Monday, August 25, 2008

The bigger they are the harder they fall...

Elijah at Mount Carmel

One of the biggest dangers for a new Christian, or a Christian who is weak in the truth, is falling. Not tripping over something but falling into sin, and not so much falling as jumping but without forethought. A good friend of mine and my former pastor told me once that to be on guard all the time, and pray for a hedge of protection everyday, but especially after a spiritual victory. It's after a great victory, or even a not so great victory, that we are tempted or tried the hardest. We get proud or we maybe think that it was in our strength, or sometimes the victories God performs through us so scare the powers of darkness that they scramble to get us discouraged. I have experienced these sudden intense temptations and sometimes trials sent by God to show me that it was not in my strength that some great victory came to pass. I've had times when I felt so close to my LORD, serving him with love, delighting in his word and his presence in prayer, and then temptation comes and I forfeit it all for carnality's sake. At first I felt as though I was unique in this, but then I read a passage of scripture..... The Old Testament. And then there was Peter. Praise God he knows my soul in adversity. Ours is not a spirit of fear.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Our natural response to sin after being saved is to first hide our failures, cover them with works. When sin goes unconfessed it breeds guilt, and guilt brings shame, and the end result is spiritual death. I don't mean a loss of salvation, I mean self made coffin we put ourselves in that keeps us from claiming the promises of God. We bury ourselves in self pity and regret and never think to simply CRY OUT.
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Mercy.... That sounds about like what I long for, what I desire, when I do something that I know my Father would not be pleased with, when I fail to do something that I know he wanted me to do. Mercy. We are not like the heathen who are without hope in this world, we are sons of adoption with access to the throne of GOD, and more than that we are his beloved children. I struggle with guilt and regret and up until recently I would go through weeks or months of ACTS of penance to try to restore my relationship with my Father, when all I needed to do was confess repent and move on. The trappings of religiousness, not so much religion, tell us that we must do, in order to receive. We receive mercy and grace because of who we are. Remember as a child of GOD you are holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. AMEN! Elijah Under the Juniper Tree, after running from Jezebel.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A family that works together....

Today was a great day! Amazing, and fun. I went to my normal Men's Meeting this morning, it is a discipleship meeting that I've been going to for a few months now, I had a few errands to run while in town, got home around 10, and then my family got to work. I loved it. First, my three oldest children changed the brakes on my van (with a little help from me). A 10 minute job, with the proper tools, took about an hour and a half, it was well worth the extra time. My kids were excited about helping, and had fun doing it. I wanted this to not only be a time of training for my children, not to be mechanics but for team work, following directions, hard work, organization, and joyfulness.

After we got done with the van, we went straight to work on our garage.... I haven't seen the floor in there since my father in-law passed on the ownership of it to me. We worked on it all the way up until 7:00 p.m. My kids worked soo hard and diligently. It brought joy to my heart to see them work together with mommy and daddy without complaint, without asking to stop and go play, and with such sweet spirits. This did more for me than it did for them I'm sure. The LORD helped me humbly guide my children throughout these labors instead of barking orders at them. I love a good days hard work, but this was different, this was with a purpose, we were able to show our children love and guidence with joy, it didn't even seem like work.... until we sat down.... now mommy and daddy are feeling the effects of all the hard work. Maybe I can get a back rub outta this too! Click here for more photos

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Joel's Journey

I just watched a video called Joel's Journey at a friends house. Incredible and moving. The faith of this family and their stance for their convictions was amazing. It is a very sad short video but is definitely worth a watch. You can get it here...
You can read the story there and if you are interested you can buy the video from the family.

Stuebs Family Benefit

One of the benefits for our friends who lost two children after a horrible camping accident on July 21st, was held today. They held it at a local restaurant, there was games, inflatables, and an auction. We went to show support but weren't able to stay the whole time. Here are a few pictures of the event. I'm not sure what was raised yet. Please continue to lift this family up in prayer.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


There are few things as sweet as a Brother in Christ with whom you can fellowship. Pro 27:17 "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Fellowship is not hanging out and gossiping, it's not even setting around just talking about the day. Fellowship is when two or more Christians spend time encouraging one anther in the LORD. Ministering to each other. Fellowship shows in the walk of those involved. You can not have fellowship with someone and it not show in your life. 1Jo 1:6 "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:" This is a picture of a brother whom I fellowship with.....

Friday, August 15, 2008

So how Have I done this Week With my CQ

I was looking up the definitions for the word honour as it is used in the KJV Bible and I came across a website where a man was giving what the word meant to him. He said that honour was what he gives and doesn't seek. Honour is holding a door open for someone to show that you esteem them more than yourself. Honour is giving up a place of precedence to someone to let them know that you value them above that place, and above self. Now I read this guy's definition and I liked it but I think it lacked something.... Humility. Ironic. I saw pride in it, will worship, an outwardly show to make up for an inwardly lack. Sounds like me. Sounds like a man that hounoureth himself and lacketh bread. The reason I say this is because I know what it's like to grab ahold of a truth and be sold out to it. When I got saved, there was no thought processes going through my mind telling me I had to do this or that to "show" that I was saved... The thoughts I had were to please the God who saved me. I would tell others about Christ not because I thought that made me look saved but because his spirit compelled me to. I think that if I am going to grow in this area I need to not focus on the "acts" I can do to be humble, but the truth's I need to grab ahold of to be compelled, sold out, put into subjection to his will.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is the Character Quality that I'm currently working on in my life. I've seen the damage that my pride is causing in my life and marriage and am not willing to leave this course uncorrected. I was reading in my devotions the other night and came across a verse that I've read several times before but never understood, but this time God wouldn't let me just fly by it. The verse is Proverbs 12:9 "He that is despised and hath a servant is better than he that honoreth himself, and lacketh bread." I've noticed that when I come under conviction about something I will impose my will about the matter onto my family, especially my wife. I don't often leave room for debate or input, I just go all out. I've also noticed that this usually comes with at best a half hearted response from my family and at worst all out resistance. I don't blame them. They are not donkeys that need to be moved about by bit and bridle, they are spiritual beings that need to be moved by the spirit. If the Holy spirit convicts me of something from Gods word it is my job to help my family catch the vision of it, not to force them to believe something they don't see, because then that won't last. The way I interpret that verse is that a man who has a perverse heart and whose life shows it is better than a man who acts as though he is holy and righteous when his life doesn't show it. That is me when I force my "will" on my family to honour myself, to have a show at righteousness. When I catch a vision for something for God, I will not need to force anyone, they will catch on with enthusiasm, they'll want to see what daddy sees. Sometimes I'll be convicted of a sin in my life and will react with a great change and force that change on my family, but if they don't see the evidence first in my life too them I'm just a man that honoreth himself and lacks bread...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Testimony

I've been a born again Christian now for almost 6 years. I was saved August 14 2002 in a little white church in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. I was a drug user, drunk, and a criminal. I lived alone in a trailer down by the river, party's every night and no restraints. I met a girl named Jamie who I started dating. She talked me into going to church to impress her dad. I started going every now and then, I didn't want to but I really liked her, and a lost boy will do just about anything for a girl. Then she got me to go every Sunday with her... This really cut into my Saturday party time but I did it begrudgingly. Then one Wednesday afternoon Jamie asked me to go to hear a guest preacher who was applying to fill the pulpit. I was mad, I really didn't want to go this was too much. Every Sunday wasn't enough. I really had to think if she was worth all this. I ended up going but I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to go back to any more services, this was it for me, either she took me for who I was or she didn't take me at all. That night the preacher preached a fiery message. He did great, but best of all it was what he did afterwards. This man was there for a chance to be the pastor of the Church, he could have decided that after he was done preaching he would go butter up the members so they vote for him, or he could have sat around and talked but instead he walked straight up to me and asked, "has anyone every told you what Jesus Christ did for you". I had no idea what he was asking, I said " I dunno". He told me of Jesus' love, that he looked down through time and saw me, saw my sin (which was a lot of sin he didn't have to sell me on that) and made the choice to take the penalty for my sin, to pay the price for my wicked life. I couldn't imagine a love like that. I thought love was physical, or if between guys then I thought it meant that I'd be willing to kill for one of them, never thought of dieing for one of them, or taking a fall and doing jail time for one. Sacrificial love... I was broken. He told me how to ask Christ to save me, I prayed, but I believe it was that night, kneeling beside my couch crying out to God to forgive me and thanking him for his sacrifice. After I got saved things started to change in my life. I didn't have a desire to do the things that I used to enjoy, and I got a hunger for things I knew nothing about. I started reading my bible and praying, no one was there to show me how so I kinda just started in Mathew and when I prayed, I talked to God like he was right there next to me (Restore the joy of my salvation). After my salvation, I married a beautiful young lady, Jamie, and we started raising our family to follow after Christ. I haven't had much discipleship up until the past year, when a group of Godly men came beside me and took the challenge of sharing what God has taught them over the years. My desire is to grow closer to Christ, and be a Light for my wife and children.
I love to hear testimonies of people's salvation. Feel free to share.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stuebs Family Benefits

Monday, July 21st of 2008 was a very sad day for a family who we are close friends with. That day while camping at a resort in Colona Illinois their live were changed forever. They woke that morning to a storm unlike any they had ever been in before. It was a rare type of storm that blew straight line winds of up to 94 miles an hour into their campsite. Just after sunrise that morning, becoming aware of the danger they were in Jason, the father, scrambled to get his family to safety. Unfortunately they did not have enough time. A large oak tree near their camp snapped and fell onto the family tent. The tree pinned their four year old son Dustin beneath it's massive 18 inch in diameter trunk. The families 9 month old daughter Savannah was struck in the head. All the Stuebs' 7 children were hurt in some way. Dustin and Savannah did not survive their injuries though.

I can't imagine the pain our friends are going through, I don't even pretend to know what it would be like to lose two children so tragically. My faith in Christ, and in what he tells us in his word assures me that those two children who we mourn woke up in the arms of Christ. They went from pain and sorrow, to playing in streets of gold before a loving Father. I pray sincerely for those childrens' loved ones, and would ask all to do the same.

The family is in need now, they haven't asked for anything but those who love them are seeking help for them. They operate a non for profit thrift store and have no insurance. The last thing that grieving family needs to worry about is whether they will be able to pay their bills. There are several benefits being planned, we just finished one at a restaurant in Springfield Illinois called Mariah's. We thank the owner, Sam, for all his help and thoughfulness in doing this for the Stuebs. There is another planned for August 17th at the Fieldhouse Pizza & Pub from noon to 6 p.m. There will be a live auction and games for kids. Those who are interested can also send donations to any Marine Bank in Springfield Illinois, or mail them to 3120 Robbins RdSpringfield, IL 62704. Checks can be made out to The Stuebs Family Benefit.

Raising Chickens

As a family we have been trying to come up with a family mission, a common goal that we could all work together for. We all decided that we would enjoy raising some chickens, just to kinda get our feet wet and teach the children responsibility, diligence, hard work, and also have a lot of fun with it too. We're currently on round two with this family experiment, we originally what 12 chickens and 2 turkeys. We didn't have anywhere to “brood” them so we set up shop in our living room. We set up one of those large storage totes and put a heat lamp in it. I loved having them in the house, the kids played with them and fed them. After about 5 weeks though we moved them to my father in-laws garage and upgraded them to a cattle feeding troff. Two weeks later we turned them loose into their pin we had fixed up. That night something killed 3 of them. Here I am trying to work on character building with my children and I fail, oh I got hot about that. It had to be somebody's fault. That afternoon I went around and made sure nothing could get in or out of that hen house. Next morning, I go out to see how good I did... something had not only killed all the rest of my chickens but made a night of it, seeing as how none of them could get out. He picked them clean. Everyone was discouraged, especially me (like I said I fail often, but Lord willing I'm going to fail forward). So for the next two weeks I was determined to eliminate all forms of chicken eating life from our lil' town. I set a live trap every night, and every night I caught a tom cat or a coon or something. I did this till I couldn't catch nothing else. So now we have twenty chickens, they're about 6 weeks old and looking good, I'm struggling with being short about them. I found I'm being a little over protective of them, as much as I cherish the idea of building life skills in my children by allowing them to help and encouraging them to explore this little fowl things, I loath the idea of loosing. I won't be beat by a stinking tom cat again.