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The gift that will not fade …

10665930_10152750701973749_4060286779736131217_nGuest Post by Joe Duenich

What is the gift that will not fade?

My two daughters are grown and experiencing their very own adventure of life. While my wife and I are excited about being empty nesters and watching them blossom, it is kind of sad. We miss taking care of them and seeing them each and every day. But in the eternal scheme of things, not seeing them for days, weeks, or even months apart is really nothing. The day is coming when I who entered this world at one point will face eternity. That day is also coming for my kids…yours too. Our sons and daughters will hear from a just and holy, loving God about an eternal destiny. The thought of missing one of my kids in eternity is just unbearable for me.

So, if you’re a parent, I’m telling you, do whatever you need to do. Talk to your kids about their faith and about their futures and about God. And if it’s awkward or hard or embarrassing or you feel like you don’t have all the answers, talk to them anyway! You’re the parent. In addition to talking to them, allow them to see into your heart and your own walk with God. Teach them through your example. Be a great role model.

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It took a lot for this UW husky fan had within her to post this photo of WSU fans on her page.

Role modeling is one of the best ways to reach our kids. What is the example that we are to use to have our kids model after? Here’s an idea from Ephesians 5:1-4. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.”

This is not an exhaustive list but what a powerful place to start. Paul is encouraging us to imitate God…in other words, let your kids see you acting like Jesus by walking in love! Model purity…they need to see this from us as parents because they are hard pressed to see it from anyone else. And our mouths…the words that come out of our mouth have immense power to give life or death. We should choose words wisely around our children.

Lastly, make the commitment to pray for your kids every day. We live in a world where parents think so much about parenting and work hard to give so many gifts to their kids that are going to fade. There’s only one gift we can give to our kids that will never fade, and that will last for all eternity, so give it. Give it the best you can!

For more posts by men you can go to Dirt, Trucks, and Faith

Looking for a speaker?  view my profile at Christian Women Speakers or go to Christian Women in Media Speakers Bureau

 

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I Can Do Nothing…

Welcome back to Dirt, Trucks and Faith.

By Erick Cleveland

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.17.50 AMI have always had a plan. You know, where I am going in life and how I am going to get there. I look back from where I am now and I can see the subtle and not-so-subtle signs God sent.

Let me take you back to show you what I mean. When I was in middle school I decided I was going to be a math teacher and from that day forward I had a plan to graduate high school, get my AA through running start and complete my math degree, all before turning 20. I also was very passionate about Christ and wanted to share the Gospel as often as I could. I had slipped up in my faith enough and I had made a new plan and promise that I would always walk with Him. But like I said I had a plan.

John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

As we look back at that time in my life I hope you notice the common theme that I do now, “the word”. I had so many plans and was so focused on them I forgot that I can do nothing without He who gives me strength and I was about to get several reminders of this.

The week I proclaimed a promise that I would be keeping my faith in God from this moment forward, a series of events struck. The first was an uncle who had been paramount in the development of my faith was diagnosed with Leukemia. But I assured everyone my faith was not shaken. The second was a friend was run over by a garbage truck and killed and at his funeral the congregation assured those of us who were not members there that we were not saved by the grace of God. But I assured everyone my faith was not shaken. The third happened on the way home from seeing my uncle in the hospital while sitting at a traffic light. In a moment there was a pile of cars in front of me and because I have been trained in the Boy Scouts, I responded. I can tell you that no training in the world would have changed the outcome that day. I went from sitting in my car holding a large pizza in my lap to breaking a car window in order to pull out a beautiful 2-year-old girl who was already with the Lord. In that moment I could only mutter the Lords prayer. I managed to repeat it over every victim, every responder, and even the man at fault. But when I stood over the mother and asked if I could pray for her, she said she did not believe in God. I assured everyone my faith was not shaken, but it was.

I spent nearly a year telling my friends and my family I was fine and that I had faith so nothing could affect me. Over that time there were plenty of signs, both big and small, of God whispering and screaming, “You can do nothing without Me”. The sign that finally made me to look up and stop looking at ‘I’ was when I was driving and saw the lights of an ambulance in front of me and my body froze. Frozen to the point I did not know we ran a red light through one of the busiest intersections in the city, only to be miraculously untouched. In that moment where my life and my friends were almost lost did I finally reach out for help.

I spent so much time making plans and talking about my faith, I forgot to live it. I forgot that my faith is not based on walking along side Jesus or even following Him, but instead letting him carry me. My plans take a lot less time these days, as they are more of a simple prayer:

Your will done in my life so that I may glorify you.

Since my new prayer and truly God centered life, God has not stoppedScreen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.10.26 AM bringing trials and asking me to do things outside my own plans. I was called to move away from my hometown with my wife and raise my children as a stay at home dad. God has given me the opportunity to raise two young boys to glorify him and made me a more understanding husband and father.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.13.52 AMGod’s lesson in my life has always been that I can do nothing, but in Philippians 4:13 we are reminded that “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

 

To see more of the posts in “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith” go to the menu bar at the top of the page.  Blessings.

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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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These are a few of my favorite things

Sing it with me…

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things…

Some of our favorite things we may not realize are our favorite things until they are gone. For me, the song goes Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 8.50.33 PMmore like this:

Dirty diapers and crumbs on the counters

Bright mismatched socks and sticky little fingers

Trucks and dolls all over the floor

These are a few of my favorite things…

My 22-year-old son just pointed out to me that my version of the song does not rhyme. It’s okay, you get the point.

What used to bug me when my kids were little, I now long to have back again. It is funny how time changes your perspective. Too many times, I got upset over a wet towel laying on the floor because my kids seemed too lazy to hang up their towels.

That train of thought was turned upside down the first time my son came home from college. He ‘gave’ me some mom/son time and then out the door he went to be with his friends. Later as I walked into his room and grabbed some laundry, I found his wet bath towel on the floor. As I picked it up, my frustration took a 180-degree turn and I stood there in tears thanking God that I had a child to pick up a wet towel after. Sadly, it took me 17 years to realize that blessing.

We can so quickly get caught up in doing the work around the house that we miss priceless opportunities. We often forget to slow down and play with our kids.

My son’s girlfriend reminded me that you didn’t really have a childhood unless you jumped from one couch to the next to avoid the lava. As parents, we need to stop and play with our children from time to time. Those simple games like avoiding the lava are what our children will never forget. A spotless kitchen will not be their favorite memory.

As we run around the house cleaning up after our children, remember to count it is as a blessing and not a job. What small effort would it take to start looking at the mess of toys, the fingerprints, and crumbs as a gift rather than a job?  I have a few friends that have lost children and I know they would love to have the gift of a messy house to clean up. Stopping whatever pressing thing they were doing to play a game of hot lava with the child they have lost would be a priceless gift.

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My son Tanner and Sam

Last weekend we had a sweet little boy named Sam stay with us. One of the first things he noticed was the different sizes of the tiles in our floor. Sam announced to everyone that the big tiles were safe and the small tiles were lava. As the weekend went by, and I got busy, I would remember what he said and quickly adjust my feet on the tiles to avoid the imaginary hot lava. Sam seemed so happy when I remembered his game.

Looking back, I see times I missed special moments with my kids. I thought I had to do the dishes right away rather than sit on the floor with them and play for a few minutes. To every new mom, my words of wisdom are, “don’t be too quick to wipe the fingerprints off your windows. You will miss them someday.” I know that I miss them. I was too quick to wipe off those little reminders of my kids. In time, those reminders were gone.

My family has now learned to humor me when I bring a young child over to my slider door and blow my breath onto the glass so we can make handprints and smiley faces in the steam. Sam and I did that last weekend. And today as I write this, the sun is shining on the marks his little fingers made and I am blessed. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I had looked at things that seemed like a job, a hassle at times, as a gift.

Wet towels on the floor

Fingerprints on windows

Laundry piled high and hugs from my kiddos

These are a few of my favorite things

For more of my heartfelt ramblings pre-order your copy “Simply Blessed” and help fight hunger. $1 for every pre-order between now and December 31 will be donated to Generation Alive and $1 covers the cost of 4 meals.

Simply Blessed is a 31-day devotional for women. The thirty-one light-hearted short stories tackle real life issues that all women face. From fear, control, gossip, their identity in Christ and for some women, abuse. Simply Blessed reminds us that God is not a God of religion, he is a God of relationship. He is comfortable like our favorite Saturday sweat pants. Grab your favorite warm beverage, curl up with a blanket and let the words of Simply Blessed bring you joy.

 

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