Thursday, March 31, 2011

Though I Have Been Impure, God Still Fights For My Soul

God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7, NLT

Hmmm....I should have known why I was subconsciously avoiding today's blog post. Talk about a smack to the ol' being. Let me just get this out in the open.....there are times I have lived an impure life. Heck, I can't count how many times in the past 4 years I've been impure. When I say impure, I mean stuff that even nonreligious people would shake their head at. I lost my focus; I turned my back on Christ.

This I know, when I finally realized I am a sinner and I came back to God I was welcomed with a loving embrace. God knows the things I've done yet he still wanted to be with me. He didn't give up on me. He wanted to be in my life again. Since September of last year I've been with my Father. Here's what else I know, I have stumble a few times since then--almost to the point of failing yet again in my walk. But God was there to catch me, hold me, to show me he wasn't going to let go. 

I was worth fighting for. Even in my sinful ways, he fought for my very soul against the Enemy.

This is my daily struggle, to live a holy life and turn my back on impurity. It's not easy. If it was, everyone would do it. The Enemy and his minions will do whatever they can to keep me away from God. Yet, I now know that I can call on my Father and he will protect my soul and lead me out of temptation. He gives me an example through Christ on holiness and a drive to live each day for him. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Threw My Arms Up in the Air and God Took My Burdens

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

~ Romans 8:28, NLT

I was grumpy yesterday.

My day at work was amazingly boring, I got a letter in the mail delivering potentially bed economic news and the house was a mess with lazy kids sitting around doing nothing. The perfect "oh crap, dad's going to explode" type of cocktail. I was not happy.

Then my wife in all of her wisdom told me something rather strange..."so, do something about it" -- referencing the lazy kids and the messy house. So I did. Shut off the computers, put the DSs away and cleaned house. Everyone pitched in. Within an hour we got the house just about spotless...ok, maybe not spotless, but it was clean again. Yay, victory.

As I lay in bed last night I had the economic issue on my mind. I figured if there was ever a moment, now was the time to trust God. So I prayed. I put the entire issue on his shoulders. I thought to myself that if the creator of the universe wants this situation to work out for our good it will--no matter the outcome.

Today I called the company and politely explained--which is not how I roll when dealing with stressful money issues--that there was a mistake and I needed it fixed. After checking her records she discovered that there was indeed a mistake on our account and we didn't owe money, but money was OWED TO US!!! Amazing. I was stunned. She told me it was because I filled out the proper paperwork in December that allowed for this miracle to happen today. For some reason it got lost in the shuffle and I was indeed in the right.

At that moment, I was overcome with thankfulness--not because we received a good sum of money in return, but that God was faithful. He knew our needs. Struggling to make ends meet over the past three months has been a little taxing. He answered our prayer in his timing for us to truly praise him with thankful hearts.

God doesn't need our praise. He loves meeting us just when we need him so that we may glorify his name. To God be the glory!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just a Sinner Trying to Live God's Calling

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time - to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

~ 2 Timothy 1:9, NLT

One of the hardest things I find in my Christian walk to do is live a holy life. I'm not sure if it's because I'm stubborn, lazy or ignorant. I imagine it's a combination of all three. Amazingly enough, I don't have to be perfect—besides the fact I literally can't be. Because of God's grace, I am saved. Because of what his son did on the cross, I can receive eternal salvation.

Our family is reading through the bible in chronological order. Needless to say Leviticus and Numbers almost caused us to stick our heads into a furnace to offer up our sanity. However, one thing I came away from those books of the bible was all the rituals and sacrifices that God required of the Jews to remain or become clean again. It's no wonder St. Paul points out in Acts that we were predestined to fail with so many rules.

I could not begin to image how many sheep and goats I would need
around the house to cleanse me of all of my unrighteousness. That's
where Christ's work on the cross by shedding his blood washed away the
old law. Through Christ we have a direct connection to God to ask for
cleansing and forgiveness. Thank God he loves me enough to not give me
what I truly deserve.

Lord, I'm a sinner. Please don't give up on me. It's by your grace I
am saved and by no work of my own doing. I am called to live a holy
life. I will struggle and occasionally fail. I'm thankful you love me
enough to see me as a work in progress, and not as a lost cause. Amen.

Monday, March 28, 2011

God Used People to Help Me Hear His Good News

He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ 2 Thessalonians 2:14, NLT

My story of how I became a Christian is quite interesting. I actually started going to church because of a girl. I know, how original?! At the time I really liked this girl and I was open to the idea of God. I began going to church and learning about the bible. I won’t go into details, but eventually I knew that this particular church wasn’t for me. Yet, I was interested about learning who this Jesus was.

One of my buddy’s from high school gave his life to Christ the summer before and was constantly bugging me about going to church. I would give reason after reason as to why I didn’t or couldn’t. Fast forward a few months and after breaking up with the girl, I asked him if I could go to his church. Words could not express his happiness…almost to the point I was questioning asking him.

However, this moment altered the course of my life’s journey. I came to learn about Christ, accept him as my lord and savior and become active in the church. Little did I know my future wife also attended this church—something I didn’t find out about until we started dating. God had put me in the right place at the right time. I got married in that church and spread the Good News to other teens while working with the youth group. Those teens grew up to become great ministers of God’s message. God’s will was done.

It’s quite a story that a young boy, who had no church background and constantly heard the Lord’s name used in vain in his surroundings, would be used in such a mighty way to be a witness to others about how Christ changed my life. I have had bumps in the road over the years, but I think back to that time with happy thoughts. To this day, God has been faithful just like he promised me so many years ago when I accepted him into my life.

All good things happen—in God’s timing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Heart's Cry Revealed My Real Prayer Need

Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
~ Psalm 10:17, NLT

There have been times in my life when I have been blind to the work that God has done in my life. Either through my heart cries or by actual prayers, God has been faithful when I have not always been. I can think about a time I had my prayers answered. It wasn’t until time had passed that I realized it was my heart’s prayer that was answered.

Last year I was working at a job that I did not like anymore. From past mistakes I had made and eventual distrust by myself of upper management, I hated my job. Hate is a strong word, but I really did hate my job. I needed to make a change. God heard my heart cry even though I didn’t trust he would answer my prayers. I sinned at work. I was lazy. Although I was in sales, I stole company time by not working as hard as I could. These are difficult things to write even today even though I have confessed them six months ago to God.

That faithlessness in God’s plan lead me to a job I hated even more than the one I would eventually leave. With my attitude and continued lack of trust of upper management, that job lasted only four months before I was fired. This was humbling and a blessing at the same time. For it was at this moment that I realized I needed God. If I was going to continue in this life, I needed God’s strength to move headlong in anything I would do from that point forward.

God knew I was helpless; more importantly I finally accepted I was helpless.

The next six months would change my life forever. I began jogging on a consistent basis. I had allowed my health to deteriorate to the point I was the heaviest of my life and I was beginning to experience the ails of being overweight. I was killing myself. Over that stretch of time I lost 25 lbs.; a feat that I could not have done without God’s strength.

More importantly, I came to know Christ on a whole new level. I fell to my knees and spilled my guts to a priest during the sacrament of reconciliation. I found some new outlets to learn more about the Catholic Church and the faith I would grow to hold tighter. Different men of God like Mark Hart and Lino Rulli showed me it was ok to be proud to be a Catholic and through these men I came to embrace the Church more than I had ever before. I can honestly say that this change in me over the last nine months is due to God’s providence. He absolutely heard my heart’s cry; it wasn’t about a job or my career, it was my relationship with Jesus Christ. God answered my prayers and I am now comforted.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

When God Plants a Seed, I Have to Have Patience

Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God's people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.
~ Psalm 97:11

One of the coolest things I've ever seen is the beginnings of a lawn. When we lived in Port Orchard 10 years ago, we got the keys to our brand new house. A house that we helped build--invested our blood, sweat and tears into that house. Yet, with a new house came no grass.

Part of the deal was we laid out the topsoil over some pretty rocky soil. This was included in the final price along with the initial spraying of seed and fertilizer on top of the newly spread out soil. After the first day we had no grass. I know, grass doesn't grow after the first day but here we were with a "green" front yard but no grass.

Over the next week we started to see the beginnings of little blades of grass. Again, I needed a magnifying glass but the grass was there! By the third week we had a full fledged lawn daycare--little baby blades of grass. But then doubt set in.

The grass seemed to hit a plateau. Was it not getting enough water? Did it need more fertilizer? Where the dang birds eating up the seedlings? I was concerned for the grass and thought it would never grow. But it did. It grew into one of the nicest lawns in our neighborhood.

You see, when it comes to joy in the Lord it takes time. In my experiences I have been "filled" with the Holy Spirit only to realize the seed was planted, but I didn't have the patience to nurture and let that faith grow. My heart was not good soil and I quickly would stray away. It wasn't until my life topsoil was almost completely
sucked dry of nutrients before God showed me how to tend to and nurture those joy-seeds.

I may have my days where I struggled to tend my joy garden. But God has shown me to have patience, feed my soul with His goodness and allow the Holy Spirit to continue to grow my faith. There will be a day when my joy seeds will become one of the nicest faith gardens ever.

Friday, March 25, 2011

God Won't Give Up On This Sinner Who Seeks Him Daily

I love those who love me; those who look for me find me.
~ Proverbs 8:17

I had some time today to think about this verse. Actually, I had all day. I sneaked a peak at the verse this morning as I was thinking about what I should share today on my blog. Then it hit me; why must I always sin after I experience a victory with God. Two words: The Enemy.

You see, lately I’ve been experiencing spiritual successes and spiritual failures. Almost like a ying-yang picture in my life. I get on track, I seek God and I find Him. I’m climbing the mountain to pursue out and reach God and then it happens—sin avalanche.

Now when I say a sin avalanche I don’t mean I just went ape-nuts crazy sinning. How does an avalanche start? Usually all it takes is something small that have it all come crashing down. In my case it can be a website I go to, or a movie I watch, or my attitude and language at work or even my reaction to those who are in need. The greatest thing The Enemy can do is get just a sliver of sin to creep into my life, and before I know it the sin has happened and I’m back to square one.

This pattern seems to be set on repeat in my life. It can be extremely frustrating at times. I will find myself questioning my faith and my love for God. If God love those who love Him, and my sin is obviously not an act of love towards God, does that mean He obviously doesn’t love me? My mind and The Enemy are pounding YES into my head. God says otherwise.

I’m a sinner. A sinner. I try to be a good person, but I fail. It’s human nature. I am not perfect and I will sin. No matter how hard “I” try, I will sin. Period. Yet, I know that God will always love me—“those who look for Me find Me.” I am constantly looking for God. Even when I’m sinning, there is a part of me crying out to God for help and strength to fight the urge to sin. I don’t always consciously know this, but I know my spirit is crying out to God. How do I know? Because after I have sinned, I am sad. Sad that I have just let myself down, but more importantly I have let my Father down.

However, God’s love is stronger than the chains of sin. The Enemy might win a battle when it comes to sin in my life, but I am encouraged by the fact that Jesus has already won the war. His death and resurrection give me hope that although I stumble and fall, Christ is right there to reach His nail scarred hands to pick me back up.

The love of this father for his kids is strong. If my children disappoint me, that doesn’t mean I love them any less. I know they messed up, they know they messed up; we deal with it and move forward. That’s exactly what God requires of me and that’s one reason why I go to confession. God uses the priest to deal with my sins, forgive me and we move forward together. A God that gives me the sacrament of confession is a God who loves me enough to not give up on me—no matter how many times I need to be picked back up again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Brain is a Special Place...HEY Look, a Squirrel!

Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
~ James 1:23-4

I find as I get older I’m slowly starting to forget things. I’ll walk into a room and two seconds later have no idea why I went there in the first place! If I’m writing a term paper for school I’ll get stuck on words like “would” or “wood” or drift off into Never-never Land when I am reading something and forget what I just read one page earlier.

Getting old sucks. But it doesn’t have to. One area of my life that I am continually trying to exercise is my “remembering gene”…and it’s not easy. With so much going on in the world today it is easy to input information, be intrigued and then do a data dump not long after. Think about it. How many people can remember what their kid said to them this morning before they went off to school? Unless it was some “flashy” information, I’m sure they forgot it as the kid walked out the door. It’s understandable.

Information overload can drown out almost any message. If I allow that to happen, I will miss what God has to say to me about my life.

Yet, the most important aspect in my life is not only to hear God’s message, but to live it. The problem is I am that person at Sunday morning mass who looks in the mirror, walks away and two minutes later forgets what they look like. I remember going to a different parish four weeks ago. A visiting priest gave the homily and I was moved by the message. I distinctly remember telling my inner dumb-dumb, “This is good stuff! Don’t forget what he’s saying!!”

Yep. I have already forgotten it.

The point here isn’t so much to have a steel trap mind, but to LIVE God’s message. I may have forgotten the particulars of the priest’s words, but I am actively trying to live out the spirit of the message. Heck, I’m almost 99% sure that’s why I’m writing these blog posts for Lent…God’s message was to step out of my comfort zone and make a sacrifice to show how thankful I am for what Jesus did on the cross for me.

My challenge is this, for however many more years God blesses me to live on this planet I must absorb God’s message and live it daily. For it is this that will help me to remember that the man I see in the mirror is a sinner who is saved by the grace of God. A man who is loved by his Father.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He Has 99, But I Was That One

"Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one?
~ Matthew 18:12

The bible is filled with so many good stories and analogies about how much God loves us. I have always loved this verse. To picture a shepherd who would head out to look for one sheep while the other ninety-nine are grazing back on the ranch is quite a sight to imagine.

Heck, when I lose the remote control I will cross barren wastelands (the kid’s rooms) and treacherous caverns (the couch cushions) to find it. That is some serious passion! Of course, during this adventure I’ll walk past the television four or five times where I could have easily turned it on.

But in all seriousness the kind of love God has for me is so much stronger than that of a remote control. Although He has “ninety-nine” others, He will search high and low to find me and bring me back home. I think back to the past four years living in Puyallup. I swear I believe I tried my hardest to be lost. How silly is the idea that I could be lost or hide from God?

Thankfully he searched and searched and was faithful. He never gave up on me and eventually brought me back towards home. I know how hard I would search to look for my child; to think God has that kind of love for me is simply awesome.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Only God Could Use a Bible Geek to Reach Me

Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, Hugging them as he carries them, leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.
~ Isaiah 40:11, The Message

Baby Jesus pose.
Since I technically became a Catholic in 2007, I have often complained to my wife about how the church is kind of boring. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the meaning and reverence of the mass. Once I understood what every little thing meant, I embraced the mass. But what about “fun”? At least when we went to protestant churches we could count on being “entertained” while worshiping the Lord.

So my wife did a little research—without my knowing. She ran across this young man who was a leader in the Catholic media realm. He happened to work with an extremely knowledgeable man, Jeff Cavins, to produce these things called Life Teen studies. She asked me if she could buy this “for the kids” and after the initial shock of $100 for the set I said sure—happy wife, happy life…right?

God works in mysterious ways.

After we received the DVDs, we sat on the study for about two weeks before I caved in and agreed to finally do it “for the kids”. After the first video I was hooked. You see, I still consider myself a very young Christian in my faith. I know some people look up to me and that’s very humbling, but I realize my limitations and sins. The best I can do is try to live more like Christ every day.

If you read yesterday’s blog, then you’ll know this was the man who challenged me through the television. His name is Mark Hart, or better known as the Bible Geek. He reminds me of a few youth leaders I have had the privilege to know—Jeff Costello and Kevin Alexander. This guy had charisma, smarts and funny as all heck. If I could emulate a youth leader, it would be this guy.

We finished the Life Teen series and come to find out he’s an author and has a weekly podcast that focuses on the readings for Sunday mass. Because of this man, our family now will read the Sunday mass readings before we leave the house. Then on our way to church we will listen to Mark’s six or seven minute podcast that digs just a little bit deeper into the mass readings. By the time we get to mass we actually look forward to the readings and the priest’s homily.

Amazing. Amazing how a man who produces these videos and books “for the kids” was able to reach out to me when I needed God most.

A year ago I couldn’t have cared less about church. Six months ago I couldn’t have cared less about the mass. But because God cared enough to gather me into his arms and lead me towards good pasture I am filled every Sunday with the goodness of the mass. And because good ol’ dad has finally “grown up”, my kids are starting to believe that there’s more to going to church than being bored…there’s living water ready for the nourishment of their young souls. That in itself is the greatest blessing of all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Confession -- I Had a Date With Forgiveness

I've thrown myself headlong into your arms-I'm celebrating your rescue. I'm singing at the top of my lungs, I'm so full of answered prayers.
~ Psalm 13:5-6, The Message

It was last September that I finally came to the realization that I wanted to be a part of the Catholic Church for real. I was watching a program with my family about going through the bible in a systematic fashion that made sense. During one of the programs the speaker basically called me out on the carpet—I know, he was in the TV but nonetheless he was talking to me. Was I going to continue to run from my past or finally face it and be set free?

Later that night as I sat alone on the couch, I began to sob. I was finally ready to give it all to God. I was finally ready to come clean. So I began to search for a church in the area that provided daily reconciliation (confession). The closest? Seattle. I thought to myself how the heck I was going to get up there without raising suspicions with my wife. At this point I was more afraid of what I’d have to tell her than I was of God. I was ashamed.

The next day I dropped my daughter off at school, went to the YMCA to work out and then hustled up to Seattle. I had an appointment with my Father. As I was working my way up there it seemed like everyone driving around me was making stupid decisions—the kind that might force me to get into a fender bender. Then as I got into the city I seemed to find every red light and traffic jam. The Enemy knew I had a date with forgiveness.

I made it to the church with 30 minutes to spare. Of course there were about four or five people in front of me. This gave me “plenty” of time to think about what I was doing. Yet I knew this was where I needed to be, this was where I wanted to be. I knew without a doubt that I was going to tell the priest EVERYTHING in my past. I was scared.

As my turn came up I nervously went into the confessional and began. As I shared with the priest my sins, I started to wep. I was really telling him all the evils in my past. I was finally letting all this crap go. I was being set free. The priest listened, gave some words of encouragement and told me to say three Hail Marys before I left the church.

What a feeling! I kid you not, it literally felt like a 500 lbs gorilla had been removed from my back. I finally understood what it was like to truly go to confession. God works through the priest. The priest becomes the voice of God by teaching, comforting and verbally telling me that my sins are gone. It’s one thing to believe your sins are gone; it’s another to hear the voice of God TELL you your sins are gone.

The rest of the day was amazing. All I remember is driving around with this new spirit of hope and faith in the Creator. I shared with my wife what I had done and asked for her forgiveness as well. If you asked her today, my decision to finally let go and let God on that early autumn afternoon has been an answer to years of faithful, on her knees prayer. That day, God gave her back the husband she had prayed for.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

With Faith and Love Firmly Rooted, Jesus Freaks Have Blossomed

So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It's as sound as the day you first heard it from me.
~ 1 Timothy 1:13, The Message

Too many times before I have been on fire for God only to have something trivial trip up my walk and I foolishly fall away. 

People I meet today probably have no idea that I was a youth group leader in my church years ago. We were the Jesus Freaks without a doubt. We worshipped loudly. We proclaimed boldly. We loved each other. It still warms my heart to know the small seeds I've planted in God's kingdom have blossomed into lovers of Christ. A few of these seeds have gone off to flourish 10x more in their faith than I have.

Two years after I became part of the youth group, I left to pursue the false promises of this world. I disguised them up as "God focused" endeavors but they were really Rory focused failures. Instead of keeping at God's work I chased after money and status. 

My roots had deteriorated to the point that life storms came and easily blew me over. It wasn't until last year that the Lord picked me up at my lowest point and began anew to repair my faith and fertilize my hope in Christ's promise of salvation...and love.

To see how far my seeds have come since those early youth group days fills my heart with joy. These wonderful people of God have taken heed to 1 Timothy 1:13 and know that the seeds they are now planting will produce a new generation of Jesus Freaks and I have no doubt they'll be firmly grounded in the love of Christ.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Holding to Her Convictions...With Love

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping.
~ 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

It’s been quite a week for the two heads of the Pitts family. Earlier this week we got into a deep, and sometimes heated, discussion about abortion with friends and family on facebook. Now before you say what a silly forum to discuss this hot topic, I get it. But hey, it happened and so we all kind of just rolled with it.

The one person sharing an opposing point of view is a very smart person—book smart, life smart, history smart. A very smart person. So smart that their answers were long drawn out dissertations that in the academic field probably would drip of pour gold to the intellectual mind. To this little Catholic still finding his place in this world—they were mind numbing.

What I concluded from their argument was that sometimes people can let their heads get in the way of their hearts—and in fairness vice versa. Yet, aside from the whirlwind of words from this person I learned something great about my wife—her strength to hold on to her convictions.

In my wife’s last reply she laid out her argument as to why she believes abortion to be morally wrong. Using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, she was able to structure her argument with love but with a strong resolution to her unwavering beliefs in the teachings of the church. To my eyes, she had laid out a very strong thesis for why all abortions are wrong.

There is no doubt in my mind that she added another jewel to her crown in heaven. I know that it was the Holy Spirit inside of her that enabled such a beautiful account of her beliefs to such a very divisive topic. Like Jesus, she shared this not in hate or anger but in love.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's True, God Really Loves Me

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:38-9

What a great promise of hope it is to read these beautiful words of faith. Today’s verse definitely plays into yesterday’s blog about faith. The story of Paul is a remarkable one. Here was a man who hated Christians—so much so that he would encourage the killing of them. Paul was a devote Jew who believed the followers of “the way” needed to be stopped from spreading the Gospel of Christ, even to the point of death.

It wasn’t until that fateful day on the road to Damascus that Paul was blinded and was able to see clearer than he ever had before. Jesus changed his life that day and from that point, Paul put his undying faith into the message and the hope of Christ.

For me, this passage brings me comfort—more spiritual than physical. Often times I wonder if this is all for real. What if people who mock my beliefs are right and it’s all a fairy tale? The evidence against Christianity is boundless, yet filled with more holes than the Gospel. How is it that this message hasn’t change in over 2,000 years? It would talk lies the likes of which this planet has never seen to make this up and keep it together for so long.

Smarter people than me would argue that the bible isn’t true—man wrote it so it’s flawed. I can’t deny men have done flawed or even bad things while proclaiming Christ. But I don’t believe that to be true with God’s Word. The Holy Scriptures share a message of peace, hope and love and all that is required of me is to have the faith and belief that God died so that I may live.

The very idea that NOTHING can separate me from the love of God is overwhelming. The God of the universe tells me that nothing will keep us apart. This brings me happiness.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

George Michael Preaching God's Message? WTF?!

Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.
~ Hebrews 10:23

I was having a conversation with another Christian some time ago and we started talking about how you must preach the word of God in order to win a debate. I countered with my belief that if someone doesn’t put an ounce of trust into the bible, they will not understand and will discredit the argument based off of uncommon acceptance of the bible.

You see, just like that noble wordsmith from the 1980s George Michael…you gotta have faith.

Faith is something you can and cannot prove at the same time, depending on who you are talking to. No matter how hard I try, I cannot prove without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus existed and that God is the creator of the universe. I simple can’t.

However, I can see the effects of what godly people do to help the homeless, the sick, the battered, and the forsaken. I can see the wonders of this world—beautiful NW sunsets in the summer time. I can witness the birth of my children. I can see all these things and know in my heart there is something bigger at work here than myself.

I must have faith in God. I have to believe that He sent his son to die on the cross for my sins. Without faith in a bigger purpose—God’s purpose—I am merely floating through life aimlessly. It is a faith I hold on to dearly. I can’t prove my faith to you, but I can show you what has happened in my life because of my faith and attest to the Lord keeping his word.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Will Stand My Ground, I Won't Hold Back

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

What a most appropriate verse to focus on today. The reason I say this is that earlier tonight I got into a sensitive discussion about abortion. Though I will not fill this blog post up with my position, I will point out that I unequivocally do not support contraceptive abortions—also called convenience abortions. To me this particular aspect of the abortion debate is black and white.

Funny thing was tonight I discovered how passionate I really am for this specific part of the abortion debate.

It all started with a YouTube video my wife posted on facebook. I thought to myself how brave she was to enter the lion’s den. I assumed I would sit back and watch the show. However, God had different plans for me. Within 15 minutes, I posted a video on my page…let the debate begin.

I missed the middle part of the debate as my daughter had youth group tonight. But when I got home, I decided to address all the points brought up throughout the night. I began to type. The words coming out on the screen were inspired by the Holy Spirit. I brought forth my argument with understanding, perspective and most of all I stood my ground.

By not holding back and throwing myself into my work for God, I know He was pleased. When I finished I knew that it was God who brought the message out of me. If God is at work, there is no way my time or effort was wasted.

Will I change ideas or opinions with my argument? Maybe, maybe not. But here’s what I know—I shared my beliefs and stood my ground for the Master.

Today, He stood by me.

Thank you Jesus for giving me the conviction to do the work in your name.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Putting My Trust in God...and Not My Paranoia

They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
~ Psalms 112:7, NLT

Ever since my mom passed away over 8 years ago I have been a basket case when it comes to cancer. She fell victim to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I regrettably never really talked to her about how she came about knowing she had cancer. So I basically imagine every pain, ill or random bump on my body is cancer and I’m going to die. I fear the bad news of getting cancer yet I don’t put my trust in God to live in the present.

Think about how ridiculous this is—just ask my sister, she’ll agree. I focus more on what doctors have said time and time again about what I don’t have. I mentioned my mom has been gone for over 8 years. In those 8 years the Lord gave me time to eat better, become more active, do the things necessary to dynamically avoid being another statistic. Yet, I have not. I have put my trust in laziness and fear.

The enemy takes delight in distracting me from trusting the Lord to care for me. Funny thing is, the Lord HAS cared for me. Unfortunately, my focus has been on the past and not on the blessings of the present. For example:

·         I ran a 3.8 mile St. Patrick’s Day Dash in Seattle on Sunday—my body is healthy enough for that.
·         My middle girl loves to hang out with dad—amazing blessing from such a beautiful heart.
·         My autistic child is thriving in a regular kindergarten class and received a citizenship award today—a milestone for this boy.
·         My littlest girl continues to grow and her own pace—being diagnosed with failure to thrive hasn’t stopped her from having fun.
·         My oldest boy is very kind to everyone who crosses his path—kids want to be around him because he is his own person and not a copy-cat wannabe.
·         My oldest daughter is blossoming into a fine performing artist—her stories entrance me and her stage presence is electrifying.
·         My wife received her full childcare license in the mail today—her hard work and faithfulness to trust in God made this happen.

It is this realization of the blessings of my life that I need to trust in the Lord and that what storms may come, He will care for me.

There is a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6 that has been penetrating my heart as of late:

26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. 27 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 28 All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 29 but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. 30 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? 31 What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.

The Father takes care of the least of these things, how much more will He take care of His children. I desire to no longer fear, but trust that God will take care of my needs—just like he faithfully has for over 35 years.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Come Back to Me, I Love You

I’m ready, God, so ready, ready from head to toe, ready to sing, ready to raise a tune!
~Psalm 57:7

This is my heart’s desire.

With so many distractions in the normal busyness of life, I forget this is my heart’s desire. Praising the Lord comes somewhere between finishing my homework, paying the bills and Sunday. And even on Sundays I’m too caught up in this life to genuinely give the Creator of the universe my devotion for one hour.

It’s not that I can’t. Long ago are the days of living ardently for God—to my ol’ youth group homies, a Jesus Freak. Somewhere along the way I told God I’ll praise Him when I want to. Then it became: Why Should I? “I hate my job. I lost my mom. I can’t pay the bills. I’m too lazy to pray. I don’t want to read the bible. I’m a sinner.”

I’m a sinner.

Does God need my praise? Of course not. Does He desire to hear my voice in gratitude and thankfulness for all the blessings in my life? Absolutely. He is a loving Father—and I get that. I know how much it would break my heart if any of my kids ran away from me. I would continually desire to be with them. If they came back to me would I love them? More than words could describe. That’s what God is saying to me on a daily basis. Come back to me, I love you.

I should begin each morning with a spirit of praise. Praise Him for my life. Praise Him for my family. Praise Him for my friends. Praise Him for my health. But most of all, Praise Him that He sent His son to Earth to die… that I may live forever in heaven with my loving Father.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Honest Relationships is the Lord's Desire

The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in
accurate weights.

~ Proverbs 11:1, NLT

No, the bible is not talking about my struggles with losing weight.
Though sometimes I wish the scales would lie to me and tell me I'm
losing weight. :-)

Simple enough to comprehend on the surface—God desires justice.
This idea goes deeper than what I might think is fair or not. The Lord
desires justice in all of my dealings. There is that chance that I
might make a mistake; the point is that I deal with others in an
honest and honorable way.

When I try to take advantage of others wether it be in business,
friendship or family the Lord hates that. Eventually, as they say,
I'll get what's coming to me. No matter what I do, God wins. All that
matters is that I'm on God's side of justice and righteousness.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grandma Pitts - A Wise and Kind Person

A wise person gets known for insight; gracious words add to one’s reputation.
~ Proverbs 16:21

This is the first bible passage I’ve run into while doing my daily Lent blog that has stumped me. I could write the typical stuff that everyone already knows—I mean the verse alone fills in all the gaps of any pearls of wisdom I might accidently stumble upon. Yet, as I ponder a deeper meaning I think about my 85 year old grandma.

The matriarch of the Pitts family, my grandmother is one of the kindest women I have ever known. I truly believe she doesn’t have one mean bone in her body. Ever since I was a kid, my grandma has always been loving, kind and never once included in a conversation gossip or slander about someone else. Heck, I remember times when I would try to get her opinion about someone or something and she would always take a neutral position.

Don’t get me wrong, she loves her kids, grandkids and great grandkids more than anyone could possibly imagine. However, if she has favorites none of us know who they are. She is the one woman who could keep the peace in our family and make it look effortless.

I could learn a thing or two from my grandma. She is a wise woman who understands family is more important than anything else. Now only if the rest of us would follow in her footsteps.

Friday, March 11, 2011

God in the Real World

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
~ Matthew 5:8, The Message

I’m jealous of my wife.

I’m sure that’s not a biblical statement, but it’s true. Kristy has undergone a radical transformation over the last couple of years since becoming a Catholic. It’s not that she didn’t take her faith serious before, but it seems like she has found the right password to God’s wi-fi connection. It’s truly a blessing for our family.

When I read this bible passage my first thought was how great that must feel to have your inside world set straight and be able to see God in the outside world. Then I realized that person is living under the same roof as me.

This is a constant struggle for me…even before I became a Catholic. For quite some time I’ve be torn between the world and all its false promises and the spiritual-world filled with eternal treasures. I desire to find that same peace my wife has with her inside world so I too can see God in the real world.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blessings When I Stay on God's Path

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
~ Psalm 119:1, The Message

Whenever I go through a stretch where it seems like God’s outpouring of love is abundant, I typically notice that I’m doing what God calls me to do. Pray, donate clothes or money to those in need, going to church, keeping my focus on Him and not me—these are the times when I feel like I’m doing God’s work and He’s walking beside me.

However, I am a sinner.

I will once and a while dance next to the line of sin thinking “I’m filled with the Holy Spirit, there’s no way I’ll stumble.” It’s usually at this point that I picture God doing a *facepalm*.

You see, I allow myself to get off course. I will then find my walk to be shaky and at times down right depressing. Who’s to blame? Certainly it isn’t God…He’s still on the path. And that’s where God’s mercy is best put on display. God is still on the path, with His arms outstretched calling me back. What a beautiful image of the Lord calling His child back to Him.

There’s a prayer I usually pray to God daily. It’s a simple prayer because, well…..I’m a simple man. “God, please don’t give up on me.” Thank God He never will.

Rory has shared a Huffington Post article with you

Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus
- sent by Rory

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Private Witness May Be More Important Than My Public

When a man walks in integrity and justice, 
happy are his children after him!
~ Proverbs 20:7, NAB

I love the book of Proverbs. It seems as though you can find any life-giving piece of advice in there. Through my struggles with my faith over the last couple of years, my kids have been watching me. How I have been working through it and relying on God’s mercy for help will either imprint a positive or negative image on their minds.

Though we focus on our public witness to others, there is nothing stronger than the witness you display for our kids.

In those moments where I want to do what’s best for me, it’s important to realize that there is much more involved in a rash or carefully thought out decision. Can my kids be proud of me for doing the right thing? Would they remember how I dealt with an issue? Could I expect them to make right choices?

With my private witness, I must prepare my children to be God-fearing, productive members of society—people who will choose the narrow road, not because it’s easy, but because it’s the right thing to do. If I rely on God for guidance and support, I will have done my part to prepare my kids for a righteous future.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

40 Days Towards a Better Understanding of God

In short, Lent is a 40 day period between Ash Wednesday and the Saturday before Easter. This tradition excludes Sundays from the 40 days because they are set aside to commemorate the Lord's Resurrection. In the Catholic Church we officially end Lent on Holy Thursday in preparation for Good Friday, Good Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Lent means something different to everyone. For me it's a time of self-sacrifice, reflection, obedience and down right spiritual spring cleaning. Lent is a time to give more of myself to God and at the same time learn how to be more faithful to the teachings of Christ. This doesn't mean I shouldn't do this the other 325 days of the year--God knows I should. It simply means that during this period when I'm "sacrificing & suffering" like Christ, I need to draw closer to him. I need to empty myself I can allow Christ to fill me up.

So for Lent I have decided to forgo drinking coffee and soda. These are both vices of mine that I will eliminate from my life for the next six weeks. I see this as relying on the comfort of Christ instead of running to a comfort drink. I will also post a quick daily blog based off of the scripture readings I receive in my email inbox from Air1 Radio. Nothing deep, just a short reflection on what I take away from the reading.

In the end, I expect to come away from this Lent season a little more mature in my faith and a lot more understanding of what it takes to truly follow Christ.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Online Social Life Needed a Break

I walked away from facebook on February 3rd. I came back March 3rd. Why?

The short answer? I needed a break.

You see, facebook became what Mark Zuckerberg would call  my "social life online". Although this is a remarkable breakthrough in communication over the past 7 years, this is also a dangerous way to live your life. I started to be more concerned with my virtual life and not so much with my real life. Facebook became my drug of choice to get away from the sometimes pains of real life.

So I challenged myself. Could I resist not posting on facebook?

It started off as just a couple of days. My first challenge was not posting about the Daddy Daughter Dance. This was tough, but I did it. Then came the Superbowl--my first "blowing off  steam" event. Not one mention. However, to be honest I did use twitter during this time. Apparently I still have to share my opinion with anyone who will read it. LOL! And the last hurdle? Not mentioning one damn thing about the Cougars win over the Huskies AT Hec Ed. That's when I knew I beat facebook at it's own game.

During that month's time I learned some things about facebook and the community of individuals that use it. We all post some really dumb things. Although I boycotted posting, I still watched and learned about how we communicate on there. Some of you understand what took me a month to learn. Others of you don't get it yet. This is by no means a judgement on anyone, merely an observation.

What I learned is this: 
I am not as important as I think I am and at the same time I am more important than I realize.

A few of you were thoughtful enough to post encouraging, yet words of concern about me and my well being. You do not know how tough it was to ignore you and not respond. Just remember your kindness won't be forgotten. May God bless you. :-)

So what does this all mean?

I have changed for the better. As I come back to facebook I see myself a little more mature in my thoughts and actions.....however, let not your heart be troubled.....not too mature. ;-)