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Monthly Archives: February 2013

 

An underlying theme of the Old Testament, that I recognized while attending Life Pacific College, was how habitual the Lord was in the protection and provision of his people.  At the time I was unaware that this knowledge, although small in comparison to the countless illuminating biblical facts I learned, was precisely what I would need to face the 18 months following my graduation.  The knowledge of the Lord’s protection and provision, underscores Pastor Scott’s point in last week’s sermon – God has always offered mercy.  The Lord’s great mercy afforded him the opportunity to protect and provide for the Israelites 2000 years ago and continues to be available to our generation.

Pastor Scott’s baby giraffe illustration was a perfect example that—mercy isn’t always fair.  In the wild, as in real life, bad things can and often do happen.  Allow me to share a difficult point in time for our family.  It was the fall of 2008 when numerous losses tested our faith.  The first was the loss of Steve’s job and with that, the loss of our family health insurance.  One month later, we faced the death of Steve’s dad and just eight months after that we lost our dream home.  Only three short months passed and my mom went to join my dad in heaven.  Those series of devastating events could have ruined our family.  Instead, due to God’s infinite wisdom each time we were knocked down the Lord prodded us to stand.  At times, that prodding was not welcomed.  It was far easier for each of us to stay down in defeat.  Why would anyone want to get back up after so much loss?  However, the mercy of God caused him to continue the often painful prodding in order to get us back on our feet. We were weak, but with the help of our Lord we managed to stand and are still standing today.

Did you catch Pastor Scott’s dream for Lifehouse as he shared his last point–mercy is life giving?  “While we obviously no longer have cities of refuge, it is my belief and my dream that the church would rise up and take over that role.”  What is your reaction to this dream of our Pastor?  My reaction is that of gratitude because to Steve and me that is exactly what Lifehouse is for us.  Lifehouse has been and continues to be a place of hope, love, and mercy.  While the Lord was the one to prod me to stand, I firmly believe that he is using Lifehouse to help hold me up.

Lori Gonzalez

Joshua: City of Refuge 2/24/2013

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About two months into my freshman year at Life Pacific College, I learned a harsh lesson in mastering the concrete jungle that is Los Angeles.  Even though I lived in Southern California most of my life, I actually grew up in the Antelope Valley where the navigation system is about as cut and dry as the valley itself: open roads, one freeway, and streets labeled by numbers, letters, nature, and aerospace.

So when a friend of mine asked to meet in Burbank, I confidently hopped in the car and was on my way.  All I had on me was a thirst for adventure and a vague recollection of verbal directions from San Dimas to Burbank.  I knew all about the 210 and was starting to understand the 134, but at this point had no idea how it all connected to the 5 to get me where I needed to be.

Once I transitioned to the 134, I remembered to exit at “Hollywood Way.”  This would have been correct had I taken the exit with the same name from the 5 freeway, not the 134.  Nothing looked familiar, but I came to the conclusion that something would strike my memory if I kept turning right.

About an hour into what should have been a 30-minute journey, I cried out to God asking for a sign.  Next thing I knew, I saw airplanes flying overhead and thanked God because my friend lived close to Bob Hope International.  Come to find out, the planes I saw were actually coming from LAX and I was nowhere close to Burbank; I was in Inglewood.

Being in a time when smart phones didn’t exist, I pulled over to a local business and asked someone for directions.  A man told me to take freeways I never heard of, but I trusted his instruction, got back in the car and tried again.  Fortunately, the man was right and I “only” ended up being two hours late to meet my friend.

Had I called my dad (a master of L.A. freeways) prior to leaving, my day would have taken a much different turn – literally and figuratively.  Instead, I took off into the unknown relying solely on my then very limited knowledge of the L.A. landscape and ended up lost, worried, tired, and frustrated.

Life is much the same as this little story of mine.  So many times in our life journey, we try to make it on our own without consulting the Master first or sometimes at all.  Without turning to him for guidance, we can end up lost, confused, and weary from a rough journey that may have otherwise been shorter or easier had we tried going his way in the first place.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Who better to navigate your life journey than to follow directions from the One who created your journey?  Trust him in all things and he will lead you safely home.

– Nicole Perez

Joshua : God’s Guidance 2/10/13