Going On Vacation

Today I am leaving for a few days on a trip of a lifetime. One of my sons and I are going on a Jesus Freak cruise with the Christian band DC Talk.

For those of you who may not know who that band is, they were a very big Christian band in the 80s-90s. They quit singing as a band in the mid-90s. Each of the three members of the band went on to sing on their own or with another band. Toby Mac sings on his own, and Michael Tate is now lead singer for the band Newsboys.

They are getting together for the first time since they separated as a band for a one week series of concerts. The exciting thing about this series of concerts is that it is on a cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. There will be many other singers and bands on the cruise.

I have always dreamed of going on a cruise and I love to visit other countries. I have never been to the Bahamas, so it will be a new country to add to the list. And as for a cruise, this will be great because it is a Christian based cruise. There should be very little to no alcohol, and definitely no drunk partying on this cruise. Most cruises I have looked at in the past include both those things, which I do not personally agree with or want to be around.

The reason I am telling you what I am doing is that I will not have internet available while I am gone. I have already set up posts to show up each day, so there will be no break in the devotions or other things that I like to post. During this time, however, if you make any comments I will not be able to moderate them until I get back.

Please feel free to make comments. I enjoy knowing what your thoughts are on the different posts that God leads me to write. When I get back I will be sure to read, moderate them, and respond to every post.

I trust God is blessing you with these posts and you are drawing closer to Him each time you read one. I trust that you are reading the Bible more as you follow my posts.

Thank you for reading my posts and being faithful to God. I will be online next Sunday.

Spiritual And Physical Storms

Last month my wife and I had made it to our 25th anniversary. As a couple the journey has been great! However, during that journey there have been many challenges along that way, though not with each other. As we hit that anniversary date, we wanted to celebrate it in some special way. We did not want to just go out for a dinner date and a movie. It needed to be a get away for at least two or three days.

Our children pulled their money together and gave us a gift of a 3 day, 2 night getaway of our choice. With a lot of searching my wife and I finally chose a location to go to and things to do that would be relaxing and new for us. It would be several weeks after our anniversary, but at a time when we could both be gone. This time would allow us to be away when our older children could be home to watch the younger ones, and at a time we would not miss any church. It would also be the first time we have been away for a vacation alone in several years.

As we prepared to go on this trip, things started to rise up that threatened to prevent the trip from occurring. The Sunday night before the trip was to begin, our house had two trees fall on it, doing a significant amount of damage to the house. You can read about that here: God’s Protection And Favor. At the time this occurred, we seriously considered canceling the trip, much against our desires.

Along with this disaster that had occurred, I also found out that the job I had planned to work at during the summer would most likely not happen. I work during the school year as a teacher and so I do get paid during the summer, but it is not very much. I wanted to work a another job just to help boost the pay some. It was a job I have worked at the last three summers. Now I did not have that job and it did not look like I would get it.

Our house had a huge hole in the ceiling and a wall was missing, and I did not have a summer job yet. Do we leave or not? With a lot of prayer, we chose to continue with the trip, though somewhat nervous for the sake of the children at home.

On the morning of the trip, we had loaded our vehicle and proceeded to leave. As I started to drive down the road, immediately after leaving our driveway, I noticed the suburban was pulling fairly hard to the right. This was new and unusual.

I drove for about two miles and the pull kept up. There was some wind, but not enough to push the vehicle like that. I chose to pull over and see what might be the problem. It was the front passenger tire that was causing the problem, it was flat.

We live about 15 miles from town and did not have a working jack to be able to change the tire ourselves. I prayed that God would give me favor in driving into town to the tire shop we use. The tire was still under warranty. He did give us favor and we made it all the way there safely. In about 45 minutes our vehicle had been brought in and the tire was repaired. All that was wrong was a screw had somehow lodged into the tire. The shop pulled it out and put a plug in place.

We were back on the road for our trip, though about one hour later than expected.

On this trip a lot of what we were planning to do was located outside. The weather was supposed to be fairly nice with only a slight chance of rain.

As we got closer to our location we were headed to, the sky had some dark storm clouds that had formed. The thing that I caught as interesting was that the dark clouds were on one side of the highway, while the other side was nearly completely cloudless.

My wife, in her great wisdom, looked at the sky and saw something about them. She saw it as a visual representation of what was going on in the spiritual realm of life. The spiritual forces of this world was trying to attack us and discourage us. God had a plan for us, and the forces of the world wanted to stop it. Satan wanted to get us to lose faith in God and complain.

It would have been easy to complain to God about what had been happening. It would have been easy to say that God was against us. It would have been easy to give in and give up.

However, that is not what God wants to have happen. He wants us to trust Him and lean on Him in times of trouble.

Looking at the sky, there was clear sky on one side, and dark clouds on the other. It appeared to be a spiritual sign of what was going on. The dark forces fighting against the forces of God.

We continued on the trip and had a great time. During those few days, we did not get one drop of rain on us at all, though it appeared several times as though it may rain. Neither did it drop any rain on our house at that time.

Although it was a bit scary to leave our children home alone after such a great disaster, God did take care of them and blessed all of us. They were also able to get out and have some fun and relaxation.

God had blessed all of my family during this time. He had overcome the dark forces that work against us. He overcame our fears and strengthened us.

My wife and I are looking forward to the next 25 years of our great marriage!

I remember the verse in the Bible: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

I want to encourage you that when you are going through struggles in this life, remember that the dark spiritual realm is against you. That is who you are fighting against. God is on your side and has already won the battle. Trust Him. Do not be discouraged.

Just as the weather was fighting for either clear skies or for a storm, so there is a battle going on for your life. God and His angels are fighting for you, not against you.

As you go into the battle for your soul be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10.

Psalm 62:1 Having Real Rest

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

People everywhere always look forward to vacations. They look forward to getting away from the workplace and business of running around everywhere in everyday life. Many just want to get away to relax and be able to breathe again. Vacations are what most people look forward too in order to attempt to get some rest.

The reality for many people who do take a vacation, is that they do not really relax on the vacation. They have to go here, go there, do this, do that, and end up worn out at the end. It is often said that they need a vacation from the vacation so that they can go back to work with energy.

People are always looking for peace and rest, yet, very few are finding it. The rest that they are truly needing is rest for the soul, an inner peace. This type of rest is one that no one in the world can truly give. There is not a vacation on this earth that will bring about the desired inner peace and rest that every person needs.

This type of rest comes from God and Him alone. It is trusting in Him for and through everything. It is trusting Him for the strength to do what needs to be done. It is trusting Him for the salvation of your soul. It is trusting Him hold you up in the fiery trials of this life.

Life will not always be easy, but with God it can be accomplished. There is work to be done on this earth as long as you are alive and there are unsaved people on it. The enemy will always be trying to attack you as long as you follow Jesus.

You are in the battle for your life and the lives of others. In the battle you will get tired and weary, but God is your strength. He is the one who will bring you through this battle of life.

Where are you looking for rest today?

Are you finding the true rest that only God can give?

I pray today that you will know God in a personal way; that your soul will find rest and peace in Jesus; that God will strengthen you in the battles of this life; and that you will always be able to do what God desires you to do.

Being Grateful

I work as a substitute teacher in a local public school. It is a very rewarding job to work with the students, however, when there is no school I have no job. This creates a great concern to be living without a paycheck and having a large family.

In the past, I have been able to secure short-term temporary jobs for the break time. This last break, however, I was unable to get one for the entire break. My wife and I did a lot of praying about it and were still very concerned, ok, very worried about it. In spite of what we saw, God had a different plan for us.

During the break I did get to work for a couple of days for someone for a little pay that did help a lot, but not enough. It also was hard to not be able to do any big family trip during this time, at least that is what we thought would happen.

On the Wednesday right after Christmas, my oldest daughter (an adult who lives with us), had won a pack of four tickets to a Six Flags park in Arlington, Texas. On Thursday, she was then given a four pack of tickets to the San Antonio Zoo.

Since I have a very large family, eight children, we had chosen to split up to use all the tickets we were given. My daughter brought herself and three other siblings with her to the Six Flags Park on that Friday. While she went north, my wife and I brought the three youngest to the zoo.

Both of these trips were a blessing to everyone that was able to go to the place they went. The older ones did not want to go to a zoo, and the younger would not have been able to do much at the park.

As my wife and I left for the zoo, we planned to be back home about 7pm. It was a three-hour drive to the zoo and we planned to leave the zoo when it closed at four.

The younger children had a great time at the zoo seeing all the different animals.

We left as planned to go home. We expected to be home several hours before my daughter and other children would get home.

As we were driving home, we got to about 30 miles from home, when the traffic came to a dead halt. There had been a major accident up ahead. I had decided to sit and wait for the road to open up, since it would have been about a 40 mile turn around to go a different direction around the accident.

As we sat there waiting, we did not know how long it would take. Time kept passing and nothing seemed to be happening. After about 30 minutes of sitting, we saw a helicopter come in and land. It was a medical emergency helicopter. At that point we knew that whatever happened, it had to have been very bad.

It was getting very frustrating to be sitting there, so close to home and, yet, not be able to get home. In just the time we had been sitting there, we could have been home already. The children were starting to get very hungry and tired of sitting.

While waiting there, we saw several people come running up from behind our vehicle to where the accident was. A few moments later, several men and ladies came back wailing very loudly. They stopped just near our vehicle and were holding each other crying.

My wife’s and my heart went out to those people. We did not know what happened, but knew it had to have been bad. (The news the following day, stated that it had been a head on collision of two vehicles, and two others were also hit. One person was killed, and all the rest were hospitalized, several were children. Several were in severe critical condition.)

It was at that point, when we saw the people crying, that we started to be grateful for our own lives and protection. We ended up sitting at that one spot for about 1 1/2 hours. When we did get home, we were home only about 40 minutes or so before my daughter got home.

As difficult as it was to sit there, being very tired and hungry from a long day on the road, it was better than what the other people were going through. Several were in the hospital and one never made it home. Families were destroyed. Loved ones were lost. Lives were changed, and not for what seemed the better.

Instead of complaining about having to sit there, we prayed for those people. We prayed God’s touch in their lives. And we gave God praise for taking care of us and allowing us to make it back home safely. If we had been just a few seconds faster on that road, we could have been the ones in that accident.

In our lives, there a times that things will occur that will be a major inconvenience or disruption in our lives. In those times we need to look at how the lives of others are going. We need to be grateful for what God has given us, instead of complaining or worrying about what we cannot have or what we are going through. Things can always be better or they can be worse.

During that Christmas break, I was able to spend a lot of time with my family, since I could not work anywhere else. Along with that, money came in from different sources that totaled up to almost exactly what I would have made at my normal job. God had a plan that was to support us and meet all of our needs. We were blessed in many more ways than having a temporary job would have been.

Give God praise today for what He has blessed you with. Be grateful for what God has given you or spared you from.