On the Horizon

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Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

~ Revelation 21:1

 

 

 

Almost three years ago I moved to the Big-D, Dallas, Texas and have fallen in love with this city. It has become my home, not just the place I currently live, but home. It’s here, Dallas,  where my community is, the place I work, and the place I long to see the Lord move and do a great work.  Anytime I travel away from the city there is always a healthy-longing to be back home, with my family, friends and my church. This is what home does for us, when we are present it reminds us that we are where we are supposed to be and when we are absent it reminds us that we are not where we meant to be. Anytime I am traveling back to Dallas and get about twenty minutes out, I see it, the Dallas skyline, reminding me that I am almost there, that home is near, and my travels haven’t been in vain.

This past weekend as I made a quick weekend trip away for ministry on the way back I saw the Dallas Skyline and was reminded that this is not our home. There is another City, a Heavenly one, awaiting us. One that we should long for and be looking for. As we look around here on earth, we should be reminded that this is not our home. Our Home is on the horizon and when we see it we will know that we have not traveled in vain. Home is near lets us not forget Paul’s reminder:

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. ~ Philippians 3:20-21 

This is not our Home, our Home is awaiting, let us not travel this life in vain. At the end of our days may we be able to say with the Apostle Paul:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ~ 2 Timothy 4:7 

The longing in us as we look around is to remind us that this is not our home, but our Home is coming. Look out to the Horizon.


“To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.”

~ Jonathan Edwards 


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Actively Waiting

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Wait for the Lordbe strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

~ Psalm 27:14 

 

 

We learn early on in Geometry that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, maybe one of the only things from math we remember and continue to use today. When traveling we look for the shortest route; when planning out goals we want the easiest and quickest way possible to obtain them; etc. (your math teacher wasn’t lying when they said you would use math the rest of your life).

The shortest distance being a straight line (or as straight as possible) is great for math homework, or traveling, or even new years resolutions, but what about when you feel the Lord has called you to something or is leading you in a certain direction, and it isn’t happening at the pace you want? The Lord isn’t bound by laws of math, and doesn’t always lead in a short straight line. Think about Abraham, the Lord promised him his offspring would be more than the stars in the sky, then he had to wait 25 years before Issac was born. Or think back to Moses, the Israelites were oppressed by Pharaoh and the Lord heard the cries of His people then sent Moses to Midian for 40 years before bringing him back to Egypt to set the Israelites free. More often than not we see in the scriptures the Lord preparing someone much longer than we would like to see in our own lives today.

So what do we do in the waiting? Continually I find myself having this discussion with people, a lot of brothers in the Lord who feel that call of ministry on their lives and they long (rightly so) to be pastors, church planters, missionaries as soon as yesterday but the Lord hasn’t opened that door yet. So what do they do?


Actively Wait!


I have been thinking about this a lot and believe we can look at David’s life as a guide on how to actively wait, until the Lord sees fit to open that door we are longing to be opened in our lives. If you remember in 1 Samuel 16, David is anointed as King, but it’s not until much later that he actually receives the position God had called him to. So what did David actively do in the waiting:

  1. Remained Faithful – For David, being the anointed King, the King in waiting, meant to spend a season where he was still watching over his father’s sheep, and meant that he would serve as a lyre player in the presence of the current King, Saul (1 Samuel 16:14-23; 1 Samuel 17:14-15). For us, we must remember what the Lord asks of us is Faithfulness and Obedience where we are, today.
  2. Understood all of Life is Preparation – David understood that everything he would face in life would be preparing him for all that the Lord was calling him to do. That when lions and bears attacked his sheep, the Lord was teaching him that He is faithful and able to deliver him (1 Samuel 17:31-37). Also as David was constantly fleeing Saul, the Lord was training his leadership skills, and fighting skills, all skills the Lord would use in David to free Israel from all their surrounding enemies. For us, we must trust the Lord in the process and see that He is molding us a preparing us for all that He is calling us to.
  3. Remained Who He Was – David, the anointed King, did not seek to be anybody that he wasn’t. He was called to be David, and be King as David, not to emulate Saul (1 Samuel 17:38-40). If God has called you to preach, plant, or be a missionary, He has called you and is equipping you for that calling, we don’t have to try to be someone else.
  4. Didn’t Seek the Position on His Own – Multiple times David could have killed the one man standing in between him and the position the Lord had called him to, and yet he wouldn’t lift a finger against God’s Elect, instead he honored him and served him (1 Samuel 24; 1 Samuel 26). We can trust the Lord, that if He is leading us in a direction and preparing us, He will use us in His timing.
  5. Constantly Sought the Lord – Once Saul, the man who was King, died, David didn’t seek to rush to power, like it’s finally my time. The scriptures tell us that David sought the Lord first to see if it was His time to go up. The moment he had been waiting for, he first stopped and asked, “now Lord?” (2 Samuel 2:1-7). This is why David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). For us as we wait, seek the Lord at every turn and let us not get out in front of His timing.

Whatever season of life you currently find yourself in, the Lord has not forgotten you, He is at work, trust Him. We can actively wait on Him, knowing that the desires and longings in our lives were crafted and placed in us by Him; and He will use them in His timing, for His Glory, and our joy!


“If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people”

~ Charles Spurgeon


My Dr. PawPaw

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A joyful heart is good medicine,

~ Proverbs 17:22(a)

 

 

 

 

Recently I was asked who are the greatest men in your life that have influenced you, historically, biblically, and current? Over the past few years I have taken time to introduce you to two men that have made a huge impact on my life (PawPaw & my Dad); today I would like to introduce another man in my life that the Lord has used to impact me and teach me tremendously over the years.

This man is my Dr. PawPaw! Appropriately named, and not because as the oldest grandchild it was me that named him, but he is a doctor but more importantly a PawPaw! Sometimes we would see our grandparents at the same time, so “Dr. PawPaw” helped us call them apart! He is one of the most loving and joyful man I have ever been around, and when you ask anyone who knows him or who he has ever operated on they will tell you the same thing. Over the years since he joined our family in 1992 when he married my Nana, I have watched him, admired him and learned a lot from him. Here is a short list of ways he has impacted me and taught me:

  1. Be Joyful – Dr. PawPaw is the most joyful person I know, and this isn’t an understatement. He is always whistling and singing everywhere he goes. If he is taking out the trash for my Nana, he is making up a song “taking out the trash today just for Doris Bay! ” I have had endless songs made up on the spot about me and whatever we were doing, and the family wasn’t the only one, when people here who my PawPaw is they always say, I saw him when I broke my _______ and he was always singing songs about me!  Every time I see him, he will have a new story or joke to share, even if it is at my Nana’s expense that gets him in trouble! I think his favorite joke when someone tells him hi that he doesn’t recognize is: “who is that? Well I’m glad they don’t have a limp!” (he is an Orthopedic Surgeon)  He has taught me to be joyful no matter the circumstances and to spread that joy to others.
  2. Be Humble – My Dr. PawPaw while being a doctor for most of his life he has had the opportunity to do a lot in the surrounding area for the local hospitals and local community, and if you didn’t know any of that and met him he would come across as an average Joe. I’ve never seen him look down on those around him or to think too highly of himself, and never wants any recognition for anything he has done. He has taught me to be humble in everything I do.
  3. Love Others Well – My Dr. PawPaw, loves people, a lot! Its part of what makes him a great doctor and a great PawPaw. He just genuinely loves people. Multiple friends have come with me over to his house so he could examine a knee or an ankle and he didn’t mind checking them out; and he will always later ask me how they are doing. Anything he can do for you he will. I remember when him and my Nana first got married, all of us grandkids wanted McDonald’s for lunch, he said ok took down our orders jumped in his car backed out of the driveway and pulled right back in got out and said, “Where’s McDonald’s?” He simply wanted to take care of his grandkids and was set on doing it until he realized he had no idea where McDonald’s was. He has taught me to not always ask questions as to how or why, but to simply love those around you.
  4. Work Hard – One final thing for this short list of things I have learned from my Dr. PawPaw is to work hard. My Dr. PawPaw is now 92 and just retired two years ago (you read that right). In a day in age where everyone wants to make it to 65 be able to retire and not have to work, he worked until he was 90! Because he loved what he was doing, he loves people and helping people out. And when he is not in the office he is always working on some project around the house, fixing something or building something. He has shown me and taught me that no matter what you do, to work hard at it and enjoy it.

My Dr. PawPaw continues to teach me on what it looks like to be a man, husband and grandpa. To be joyful, humble, love well and work hard in all that you do. And for that I am thankful!

Look for the Open Door

locked-doors-2And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.

~ Acts 16:6

 

It happens in every horror movie ever created, someone or a group of people are being chased by the villain and somehow they manage to find a locked door; now everyone watching it screams for them to run, while they sit there and knock and kick and try to force open the door (this always ends badly). And its a movie, we know its going to happen, we can even predict it, continuing to run and seeking an open door just makes sense to us watching in the comfort of a movie theater or on our couch. But what do we do in life when God shows us a locked door? Do we sit there and bang on it, kick it, try to force it open; or do we move on and walk through the doors He has opened in our lives?

There are times in our lives when God may currently have a door in our lives closed, the desire may not necessarily be a bad thing, just that at that time the Lord has other doors open.

Why spend all our time fighting a closed-door? 

In this passage in Acts Paul desires to go to Asia to spread the Gospel, this is a good and right desire, but at the time the Spirit says no. Paul, one of the greatest missionaries to ever live doesn’t try to fight it, he doesn’t go to Asia anyways (perhaps he learned from reading Jonah to be obedient); he continues his journey until the Lord gives him a vision of a man in Macedonia, urging him to come. He is obedient and goes, and the church of the Philippians is born. Again we see in Romans 15, that Paul has had a great desire to travel to Rome but up until this time had not been able to come because the Lord continued to open up doors for him to preach the Gospel in places where it had never been preached before.

Simply looking at Paul’s life we see a life of obedience, a life that faithfully walked through the open the doors the Lord laid out for him, this is why at the end of his life he could boldly proclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).” Why? He had lived a life of obedience and faithfulness.

I see this playing out in my life and in those around me over and over, sometimes it’s so easy to focus on the locked door that we miss out on the open ones. I recently was discussing this with a friend who was asking me about my singleness, and how I was handling it. The truth is, yes there is a desire to be married and a desire for a family one day, but at this time it is a door the Lord currently has closed in my life, but in His graciousness He has opened many others (ministry opportunities, home group, speaking opportunities, volunteering with student ministry, etc.).

More than marriage, I want to be found faithful and obedient! 

The ultimate goal for man (men and women) is not to have a good marriage and family, but to glorify God in our lives and to make much of Him, and that means in our singleness and in our marriages. We seek marriage not to “complete” us, but because it is a good desire and to have a marriage that honors and glorifies the Lord as a living example of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

My concern is I see so many people who have gifts and talents for the Body, the Church, yet they aren’t using them because they are so focused on that one locked door the Lord has for them in this season. Look up and see all the doors the Lord currently has open for you. Be obedient! Be faithful! He’s a good Father, trust Him.

Do I look for that open door to marriage and a family? Yes! But when I find it locked, I want to focus on the open doors and not the locked ones.

Fellas – We should be looking for Godly women to form Godly friendships with in hopes that they will blossom into something more. But only Christ will satisfy, don’t stop your pursuit of Him fighting locked doors. Be obedient and faithfully walk through the open doors the Lord has in your life.

Ladies – I know, you are waiting for that guy to man up and ask you out (sometimes guys are slow) but don’t stare at the locked door wondering when it will open. Be obedient, and faithfully walk through the open doors the Lord has in your life.

And when the door of marriage opens, faithfully walk through it as you have all the other open doors the Lord has opened in your life.


‘Well done, good and faithful servant.”

~ Jesus


Related Posts: 

Behold and Tell

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“He said to them, “Come and you will see.”

~ John 1:39(a) 

 

 

Two weeks ago like many of you I began a new Bible reading plan for 2016, this year I am following JR Vassar and Church at the Cross’s reading plan (here) and I’m loving it. As this year started I have found myself in the Gospel of John and been reminded of the simple doings of the Christian life because this little phrase, “come and see,” keeps popping up in the first few chapters.

Originally with the early disciples:

John 1:39 – He said to them, Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

     – Jesus to early Disciples, when asked where He was staying.

John 1:45-46 – Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Context: John 1)

     – Phillip encounters Christ and runs to Nathanael to find tell him.

Then with the Woman at the Well:

John 4:29 – “Comesee a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (Context: John 4)

     – Woman encounters Christ and goes and tells her whole town.

In reading through these passages, I was reminded of this truth:

The Christian life is one of beholding and telling. 

Beholding Christ for who He is, and telling those around us.


“The ultimate aim of the gospel is the display of God’s glory and the removal of every obstacle to our seeing it and savoring it as our highest treasure. “Behold Your God!” is the most gracious command and the best gift of the gospel. If we do not see Him and savor Him as our greatest fortune, we have not obeyed or believed the gospel.” 

~ John Piper 


 

2015, Production of Hope

FullSizeRenderNot only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

~ Romans 5:3-5

2015, what a ride. To say that it was a roller coaster would be an understatement; this year had many highs and many lows, and an ever-present constant:

The Lord is Faithful. Loving. Present.

2105 was one of the hardest years of my life and yet because of the Lord’s faithfulness, one which I grew the most and thus it became one of my best years of my life. This year was one which brought suffering, that turned into endurance, that ultimately produced hope, and the Lord was at work in every aspect of it, even lovingly working before hand to prepare me when I had no idea what was coming.

Last December, I was privileged to preach at a church back in my hometown, and the main passage of the message was Hebrews 11:8-16; looking at how Abraham and Sarah never returned to where the Lord called them from because their eyes were focused on where the Lord was calling them to. Application being the truth that we too have been called to a promise land, that this is not our home and there is coming a day when we as believers will be with the Lord for all eternity. So whether 2105 is the best or worst year of your life, there is coming a day when it will be better and we will be with Him.

Little did I know, but the Lord was driving that deep into my heart as I studied and as I preached, lovingly preparing me for 2015. Three weeks after delivering this message, I was let go from my job, and it was stressful but honestly I thought I would find a job quickly. You see, I have a good resume, I have good work experience, and a good education while living in Dallas that has thousands of job openings all over DFW (all would prove to be misplaced hopes). But the Lord had other plans, for five and half months I applied and applied and applied all over the metroplex. For jobs I was qualified for, for jobs I was over qualified for, and jobs I was under qualified for, with no results. For five and a half months I wondered what the Lord was doing, wondered where He was.

He was there lovingly performing surgery. In His love He was removing all misplaced hopes in my life with the only Hope that will never fail us, Himself. For five and a half months He provided over and over for me. For five and half months He reminded me that He had called me to Dallas, and that yes life was currently hard but I was right where He wanted me.


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

~ Lamentations 3:22-23


2015 brought many lows:

  • Unemployed for five and a half months
  • Lost two Grandparents
  • Sickness hit the family

And many highs:

  • Saw a sister whom we have prayed and prayed for come to know the Lord as her Savior.
  • Saw the Lord prove faithful over and over
  • The Lord blessed me with many ministry opportunities to be used by Him.

And He has given me Hope, hope that doesn’t put us to shame, because hope in Him never fails. We misplace a lot of our hopes:

  • in a spouse
  • in health
  • in a job
  • a new home, car, etc.

But only hope in Christ can sustain us when the world is crashing down around us. All misplaced hopes can fail us, but there is one hope that never will, and that hope is Christ.


The hope of the righteous brings joy,

~ Proverbs 10:28


In 2015, the Lord lovingly brought me to a place when I could lay face down on the floor and honestly proclaim, “Lord I don’t know what You are doing, but I trust You.” And that is so freeing, and a gift that makes 2015 a great year.

 

Forgetfulness of Comparison

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But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

~ Galatians 6:4

 

Theodore Roosevelt said that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” a statement that I see play its self out time and time again in our lives. I believe that comparison also tends to lead to forgetfulness. Forgetfulness of where we have come from, the progress we have made, and the special gifts and talents that we have.

I see this played out again and again at my gym almost weekly where, someone will be discouraged with score for the workout (I do Crossfit so each workout is judged by a time or number of reps our rounds, etc.). Someone will be upset because they got beat or that they are still unable to hit a certain movement like someone else can (without thinking maybe that other person has been at it longer, or that they put in extra hours of work to be able to efficiently hit that movement). When this arises, the first question I always want to ask is, “Six months ago or a year ago how would you of done in this workout?” Typically the answer is, “Oh I wouldn’t have got anywhere near the score I got today.” Ah, the reassurance of remembrance.

Comparison not only steals our joy, it causes us to forget. This is clearly seen in the gym, perhaps in the work place or even in home life. But it also plays itself out in our churches. Much like the discouraged man in the gym, we look around at the “holiness and sanctification” of others and we forget.

Comparison to others causes us to forget:

  • The Work God has done in us.
  • All that the Lord has rescued us from.
  • The Uniqueness that God created us with.
  • The special talents that the Lord has graciously given us.
  • That we may not be what we long to be, but we are no longer what we once were.
  • That He who began a work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6).

When the temptation to compare ourselves with other brothers and sisters arises, let us not forget but fight to remember. Remember who He is, and all that He has been doing and is currently doing in our lives. May we seek to be faithful and obedient in all that He ask of us with our eyes on Him and not others, for His Glory and our joy.