About Timothy Feig

Timothy currently lives in a city in Wisconsin. He likes to walk, jog, or bike outside, have deep conversations, talk to/about God, and play with kids. He dreams of changing the world someday. He is currently pondering the road ahead, and starting new adventures. Taiwan is on his mind a lot these days, and he schemes to get back as often as possible. He has often crashed the Northwoods portion of VOICE since 2007, was a V2 intern in 2010, and was a team leader in 2014. His favorite VOICE memory involves a lake, a boat, and talking late into the night.

Shining on the Evil and the Good

We often ask why bad things happen to us, but have you ever stopped to ask why so many good things have happened to you? I have recently found myself asking, “Why have I received so many blessings?” 

In the Bible, I found Matthew 5:45b, which says, “For [God] makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Even for those who are evil, God still gives the blessings of rain and sunshine. If we read all of Matthew 5:43-45, He tells us to do the same. ‘“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”’

So why has God blessed me or other followers of Christ? So that we may bless others, even if they are evil and unjust. In other places God says that a judgement is coming. Therefore, if they do not repent, the blessings given to evil people do not last forever. However, our part in this life, as God’s adopted children, is to bless. 

If you do not follow Christ, then the idea of God blessing the just and the unjust should be scary, yet give you hope at the same time. Why? Because it means that if life is going well it does not automatically mean that God is pleased with you. The hope that it gives is this, that just as God has been merciful in giving you life, provisions, and many blessings in this life in spite of the wrong that you have done (according to God’s law we have all done wrong), that He will give you grace and mercy that lasts forever if you believe in His Son Jesus Christ. 

Sun on Evil and Good

The Important Things in Life

This past Monday one of my uncles died. He had been sick for some time, so it was not a big surprise, but it was still a shock to me. Somehow I was expecting to have more time to say “goodbye,” and “I love you” again. Thinking about his death has caused me to think hard about life, and what I am doing with mine. His death is a reminder not to let the unimportant, or even the important, get in the way of doing the essential.

When we think about death, the Gospel is a game-changer, completely changing the way we look at it. Death looses its sting when you believe the good news that Christ has defeated death and given eternal life to those who are in Him. What I am thinking about this afternoon was way that the gospel effects life here on earth. What is essential if the Gospel is true?

This led me to two scriptures. The first is Luke 10:27:

“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

The second is John 15:5:

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit [Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control], for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

As I reflect, I am reminded that it is essential to spend time with God, learning to love as He does, and then letting that love fill my life and change it.

Looking Down or Looking Up

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

In the past few years, I have dealt with a number of people who I felt were doing their jobs wrong. When I looked at the actions they took, I thought of many different ways that they could act and think differently. By differently, I meant “better”. I looked down on those people because they did not think or act as I thought they should. I lost sight of the people themselves because of the “glasses” of arrogance that I wore. My pride told me I was better. That pride led to anger. Frustrated, I would ask myself why they did not do things as they should be done (as I would do them.) I began to despise them. Whole groups of people became no more than targets of my distain.

This morning I was reminded of Proverbs 6 verses 16-19, which says:

There are six things that the Lord hates,seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

In my arrogance I looked on my neighbors with haughty eyes. I spoke of them in pride and anger, and not as God sees them, so I spoke with a lying tongue. I was angry without cause, which is the same as shedding innocent blood. Looking at the rest of the 7, I realized that in my arrogance, I acted out each of these 7 abominations to God. That is not a good place to be. It is a scary place to be. God made it pretty clear that I am not lining up my life with the gospel.

I want my life to reflect the gospel. And what does the gospel say? “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” —Isaiah 53.6 “They” are not the ones who are messed up and worthy of judgement, it is “we”, or, me. I am just as deserving of judgement and distain as those I looked down upon. I am more deserving of judgement if Jesus’ treatment of the Pharisees is any indication. Thankfully, judgement is not where the gospel leaves us. Even as my actions have been an abomination to God, Christ has taken my iniquity upon himself. 

Wow. That is pretty cool to think over. Again, God has chosen to lift me out of the pit of my own slime, take the slime on himself, and clean me.

With this renewed perspective, how do I go forward? Micah 6.8 sums it up very nicely:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

This is what God showed me in the mirror of these verses. Take a look for yourself.

Where is God in this?

Rural Fire

Yesterday, on Christmas, my brother was called to help fight a fire. Tomorrow, I will be a pallbearer in a funeral. These events remind me that Christmas is not always a happy time. Sometimes Christmas can seem more like a tragedy than good news and great joy.

This holiday season there are many people hurting across the globe. People are suffering in much of the Middle East, France, and parts of Africa, as well as some areas of the US.  They are suffering from or grieving loss of life and the horror of terrorist attacks, deranged shootings, racial unrest, or other difficult situations. These anguishing experiences bring out this question – Where is God in all of this?

The beginning of the answer is in the Christmas story. Come take a look. Mary had it tough. Her country was occupied by a cruel government, her pregnancy caused her to risk being killed by her own people, she had to give birth in a barn while travelling, and she had to flee to a foreign country with her young child to keep him from being murdered. Joseph, with the same residence issues, had to believe Mary and his dreams instead of his own eyes which told him that he was not being played as a fool by a cheating fiancée.

When we talk about pain in the story of Christmas, we must not forget that all of the other boys in the region two years of age and under were murdered. For the boys of Bethlehem, Christmas was a death sentence. For their mothers and fathers it was a time of unspeakable pain and sorrow.  Here is how Jeremiah described it as quoted by Matthew:

“A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH,
WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING,
RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN;
AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED,
BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.”                                                                                   Matt.2.18 – NASB

Where was God in all that suffering? Here He is: Immanuel. Immanuel is one of the names given to Jesus, which means “God with us.” Immanuel means that in the middle of the cruel occupation, devastating fear, and widespread death, God was right there. Immanuel was experiencing it with them. Immanuel means that now, even in the middle of horrible circumstances, God is with us and knows how we suffer. Immanuel cares enough to not only experience the pain with us, but in our place endure greater pain. Immanuel means we have hope.

Immanuel is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us.

 

Overwhelmed

Shoes

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like life is way to hard? Do you look at what you need to do and thing, “That’s impossible”? I do. Very often. There is so much to do, nothing seems like it will work out, or the pressure is just too much.

I’m not just talking about big things. Sometimes small things overwhelm. Even tying my shoes can seem so hard and overwhelming that I just sit down and take a nap. Yes, I’ll admit it. I am weak. There is nothing inside of me that has any great strength. Even the littlest problem can paralyze me.

So how do I survive? How do I get up, go to work, and live my life? That’s a good question. I was waiting for you to ask. Let me tell you.

First of all, I have learned that it is ok to be weak. In fact, it can be better to be weak. God likes to work with weak people. It is often easier to recognize His work in a weak person than in a strong person. If a strong person does something amazing, then we assume that person did it themselves. But if a weak person does something amazing, we have an easier time seeing God’s hand in it. Also, we are less likely to be puffed up with pride. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians talks about this:

…God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong… …so that no man may boast before God. …you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ from 1 Corinthians 1.

That’s awesome. Take a minute to think about what that means. God works awesome things in the lives of the weak. To us who are weak God offers strength. It is not our strength, it is His. So in the face of overwhelming circumstances we can be courageous. Our courage comes because we trust that God is with us.

The next time you feel overwhelmed or afraid, remember that God knows your weaknesses, and still wants to work in your life. Here’s what He says in Isaiah, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41.10.

You Have My Full Attention

Do you give people your full attention? Recently I read some advice about friendships that said, “When talking to others, show respect by giving the other person your full attention.” My reaction? “Well, duh. That’s pretty simple. Of course you are supposed to give people your full attention.”  But as I thought about it, I realized that there was someone very close to me who did not receive the attention he deserved.

For the past several years, something very important was missing from my life. I would usually read my Bible every day. I would talk to God while running, in the shower, as I went about at work, and with my head on my pillow as I went to sleep. My time with God was spent thinking about other things. There were times that I would focus on God, but many days I would let the activities of the day or tiredness crowd out my time alone with God. I was never really stopping to give God my full attention.

Ouch. God has been my best, closest friend, and I was treating him like trash. God was loving me and I was doing my own thing. Finally, he had my full attention. I knew something had to change. I knew I needed God close to me like I need food and water.

So I set a timer on my phone. I sat down to pray and said, “God, talking to You is the only thing I’m doing until that timer goes off.” For the past month, that’s the way I have started and ended each day. Those times with God are short, but they are essential to my survival. I need God’s words of life every day.

That was about a month ago. What has happened since then? God spoke to me. I received direction. I received peace. I received joy. My life’s course was corrected. A light shined on my path. There is now a spring in my step that has not been there for a long time. I am at home again, in a place better than you can imagine: at the feet of Jesus.

What now? Check out this chapter from the book of Isaiah. This chapter sums up what I have rediscovered in the past month.

Read it. Think about it. Act.

Time With God

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.

Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

~Isaiah 55