Month: August 2011

PayPal Troubles

I have been trying to setup a payment processor for a non-profit, and I am wondering if I am the only one who has trouble with this.  Getting an account setup shouldn’t be this hard, should it?  Has anyone had any good or bad experiences with PayPal?  Is there another alternative that is better?

Please read on for details of my experience:

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Bible Study: Are you waiting right?

A few Wednesday’s back, our sermon was on Isaiah 40:31. Rather than focusing on the Eagle aspect of the verse, Pastor explored the word “wait”. I found a nugget in there that I would like to explorer further.

Here’s the verse:

KJV: Isaiah 40:31. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

According to Strong’s, wait is “qavah” in Greek, which means ” to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect; (figuratively) to expect:–gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).”  Pastor centered on the fact that “wait” is closely tied to “serve”.  The prime example is a waitress at a restaurant serves the customers.  While we are waiting on the Lord, we are to be serving Him right where we are.  A waiter prepares for serving the customers even before they enter the restaurant such as filling the condiments and wrapping the silverware in the napkins.

The part that caught my eye was the “expect” and “look” parts of that definition.  “Binding together” just didn’t seem to fit in a definition for wait.  The only thing I can make out is a concept like in gleaning back in Ruth’s day.  Ruth went to Boaz’s field and waited on the harvesters to finish their work expecting that they would leave some food afterward for her.  When they were done she collected the food and bound it together in a sense to take home.  Does that sound right?  Sounds like an element of faith involved in the definition to me.

In Pastor’s sermon, we explored different examples of Bible characters who waited.  Let me go back through those…

Noah waited for the water to subside before he could leave the Ark.  He had plenty to do as far as serving with all those animals on board.  He had to feed and take care of them.  He also was expecting God to take care of them with a safe place to live after the flood.

Abraham and Sarah waited for Isaac.  Abraham is the picture of faith.  He waited for Isaac looking for God to bless him with nations.

Joseph waited in prison for God to fulfill his dreams.  Joseph did lots of serving at Potiphar’s house, and then, in prison he earned much responsibility.  He performed his duties such that the prison keepers gave him much liberty.  I’m thinking that you can tell by the fact that he asked to be remembered as he told the dreams that he had not lost hope of getting out of prison to fulfill his own dreams.

Jesus waited for His time to be fulfilled.  He did the work of a carpenter for 30 some years, and then, when he began His public ministry, He traveled and taught tirelessly.  There was never any doubt as to Jesus’ expectations.  When we look back on His life, He was focused on the cross and achieving the atonement for our sins.

Mary and Martha waited at the bed-side of Lazarus.  I am sure they served Lazarus when he was sick and could not get out of bed.  The story makes it clear that they expected Jesus to come and heal Lazarus.  If they hadn’t, they would not have been so disappointed.

Believers in general are waiting for His return.  This is where we come into play.  We are to be serving while we wait.  We are to also expect His return.  I think also in the meantime, we are to expect his blessings and fulfillment of promises.  One such promise we should expect is the renewed strength promised in Isaiah 40:31.

Bible Study: Favorite Attribute of God

In Sunday School, we have been going through the different attributes of God with the goal of getting to know Him better.  Here are some of the attributes we are studying: Transcendence, Immanence, Eternity, Infinity, Immutability, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Holiness, Justice, Love, Mercy, Grace, Goodness, and Truth.  We haven’t gotten far through our study, but I already have a favorite one.  To me, immanence is the most special!

According to Wikipedia, Immanence comes from a Latin words that means “to remain within”.  The point is that God is actively involved in His creation and particularly in our lives.  For example, this verse illustrates it perfectly:

KJV: Luke 12:7. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

We talked through Transcendence, which is how God’s ways are above our ways.  He works on a different plane than we do.  When he answers prayers, He does it in His own way, in ways we would not expect.  Yet, that suggests that God created us in the beginning and went off on His own way.  Without His immanence, God would be nothing more than the source of our existence.  With His immanence, He is our survival, our all in all.

We talked through eternity and infinity as we learned that God is boundless.  Again, if God existed forever before He created us, what’s to say He wouldn’t go back to living without us?  No, God created us to be actively involved with us every step of the way.  All of His boundlessness is now entangled with us.

Next week, we are planning to talk about God’s immutability.  That is the fact that He never changes.  The key to His not changing is that He will react the same when circumstances are the same, but when circumstances change, so does he.  At times, we may think God changes, but really what changed was either ourselves or situations external to God.  God simply responds in an always consistent manner with His personality.  The cool part is that that means we can count on God’s immanence.  Once we were created, God will always and ever be actively involved in His creation, in our lives.

The practical side of God’s immanence is that God is always available to us.  When we have a need, God is never away or busy doing something else.  When we pray, He not only hears the prayer, but he knows the situation more intimately than we could imagine.

If this post accomplished one thing, it has helped me think about God’s immutability, and I hope it has done the same for you.  Please take a moment today to thank and praise Him for His immutability, for being there for us.