Great Expectations

I’m been meaning to write this since we got into our new home here in Nampa, ID. I see it’s been months since I’ve posted anything of my thoughts here. I do update Twitter just about every day though…

When we first got here we thought we’d have to rent something. Then with how the market was it looked like we might be able to buy something small after all. Then God totally blew us away with the house he provided for us. It’s actually the nicest home we’ve ever had. It totally exceeded my expectations. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful.

Then I realized something. The reason I was so thankful is because my expectations were blown away. And I also realized that the reason I’m not normally so thankful is that I really expect way too much.

William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions said, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” I want to have the kind of expectations that Carey had. If you know about his life as the first missionary to India, his expectations of God were just that God would use him in the circumstances he was in. From what I can tell, he had no expectations about what those circumstances would be. I think Carey learned the secret to contentment that Paul talks about. Perhaps that’s also the secret to thankfulness.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  — John 1:16

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If I Had Another Son, I’d Name Him Peter

I love Peter. He’s such an encouragement. Or rather what God did in his life is an encouragement. If God gave us another son, I’d probably name him Peter.

Playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” He easily could have been talking about Peter. Peter was never afraid to make mistakes, and that led to a number of important learning experiences throughout his days with Jesus.

Read more here.

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God Can Get ‘er Done

From today’s devos:

Jonah didn’t reach the pinnacle of godly behavior or attitude, but God still used him to deliver His message to Nineveh, and to us. His saving grace was that he recognized his need for God, and he called on Him for help. If you ever doubt your ability to accomplish what God has called you to do, call out to Him for help. Don’t rely on your strength alone to achieve great things for God. If He can send a fish to save a reluctant prophet, He can provide for you.

Relying on God instead of on myself is a major thing He’s been teaching me through deputation. I’ve been accused of arrogance and pride from time to time. Hopefully I’m making progress, but I really don’t know. It’s hard for me to see specifics in my life that I need to change in this area. But I am learning that at least that “without him I can do nothing.”

Please pray for me. I’ve been discouraged lately and this is seems to be some how part of that.

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The Edge Of Free Will – A Prayer

We have to pray within the will of God. If we could just pray people into salvation, we certainly would. But there’s this pesky thing called free will that we have to deal with. BTW – The best reason I can come up with for free will is that it must be kind of like how kids feel about their parents’ love. You’ll hear them say, “you have to love me, your my mom.” And because parents “have to love” their kids, it doesn’t count some how. So I guess if we had to love God, then maybe it wouldn’t count in a similar kind of way.

What ever the actual reason is, it’s clear that God has given us free will. We can’t pray people into salvation. We have to allow for free will. But that’s it. That’s the only place we have to stop. I believe we can pray people right up to the edge of free will. We can pray that they will get all their questions answered. We can pray that they will understand the message. We can even pray that they will know that’s it true. We can pray that God will work in their life such that the only thing left for the person to do is say, “yes.”

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Don’t Worry

Today’s devotional was on Matthew 6:25-34, the passage about not being anxious about physical needs because God knows about them. After all, he cares for the lilies of the fields and the birds of the air, so isn’t obvious he’ll take care of us? I guess that’s hyperbole or some other literary device, because there must be millions of Christians living in poverty around the world.

But this message must also be for those who are in poverty. They’re not supposed to worry. I can’t image how they wouldn’t. But I certainly don’t have reason to worry. I wonder why I still do. Lord help me not to.

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From todays devotional:

Keeping a spiritual journal or diary is a good habit, one that helps us keep track of where, how, and why we’ve been on our journey of faith. Today, we recommend that you write a spiritual journal entry on the topic of pride. Specifically, what area of your life do you feel is the most full of pride? Why? What have you tried to do about it? What has God done to teach you humility in this area? What more do you want the Spirit to do in the future?

Ok, I’ll try.

  • What area of my life do I feel is the most full of pride? Why?
    • When I do something and it doesn’t work or I realize I made a mistake on something, I get very frustrated and down on myself because of my perfectionistic expectations of myself
  • W hat have I tried to do about it? What has God taught me? What do I want Him to do?
    • Self image is something I’ve struggled with since I was a kid. It started back then with cruel kids picking on me. Since college, it’s been this perfectionism that’s been the trigger for negative feelings. I guess at this point I’m aware that pride is the root cause of all this. I’d like God to help me have the perspective of myself as His child.
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It’s Hard To See My Sin

Todays devotion was on Isaiah 6:1-7 where Isaiah is overwhelmed with his sin and the holiness of God. This was the application for today:

As we know, confession of sin is a needed spiritual habit in our lives (1 John 1:9). Too often, though, we approach confession the same way we approach petitions, reading a “laundry list” and checking off each item. Today, we suggest having a different kind of time of confession, one done with the attitude of Isaiah. Pray in the “woe is me” spirit that recognizes the chasm between a perfectly holy God and ourselves, and thus cries out for the forgiveness and cleansing only He can give.

I find it hard to even come up with a “laundry list”, let alone have a “woe is me” spirit. Every once in a while I really screw up and am reminded of my need for grace. I probably need to spend a lot more time in contemplative prayer.

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