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Posts from October 2009

God Separates Us From Our Sins

China Beach, San Francisco

"And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins." Psalm 103:12

I don't have to be convinced that I'm a sinner, I just know that I am (Romans 3:10,23). I have my share of critics and I'm sure you do too, fortunately we have only one master (Romans 14:4) I'm willing to stipulate with those who don't think that I do a very good job at much of anything that I probably disappoint and drop the ball far too often, but God knows that my heart is full of love for God and His people (1 Peter 4:8).

Kathy and I made a trip to China Beach in San Francisco last week to watch the sunset. We got there just a little bit too late which was fine since I really don't mind night photography. This long exposure was able to catch the last little bit of the sunset that wasn't really even visible to the naked eye. I could watch the sunset every night and never get bored with it.

The thought that stirred within my soul that night was this, however imperfect and sinful we are, God separates us from our sins. Think about that! He doesn't throw us away because of our sins, He carefully separates us from our sins. He removes them from us and sends them as far as the sunrise is from sunset. That's a long, long way! How does He do this? He forgives.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Just another thought... Wouldn't our world be a better place if we would be willing to separate the sins from the sinners? If we would forgive like God forgives? Our brothers and sisters are far to valuable for us to cast them aside when they mess up!

A Quiet Place To Read

A Quiet Place To Read, originally uploaded by Calpastor.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 23:2-3

I passed this irresistible walnut grove this morning while out making some pastoral visits. I stopped and spent 30 minutes reading and snapping some photos. Northern California is such an amazing beautiful place!

What Do You Think?

Fall Vineyards Along Highway 12

“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, ​the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into ​the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you ​in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward ​change your minds and believe him." ~ Matthew 21:28-32

I love the way Jesus opened this parable, "What do you think?". Many people never really stop to think about their relationship to the Father. It's not enough to hear the Father's voice, we must obey Him. It's not enough to say, "I go, sir" and then not go! We must be "doers of the Word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22). If we only hear the Father and never obey Him then we are "deceiving" ourselves.

It's interesting to me that the man in this parable had two sons and he told them both "go and work in the vineyard today". God has something for all of His children to do. We are all called to work in the vineyard. We are all expected to work towards a great harvest. Sadly, it doesn't take very long to realize that not all of God's children are involved in His work. Many of His children are like the son who said he would go, but did not go. They say they have faith, but do they?

Others never really seem to be the 'spiritual' leaders that stand out from the crowd. They struggle with their faith. They might come from some pretty crazy backgrounds and some within the church will never completely trust them or believe that they are the real deal. They have perhaps spent the majority of their lives living for themselves and being disobedient to the Father. They are like the son that heard the Fathers command, "Son, go and work in the vineyard today" and like that son they answered, "I will not". But somewhere along the way they hear His voice and change their mind (repentance) and go.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! ~ James 2:14-19

I think there will be some folks surprised one day when they see the Father welcoming in folks from this second group. These folks may not have the spiritual pedigree of others but they heard the voice of the father, believed Him, repented, and got busy in the fields.

What do you think? Which of the two did the will of the Father? Which of the two do you relate to? Are you the son that says "I will go" but never does or are you the son that might struggle at first but then surrenders to the Father and goes?

He Will Act!

"Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." Psalm 37:3-5

We had a great men's Bible study Wednesday night! One of the passages we looked at was Psalm 37:3-5...

  • Trust in the Lord!
  • Do good!
  • Live faithfully!
  • Delight yourself in God!
  • Allow God to shape your desires!
  • Commit your way to the Lord!
and then... He will act! He is a God of action!

What Are You Doing Tuesday Night? It's Time For A Pastor's Road Trip!

Photo Who wants to get together for a couple hours? The more the merrier!

Kathy and I are going to hang out at the Hog Island Oyster Company in the Oxbow Public Market in Napa this Tuesday night from 5:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. they have an Oyster Happy Hour (not so happy for the oysters!) where the oysters are $1.00 each. They're really yummy but if you're not into oysters there's always chowder. There are a few other eating places in the Market as well if you're just not into seafood.

We're gonna visit, eat, grab a cup of coffee, and stop by the Wine Crusher Statue on our way out of Napa to pray together!

It'll be fun! Hope a bunch of you will join us! Let me know if you're coming...

Here's the address and directions...

644 1st St
Napa, CA 94559-2611
(707) 226-6529
Get directions

Don't Ever Stop Working On Your Relationships

Blog "Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight..." Exodus 33:13

Tonight is 'Date Night' in the Trimble home and I'm really looking forward to spending time with my wife. Good marriages don't just happen. They are the result of two people intentionally investing in their relationship. One of the the things that I ask most couples when counseling them is how often they 'go out' and far too many times they are puzzled and reply, "On a date?". Yes! A date! If you want a marriage that lasts you must continually spend time getting to know one another. I know more about Kathy than ever but I'll also join the chorus of men who claim to not understand women. So I keep working on it and part of that process is reserving time for 'Date Night'.

Likewise, It is extremely important that we continue finding time to spend with God in order to maintain a good relationship with Him. He know us completely! He knew us before we were even formed in our mother's womb. He took inventory and counted our fingers and toes even before our mothers held us and did the same inventory (Psalm 139:15-17). He even has the hairs of our head numbered (Matthew 10:29-31). God is omniscient, all-knowing! We are not, so we must pursue God and the knowledge of God. I want to know Him more and more and more. In order for me to do that I must preserve time for me to spend with Him.

Listen to the Apostle Paul's desire to know God better and then consider that Paul who penned 2/3rds of the New Testament still desired to know Christ better.

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." Philippians 3:8-11

Think about Moses statement in the following verse...He said that he had found favor in the Lord's eyes, but still requested God to show him His ways so that he would know Him and continue to find favor in God's eyes.

"Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight..." Exodus 33:13

Don't ever stop working on your relationships! Set aside time to develop them more fully.

Holding Hands

Photo-1 I love holding Kathy's hand. I remember the first time we went for a walk together in Bible College, asking her if I could hold her hand. She said yes, and I've been holding hands with her for 25 years now. It has never gotten old, sometimes I just drive across town to hold her hand for a few moments.

This past week Kathy and I slipped out for a late night coffee and yummy bread pudding at a local restaurant. We walked from the truck to the restaurant holding hands and talking about our day. As we approached the steps, she missed the first step completely and if we had not been holding hands she would have fallen head first into the ground. I was so glad that because we were holding hands I was able to hold her up and keep her from falling that night.

Today, as I was reading and praying about the leadership of God in our lives, I came across Psalm 37 and was touched especially by verses 23-24. Apparently God loves holding hands as much as we do.

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand." Psalm 37:23-24

When we walk with God He holds our hands so that even when we stumble we are not destroyed, He 'upholds' our hand. There are sometimes rough areas on life's paths. There are times when the terrain is steep and treacherous. There are unexpected obstacles along the way. If we just hold on to the hand of God we will make it through. He will lift us up when we stumble.

Holding hands requires closeness. You just can't hold hands with anyone if you are too far apart. Stay close to God. Holding hands is an act of intimacy. We might shake hands with just about anyone but a handshake can become uncomfortable if it is held too long, we hold hands with those that we share close relationships with. We sometimes hold hands in crowded places so that we don't get separated and lost. We hold hands with our children while we lead them places. Hold fast to God's hands!

Just thinking! Have a great day!

Stand Still And Focus

SF-2"So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.

Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!" Joshua 10:13-14

A few weeks ago I got away for an evening photo shoot. I was a little rusty as I haven't taken time to shoot anything lately but I thoroughly enjoyed just being out there. A preacher friend of mine, Dan Minkler, from Fresno went along and I really enjoyed the fellowship about as much as the photography. By the way, his photos came out much better so I may not invite him again. (lol).

I love taking pictures at night. A night shot like this one requires a longer shutter speed and a tripod. The camera has to remain focused and still in order to capture enough light. In this image the water appears very still and peaceful. It was not. The bridge appears to be quiet and abandoned. It was not. It was actually a busy Saturday night, the wind was ripping through the gate, it was freezing cold, and the water was extremely choppy. It's amazing what the camera can do just by remaining focused and still for a few minutes. It creates a photograph that makes the world look like it is standing still.

In Joshua the 10th chapter, God made the sun and the moon stand still and the scripture records that there has never been a day like that before or since that day. The son and the moon may not stand still for us but perhaps God wants us to stand still every now and then. The truth is, our worlds sometimes feel like they are spinning out of control and we need to find the time to stop and stand still for a few moments. It's amazing how much more peaceful things seem when we, like the camera, remain focused and still for a few minutes. The ways that I stand still and focus are generally by taking the camera out and just enjoying the beautiful things God has surrounded us with or by taking my favorite Bible and my Moleskine journal and just sitting for a few hours in a coffee shop. My world looks so much more peaceful when I stand still and focus like this.

"Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 37:14 (A great chapter to read in it's entirety)

If your world is spinning out of control don't wait for God to stop the sun and moon and bring everything to a halt. Take some time to "stand still and consider the wondrous works of God". The above photograph was a 30 second exposure. It took 30 seconds to stand still and focus to make the water and the bridge appear far more peaceful. I wonder what our world would look like if we just took 30 seconds every now and then throughout the day to "stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.".