A little about me as told by my wife...

We are not certain precisely when my husband became a believer. We know that it occurred sometime during our first year of marriage. We also know that it was very hard for him to surrender himself into God's loving care, because of anxieties that my husband had acquired while a child.

During most of his childhood, my husband was poor. He told me that they liked to believe that they were lower middle class, but now he knows that they were just plain poor. He never was sure when he'd have enough clothes, or shoes that fit, or food on the table. As a result of this past, my husband didn't want to live his adult life in want.

Also, now as an adult, my husband was hearing Christians say: Trust in God...He wants to save you from your sins and have a relationship with you. My husband kept on holding back from God for months because he wasn't sure if he could trust this Jesus to truly take care of him....all his needs,.., spiritual as well as physical. Finally, the scripture Matthew 6:25-34 broke through the wall of his fears and my husband surrendered himself completely into the Lord's care. And he was excited; excited about living the Christian life. He wanted to follow Jesus' leading in life. He had sold out to Jesus completely.

During our first year of marriage, my husband was learning his profession. And as "the new kid" he was assigned to run the work and deliver it when it was done. Quite often these deliveries took place in the late night hours. And he usually had many stops each night. In order for me to even have time to talk with him, I often chose to ride in the car with him while he made his deliveries. It was during one of these evening delivery trips that an interesting event occurred.

We were downtown and finishing up to go home. It was cold that night and the sky looked like some snow flurries could be expected. Since we hadn't had snow yet that winter, the sidewalks were clear, but everything was so cold and gray. Our car had just turned the corner when my husband saw a man walking on the sidewalk toward a wide doorway and my husband pointed this man out to me. The man was dressed poorly; very inadequately for the weather. And his shoes, if you could call them that, were split in so many places that they could not possibly keep out the elements.

Almost as quickly as we drove past this man, my husband pulled over to the curb, put on his flashing lights, and announced that he was giving that man his shoes! I really had no time to protest because my husband was already out of the car. I watched as they talked and after some discussion, the man accepted the shoes. My husband came back to the car in his socks and we talked as we drove toward home.

I was concerned because my husband had only two pairs of shoes that were decent enough for work and here he'd just given one pair away! But my husband said that the scriptures said that if you have more than enough and someone was in need, then the Lord wants us to share. He also explained that he could only wear one pair of shoes at a time anyway, so now this simplified things. We closed the conversation with the thought that when my husband needed another pair of shoes, the Lord would provide them.

Time passed, and we could have used that extra pair of shoes, but we got along. Occasionally we talked about the incident and wondered if the Lord had ever intended to give my husband that second pair of shoes.

Approximately 18 months after my husband gave away his shoes, we were visiting at a friend's apartment. Midway through the evening, our host got up and told my husband that he had something for him. He brought back a pair of brown loafers. They fit perfectly. He went on to explain that for more than a year the Lord had been prompting him to give these shoes to my husband, be he just hadn't gotten around to it. We mentioned that my husband had wanted another pair of shoes, but didn't go into any details. We looked at each other and we couldn't wait to talk about it on the way home.

We decided that the most important issue in the "shoe incident" was the way in which the Lord used people to convey his blessings. But the people were always "allowed" to function within their own free-will. My husband was a vehicle for blessing for the man with no shoes because my husband was so willing to obey without question. Our friend withheld a blessing that the Lord intended for us because he was unwilling to obey without question. And the Lord never made our friend obey, he only prompted and let our friend choose to obey. This was an exciting revelation to us because we were able to see both sides of a blessing and how a man can choose to be a part of it.

10 types of people...

There are only 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The results of family and friends...

Gil and Barry are… Ephesians

Chances are you’ve made a couple of whopper
mistakes in your life… cause it’s usually people
like you who really understand their
position in Christ. You know it’s not by might,
nor by power, and certainly not through works,
but only through the blood of Christ. That’s all there
is that’s standing between you and the Father…
and that’s all you need. People find you to
be generally more grace-filled than most.
You are attractive to the faith, and are usually
a bit on the non-traditional side.

Lee and Brad are… Proverbs

You don't speak much. But when you do,
people tend to listen. You are logical and precise,
yet you have a very tender heart that longs for
others to learn both from your experience, and
your personal study. People see you more as a
serious person who is willing to listen completely
before trying to solve their problems. They also trust
you to guide them down the right path.
If you are a man who aspires to such, you would
make a great elder. If not, your spiritual gifting
should at least point you to some form of leadership
role in the Body... wise leaders are always in demand.

Lizzy, Dan, Amaryllis, and Christa are… Romans

You have insight on what
it means to turn your life around
and try to live for God.
You really want people to understand
the deeper things of God,
but have a tendency to come across
as pushy and prideful... and at times,
maybe you are. But you know your
weakness and work hard at trying
to temper it with grace and compassion.

Marian is… Leviticus

I’d wager that you are pretty used to
people saying that you are legalistic.
You like having a list of rules to follow
and view most every issue as either black
or white. Part of you would love to experience
the freedom that others seem to have, but you
fear change as much as you fear breaking a
rule. The faithfulness of grace escapes you.

Which book of the Bible are you?

The results of this quiz were written with sincere Believers in mind.

What is your outlook on life?

So much to say... so little time to say it.
People need a leader... I'm here to lead.
> It's all gonna end soon... better get ready.
It's a song ready to be sung!
Life? It's hard... and the troubles just keep comin'.
There's so much to learn... so much to absorb.
> I am holy and blameless... through no work of my own.

What is your mission?

Sing... sing a song... sing out loud... sing out STRONG!
I don't know... depression overwhelms me to the point of not thinking clearly.
To follow the rules... all of them.
To teach... to encourage... to tell it like it is.
I'm just watchin' the signs, man... watchin' the signs.
> To show others the grace I've been shown by God.
> To listen before I speak.

How do most people feel about you?

They think I'm crazy.
They think I'm rigid... and a little too strict.
They usually think I'm uplifting... and maybe a tad loud.
Some think I talk too much... but that's mostly because they don't like what I have to say.
I'm sure they think I'm a downer most of the time... but they just don't understand what my life is like.
> They usually see me as an encouragement.
They mostly think I'm deep.

What kind of animal do you prefer?

A heifer... well done.
A pack-mule. That's what I feel like anyway. Always doin' people's dirty work... never gettin' a break.
A lion... no, a lamb!
> A bird... flying free in the sky.
Any animal is fine with me... they're all okay to have around.
An owl.
A spotless lamb.

What is your view of God?

I know He's there... but He must not be very pleased with me... otherwise my life might be better.
He is full of grace and mercy.
He is powerful and miraculous... requiring much from those who follow Him.
He is my comfort... my shelter... my tower of refuge and strength.
He's the Alpha and Omega... beginning and the end... who was, who is, and who is to come!
He is the giver of all widsom and understanding.
> His grace is greater than all my sin.

My responses to the above are marked with a “>”.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Universal Prayer

Attributed to Pope Clement XI (1649-1721)

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end.
I praise you as my constant helper,
and call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
correct me with your justice,
comfort me with your mercy,
protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
my words: to have you for their theme;
my actions: to reflect my love for you;
my sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me: in the way you ask,
for as long as you ask, because you ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding, strengthen my will,
purify my heart, and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
and to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
and to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my god,
and see myself as I really am:
a pilgrim in this world,
a Christian
called to respect and love all whose lives I touch,
those in authority over me
or those under my authority,
my friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
greed by generosity, apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself and reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning, courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive in prayer,
temperate in food and drink,
diligent in my work, firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear, my conduct without fault,
my speech blameless, my life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me, keep your law,
and come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
that my true future is the happiness of heaven,
that life on earth is short,
and the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death
with a proper fear of judgment,
but a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death to the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord