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The Importance Of Being Vertically Centered

10954215_553447656161_602363106_nGuest Post By Josh Wallace

I grew up in a strict Christian family when I was a kid, my parents were (and still are) very spiritual and strong Christians, for better or for worse it was a sheltered life. I’m not saying being sheltered was a bad thing, just giving you a little insight on how I was raised. From the eyes of a little kid being a Christian was going to church, praying before you ate your food, before your went to bed, following the rules and getting baptized.

I was baptized at a young age; I didn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t want to be baptized. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing like any good young Christian, I wish I had waited. A little while later I got caught up in the middle of some church politics and experienced my first buffeting in my faith. I couldn’t understand why anyone who professed to follow Christ would act so un-Christ like.

For many years I allowed this to affect me, I floundered along spiritually through high school and college. I would have spiritual highs during week of prayers and times spent with my high school Chaplin Fred Riffel, but they wouldn’t last long. I would refer to my Christianity during those years as lukewarm. I still went to church, I still prayed, but the zeal for Jesus wasn’t there.

After college I wasn’t able to find a job. I applied, interviewed but never got a job, it was a hard time for me. The positive of the situation was that it gave me time to spend with my grandparents. During morning worships I saw just how close to God they were, I knew of the struggles they had earlier in their life and how they overcame them with God’s help and it pointed to their being hope for me. I talked at length to my grandpa (Poppie) one day10965167_553447651171_1704685783_n while golfing about my past; he asked me why I would let anyone affect a relationship that they weren’t involved in? “What does anyone in the church have to do with your relationship with Jesus Christ?” he asked.

It started to hit me that I was allowing outside forces that were not directly involved mold my relationship with God.

It’s been over six years since that talk, but I won’t forget it. It was a turning point for me in my relationship with God. Luckily I didn’t have to travel it alone, I was blessed to spend a lot of time with my grandparents between 2009 and 2012. Having worship every morning with them was a big help for me. I started having my own worships when I wasn’t with them, whether it was reading a chapter of Proverbs or reading devotionals.

The time with my grandparents taught me a lot of what being a Christian really was, it wasn’t just following rules and going to church. It’s about building a relationship with God and then doing what Jesus did when he was here, he went about doing good. Following Jesus and focusing on a relationship produces the fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Would I go back and change my past? Absolutely not, all the up and downs led me to where I am now in my spiritual walk with God. I would advise others though to take your decisions about God seriously, don’t let others come between you and him. Make those decisions for yourself, don’t feel rushed, God will meet you where you are at, focus on building a relationship with him and everything else will fall into place.

As I have grown older my idea of what being a Christian has changed from what it was when I was little. I now see that Christianity is more than just praying before my meals, my bedtime and going to church. It is about having an undisturbed vertical relationship with God, and allowing him to use me to do good to others.

10962023_553447646181_327057833_nMy grandparents have taught me so much in my walk with Christ and I want to share the wisdom he has shared with me. Below I’ve added a list my grandpa gave me that has helped over the years; it is what my grandpa has attributed his relationship with God to. I hope they help you too!

The Gospel of Joy and Happiness according to Poppie

  • Have a thankful heart
  • Have a forgiving spirit
  • Have a child like trust in God
  • Have an optimistic attitude
  • Give more-expect less
  • Live simply
  • Love generously
  • Care deeply
  • Speak kindly
  • Free your heart from hatred and your mind from worries. Worry is pain suffered for something that hasn’t happened and most likely won’t
  • Get in the word-Bible- morning worship
  • 12 Leave the rest to God

I hope you have enjoyed this awesome post from Josh.  I love what he said about being in a vertical relationship with God. Take a moment to really think about your relationship with God.  Are you vertically lined up with God? This is the second post in this series that gives the awesome wisdom of “Poppie” and I hope to meet him some day. 

If you have not caught the other posts in the “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith series” you can read the other posts by going to the tab in the menu bar and clicking on the series name.  Blessings from the Midlife Domestic Goddess 

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We Are Made For More

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.01.52 PMWelcome back to Dirt, Trucks and Faith…Seeing Jesus through the eyes of young men.

My next guest writer is Steve Wallace.

Sometimes I think about how it’s hard for us to let God have control.  We fail to see that when he’s in control all things work together for our good.  We seem to always get stuck on the little details that discourage us from what’s really important. Doubt is created and when we question ourselves on things that are so small, they pull us away from the center of Gods influence.  I put off getting baptized until this year. All together it was a series of events that led to my hold out. Josh my brother was baptized at a young age and I was ready to follow in his foot steps but the pastor that I wanted to baptize me fell ill with cancer and didn’t make it.  More opportunities came. My younger brother Noah was baptized and I would see my friends in school getting baptized. I saw that some, not all, were only doing so merely to please their parents. So time went on…1002450_10151456945756567_1684370869_n

Many things in life can lead you different ways. I wanted to have an “ah ha” moment. I wanted God to show me the way through a miraculous adventure where my faith would be solidified and I would come to my wit’s end so that the truth would be made crystal clear.

This is my story…..

Not all stories are the same. I have had some crazy adventures, near death experiences, I partied with rock stars, journeyed far and wide but the moment that I was chasing never came.

My faith would go in and out, I fell back and forth between chasing the life of pleasure and avoidance of all the pain. Luckily, I never strayed too far but I also never truly committed

I had a ski injury a few years back, I would like to say I was doing a big trick or dropping a cliff but that wasn’t the case. I was on the most dangerous place on the ski mountain, a cat track…Some how I thought it was a good idea to plant my ski pole in the snow and that lead to me I impaling myself on it. I didn’t do it intentionally; I just didn’t think things through. I went to a few doctors and finally I made it to a 4Physical Therapist in Walla Walla who helped get me back to full health. His name was Manford and he was a strong man.

To this day he had one of the strongest handshakes I can remember. Manford was fighting cancer during my rehabilitation and we had countless talks of life and God. After I left Walla Walla I heard that his cancer had come back harder than ever and he was on his deathbed.  I went to see him but when I got to this house there was a sign that said no visitors. I called his phone and his wife picked up, I asked if I could see Manford and she told me, “no”. I started to lose hope and then I heard a week voice with a strong purpose say, “Let him in!” Manford’s wife sighed and said, “You can come in for a few minutes”.  When I was inside I saw my friend’s body had withered but the strength had not left his hands. The fight was still in his eyes. We talked for a few moments but it was hard for him to speak. I will never forget the last thing he said to me. He said,

“Whatever you do. Make God numero uno. Number one! And everything will be fine”.

I thought about that a lot and I could feel a change coming. The change came when I was on a trip to Arizona to surprise my grandfather for his 79th birthday.  We had a few good talks about life and what the important things are. My Grandfather shared what thinks are the most important thing:

  1. A vertical relationship with god.
  2. Find a good wife
  3. Find something where you’ll never work a day in your life.

One of the days we were talking, baptism came up. He asked me a simple question that made all the 3sense in the world. He said, “Are you planning on getting baptized?” I said, “yeah I’m planning on it, just some things have come up and stuff”. He then replied, “Do you think I’d still be married to your grandma if I put her off the way you put Jesus off?”

To me it was as clear as a bell. My priority was way out of line.

I hadn’t been baptized and I really didn’t have a good reason why not. Sometimes you can know something to be true but never commit to it and it can pass you by.  For example, you can plan an entire vacation to Hawaii, know exactly what you’re going to do with a full and detailed itinerary but if you never buy the tickets to go you will never get there.

Same with God, he’s offered you a gift. A gift is something that isn’t deserved. It’s not a something you can buy it can only be received.  It’s yours if you want it.

I don’t think I ever thought I would go the other way and not believe in God. I’ve always believed very strongly and probably prayed more than a lot of people because I try some crazy stuff from time to time. But I never made it a priority and that was the biggest factor. Once I made it a priority things started to happen. I started having meetings with my pastor 2-3 times a week and soon I was being baptized.

41359_425075766566_5109188_nI have learned It’s easy for us think about all the problems in front of us. We should rest assured that God has our backs. Put your best foot forward and know that you are special. I like to spend time thinking about what Jesus went through to give us chance at salvation. That helps me see the bigger picture and appreciate what’s the most important choice we can ever make. Giving it all to God and accepting the gift he wants to give us.

WE WERE MADE FOR MORE!

-Steve Wallace.

Be sure to check out Steve’s site at Huroic Clothing Co.

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That one there is mine

I was lucky enough to get to know my grandparents. I had three of the most wonderful grandfathers ever. My great-grandfather was with us until I was 19 and I cherish the time I had with him. As kids we would sit in his little cabin at night and laugh until our stomachs hurt. We would mess up his hair and he would poke us with his Lignavita brush that he used to scrub his back with while taking a bath. I remember the name of the brush because grandpa Travis explained that Lignavita is a kind of wood that wouldn’t get water-logged and sink. His cabin at Priest Lake had the most wonderful smell to it and there was a little stool with a bell on it that we would pretend was a horse. When we were with him he made each of us feel special. Those were some of my favorite memories as a child.

Grandpa Travis’s son in law was my Dad’s dad. We called him Granddad and he had the biggest hands ever. He would hook his fingers together so his hands made a seat and he would bend over and hang his long arms down so you could sit on his hands and hold on to his arms like they were the  chains of the swing. Because he was so tall and so strong he would give us kids the best ride as he swung us back and forth. He also had his special chair and there was always room on his lap for a kid or two. When you were in his lap you would wait for him to give you “Whiskers.”  Whiskers is what we we called it when he would rub his 5 o’clock shadow on the side of our check and neck. We would laugh so hard because it would tickle. I remember wanting him to stop because if felt so funny but yet loving every second up it as I laughed because it was such a special time with him. I can still hear the sound of his voice as he would say, “Let me get in there, you need some whiskers.”  In a group of grandkids he made each of us feel like we were the only one there.

My mom’s dad was whom I got my sense of humor from.  I was blessed to have him with me into myphoto[1] forties and he was a character. He would introduce himself as “Bob…. Bob with one ‘o’.”  He had a line for everything and I use them still. My favorite because it seems to apply to me on a regular basis is: “You can’t be smart and beautiful on the same day”. Let’s just say I find myself having a lot of beautiful days because I can do or say some of the dumbest things ever. I was close to all my grandfathers but my grandpa Bob and I had something very special. At the hospital one night when he was sick I will never forget what he said to the nurse. He said, “you see that girl right there” as he pointed at me. “She is my girl, my special one.” I was overwhelmed with love by him at that moment. I was “HIS GIRL.”  That night was when things began to come to an end for my grandfather here on earth and it would be the beginning of his eternal life with God. He would in the months to follow go to meet his maker.

I spent a lot of time with my Grandfather but, that night we really began to talk about life, about morals, and about God. My grandfather let me know he believed in God and he was ready to see him. He never missed a chance to tell me how much he loved me and he told me he trusted me to take care of Grandma. To have someone you love so much trust you and love you with so much love right back is the greatest gift ever. My grandfather was a strong man and he would do anything to protect me. I remember standing behind him in college as he put a landlord in his place that was not doing his job or obeying the law. He stood there and said, “No one messes with my granddaughter like this. From now on you will deal with me.” My grandfather was my hero. He told me that he felt children were a blessing and that they should be loved and cared for. I have the scripture that says children are a gift from God (Psalms 127:3) hanging on my wall because of him.

God is like that. He wants to stand in front of us like my grandfather did for me. He wants to protect us and he wants to be able to look at us and say, that one there is mine! He wants to hold us in his arms and share those special moments like I had with my grandfathers.

If you will let him, God will make you feel so special that it will be like you are the only one there is. He wants you to feel like the Apple of his eye.  Psalms 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings

To feel loved like that gives a person the strength to hang on in the hardest times. Knowing we can run to our father in heaven and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is there waiting to scoop us up into His loving arms is such an amazing feeling. When we are hurting we can hold tight knowing He will step in front of us and say, “ No one treats my child like that, and you will have to go through me.” When we fall down, it is He who will pick us up without judgment, dust us off and put His healing love over our pain.

I miss my grandfathers. Each made me feel special, in a different way. I look forward to seeing them again when it is God’s time for me. Until than I cherish the memories of those three special men and I give thanks that my God, my father in heaven, is there for me always to make me feel so special, so loved, so protected. As life gets hard at times I know that God is saying that one there is mine, she is my special girl. He has got my back always. How he longs to be there for each of us like that.  He longs to be there for you if you are willing to let him

Dedicated to LeRoy Arthur “Roy” GRAYHEK (10/20/1922 – 02/11/2014), The loving grandfather of my sister in Christ, Erin Bishop.

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