It’s one of the questions most commonly asked among Christians. We scratch our heads and wonder how we go about making major life decisions. “What college should I go to?” “What career should I choose?” “Who should I marry?” And so on.

Life is filled with decisions big and small, and for the Christian who earnestly seeks to live for God, it can be a daunting process trying to figure out the “elusive” will of God. But is the will of God really elusive? If God really does have a will and an expectation for us, does it make sense that He would conceal it from us or make it hard to find?

The good news is that God’s will is not quite the mystery we often make it out to be. In fact, it is spelled out quite clearly in His Word. I’ve done plenty of soul-searching, praying, Bible reading and talking with trusted Christian friends in my adult years over many major decisions I’ve had to make. Through the process I’ve figured out a few things about God’s will.

In all my searching, however, I’ve never heard such clear, Biblical instruction on God’s will as I did in this sermon by John MacArthur. He tackles the subject thoroughly and biblically in such a way that should make all Christians leap for joy at the clarity revealed on such a traditionally confounding topic.

The link above goes to the audio from the sermon. I highly recommend it to any sincere Christian; take the hour and listen to it. Load it onto your mp3 player if that’s what it takes. Since I know most won’t take the time to do that (though I guarantee it’s well worth it), I’ve pasted the main points below.

Take joy in discovering that God’s will can in fact be known and acted on.

The will of God is not meant to be a secret we must uncover. God wants us to understand His will far more than we want to understand it. He always makes His will clear to those who seek it with an obedient heart.

Most of the real problem areas in the question of God’s will are settled for us in Scripture. The Bible reveals that it is God’s will for all of us to be:

Saved
(1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9)

Spirit-filled
(Ephesians 5:17-18)

Sanctified
(1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)

Submissive
(1 Peter 2:13-15)

Suffering
(Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12)

If all those things are true in your life, you may do whatever you want. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That means that if you are conforming to God’s will in all the five ways listed above, He will place in your heart desires that reflect His will. So do what you want to do!

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Hello, nearly forgotten blog. It’s been a long time. I’m not sure that anyone reads you. Maybe I should give you a little more TLC. I have so much I could share, yet so little spare time to sit and organize my thoughts.

It’s been a crazy year. The most notable change was getting married to the love of my life; the amazing, handsome Mike Sorensen. Other than that … being unemployed for four months at the beginning of the year, getting to travel some (Paris, and Cancun for our honeymoon), and seeing God provide for my needs time and time again.

Just as my funds were running out and I was still roommateless and jobless, God brought both in the same week. I allowed myself to stress a few times, needlessly so. God always meets His kids’ needs. I know that, even better now.

Well, I’m not attempting to chronicle the whole year here. Just wanted to show my blog some love and let it know it hasn’t been forgotten. I’ll be back.

Tuesday’s surprise victory of Scott Brown for the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by the late Ted Kennedy is the most undeniable evidence of such change.

Today is the one year anniversary of Barack Obama’s inauguration as President of the United States. Even as a staunch opponent of candidate Obama, as an American patriot I smiled with pride on January 20, 2009 at our nation’s ability to elect a black president for the first time. I conceded to do my duty as a citizen to honor the new president, now my president (my opinion that he was wildly unqualified for the job aside).

I cringed as he supported legislation for late term abortions on his first week in office. No surprise there, other than his startling efficiency to advocate for the destruction of human life, just as he promised.

As the weeks went by, the meat behind his substance-less campaign slogans of “Hope” and “Change” began to emerge.

In helpless horror I watched as the Obama Administration continued the rotten bailout trend started by Bush in stimulus after stimulus. I screamed in anger when reading details of how countless billions of stimulus money in the “Economic Recovery Act” went to utterly useless pork projects that were a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars. Don’t even get me started on the government’s takeover of GM, a move that brought admiration from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who openly commented that he and fellow dictator Fidel Castro were on the edge of being to the right of Obama.

As millions of jobs were lost, Obama continued to blame Bush, shouting to be heard over the deafening sound of more currency printing to support costly, unnecessary programs that served to do nothing but shore up useless bureaucracy and devalue the dollar further while plunging this country deeper into unsustainable debt.

I wondered if the millions of youth and war-weary adults who had cast their vote for Obama simply as the “anti-Bush” candidate even knew what this country had gotten into, or if they even cared. I questioned if anyone was paying attention to the destructive path this country was heading down. The first half of the year I felt no one was. I’ve begun to realize that is far from the truth. Many, like me, are beyond disgusted at what’s going on in this country and are fighting back. Tuesday’s election results are no small indication of that.

To be continued…

One is a horrible sight to behold, one is easy on the eyes

Both represent painfully bad ideas that keep coming back in spite of higher wisdom

One will cripple your freedom to look good, one will simply cripple your freedom

Neither could come to prominence without a vast network of well-connected and funded conspirators

While neither have a Constitutional basis to exist, only one is explicitly illegal

One creates long lines at retail stores, one creates long lines at the doctor’s office

One will suck the breath out of you from tightness, one will suck the wealth out of you in taxes

And finally, thankfully, both will soon go out of fashion once again

It’s been long warned that Iran and its nutjob president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been working hard to obtain uranium, used to create a nuclear bomb. Few doubt that he was serious about such a dangerous goal. What does he want to do with a nuclear bomb? From his own publicly stated agenda:

1) Destroy Israel
2) Destroy the United States

The most recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicates that Iran has enough uranium to build two nuclear bombs. Joel Rosenberg broke the story on his blog, which you can read here.
Here is a highlight from Rosenberg’s blog:

On page 2 of the report, the IAEA indicates that 669 kgs of low-grade uranium have been produced by Iran since November 18th, 2008. A footnote on that page further indicates that 839 kgs of similar LEU (low enriched uranium) had been produced by Iran prior to November 2008. That means Iran now has at least 1,508 kgs of low-grade uranium.

Gold noted that to produce 20 kgs of HEU (highly-enriched uranium, military-grade uranium) to build a nuclear bomb, one needs roughly 700 kgs of LEU that can then be reinserted into high-tech centrifuges and re-processed to roughly 95% purity. Thus, Iran now appears to have the essential materials to move steadily towards building two atomic bombs as soon as it makes the political decision to do so. It is not known whether Tehran has already made such a decision. Moreover, it is not publicly known whether Tehran possesses more enriched uranium than the IAEA is aware of and/or reporting.

Or read the report directly right here.

I’m not sure how much clearer it could be: Israel especially, and the United States secondarily, are in imminent danger. Now is the time to get on your knees and pray. Pray for the safety of both nations. Pray for the wisdom of the leadership of both nations to respond appropriately.

While an attempted attack on Israel will come first, the implications for American security are profound. I will address those in a separate post, coming soon.

Pray. If this scares the crap out of you, it should. That is, unless you know the source of eternal hope. If you don’t, it can be found. (Hint: it has something to do with Jesus Christ.)

Very rarely does the weather cooperate for sunny outdoor adventures on Memorial Day weekend here in the northwest. I am sooo glad ’09 bucked the trend. I’m not sure this weekend could have been any more perfect, both in terms of weather and activities.

The camping trip to Panther Creek was a ton of fun. Big thanks to Ted for reserving the sites and organizing the whole shenanigan. Among the highlights:

– Ted getting pulled over on the way there for “expired tags and weaving all over the road.” (There was a third reason the officer gave, I don’t remember.) Don’t worry, it was only Ted holding a bag of cookies and simultaneously eating and driving that caused the weaving. 😉

– The delicious food. Let’s face it, it’s one of the highlights of camping. With everyone pitching in to contribute something, we ate very well all weekend.

– Saturday’s hike to Falls Creek Falls. Wow. Those falls are gorgeous. I felt like I had been transported to the Amazon.

– Krista’s t-shirt. 😉

– Backwoods Olympics (ok, this one is a bit of an inside joke.)

– The “1 1/2 mile” hike (said Ted) that took us almost two hours and back to camp with barely enough daylight to see.

– I personally enjoyed having some competition for the role of the weirdest person on the trip. I’ll let you guess who that competition is.

– The absolutely breath taking beauty of God’s creation, and the ability to experience it and enjoy it with good friends.

After a great weekend of camping, returning home late Sunday night to a hot shower and my own bed was a delight. As if the weekend could possibly get any better, Memorial Day itself I got to explore some new waterways via kayak with my friend Sybil, breaking in her new kayak and paddle. Neither of us had paddled Smith and Bybee Lakes in North Portland, and it was a beautiful spot. Lots of calm water with hours and hours of potential paddling area and views of Mt. St. Helens, Adams and Hood. Ah yes.

I’m thankful to live in the best place on earth, for flawless weather all weekend long, and good friends with whom I can have adventures. God is good.

No pun intended, I promise.

With the unseasonably beautiful weather and high temps the last few days, it has us rain and snow soaked northwesterners turning our thoughts toward the upcoming sunny days of summer. I know I’m not the only one who braved shorts during this pleasant sunny spurt.

I mused aloud just yesterday that I feel sorry for spring; if sympathy for an inanimate thing can exist. The moment it rears its head folks automatically start counting down for summer, as if wishing away spring altogether.

Spring is a conflicted season for me. Being a ski bum, it’s always a sad day when I wash the snow gear and pack it away for the rest of the year. While I do so with hesitation, I also revel in the thought of the fun that lies ahead in the coming months. Music festivals, BBQs, camping, wakeboarding/boating, trips to the swimming hole, hiking and more. No other time of year (besides the holidays) do adventures outside of work take center focus in my mind, and things like work fall into their appropriate latter place. 😉

Yes, there are still a few more months of spring rain mixed with showers before the glorious weather gets consistent. And fortunately, ski season is still going strong for at least another month. But oh, summer is coming!

Here’s a quick snippet of a conversation I recently overheard:

Person 1: Well, what else can you say about Christians?
Person 2: (Muttered) Well, they hate gay people…

While there is an undeniable cultural divide between the church and the gay community, and those such as myself that are deeply rooted in the church hear about the perception of Christians as gay-haters, it still shocked, startled and saddened me that to hear this with my own ears.

The image that flashed in my mind upon hearing it was of half-witted, ill-intentioned “Christians” picketing with hateful phrases on signs in response to pro-gay activity. You know, the images the media loves to capture and replay much to the horror of rational believers.

What I wanted to and should have said in reply to that which I overheard is, “only ignorant Christians hate gay people.”

It might seem a little harsh to call them ignorant (the picketing breed and those who carry that attitude without signs), but as the saying goes, “the truth hurts.” To have such a spiteful, self-righteous attitude toward those with a different lifestyle is beyond unacceptable. Especially under the guise of being a follower of Christ, whose second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.

I call such folks ignorant because while publicly condemning the sin of others, they seem to forget that God’s grace abounds to ALL PEOPLE (John 3:16) and that the sin from which they’ve been rescued (Romans 3:23) is no less destructive than that which they condemn.

It’s frustrating to me that the ignorance and misbehavior of a few taint the reputation and perception of Christ followers across the board. Thus the statement I overheard. But lest I also risk being a hypocritical sign holder, let me back up for a second.

While the root of the problem is simply a failure to apply the teachings of the Bible to every day life, it seems to me that some of it may stem from fear and not knowing how to react to such a lifestyle. That is often true for me. It’s so much easier to condemn than to honestly ask myself how my hidden attitude and fear might be preventing me from doing what is right. Though I don’t wave hateful signs, I have been guilty of avoiding and silently passing judgment on those with “alternative lifestyles.” Lord, please forgive me.

If I, as one bearing the name “Christian”, wish to reverse the perception which exists, I must be willing to do as Christ did. To love unconditionally and without strings attached, anyone and everyone regardless of their lifestyle. Anything less is not worthy of the name of Jesus Christ.

I’ve noticed an unaddressed inefficiency at parties and social gatherings in general for which I have a solution. I do realize that efficiency isn’t top of mind for most people at social gatherings, but hear me out.

The trend is this. I walk into a room full of people, many of whom I haven’t seen in a while. The natural first question is, “How are you?” Or, “How have you been?” There is nothing inherently wrong with that. In the event the person actually wants to know the answer, I proceed to explain what I’ve been up to.

This is fine for about three conversations. Once I get asked that the fourth, fifth, sixth time and beyond, my answers either get short and surly (Fine, thanks. How are you?) or I go into all the details AGAIN, internally wanting to blow up. Extroverts probably don’t understand just how exhausting it us for non-extroverts to be talking constantly. That’s why we listen more.

On to my party trick. It works best if it’s a moderately sized group where most everyone knows each other. Gather everyone together at the table or wherever the central spot is, and explain that we’ll go around the room and take turns giving each other a brief update about what’s been going on in our lives. Then you simply do it. Everyone shares one at a time while the others listen. You only have to tell your story once. Everyone is caught up. Then follow up one-on-one conversations can begin at a more in depth place. And introverts are spared the agony of constantly talking. Although having the spotlight, even briefly, might not go over well with some.

It can be difficult to pull off, and awkward if not everyone knows each other. But in the right environment it works like a charm. I’ve actually used this technique at a gathering of friends before and it worked beautifully. It may seems a little silly perhaps. I happen to think it’s brilliant. Whether or not posting this is ridiculous, only you can be the judge.

I’m sure my thoughts aren’t unique; I simply wanted to make a note of the historic weather we’re having in the Portland/Vancouver area during this time of year when we sing “may all your Christmases be white” but they rarely are. In fact, I pondered aloud to several, with no rebuttals, that I don’t remember EVER having a white Christmas here at home.

Nor have we ever, in my 30 years at least, experienced this much snow so continually without melting. I remarked to a gal I had met who was new to Portland from Florida that it NEVER had snowed for several days in a row without melting away. And that was last Friday – six days ago. It’s STILL snowing and has been ever since then. Truly remarkable.

For all the fun and excitement of white everywhere, school closures, unexpected days off from work and the like, the forecast was quite plain that it would transition to rain and above freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve, making the white stuff a memory just in time for the day it should be present.

Oh the delightful errors of meteorology.

Rain mixed with snow prevailed on Christmas Eve and then an absence of precipitation for awhile.

When I awoke this morning, I found not only a fresh dusting but that it was snowing heavily, as it did throughout most of the morning and into the early afternoon. A white Christmas at last!!!

Here are some pictures from the scene.

My parents' house. Site of the festivities.

My parents' house. Site of the festivities.

My Pathfinder, parked overnight, had a good dusting on it Christmas morning

My Pathfinder, parked overnight, had a good dusting on it Christmas morning