Category Archives: Religion
Maybe not so much during the teenage years, but, as time goes on, life makes more sense. With each passing year, life’s lessons become more apparent. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges ahead, but experience usually gives birth to wisdom, or at least it should.
It’s human nature to second guess ourselves. That’s how different we are from God. Ever wonder if God sits around going, “Gee, I wish I’d done that differently.” I do, but that’s a whole ‘nother post. The point is, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. That’s where faith comes in. The Bible defines the importance of faith in Proverbs:
Proverbs 3:1-9 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your pathsstraight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
There’s so much packed into that short passage that it boggles the mind.
“Keep my commandments…for they will prolong your life..and bring you prosperity”
God’s commandments are not for God – they’re for us. Like a parent speaking to a child, he’s giving us guidelines that steer us away from destruction.
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you…write them on..your heart”
Tragedy ensues when faith is lost. Faith tells us to keep going when logic tells us to quit.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”
The worst mistakes I’ve ever made is when I didn’t seek God’s council first.
“In all ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight”
Straightening out the path is in the doing, not the thinking. Acknowledge the Lord, praise him, and he will keep your path straight.
“This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones”
Faith holds both body and spirit together. Think not? Visit someone who has lost faith. It’s not just the soul that withers. The body soon follows.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth”
Isn’t it strange how the stock-market, a lottery ticket, or some get-rich-quick scheme seems a better place to put money than with God? I’m not talking about televangelists who fly around in jets. I’m talking about tithing to your local home Church. Doing God’s work requires funding. God only asks for 10%. Tithing requires faith that God will work in the lives of the congregation, the Church, and those who benefit from the money. With faith, taking a chance on God is a sure thing.
Faith goes against common sense, until you get older. Then, it makes more sense than anything else. Faith keeps us alive. Truly alive.
Here’s to cultivating faith today.
Being the overly emotional creature that I am, it may come as a surprise to you that I once thought emotions were silly. I thought that only weak people experienced emotion. I was a stuffer and a compartmentalizer. Like a serial killer, I silenced my emotions, stuffed them into a small space, and then tucked them away in an unseen container to rot.
Oddly enough, I knew God. Or, at least, I thought I did.
I, like so many others, had been hurt. It wasn’t just one person or one event. That would have been fairly easy to deal with. I had been hurt by so many and so much that I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I didn’t think justice existed. I was certain that people who hurt others never truly paid for it. I thought the Golden-Rule was a fantasy and karma a foreign concept.
Hurting people – hurt people. And, more than anyone else, they hurt themselves.
I was so used to being hurt that I surrounded myself with people who hurt me. I told myself I needed to man-up and handle it. I told myself I needed to be stronger to compensate for those who hurt me, and for the hurt I unknowingly caused myself, but could not name.
Strangely, this worked for me. I kept my hurts quiet and close, and they reminded me to be angry. Not outwardly, but secretly. A fire burned within me that I still cannot explain. The closest I can come to describing it is to compare it to adrenaline. Adrenaline shoots through your system without destroying you, it sometimes burns – but in a good way, it numbs you to pain, and it gives you more energy to keep going.
I was an ‘A’ student. I got an education. I became successful in business. I was raising a family. But, my anger was growing. I wasn’t aware of it. It felt normal to me. I made excuses for the people who were hurting me. But, the adrenaline of anger eventually takes its toll.
It wasn’t until life happened to me, events nearly killed me, and my heart was truly broken did I see what an idiot I was. It was then that I truly knew God. Why? Because I recognized my hurts, named each one, and then I let them all go.
Watch this video. If you don’t feel something then there’s a good chance you are holding on to some kind of hurt that has numbed you to the outside world.
Oh, and by the way, there is justice in the world. It’s called the Golden Rule and is also known as karma. They are one in the same. We may not always be around to witness it, but it exists. Those who sow seeds of destruction reap destruction. It is both a message and a warning. It is not an immediate reaction, but a slow reaction that takes time, care, and feeding. Eventually, everyone gets a harvest. And, what’s done in the dark will be brought to the light…
- Money: “How much money do you have? Great, now tell me how you got all that money, so I can get some too.”
- Politics: “So, did you vote for a Republican or a Democrat?”
- Religion: “I’m a Christian. Would you like to go to Church with me?”
What’s funny about the last conversation isn’t just that you can’t have it gracefully, but that it bothers us to have this conversation at all.
When I was a kid (not that long ago by the way) it was considered an honor to be asked by someone to visit their church. Somewhere along the line, that changed. I don’t know why, but it seemed to happen about the same time atheism grew in the media and Christianity became ‘uncool’ on TV. All of the sudden, it was gone like Disco.
No matter the reason, we as Christians need to stop being ashamed of our religion. Yes, admit it, we are ashamed of our religion if we can’t talk about it openly with others.
Why not walk up to your co-worker and say, “Hey, do you want to go to church with me this weekend?”
We don’t seem to have a problem with walking up to someone and saying, “Hey, do you want to check out that new restaurant with me this weekend?” Some of us, and you know who you are, feel more comfortable saying, “Hey, how about hitting that new bar with me this weekend?” than asking someone to go to church with you.
I think it comes down to this: We have to break the ice. How do we do that? By making it ok to ask. And, we do that by making it a common practice. It’s going to be awkward the first time. You’ll feel like a giraffe on skates, but do it anyway. After that, it will get easier. Who knows, maybe that’s the best thing you could do for the person you’re talking to.
What are they going to do? Punch you in the face? If so, you can say you ‘took one on the chin’ for God. In my experience, more hugging than punching occurs. They may not say ‘yes’ right away, but you’ve at least planted the seed. You gave out an invitation for God.
Here’s to asking someone to go to Church with you this weekend – and making it a common thing.
When’s the last time you asked someone to Church? Why?