Open up

Ok. I admit I've been on a rollercoaster here the past few weeks. My lovely bride can attest to that.

But man, the past couple of times in the Word have just been, well, amazing. I read Psalm 80 yesterday and 81 today and I am just so excited. I can't help but share. I'm not trying to caramel dip a rotten apple either. We're really stressed. But God is just so dadgum good.

Take just this one verse:

"I, the LORD, am your God,
Who brought you up from the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it."

I, The LORD, am your God

God is God and I am not. There is only 1 God and its not me or anything or anybody else. He establishes the foundation: God is who He is. He alone is God and that singular truth is paramount, monumental. Huge!

Who brough you up from the land of Egypt

You can only be brought up if you are lower than you ought to be. God is not the God who leaves us in Egypt, in slavery, bondage and fear. No! He brings us UP! He leads us out. He sets us free. Remember that, Brandon! He is a redeemer of the lost, a restorer of the broken, a freer of slaves and a breaker of chains. He is the I AM and He always was and always will be. Holy smokes that puts things into perspective.

Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

Only God can say this and make it true. An open mouth is a gateway to either nourishment and life or poison and death. God is who redeems, brings up and out. He is good. So when we open our mouths what will He fill it with but goodness? A wide mouth like a baby birds. open wide, eyes closed, knowing that whatever enters in from God will be good. Trust God and He will take care of you. It doesn't say, "Purse closed your lips and I will force in the spoon." But that's what I do on so many days. Deacon does that now because I have given him food that is nourishing and good but that he doesn't like. Why would I ever purse my lips to God? It is His very nature to fill open mouths with His goodness.

I have no idea what everyone is going through right now. But don't listen to my words. Listen to the Lord's! "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it" How amazing. He is good and huge and I love Him because He is all those things.

Will you join me in opening your mouth wide to Him? Open wide and close your eyes and then let us praise His name together.

*7 days to departure*


Restoration hardware

I hope no one was under the misconception that missionaries didn't need fixing-up every once in awhile. If you were, prepare to rethink that.

The past week or so has been the hardest week of my life. We're preparing to go to Guatemala and there are a lot of details that go along with that. And I'm not a detail guy. I'm a 'big picture' guy which is a nice way of saying I forget the details. I can take care of them but it takes a lot of work on my end. Things don't just get done, they have to be done. I'm not good at details. My wife is, so praise God for her. I'd be in trouble without her. So the past few weeks has been an exercise in needing to be proficient in that which I am deficient; an exhausting experience.

Our son has been sick. He had his first real fever (103.6) and now he has a cold with all the trimmings. Caring for a sick 10 month old is not the best way to complete that days to-do list. Oh, and seeing your baby boy lethargic with fever is simply gut wrenching. I'd rather have the stuffing beat out of me. I have been sick also. Not sick where I am bedridden or anything, heck, I hardly have any symptoms except that I am achy and freakishly tired. Very annoying, actually, because I am just really unprodctive which, at this point, just makes life more difficult.

We took off a few days to spend in Lubbock with Jenny's parents to say goodbye and give them a little grandbaby time before we head out of the country. Her dad, who is paralyzed on the left side due to a stroke, had his leg broken while being transferred into bed. They had to take him off his cornucopia of meds to evaluate him and suffice it to say he's still in the hospital and because Deacon has a cold he can't go up to see Jenny's dad which means her mom gets very little grandbaby time and we don't get to see them much either.

So I've been a little worn out and questioning whether God's amazing answer to our prayer to bring our support in by October was somehow misread. If we delay at all, we delay until January. Now, I know that God is not going to smite us if we wait. The question is do we trust Him? Are we making decisions based in fear or faith? We asked Him to show us when He wanted us to go and now that the time is approaching it's getting really hard.

This morning I got a few minutes and asked the Lord to just reveal Himself to me, to speak to me through His word. And then I read Psalm 80.

1 Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock;
you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
come and save us.
3 Restore us, O God;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.

The plea in v. 3 happens 2 more times:

7 Restore us, O God Almighty;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.


19 Restore us, O LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.

Notice the change? God then God Almighty (God as commander of the armies of heaven) and finally LORD (I AM, God of the armies of heaven). The plea increasingly looks to God as not just some 'god'. It doesn't stop at even the God who commands all the angels in heaven. But LORD, Yahweh, the great I AM, the One who Is, whose name is I AM, HE is who commands the armies of heaven. And what does He do?

He shines his face upon us! He saves us! He is not distant. He is not aloof. He hears our cries. Why? Because He is listening. God, I AM, the creator and sustainer and redeemer of all things is listening to us. And He is no passive listener. He is working and He is with us!

Do I need restoration? YES! Why? Because I am a person, a human, and we are prone to wearing down. Oh, praise the One who hears, who shines, restores and saves. He is worthy and He is with us.



Stealing good ideas

I stole this from Brent's blog. Too much fun.

Ok, here's a short story we all write. I'll continue. Here goes:

"I've never liked the grocery store. Too many choices. I always try to go at dead times so I don't have to talk to anyone else. No dice today. I was up by the registers but the last thing I wanted to do was check out. The guy next to me had armed himself with an O-Cedar mop and a baguette. I grabbed the deadliest thing I could imagine: A can of Spam.

The creatures outside were almost through the door......."


Please put trays in the upright and locked position

In an amazing display of provision, God has made it possible for us to leave for Guatemala on October 30th.

We have quite a lot to do, although in His providence we were already preparing to be ready to go on the 21st.

I never think much about flying. But when the plane lines up for takeoff and guns the engines, when I am pushed back into my seat, I always pray because it is at that moment that I am reminded that I am completely in another's hands.

I feel much like that now.

So, please pray for us. It should be a great ride.


October Raves and Rants

Rave - cooler weather. Nice...just nice

Rant - Being a Texas Tech football fan. Just get tired of 9-3.

Rave - Yankees are out.

Rant - Mosquitoes. Why did you make those, God?

Rave- DEET. I know its a poison but, whatever.

Rave - People who love God. Thank you. Spending time with you makes life very good.

Rant - Wanting to be in Guatemala and being here for now.

Rant - Wanting to stay here and moving to Guatemala soon.

Rave - Being free to live in that tension.

Rave - The mail. $.37 gets a thank you note to someone.

Rant - Rain gutters. More trouble than help.

Rant - Thin kleenex. I blow right through. Might as well just use my hands.

Rave - Puffs Soft and Strong!

Rant - Getting older. I get sore sometimes and I don't know why. Argh.

Rant - Technology. I'll never catch up.

Rant- Sin. It's crappy, ok? But won't last forever.

Rave - Grace. Trumps sin.

Rave - The pastors and elders at CBC. Read 1 Cor. 15 and pay attention to the last verse.

Rant - Books I need to read but don't want to and books I want to read but don't need to.

Rave - Calvin and Hobbes: The greatest comic.

Rant - Cathy: The comic I'll never laugh at.

Rave - Bacon. Name a meal bacon does not improve.

Rant - International politics. Why do we bother.

Rant - biting my nails. Mostly when I watch Tech play.

Rave - Samoa, our cat. She's cool.

Rant - Politics. Just in general. I love democracy, I love my country, but man, I hate October in election years.

Rave - My marriage. It's great because God is good and he gave me Jenny. I love you babe.

Rave - My son. Wow. How can you teach me so much already? I love you.


Prayer and such

Reading one of my favorite blogs got me thinking about prayer.
Here's a few of my favorite quotes. All from the same guy, I know.

“Prayer is the secret work that develops a life that is thoroughly authentic and deeply human”

“Prayer is never complete and unrelieved solitude; it is, though, carefully protected and skillfully supported intimacy”

“Before God in prayer we do not remain the same…God feels our pains but He does not indulge our self-pity” (my favorite)

all by - Eugene Peterson

I love those. Anyone want to share your favorite quotes?