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Monday, April 25, 2011

The still voice within

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the existence of God let alone being able to hear His soft voice stir you from within. Having a fleshly mind also corrupts our inner spirit to really lock into what God is saying and doing in you life. I admittedly have struggled with that. But when we get to a place where His voice keeps encouraging us and pushing us to obey Him, we ought to listen. When we do, wonderful thing happen, and when we don't, well....the things of this world will trap us into doing things we ought not to do.
While we endure another adoption process, there is an array of emotions that go along with it. The stirring of God within us and really focusing in on his voice is what our goal really is. The mechanics of carrying out His will is secondary and really the easy part. Any bumps in the road that come along we turn the wheel over to God and say, "No what?". Then we wait for that still voice within to speak.
Even for Christians to understand what I am saying is difficult. Ethel and I are by no means perfect nor do we have the ability to command God to speak to us on our terms. What we have found is that we simply put ourselves out there for Him, open and willing to accept whatever He allows to come our way. Again, that still voice within guiding and directing. We just mechanically carryout the activities here on earth.
How does one go about "hearing" that still voice within? Hmmm...I can say that I honestly didn't really know what that was until I started reading scripture....yes, open up your Bible and read daily. When we start following what God's word is then He will stir us from within.
My whole post here is meant to help understand how we arrived at adopting two more boys who so desperately need a home. This is clearly my lot in life and I willingly put myself out there for God's use. I struggle and try to do my own thing, but that doesn't usually work to well for me. I always resort to God's truth in the scriptures and then focus in on that voice within. Let me put it this way; God is not going to provide His will for your life until you come to Him. He stirs you and molds you into something perfect in His eyes.
Remember yesterday? Easter? What is Easter really about? Yes, the world will tell you it's about how much candy we can hide in plastic eggs or it's about getting together with family, etc. Those are all fine things, but the focus is what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Yes, Jesus was a man AND GOD all in one who lived here on earth for a brief period of time. He was not just some great prophet or intelligent person or a made up person in the cute little book of life called the Bible. He is God's son who does make us perfect in God's eyes! And we need to celebrate that on Easter and every other day in the year as well. So when God stirs you from within, we should obey to the best of our abilities. Sure, you will mess up many times, but keep going....He's there at the finish line as well as the one holding you up through the race.

I've also attached an awesome sermon from the late S.M. Lockridge. All I can say is amazing......because this is as close of a reflection a human being can create to the sanctity of Christ....enjoy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

James 1:27 & the Non-Normal Crazy Neighbor clan.

This verse, James 1:27, keeps coming to the forefront of my mind lately. "True religion is this: to care for the widows and orphans and to not become polluted by the world." We are a family that lives far from what the world tells us is "normal". Ethel is a stay at home mom; the kids are home-schooled: we have two children from Africa (inter-racial family); and we are adopting again. All in all, this probably means that we will have to do something with our current home (add on/expand) or move. Well, if we move, how will your house sell? You can't sell a house in Michigan in this can' can' can't. Ahh...but with God, all things are possible. I know, that's so cliche. But it's true. IF we were to find a home that would better accommodate our family, then I have no fear that our house wouldn't sell....wait....the world tells me that it won't and can't. The world...not God.
Ethel and I have battled all of the comments, cliche's, negative feedback, and push-back from Satan's minions that we are living in a way that is considered reckless for Christ. There's no other way in my mind to live than to put yourself out there fully trusting God. Sure, you have to use the the cartilage between your ears, but when you fully give everything over to God, you will experience freedom and incredible moments in life like none other. I literally am a spectator sitting on the sidelines before the big kick-off in anticipation of what God is going to do with our lives. The electricity is invigorating! If you have never truly delved into a "reckless" relationship with Christ, boy do I have some stories for you. We also have some wonderful friends who live the same way and have incredible stories themselves.
God is present, He is real, He is loving, He is there for us throughout this whole adoption process and brings the peace and comfort we so desperately need at times. Try trusting Him sometime and see if He doesn't throw open the flood gates with blessings!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lots of stuff going on!

As time has gone on since we announced to family and friends that we were adopting again, we have received the gammet of reactions, comments, suggestions, opinions, etc. This is all of what we expected, but who they came from was the match we didn't expect. So, how do we deal with this? Well, everyone has their personal opinion which is fine and I have no problem with that because I know that we are following what we have been asked to do. God stirred both Ethel and I in our spirits that this was His doing. He will be the one who provides financially, emotionally, spritually, physically, and we fully expect Him to have his hand in every aspect of us bringing home these kids from Ghana. No human can tell us what Ethel and I both felt stirring in us that we knew was the voice of God. It's hard to understand sometimes what His voice sounds like, but in the past 6 months, we have been through some amazing things where we have seen and heard that soft voice stirring within. When we heard that voice again and both agreed that this was another step of faith we were about to take, we filled out the paperwork for Ethiopia. Events churned and as we were getting ready to send in that initial application we discovered the possibility of Ghana. Interesting as it was, it didn't really click. Then, we prayed about it, but it didn't go away. Soon, it became all we could think about. Again, the stirring voice within. A few days after we sent in our application for Ghana, we discovered some startling rule changes to Ethiopia and that confirmed with us that again God knew best and brought Ghana to our hearts and minds. It's amazing how He works. Stay tuned as we move forward with our process as we believe it's going to start moving faster now. Our home study is in process and will be completed in the next two weeks. Most of the paperwork for our dossier is in order besides some odds and ends. Since we've been through this before, we have a lot of extra copies of certain documents which is helpful. For those of you adopting, please make sure you keep those cancelled checks and receipts for anything adoption related. It will make it much easier to obtain that adoption credit from the IRS later. Being the nerd that I am, I kept a spreadsheet for each expense with a total at the end.