....."We're trusting God in this situation". "We're praying and waiting on the Lord"........
We say things like this when we're faced with trouble - a bad situation, sickness, financial disaster, whatever living in a broken world deals out. But, I'm thinking --- Do we say this, do this, only when we are "sure" God's going to sway things our way? When we believe we're going to get well, the money's going to come in, our spouse is going to turn it around? It's pretty easy to "trust God" when we have convinced ourselves it's all gonna turn out all right.
But what about in those times when the outlook ain't looking good? The prognosis is poor, as they say. There's a real good chance things are not going to go our way. Do we still have the faithitude (faith + fortitude) to proclaim our trust in God in these times when we know it's very likely going to get worse before it gets better?
I recently had the privilege of walking through an awful (awful is an understatement) time with a young Christian couple. They were pregnant with precious twin girls that were very sick and not likely to survive. And this couple stood by their faith, trusted in God no matter what might happen, and made the decision to go forward with giving their girls a chance at life regardless of the 'odds'. This experience had a profound effect on me. It made me wonder (hence, the blog post): Can I trust God all the time, every time, even when I'm probably not going to get what I want? Can you?
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With Memorial Day here, I want to reflect on and appreciate all those serving in the military. Specifically, I want to think about my own husband who is in the military and why he is “The Man” and more.
This is not to leave out military women – they are incredible and serve in ways that I know I’m not “woman enough” to even think about doing. But, for this moment I want to share why I “love me a military man”.
Reason 1: He is devoted to things bigger – way bigger – than himself.
Reason 2: He respects men, women, and children enough to give his life for them – even ones he’ll never meet.
Reason 3: He understands how to work as a unit, as a member of a team. He sees our marriage and our family as a living, breathing, working entity that is critical to the mission called “country”. He believes that if we fail, everybody fails.
Reason 4: He knows what’s right and what’s wrong, and there are some things that just aren’t negotiable.
Reason 5: He can lead and he can follow; both are equally important.
Oh, and he looks really cute in a uniform.
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I like money.
1. It pays my bills.
2. It buys me stuff I want.
3. Money equals "security", we are told --- whatever that means (a blog topic for another time).
4. And money allows me to support the work of the Church.
Whoa, wait a minute, Abby. Let's don't get carried away here. I was with ya until the "Church" thing. I would love to give to the church, but I just don't have any extra money. It takes all I have to just get the bills paid.
The reasons Christians should give to the Church are many. First of all, it's a biblical concept. Giving to God is a practice of sacrifice and an act of faith. It's a tangible way for us to say, "God, on paper I really can't afford this, but I'm going to give it anyway because I love you and trust you, and I want to show you". We give our money to the Church in gratitude. We are grateful for what we have, so we share a little bit of it to show thanks. That's all good.
But, you know the most compelling reason we should give money to the Church?
It's not OUR money. Really, it's not. For most of us, our source of income is our work or career. So, ask yourself (myself) the following:
Who provided you with access to an education and job opportunities in the first place?
Who blessed you with the brains to learn and go to college and get that degree?
Who compelled that company to hire you over someone else just as qualified?
Who allows you to wake up every morning, go to work, and make more money?
If you answered "God" to any or all the above questions, then you can safely conclude that your money is not your money. So, giving to the church is really more like just transferring funds from one account to another - neither of which are yours.
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This blog post begins with a disclaimer: As I have mentioned before, I am not a Bible scholar. In fact, I am still working on being a Bible reader with any degree of consistency. So, having said that, here is my observation on the topic of Happiness:
Nowhere* (see "Update" below) in the Bible does it say we are to seek, nor are we guaranteed, to be "happy". Happiness is a human invention, based on circumstances and, essentially, reliant upon the presence of 'stuff' - anything and everything that can disappear in an instant. Which is why, I believe, God does not tell us anywhere in His Word that He cares, frankly, whether we're "happy". Think "happy", think "hollow". And God is definitely not about hollow.
But, you know what God does want us to have? JOY. That supernatural, indescribable, down-in-your-gut, scary-good knowledge that we are OK and we will always be OK. Because, well....because God is in charge, and we're not.
Now, I am not completely "anti-happy", and I really don't think God is, either. He does give us great moments in life -- blessings with nice things, puppies, flowers, dropping a dress size. I just think we spend way too much time pursuing Happiness when what we really need to seek is Joy. In fact, let me go as far as to say that if something (or someone) only makes you "happy", let it go.
So, I'm thinking maybe we don't need to be worrying so much about whether Mama is or ain't happy.
*Update: I love to read through my mom's Bible (she passed away - or what I like to call "changed addresses" - a few years ago) and see all her notes written in the margins as she studied and listened to sermons. Today, I found a note she made that said that "Happy" is mentioned in the Bible 24 times, while "Joy" is mentioned over 500 times. So, I stand a bit corrected. Thanks, Mom.
Recommended Read - A bit ironic that "happiness" is the title, but they are really talking "joy" here.
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