Be careful what you pray for… Seriously

I began this year asking God to teach me about humility. That may have been a mistake.

God is more into transformation than He is into information. And for some reason I expected Him to give me some deep revelation from His Word that I could study. I didn’t expect Him to enroll me in the school of humility where each lesson doesn’t enter your mind but gets engraved in your heart.

One thing I am discovering about this process of God working on my heart is that this kind of work tends to be the most uncomfortable when He is working on the areas of the Heart that may be a little tough*.

* I use the word “tough” because it makes me feel better than admitting my heart may be harder in this area than I first thought. I’m sure that will be a future lesson I will learn.

A Common Question

Why do bad things happen to “good” (“Godly”) people?

The answer?

They don’t. Bad things happen to everybody, “good” or “bad.”

“…rain falls on the just and unjust alike.” (Matt. 5:45)

A better question might be, How should “good” (“Godly”) people respond when bad things happen?

Unresolved Issues

I was shocked by a conversation I overheard between two women. They were talking about a divorce one of them was in the middle of. It was a messy, painful divorce between two people who had been married for over 25 years. (I’m not sure how long exactly, but she kept using the term “25 plus year marriage.”)

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Choose to Forgive

I’m amazed at how many people I meet that are missing great opportunities because they can’t bring themselves to let old things go.
People that are holding on so tightly to an offense that they don’t have a hand free to grab on to something good that might be coming there way.

Unforgiveness is a prison. It traps you at the moment in time when the offense occurred. I know you know people like this. They talk about hurts they experienced five, ten, twenty years ago like it happened yesterday.

Some people are lucky; when they hold on to unforgiveness, it only affects one area of their life. For other people, unforgiveness takes over.

They become bitter, hurting, mean, and unhappy. They don’t know how it happened. They use to be normal. They use to be happy. They use to be unafraid. They use to not feel so alone.

The offense was real. The pain you felt was real. The pain you might feel right now is real. But the odds are, the only one who is hurt by it now is you.

To hold onto an offense, to not forgive, to live any part of your life in the past only hurts you.

You may be spending so much time looking at the past, that you’re missing a great future.

Don’t let what happened to you in the past affect what could happen to you today.

Your spouse may have cheated and left, that doesn’t mean your next one will. Your parents may have hurt you, we all make mistakes, we all say things we shouldn’t. Your kids may not be speaking to you, call them again. Your old business partner may have stolen from you. Start a new business.

Every day that you wake up is a new day, full of new possibilities and great opportunities.

Don’t hinder yourself.

Choose to let go. Choose to forgive.

Repentance

“Will not He that raised Lazarus, already four days dead and fetid, far more easily raise you? He who poured out his precious blood for us will free us from sin. Let us not despair, brethren; nor give ourselves up for lost. For it is a grievous thing not to believe in the hope of repentance.”

-Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (AD 315-386)

I’ve been thinking a lot about repentance.

Repentance is such a powerful thing. Making a decision, turning your back on the sins of the world and realigning yourself with God.

To me, the picture of repentance is a picture of me in an alley surrounded on both sides. In front the world, and all it offers. Behind God, and all the peace, joy and love He gives.

I can’t have it both ways. A decision has to be made and I’m the only one who can make it.

My natural instinct is to head for the world. That’s what I was born into. That’s what I know. That’s where my nature is calling me. But I choose to REPENT. I turn my back on the world and head straight into the arms of Christ, “The hope of salvation.”

Can I be honest with you? In my life, this is almost a daily decision. Every day I’m presented with an opportunity to follow the world. And some days I do, others I don’t. Thank God for grace. Thank God for the power of repentance. And thank God that I’m not alone.

Even the apostle Paul had this problem:

Romans 7:19-25

“19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Paul knew his nature. He was honest with himself, and that drove him to live a life of repentance.

If it’s good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me.

The daily choice to repent.

This Is Not The Real World. This Is A Fantasy.

Social Media is not the real world. It is a fantasy.

A fantasy built on the pieces of our lives we believe others think are the best parts of us. (Or what we want them to think are the best parts of us*.)

These platforms were created by corporations that spend millions of dollars to manipulate and program our thinking. Companies that then make billions of dollars off of our insecurities and addictions, most of which they created and feed. (I wish this was just my opinion, but it’s not. Look it up.**)

Social media is fun. There are some good things about it. But don’t be deceived into believing these platforms are here for our benefit. We are not the beneficiaries; we are the product. They are selling us and our information to other big companies which again want nothing more than to use and manipulate us.

Our ignorance is their advantage.

* The truth is, the best parts of us are the parts we usually never show on social media. The real you is better than any fantasy.

** I know that this may make me look like a conspiracy theory, paranoid nut, but I’m just a Father/Husband/Human who sees way more negative things happening then positive coming from these platforms. (Did you know that depression and suicide rates among elementary age children are higher than ever and it has been directly connected to the way their brains have become wired for “likes”?)