Zeal, necessary and elusive…

I absolutely must pursue my God with a more fervent zeal than I currently am.  My besetting, consistent, cyclical sins can only be overcome by a heart that is saturated in the Presence of Jesus.  This is the message that the Spirit of God has been whispering to my heart lately.  I feel consistently stuck between this realization and all of the excuses I have for not pursuing Christ.  My life is replete with good things right now and I am a happy man.  This is most certainly part of the reason why my apathy still dominates.  The closest I ever felt to the Lord was during my divorce.  I literally heard His voice during those days.

Now that life is comfortable and rewarding, I do not turn to the Lord quite as often.  My prayer life is improving though, because my heart is always yearning over the needs of my wife and son, but overall I am not in His Presence like I have been before.  These are confessions of my heart.  I want to expose them to the light so that they do not hide and take root.  Perhaps this is true of others as well; my zeal for treasuring Christ above all else comes and goes in seasons.  When I am in a slump, those memories of former flame for Christ cause my heart to long to be there again.  I always remember how good it was.  I always remember the taste of that glory and love.

So then, when I wander into complacency again, it is quite frustrating.  I am tired of disappointing my God.  I am tired of experiencing sin and painfully realizing that I’ve become dull again.  I am tired of failing others in that state.  I am tired of the process of reviving the flame again.  It is a lot like typing some long paper for school, not putting in the effort to back up that work, losing the file, and then having to re-type the paper.

Yet here I am, understanding my need for God’s hand in all of this.  Here I am, desiring to posses an overflow of the Presence and power of God.  Here I am, praying and asking to be a river of life to everyone around me.  Here I am, longing to absorb and posses the critically necessary and wonderfully satisfying Word of God.  What I can take comfort in, regardless of how many times I wander through this cycle, is that my God is perfectly faithful and will never leave me.  With a longing that I could never understand, my God is pursuing my heart to have me.  He wants to draw near to me and to draw me near to Himself.  And His promise is that He will do this if I love Him and keep His commandments – His Word, that is bread for my body, water for my spirit, and honey for my tongue.  So I will obey and I will turn back to Him and He will draw me near again.

I am seeing more clearly how desperately my spiritual life must be fervent and concrete in order that the spiritual lives of my wife and son should be the same.  In a God-honoring family, this is the order of things.  I am the spiritual ignitor and burner.  The Spirit of God is the source of natural gas.  My wife is the gauge and thermometer.  My family is the pot.  The life giving food in that pot is the fruit of good works and the sacrifice of praise.  In this way we will live, and thrive, and honor the Lord, and bless others.  What more could be desired?  So Lord, help me.

As to life since my last post: little Bug is growing like a weed.  He is on the brink of crawling, and we’re enjoying the time while he’s immobile.  His little baby words and sounds bring constant joy to my heart.  His first intentional word was “Mama” a while back.  He can say “Papa” now but I don’t know that he quite associates the word with drawing my attention.  We all have a wonderful bond and I could not be more blessed.

My wife is in a season of exhaustion.  Thus is the life of a mother of young children.  I don’t know how she continues functioning except by the grace of God.  She is an incredible source of motivation and a godly example of selflessness.  I praise God constantly for giving me such a wonderful wife and mother to my son.  She pushes me relentlessly to be the best man that I can be – in both the physical and spiritual sense.

I have started roasting my own coffee as of October.  I’m using a steel WhirleyPop on the side burner of my grill.  Right now my struggle is temperature regulation because the bottom of the pot is getting too hot and it burning beans on one side.  Some of them even stick to the bottom and force the gears out of place.  The very first 1/2 pound roast I tried (Brazilian Fazenda dry roast process) burned in about 3 minutes.  I’ve worked out some acceptable roasts, but nothing that I would give away, much less sell to anyone.  My hope is that I can learn to consistently make some various roasts so that I can sell them and make enough money to support my coffee addiction and my roasting process for free.  The Lord is still blessing me in my work as well.

One other important thing right now, that I wanted to note, is that the Lord has burdened my heart to be intentional about finding some deep, godly, male friendships.  I have a great many better-than-shallow male friendships, but none that run deep.  It has been this way for a while now.  In my men’s small group recently we spoke about this and through it I found that I don’t pursue deep male friendships because I don’t like being a burden to someone else.  That is how I feel about it anyways, when I go to another man and ask him to support me in some way.  It’s not the asking for help that I mind, it’s the placing my burdens on someone else that I mind.  Between that and a Nascar paced lifestyle, I have not developed any truly good male friendships.  On the flip side, no other males are deeply pursuing me either.  So this is something I am praying for.  Gina as well is lacking in a best girl friend.  These friendships are vital to a well balanced and godly life, so we will pray until the Lord hears us and blesses us with them.

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