Monday, June 13, 2011

Does God want me to be happy?

This struck me as an interesting question: does God want me to be happy? I don't know. Is there a verse or Biblical passage that we can look to to find the answer? Perhaps, or at least one might attempt to identify those passages that might support the principle. But I'm not going to make a biblical argument either way, at least not in this post. Instead what I'd rather do is offer a couple alternative questions that might give us a broader context, or at least beyond the context of ourselves. So here they are:

Does God want us to be holy, or does He want us to be happy? Is it an either-or question or a both-and? 

So what do you think? Let me know your thoughts...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The game that everybody plays, but nobody wins

The trouble with money and wealth is that we always want to have more than others. We are in competition for a prize that no single person can obtain, in a game that no one can win.

The thing that we must come to grips with is that we are already rich. My thanks to Craig Groeschel for helping me to understand this through his book, Weird: because normal isn't working.

Until reading the part of his book about money, I did not realize that I had been harboring envy for a former co-worker who I found out is now making nearly twice what I am making. "if only I could make $x, then I would be happy." really? Why does my happiness dependent upon a dollar figure? Is it not enough that I have been richly blessed with a family that I love dearly, who also loves me? Is it not enough that, in spite of all the despicable things I have done, in spite of God's holiness, in spite of the judgement that I deserve- is it not enough that in spite of all these things and more that through the cross, through the blood of Jesus that I now have peace with God, that I am forgiven, that there is now no condemnation due to me because of Christ? Is it not enough that the Lord has placed me in a vocation that I am best equipped to serve Him, that I have an opportunity to be faithful in doing what God has uniquely equipped and called me to do, to offer my life as a song of worship through obedience to what he has given me stewardship over?

These are the things I forget when my eyes are on myself and others and not on Christ. I need to remember this so that I can have a proper and eternal perspective that enables me to live with complete satisfaction and joy, in spite of however much or little income I make. To say the least, I have been challenged by this. I pray that you too would be challenged and moved to change your mind about this as well.

#remember #money #wealth #weird

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why I need to remember

Why do I need to remember? Because I will soon forget. 

There are so many things, so many thoughts that, though recognized as profound and of great worth, have passed on to the sea of forgetfulness, never to be recalled by my mind again. But why should those precious things be treated so casually? Why should they be forgotten? If it truly matters, then why do we not do more to act as if it truly matters?

Every day, I battle against my flesh. Though I have been made new by the risen Christ, there is a battle inside me that rages on; the desires of the Spirit versus the desires of my flesh. My flesh says thine will be done; the Spirit says Thy will be done. My flesh says, give in to temptation; the Spirit says flee from temptation. My flesh says, give full vent to your emotions, your rage, your anger; the Spirit says be not a fool, to be angry and sin not. My flesh says, do what is easy, what feels right; the Spirit says find the narrow road and follow Me.

And every day, by the decisions I make, I am reinforcing to myself what are the most important things to remember. When I neglect spending time in God's word and renewing my mind, I am reaffirming the law of my flesh, pursuing whatever my flesh wants to do, clinging to the darkness and running from the light. But when I renew my mind with the truth, the word of God, I am being made new, I am gaining a foothold on the truth, giving me eyes that truly see, and obtaining a perspective that sees things with more clarity, closer to how they actually are.
When I remember how greatly that I have been forgiven, I am able to forgive others. When I remember how desperately wicked my heart is, I remember how greatly that I am in need of a Savior. When I remember that God's kindness has lead me to repentance, I become kind and patient with my children. When I remember that God is causing all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to his purposes, I can have peace and contentment in any struggle, in any situation. When I remember that God is good, that He is sovereign, and that he loves me, I can trust in Him and be without fear, no matter what comes. When I remember that in this world I will have trouble, I can take heart as I remember that He has overcome the world. 

I need to remember because these gems of truth, of life, of hope are more valuable than any treasure found on this earth. But I don't just want to gather these stones, these precious gems of remembrance. I want to stack stones. I want to build monuments for myself and others to see, so that when I see them, I remember what God has done. I want to build so many monuments and memorials of the faithfulness of God that it would be impossible for me to forget all that He has done, and all that He has revealed to me. 

And the list goes on, and it will go on, because these are the kinds of things that draw me back to Christ, that draw me back to the greatest monument of all time; the cross. For on it, I can shed every accusation, every guilt, every regretful memory, every burden of condemnation, placing them all on the cross, for good, and remembering that there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death, remembering that my sin, past, present, and future, was once and for all dealt with on the cross. And what joy that I now have, that I am the workmanship of Jesus Christ, having been made ready and equipped for such wonderful service to the One who gave it all, so that I could have life in my All in All, the Lord Jesus.

The struggles will come. How will I fare? Will my faith wilt? Will my will flee? That will all depend on how well I train when the battle far off, when peace is at my door. I pray that the Spirit would increase the strength of my memory, of my conviction, of my faith, of my will to follow Him. I pray that you would have the same clarity that I seek, so that at all times, in all places, in every way, I might have a proper perspective, so that I can respond to life in a way that is pleasing to the One I serve.

My hope is that in however many days I have left here in this world to do what God has created me to do, I might capture some of those things and store them here, so that my friends, my family, my children, and all who would listen. My desire is that my collection of thoughts might be of use to others, as I hope it will profit me, so that they could have the renewed mind and proper perspective on all of life that I aspire to possess. I haven't got it all figured out; my theology isn't perfect. But my hope is that at least i am advancing it, that I am moving it closer to reality, that I am understanding things closer to how they actually are.

I'll be posting those things that I want to remember here at