I often struggle with believers (Christians) who walk around saying that God just wants us to be happy. I don’t think so. The Bible tells us that he wants us to be obedient. The result of our obedience [being doers of the Word, James 1:22], can be joy. The fruit (result) of the spirit in Galatians 5:22 includes peace and joy. Yes, God delights in his children and our joy is complete when walking in the light of Christ.
Think about it. If God wanted His children to just be happy with no consideration for God’s ways of living, why did those closest to Christ have such hard lives and die very cruel deaths including Christ himself? James died by the sword. Other disciples we know were either exiled, murdered or martyred for their faith.
We live in fallen world; as such both believers and non-believers will have trials. Living without our eyes on Christ makes sadness sadder and loneliness lonelier. Navigating trials is part of our journey. Going through trials in a faithful, obedient, God-seeking manner ensures that we don’t get stuck in the storm. We keep moving toward Christ who leads us to a greater peace and joy in the end.
Just a thought,
The last two mornings I have had the opportunity to see the sun rise. While I’m not a morning person, but the sun rise both mornings was breath-taking. But the thing that struck me most was that both days while beautiful were completely different. The God of all creation painted a colorful picture to ease my early morning “hate to get up for work” pain. It was as if God was saying to me, “Good morning, daughter. I’m looking forward to our day.”
Think about it, twice a day, everyday our great God paints a picture that is miraculous and completely different each time. All we have to do is look up.
All the best,
This morning our lesson in Sunday school (or for the modern church they are called Weekend Groups) we discussed a passage in Philippians about being content.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:10-13New International Version (NIV)
While the passage focuses on being content no matter what our human situation is, the lesson made me think of two things. First what is the difference between being content and being complacent?
Both definitions include the phrase “being satisfied”. The difference is that the definition of content indicates not needing more and complacent includes not wanting more. I agree with the author here that when we fully rely on God, we can be content in all earthly situations that come our way. But what I wonder is if we get complacent, do we stop seeking Him? Do we stop stretching ourselves in order to grow in our faith?
The other thought I had was about the things God doesn’t want us to be content with. This list would include the eternal. I don’t think he wants us to be content with where we are today in our faith. We should always strive to grow more in our faith. I don’t think He wants us to be content with our current knowledge of His word. The Bible says to meditate on it day and night. I don’t think He wants us to be content with how strong our witness to others is today. Every person we encounter needs to see Jesus in us.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:3 – 8
Can we do all of this perfectly? Never. But at the end of the day, when we fail in our human efforts we take comfort in the fact that His mercies are new each day and the words of Paul in second Corinthians 12.
9 But he [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version
This article will make you think. From retired minister Bob Russell,
Would love your thoughts.
Good Friday. For the believer this represents the day our savior was brutally murdered; but he let it happen willingly. No doubt his human side and his Godly side did battle all day. He could have stopped the scourging. He could have destroyed those who thought they were destroying him. But he didn’t. As mean and painful as it got, he stuck to the plan. The plan that he knew from the beginning of creation would come to this day, these hours of complete distress. His Father had prepared him as much as possible. Just as he tries to prepare us for the storms. But we don’t listen always the way Jesus did. In the midst of every human friend turning on him — the emotional pain; in the midst of being spit on and fists waved — the humiliation; in the midst of having is Father turning from him — the spiritual loneliness; our Jesus still fulfilled his purpose, he willingly gave up his life as the ultimate sacrifice. The world thought they won, but they didn’t remember, that Sunday was comin’…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByT6wfdhJs (Don Buck P Creacy)
Every time we find ourselves feeling lonely, betrayed, and hopeless, remember, Sunday is coming, again.
Blessings to you,
The remnants of sand and dirt felt crusty on Mary’s face from the long day’s journey and the ebb and flow of pain and sweat. The hard pain – the overwhelming stench – the crowds. An hour from town there are tribes setting up camp everywhere. How many more are crammed into this small town, Bethlehem? The noise pounding in her head – the pains coming closer and closer. Oh, to just lie down.
Mary waited outside the inn for what seemed an eternity for Joseph to return. His demeanor screamed as loud as Mary’s pain that he had failed. There were no rooms. The best he could provide was the privacy of the innkeeper’s barn. A gentle touch on the shoulder from Joseph reminded Mary that he had done his best and was sorry it wasn’t better. He wasn’t in charge of how the events of this night were unfolding. The final steps to their accommodations were the worst on Mary’s swollen feet.
Joseph slid the barn door open only to gag from the disgusting odor. Seems the barn was as full as the streets with visitors. Asking one final thing of Mary, to wait in the fresher air outside while he found some straw and made bedding for her. She submitted to her betrothed. He didn’t sign up for this, but he certainly stepped up.
Together they slowly and gingerly walked in out of the cool night. As he helped Mary lie down, she let out a scream from the pain. Finally, free to let out the truth and anguish she felt. The animals rustled and made noises like an out of tune orchestra. Upon noticing their unexpected human guest, as if they knew who they were hosting, they laid down and became still. As she settled in and became accustomed to the smells, sights and sounds. She prayed. God, we wanted better for your son.
It was a long and unfamiliar night for both Mary and Joseph; Mary too young to know much about birthing a child and Joseph too innocent. Men didn’t get involved when a baby was coming. But tonight was not about tradition or decorum – it was about changing the world – it was about hope and eternity colliding with all that humans thought was “normal”. A new covenant squeezed into this night.
His birth wasn’t pretty. Jesus joined humanity as a wiggly, slippery baby. Mary was scared but led by what came instinctive and natural. Joseph was awkwardly doing his best to provide blankets and a towel to wash the boy who would return the favor someday.
This night didn’t feel very holy, but it was real. No airs or regal greeting parties for the King of Kings. His mother felt the pains, his earthly father the helplessness, him the trauma every human baby in history feels during birth. It was the heavenly Father who felt joy knowing He sent an invitation through Jesus. He knew he would get his son back and when He did, Jesus would bring all of the rest of His children.
The night was finally silent. Mary could breathe without pain. Joseph settled in next to his family. For the first time since Genesis the world would be still and rest in the hope of Him who came to love, serve and save.
May every night of your coming days bring stillness, hope and peace in Jesus Christ.
Happy Birthday, Jesus.
I’ve mentioned the many lessons our dog, Eli, has taught us in the three years he has been a part of our family. He’s older and more mature now. So are the lessons. Several times a week before I start my work day I go in the living room and I sit for a few minutes of prayer. The opportunist, Eli, comes with me and sits at my feet knowing a scratch behind the ears will be offered.
As I have my conversation with the Father and invite him to lead me through the day, Eli gets comfortable. His head is up. He is still and just looking around. He is listening. I’m sure he’s hearing things I don’t.
Watching Eli made me think; how often we do we just sit and listen? Imagine, being still and simply existing for a few minutes. Breathe. What would come to mind? Would someone come to mind with whom you haven’t heard from in a long time? What dream would you remember? Would you make a decision you’ve been putting off? Would you notice something about the room you are sitting in? It’s a room you’ve been in a hundred times before. Maybe, just maybe you will hear that still small voice answering your prayer, giving you guidance, leaving you with peace.
Today I am thankful that there is balance in the universe. Call it what you like, yin/yang, chi, ebb/flow, what goes around comes around. Our brilliant Creator put order and balance in play with His first command to take that which was formless and give it form. With each act of creation He provided opposites to balance each other out. He gave us light and separated it from the darkness; land was divided by water, creatures of the water and the land, male and female – even good and evil.
Each end of the scale has its place and purpose. In life we have seasons of serving and seasons of being served. When those seasons get too out of balance one can find themselves either exhausted from pouring out and not being poured into, or they could be found wallowing in being needy. There will always be those among us in need, but even the least of these has the ability to do something for others. Time is free.
Yes, I believe what goes around, comes around; what you sow you will reap. However, it is not our role to be continually looking around the corner to reap quickly. Sometimes it takes a while to arrive on the other side of sowing. Just as you can’t rush the oceans movement from high tide to low tide, you can’t rush the laws of natural balance. The journey between the two is what forms our character. All we can be responsible for is our role, attitude or place in the great balance of life we live in.
All the best,
Gardeners understand the connection between humans, nature and our Creator. Didn’t make it to church for worship this morning but found myself with free time for the garden this afternoon. The collision of digging in the dirt, cleaning out weeds, good music, and sunshine created in me a joyful and thankful heart. It is continually amazing how connected humans are to the world created for them.
Feeling a good kind of tired,