Spiritual Walk

The Power of God

2 March 2008

“Help Melissa get better and get out of the hospital soon.”

Prayer by 9 year old Stephen Mashburn

Stephen started saying this very soon after Melissa McCoy’s accident. This was a time when we were not even sure of her survival. We also “knew” that if she did survive, she was going to spend months and months in hospitals recovering and rehabbing.

I am a practical person. In this instance, I was not going to pray for something I “knew” was not going to happen. There was no way she was getting out of the hospital soon. No one believed it possible. However, Stephen prayed it.

One night as I was sitting with him while he was praying this, I considered telling him he might not want to pray that. I would tell him that there was really no way that was going to happen so you might just focus on the getting better part. Thank God I did not tell him that and let him continue to pray that she get out of the hospital soon.

After a huge car crash involving a head injury, after her very life was teetering on the edge, Melissa was released from the hospital less than 2 months after the wreck. In my opinion, she got “out of the hospital soon.”

To Stephen, God is GOD. He can do anything. I needed to be reminded of that. How often I limit what I believe God will do. Thank you for your faith, Stephen, you have helped your Dad remember how mighty our God is.

No More Guilt Commitments

5 August 2007

I cannot count the number of times I have begun Bible studies. I cannot count the number of times I have started daily prayer/quiet times with God. I can tell you, each and every time I have, they have never lasted.

Why? Because I did not get anything out of those times. When reading the Bible, I was simply reading words that I have read many times. I have never once had the experience of words jumping out at me with some new meaning for my life. I was learning nothing new.

As for quiet time, it was time sitting there not knowing what to do. I have tried different things like talking about my day to God, or listening to music or trying to listen for God’s voice. In the end though, I was not getting anything. I was not drawing closer to God.

So, what is wrong with me?

Maybe, I was getting nothing because of why I was there. I was doing all these things not because I wanted to, but because I was suppose to. So my motivation was guilt over not doing these things.

Well, now I am in a pickle. I got things that I feel I am suppose to do, but should not do simply out of guilt because that is getting me nothing (and I am quite sure God does not want that either). So the only way is if I want to do them.

Here is what I am committing to now. I am committing to asking God to draw me closer to Him however He sees fit. I will pray that God changes my heart to want to do whatever He wants me to do. I will no longer do these things out of guilt.

Radical Commitment

24 December 2006

I did something radical yesterday. Some may say it was foolish or “setting myself up for failure.” I say it is a step towards life to the full. What did I do?

In case you have not noticed, I struggle with a weight problem and have since High School. I did lose over 30 pounds a few years ago, but since moving to Amarillo, I have not lost anymore. I have a plan that works, but I have failed to commit to it enough to keep losing.

One thing I have always avoided is the idea of me being overweight as sinful. I refused to even think about it because I was scared of the conclusions I might come to. If I dared consider the way I ate as sinful, my world would be turned upside down and I would not like that.

Now to the radical part. I was spending a few minutes in the prayer room talking to God about something else. It ended up leading me to my struggle with weight. I finally came to a decision to make a commitment to God. I committed TO GOD to lose (at least) 40 pounds over the next 4 months. I did not make a commitment to myself or another person, I made it TO GOD. Therefore, if I do not follow through, to me, it would be sinful. (Eccl. 5:5)

This is radical. This is extreme. EVERY day for me is going to be a battle. There is no backing down, no excuses. I must rely on prayer. In 4 months, there will be less of me. Stay tuned!

Worry

10 December 2006

I laid awake a good portion of the night last Monday. I was doing what I hate doing. Worrying.

I kept thinking about some big medical bills that may or may not being coming in the mail soon. Insurance says the doc COULD bill us a certain amount so we are dreading any mail coming from the doctor’s office.

So here I was losing sleep over money.

The next morning I began to think about it. Do I believe in God’s promises or not? If I do, I have no business staying awake. All I have to think about is the verse talking about the birds and the lilies and tomorrow worrying about itself.

Later that morning in staff meeting, we sang a song that brought a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.

For all that You’ve done I will thank You
For all that You’re going to do
For all that You’ve promised and all that You are
Is all that has carried me through
Jesus, I thank You

Am I going to worry again? Probably. I am human. But I know it is my choice to worry, because with the promises of God, I have nothing to worry about.

Checking Out

19 November 2006

When I get home from a day of work, all I want to do is plop down in front of the TV and vegetate. I have been using my brain all day, so now I just want to stop and do something that requires nothing of me. Sounds logical and perfectly justifiable, right?

Well, my problem with this is I have two young sons. This time in their lives is some of the most important time I will ever get to spend with them. It has really hit me recently that I have precious little time with my kids to pass on my values and convictions and to lead them to Jesus. Am I going to give up this time to watch TV?

Another problem with this is that if I want these boys to be like me, is this what I want them to be doing? Do I want them to come home and check out?

I am not saying that TV is all wrong, but I am saying I need to more closely regulate my usage. I am also not saying that this time will be spent in long discussions, but as I have learned, time together is time to rub off on each other. Teaching moments can come up all the time. I need to take advantage of those.

So, it is time I leave the TV off and spend more time with my sons. I know I will not be perfect at this, but I am going try my best.

Post Confession

5 November 2006

I did it. I stepped out and confessed something to my small group of men last Thursday I did not want anyone else to know.

I was nervous. My voice was shaky. I got all red in the face. I did not want to do it. Why did I?

As I said last time, I did it for the sole reason that it would help me live life to full. So, did it?

Few things it did that I can think of right now. First, it showed the guys in my group I trust them. I laid out something I wanted no one to know and trusted them that no one else would know.

Second, it revealed a little more of myself to my group. I laid out a sin to them showing that I struggle, just as they do. It also gave me some credibility to the group to know they can lay things in front of me as well.

Third, I revealed a sin that I now have accountability for. Just knowing I have to answer to these guys helps me not to give into temptation.

And fourth, it allowed my group to show me the love of Christ. I am still loved and accepted by this group even in my sin.

Do I feel a little more life to the full? Well, remembering that life to the full is a way of traveling and not a destination, I would say “Yup.” And it was worth it.

Confession

22 October 2006

I have been involved in a small group of men now for many months. I have shared many things within that group like things I struggle with in my walk. However, nothing I have shared has really made me feel uncomfortable. Nothing I have shared would really expose me if the groups trust was broken.

I have never confessed anything like that under the idea that I do not have anything. The fact is, I do not have any “big” hidden sin to confess. After examining myself some, I do have sin to confess to my group. Again, nothing “big” by the world’s standards, but it is sin I don’t want anyone to know about.

So, I am going to do it. My next meeting I am going to confess a sin in my life to my group. I am nervous about it. I don’t want to do it.

Why in the world am I gonna do it? I am going on faith that confession helps lead to “life to the full.”

Mortality

8 October 2006

As I wrote about last time, I went to the Doctor because of some chest pressure I was having. Well, that pressure has come back from time to time so I went to a cardiologist. He could not find anything wrong so I am going this week and next for some more tests.

All this health related stuff I have been having (especially since it may be heart related) has really been making me think. It has caused me to think about mortality. It has made me realize again that I could be gone in an instant. That I could have very limited time on this earth. What do I want to do with that time?

Do I want to spend my time watching TV or playing with my kids? Do I want to spend my time getting mad at bad drivers? Do I want to spend time thinking about myself or do I want to focus on others? Do I want to miss an opportunity to show kindness to someone?

I need to be constantly asking, “Is what I am doing right now helping me become more like Jesus?”

If that is truly my goal, then that is the question.

Medical Issue

24 September 2006

This week, I have gone through some medical stress. Monday night something was not feeling right and all day Tuesday I was feeling some heavy pressure on my chest.

I am not a Doctor person. Actually, I don’t mind going to the doctor, it’s the needles that scare me to death. This fear is what kept me from going to the doctor on Tuesday. Late Tuesday, I finally went to the prayer room to talk to God. My prayer turned out to be “God take this away, but if not, please give me the strength to make it through.”

Wednesday, I finally gave in and went to the urgent care place. They did my blood pressure, EKG, chest x-rays and even took some blood. Everything came back normal.

Just knowing it was not a heart thing was a huge relief. Even more, as Wednesday went on the pressure got less and less.

I went back to the prayer room for some serious “Thank you” time, but realized those words were not near adequate enough. I sat there thinking “now what?” God helped me for a reason. What am I going to do with this joy? Do I just go on with my life and forget about it or do I use this for something? What did God mean for me to learn? That is the question I now get to ponder.

Server Crash

10 September 2006

Last Friday, my plans for the day were turned upside down. As I was working on our server in the office, the antivirus mistakenly deleted a very important file thinking it was a virus. Windows did not like that and shut down and the server would not come back on.

Needless to say, our server is pretty important. It not only controls our internet access, it holds everyone’s files they need to get their work done.

After stressing and praying (in that order), I came up with a game plan and had the server back up after about 5 hours of being down.

There is a lesson here for me, I know, but I have been struggling to draw it out. Here is what I am thinking…

Control. No matter how much control I think I have over my life, I really don’t have that much. Bad things WILL happen. In the midst of those bad things, do I have enough faith to not only make it through, but to come out the other side more like Christ.

I don’t really have any action plans or anything. This is just something this relatively small event caused me to think about and I thought I would share.

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