The past two newsletters I’ve focused on how to integrate head knowledge about God into a heart knowledge about God. To answer the question, “Who Is God?” to me personally. Although I had included practical exercises in each newsletter, I thought it might be better to share in this newsletter how I’ve been living out this process over the past year.
Some History: On Memorial Day weekend, 1986, my wife and I moved to Philadelphia to help start a church with two other couples in the city. To make ends meet I took a job in the I.T. industry since I had a background selling computers. Over the years I continued to work in the I.T. industry even when I transitioned from pastoral ministry to life coaching in July 2003. This led to a busy schedule at times but overall the arrangement worked very well. God gave me some wonderful managers who were both flexible and supportive in the work I did.
All this changed in August 2013 when the company I had worked for was bought by another company and I was laid off from my job. Since I was already coaching part time, I conferred with my wife and we decided to give it a year and see if the coaching business could produce a full time income.
This past year has brought many opportunities to trust God and really draw near to him as we’ve been stretched with regard to business, faith, identity, security, comfort, a new routine, and many other areas. In his book, The Calling Journey, Tony Stoltzfus appropriately calls this season of life the ‘Valley of Identity’. He states that this time is often triggered by ejection from a long term role, loss of influence, favor and financial loss. A stripping of identity from work and a journey to discover that Jesus is enough whether I live out my calling or not. I can see all of these things occurring in my life over the past year.
Put God First: Probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that God wants me to seek him first and foremost. To enjoy just being with him, delighting in him and trusting him even when I don’t know how things are going to work out. As a task oriented person I like to do things and get things done. This goes counter to being quiet and still each morning seeking his face and not stuff. There have been times when I’ve sat at my desk saying, “God, I can’t do this, you’ve got to help!”
As I’ve spent time with God, praying, reading his word and other helpful writings, I’ve created my own ‘personal theology’ statements. Here are some of them:
My God is LOVE and He loves me unconditionally.
My God is GOOD and is working all things together for my good, even when circumstances don’t appear good. I don’t have to look elsewhere for comfort, peace, and fulfillment.
My God is PROVIDER and TRUSTWORTHY so I can trust him to provide what I need when I need it, each and every day and throughout eternity, therefore I don’t have to worry.
My God is FAITHFUL and has kept and will keep every promise He has made, therefore I can rest in Him.
My God is absolutely SOVEREIGN. Even when my life seems out of control, He is firmly in control and I don’t have to try and control things.
My God is ALL POWERFUL. There is no problem, situation, circumstance, relationship or need that He is not able to handle with ease, therefore I don’t have to be pushy or feel driven to produce results.
My God is All WISE and has the insights and direction I need for whatever perplexes me. (If you want to read more about creating a personal theology statement refer to the May and June 2013 blog posts).
Here are some scriptures that have been most meaningful over this past year. I have printed these out and have posted them around my home to remind me of what God said he would do.
Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name trust in you. For you, O Lord, do not abandon those who seek you.”
Hebrews 11: 6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God. For he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a reward of those who diligently seek him.”
Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
Application: As I continue to live out this season of life I know God will provide for us, because he always has and he promises to do so for the future. I look at the great moments in my life, those times when God obviously intervened to provide for us, and have confidence that he hasn’t changed and is the same today as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow.
The challenge is holding onto this trust when another unexpected expense pops up (like our refrigerator dying just before we left for vacation) and I’m committed to give a tithe, and sometimes above a tithe, because of God’s prompting and promise to provide.
I hope these past three newsletters have helped you. No matter what you are going through in life, God wants to meet you there and reveal more about Himself. He does this so you can know Him experientially and not just intellectually. So I’ll leave you with this question, “What is God revealing to me about Himself during this season of my life?”
I’ve tried to be real in sharing my story of the past year but I really would love to hear from you! Please email me or post a comment in the blog or on Facebook and let me know what is going on between you and God in your journey and let’s encourage one another.