Categories
Christian Blog

The “answer”

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

I couldn’t sleep the other night. So I turned on the living room television, but found mostly infomercials. Some guy with a mullet and a bow tie hoped to sell me, “The Answer.”

“Yes! For just two easy payments of $39.95, you can possess the greatest wealth building secrets of all time–conveniently printed on three laminated cards.”

The huckster claimed he carried these cards in his back pocket at all times; they allowed him to make thousands of dollars while he slept.

“Your pajamas have pockets? There’s not an app for that?”

There’s nothing like talking back to a TV at 2 a.m.😉

After about 30 minutes, I returned to dreamland. But something from that silly infomercial stuck in my head: the idea of making money in your sleep. There’s a passage in the Bible about God working while we sleep, I thought. Sure enough, I found it over breakfast.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Psalm 127:2 (NIV)

What strikes me about this verse is the fact that God GIVES. One of the cross references is Isaiah 55:1–where the Lord invites everyone to “Come to the waters and drink at NO COST.”

Inspired, I dug deeper into the Bible to find more things that God gives us. Here’s a sampling:

  • God gives us songs in the night (Job 35:10).
  • He gives food to every creature (Psalm 136:25).
  • The Lord gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness to those who please Him. (Ecc. 6:22).
  • God gives strength to the weary (Isaiah 42.29).
  • Jesus gives us peace that’s not like the world’s (John 14:27).
  • He gives us life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25).

Of course, all these things aren’t REALLY without cost; they are free to us because Christ already paid for them. That could be a discussion in itself.

In the meantime, isn’t it wonderful that God freely offers His best to us?

You don’t need the “answer” to anything if you know the God of everything!

Categories
Christian Living Motivation

Life’s Not Fair. So Now What?

Disheartening axioms that include no remedy are annoying.😫

Life’s not fair.

So what should we do?

  • Hold our noses and take it?
  • Get liquored up and not care?
  • Turn to a life of clandestine crime against the “bad guys?”

None of these are healthy choices.

Here’s an idea: since life’s not fair, make it fairer.

Now, that’s a possible remedy!

Yes, it’s a tall order, but wonderfully anticipatory. It reminds me of my favorite quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., “Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.”

After all, according to 1 Peter 2:9, “We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

We’re torch bearers, not Twinkies in the rain!

The 13th century Persian poet, Rumi, is one of my favorite torch bearer types. No, he wasn’t a Christian, but he’s right about how to make life more decent.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.

Rumi

Next to his quote in my journal I wrote, “A Royal Priest for God – 1 Peter 2:9.”

So what’s the job description for a Royal Priest? I found it in the Old Testament book of Micah–three things we can do to make life fairer.

“He has shown you, O man, 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.” – Micah 6:8 (NIV)

  • Act Justly – always do right by others. Right = what God would do.
  • Love Mercy – be kinder than is necessary.
  • Walk Humbly with God – He’s the Savior. It’s not about us.

If enough of God’s people consistently did these things, it could make the world a better place.

My father, a math teacher, used to say, “Life is like arithmetic. In any given situation people either add, subtract, multiply or divide.”

Sounds like a plan! We should at LEAST add to the quality of life around us, and make it our goal to multiply.

One more thought from my man, Rumi:

“Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place”

Make life fairer


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Categories
Christian Living encouragement

Life Parade

I live in a small farming town in Southwest Oklahoma. There are 800 souls, one convenience store and a corner cafe. We have a few other businesses, including a new Dollar General (woo-hoo!), but you get the picture.

One of the biggest events in our town is the annual Christmas parade. There are custom made floats, tractors, antique cars and plenty of horses.

But lots of folks on horse back means plops on the parade route. (If you know what I mean.) And no matter how great the festivities, it’s hard to ignore the manure trailing down the middle of main street. This line of “used oats” is often in the camera shot of our local TV news coverage, much to our mayor’s chagrin.

But—like with most things—the good outweighs the bad. The Christmas parade provides a splendid opportunity for our whole community to come together. In the big picture, who minds a little manure?


Job was a guy in the Bible who had a lot more good in his life than bad. Until he didn’t. You know the story. He lost almost everything overnight: his livestock and crops, even his children. GONE. All he had left was his life, a pessimistic wife and a few ‘friends’ who came to cross examine him.

Yet what did Job say when he learned of his losses? “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b -NIV) And what did he tell his wife when she told him he should, “Curse God and die?” He replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10 NIV)

As the old saying goes, “Into every life some plops must drop.” Okay, maybe I changed that up a little.🥸 Yet in this matter, many Christians today aren’t interested in learning the patience and wisdom of Job. We like our roses without thorns, thank you. But what if the best way to get there is to turn those thorns INTO roses?

One of my favorite “thorns to roses” moments in the Bible occurs in Jeremiah 29. God sends a letter (via Jeremiah) to the exiled Israelites living in Babylon. In a nutshell, He says: “I sent you to Babylon, but I want you to prosper there. Build houses, and plant gardens. Marry and have sons and daughters.”

In other words, make the good outweigh the bad. Here’s my favorite part:

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)”

So, brave reader, whatever our “parade” is—yours and mine—we’d best pray to the Lord for it. Because if it prospers, so will we. And when there’s more good than bad, nobody minds a little manure.

But watch your step if you cross Main street.


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