I’ve been highly distracted for the past two weeks. Our daughters and granddaughters have been visiting, and I’ve been playing games, taking photos, cooking meals, and hugging—lots of hugging. What I haven’t been doing is writing blog posts. In fact, I totally missed last Friday, in spite of my best intentions. Instead of writing, taking time away from family that we don’t get to see nearly as often as we’d like, I thought I would cheat a bit.
The following is one of the very first posts I ever wrote for this blog. Yes, it’s listed in the archives, but if you’re like me, you rarely—if ever—hunt back through the old posts for something to read. I think my point is just as important today as it was when I wrote it almost ten years ago. I hope you agree.
Two weeks ago I asked, “With all the promises of suffering God gives us, why would anyone in their right mind become a Christian?” We don’t follow Jesus to receive lots of money, or lots of “stuff”—houses, cars, clothes, etc. We don’t follow Jesus to make life go smoothly. So why do we make Him our Lord? Today I hope to answer that question, at least in part.
In truth, the benefits are tremendous—they’re just not always tangible. Instead of receiving material goods, we receive a Person. And not any person, but the God of the universe, the God who created us, the God who is perfect in every way.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Pete and I celebrated our anniversary last month. (Well, technically, we haven’t celebrated yet—he was out of town at the time, and now I’m somewhat incapacitated with an injured back. But we will be celebrating soon. I’m sure we will.)
In addition to the typical romantic dinner out, etc., we have a number of more unusual traditions that we enjoy when our anniversary comes around each year. We had a long distance relationship for our first year dating. This was before such conveniences as email, cell phones with free roaming, and the discovery of electricity. So we wrote letters and put them in envelopes and actually mailed them to one another. We still have those letters, and they’re fun to read and reminisce about how clueless we were back in the day.
We’ve all been asked to pray for various things. Please pray for my sister, she’s going through a hard time. Please pray for me, I have an important decision to make. Please pray, my husband lost his job. And when someone asks us to pray, we feel compelled to say yes. After all, the Bible is full of examples—both exhortations to pray for each other and examples of those prayers. Prayer is an excellent way we can demonstrate our love for people, fulfilling God’s commandment to love one another as ourselves. Jesus clearly tells us to share our prayer requests:
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:19-20)
Today is Good Friday. If there was ever a time I want to spend with God, it would be today. This is the day when I want to post something deep and truly significant. Something that brings us into the presence of the Father. Something that points to Jesus, His sacrifice, His love.
Why then is that so hard?
- “Biblical Health Principles”
- “Five Biblical Principles to Deal With Stress”
- “Survive Today’s Economic Challenges: In Recession-Proof Living, Bill Wiese shares these biblical principles along with true stories of his experiences to demonstrate how anyone can achieve success by living according to God’s economic system. He shows you how to live a life that guarantees success—God’s way. Even if every effort and method you’ve tried has failed, living by God’s standard won’t.”
We’ve all seen these sorts of ads. Christian websites, magazines, and church bulletins are full of offers to apply God’s principles to whatever ails us. And this is a good idea, right? Secular advice is only as good as the person offering it, but advice based on God’s principles—how can we lose?
For the second time in as many months, someone near and dear to me has announced that they’re going through a crisis of faith. One person is still struggling, questioning God’s very existence, while the other has concluded that God does not exist.
In both cases, I knew they were investigating various philosophical viewpoints, but they presented themselves as solid believers. There was no hint of the struggle happening on the inside, until each one in turn chose to disclose it.
These pronouncements have left friends and families reeling. Both spouses were blindsided. They thought the faith they shared was the firm foundation of their respective marriages. Now, the most important part of their lives has become a divisive issue.
My husband isn’t perfect.
That may come as a shock to those of you who know him. After all, he’s pretty darn close. But, it turns out, he’s human just like the rest of us.
Of course, I would have told you on our wedding day that he wasn’t perfect. I knew that—at least theoretically. But then we got married and moved in together, and lo and behold—would you believe my sweetie leaves black (or navy) sock lint on the bedroom carpeting (see evidence at right)? Shocking!!
At first, I just picked up the lint. No big deal, right? But as the months went by, it began to get on my nerves. Why should I have to pick up his lint? After all, we were both working full time. We had split the chores—why should this one be mine? A small seed of resentment was planted.
The holidays are coming, and with them, the relatives.
For most of the year, we get to choose the people we hang out with. My close friends are my friends for a reason. I admire them, enjoy their company, trust them with my struggles and celebrate their successes. Usually, they meet a need in my own life—I have birding friends, gardening friends, “deep topics” friends and friends who provide an unending source of encouragement.
Relatives, on the other hand, just… are.
Sure, we pick our spouses. Parents, siblings, and extended family, on the other hand, we are stuck with. They just sort of come with the territory. We may enjoy some of these relations, but every family has at least one weird aunt, uncle, parent, whatever.