Can we really overstress the importance of the here and now? I’d say I spend far too much time focused on a future they may never come, and far too little time focusing on the present that is at hand. What if I had a proper understanding of allowing interruptions but not distractions? What if I spent more time in the presence of God instead of rushing to the next thing? No one in the history of mankind ever left God’s presence worse off.
Category Archives: God
Being Present in the Moment Podcast
Filed under Christianity, Encouragement, God, podcast, Thanksgiving
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT
This has been one of my favorite verses from Paul. I think most people who grew up in church know it. As I said to start the year off, I really need to slow down with the Scriptures that have been so familiar to me. It’s easy to brush past them because I know them.
I’m stuck on that word “pleasure” today. Paul said he takes pleasure in weakness and insults. Is it just me, or does pleasure not seem like it fits there? I could say I accept weakness and insults. Maybe I could say I understand them. But to take pleasure in them?
Pleasure is a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment. So Paul was happy about his weaknesses and insults? He found joy in hardships that he suffered? How is this possible? Doesn’t this seem crazy??? There are actually two keywords that make this make sense “for Christ.”
Paul teaches us that we can be more than just ok or simply accept when hardships come. He teaches us that we can actually have joy and happiness in weakness when it’s for Christ. That’s the key. We can not only endure but enjoy our weaknesses when they point people to Jesus.
Community and Unity
As much as we like to believe we can do life on our own, it’s not true. Just read Ecclesiastes 4:9,12
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 NLT
Clearly, we were made for community. Why do we need community?
1) Accountability: I’ve done so much better in life when people hold me accountable. I don’t have to like it, but I do know I need it.
2) Support: When you’re sick or experience the death of a loved one, there’s nothing like community to help you through that difficult time. Community also gives you the opportunity to do the same.
3) God is representative of community. We have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in God. So when we think of God, we should think of Community and Unity.
Now, do we need any more reason than that to pursue healthy communal relationships?
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT
While Ecclesiastes may feel discouraging, it’s really not. It’s actually quite possible to find encouragement in the book. There is plenty of wisdom in it, and where there is wisdom, we can be encouraged.
Chapter three talks about there being a time for everything. There is a season for everything. It’s hard to believe or accept that there is a time for life and death, crying and laughing, love and hate, and a time for peace and war. But rather than be discouraged by this, what would happen if we embraced it?
Maybe what makes life difficult is not understanding the times. With that said, God knows the time for all of these things. It’s not up to us to figure it out or try to manipulate it, but to accept it. In accepting this, perhaps we can embark on a journey of peace about timing. After all, God has the perfect timing.
Allow the Interruption
No one has ever or will ever leave the presence of God worse. God is so patient with me as I learn how to stop being so uptight. He’s so patient in teaching me that my schedule isn’t the most important thing.
I read an excerpt from “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.” In it, he says “allow the interruptions.” That really struck me because, more than likely, our opportunities to minister can come in the form of an interruption. When a crisis hits, it’s not a scheduled event, so how important is it to be present for a person when it happens? Allow the interruption, but not the distraction is a good motto.
God will interrupt your day. He’ll interrupt your schedule and will inconvenience you. Why? Because He’s teaching you to trust His plan and timing. And really, He longs to spend time with you. Isn’t that cool?
What I’ll say is this. Make sure you make time for God to interrupt. There hasn’t been a person in the history of mankind that stopped to spend time with God and regretted it. Every time any one ever stops to hear God or see Him they end up better and blessed. Read the Bible, Moses, Paul, Peter, Mary, Martha, Jesus, the list goes on and on.
Make time for God. Allow the interruption that could point someone to Him. You won’t regret it.
In the Midst of the Madness Podcast Episode
Do you get discouraged with everything going on in the world? How do you not feel like giving up? Tune in to hear what may be a friendly reminder of our purpose in the midst of the madness.
Filed under Christianity, Encouragement, God, Mistakes, podcast, Relationships, Sin, Wrong
In order to be transparent it’s important that we admit struggles. I’ve shared that the past month a part of me wondered what’s the point? I know there is one, but some days I just wonder why do we do what we do? It was a good time to read Ecclesiastes because this question is answered in those scriptures.
I’m human so I struggle. Sometimes I see the hurt and pain and wonder where God is? Which is probably a good time to read Job when this happens, which thankfully was another good reminder this week. In the end, Job (42:3) says, “I spoke to You (God) about things I know nothing about–too great for me to understand.” So, while that’s not always the most comforting thing in the moment, it can be comforting because it’s a reminder. There are things too great for us to understand. God’s ways are too great for us to comprehend.
I’m reading a book, and as an aside he mentions someone who was about to give up on their faith. They went to Rwanda and saw the devastation of genocide and were about to give up on God. In the moment, they heard the Lord say, this is what happens when people walk away from Me. This is what happens when love and compassion leave a place.
That was what I needed. I needed to remember this truth: When God isn’t invited into a situation, the hurt and pain we see are the results. It’s not for lack of love and concern from God. It’s from God being uninvited to intervene. Today, search your heart, and ask God to reveal any areas that you haven’t given Him an invitation. I truly believe we will start to see some things change when we do this.
Filed under books, Christianity, Encouragement, God, Thanksgiving, Wrong
When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! – Job 42:10 NLT
Do you know the story of Job? Please read it. In the meantime, a quick synopsis is this, and trust me, I’m not really doing it justice by summarizing it. God allows the devil to ruin Job’s life. Job is faithful to God, but eventually, he cracks and questions what’s happening.
He has a wife that tells him to curse God and die, and friends who pretty much say he must’ve sinned in some way and God is punishing him for it. Suffice it to say, his support system is lacking. But today, I read the verse above and felt something say, slow down when reading it.
So the Lord is angry with Job’s friends because of how they misspoke about Him. He tells them to make a sacrifice to Him and have Job pray for them. Job! The friend that they discouraged as he was facing his trials.
Can you imagine how Job felt? He probably didn’t want to pray for them. They’d accused him of sin and, most importantly, didn’t speak truthfully about God. If he was like me, he probably thought to himself, “All I wanted was for them to pray for me to help me overcome this, and they didn’t. Now I’m supposed to pray for them! I’m supposed to ask God to forgive them?! This will be tough.”
But look what happened after he did. It says the Lord restored his fortunes. He had twice as much as he did before he lost everything! Now, might God have been willing to restore Job’s fortunes either way? I don’t know. Was his restoration contingent upon his prayer for his friends? I really don’t know. I do think it’s interesting that it says that after he prayed for them, his fortunes were restored. I think this is here for many reasons, and I’m sure in due time, God will reveal more of them to me.
Today, I think this verse is here for us to do. I’m not saying God is going to bless you just because you prayed for a friend or enemy today. I certainly believe it won’t be a bad thing if you do. I think this verse is here for us to try and see what happens.
Pray for someone today, not simply to have your breakthrough. Pray for someone to help them see how to restore their relationship with God! You will likely be blessed in the process, but don’t do it for you. Do it to point someone to God and enjoy the results of that!
Filed under Christianity, Encouragement, God, Sin, Wrong
Ecclesiastes 2 – Futility of Work
I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world. – Ecclesiastes 2:18-20 NLT
The Teacher has sought solace in work. Now, let’s be clear about this, work is a good thing. Work is a holy thing because God did it. This book is not telling you that work is bad because it’s not. What is bad is finding your life’s purpose only in work.
The Teacher has worked hard. He’s trying to create meaning and purpose in life from work alone, and now that he’s had his work accomplishments, he’s reflecting on how meaningless they are. After all his hard work, one day, he will die. After he’s dead, someone else will take over what he’s left behind. And the same is true for us.
One day, we will die. Perhaps we’ll leave a company or organization behind. Maybe, like me, you’ll leave a classroom behind. And we don’t know if our successors will be wise enough to manage the work or foolish enough to banish working and responsibility. When work is your only purpose, that is a scary thought. When you work out of your purpose, that is a freeing thought.
If your only purpose is to work, then there is nothing to leave behind and certainly nothing you can take with you. But if you find purpose in your work, you can begin to leave a legacy behind.
Why was work meaningless? Because work by itself can’t give you God’s eternal purpose for you.
Filed under Encouragement, God, Mistakes, Sin, Wrong
Crown or Cancer Podcast
A worthy wife is a crown for her husband,
but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. – Proverbs 12:4
Am I a crown or a cancer to my husband? Crown or cancer to those around me? Am I a healthy thing or an illness?
Filed under Christianity, Encouragement, God, Mistakes, podcast, Relationships, Sin, Thanksgiving, Wrong