Is It Time to Change Rooms?

That is a question that has no easy answer. Every 6 months, or so, we ask our selves, “Where are we going next?” We’ve met some great people along the way and some not so great. We’ve had fun places to park our RV and some not so fun places.

While in West Virginia last winter, Carol received a call from a that was interested in us coming to Austin, TX and working in two of their RV parks. Discussions centered around the usual topics such as work involved, compensation, and when do we need to be there. After a few phone calls, they offered to fly us to Austin to look at the properties so we would get an idea of what we would be doing. We did that in early April this year.

Based on this contact, we made the decision it was time for us to move back to Texas – the land of great smoked brisket, great sausage, fantastic Gulf seafood and family. I’ve been somewhat reluctant to pick Texas as a destination because Texas is hot in the summer. Spending summers in areas further north, where highs in the 90’s are unusual, has been enjoyable. By moving back to Texas in the late fall, we would be able to acclimate to warmer temperatures gently.

We also considered getting a gate guarding  job in Texas. With the Eagle-Ford Shale drilling operation growing and getting larger, there is a huge need for gate guards on ranches where the drilling takes place. Gate guards can make a lot of money and the work is not hard. It generally requires a 24/7 commitment meaning someone has to be awake at all times. We would have to split our sleep and work schedule. I would not be working as Handyman. We would be registering vehicles in and out of our gate assignment. The length of time on a gate can vary from a few weeks to a few months. We began talking to a couple of gate guarding companies about this work. This looked promising.

So here we are just a few months away for our time at Manchester KOA to come to a close and we do not have a firm commitment from Austin. And we’re not 100% sold on the idea of gate guarding. So, what do we do? We pray, asking God to reveal to us what He wants us to do and where He wants us to go. And He spoke.

I really love what I do as Handyman. I’ve always enjoyed that work. People tell me I am good at it. Next week, we are going on a cruise to Alaska to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Our kids have come together to give us this trip of a lifetime. I jokingly post on Facebook a comment about asking the cruise director if I could apply for a job as Handyman on the ship. That would be way cool, but highly unlikely. Realizing the options of being a Handyman on a cruise ship would be a stretch, I asked a couple of my real estate friends about working with them as Handyman. Just about all realtors use them.

One  realtor said,  her husband does that work for her. The other basically said, “I can keep you as busy as you want.” We asked and God spoke. He said, “This is what I want you to do!” No not literally with words. He spoke to our hearts. Carol and I were in agreement that this is what we would do. She would handle the business side of our new work, while I would do the project stuff.

After spending 20+ years in Corpus Christi, we know lots of people there. This is where our realtor friend, Brenda Marshal, is. But there is a problem. Corpus Christi area is a winter Texan destination spot. We know from previous experience, that it is difficult to get a long-term monthly RV site anywhere in the Corpus area especially in October. We called a few places we were interested in parking only to be told they had no spots available. Only one said they had a waiting list.

On Monday 7/31, Carol called them and found out that Sea Breeze RV in Portland has a temporary space for us through December. After December, we may have to move to a different site, but they will have a long-term space for us after January. Carol worked out the details and called me from my work to let me know we need to give a deposit for our site. This means making a firm commitment to do this. After a few question, I agreed and said, “I don’t know how this is going to work out but I am trusting God to work out the details.”

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “ Jer 29:11 (NIV)

Affirmation

Later than night (7/31) I was checking my email and found one from Rachel Dekker. I never get an email from Rachel Dekker. She is the oldest daughter of Ted Dekker, who is one of my favorite Christian authors. They have my email address from an on-line Bible study I recently completed, The Forgotten Way. Her email describes a scenario where she needs to step out of her comfort zone (room) to complete a task at hand.  I am hoping she will give me permission to share her message in a future blog post. Trust me when I say, her email was a huge affirmation of our decision.

Then this morning (8/4) my daily inspirational message said:

I declare Faith over fear.
Isa 41:10-13
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

One Sure Thing

When God speaks, He is clear. Affirmations surround us and help us stay focused on completing the task set before us. Initially, Carol was not convinced Corpus Christi would be the destination. Once God settled that in her heart, we knew this was our next calling.

We certainly do not know all the details yet, but we know who holds all the details. God’s timing is perfect as are His plans. We place our trust in Him and not our own understanding (Prov 3:5-6).

For us, it is time to changes rooms. I appreciate the support and encouragement that comes from family and friends. Please continue praying for us as we prepare to make this change.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Overflow

A successful athlete stays sharp by adhering to a strict routine of exercise, diet and training. The same is true for Christians who have a zeal for God. Satan wants to destroy this zeal and passion by feeding us lies and deception. This deception all started at the beginning of time when the serpent told Eve, “You will not certainly die, … For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:4-5, NIV).

The more Christians accept these lies and deceptions, the more spiritual complacency sets in. Prayer life begins to falter, passion for God subsides, and we wonder what happened. To get that enthusiasm back, we’ve learned to exercise our spiritual muscles by Staying Hungry for God, Going Deeper with God, and Seeking Revelation from God. Before we can Live in the Overflow, we must understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

overflow

Satan cannot keep Christians from heaven, but he can make our lives miserable  while we live in the world. (John 10:10). We must not listen to what Satan says about who we are, instead we must focus only on who God says we are. Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come upon them (Acts 1:5). John the Baptist, who came before Jesus, said the Holy Spirit was for all believers to come (Luke 3:16). Of the many benefits received from the Holy Spirit, I believe there are two that give us the ability to Live  in the Overflow. The Holy Spirit testifies to the facts that we are children of God (Rom 8:14-16) and that we have power to live victorious lives (Acts 1:5-8) .

Child of God

Being a child of God means we are loved unconditionally by God and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13, 2 Cor 1:21-22). Therefore, we have victory over evil and can share God’s grace with those around us. Our identity is not based on what we have or what we have accomplished. No, it is based on who God is. When we truly know our identity as a son or daughter of God , we can then trust God’s Word (2 Tim 3:16) and not be driven by performance, not be influenced by the world or by deceptions and lies.

Power

C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), wrote a great exposition on the power of the Holy Spirit. (Click here to read the full text.) He discussed 4 outward and visible displays of the Holy Spirit, 3 ways the inner spiritual power of the Holy Spirit are seen (heart, soul and mind), and 3 future works of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit resides in the hearts of believers (Eph 3:16-17; Ezek 36:27; PS 51:10). The spirit filled heart will therefore bear fruit – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23, NIV.)

Just as a stem grafted into a healthy plant takes on the nature (or soul) of the healthy plant, so does the mind when it is grafted into the indwelling Holy Spirit. (James 1:21.)  Christians operating under the power of the Holy Spirit act instinctively and with power (John 1:1-5).

Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor 2:4). The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 not to conform to the world but to be transformed by renewing the minds, our way of thinking (1 Cor 2:15-16). During the few years of His ministry, Jesus demonstrated how to live a Godly life in an ungodly world. Paul instructs the church at Philippi that they are to follow in the lifestyle demonstrated by Jesus (Phil 2:5-11). Having the same mindset as Christ, is to know God (Eph 1:17). And this ‘knowing’ God is not just head knowledge of God, it is experiential knowledge of God.

Living in The Overflow

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Heb 12:1-3, NIV

Do you thirst for this overflow? Follow the advice Jesus gives –

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  John 7:37-39 NIV

Jesus is waiting at the well for you.


These past two months have been truly remarkable for me. Remember this all started with my youngest daughter telling me to write what God has been teaching me. Go back to Silence and read forward to get the whole picture of what God has been telling me. The journey is far from over. On Sunday evening (2/12/17) New Life Church, where we’ve been attending since November, began a winter Bible Seminar called Times of Refreshing. While I do not like the fact that tonight is the last night, I can say I have been refreshed and have refocused my energies on what lays ahead of us. Pray for us as we have some decisions to make about our future. God has been faithful to us and we want to be obedient to His calling.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Revelation

If only God would just tell me what to do! Have you ever made such a statement? You really want to follow God’s directions in your life but struggle to see clearly. You feel like you are in a fog. That happens when spiritual complacency sets in. To clear the fog, we must develop a hunger for truth (God’s Word), go deep with God, and seek God’s revelation.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son
(Heb 1:1-2, NIV)

Intimacy

Moses had an intimate relationship with God. He was God’s spokesperson to the Israelis as he lead them out of bondage in Egypt. Moses faithfully executed God’s plan as it was revealed.

Intimacy is much deeper than a casual acquaintance. Today, many Christians have a casual acquaintance with God. When head knowledge (or awareness) is transferred to heart knowledge (experience), then intimacy can take root. It is great to know that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, but it is far more significant when we experience that knowledge by trusting Him in all things.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.
Prov 3:5-8, NIV

The other day, our pastor said – “Knowledge received and not acted upon is just information. Knowledge received and acted upon is faith.” Intimacy requires going beyond just reading the Bible, attending church once a week, and praying occasionally when a need arises. Intimacy includes transformational experience.

Transformation

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 we should be transformed by renewing our minds.  Furthermore, the Bible tells us we should draw near to God James 4:7-8 and He will draw near to us.

A marriage does not last because of a wedding ceremony. A marriage lasts because two people commit to be true to each other, to grow an intimate relationship and to flee from the life before marriage.

To change from the old way of life (before salvation) to the new way of life (after salvation) requires a continuous effort. The enemy (Satan) wants to keep us from having intimacy with God (John 10:10). He constantly reminds us of our past and tells us we are not worthy of God’s love. That is a lie straight from the pit. When Satan reminds me of my past, I remind him of his future. Jesus defeated Satan on the Cross and has sealed me through the Holy Spirit. Any person who is a child of the King is protected from the grip of evil.

Transformation begins with a conscious change of attitude. Every day when I rise, I must choose what I will believe and what fills my mind and what controls my actions.

I am a child of the King, filled with the  Holy Spirit. My mind is controlled by the Spirit of Truth, not the father of lies. I choose to follow Jesus, not the crowd. My joy comes from my relationship with God, not the world, not my friends, and not my co-workers. I am not perfect; I am forgiven. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20, NIV

Trust me, my friend.You can have intimacy with God. This is what He desires. Nothing the world has to offer can match the joy that will fill your heart once you develop intimacy with God.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Deep

In the fall of each year, 128 NCAA Division FBS college football teams begin their journey hoping to be one of two teams competing at the National Championship game where only one team walks away with the title and trophy.

alabama-clemson-title-game-trophy

These two teams did not succeed by chance, lottery or by vote. Their teams were not selected from a bowl of names. No, their achievement was based on their commitment to go deep. Their hard work and training instilled a level of confidence and a ‘can do’ attitude.  They worked together as a team, lifting each other up and encouraging each other to push a little harder. Their strength training and emotional preparedness pushed them to this deep level.

In a previous post on Spiritual Complacency, I outlined 4 steps to get our spiritual muscles in shape:

  • Staying Hungry for God
  • Going Deeper with God
  • Getting Revelation from God
  • Living in the Overflow

Going Deeper with God

Knowing who we are in the spirit is important to our spiritual depth. God wants to give us revelation for the destiny and calling He has for our lives. The blueprint for this path can only be accessed in the spirit and understanding our identity in Christ.

Remember I told you that my youngest daughter suggested I write about what God was teaching me. She sent me a new book written by one of my favorite Christian authors, Ted Dekker. The book, titled The Forgotten Way, is a 21 day journal that leads to the discovery of who you truly are.

And interestingly, our church has begun a series entitled Focus Forward. If I am in Christ I am a son/daughter of God. My Heavenly Father approves and validates who I am and He loves me!

nlc-focus-forward

So what are some things we can do to go deeper with God?

  1. Recognize our spiritual identity. 2 Cor 5:17
    Knowing who we are in the spirit is essential to our spiritual life. God wants to show us the destiny and calling He has for our lives. This calling can only be understood by firmly know who we are in Christ. For an understanding of who you are in Christ, click Who Am I? to download 90+ Bible verses that will help you clarify who you are in Christ.
  2. Arm ourselves with God’s word. Eph 6:10-18
    
Our life should be governed by the word of God. The Bible is a spiritual sword that cuts away the false ideas and harmful things the world tries to attach to our life. How can you expect to know what God’s word says if you do not study it (or at least read it).
  3. Deny ourselves for His Kingdom. Mark 8:34-38
    Jesus says we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him, if we are to be His follower (or Christian). We cannot continue in our old way of life before Christ after we become a Christian. While salvation is a free gift from God through Jesus, our lives should be different as we reflect this new relationship. One cannot be married and continue living as a single person at the same time.
  4. Maintain our inner joy and peace. Gal 5:22-24
    The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (tolerance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. These are the characteristics that our lives should reflect daily. Initially, it may require an effort on our part to exercise these characteristics. The deeper we walk with God, the less effort it will take.
  5. Grow in wisdom. James 1:2-7
    We all make mistakes. We should learn from our mistakes so we can develop wisdom. We should pray for peaceable and pure wisdom that only comes from God.
  6. Feed our spirit daily. Heb 5:11-14
    The deeper our walk becomes with God, the more Satan will attempt to trip you up. Spiritual battles may become a daily routine. If we do not tend to our spiritual needs, we will become spiritual weak, just as our physical bodies will become weak if we neglect proper nourishment. Feed your spirit daily through prayer, fasting and reading God’s word. Make this a priority!

WOW! That’s deep. Yes it is. We would never attempt to run a marathon without proper training. These steps will prep you for a life changing marathon.

I used to see myself as a physical being with a spiritual side. Today, I see myself as a spiritual being with a physical side. My physical side will decay over time.  My spiritual being will live on forever for I know I am a child of God. Gal 3:26; 4:6. And that is pretty cool.

Next up will be Getting Revelation from God and finally Living in the Overflow.

Hope you are enjoying the journey as much as I am.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back.

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Hunger

When was the last time you were hungry? Perhaps last year about this time, you started a new diet. About a week into the diet, you felt hungry. Hopefully you satisfied that hunger and still reached the diet goal.

How about famished? Have you ever been famished? That is an interesting word – it means extreme hunger. Try skipping a meal. You may feel ‘hungry’ but I doubt ‘famished’ describes your physical state.

After Jesus met up with John the Baptist on the Jordan River (Mat 3:13-17), He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be alone with God. There, away from the crowds, Jesus spent 40 days fasting – listening and talking to God. At the end of the 40 days Satan challenged Jesus by suggesting He turn stones into bread so Jesus could satisfy His famished body. Jesus responded, no thank you, man does not live by bread alone, He lives by feasting on the Word of God. (Mat 4:1-11).

spiritual-hunger

The Bread of Life

Later, Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35, NIV).

Nutritionists say, “You are what you eat.” Which basically means to be fit and healthy, you must eat ‘good’ food. A poor diet will result in poor nutrition. Feast on Big Macs and you will become big like Mac. The same can be said about our spiritual nature, we are what we eat. If we neglect our spiritual needs, we become spiritually famished. Jesus tells us how to avoid this when He said,

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Mat 5:6, NIV

Before we can develop an appetite for righteousness, we must know what righteousness means. To me, it means right living. Striving to keep my focus on God daily so He may be glorified in all that I do, think and say. That is a pretty lofty goal. Here lately, I have found my self far from that ideal. I’ve been moody, angry, sometimes just not pleasant to be around.  Oh, I would always put on the ‘good self’ when in public. But in private, there are few disguises. I’ve realized I am far from who I want to be and it is time to do something about it.

How can that be? How did I lose the appetite for God’s Word? My spiritual diet changed. Rather than feast on the joy of God’s word, I began to feast on worldly things that have ravished my spiritual nature. Essentially, the Holy Spirit has convicted me that my life is not what it needs to be. I needed to make a change to my diet.

Just Do It!

For a diet to be successful, you have to want it to be successful. Are you ready for a spiritual diet in 2017?

  1. Start each day with this promise –  Take delight in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
  2. Open God’s word and ask Him to Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law (Psalm 119:8 (NIV)).
  3. With pen in hand, open notebook and record what God is telling you.
  4. Tell others what you are doing so they too may be encouraged to follow in your steps. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. (Prov 11:25, The Message)

I ask that you pray for me – that I will be successful in this journey of renewal that began when my daughter told me to write about what God is telling me. I will also be praying for you as you listen for God’s whisper.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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