September 21, 2015

I think its still Monday morning. It is right? OK. Then let's get started because I have a lot of things I want to share. I won't get to all of them today but hopefully some of them will encourage and some will make you really think as we get to them in the coming weeks. I hope your Monday is an amazing day!!
I am giving my wife credit for today's interesting word for the day. She sent me a devotional last week that was really good (from Paul Tripp's "New Morning Mercies"). I want to pass on some of it here today. This devotion deals with the issue we all have of the pain of living in this world. We all experience disappointment and hurt and pain and heartache. The frustrations we face are normal because deep within us is the longing that was put there by God. That longing is described as "paradise" in this devotion. You can substitute "heaven" if you want. We all have things we want to see changed in our life. Maybe it is finances or relationships or health and on the list goes. Let me quote here:
"The tears of a little boy who has been mocked on the playground are tears for paradise. The anger of a teenager whose iPad has been stolen is a cry for paradise. The frustration of a young professional with a boss who never seems to be satisfied is a cry for paradise. The grief of a young wife who misses her estranged husband is a cry for paradise. The grumpiness of an old man whose body doesn't work as it once did is a cry for paradise. We all groan, and those groanings are cries for a better world."

But God has allowed us to be in the situation we are in for our good and His glory. He allows the hardships of this world in your life and mine to continue to grow us into maturity and completion. He walks with us every step and provides us with new mercies each day. He has us in this place for a specific reason. "This means your marriage, your job, your church, your family, and your friendships will never be the paradise that you want them to be in this world."
The good news here is that God is preparing us for the paradise to come. "The final chapter of your story will take place in an eternal paradise beyond your wildest dreams." Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2 NIV). As we face hardships today we need to remember that the real paradise we seek is yet to come and our ticket has been purchased for us by Christ on the cross.
I hope you are planning to join us on Saturday morning, October 3rd for the "Transforming Prayer Webcast." We will begin at 9:00am and be out no later than 1:00pm. Come invest a few hours in becoming better at one of the most important things we can do in life.
If you have been missing Sunday evening worship you have missed some really good sermons by seminary students. I have been very impressed by the quality of individuals that are dedicating their life to ministry and preparing to go out and serve Him. The sermons have been exceptional and they have made it look way too easy. I wish I had been that good then (and some say now).
I want to take a personal license here and wish a Happy Birthday today to my daughter-in-law, Olivia Katherine Hixon. We were talking about the crazy number of birthdays in our family this month. Last Friday was my grandson, Cameron, and next week is my other grandson, Carson. Both turning two. I have a son-in-law, my in-laws, and other family members with birthdays this month that I am forgetting. A week ago Sunday (9/13) I was preparing to step up and preach and I suddenly realized it was my Dad's birthday. He would have been 85. I still miss him. I am confident that the day is drawing closer when I will see him again.