Tag Archives: ILife

God… where are you?

Why would he need to reassure them of God’s presence?

One of my favorite passages is Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save,
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

This passage has brought me comfort time and time again, especially the notion that God delights in us and quiets us with His love.

But last week as I was once again reflecting on it something new came to mind.

Why would the prophet need to reassure them of God’s presence?

For whatever reason they were not experiencing a sense of God being with them.

Ever been there? Ever wondered where God had gone and why He seemed to leave you when you most needed Him? I have.

Why would God not make His ongoing presence very obvious? Why does He allow us times of feeling abandoned? Larry Crabb offers this insight:

God’s restraint has a purpose. When He appears to be doing nothing, He is doing something we’ve not yet learned to value and therefore cannot see. Only in the agony of His absence, both in the real absence of certain blessings and in the felt absence of His Presence, will we relax our determined grasp of our empty selves enough to appreciate His purposes. ~ From Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb

Ever go to meet up with someone and end up alone because you misunderstood the agreed upon destination?

When we expect God to show up in a certain way and He doesn’t, it can feel as if He’s abandoned us when in reality we’re just looking for Him in a wrong location.

We often want God to show up and make a certain situation of life easier. If God determines that such an intervention would not be what’s best for us then He will not show up in that way. It doesn’t mean that He has abandoned us but that we are living with false expectations of how God will make Himself known.

Larry Crabb goes on to say:

Only when we want Him as we want nothing else will there develop in our hearts a space large enough for Him to fill. Because He longs to fill us, He hides His face long enough for us to discover how fervently and exclusively we want Him. When our discovery creates a secret space that nothing else can fill, and when we know that to be true, He enters. ~ From Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb

Until we die to all our lesser passions in life we will never come to experience the pure joy of simply resting in God’s presence.

May we come to discover that place deep inside that only God can fill with His presence!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Divine presence, Doubt, Faith, Faithful, God, God's Will, intimacy with the Lord, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

Climbing Mount God

So—how do you scale something as majestic as Mount God? How do you get to know someone as big as Him?

Answer: a little at a time.

We don’t wake up one day to discover that we are really “tight” with God just because we want to be. Knowing God—like going up the Matterhorn—requires that we pay a price. And that we take a lot of small steps every day.

But the main thing is to take the first step. In the little book of James we find the promise, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” God has already made the first move, inviting you through His Son Jesus Christ to come as close as you want. But you have to respond, telling (and showing) God that you want to be His friend.
~ Excerpted from Wired: For a Life of Worship by Louie Giglio

How can you take the first step toward knowing God better today?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Discipleship, God, intimacy with the Lord, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

Not an evening stroll!

Wait Lord, I need to catch my breath! (pant, wheeze, gasp)

“I have learned to appreciate my father’s willingness to let God be the mystery that he is and, with eyes wide open, to pursue him, not with the precision of a crossword puzzle fanatic but with the reckless passion of a pilot flying into the Bermuda Triangle. 

Following Christ is a wild adventure full of risk, frustration, excitement, and setbacks.  It is not an evening stroll in a planned community along a well-manicured path.” ~ From God of My Father by Larry Crabb

I don’t know about you but I need the occasional reminder that being on a journey with God through this life is nothing short of a wild adventure.

Truth be told, I tend to prefer things calm and quiet and controlled. But too much of that gets old real fast!

Yet too much of the wild adventure can leave me breathless and grabbing for something to hold on to so I don’t collapse.

This summer has left me feeling like that. Breathless and grabbing…

It always seems to come back to the core issue of trusting the Author of the bigger story.

OK Lord, I’m ready to go when You are…

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Discipleship, Faith, God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Trusting God

I was feeling good about it until…

The onset of increasing age, poor eating habits and very little exercise combined to make the two previous years… BRUTAL!

I’m speaking of the 5-day parent/teen extreme camping trip that Josh and I did a few weeks back. Having done this trip 5 times before I knew what was coming. With the last two years being so difficult, it was not anything I wanted to repeat.

So I determined to be better prepared. For the two months leading up to our trip I ate better and rode bike several days a week. With 15 less pounds and a bit more muscle this year’s trip was only mildly challenging. And in the process, I’ve discovered that I rather enjoy cycling.

This last Saturday Susan was not feeling well so I rode alone and decided to push myself a bit. I ended up riding 12 miles in one hour which works out to be 12 mph. (Yes, my math skills are stunning).

I was feeling good about it until…

Earlier in the day we noticed lots of bicycles on Highway 40 which happens once every summer for RAIN – Ride Across Indiana. So I checked out their website for some details. Turns out that these people start early in the morning in Terre Haute and finish up later that same day in Richmond (near where we live).

Their entire one-day bicycle odyssey is some 160 miles long and the information on their web site indicated that you should be able to average 12-14 mph. WOW!

Even at the slower rate of 12 mph that’s an average of just over 13 hours on a bicycle in one day! And here I was excited about doing it for just one hour.

But then it dawned on me that I’m not competing against them, I’m competing against myself. I could have chosen to sit on the couch or float in the pool or go out for ice cream. But instead, I got a good workout in and rode the best I ever had.

The same is true with God. My assurance of spending an eternity with Him is based solely on His grace, but I’ll still give an account for how I lived my life. And God won’t evaluate my life by comparing it to anyone else but by what He intended for me when He formed me in my mother’s womb.

God alone knows my full potential, and yours. He has gifted each of us with a personality and a passion and a certain set of skills.

Are we growing into and living out our full, God-given potential?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Accountability, Christianity, God, God's Will, Grace, Motivation

I was genuinely shocked!

My dad died at the age of 52 when I was just starting my senior year of high school. It was sudden and unexpected; a massive heart attack while playing golf.

My dad was not one for showing emotions, unless one of us boys had done something stupid. Not an uncommon occurrence with four boys under one roof, but it was more my older brothers than me – really!

About four months after my dad died my brother Dave had me out driving to teach me about rear-wheel drive cars and snow. Front-wheel drive today is much safer but not nearly as exciting or fun.

As we drove we got to talking about Dad. My brother told me something that I wasn’t expecting to hear. He told me that our dad loved us, was proud of us boys and talked about us all the time at work.

I was genuinely shocked!

I truly didn’t know that my dad felt that way. He provided for us and played catch once in a while; but I don’t remember him ever telling me that he was proud of me or loved me.

Back row: Elijah, Joshua, Valerie (Sam’s wife) and Brynden
Front row: Kyrsten, Sam, Aaron and Mykaela

Long before I became a dad I determined that I wanted my kids to know that I love them. When our kids were little Susan and I would play a little game with them.

“Hey, you know what?”

“What?”

“I love you. You know why?”

Why?

“Just because…”

They are older now, ranging in age from 21 to 12. But they still get a hug or kiss and an “I love you” several times a day. It’s less frequent with Eli and Sam since they’re out of the nest but there is no hesitation when we do get the chance to be together.

Expressing our feelings as a family is comfortable and familiar. So I was surprised at the wave of emotions that overwhelmed me last week when I hugged Sam goodbye for the last time before heading back to Indiana.

That same wave hit again two nights ago after talking with Sam by phone for the last time before he deployed with the Marines for six months.

It is one thing to hug your kid as they head out the door for college or their own home; it’s a completely different matter to say goodbye when they are deploying with a military unit.

The odds of staying safe are in Sam’s favor, but the reality of the possibility that he may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice is still very real… and sobering.

Don’t take a single day of life with your loved ones for granted! Cherish every moment and leave nothing unsaid or undone.

And if you feel inclined to offer a prayer for our Sam and all those who serve in the military, I would be most grateful. But don’t just pray for their safety. Pray first and foremost for their relationship with God – to know Him or grow closer to Him.

Thanks!

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Family, Loving others, Parenting, Relationship with God

“I might have seen the sun come up”

Background: (stuff you need to know to understand the short dialogue that follows) A couple of weeks ago Susan and I flew out to San Diego to visit our son Sam and his family before he left for a six-month deployment with the USMC. I stayed a week and Susan stayed two weeks. She is flying back late tonight with Valerie and Aaron.

While out there, Sam and I played a video game called Midnight Club: Los Angeles – a racing game. The graphics are amazing and the streets you race on are those of LA. There are lots of other cars on the streets NOT racing (road hogs!) and there are even some police cruisers that occasionally pursue you and pull you over – if they can catch you.

You gain points and earn money by winning races. More points and money means more options of cars that you can buy and the chance to upgrade your vehicle of choice. As you advance in your ranking – I’m now an “Elite Driver” – the races get harder but the rewards get bigger.

I’ve always loved cars, motorcycles and speed… so I really enjoyed playing this game. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that Susan decided to surprise me with my own copy as an early Father’s Day gift before my return home. A couple of days ago I called Susan…

Me: Before the kids rat me out, I stayed up late playing that new game last night. (Confession is not only good for the soul but keeps others from having anything on you – LOL)

Susan: How late?

Me: Well… I might have seen the sun come up… (yes, I’m subtle AND vague. It’s a gift.)

Susan: (gasp) RICK!

I am a night owl by nature but staying up all night is extremely rare. We had a good laugh about it and she asked if she needed to tell the kids to hide it. I said no, but told the kids to ignore any text from their mom telling them to hide the game. LOL

I’m not advocating video games per se and like most parents I monitor not only what my kids play but how long they sit in front of the TV. But something unexpected happened with this particular game.

Brynden, our youngest, is almost 13 and hitting a critical period in his journey toward adulthood. Being very relational, it’s been a rough six months with his oldest brother moving to FL for a college internship and his next oldest brother moving to CA for the Marines.

So I’ve wanted to find new ways for us to connect and as it turns out he loves the new game as much as I do. I had no idea that cars or racing was something he would enjoy, but then again most of the games his older brothers play are either war games or action adventure.

Connecting over a video game might not seem very important in the big scheme of things but these little relational bridges will provide opportunity down the road to talk about the bigger issues of life when the need arises. I’ve had several of those moments lately with my 17-year-old twin daughters who are starting to look at colleges and careers.

Are we connecting with our kids in small ways so that we’ll have a voice with them when the bigger issues come up?

P.S. – Excuse me while I go race my $32,000 Ducati motorcycle around the streets of LA.

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

7 Comments

Filed under Children, Family, Loving others, Parenting

We are small and God is big

A Russian satellite has captured what is thought to be the highest resolution picture of our planet ever taken from space.

The detail in this image is simply staggering! I don’t know what comes to your mind, but like my friend Jeff who sent this to me, I am reminded of how small we really are and how big God is!

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. ~ Psalm 8:3-5

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Glory of God, God, Life in General, Wonder

Our Magic Moment came at a price

It was our last day at Disney World. We had gotten to the Magic Kingdom at 10:00 am and it was 10:25 pm. We were spent… but wanted to squeeze in one more ride.

When we got to the ride the sign said there was a 40 minute wait. The park was only open for another 35 minutes so we couldn’t use a Fast Pass.

As we stood there talking about what to do an older gentleman who works at Disney came out to chat with us. Learning of our dilemma he told us we only needed to know two words – Magic Moment.

After a bit more chit-chat he took us to the Fast Pass line and sent us through with instructions to tell the ride attendant those two special words.

As we stood there waiting to board the ride Eli said, “You just had your Magic Moment.” He explained that those who work in the parks try to give out special treats like that to help add an extra spark to your visit.

It was a great way to end our fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom. But I couldn’t help thinking about all those people who had been waiting in line before we got there. They were still waiting when we got on the ride.

Our Magic Moment came at a price.

Those of us who belong to the kingdom of God have freedom from sin and death. We have a new identity and a new lease on life. We have a restored relationship with God and the promise of an eternity with Him forever.

We did nothing to earn it.

We did nothing to deserve it.

It comes to us free, but it came at a price.

It cost Jesus His life.

What will we do with God’s gift today?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Forgiveness, Freedom, God, Grace, Heaven, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Love of God, Relationship with God, Sacrifice, Sin, Stewardship, Thankfulness

It’s sharing the journey that makes it worthwhile!

The last time Eli, our oldest, was with us on a family vacation it was the summer of 2008 – just prior to his senior year of high school. Since then his college and summer work schedule has made it impossible for him to join us. So being with him a couple of weeks ago at Disney World was extra special.

Eli and Goofy

He’s always been a good kid but the changes that happen between 17 and 21 years-of-age are significant. He is a sharp young man and yes I’m biased but I could provide you a long list of others who would agree.

Since he’s lived down there for several months now, working at Disney, it was like we were visiting his home turf and he loves being there. Eli wasn’t just with us he was delighting in showing us around and acted as our personal tour guide.

He wanted to make sure everyone was having a great time and he routinely asked everyone what their favorite part was so far. After some of the bigger events he would turn to me with eyes twinkling like a kid in a candy store and ask, “What’d you think, Dad?”

It was so fun watching him interact with his younger siblings and listening to what they most enjoyed. He even coaxed Brynden into riding Mount Everest – a backwards roller coaster, mostly in the dark – with the promise of a special Disney souvenir.

I didn’t have any one favorite activity, though the late evening “Wishes” event at the Magic Kingdom was breath-taking. For me, the best part was taking it all in with my family. None of it would have been as special without them and even small things were special because of them.

Whatever it is that’s happening, where ever it is you’re headed, it’s the people sharing the journey that make it special. Take time today to stop and appreciate them. Let them know how much they mean to you.

And thank you for sharing the journey of this blog! I appreciate it more than you know!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Family, Fellowship, Friendship, Life in General, Parenting

Preacher uses F word in church!

It’s not what you think. Love the play on words and wish I could get away with this!

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
~ Matthew 6:14-15

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Church, Forgiveness, Funny, influence with the world, involvement with the church, Jesus, Loving others