"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lent Day 8 - Wednesday March 16

“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine.” (2 Cor. 13:5)

It’s been a week. I started this journey through the Lenten season a week ago, and I am detecting some differences in myself. For the good. Even though I have observed the season of Lent for many years, this is the first time I have done so in such a transparent manner. I don’t know how many of you are following along and taking it to heart, but I do pray for all of you. The period of withdrawal is not easy and can be lonely at time, but I have found God lurking in the strangest places just waiting for me to appear. Then, it’s kind of a spiritual “gotcha” moment when He jumps out and surprises me.

I feel a point has come that I need to request your discretion regarding my thoughts in coming weeks. These are my experiences and I choose to share them in a public forum, however, that does not mean they need to be discussed with my family. Chat amongst yourselves, give me a call or email, but, please leave my family out of the talking and questions. You know, the "Why would Jimmy say that? Did that really happen?" You know. Thanks for your consideration.

After this first week, I feel like it is time to evaluate my path, my motives and my faith. As the scripture says, “….to see if it is genuine.” I guess my primary concern is that there are those who might think my daily postings of my journey may be from some sense of pride and accomplishment. That, my friends, I can strongly attest to being not true. My family comes from a strong Mennonite, Brethren, Methodist (and now) Baptist background and we were taught from early childhood about the dangers of pride and ego. That is part of my heritage. Several generations back, one of my great-grandpas, Hans Herr, was a Mennonite minister and in reading some of his sermons, I can sense the struggle between the sin of Pride and the Way of the Lord among his congregation and community in Pennsylvania. "Ve don't question ze Vill of Gott," he would have said.

Even though I love my jobs, working in the secular world can be difficult during this season. Many times the general nature of them leads me into situations where attitudes, lifestyles and language is not where I am comfortable. Except for the years I served as a full-time Minister, I have always worked in the secular world, because I feel that is God’s calling for me in this season of my life. It takes all the strength that God can pour into me at times to hold firm and remember who I belong to…..while giving obedience to my earthly employers and doing a good job. For that reason, I have to periodically evaluate my faith and make sure it is still on target. Pure. Genuine. Strong.

You may be in situations similar. You can easily get caught up in the glamour of the world (and it can be a glamorous place, if we’re honest), and lose a smidge of our faith along the way. I’m working especially hard to not falter during this season. To stay strong. Be the example of a Man of God (see “Being God’s” – yep, I’m unashamedly always trying to get a few more book sales out of the deal….). So today, I’m going to be examining my faith from all angles to make sure I’m strong and safe in the arms of God. Will you join me?

Blessed be the name of the Lord.


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