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Beanbag Faith

Junior Vinyl PurpleWhen my wife, Marcia, and I first talked about having children, we knew that we would need to teach them many things. What I didn’t expect was the many things they would be teaching me. God has blessed Marcia and I with some wonderful children and we are always learning from them. The other day, as I was at the dining room table preparing to head out the door, I saw a purple shape fly down the stairs past me and hit the floor and wall with a loud WHUMP! sound. I was really startled because my first thought was that one of the kids had fallen down the stairs, and if you have ever seen our stairs, you would know that they are extremely steep and treacherous. With my heart in my throat, I looked up to see what happened, and was relieved to find that it was just a bean bag chair that had come down the stairs and landed on the floor. My relief was short lived, however. As soon as I turned back around to finish what I was doing, I saw another shape fly past in a blur and land with an even louder WHUMP! at the foot of the stairs. This time it was a child, only they hadn’t fallen down the stairs. Our 5-year old daughter, Melanie had jumped down the stairs into the bean bag. She threw the bean bag down first for the sole purpose of jumping into it. Thankfully, she was completely uninjured, had already jumped up (giggling happily) and was preparing for another leap. After recovering from my initial shock, I informed her that what she did was dangerous and she was never to do it again (I also tried to disguise the fact that I found it quite amusing).

Later that day, as I was thinking about Melanie’s little adventure, I realized that what she had done was quite a demonstration of faith. Misplaced faith, perhaps, but faith just the same. She had no fear about diving headlong down a flight of stairs because she had the utmost confidence that the beanbag chair was going to protect her from harm. She hadn’t even considered the possibility that the beanbag might fail her. Oh, the things we could accomplish if we had that kind of faith in our almighty God who, unlike that purple beanbag, is sure to never fail. What might we accomplish if we always lived and acted with that certainty?

Matthew 21
21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Our faith isn’t naive, nor is it blind. Our  faith is not misplaced when we trust in God. We can trust in Him and have full confidence in His power, mercy, and love because of that which He has already done for us. He loved us enough to sacrifice His one and only Son. A sacrifice that the Son made willingly out of obedience to the Father so that we, His enemy, might be clothed in His righteousness and enjoy a relationship with Him.

Isaiah 61
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
    my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
     and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to sprout up before all the nations.

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Hello Grand Canyon, Meet My Crazy Wife!

61692_435482273493_574873493_5326591_4450694_nRecently, my wife and I had the opportunity to make a trip to Las Vegas for a mini-reunion with some of the folks that I had been in the Navy with. We an enjoyable time looking at the many attractions that Las Vegas had to offer and saw some amazing things. Everything in the city is built to impress. The Paris casino has a replica of the Eiffel tower out front, New York New York has replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and the Statue of Liberty. The Bellagio has an 8-acre lake and a choreographed show with fountains that shoot water up to 460 feet in the air. The Venetian has canals inside the casino with gondolas and gondoliers as well as incredible ceilings designed to look like something that Michelangelo might have created. Each casino tries to outdo the others and everything is designed to call attention to how spectacular it is. I must say that as Marcia and I walked around, we were quite impressed. While there, we also got to take a trip to the Grand Canyon. I initially debated as to whether we should go, because we were only in Vegas for a few days and it is such  long drive out to the Canyon and back that it would consume an entire day. We did, however, decide to make the trip and nothing could have prepared us for what we saw. We saw the best that man had to offer in Las Vegas and then… standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and looking out everything previous seemed insignificant. I had seen hundreds of photos and heard stories and thought that I knew what to expect. I was wrong. The sheer size and beauty of it is staggering. Over 270 miles long, 18 miles wide at spots, and over a mile deep with amazing rock formations and beautiful colors. I couldn’t help but think, “OK, God… you’ve made man to be capable of some amazing things, but you win. This blows everything else away.” Nothing I say can truly describe it properly, even photos and videos don’t come close to conveying the scale properly. The Grand Canyon was the unquestionable highlight of our trip.


DSCF16821While we were at the Grand Canyon enjoying the view, Marcia frightened everyone in the group. For some reason, she insisted on walking out the edge of the cliff face and then she balanced on one foot and leaned out to look down at the canyon floor 4,000 feet below. I wish that I had taken a picture of it but I was too busy yelling at her to step back. The rock at the edge was crumbling and there were high wind gusts but that didn’t matter to her… she just leaned right out over this thing and looked down. She wasn’t concerned in the slightest about what could have happened to her. You might think Marcia is just fearless if it weren’t for the following incident. The next day, while we were walking around on the strip in Vegas, we came to a nice fountain at the Monte Carlo and thought it was a good opportunity for a picture. I, being the goofball that I am, suggested that Marcia climb onto my shoulders for the picture. She took a little convincing, but she did it. During the 30 seconds that she was sitting on my shoulders, she was hanging on for dear life and shaking like leaf in tornado. Picture this – leaning out over a 4,000 foot high precipice, no problem. Sitting on my shoulders 4 feet off the ground, and she’s petrified. When I considered this, I thought… this makes no sense. Of course, I do basically the same thing with God. Marcia wasn’t scared at the Grand Canyon because she was under the illusion that she was in control, whereas she had to rely on me to keep her safe when she was on my shoulders. I am the same way. I make plans and follow through under my own power oblivious to the danger that is all around because I am in control. When I come to my senses and rely on God for help, I get nervous because I have to rely on Him. Let me ask you, where could I possibly be safer than sitting on God’s shoulders?

Isaiah 26 (New Living Translation)
4Trust in the LORD always,for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. 5He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. 6The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it. 7But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. 8LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2010 in Christianity, Personal

 

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