The Amazing Grace of God

I know it has been a while since I have posted a new blog entry.  But there has been much going on, both good and not so good.  But I do not want this to be so much about me, but about the grace of our Almighty God

This has been a very difficult time for me.  I have been up and have been down, but have spent little time in the middle.  I have such a passion to teach people about the truths found in the scriptures, helping them to understand the depth of this Christian life.  I also have a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of those who have not had the advantages I have had in life.  I have many plans and ideas I would love to pursue after my retirement, but I have been struggling with the thoughts I may not have the opportunity to fulfill them.  Hence, my ups and downs.

Much of it has to do with finances. Back in the 1996, I started White Rider Consulting, a corporate consulting company specializing in AS400 consulting, focusing on Cobol Programming, EDI, system design and other areas.  I had some good clients, WestPoint Stevens, UPS Worldwide Logistics, and LeasePlan USA to name a few.  However, in 2002, the business failed due to the September 11th attack on the twin towers in New York.  When that happened, many companies let go of their consultants.  They cut back on their major projects, and therefore did not require our services.  It took approximately 20 months to find a new contract, but in the meantime, I had little if any money coming in.  Moreover, the contract I was able to acquire was for a third of my normal billing rate.  I finally shut the business down and took a job with another company.  However, in order to keep the bills being paid, we pretty much gutted our retirement savings.  I restarted building my retirement savings in 2003 in my current employers 401K which has grown nicely since, however, what with our children’s college loans we took out, as well as the medical expenses incurred when I had around sixteen eye surgeries over four years, we are not where I should be at this time of my life.

I tell you all this to give you adequate background for where this post is going.  As I said earlier, I have a desire to teach the Bible and to help those who have not had the advantages I have had.  My heart is to pursue these in a full time capacity.  Financially, I feel like I need to work longer than I had planned, which is very discouraging.  I prayed about two years ago regarding preparing for this time of my life.  As I knelt, weeping, I asked God to prepare my fully to serve Him as He has called me.  I wanted Him to prepare me financially and spirituality. And over the last couple of years, He has definitely done that.  And I thank Him for it.

However, over the last six months, He has really been making me aware of much in my life that needs to change.  Things I thought I had under control He told me I needed to eliminate completely.  This has been the cause of the up and down fluctuations I have experienced.  It is difficult to be shown how much you are not what you think you are.  I have spent time questioning my qualifications to enter full time ministry, and I have struggled finding reasons why I am qualified.  With all I struggle with, why would God use me in that manner?  I did not hear much from Him.  It was the old idea of the heavens being brass: my prayers did not seem to reach Him, and His answers did not seem to get to me.  This made things even more difficult.

Then, His grace arrived.  God told me there was nothing I could do that would make Him change His mind about using me.  He told me that He knew everything I would ever do, and He accepted me anyway.  (See Isa 46:10)  He has given me assurance that I am and will be used by Him for His purposes.  That is not to say that I can continue in my shortcomings, but He will prepare me in the midst of my service to Him.  I have also seen some assurance in the financial area as well.  Support from family members, understanding our need to be more frugal, has also helped.  He also essentially said that I was to “Be still and know that He is God”  (See Psalm 46:10)

I have learned I am harder on myself then He is on me.  And that has brought me peace as well.  I need to see myself as He sees me.  He loves me more than I can ever understand.  And I need to be patient, knowing that His timing is perfect.  So, I must continue to study, pray, and examine myself through the prism of God’s Word to be conformed to the image of Jesus.  And I pray this for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  God’s plans for us cannot be thwarted by the enemy or ourselves.  In fact, they can never be thwarted.  Therefore, our calling will always be fulfilled.  Take heart.  God knows you intimately, and knows your passions and desires.  What He has planned for you is greater than what you can imagine.  So, be patient and let God be God. Ultimately, He never disappoints.

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