And now God has blessed them both with a new home to do life together in. I also enjoyed hearing the many stories of the group around me and how God is working all over the place in people’s lives. We had this amazing prayer session afterwards in which we prayed for people and blessed the new home. I love how a simple day of serving turns into a day in which we saw God glorified in people’s stories.

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“Since the word missional theologically means to be sent, leaving is where living like a missionary really begins. Leaving isn’t just about going overseas. It’s about replacing personal or Christian activities with time spent building relationships with people in the surrounding culture.” – Tangible Kingdom

Tonight our missional community decided to get out and be a blessing to the surrounding community. We visited Carestone assisted living in Tempe and had a chance to interact with some of the wonderful elderly people there. The Aldrich’s brought their daughter Abby and she provided all sorts of entertainment for them. I made some cupcakes for them to have for dessert. While having dinner, we sang some Christmas songs to them. They really enjoyed having us and we were blessed to be a blessing to them. 

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