Tag Archives: faith

Crumbs or Feast

DysonbytheLake

We have a collie that absolutely loves to clean up after our four kids once meal time is wrapped up.

It’s gotten to the point, that he will forfeit his own food (which is proper dog-food) in order to get the mini-buffet within the creases of the high-chair. But what makes a dog so inclined to pursue a few tasty morsels, compared to the well balanced diet he is consistently being offered?

It makes me think of how we see church sometimes.

In our church we are blessed beyond measure to have Pastors that care for and feed the flock the balanced truth on such a consistent basis.

We are constantly taught week after week, the amazing Word of God in ways which we can apply it to our lives so we can be succesful. Yet sometimes, it can be the smallest of distractions that keep us from being there consistently.

Sure we all have holidays and vacations, and those are necessary. I’m talking about general consistency in church attendance. This past week, my Pastor reminded us that our roots are to go down, while our fruit is to go up, and that a tree is not sustained by it’s own fruit.

Yes, camping is one of my favorite things to do with my family, I feel the most relaxed when I “get away from it all.” But God did’t design us to always do that, sometimes we need to be in the thick of it, getting our hands dirty for the Kingdom.

As springtime approaches and the sun sticks around a little longer each day, let’s all be reminded that we are to bear fruit for others to eat of, and this means that we need to be in church, to be the church.

Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching. (Heb 10:25 AMP)

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Pulpit, Yes. Soapbox, No.

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We each have a pulpit.

We always have.

Whether or not we’ve used if effectively, it exists.

We have been standing on these pulpits for years now.

Living our lives, describing our values, our beliefs, our faith, to the people around us in great detail.

Sometimes we may have even used words to do this.

It’s been said that only 7% of communication is obtained verbally.

That means that 93% of communication is obtained simply by watching someone’s behaviour.

It’s safe to say that the people we surround ourselves with often, have a pretty good idea of what we hold as important. They have seen how we respond to adversity. They know how we handle a set-back. They know where our hope is. They know whether we respect your spouse simply by how you talk about him or her. They can see where our priorities are when we are talking about the weekend.

No two individuals have the exact same pulpit. Each one is a little different.

These pulpits are a chance to speak into other’s lives as well, let’s make a concious choice to not misuse the influence we have in our various environments.

Think of the people around you as your congregation, and your life as the message.

We need to open our eyes and realize who our own personal congregations are.

It’s our co-workers, the guys at the gym, the people on the bus, the waitress in the restaurant, the list goes on. In this day in age we also have a tremendous opportunity to step up to our cyberspace pulpits too!

Facebook friends, followers on Twitter, and our circles on Google+.

Let’s use these connection points to encourage others and speak life and blessing into everyone we cross paths with.

Let’s choose to be intentional in thought, word, and deed. People may not believe what you say, but they will always believe what you do.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15 NKJV)

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The Unbeatable Tag Team

I was running Saturday night, and I wanted to finish strong so I asked God to help me do just that.

I was reminded then and there, that it’s not when I’m strutting around on my own strength that I can achieve great things, but instead when I admit, “I can’t do this without you” that the awesome things happen.

God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is sufficient for us, and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

It’s in the times where we have done all to stand, and keep standing in faith that the astonishing happens. We finally reach the goal that we have been working towards, or we finish that project that just seemed impossible, or we run a little further or faster than we did last time.

Let’s never forget to ask God to help us in what He has assigned us to do. He’s the other man of our unbeatable tag team, reaching through the ropes yelling, “Tag me! Tag me!”

All we have to do is humble ourselves to Him and say, ok God, I need your help!

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Guest Blog Post – Angela Marois

It has finally happened in my home. I’ll have to admit, I was a little shocked to hear it. I thought my kids were still way too young for this, but the other day those words escaped out of Talina’s mouth.

“But that’s not fair!”

My first thought was where she could have heard that? Every time my kids say something new and shocking I like to assume it came from outside the household. Generally not true, but that’s another blog.

My second thought was that I should let her in on a little secret – life is not fair!

What I ended up doing instead was sitting her down and asking her what she meant by that. It occurred to me that though she knew those words, it was doubtful she knew what they meant. When I asked her, she explained that she thought it wasn’t fair that Jarel got to go help Daddy and she didn’t.

So is it true? Was that not fair?

A while back I read some comments on a blog that was focused on being fair. Most of the parents commenting mentioned that being fair meant if one kid gets something, the other(s) do as well. Or if one went somewhere and the other wanted to go, then they went too. They all leaned towards the thought that being fair meant treating each child the same way. The same gifts, the same amounts, everything the same.

I have decided to challenge that thinking in my parenting. There are certainly times when my kids get the same thing. I mean, they all get the same meal for breakfast, lunch and supper. They all get the same snack each day. Lots of times it is fair for them to get the same thing.

However, is it fair for one child to get the same gift or opportunity as another just to keep the peace? I think not! It’s not fair to teach a child that just because someone else has something they should have it too. It’s unfair to give them the idea that all through life they should have the same “things” as everyone else. I don’t want to have kids who come home from school and say “all” their friends have a certain something, so they should have one too.

If I continually treat them this way in the home though, those are the results I can expect. I find this especially dangerous in regards to the body of Christ.

Too many believers spend so much of their walk with Christ wishing they had the same gifts, anointing and abilities that other believers have. They try to be someone they’re not – someone they were not created to be – in order to feel like they have those gifts too.

I’ve been challenging my kids to not covet their sibling’s possessions or opportunities, but to be happy for them instead. I tell them often that just because someone else has something, doesn’t mean they were meant to have it too.

I know this is working too! When we sat down to supper last night, Talina looked into Jarel’s bowl and noticed that he had a baby corn that was bigger than her own. First, in a pouty, sad voice she told me that Jarel’s was bigger than hers was. Then she stopped to think (without any prompting from me) and said “I’m happy that Jarel gets to eat the biggest one!”

If Jarel gets the opportunity to do something with Daddy that Talina is not invited to, she can be sure that the reason she is staying behind is because there is something equally important at home for her to do that she is much more suited for.

I want my kids to long for the things they were meant to have in life. To cultivate their gifts and anointings rather than wasting time wishing for someone else’s. I also want them to experience joy in watching others succeed.

God has given us all amazing gifts, talents and responsibilities in life. Mine are not the same as yours – no better, no worse – just different. Just like I’m teaching my kids, we need to stop wasting time wanting what God has given to others, and thinking it’s not fair when we try doing what they’re doing and it doesn’t work for us.

Because wasting the time we have on this earth trying to be something we’re not, and not fully realizing or living out all the amazing things God has planned for us – that is what’s not fair.

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You Can’t Argue With Experience

Church is designed to be a place where people of every age can have a radical, life-changing experience with God.

We as parents, need to continually look for and create these opportunities where our kids can be exposed to the powerful presence of God.
Our kids aren’t the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today! God’s word clearly indicates that we are to involve our kids in the work of the Lord.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Training involves learning to do something under the supervision of someone who has completed the tasks before. The verse doesn’t say we should only tell them, it says we should train them. Let’s remember that.

To me this means that when someone in my family is sick, I get everyone else (kids included) to lay hands on the sick one and we pray for healing in the name of Jesus. When we are in church, I expect my kids to be involved in worship (although I admit it’s tougher with 4 kids now.) Our kids see us working out our faith, and we involve them in it, knowing that this faith of ours will sooner than later become their faith as well. Angela has working on scripture memorization with Talina already, and she is just like a little sponge right now, she soaks it all in and retains so much of it. It’s actually unbelievable how she can memorize so much.

The latter part of this verse says that when our kids are old, they will not depart from the Way. This doesn’t come from continually cramming rules and commandments into our kid’s brains, this is nothing but the law. Instead, we must begin by by introducing them to the Savior of the World at a young age. From there they will learn to hear the Lord speaking to them, they will learn what conviction is,and their motives will be pure.

This way our kids won’t be solely motivated to behave because they fear punishment from Mom or Dad, instead they will be convicted in their hearts when they are doing something they know is wrong. Then they will be come focused on what they should do rather than focusing on not doing what they can’t do.

I have this burning desire within me to see my kids grow up to be so strong in the Lord, to be properly equipped, anointed, and commissioned to go and take on the giants of this world. I want my kids to be mature enough to be on their own in their faith far before they are ready to be on their own physically.

Who else is with me?

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Am I Approachable?

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I was thinking about it today, how approachable am I to my kids?

We had a standing rule in the house growing up that I could talk about anything with my parents, as long as it was done with respect.     I remember snickering inside when the rule was first introduced (before I realized what the second half of the rule actually meant.) However, now that I’m on the other end of the barrel, I’m seeing it quite differently.

I’m realizing that with this kind of approach-ability comes great vulnerability. My parents ultimately gave me an all access pass to their hearts, an access which I could have easily abused (and maybe did at times,) but I’m beginning to understand it more and more as my own kids get older.

When you show your kids you care about what they are thinking, they feel valued and important. I remember feeling safe coming to my parents with the issues I was facing in life. The conversations (and sometimes arguments) about driving habits, music/friend choices, and curfews were a little easier to handle when I fully understood that my parents were in my corner, not backing me into one.

This rule also made admitting mistakes and areas of failure to my parents much easier, I knew I would get disciplined for what I had done wrong, but I knew that there was love in the home for me regardless of what I had done.

Angela and I made the choice to instate a rule like this in our home as well, believing that this will open the door to many “tough” but honest and open discussions in the future.

Who else will join us in the challenge to be as approachable as humanely possible?

Anyone?

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Charging . . . .

I went to use my laptop the other day and to my surprise instead of the usual Windows logo as my computer booted up, I was met by a blank screen.

I had forgotten to charge it!

It’s a lot like our faith.

If we don’t keep our level of faith at the maximum level, and know where our hope and trust is before we go through the trials of this life, we will easily switch to defense instead of offense.

Ultimately, we are only as good as the charging system we are using.

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If we are getting plugged into God on a daily basis, we can handle more throughout the day, than we could if we were just charged up once a week on Sunday.

My iPhone has an app that tells you what it is capable of doing based on the current charge level. It tells you how many minutes of call time, game time, watching movies, or Internet surfing it would take to drain the battery. It’s pretty neat actually. What if we were able to examine our own faith in this way? What do you think your current faith could sustain you through? Bad news at work? A vehicle breakdown and respective repairs? A sick child/spouse?

You might think I’m focusing an awful lot on the negative, don’t get me wrong, ultimately I am trying to provoke us to thinking. Are you satisfied with the level of faith you have right now? Do you need to upgrade your charging frequency or even the power source itself? Maybe you need to get plugged into a church again, maybe you need to incorporate a daily devotional or prayer time into your schedule.

Take some time and think about it.

It’s highly inconvenient to be unable to make a call when the phone won’t turn on, or draft a blog post on a laptop that won’t power up. But it’s more than just inconvenient to try to navigate through the trials of life blind and relying on yourself rather than God, it can be devastating.

There are some that say that once you are a Christ-follower, life gets easy. They say you’ll never get sick, you’ll always get what you ask for, and you’ll never have to experience pain. That’s not what God’s Word says though, it tells us that we are guaranteed trials and tribulations. John 16:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” God doesn’t want us to be naive about the reality of trouble on earth, but He doesn’t want us discouraged or worried about it either. He wants us to have peace above all, and confidence in His abilities to take us through the troubles. I am even reminded of David’s Psalm (Psalms 23) where it says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Notice it says that we are to walk “through” the valley of the shadow of death, we aren’t supposed to stay there forever, it’s not our permanent residence.

Living a life of faith doesn’t make everything easy, or even comfortable for that matter, but faith does make it possible to push through (and past) all that comes our way. Take some time today to take measure of your faith, and decide if you are satisfied with where it is at, or whether you want to increase it. The choice is yours.

Let’s all expect the best, but prepare for the worst.

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God’s Word Is A 2-Stroke

My wife Angela grew up in a family that believed in playing even harder than they worked, and they did so (and still do) on dirt bikes.

For the first while I didn’t ride aggressively enough to make the bike go where I wanted to end up; even thought I was “in control” I felt more like a passenger along for the ride. Depending on what I rode over/into, and how fast I was going, these “obstacles” had the potential to re-direct, stop abruptly, or in combination of the first two, injure me dearly.

I would often get going too fast for comfort as I went up hills, jumped over logs, rocks, or ruts. I would often hang on and hope for the best as the bike dropped into a rut and was forced to follow the tracks of the riders previous to me. This was terrifying at times.

I remember Angela telling me numerous times that the bike would take me anywhere, I just needed to provide the direction, throttle (or brakes), and to be able to hang on. (This is both exhilarating, and terrifying.) A dirt bike is specifically designed to climb hills, chew through mud, and scream down the straight-a-ways at breakneck speeds.

I also learned that you don’t put your feet down when riding; contrary to what feels natural, this is how you keep your balance, and stay in control. It took me a long time to learn this one, as I would put my feet down often when it seemed like I was slipping around. I didn’t have enough confidence in the bike or my own skill to keep them planted on the foot-pegs. I also learned what the bike sounded like when it was in power band (the optimum RPM range.) I had to listen to the engine to know when I should down-shift, up-shift, brake, or crack the throttle.

However, as I became more confident, my riding style became a bit more aggressive, and I began to utilize the bike’s controls more. As long as I could hang on, (it’s harder than it sounds at times…) I found these things to be true! It would go anywhere I had the courage to let it take me! I began to test my limits more often, trying things that moved me out of my comfort zone. I soon realized that I could shift my weight, lean the bike, and it would effortlessly follow the path the front tire was taking. The bike knew what it was doing; I just needed to know how to operate it!

Just like the bike will take me anywhere I point it, it’s the same with God’s Word. God’s Word cannot return void (Is 55:11), it cannot fail (Ps 119:89), and when applied correctly we will conquer that treacherous hill every time (2 Chron 20:15.)

I know that I can trust the Word of God; I have seen it working in my own life as well as the lives of others. Just like I have seen a more experienced rider take my bike up a hill “I” couldn’t climb, the bike knew what to do. Like the Word of God; it responds to the motions of the operator. The mindset, experience, agility, confidence, and the skill of the rider all play a role in the results.

These are the same variables in our daily lives; our expectations, our faith (or lack of), confessions, and actions can have a drastic effect on the outcome of our situations.

The Word of God mixed with our faith (Heb 4:2) will get us through anything.

What is it that is stopping you from climbing that hill?

A lack of confidence?

Doubt?

Lack of experience?

Whatever it might be, choose today to aggressively apply the Word of God to your situation, mix it with your faith, and hang on! The mountains in front of you will melt like wax, and God will give you the victory. His Word says so!

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