Your God is Too Small

Subtitle: The Hardest Person to Forgive is Yourself

Long ago, I sinned against my wife. I broke her trust through what was supposed to be a little white lie. I learned that there is no such thing. A lie is a lie.

She has forgiven me, as her demeanor implies. She has moved on and, as the song says,

But she never complains of the bad times
Or the bad things he’s done, lord
She just talks about the good times they’ve had
And all the good times to come

I have tried to move on, but it’s so damn difficult. Every time we have a discussion, even a polite one, I’m worried that she will return to what I’ve never been able to leave. That day when all hell broke loose in our marriage.

Truth be told, I still (7 years later) cannot forgive myself. I need a confessor to listen to my story. Someone with whom I trust to divulge the whole truth without fear of judgment. Someone who knows me enough to listen and plainly state, “Jesus died for all of your sins – including that one.” Someone who will still hold me in the same regard after hearing about the real me.

Though I have spoken with mentors, both older and younger but wiser over the years, I have not felt comfortable enough with any to come completely clean. Those are mere men. I need someone higher than men.
“What about God,” you may ask. Yes, I’ve confessed to Him. I still don’t feel it.

So, the preaching minister at my church dove into that topic this morning. He kept saying, “Your God is too small.”

And he’s right.

But how do I, a mere mortal, accept a His Divine forgiveness?

Perhaps I am committing the greatest blasphemy of them all – I am not acknowledging His ultimate sacrifice on the cross – as justification for my miserable time here on this planet. Perhaps I assume a God can handle anything other than my particular sin. Perhaps I truly believe that my God is too small.

I accepted His written word as truth even when there were apparent conflicts with what I’ve learned in school. I’ve accepted that my time here is short, particularly when compared with eternity. I’ve accepted that Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only light.

Why can’t I accept that He has forgiven me, as His a Word so clearly states?

A Man of God?!?!?

In 2002, I dedicated my life to Jesus. I began blogging daily, sometimes multiple times per day. But, in the last few years, life has gotten the best of me. I am working two jobs and have two growing daughters. My wife and I are involved in multiple organizations outside the home. So, I don’t feel like I’m close to God anymore.

Then something happens: someone catches me out of the blue and says, “I know you’re a man of God.”

How can they say that about me? They don’t even know me. In one case on Friday night, it was a person I had net five minutes earlier. In another case, it was a person of a different faith.

I certainly don’t feel like a man of God. I find pleasure in the things of this world, such as video games and pretty ladies. I don’t read the Bible or pray often enough. Yet my manager called me a “Brother in Faith.”

What shines inside of me – bright enough for others to see, but in a wavelength to which my own eyes are blind?

I’m humbled. I feel unworthy to be called a “man of God.” Yet it builds up my spirit. I am encouraged by these words from friends and complete strangers. It pushes me to re-establish my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

So, what’s the point? I have lived a lie for most of my life. 36 of my 48 years were spent saying I believed, but still lived as though He meant nothing to me. But I felt different in 2002 than I did before. And I believe that He truly changed my life. These words of encouragement are designed to restore that which I have tossed aside.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 8:39, ESV

I am free to be the man that God wants me to be. My eyes are very slowly being opened to that fact.

What a Drag it is Getting Old…

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I’ll say it.  I really don’t mind.  I was born a little over 48 years ago.  In my lifetime, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  Personal Computers became a routine thing (my first one had 4K of memory…).  Cancer became survivable.  The world map changed radically after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Our consumption of energy has changed.  

In two years, I will hit the big 5-0.

So, I went to the doctor for a wellness check.  Not everything is within spec.  Surprise, surprise!  For the last 30 years, I have abused my body with food, drink and other things that shall not be mentioned.  Somehow I’ve survived it all to this point.  But it sparked something within my pea-brain.  Not only do I want to see my grandkids, maybe I’d like to see my great-grandkids.

I’ve made a commitment to my wife to get myself back into shape.  Doc said that some exercise will get most of those numbers back in line.  Change the diet a little and that will resolve it.  I’m actually doing it!  For the first time in my life, I’m finding a reason to focus and change.

I haven’t eliminated anything but carbs and salt have been radically cut back.  Rather than a breakfast taco every morning, I’m having one or two a week (usually on the same day).  Instead of eating all the pizza I can handle at my weekend job, I’m going home for a quick salad wrap (if only I can get them to stop putting Ranch dressing on it…).

I’ve even begun to exercise.  Monday in the rain when I couldn’t get my tracker app to work.  Tuesday I walked with the kids to the polling place (a mile away from the house).  

The Bible says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  My body looks and feels more like a bar and grill than a temple.  I’m honoring beer and sausages rather than God.  So my change also involves getting back to His Word, which has sadly been neglected over the last five or six years – ever since He, in His grace, saw fit to find me employment.

There’s a change coming in my life.  I don’t want to be the beer-swilling fat pig I was at age 30.  I want to be fit at 90.  So, here goes…

True Friends

This evening was a blessed event.  I mean – you just don’t know when you will feel blessed.  Let me ‘splain.

I was sitting on my lazy butt watching TV.  I heard a lawn mower going and thought to myself, “Self, you need to mow your lawn, too!”  It was about 7:30 pm.  So, I went out and began to mow my lawn.  My neighbor across the street was sweating hard and pushing his mower.  My neighbor two doors down joined us in spewing carbon monoxide and cutting blades of green.

Across the street finished first and borrowed another neighbor’s weed whacker.  I finished second and began to trim using my ancient edger My Ancient Whacker of Weeds I guess he felt sorry for me, and came over to help. My other neighbor saw him and told me, “That’s a good neighbor.”  Then he disappeared.  I was sweeping, and he showed up with his blower – and wouldn’t let me operate it.

Between the three of us, we finished all three lawns.  It was a wonderful, blessed event.  The three of us – all of different faiths, and occasionally irritated at each other – found the deepest meaning of friendship.

These experiences are few and far between.  What was your experience?

A Day Alone

I love my family, perhaps too much. A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few days in Tulsa, OK. It’s been called the “Paris of Oklahoma“. The other guys were out having fun – frisbee golf, checking out various sites. Me, I wanted to sit in the hotel room and call my wife and kids.

Why is it that I am so utterly devoted to them that I cannot enjoy anything if they are not around? Why is it that nothing I need to do (mow the lawn, work on Rosetta Stone, clean the kitchen…) – the things that should both consume my time and emotions – are so difficult?

Today, my wife is taking my oldest daughter to camp. It is 5 1/2 hours away. That means they will be gone for at least 12 hours. I volunteered to stay at home and care for the dogs. This length of time would be torture on their bladders and empty stomachs. I am depressed. Disappointed that they are travelling without me. Disappointed that I cannot be with them.

God has promised that He will be with us at all times (Matthew 28:20). Is my faith at such an ebb that I feel complete only with my wife and children?

I have promised to mow the lawn and clean the kitchen today. Because I do not want to disappoint my wife, I will complete those tasks. In the meantime, I will likely will watch Star Trek – alternating between Next Generation and Voyager. I love DVDs!

My “Dream Job”

I’ve been working on computers since 1979. OK, so some of that time, I’ve been playing. But I’ve spent many hours trying to make programs and scripts run, trying to make networks talk (we’re talking 10BASE2, people!), trying to figure out why DOOM won’t run on my 486SX… yeah – even the play was work.

I’m tired of computers.

So, when the opportunity arose to merge my love for people with my tech experience, I had to bite. It meant nearly a year of proving myself, but now I’m in a position where most of my time is spent dealing with people, not machines. There are days when I spend only an hour on my computer. The rest of the day I’m talking to clients, giving tours of our facility and basically schmoozing the people who decide to spend money on us.

Most importantly, this is a bridge to get out of the technical side of things. I’m at a point where I can oversee the techies. I don’t have to spend my time worried about the details – there are techies that do that.

God has blessed me. He has put me where I needed to be so that people will see me. A rollout (that I didn’t want to accept) led to a job on the helpdesk. One of the folks that called the helpdesk told his boss that they needed me. When I interviewed for that job, I told him where I wanted to be. And I’m here. Praise God for His providence!

Vanpoolin’

I am blogging now, courteous of your friendly neighborhood vanpool. They drive me home from work so I don’t have to attend anger management classes again after 150 minutes in Houston traffic. (Yes, gentle reader, that is two and a half hours.) Having 45 minutes, I began to pray and ask for God’s guidance in my life. He is faithful to answer – all I need to do is listen.

I felt a pull back to blogging. It’s been fourteen months (see yesterday’s entry), and I have felt bad about not blogging. People responded to my blogs before. They are not pretty and they don’t always say what people want to hear. But they resonate with someone. And that is why I feel like God wants me to start again.

So, while vanpooling, I pull out my laptop and type an entry into Notepad. When I have access to the internet, I upload it. Simple as that.

If it’s so simple, do I have an excuse not to?

I Want to BLOG Again!

Ok – so, it’s been a while. I blogged regularly until my dream job was about to become a reality. That took quite a while. From the interview process through hire was fourteen months. Yeah, I was a contractor during that 14 months so it wasn’t like I didn’t have an income. But like I said before – and I’ll say it again and again. Letting God drive is like riding a roller coaster. One minute you’re up, the next you’re down – but you’re rarely bored.

Q:What has happened in my life over the last fourteen months?
A:Quite a bit!

I worked 7-12s for most of that time. I prayed hard for a real job. I cried, yelled, jeered and cheered. I somehow managed to reflect enough of God’s light that my co-workers came to know me as a Christian. One, in fact, asked me to pray because I am a “Holy Man”. If only you knew the truth…

But one thing became startingly clear: God is active in my life, even if I don’t know it.

Here are the keys I’ve been working on for the past fourteen months:

  • God loves us.
  • God wants us to know Him. For how can we love Him if we don’t even know Him?
  • God doeswant us to be filled with joy. But joy does not equal happiness. More on that to come.
  • God has programmed us for certain tasks – working outside of those tasks finds us in conflict and stressed.
  • God is. God was. God will always be.

Each of those is a mouthful, worthy of its own entry. And each of them might be a blog entry down the road – I don’t know. Right now, I know that He is working to reveal His glory to me. And I relish His action in my life.

I’m not rich. I’m not the manager. I’m not retired. But my current line of work is what I’ve been dreaming about for five years – a bridge away from the technological grindstone and into working with people! Praise God!

I’m back

I’m back. Again. I’ve committed to keeping up this blog, and I’ve committed to reading His Word daily.

For centuries, people have told of finding wisdom in ancient words. Even with modern marvels of technology, such as the iPod on which I compose this blog, millions turn to ancient words for wisdom and comfort.

There once was a time when God spoke directly, “without riddles”, to Moses. Later He spoke through the prophets in visions and dreams.  Eventually the Christ came to us to speak to us, once again, quite plainly.  Today He reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit.  The prophets turned to the books of Moses for guidance.  The rabbis of Christ’s time turned to the prophets and Moses.  And, today, we turn to Moses, the prophets and the words of Christ.

What value is there in reading words over four thousand years old?

God’s nature is unchanging (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 6:17, James 1:17).  What was true about God four thousand years ago is true today.  Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, repeatedly states that there is nothing new under the sun.  Of course, he is not talking about the race of technology.  In spiritual matters, there is nothing new under the sun.

The Holy Bible is a gift of wisdom from the ancients.  Millions have died to make sure these words never die.  Our ancient foe, the devil, desires only to keep these words of salvation out of our hands.  Yet we are able to find them everywhere we turn.

You need not spend a penny to read.  Check out The Bible Gateway.  It is an online bible with many versions available.  Begin with the Gospel of John.  God’s promise is outlined quite nicely in chapter 3. To find more about salvation, read Romans.  I recommend The Message version for easy reading.  Let me know what you think.

Comment here or e-mail me at claysramblings@gmail.com.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Movember

I’m growing a moustache for a good cause.  Facial hair doesn’t look good on me, so I’ve been told.  My lip is as folically challenged as my head.  But I’m doing it for a good cause.  Check out http://mobro.co/harrydude.  The goal is to raise awareness and money for men’s health care issues.  It’s the male version of the pink ribbon.

Today at church, I spoke with a research oncologist.  He works to find new ways to treat cancer – specifically prostate cancer.  He said that his organization benefits quite a bit from the money raised by Movember.  It was quite inspiring to hear about how this money is put to good use.

Please visit my Movember page.  Consider dropping a couple of bucks there.  And tell your friends!

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