I must admit that I struggled with this some, recently. How can one rejoice when things just aren’t going very well. What kind of God requires that I pepper him with praise while he seemingly sits back and, yes, supports me, but allows me to go through something I don’t particularly like. These are the two things I have learned – they are both in the Bible somewhere, I am sure, but it is different when you experience them first hand.

  1. God never allows anything in our lives that isn’t going to end up being very good for us. In other words, God loves us more than we can imagine and is always working things for our betterment, which in the end makes us happier (yes, happier, not just joyful) than we were before the thing we didn’t like happened.
  2. God doesn’t ask us to rejoice always for His sake. He asks us to do that for our sake. And not because if we do it we will get more of His blessing, though we might. He asks us to do that because it causes us to be constantly reminding ourselves of His love for us, so that when tough situations come, we are ready for them – we aren’t tricked into thinking that God isn’t for us, or whatever other lie out there Satan tries to use to destroy us. Also, when good situations come, we aren’t tempted to leave God and try life on our own, either, because we know where that good came from.

So rejoice always, in the good and bad times, not because God needs it, but because we need to be continually reminding ourselves of His love and goodness toward us.

The Struggle

Last night I was trying to get an FM radio setup in the kitchen so that we could listen to some Christian tunes in the a.m. while getting ready for school – sort of a “pump you up” session before heading off into the great unknown, known as a huge, public high school.

It shouldn’t have been hard, but at each step – unplugging the radio from the wall across the house, required me to move the bed, to be able to plug the extension cord that the radio had been plugged into back into the wall, so that the other devices relying on power could operate during the night – like my white noise machine to cover up the slightly less white noise of my spouse – seemed to be more involved than necessary. Then trying to plug the radio into the kitchen outlet was a no-go. One of the prongs was bent and the newer kitchen outlets were having none of that.

Thankfully, an outlet just around the corner allowed for power while the radio sat on a counter. Oh, and the cord wasn’t going to act like a trip wire, either. So that was a good thing.

I was getting a little annoyed at how complex this seemingly simple maneuver was becoming. It seemed something was thwarting my every move. I was asking God why he wasn’t making this easier when it was something I was doing for him. I know, these are minor things, but at midnight, they start getting on your nerves.

God just said, pull through and you’ll be glad for the struggle. I must admit it was a difficult finding a good attitude, but with some literal gritting of my teeth, I managed not to mumble too much under my breath, etc.

Once the radio was operational, a wave of accomplishment and knowledge that something bigger than plugging in a radio had occurred. Some battling was going to be happening tomorrow in that kitchen – not between flesh and blood, but between principalities and powers.

The added hassles lent a sense of anticipation that would not have been there had the process been easy.

As always, Father knows best!

Oh, and some battles were won.

Unity vs Cult

Recently, I heard the statement, “I don’t let theology get in the way of unity.”

Here’s just a couple of my thoughts on that.

Jesus did say that he wanted us all to be united:

21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. John 17:21

But he also had this to say:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18-19

Finally, he gave this warning, too:

14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 1 Timothy 6:4

So, be careful about those who would proclaim something that isn’t written in the Bible – that would be someone starting a cult. But don’t quibble over obscure words or difficult to understand passages, either. Instead:

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 1 Timothy 6:4

God bless us all as we struggle to find the truth.


Women’s unLiberation

I have found it very fascinating that the new craze to sweep us ladies up is so anti everything we say we have been working for over the past century or so.  We truly have come a long way, baby. Yes, there are still plenty of places to go – women are not paid 100% equally to men, many women are suffering unspeakable tyranny both here in the United States and throughout the world. But overall, things are moving in a good direction for women here in the  United States.

So why the embracing of tyranny again? Why, after all of the hard work of generations of women liberators are we mesmerized by those gray books and movies? We say we want to be free, to be treated with respect, to be seen as an equal, and yet, we are captivated by this? Why?

I have not read or watched them, so I am just going off of the advertising that I wasn’t able to miss, and I do understand that the protagonist does eventually free herself, for a time, anyway. But why get so sucked up into it in the first place?

The only answer I could come up with is this: all of us were made to worship, to be obsessed by, to be captivated, even enslaved by something or someone. I see it in my own daily life. I am not truly happy unless I have something that requires something of me – my cat, my guinea pig, my husband, my kids, the school, the church, my family, my friends, my books.

Yes, it is nice to have a day or two with nothing to do. But to find real fulfillment, I need someone or something that requires my time and attention.

Why did I get a dog when I was single? Yes, a big reason was because I needed something that would require me to exercise, but I also needed something that would need me. Why did I get married? Why did I have kids? I wanted to belong, I wanted to have some people to serve, to have fun with, too, but, primarily to serve – that is what true love is, after all – giving your life up for another.

I think the following Bible passage sums up well that we are destined to be slaves, it is just our choice to what:

18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to escalating wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.

20For when you were slaves to sin, you were free of obligation to righteousness. 21What fruit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the fruit you reap leads to holiness, and the outcome is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:18-23

Choosing is what makes us human

A friend will be attending a ladies event at a church near a Native American reservation tomorrow. She is the speaker for the event, while the crafts are drying – what a great idea! Anyway, God asked that she speak on the topic of our identity. That got me to thinking

Why do the Native Americans and African Americans have such a hard time with their identity as a part of the United States?  And the answer that came to me is: Choice.

Neither had a choice in their being a part of this country. One group was overrun, the other group was brought here against their will.

The creature comforts we have now far outshine what was available to the Native Americans before white people showed up. And most people in the US are also more comfortable than many Africans. So one might think that, now that slavery is over, and now that Native Americans don’t have to live on reservations, everyone should be thrilled to be a part of the US. Yes, there is still a lot of prejudice against these two people groups. But even if they were treated fairly, I think they would still be hesitant to truly embrace their place as full heirs to what the US has to offer. Again, because they were not given the decency of choice.

My ancestors all had a choice in coming to the United States. Some ended up having very tough lives here. Others really thrived, but all felt like they belonged. Because they chose to belong.

I am not sure what needs to happen to help Native Americans and African Americans overcome the atrocities done to them. That is and will continue to be a complicated, long, slow but very important process for us all to be a part of.

But this issue got me thinking about a theological question that has bugged me in the past, and a question my teen daughter still struggles with: Why does God allow us to choose to do things that aren’t good for us? Specifically, why did God allow Adam and Eve to introduce sin into the world? Why couldn’t we all just be made perfect, unable to make bad choices?

I now understand more fully, it is because He knows that for us to truly want to belong in heaven, for us to truly feel respected, for us to truly cherish being a part of His family, we need to have a choice.

Animals don’t get to choose their destinies. We do.

God loves you and wants you to choose to love Him, too – to step into your full destiny as His child.

“Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20