Walk by faith, not by sight

I want to take a brief moment to discuss with you a personal matter and take a break from the theology for minute. This was a profound realization that i want to share because someone may need to hear it as well:

On my way to work this morning, I was listening to the radio when I heard a teaser for a story about why people want to see miracles. Since I am always fascinated by descriptions of miracles or the supernatural, I decided to stick around another ten minutes to hear this story. Thinking it would be about how God did some miraculous healing or a miraculous escape from attackers or any number of things, I had a certain expectation about hearing a miraculous story.

The radio show host came on and described the title again of why people always want to see miracles. One of the show’s hosts describes how her and her husband were in dire financial needs and needed $1,000. They began praying and all the sudden the husband of the radio host was prompted to check the credit card points. The points totaled the exact need of $1,000. The radio personality begins to talk about how so often Christians fall into the trap of walking by sight instead of faith. We get so fixated on the “what’s next” of life, or the counterfeit gods of money, fame, and power that we put our trust in those things. The point the show’s host was trying to make was that we try to provide our own fixes for the problems, or when we don’t see the solution to the problem we begin to doubt God.

All of this was in relation to Moses, the Israelites and the Exodus. As God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt; Pharaoh and his army began to chase them. Moses and the people were at the Red Sea; they had nowhere to go. Every thought was probably going through Moses’ mind at this point. He is facing the sea, looking at his people, then back to the sea, then back at the people. Moses had no idea what God was doing or going to do. It was an impossible situation. A miracle was needed. There appeared to be no solution. It must have felt like a thousand years in those few seconds and minutes. I can’t imagine the spiritual attacks Moses was probably going through either. Suddenly (possibly), a small, yet peaceful voice whispers in his hear (or speaks into his soul): “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (cf. 2 Cor 5:7).

In a moment when everything was against him, there was no place to turn, and a miracle was needed, the Almighty God reached down and did something amazing that only He could. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Ex 14:21-22).

We have all heard this before, but I share it with you because maybe someone needs to hear this. It comes from a site called Spiritual Inspiration: “God is saying to you today, ‘Everything will work out. I’m in complete control. I know what the medical report says. I know what the financial situation looks like. I see the people who are coming against you. I know how big your dreams are. And hear me clearly; I will not fail you.’”

So, why do I share this with you? Over the past year and a half, I have attended seminary. Last August, we moved from Chicago to Dallas so I could go to school in person. We didn’t have a place to live, we had a baby on the way, no insurance, and no jobs. The living situation was handled, but the others took time. I wasn’t able to go full time to seminary like I had hoped, because I think God had a different plan. Over the past year, I have worked in a corporate job while taking two classes a semester. I am not doing something I know I was called to do nor am I passionate about it. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for a job. I am thankful that God provided a job that does provide a good salary and insurance. There have been many issues at this job and it has been difficult in many ways that don’t need to be described here. The past few months I have been pulled from project to project, from one fire-drill to the next. It gets frustrating after a while. The work environment is not very good but I have met some good people.

I had a frustrating day yesterday where my boss and leadership are having secret meetings amongst themselves about which way a project should go. There is a power struggle that has a colleague and I stuck in the middle. We receive new direction every few weeks. Yesterday, in fact there were three fire-drill and subsequent new directions that we were given. It becomes confusing after a while and it is hard to determine which way is up. We were made aware of conversations about a how this team should be formed or who should work where and on what. The problem is no one ever consulted us or let us know maybe we need to not proceed in a certain way or direction. Our careers were essentially in the hands of strangers as they moved us around like pawns as they had a power struggle. Their only hopes were to make themselves look better to gain more power or acclaim. After talking with our boss about all this direction, we were informed it simply wasn’t our business and we need to just be good soldiers and wait for the new direction. Some business people will agree with that sentiment saying communication with employees and direction on changes affecting them do not need to be communicated to the employee. Some managers will be more considerate and talk things over with their staff about possible changes or different directions. Do they need to? No, but that is what they will do.

This story of Moses got me thinking about how I have to trust a mortal man about my next direction for a project. The boss may be a good man but at the end of the day, he really doesn’t care about me or my career. I am essentially “trusting” him as he moves me around or puts me on the next project. I don’t get communicated about what is happening; it just happens.

Similarly, this led to exactly what I need to be doing about this time of waiting in my life. I need to be walking by faith not sight. God has no obligation to talk things over with me. He doesn’t need my input no matter how much I give Him or want to give Him. I struggle because I wrestle Him for control. I try to tell Him, “We need to do this,” or go here or do this in this timing. Actually, while I struggle with this, I need to remember that God has an amazing plan for the right thing at the right time. I may want to get to that next stage now, but He still has things to teach me during this time. That my friend is tough.

The difference between my boss and God is obviously numerous but I want to focus on a couple of things. It breaks down to my boss is not invested in me nor does he truly care about me. He is doing what is best for him. In contrast, God has invested in me and truly cares about me. He loves me infinitely. He as a perfect plan for me. He doesn’t need my input, but He allows me to discuss and pray things over with Him. It may not and probably will not change His mind, but I am thankful that He still listens and lets me talk about it with Him.

All this being said, I don’t know what your situation is but God has not forgotten you. He does have a plan. It may take time. You may not see it, it will be difficult, it could take a long time, but God is working things out. Be faithful. Pray for faith and help with the unbelief.

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The Holy Spirit in the Gospels: Worshipping in the Spirit

What does it look like to worship in the Spirit? How does one worship in the Spirit? How does one worship God? Is there something that I must do? 

As we look at what Jesus taught on the Spirit, what the Gospel writers included, we are left with what do we do with this information? We are reminded that when Jesus went away, He sent the Holy Spirit. Believers are indwelt by the Spirit. The Spirit is seen as the Comforter or Advocate. The teachings and advantages of the Spirit and what He does is numerous. The gifts and fruits of the Spirit are some of the incalculable riches of God’s mercy and grace. As we finish this section of what Jesus taught on the Spirit in the Gospels, we conclude this section by looking at what it means to worship the Father, living for His glory, all in the power of the Spirit. This section is to think about what it looks like to depend on the Spirit. What a beautiful thing it is to live dependently on the Holy Spirit. 


Worshipping in the Spirit

In order to worship the Father, the teachings of Christ in the Gospels not only show the deity of the Spirit, but that the Spirit is worthy of worship because He is just like the Father and Son. At numerous times throughout the Gospels, Jesus teaches remarkable concepts about the Spirit, including His deity, His Personhood, and His procession. It is important to remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a Person and the third member of the Trinity as Jesus teaches throughout the Gospels. Jesus in fact referred to the Spirit as “He” and not “it” thereby insinuating the Spirit was some type of force. The Holy Spirit has a mind (Rom 8:27), a will (1 Cor 12:11), and emotional feelings (Gal 5:22–23).[1] The Spirit is also linked with the Father and the Son in various events of Jesus’s ministry. All three persons of the Trinity were present at Jesus’ baptism (Matt 3:16–17). Jesus said his casting out of demons was related to the Father and the Spirit (Matt 12:28). In the two blasphemy passages (Matt 12:32; Luke 12:10), the deity of the Holy Spirit is once again taught by Jesus. The conjunction of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son in these events is an indication that He is personal, just as they are.[2] It is also important to notice that in John 14-17, the Spirit is sent by both the Father (John 14:16, 26) and by the Son (John 16:7). This section of John “records the central truth relative to the Person and work of the Spirit in this age.”[3]

The new Advocate was to be to men more than the bodily presence of Christ had been. It was better that Christ should go away and that the Spirit should come.[4] The Spirit would come on believers in a new way, namely: to baptize, seal and indwell them.[5] Apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, we cannot live the Christian life as God would have us live it. He is the “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17; 15:26) and the “Comforter” (parakletos). As “Comforter,” a term only used by John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), meaning to come “alongside to assist,” shows that the Spirit works in and through the believer.[6] The presence of the Spirit in this world is actually an indictment against the world, for the world rejected Jesus Christ.[7] The Spirit replaced Jesus’ physical presence and mediated God to believers providing a much more intimate relationship than before.[8] The Holy Spirit reveals the Savior in the Word and in this way glorifies Jesus (John 16:13-14).[9] The Spirit teaches, encourages and reminds the believer of the words of Jesus so that they may obey and have peace in times of trial (John 14:25-27; 16:13). John 4:23-24 not only asserts the full divinity of the Spirit (“God is Spirit”), but shows that the human spirit is able to have meaningful communication with God as spirit.


 

[1] W. W. Wiersbe, “John,” in The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996), 359.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 785-86.

[3] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 5, 151-155.

[4] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 151.

[5] Constable, “Notes on John.”

[6] Wiersbe, “John,” 352.

[7] Ibid, 353.

[8] Blum, “John”, 323.

[9] Wiersbe, “John,” 362.

Summary of Praying to the Father Through the Son in the Spirit

In an effort to recap what has been talked about over the last few posts, I want to provide a summary of what it looks like for praying to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Also, we will bring our discussion about prayer, its benefits, the reasons to pray, and what prayer looks like following the instructions of Christ.

Summary of Praying to the Father Through the Son in the Spirit

By borrowing the sonhood of the true Son, the believer can approach the throne of grace and call on God as Father, who will receive them because they pray in the style that was taught by the Jesus, the Son of God: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9).[1] Jesus and the Spirit are divine Persons who occupy the offices of intercessor and mediator to bring us before the Father. There are few prayers to Jesus in the New Testament and no recorded prayers to the Spirit.[2] “As John 14 makes clear, the closer we come to understanding the threeness of God, the more we are summoned to fully Christian prayer.”[3] “The Holy Spirit may be prayed to. He is God. But the Holy Spirit is not to be prayed to in such a way as to mask the mediatorship of Christ and our location in Christ as members of his body.”[4] Christian prayer has double intercession, the Son and the Spirit, built into it. “The Father not only welcomes prayers, but he has provided mediation and perhaps even mediation of the mediation. Your prayer life is secure in the two hands of the Father. That built-in logic of mediation is the grain of prayer.”[5]

Conclusion

“One’s understanding of prayer is indeed correlative with one’s doctrine of God.”[6] Prayer is an act of worship, in that it is an act of worshipping the Persons of the Godhead in a dependent and powerful way by seeking the kingdom of God, praising His name, and being still in awe of the glorious God that has called us His children by the work and authority of Christ. To pray in a Trinitarian way is to remember that the doctrine of the Trinity is vitally important. The doctrine of the Trinity helps us know and understand more about this unfathomable, incomprehensible, and infinite God. We should allow this doctrine to deepen our love and appreciation for God. We exist to worship God and He wants us to worship Him “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Christians must always seek to go deeper in their worship of God. One of the greatest writings on Trinitarian prayer comes from C.S. Lewis in his acclaimed Mere Christianity where he discusses God as the goal of an ordinary man being caught up in something extraordinary:

An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life…he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.[7]

 The goodness of the Father is shown in that He loves, hears and honors our prayers even when they are not addressed correctly. The Triune God invites us into fellowship with Him and has provided a way for us to talk with Him. The amazing part of it all is that the Creator God wants to talk with us. He eagerly awaits our conversation. But in the fast paced world of today, one of the most important tools we have to fight evil, face the daily battles, and be strengthened for each day is prayer. Many take this wonderful opportunity for granted and do not seek out the help and strength of the Triune God. But, as Christians we find an infinite well of courage, faith, strength and help in a prayerful conversation with God. “If we are truly speaking of the true God, then the truest form of that speech can never be abstract discussion about God.  It must be speech addressed to God. It must be worship. It must be prayer.”[8] It can be daunting and difficult to think of a finite being reaching out to an infinite and holy God. When one truly thinks about the distance and dissimilarity between us and God, it is easy to wonder whether we have the ability to pray and whether coming into God’s presence is a good idea anyway.[9] Our fellowship with God should only be enhanced by consciously knowing that we are relating to and seeking a tri-personal God. We must echo what St. Anselm said, “Let me seek Thee in longing, let me long for Thee in seeking; let me find Thee in love, and love Thee in finding.”[10]

We have an opportunity to bring our experience and our awareness into alignment with the structure of the economy of salvation. As the economy of salvation has revealed God’s tri-unity, we come before God the Father in a way that retraces the path of His sending the Son and Spirit to reveal Himself and redeem us.[11] God is inviting us into a conversation that is occurring between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When we pray, we are joining that conversation. An advantage of Trinitarian prayer “is that it aligns your prayer life in particular with your spiritual life in general.”[12]


[1] Sanders, The Deep Things of God, 217.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Tom Wright, The Prayer of the Trinity, Internet, accessed 1 December 2014, http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Prayer_Trinity.htm.

[4] Graham Cole, Engaging with the Holy Spirit, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 64.

[5] Sanders, The Deep Things of God, 213.

[6] Friedrich Heiler, Prayer, trans. and ed. Samuel McComb and J. Edgar Park, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), 353.

[7] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2001), 163.

[8] Wright, The Prayer of the Trinity.

[9] Sanders, The Deep Things of God, 212-13.

[10] Anselm, Proslogium, (LaSalle, Ill: Open Court Publishing, 1903), 6.

[11] Sanders, The Deep Things of God, 215.

[12] Ibid.

The Holy Spirit: Divine Comforter

Today, we finish our series on the doctrinal statements of God, the Trinity, and each member of the Trinity, by looking at the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was another difficult subject the early church fathers had to wrestle with. There was debate about His divinity and origin. There will be more in future posts about the procession of the Spirit, but this was one area that was hotly debated. Modern Christianity has given the Spirit a little more attention over the past 20-30 years by looking at the “gifts of the Spirit,” but overall the Spirit is probably the least mentioned or thought of member of the Trinity (This will also depend on a persons denominational view). This doctrinal statement mainly focuses on the divinity of the Spirit,  His role, and His activity. 

A final note, as these are doctrinal statements, that is the reason for the “I believe” statements. Much like you would see at a church or Christian organizations doctrinal statement of “We believe.”

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, and that He is of God the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.[i] I believe that He is to be worshiped and glorified just as the Father and Son.[ii] I believe that He is the promised Counselor indwelling every believer according to the divine promise and by His baptism unites all to Christ in one body.[iii] He spoke through the prophets to produce the inspired Scriptures.[iv] I believe the Spirit is active in the world today helping unbelievers come to know Christ, empowering the church, and leading believers into holiness to exemplify Christ.[v]

[i] Athanasian Creed. The Spirit is found active in creation, bring life to the universe (Gen 1:2; 2:7; Job 33:4; Ps 33:6, 104:30). The Holy Spirit has been referred to as such in Ps 51:11 and Isaiah 63:10-11. Similar to the Hebrew word ruah, pneuma in the Greek describes the Spirit as “the Spirit of God” or “Spirit of the Father,” or “Son.” – cf F.W. Horn, “Holy Spirit,” Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed David Noel Freedman, 6 vols, (New York: Doubleday, 1992) 3:265. The clearest evidence of the Holy Spirit’s divinity comes from the baptismal formula of Matt 28:19, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Also see John 15:26 (“the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father” KJV); 2 Cor 3:17-18. Counselor: John 14:16, 16:7. Also called Advocate and Comforter (John 14:26).

[ii] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. All the divine attributes that God has, the Spirit has (Isa: 40:13,14; 1 Cor 2:10-13; Ps 139:7-9; Heb 10:29; 1 Pet 4:14); and likewise, the Spirit does what the Father and Son do but often times in a complementary role (Gen 1:2; Ps 33:6; Isa 40:12; John 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit may also be described as a divine Person in that He has His own intelligence (2 Cor 2:10-13), has affections and emotions (Acts 9:31; Rom 8:26; Eph 4:30), and in the same way the Son submitted to the Father, so the Spirit submits to the will of the Father and the Son. John 16:13-14; Acts 7:51, 15:28; 1 Cor 12:11.

[iii] John 14:16-17; John 16:7-15; Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 6:9; Eph 2:22; Eph 4:3-6. “Virtually all the divine ministrations to Christians are accomplished by the Holy Spirit—regeneration, baptism, sealing, indwelling, anointing, etc. Even more directly, to resist (Acts 7:51), quench (1 Thess. 5:19), grieve (Eph. 4:30) or insult the Spirit (Heb. 10:29) is to do so to God.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 15.

[iv] 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21.

[v] The Spirit “teaches us to pray, illumines us to the significance of Scripture for our lives, gives gifts to each believer for the building up of the church, and empowers our ministries with eternal consequences.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 21. 1 Cor 12:4, 8, 13:14

Short Summary on Reasons for Belief in God

Over the next few months we will begin looking at a couple of different topics including the Trinity, different religions and their beliefs (as best as I can articulate since I am by no means an expert), key doctrines for Christianity, and even some controversial ones.

Today, we look at reasons for believing in God. Think of this if you only had 30 seconds and could only give 3 reasons. This isn’t about an exhaustive apologetics, but a very high-level short summary of why I believe in a Christian God.

REASONS FOR BELIEF IN GOD

There are many examples that could be used for reasons to believe in God. First, creation as a whole, including the universe, galaxies, earth, humans and all the smallest particles that make up all things, points to an intelligent design. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps 19:1, NIV). He placed the sun in the exact location it needed to be in order to provide warmth, light and life to the earth.[1] The odds are so minute that all this was done by chance, as some believe, that every day the world continues to reveal the glory of God.

Secondly, God is a loving Father. God’s aim in creating the world was God Himself.[2] Creation occurs so that the love of the Father might be shared. He is an attentive Father who knows all that is happening and all of our needs from the needs of a hungry child to the number of hairs on a person’s head. “The love and goodness of the triune God is the source of all love and goodness.” The human tendency to know right from wrong points to the moral law God put within us.

Finally, the greatest evidence for believing in the Christian God is shown in the life of His Son Jesus Christ. The Son is the image of God, “perfectly showing us what the Father is like.”[3] As God inspired Scripture through the Holy Spirit, all of Scripture points to Jesus that we might know Him. In Christ, the goodness and the love of God is shown to all people. The life, death and burial of Jesus shows just how far God is willing to go to show His love for all of us. The resurrection of Christ, as He predicted multiple times, provides proof of His deity. By way of the cross, God the Father’s love was truly exemplified to all people by the death of His only Son.

[1] Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012), 62.

[2] Ibid, 48.

[3] Ibid, 43.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Reeves, Michael. Delighting in the Trinity. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012

Learning through the storm

As me and my family have dealt with our devastating news, I have been trying to get some amount of good through this. I have been searching for what God is teaching me. What am I supposed to be learning? There are a few modern songs that mention this and sometimes those are great but painful reminders. There is a purpose in this storm. To follow a line from Casting Crowns, to simply praise God in this storm. From another, to be a blessing during this time of hurt and pain. It is amazing how God uses different mediums to interact with us. Take a song for instance, I can hear it many times and sing the words but then one day for some reason, I actually hear and listen to the words. These beautiful heartfelt worshipful words. I am so thankful for Christian radio and the artists who are using these amazing God given talents for His glory.

Obviously there are many ways that God communicates to us. It could be a song or a sermon or Scripture or a feeling. Any number of ways, but I am thankful for all the ways that God does teach us and speak to us.

I have found myself really pressing in to Him recently seeking Him and His comfort. He has blessed me in many ways. He has taken this hurt and pain of mine to remind me and teach me of some very important lessons. Most are basic and fundamental, but if we don’t practice the fundamentals we won’t have a good foundation to build upon. God didn’t have to teach me. He didn’t have to use this time for good. But I am thankful that he makes all things work together for my good. I think of Joseph and his brothers and the famous line he told his them from Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…”

I don’t know what good will come from this or from any tragedy. But neither did Joseph and the eventual saving of the nation of Israel. It is amazing to look back and see God’s hand in things. It is so easy to get stuck in the trees and not see the forest. I get so caught up in this lower story that I take my eyes of the upper story (or as the business world states, the 50,000 foot view). God used Joseph and his story to protect his people from famine and other factors. He built this nation over time to be his people and send along a little boy raised in the house of Pharaoh to eventually lead them out. To one day bring along a humble young man that would slay a giant. Most notably, to send His own Son through that line to save all of us. Praise the Lord!

This is something God has really been teaching me a lot about recently. That there is an upper story going on that is beyond my small, pea-sized understanding. It doesn’t make it any easier. But it does remind me that there is this giant unimaginable God in control of everything. He is bigger than the tragedies that surround us. He is bigger than our afflictions. Our hurts. Our pains. He is greater than highest of mountains. He is not confined by insurmountable odds. He spoke this world into motion. He intervenes in our daily lives. His presence is imminent. It is near. God is here! God is with us! The next time you look in a mirror, as crazy as this may sound, tell yourself that you are a temple that God dwells in. 2 Corinthians 6:16 says, “…For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” God is in you. God is with us and we are in Him.

During this time, it is so easy for me to worry and get anxious. No matter how many times I see myself doing it and tell myself to stop, I still worry. Thankfully, by the grace of God, He has hidden a powerful verse in my heart. That is Philippians 4:6-7, “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I have really had to remind myself of that the past few days. I have had to remember that it is simply out of my hands. This battle is too big for me. I can’t heal her. I can’t make her well. I can’t take the pain away. No matter what I say or do, I can’t. I can’t… So I trust this battle to the only One greater than it. Whether He decides to do a miracle or not, that is up to Him. But only He can. I can say all the fancy words and phrases until I am blue in the face, but it won’t help. I don’t trust those words or put my faith in words, I put my faith and my trust in the One that those words point to. I trust this great battle to God. God, I can’t do this. I can’t beat the odds. I trust her and this battle to you.

At the same time, God has brought me back to the basics. Essentially, do I believe? Yes. Simply yes I believe. But to be honest with you there was also a light bulb moment that God had to bring me back to. As I read from His Word, I felt this simple question reverberating in my being. I had to make a choice at that moment. I had to not listen to what this world says or throws at me, lay logic down and worship God who is beyond all comprehension. I went back and in moments of utter joy and strength I just kept saying “I believe.” I believe what God has done. Can do. Will do. I believe who He is. What He has said. To go back and say different truths about God and who He is was exhilarating. It was an amazing spiritual high. It sounds simple but as the devil attacked my belief, God used that to strengthen it.

Lastly, God has used this time to remind me of something He taught me several months ago. That is during the dark times, while we will want to focus on the storms and the hurt and the pain, I need to focus on Him. The One is above it all and sees all and is transcendent. The One who needs nothing. Who is great and who is good. I want to focus more on Him and His attributes. God is reminding me and teaching me more about Him. To know and understand more of God, well, nothing compares to that. I want to know more about who God is. A. W. Tozer writes in “The Knowledge of the Holy” that one of the most important questions we face is what do we think of God. God never changes and will never change, but what we think of Him vary at times.

This is a time of hurt and pain. Full of emotion. But God is great and great is His faithfulness. During this time, during your own time, focus on who God is. Remember the things He has done. The freedom He has given. His immutability. His need for nothing. His infinitude. The depths of His love, mercy, grace, patience. His omnipotence. His omnipresence. Look upon that cross and be in awe.

Remember:
Believe
God is good
Trust
Focus on God – who He is and what He has done
Do not worry or be anxious

The news…

The news shook me. I was stunned. I was too broken up for words. I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t expecting this to happen. I wasn’t prepared for it… yet somehow I felt I was.

The other day my wife had to break the news to me. My parents called her earlier in the day to tell her what happened but didn’t want me to find out over the phone. They wanted her to tell me in person. As she told me what happened, my heart sunk. I was literally shocked at what she told me. Yet, in the strangest way I felt comfort.

I called up my parents to discuss what happened and what is next. I couldn’t bring myself to tears. I felt like God had lead me into this storm. I don’t get why health issues keep happening to this precious life, but they do. as they told me the events of the day, I just took it in.

By now you may be wondering who this special someone is to me. You may have already figured it out but it is my dog that I left in Texas with my parents. You may say well it is just a dog. And I can understand that, but the only thing I have to respond is God has blessed me with a huge heart for animals, especially dogs. I grow way too attached to them and they become so special to me. Some will understand how they become a part of our family and some will not. my point is not to discuss that but to discuss God’s provision.

The news that day came. They had to take her to the optomologist who was by the grace of God taking appointments that day. As he examined her, he found that her right eye had too much pressure around it. it was causing severe pain. In fact, she had lost sight in it. it was time for a decision, they could keep running tests or remove the eye and hopefully any other pains that go with it. On a day that an appointment opened up and on a day when there was time for emergency surgery, the eye had to be removed…

It was supposed to be just an infection…this wasn’t supposed to happen…the medicine was supposed to work.

What do we do now? As I heard all of this, I can only say that God was with me. And I know that His hand was at work this day. The fact that they were able to take her in and see the doctor on the only day he does surgery, was a miracle. My dog, my girl was now fighting for her life.

The word that I hate more than anything came up again. The word none of us like to hear or want to hear. Cancer. The doctor sent the eye off to see if it was cancerous.

I have seen this movie too many times before. I have seen this and hate the way it ends. I never want to watch it again.

My only course of action was prayer. What an honor to go before the Almighty, the Giver and Sustainer of life, the Healer and ask for a miracle. I can’t go to any CEO or leader in this world, but I can go to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords any time. So with tears pouring out and snot filling my nose, I threw myself at His feet. I had only one hope and that was the only hope I needed. God is the only hope I will ever need.

A few days past and as I prayed and prayed and struggled with trying to make God answer my prayers but saying certain words or rituals, I was reminded I can’t make God do anything and His ways are perfect and mine are not. Then, I started to feel something. My ears were hearing things, my heart began feeling something. Something was about to happen.

I was in Kansas City with my wife and as we drove around the city on Friday, every song on the radio was about pain and how God can move mountains. It was a call to faith. Unfortunately, my nature was allowing worry and fear to come in. God shook me and reminded me to not let it in. to give Him my anxieties and worries. To truly practice Philippians 4:6-7 (Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.). The moment I felt victory, satan came harder and attacked more.

Right after we got back from our trip, my parents called. I kept worrying and wondering why they haven’t called. I wanted to know the results. We finally had them. But at the same time, I didn’t want to know what the results were. I didn’t want to hear it. Then the phone rang.

The results came back positive for cancer. The lab sent the eye off to another lab to see if the cancer had spread to other areas or if it was contained in the removed eye. Now…we wait again.

No matter what, it will be a tough road. I have hope. I have trust. I still think back to the day when the songs on the radio reminded me that anything is possible with God. I don’t know what is next. I don’t know what will happen. My heart aches. My sadness is heavy. But my God is good no matter what. He has reminded me of what is important and how short this life is. No matter how young, our bodies break down. I simply trust in Jesus.

Her name is Gunda (Goon-duh) and she needs prayer. I pray for a miracle to the One who makes all things possible.