ESV Bible

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Transition

What is going on? I certainly have not posted the two posts a week I set out to do when I first started this blog. My last post was on July 26 and it is now Aug. 12th. At this point, I will be changing to one blog post a week, and it will probably be posted on the weekend.

Let me update you all on what is going on in my life.

Our family is moving! As many of you know, whenever you get ready for a move, your life gets turned upside down.

Our house is on the market, and we are praying that God will sell it quickly. At the same time, we are fixing it up a bit to make it more attractive for potential buyers.

While all of that is going on, I started a new job and my son started school.  So as you can see, busy is an understatement in our family right now.

However...

It's also a blessing. God has supplied our needs in ways we never could have imagined.

So we are in TRANSITION.

Transition can be a very stressful place, but it is a very exciting place at the same time. In the midst of transition I am forced to increase my faith in Christ and live in a state of vulnerability and dependence on my God who supplies all my needs.

This is a very scary place for many people, but if I truly have the kind of faith I claim to have, it can also be a very peaceful place.

So I am simply living one day at a time. I am allowing myself to be surprised by my Father's daily providence.

Taking a quote from John Piper..."God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him."

This is my motto. I want God to fill me with satisfaction and joy daily so that his name can be lifted up.

Phil 4:6-7 sums up my mandate right now..."Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus."










Thursday, July 26, 2012

Timing

"God, your timing is awful." I have to confess, I have been thinking those words for a couple of days now. 

God through his grace has brought me a wonderful opportunity, but he didn't do it the way I wanted him to. I wanted him to bring this opportunity to me back in May. If he did that, I would have had the TIME to really take CONTROL and plan everything out the way I wanted. 

Have you ever read Romans 9. If you haven't, take a minute to read it. After you read it once, you will have to read it again, and again, and again. It is very deep and discusses some very difficult doctrine to wrap your head around. 

One thing we learn in Romans 9 is the reasons behind the whole, "Pharaoh" power struggle when God sent Moses to free the Hebrews. 

Romans 9:17 says, "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.'"

We see above that God had a very specific purpose for Pharaoh's life as he does for everyone. Here we see that that purpose was to show God's power and that God's name would be proclaimed throughout the world.

I'm sure that word got out after Hebrew slaves were able to usurp the most powerful king of that time. I'm sure word got out that the Red Sea parted and the Hebrews escaped the Pharaoh's grasp. It is reasonable to think other nations began to contemplate whether the god's of Egypt or the God of the Hebrews was really running the show.

What's the point?

The point is, that God took Israel through some dark times...some tough times.
Their journey to the "promised land" was not easy, especially with a crazy king chasing them into the desert. However, even though the Hebrews couldn't see it at the time, God had a very specific purpose for what he was doing through that crazy pharaoh guy. 

So these events are their to teach us ...

...how POWERFUL and MIGHTY our God really is.

We don't see it at first. We don't understand because the situation or circumstances seem impossible, and the timing just seems to be all wrong

BUT

God's timing is not my own, and I know that, "He has made everything beautiful in his time..." (Eccl. 3:11) and he will do the same in my life.

What I think is awful timing, just might be perfect timing. I guess I just need to wait, trust, and watch as His master plan unfold. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Faith

Have you ever thought about how hard it really is to have faith as an adult? What is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." 

It's not a terribly difficult concept to understand, however, as adults, it seems to be a very difficult thing to actually do in our complicated lives. 

I remember when I was younger, faith wasn't that big of a deal. I remember learning about it in Sunday School, Youth Group, and Chapel. It seemed easy...of course I can trust God...of course I want His will...sure, I can be patient...hmmm...why was faith so easy? 

Because I didn't have a lot of responsibility. 

I have found, as an adult, It is harder (practically speaking) to live or "do" faith because of responsibility I have as a Husband, Father, Provider, Spiritual Leader, Good Steward of our families money, and the list goes on...

Why does responsibility make it more difficult to have faith? 

Because we all have a natural tendency to try and control every single circumstance and "iota" (like that word...its Hebrew) of our lives as adults. 

We play out countless hypos in our mind and talk out how we think each circumstance will play out trying to gain some CONTROL over the unknown. 

Now it's good to seek godly counsel on issues we need guidance on, but it's a whole other thing altogether when we try to do God's job for Him.

Why do we do that? 

The unknown is scary. The unknown makes us helpless. The unknown makes us vulnerable. 

Back to FAITH

Hebrews tells us that faith is confidence in what we hope for. Do you realize how hard it is to have confidence in something that hasn't happened. This seems to be a contradiction to the rational mind. It's just not possible. The rational mind tells us we can only have confidence in what we know or what we can control. 

Hebrews gives us a "part 2" of the FAITH DEFINITION - "assurance of what we do not see" 

Honestly, this verse makes me want to scream. How are you assured of anything if you can't see it, or touch it, or have some sort of tangible anything???

There is only one explanation for all this--Faith is not a human function. Faith is not natural for man. Faith is contrary to rationality. Faith is a confidence that comes from God. Faith is an assurance that comes from our Savior. 

Faith is a peace that passes all understanding that guards your hearts and minds. Faith is how God reveals His supernatural will to us. 

ITS SUPERNATURAL

(that's a song by DC Talk by the way)

If you don't put much stock in the supernatural, you probably have very little faith or your faith is weak. 

TIME TO BUFF UP!

Challenge: Ask God to fill you with peace, confidence, and assurance that He has His Best for you in every aspect of your life that you just can't seem to "nail down."

Let the Lord surprise you with his perfect will by trusting Him with the unknown.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Christian Celebrities

Have you ever seen that music video by Brad Paisley about Celebrities? Check it out below.





Celebrities...I will never understand the concept. It's just amazing to me that people are idolized, as if they are some how better than someone else because they were in a movie or they have a lot of money, or they play a professional sport. Genesis 1 tells us that we were all made in the image of our creator.

You know...this whole "celebrity" thing has been going on for centuries. The Bible talks about this in 1 Corinthians 1:11-12, which says,

"My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, 'I follow Paul'; another, 'I follow Apollos'; another, 'I follow Cephas'; still another, 'I follow Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?"

These are strong words from the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. The only one who we should follow is Christ. He is God. Throughout history there have been countless men and women of God who teach wonderful and great things, but remember that they are only human. They had a sin nature just like you and I. They needed the blood of Christ to cover and wash their sins away too.

It's a wonderful thing to know what you believe and to know how to explain it, defend it, and preach it. Its another thing altogether to say I believe what he believes. Your faith shouldn't be based on your respect or admiration of another person. You need to grab hold of your faith and make it yours. Look at the Scriptures for yourself and compare them to what you hear.

Don't make the mistake of putting people above or before Christ. When you align yourself with another Christian, it shouldn't be because you think he is cool, or you just love his preaching, or he or she seems like such a loving person. It should be because you have compared his/her teachings with Christ, so ultimately you are not aligning yourself with another "Christian celebrity," but rather you are agreeing and promoting God's Word from another perspective.

Our worship and admiration goes to CHRIST ALONE!


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Smarter than God?

You know, sometimes I come across people who are extremely pompous. So much so, that they seem to think they are smarter than God. They probably wouldn't come right out and say it, but their actions seem to say it for them. Maybe you've been around these types of people. They are usually very controlling, and selfish. They seem to always think about their needs and their wants before anyone else. They usually make quick decisions, and have a hard time being patient. They want things to just HAPPEN. 

We have all been there at times. We all want to have more control in our lives, but being a genuine follower of Christ means we continue to submit. We continue to wait. We continue to seek Him through our disappointments because....

because why??? 

Because He is the only WISE GOD! (Rom. 16:27) He is the source of sound Wisdom! 

Job 12:13-17 says, "With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding. If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open. If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land. With him are strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his. He leads counselors away stripped, and judges he makes fools."

This passage above is very strong. You can't miss how Job reinforces the great SOVEREIGNTY of God, but you also need to notice how he is explaining God's WISDOM. 

Job is saying that our reasoning, as logical and sound as we might think it is, isn't always right. "He makes judges into fools." 

I am so guilty of this in my life. I know that I let my rationality consume my decisions and try to control things that I should just let go of and allow God to just lead. 

I need to stop being so pompous and controlling. I need to stop being so selfish. I need to trust in my sovereign wise God.  

Challenge: As much as we may reason and think, remember that God's Wisdom is much higher than Mans Rationality. Seek out His Counsel even when you don't understand the disappointments and confusion that surrounds you. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Family

It's been more than a week since I posted anything on my blog. I have been on summer vacation in Minnesota. You are probably wondering why I went to Minnesota for vacation. Well, my nephew was getting married, and he just so happens to live there. This was the first time the entire Bettelli clan with their respective spouses and children had ever been together in one place at the same time. It's amazing to think how my parents started a small tribe. The first picture below on the far left is me, my two brothers and my sister. The next picture on top is the entire Bettelli Family, and the picture on the bottom is my parents, their children and the spouses.






The Bible tells us that, as Christians, we are family too. Why? We have been adopted by God into his family and God made us co-heirs with Christ.

Galations 4:4-7 says, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba Father." So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.


So what does this mean for us? It means that God is our Father. It means we have a close, personal relationship with God, the creator of the universe. This relationship that God made with us, is the primary way we relate to God. It means that you are special to God. It means God chose you to be his child. It means that God desires to love you, care for you, and provide for you. You are his son. You are his daughter. 




Romans 8:17 says, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his suffering in order that we may also share in his glory."


What is an heir you ask? Its a person who inherits or has the right to inherit. What do we inherit? Heaven! Salvation Forever! 


This is one of the reasons why salvation cannot be lost or taken. Our salvation is not some sort of Gnostic spiritual power where we power up or power down. The act of God making us his child and making us a co-heir with Christ was an act of permanency. 


In salvation, we are justified, sanctified, and glorified, but we are also adopted.  We become, literally, children of God. God doesn't bring you into his family and then abandon you or throw you out. He makes you his child and he makes you a co-heir, and he becomes your FATHER FOREVER. 


Challenge: Take hold of this truth and find self worth and security in the fact that you are a member of God's family. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Knit Together in My Mother's Womb

My favorite Scripture passage is Psalm 139:13-16. Why you ask? Well, this passage tells us that God is not absent from our lives as the deists would have us believe. God has a very intimate and personal role in who we are and desires to be involved in our personal life.


"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."


How amazing to know that we were "knitted" together by God. Have you ever seen a person knit? It is a very time consuming process. People that knit put a lot of time and effort into what they are doing. These people take pride in their work. You see people knitting in coffee shops or in groups, and you see them blog about the specific designs they put together. 


This tells me that God specifically designed us...from our looks, to our personality. He has a specific plan for our lives and he has designed us for that plan. 


My wife just had a 4D ultrasound today. Below is the first picture of my daughter's face. Isn't she cute?



God is forming my little girl, inside and out. He is uniquely designing her for his very special plan.


So what's the point?  The point is that knowing God is personally involved in forming who we are and planning our lives tells me that He cares for us more than we can imagine. 


There are times when we feel insecure, lonely, vulnerable because of something that has happened in our lives. There are times when we doubt our self worth, or have a hard time trusting that God has our best in mind. 


Remember that you were made in His Image (Gen. 1) and His Hands formed you in your mother's womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 


Our self-worth doesn't come from our achievements, our wealth, or even our relationships in this world, it comes from a God who cares so much about us that he was there designing us before we were born. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

His Hands

Every night before I go to bed, I go into George and Ethan's room and check on them. I don't do it because I want to make sure they're sleeping...although there has been a couple times when I found one of them awake. Normally, I just like to see them sound asleep, resting in their bed. They look so cute and are so peaceful. Sometimes I think I could watch them sleep all night.

It's nice to know that God is watching over us all night long. He keeps his children in his hands, watching and guiding our lives.

Did you know that the Bible actually says that God has us in his hand?  John 10:28-29 says, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

This passage tells us that our eternity is secure, however, notice that God holds his children in HIS hands, and the NO ONE IS ABLE TO SNATCH THEM AWAY.

What does this tell us about our God? No one has the ability to take us from our Father. Our Father is greater and stronger than everyone.

This is not to say we won't experience hard times. James 1 tells us we will all go through trials, however the trials we face are meant to strengthen us for the tasks God has ahead for us.

The result of this truth is that WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR! We are safe in the HANDS OF OUR FATHER.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Future

On our last weekend trip to Disney World, we went to Epcot. My son, George, asked, "Dad, what is that big ball?" I told him that it was a ride and that we could go on it if he wanted. So we did and we took Ethan too. If you are familiar with Spaceship Earth you know that it takes you through time and talks about how mankind developed, intellectually, through the generations. I don't think it happend exactly the way they explained, but in any case, it was fun. The second part of the ride you answer some questions about what your future might be like. They take your picture and insert it into a short video of YOUR FUTURE. Check it out below.

video


Young people think about their future all the time, always looking forward to what's ahead...

"I can't wait to get my driver's license." "I can't wait to graduate high school and go to college." "I can't wait to get married." I can't wait to...fill in the blank. I know some people that plan for their next vacation while they are on the first day of the current vacation.

Did you know the Bible actually says something about making plans? James 4:13-15 says, "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

Note: James doesn't tell his readers not to make plans, but to change the WAY they make plans.

God doesn't want us to be lazy, thrown around by the wind wherever it might lead; he wants us to be responsible and account for our time, however, he wants us to do it with a willingness to change those plans if and when he desires.

Saying, "If the Lord wills" is a state of mind. It's a way you live your life. Some people need to actually say those words to remember the Lord in their plans, while others live their lives with a continual outlook of searching out God's will for their lives while not neglecting their responsibilities to be good stewards of the time and resources God has given them.

MAKE PLANS, BUT BE READY TO CHANGE THEM!



Thursday, June 07, 2012

I haven't forgotten you

Have you ever felt like God forgot about you? Maybe not completely, but thought..."God, I've been seeking your face, I've been patient, I've done everything you asked me to do...why aren't things happening?"

We've all been there at times. When I was a little boy, and was told to do something by my parents and didn't do it when they asked me to do it, my mom would say, "Tim, you are  testing my patience."

Isn't it funny that we feel the same way about God sometimes. We would never come out and say, "God, you are testing my patience" because he's God, and he's in control, not us; but many times in our lives we think that God owes us, as if he works for us or something ridiculous like that. When did Christians become elitists? Where did this attitude of "I'm better than you, God" come from. Because even though we don't say it or think those exact words, our actions and our feelings of anxiety confirm it.

If I'm really being honest with myself, I have to confess that I need to change my "frame of reference." I think I need to be humble and realize that it is God who is testing my patience and dependence on Him, and not the other way around.

Proverbs 19:11 tells us that a persons wisdom yields patience.

Now the really cool thing is, that God, even though he doesn't have to give us confirmation in our lives that he hasn't forgotten us, HE DOES anyway. Just when you need that confirmation most, He supplies it. Why? He knows our needs. He knows our desires. Hello....HE CREATED US! HE WIRED US!

Psalm 139:13-14 says, "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

God doesn't forget about anyone or anything. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-27, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

Jesus tells us: 1) I haven't forgotten about you 2) I'm taking care of you 3) You are so valuable to me

Now here is my challenge: DON'T FORGET ABOUT GOD! Don't forget that he is taking care of you because you are so VALUABLE TO HIM! When those feelings of anxiety creep in, know that you can rest in the arms of Christ.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Poopy Diapers

You know, being a dad has it's ups and downs. I love spending time with my two sons. They love to play outside, wrestle in the living room, play video games, or just have me chase them around the house. My five year old son is at the age where he loves to go out to a ball game or a special event. Those are all fun, but there is another side to the "father coin" that we all have to deal with from time to time. 

Yes...the dreaded POOPY DIAPER!!! Whether you have a boy or a girl, poopy diapers are not fun, EVER, but with different personalities, the experience changes.  


My oldest son, George, rarely put up a fight when I would change his diaper...NOT THE CASE with my younger son, Ethan. Let's just say, Ethan is full of passion and excitement.

...so much excitement that he likes to kick and scream sometimes, or turn around on the changing table. Sometimes he thinks he's being funny, and other times he is fighting me "TOOTH AND NAIL."

DOESN'T HE KNOW I'M TRYING TO HELP HIM? DOESN'T HE KNOW I'M TRYING TO CLEAN HIM UP?

I couldn't help thinking (maybe because I'm just wierd) that God must think the same things about us sometimes. 

We get so messy in whatever sin we struggle with, and God comes along and says, "You are my child, let me clean you up. Let me restore you with my grace?" 

And what do we do?...we fight him...why do we do that? Maybe it's because we are embarrassed, or feeling guilty, or just hate it when our sin is exposed.

One, thing is for certain, our heavenly father never stops loving us when we need to be cleaned up from the mess we made. He continually reaches out,  telling us to, "Settle down...I'm here...I've cleaned you...I've covered you with my grace and mercy, and no matter how messy you may get, you will always be my child, and I will never stop loving you."

My son is so funny, but his reaction is classic when I'm finished wiping his little butt. 

The entire time...whining....whining...whining...and then...

...the second I am done...his tears are GONE. WHY? I think he just realized that he is CLEAN. 

1 John 1:5-9 says, 

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son CLEANSES us from ALL sin. 
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness."

Remember, if your are HIS child, You are CLEAN.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

1 Peter 5:10

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."


When we look at the context of the passage we see that Peter is addressing trials and tribulation that the church is going through at this time. I would expect, if I did a bit of research, that 1 Peter was written at a time in history when Christians were going through an immense amount of persecution. 


Verse 8 charges us with the command to be "sober-minded" and then goes on to tell us why.


Why should Christians be sober-minded? Because Satan is just waiting to get the chance to devour us. This verse compares him to a roaring lion. In other words, Satan want to destroy our lives. He wants to ruin our relationship with our Holy God. He wants us to reject our Savior, and in this he "devours" us.


Verse 9 then gives another charge to the Christian. RESIST HIM! Peter speaks imperatively. He tells us to stand firm in our faith and be comforted by the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing similar sufferings. 


Furthermore, Peter gives the follower of Christ hope in verse 10. He says that after the suffering comes God's grace. After the suffering comes God's restoration. After the suffering comes God's confirmation in your heart that He is with you and has never left you. After the suffering comes His mighty strength. After the suffering comes establishment in his Kingdom, or in other words the purpose for the suffering. 


Peter is trying to tell us that when we go through suffering, it does not return void. God is not gone or missing in those times. He is working, building us up and fashioning us for something down the road that we don't know about or quite understand, but as we wait for God to reveal that future purpose, we are restored and strengthened, and given peace through the wonderful, outpouring of His beautiful grace. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stop "but" - ing in

Have you ever noticed how God's timing and our timing are never the same? Maybe that's not the case, but it certainly feels like that throughout our lives. 

I find God saying to me, "Tim, be patient. My timing is not yours, and by the way, don't you trust me by now?"

My response, "Lord, of course I trust you, but..."

Why do I do that? I know God is going to take care of me, yet I still try to rationalize with God how my way is better than His. 

I know I'm not the only one out there who does this...you know...try to "but - in" to God's plan with your own way of doing things. 

Why do we say, "Yes God, but...?" If we truly trust God's timing in our lives, we need to take the "but" out of these sentences.


Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

Well, that pretty much sums it up for me. I need to stop, and just rest in the knowledge that even though I think God needs to speed it up a little and do things my way, that my timing would be disastrous, while God's timing is PERFECT!. 

"Lord, I rest in you today. Knowing that I will not always understand what you are doing or why you have chosen to do it this way, but I know you will make my life beautiful in YOUR time."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Welcome Message

Good Morning everyone. I have decided to give this blogging thing a chance. I used to love to write in college, but because of "life" I haven't really done much writing since then, but I am excited to see where this goes. 

What can I expect to read on this blog?


This blog is going to be "pastoral" in nature. What I mean by that is that I will be sharing the things God speaks to me about each week. Now, I know what you are thinking, "Forget reading this blog, it's going to be lame!" Well, I hope not. I hope that the things God says to me, and the way He shares them, and the way I communicate them to you will be an encouragement, and thought provoking process. Let me warn you up front, I might get a little controversial sometimes. It probably won't be too heavy, but I do believe God's revelation to us can be very specific, and sometimes as human beings who by "original" nature like to spin things in "our" favor, we miss the great truths of our holy God. So, more than anything, I hope this blog will serve as a "renewing of your mind."

When can I expect new posts?  


My initial plan is to release two posts a week.

Will you be the only writer on this blog?


Initially yes, but I would like to invite guest bloggers in the future. 

What will this blog look like?


I imagine a conglomerate of articles, pictures, and video. I hope to post my own videos and pictures as well as bring in others from commercial sites to discuss. 

Who are you?


You can read my little blurb on the side about where I went to college, but who I really am is a man who has been covered by the grace of God more times than I can count. I am a man who lives and makes decisions knowing I can rest in the sovereignty of my God. I am a man who loves and lifts up his family before himself, and finally I simply want people to know who God truly is.