Waiting with despair vs. waiting with hope

As Christians we are called to wait. We are called to look forward to a time when Christ will come again and bring His justice to this world.

We look around and see so much injustice that at times all we are left with is despair.

I’m not a very patient person.

Waiting is painful for me.

I used to say that patience is hereditary and my dad didn’t have any to spare.

Add that to the fact that I am easily led to despair and you have a recipe for disaster.

I don’t watch the news anymore because it’s just too depressing for me and leaves me completely without hope.

But as Christians we are called to wait with hope.

We are to have hope that Christ will come again and make everything right in the world.

We are to have hope that God is working in all things.

But also we are called to be hope to the people of this world.

There are so many lost people with no hope and no justice.

We are called to be a light into the darkest parts of this world.

When there are people being exiled, we are called to bring hope to them and help in any way we can.

When people are being hurt, we are called to heal.

When we are the ones being hurt, we are called to forgive.

The beauty of Advent, is that we are called to wait and look back to His coming as a child, look among us for His hand at work, and to look forward to His coming again.

I think it’s appropriate that we start the Christian year off with waiting for His coming, not celebrating the actual event.

If we started the year with His birth we would easily forget that we are called to wait for the Lord’s timing in our lives.

As you go through your week, take the time to think of those waiting in our world without the hope of a coming savior and look for ways to bring hope and justice into their lives.

Truly being thankful

Posted: November 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

It’s an interesting holiday here.

It’s become more and more a day we spend pretending to be thankful for what we have. All the while we’re preparing to go spend as much money on things we probably don’t really need.

As Black Friday has grown, it’s even taken over Thanksgiving day.

It seems that it is the real holiday now.

What is meant to be a day of reflecting on the things we have and spending time relaxing with family, has now become a day to spend at the store pushing people out of the way to get an insane price on something we don’t need and didn’t know we wanted until now.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with getting things on sale, or even going to the store tomorrow.

But maybe before you do, take the time to be grateful for all the things you have in your life.

As for me, I’m thankful that I have a family that loves me.

A God that has saved me.

A body that is still working, most days anyway.

Friends that support me.

A church that teaches me how to worship God better.

A country that allows me to believe as I see fit.

As you go out this holiday season, maybe you can also remember that the people helping you in the stores are people too.

And that, most of the time, they are giving up their time with their family to help you in the store.

So, maybe be a little nicer to those around you this holiday weekend.

Spread some joy as you pick up those savings.

Prepare for the Coming King

Posted: November 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

This next Sunday is the start of Advent, and I have to say that I know very little about what this season actually means.

So, I looked it up.

Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.

It is to be a time of the year where we, as Christians, look towards the birth of our Savior and prepare for His return.

We are called to slow down and wait purposefully.

To long for the coming of our King.

To prepare our hearts for Him.

So much, in our culture, is based on the idea of getting everything you want right when you realize you want it.

We don’t want to wait.

We want to get.

Advent is to be a time where we stop and wait for the coming birth of Jesus.

I find it interesting that the church year starts with Advent.

I think most people would think that it would start with Christmas or Easter. One of the major holidays.

But I think the early church fathers did this very purposefully.

We don’t start our year with a big celebration.

We start with waiting and preparing ourselves for His coming.

We are called to worship Him.

So often today, and especially this time of year, we run around and never stop.

We all look toward Christmas and sometimes, at least for me, can’t wait for the season to be over, because it can be so chaotic and busy.

Culture tells us to get everything we can both for those around us and for ourselves.

But God has called us to slow down and look to His coming.

The past few years the church I go to, Eden Community, has been involved in a movement called the Advent Conspiracy.

It is a movement that calls us to look at this time of year differently

It calls us to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All.

It looks different for each individual and family.

But no matter what it is calling us to be mindful of our actions and activity during this time of the year.

Maybe spend less on buying gifts for those around you and spend time making them something, or spend time with them.

Maybe give your time or money to a charity that you feel passionate about.

No matter what it is you do, I pray that you would allow for the time to let God change your heart this season.

To change the way you view the month leading to Christmas.

To slow down and spend time with God and with family and loved ones.

To let those around you know how much you care and love them.

Spend time in God’s Word and let Him change your heart, mind, and spirit.

Starting anew

Posted: November 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I should be doing with my life.

I feel like I’ve been adrift for a while now with no real purpose to anything that I did.

I’ve looked at myself and seen someone who I don’t understand or really recognize.

I’m tired of the way things just seem to be passing me by.

I feel like I’m not really doing anything worthwhile with my life.

Like I’m just wondering aimlessly.

The problem is that I can see all of this and yet can’t really seem to find anyway out of it.

I’m tired of feeling lost.

I’m tired of feeling like the before picture.

I’m tired of feeling like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to.

I’m tired.

Yet I can’t seem to find what I should do.

I keep having these plans and thoughts run through my head.

But I just don’t make them happen.

Then another plan has passed me by.

Add another shovelful of dirt on my coffin.

I cry out to God for a rope to pull me out.

Yet it feels like when one is thrown down, I refuse to grab a hold of it.

I’m my own worst enemy.

It’s probably not even someone else adding the dirt, but me burying myself.

I just want to reach out and grab the rope.

To claw my way out of this pit.

God give me the strength today to grab a hold of Your rope and try to find my way out of this darkness.

Serious question

Posted: October 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’ve been reading through Leviticus lately, and a thought occurred to me. More of a question actually.

How is it that we know which of the commands in the Bible to still follow when there are so many that we’ve thrown by the wayside?

We have chalked so many up to being written for a certain people and culture. Yet there are others, written in the same places, that we still take very seriously.

I’m not trying to say that we shouldn’t follow the commands of the Bible. Just honestly trying to figure out why we hold some as sacred and laugh off some other ones.

Witnessing

Posted: October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16

I believe that the best way for us to witness to those around us in our daily lives is by the way that we live. It’s not that we can’t witness with our words. I think that we can and should do that too.

But if our words are the only witness we give and our actions do not match our words, than we are doing much more harm than good.

I’m not always the best at this.

I try to let my actions be my witness to those around me. But I can’t really say that I do that very well.

Let alone, when it does come time to witness with words face to face with others, I’m completely at a loss for words. I can never figure out what to say.

Too many times I’ve fallen back on my quiet happy guy routine and haven’t spoken up when I could have.

It’s a struggle that I’ve always had.

Between being liked and people knowing what I truly believe, I almost always have chosen to be liked.

It’s not something I’m really proud of. But it is the truth.

I feel like I should ask God to give me the strength to speak up about Him, but then I run the risk of having my prayer answered with more and more opportunities so share with others.

I just pray that I can live my life in such a way, that those around me can see something different in me, and that if they ask what that difference is, I have the courage and words to speak truthfully about my faith.

I was reading this morning and in both my scripture and my devotional, which are separate plans, the same theme came up.

So, I’m taking God’s advice and I’m gonna go ahead and write on this again. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before. But maybe I’ll have some new insight today.

I was reading in 1 Timothy 1, where Paul is talking about being the worst of sinners, and yet through God’s grace and mercy God is able to use Paul to His glory.

In my devotional Billy Graham talked about St. Augustine and John Newton, who were both not good men before they had an encounter with God and were forever changed.

It brought to my mind that it seems like God chooses to use the worst and lowest of sinners to do His greatest works.

It seems so contrary to the way most people would think to do things.

But I do believe that He does this very much on purpose and for a specific reason.

God chooses to do this, so that it can be shown as Him working through us and not just us doing things on our own power. He changes that hearts and minds of people who seem unlovable and unchangeable, so that we might be able to see God working and know that the things people do they are definitely not doing on their own, but through the grace and power of God.

I also believe that God uses those of us that don’t think we can do anything good. All we have to do is trust Him and step out into the things we feel He is calling us to.

I know there are many times when I don’t feel I am worth much of anything, and that I don’t think anybody should even bother to listen to me. What do I know that others don’t already know? What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said? Why would anyone really want to listen to me at all?

And yet God calls to me time and time again to share my thoughts. To share my voice. To step out into the water and trust that He will keep me safe.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that God has a way of using those of us that couldn’t do any of this without Him. On my own I would have no wisdom to share with you. No songs to sing. No words to hear.

But with Him I can do all things.