God’s Not Done – Wrestling with God – Part 3

jacob-wrestles-the-angelGod work in unexpected ways. He often surprises us with blessings we don’t understand at the time. Things that don’t quite seem like the blessing at the time. Things that we may feel are NOT the blessing that they turn out to be. Or things that we think are the blessing, and we think they are great and we praise him for them, but it turns out they are not the really the complete blessing we thought they were…in other words, God’s not done. This is where we look in part 3 of the series on wrestling with God.

So we started this series with a look at how God wrestles with us and how that conflict can have incredible changes in our lives. The second part to this story looks at how God wants to bless us and how he pursues us to do so. Using my adult life as an example of how I had conflict with God and how he pursued me, we pick up the story in 2011.

After falling to probably are deepest level financially, wrestling with God over what I need to do, I held on despite being wounded in spirit like Jacob was in the verses we’ve been looking at.

When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” – Genesis: 32:25-26

So bless me he did with a new job, one with a good friend of mine, making good money and I was second in command in the company. This was a true blessing to me. A steady paycheck, something I’d not had for years. Working with friends at a high level of influence in the company.

At this point, I could have said, “Thank you Lord” and just accepted the blessing and moved on with my life. Chances are, I may have let go of God in the process as we tend to do in good times. I may have thought that God had given me his blessing, put me where he wants me to be and has moved on to blessing others.

But I felt a restlessness in my spirit. I never felt like I was quite “there” yet, wherever “there” was. For five and a half years, I went through the motions. God had blessed us financially, gotten us back on our feet and nearly out of debt, but I discovered that spiritual he was not finished yet.

Look at this verse in Isaiah;

But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right — everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones. -Isaiah 30:18

This is how I felt for those nearly six years I was in this sort of spiritual limbo. While I was being blessed beyond what I thought was possible, I still felt like something was missing; and it was. Those six years, I went through the motions to earn money, but I really never felt like I belonged there. As the stress of life and job built I became more unhappy and more restless. But through it all, I never let go of God. That was the big difference between then and my life before. Even during the good times, I never let go.

The years drug on and I felt stagnant and not going anywhere. God’s blessing were still very evident, but I was still in a low spot. Looking back now, I see that God was not finished yet. God is doing everything right and he takes his time, his perfect timing in doing so.

All this time, I continued to expand this blog and my writing. God used this not only to hopefully touch others, but also to strengthen and build me. Over these last few years, I’m feeling pulled to more leadership in Christ and the trials have only strengthened me to move into those positions.

About a year ago, our company let go a man that was filled with Christ. This dismissal never felt comfortable to me, it never settled in my head that we as a company did the right thing. But after that was done, I felt a strange peace come over me. Not that we had let him go, but I felt God telling me that it was time, time for me to move to the next phase of his blessings. God had put this man before me for a reason and with his leaving it was as if there was a pull for me to go to.

I waited around for God those six years and I do feel I’m one of the lucky ones. God put me in a new company that while the financial and benefits aspect are still blessing me even more than before, I’m in the company of many Christ followers. God has put me in a position to expand my personal ministry and growth through my writing and service in my local community. I feel that this is only the beginning of my journey so while the wrestling may seem to be over, I’m not without injury so I’m holding on tight to God and I’m not letting go.

Through his blessings to me I’ve been able to be a blessing to others and as I move into this next phase of my growth, I’ve set my eyes upon that, to bless those around me. God’s not done with us. I feel He is always moving in our lives to further complete us. I’m holding on tight, strong in faith, yet plenty of growth to go. God has renamed me, as he renamed Jacob. My name is still Jason in our world, but God has renamed me because I struggled with God and have overcome. I’ve struggled with my own fears and have overcome them. I’m holding on tight for more is to come… God is not done yet.

God Wants to Bless Us -Wrestling with God – Part 2

wrestling2So last time I left off in about 2006, but let me back up a bit.  From 2001 to 2004 or so, life had been a struggle, three young children, a home and wife. We didn’t have much and we were happy, but it was hard. We grew stronger in our faith during that time and this is when I was able to quit some bad habits. God was using these hard times to strengthen us and teach us to trust in Him.

Well in 2005, I landed that long-term contract and life was getting easier, at least financially. In February we were blessed with our fourth child, Ethan. Later that year we were able to purchase our first home. If you’re familiar with what happened between 2006 and 2008 or so, you may realize that this was probably not the best time to purchase a home, but needless to say, God had this in his timing. Things were going great, but I still had more lessons to learn.

From 2006 until 2009 or so, my business was really taking off, but I wasn’t quite ready for this level of success. We didn’t spend money on frivolous things, but our bills were high so the level of income needed was high. But hey, I was making a lot of money and we were doing fine. But in hindsight, I realize that we became self-reliant, meaning I had stopped leaning on God. Oh, we still went to church, I still prayed and believed, but I stopped trusting that his grace was enough. So as often happens during times like this, God pursued me!

God wants to bless us.

God wants to share his blessings with us. We look back at our story about Jacob wrestling with God. God forced Jacob to wrestle. He was the initiator of the match. But why make us wrestle? Does God wish to withhold his blessings from us until we “win” them from him? Not at all. But I believe that he shares even more blessings with us through the wrestling that without. So those hard times are important, to teach us, to sharpen us, to show us how great and merciful God truly is. These are things we wouldn’t receive if the gifts were just handed to us.

As many of you know, in 2008 the economy started to go into recline. Prices were rising, home values dropping, businesses were reluctant to spend money as their business slowed. Being a small consultant, I was easy to cut from the budgets of many of my clients. So work slowed down and the money stopped coming in. Remember, we had a high income need and it was slowly getting depleted.

Along with that our debt started to rack up. I had my best years ever in 2006 and 2007. Such great years that I wasn’t really prepared for it. And being a small business in the United States, we often bear the burden of high taxes. Taxes I wasn’t prepared for because of my own lack of preparation. So the tax man came and I owed a lot of money to the government. Well realize, they want their money. They don’t care about anything else but getting what is due. Being someone who feels obligated to pay what I owe, we set up payment plans with the IRS to pay it down. But combine that added expense, with a slowing economy and things got real tight.

This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. -Genesis 32:24

See God came to Jacob. God wanted to bless Jacob and God came to him. Much the same, I feel God came to me during this down slide. During the downward spiral, I often turned inward, but God had a way of bringing me back. He would pull me out of my self-pity and forced me to wrestle with him, to see God face-to-face.

Also, notice that God wrestled Jacob the entire night. God could have very easily knocked Jacob out quickly, but He kept the struggle going all night. Much the same, our struggle lasted for a few years. The darkest of times, were from 2008 until early 2011. There were times in there that we weren’t sure where we were going to get money to feed ourselves, let alone pay the bills. But over and over, God came through in so many small ways during this period. Those small blessings that you may not even notice at first, but looking back you can see they could only come from God. This struggle was real and it was long.

When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” -Genesis 32:25-26

Near daybreak, God caused Jacob’s hip to be injured. Much the same, in 2010 I was injured both physically with a back issue and emotionally through the financial issues that we were facing. It was at this point that I had a choice to make. I could let go and perhaps lose the blessings that God in store for me or I could hold on until God blessed me. Luckily I made the wise choice. I held on. I could do nothing else. I had already proven, despite my best efforts, I could not “fix” things on my own. So I held on. I stood strong in my faith that God would see us through.

And God blessed me. He didn’t magically remove my debt, nor did I magically discover a treasure chest of money. But despite leaving me with my “injured hip”, he blessed me. And in reality, that “injured hip” of mine was a blessing itself.

2011 found me with a new job, steady paycheck and a way to bring my family from the brink of financial disaster. I held on to God, after he had brought me low, until he blessed me. And the blessings far exceeded my expectations and they came in unexpected ways.  This is not the end to this story, but that is a story for later.

Wrestling with God

wrestling2017 is becoming the year that I explore prayer and try to raise my game in that area. I’ve never been consistent in my prayers, often praying heavily when I need something and not so much when I don’t. I think we all can say we fall into those ruts from time to time when prayer is just not easy to do. But one thing that always helps is to look back at those prayers that I’ve had over the years and see how God has answered them. I often don’t realize that a prayer is answered until I perform this little exercise as often things become clear when looked at through the lens of time.

I’ve had many such experiences and have written about some on this blog before, but let me talk about a prayer that I think is still being answered, yet was begun long ago without my even realizing it.

At the beginning

Back in 2001 I took a job with a small consulting firm, leaving a job I was not happy at (no real reason of theirs, was just not loving it anymore.) At first the new place was great, I was able to work from home most of the time and while that required a level of discipline that I had was only beginning to acquire, it allowed me to spend time with my young family and gave me the flexibility that many jobs could not provide me, all the while making a salary that more than provided for my family.

Fast forward 6 months to the end of 2001, the day after Christmas to be exact. I received an email that would begin this journey of prayer and renewal that has continued to this day. The owner of the company (there were only 2 of us), emailed me to tell me he was laying me off. I no longer had a job. No insurance, no income, nothing. And right after Christmas where we had spoiled the kids more than we probably should have. We went from one of the happier times of our lives, to one of the worse, in just a few hours.

We had three of our four children then, one just 9 months old. This was just after the terrorist attack of 9/11 and there was still much uncertainty in the world and the economy. There was no guarantee of finding a job, especially not one making the kind of money I was making. Things were not looking good.

Up until this point, while I had a long history of knowing Christ, indeed all the way back to my childhood, I had only recently re-committed myself to following him. This was one of those turning points in my life. One I can look back to as a moment when I could have went one of two ways and in this case, I believe I chose wisely and followed God’s promptings without really understanding. See it was then, that I began to question my purpose in life, question what I was doing and why, not understanding completely why this was happening to us. I had so many questions.

Looking back, I see that I discovered something that about prayer that I think God likes. I was quite frank with God in my frustrations, my anger and my disappointments. I didn’t understand or like this moment and I let Him know how I felt. I struggled with God. I questioned His judgment as it really made no sense. All I wanted from God was comfort and to fix my situation, but I was getting neither.

I’m reminded of the story of Jacob in the book of Genesis. Jacob was headed back to see his estranged brother Esau, who was coming to greet him with 400 men. No welcome party. Jacob splits his party up to avoid complete destruction and decides to stay in camp alone, probably for some intensive prayer.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” – Genesis 32:24-26

This response pleased God so he pronounced this blessing on him;

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome. – Genesis 32:28

So while he came out of the wrestling match wounded and with a weakened body, he comes out with a stronger faith.

Sometimes when we want God’s comfort, he sends it in unexpected or even unwanted packages. I didn’t want to be unemployed! I wanted to provide for my family. This lesson began with a simple email after we celebrated the birth of Jesus, but this is not how I wanted or expected this lesson to be delivered.

For two years I was essentially unemployed. Luckily we didn’t have a ton of debt, but living week to week became the norm. We made sure our children were fed and taken care of and then we worried about ourselves. I did side jobs, mostly software development work that I managed to pick up. I also spent quite a bit of time selling stuff on eBay which actually turned into somewhat of a nice little side business. But overall we were not in a financially good place and things really didn’t look to improve… but these two years did something great, it taught me a valuable lesson.

This time of trouble, forced me to rest my faith more fully on God and not myself. See before this time, I was doing making all the decisions, I made the choices. I had faith in God, but I kept all the “important” stuff for my own decision making. To take me to the next step in our relationship, God had to set me back a peg. He wounded me to increase my faith, just as he caused Jacob to limp to strengthen his.

After two years of struggle, I finally landed a long term contract that took my business to the next level. I was able to form my own business and once again was able to provide for my family. It took time to build that, but during the process God did something else to me.

Wrestling with God changed my identity. This time of trouble made me a different man. I grew up in the process. I became a responsible adult finally (only took me 30 years). I learned to be a better father, a better husband, a better business person. I learned to take responsibility for matters and probably most importantly, I learned to lean on my faith in God to get me through.

Jacob had gained his initial blessing from his father through deception, thus causing the rift that existed between him and his brother. But with is new identity, Israel, gained his blessing through faith in God. I did much the same. I initially gained all my blessings through my own effort and while God rewarded me and blessed me, I gave none of the credit or glory to him. After my 2+ years of wrestling with God, I was blessed in so many ways, but I now knew who those blessings came from.

This brings us to about 2006. While I thought the wrestling match was over and the lessons were learned, I soon learned that really this was only the beginning of the match. See I had worked on my timing (even though those 4 years were too long anyway), but God has his own timing that in hindsight was the correct timing. But I end here and will pick up the story later.

Stop Doubting and Believe

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Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe!” – John 20:27

From this verse comes so many cliches we’ve heard over the centuries. We read about “Doubting Thomas”, someone who refuses to believe without direct personal experience. Thomas seemed to be the ultimate pessimist amongst the disciples. After the crucifixion and resurrection, he isn’t with the rest of the disciples when Jesus first appears to them. The rest of the disciples go off in search of him and when they tell him of the encounter, he doesn’t believe;

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” – John 20:25

Unless he has a personal and physical experience he is not believing it. This despite having followed with Jesus and seen his many miracles, he still will not believe a second-hand account, even from his closest of friends.

Don’t we over and over again, act just like Him. I know I do. I see God’s work in my life over and over again, from the small seemingly minor “God Moments” that seem to happen almost daily, to the miracles we see Him work in lives throughout the world. I know sometimes it takes a physical reminder of God’s presence to help us to believe, but the more you open yourself to God and his working in your life, the more times you can trust that He is there, because of the repeated experiences of Him in the past.

Doubt often slows us down, takes us away from God and doesn’t allow us to move past it to continue to do what God has set before us. We will often miss great opportunities because doubt clouds our mind with fear of what “may” happen. But once you move past the doubt and realize that God is with us, either from a direct encounter or from remembering those past encounters we can be like Thomas and utter probably the greatest confession of faith in the entire Bible,

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:28

To acknowledge that Jesus is your Lord and your God, is the high point of faith. If only we can do that without the season of doubt that we more than often go through.

Because Thomas had seen Jesus, he believed. Jesus says though, and I think this was more directed at future believers than anyone in that historical event;

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 20:29

A lot of believers, if not all, back in that day, especially only a week after the resurrection would have seen Jesus physically either before or after his crucifixion. They would have been a spectator to his miracles and his teachings. It would have been easy to believe. Today, we don’t have the luxury of Jesus walking physically amongst us, but I contend that His teachings and his workings are very much evident all around us. We just need to have the faith to believe and see them and according to his promise we will be blessed.

God’s Gift


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On January 13th, 1998 God presented my wife and I with one of the most precious gifts short of salvation that He could give us. It was on that date, 19 years ago, my daughter, Tela, was born. We have four children and she was our second. All of them changed our lives greatly and our all gifts more precious than anything, but today I want to talk about my daughter.

Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a gift from God and are a sign of his favor. They are a gift, not a possession. Children are loaned to us to raise and teach of God’s way and God will use them for what He created them for. But they are a gift that we can treasure nonetheless.11206058_10200283920856551_1478610184882415488_n

Tela was born with an attitude and has kept the feisty spirit throughout her entire life. She is beautiful and strong. Independent, but loves her family. She and I have very similar personalities so at times we can disagree strongly, yet I know that the love I have for her and she for me transcends all arguments. It is like the unconditional love that God has for us. That love that he had for us, even before we were born. That love strong enough that He died for us, even while we were still sinners.

Just the same, the love I have for my daughter is as strong as one man can love his children, as I love all 4 of mine. As she grows into the young woman and in the not so distant future goes off to start her own family, she will always know that her father here on earth loves her and that her Father in heaven loves her completely and eternally.

11174678_10205220095796839_2795267091021961649_oShe recently started a blog, and while she is in the beginning phases of writing and growing, I am proud of what she accomplishes and am looking forward to see where she goes. Check her writing out at LautzOfLife.

13450931_10208912153475395_3291268572287462572_nSo to end this, I want to speak directly to her as I know she usually reads my posts. Your mother and I love you with all our hearts and you have made us so proud of the young woman you’ve grown into. Never lose that spirit that make you so you and go after your dreams with vigor. Happy 19th birthday pumpkin!

Prayer from 17th century House of Commons

Saint James the Greater, by RembrandtI found this prayer in my readings this morning that really stood out as it would be so foreign to hear something like this in our current political arena. But what if our leaders did pray like this? And truly meant it? How would it change our nation and how it was governed?

Almighty God, by whom alone Kings reign, and Princes decree justice; and from whom alone cometh all counsel, wisdom and understanding; We thine unworthy servants, here gathered together in thy Name, do most humbly beseech thee to send down thy heavenly wisdom from above, to direct and guide us in all our consultations. And grant that we, having thy fear always before our eyes, and laying aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections, the result of all our counsels, may be the glory of thy blessed name. – House of Commons prayer, circa 1661

I found this prayer in a book I’m reading on prayer and the author referenced this. It take a great leap of faith sometimes, especially for this persecuted for their faith, to realize that God is exalted amongst all nations. This prayer shows a few key points that jumped out at me.

Everything comes from God

“…by whom alone Kings reign, and Princes decree justice; and from whom alone cometh all counsel, wisdom and understanding”

We are put in our positions by the grace and desires of God and God alone. Whether we are heads of states, leading a company or simply heads of households, that “power” comes by the grace of God.

We are unworthy of this grace

“We thine unworthy servants…”

There is nothing we can do to earn this grace and favor from God. No amount of prayer, actions, charity or ‘being good’ can earn us grace from God.

We ask and through His grace, God provides

“…do most humbly beseech thee to send down thy heavenly wisdom from above, to direct and guide us in all our consultations.”

We simply ask God to send us wisdom in any and all situations and God will provide graciously this wisdom. He loves us enough that the wisdom is always in our best interests, even if we don’t understand it. But we in a humble position, receive this wisdom from Him.

We set aside our own agenda

“And grant that we, having thy fear always before our eyes, and laying aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections…”

We all have our desired outcomes that we want to see occur. But do they align with God’s purpose? The willingness to set aside these personal interests, to achieve God’s purpose allows God’s grace be manifest in us.

All is for the glory of God

“…the result of all our counsels, may be the glory of thy blessed name.”

All that we do, when done with the consultation and wisdom from God, will work to glorify His name.

What an incredible prayer, especially for the political arena. But this is something I can incorporate into my own life as well.

Welcome 2017 – Making it a year of Prayer

Happy New Year to everyone! 2017 is here and 2016 is finished. Some will be happy and hopeful and some will be sad and fearful, but one thing for certain, 2017 is here to stay.

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from posting on here for any number of reasons, but I wanted to do my annual reflection and looking forward post. During the break from writing, which corresponded to a big life change that I will get into in a moment, has been allowed me to rejuvenate my writing desires and I now have the urge to write again. So 2017 may be the year of increased writing as well as prayer (perhaps as an answer to my prayer!)

These reflection posts tend to be long, so if you can’t hang with me until the end…Happy New Year and I wish you all continued blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ in 2017.

Looking back

So let’s look back on 2016. I won’t get into the world news, the people whom have died (at least not the nationally known ones) or politics as there will be plenty of posts about all those and to be honest, I think what people fail to do so often is look back on their own personal lives and reflect on how THEY have changed personally throughout the year for better or worse.

2016 started off for me no different than 2015 was progressing. I was still working my stressful job and not really loving life. I honestly felt trapped and going nowhere. In fact I felt I was progressing backwards in my career to the point of wanting to give up on it entirely. But it is what I do and I had no where to go where I could support my family to the level that we desired. I prayed and prayed and the word I kept getting back from God was this…

Trust me Jason, just trust me.

Well that was easy to hear, but hard to process. I am not a patient person and like to take action right away, so to have God tell me to just trust him (meaning wait on Him) was very hard to take.

Fast forward to middle of summer. I’m on vacation trying to relax, but in fact vacation was more stressful than work, because I knew it was going to end and I would have to return soon enough. At that point, I had a bit of a breaking point. And God put in front of me a few different circumstances and coincidences that led me to put my application into a new company. These events all happened on one Saturday and by the end of the day I said to my wife as we headed to church,

God just put it about as clearly as he could what I was supposed to do without appearing in bodily form and smacking me upside the head.

It was clear that I was to send my application in and on that following Monday, I cleaned up my resume and sent it in. From that point everything moved quickly and only two weeks passed from that moment to the stressful Monday morning I gave my notice at my old job. Things moved smoothly and I started in my new position at the end of August. Fast forward from then until today, I couldn’t be happier at my new job. Is everything perfect, no, nothing is. But I felt God had called me to make the move and while I don’t know his complete reasoning, I’m there for a purpose and I intend to fulfill his purpose in me while I’m there.

Just as note, my unhappiness at my last job was not a reflection on the people (whom I still call friends), the work or the customers. It was me, being in a spot where God did not need me anymore. I spent 5+ years at that position and I made some relationships that will last me throughout my life. God had a purpose for me there, but when that was complete, he put me elsewhere.

That alone, knowing that I truly heard from God and had the courage to act upon it, made my 2016. I now feel that God responds to prayer, not always in my timing, but He does respond. We have to be willing to act, even though it may be uncomfortable, we have to be ready to answer his call.

Moving forward

So what is 2017 bringing and what are some of the initiatives that I am planning to move forward with?

2017 will be my year of prayer. I really want to learn prayer. I’m not talking about special prayer formulas, techniques or patterns, but really learning how to listen, talk and respond to God. I felt a taste of it last year and I want to grow further in that.

I believe that because of what Jesus did for us, we can now have a personal relationship with God. We can talk with him as if I’m talking to a close friend. I can tell Him when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m angry or glad. I can thank Him for all things that He’s done for me, but can also share my disappointments when things don’t turn out how I had planned.

While prayer is not the only way for God to communicate with us, it is probably the easiest to do and the most common, but yet we don’t make a priority to pray. It is said that Martin Luther used to say, he had so much work to do each day that he was going to spend the first 2-3 hours in prayer. I for one find myself so busy that I’m lucky to get in a quick “thank you” at the end of the day. But those days when I do start my day off with substantial prayer (no I’m not doing 2-3 hours, but even 5 to 10 minutes is a much bigger improvement than what I’m used to doing), my day goes so much smoother, or at least when the rough spots hit during the day, I can feel the presence of God with me because I included him and made my relationship with Him a priority.

My second initiative will be to more diligently follow the “motto” our church has had for years,

We are blessed to be a blessing

However God blesses us, whether financially, spiritually, time or just through compassion, we are called to use a portion of what he blesses us with to further bless others.

More often than not, those blessings, if even small, multiply when we do it out of love. That small smile you may share with a stranger, could pay huge dividends down the road when that stranger shares smiles with everyone he meets, because of your kindness.

To see your blessings grow, you must sow them. So this year, I plan to do more blessing. God has blessed me immensely in 2016, I want to see that multiply. What I won’t do on this blog or anywhere else really, is brag about how I’ve blessed people. That would make it about me, where I want the glory to be on God. I want to do most of it perhaps even in secret.

We recently went to a restaurant for dinner, where my wife and I felt God was calling us to leave a larger than normal tip for the waitress. I don’t know what her need was, but we both felt the calling. So we responded, added the large tip to the bill and left. This isn’t a restaurant we frequent too often so the chances of anyone remembering us is very slim and while my curiosity is such that I would love to know why God led us to do so, I just trust in Him that he used it to fulfill and immediate need and that the dividends will be paid from that. God is faithful in that.

So to help us with that, at least in the area of financial blessings, we’ve started what I call a blessing jar. We have a jar in our home where all of us will throw in some money each week or month or paycheck. This will grow throughout the year so that whenever any of us feel the calling to bless someone in someway financially we can. God has provided us with much, so we are going to set a bit above and beyond our normal giving to help those random people.

The amount of money we set aside is not really important and I’ve told my kids if they feel like throwing in $20 dollars or just $1 at a given time, that is OK. The jar will act as a reminder to us of what God has provided and that we need to be sure we are giving back. Yes the Bible talks about giving a tithe to our church and we strive to do so, but those random acts of kindness are so important that I want to emphasize that in 2017 for us.

Wrap up – finally you may be saying

So I wrap up this reflection post. Usually I like to give a listing of my favorite posts of the year, but this year I won’t. This year, I want to end my post with one of my favorite Bible verses and a wish for everyone to dive into God’s word more. If anything I post does nothing more than lead you to his Word, then I feel I’ve done my job and the rest of the writing is just fluff. So God bless you all and wishing you all a blessed and Happy New Year!

You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
That my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.
-Psalm 30: 11-12