Sunday, October 31, 2010


  I like to write about sad things sometimes. One of the reasons I started a blog was to write about my struggles in walking with God. Sad kind of comes with that territory. But I was lying awake last night and one of my favorite words came to mind, and that's what I want to write about today. One of the best words I know is...


  Anyway. As in, God loves you anyway. In the midst of every struggle, God loves you anyway.

  Think of this. Most of us have lied. (I have.)

  God loves you anyway.

  Most of us have hurt someone with something we've said or done. (I have.)

  God loves you anyway.

  Most of us have hated someone, which Jesus equates with murder. (I have... are I think that goes without saying from now on!) God loves you anyway.

  Most of us have lusted, which Jesus equates with adultery. God loves you anyway. Most of us have a hard time forgiving, which we're commanded to do. God loves you anyway. Most of us have failed to read the Bible when we should, failed to pray constantly like we should, outright ignored God, outright ignored our neighbors in need, not given enough, been selfish, stolen, cheated, slandered, hurt...

  And God loves you anyway.

  Now, is the "anyway" on the end of that sentence license to go on doing all these things? Of course not! Let's strive to be better, and not hurt our neighbors or our God more than we already have. But for every moment we fall short... God loves us anyway.

  Loves you. Loves me. Loves all of us.

  And that's a beautiful thing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Why is it that there is so much conflict in trying to live the Christian life?

I'm not a super-Christian. I don't have a loving heart like I should, I don't pray like I should or read the Bible like I should. And maybe talking to God more would answer my questions, but I feel like I have to ask...

My conflict right now is about love. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, to love all of those around us. I like that... I agree with that. I may not live up to that, but it is the second most important commandment (behind loving God with all your heart), and it's one that we, as a church, forsake too much.

But what about when love comes at a price? Well, the easy answer, the answer I think is right, the answer I'd probably give, is to err on the side of love. To love too much. To give until you've got nothing left to give, and then keep giving love. But what about when you feel like you just can't?

My issue revolves around time. I feel seriously pressed for it. If I was better organized and better motivated, this probably wouldn't even be a concern. But balancing all of the things I have to do is hard for me. So what do I do when people around me need love, and I need to get my job done? What do I do when I feel like I can either fail at my work and give people the time they need, or get my job done and people around me don't have somebody to lean on?

Not to elevate my role in the lives of those around me past any reason. I know the world doesn't turn on me. But I've had times recently when it seemed like people needed someone there, and I've had work to get done. And what if... what if I'm a high school teacher? What if my job is, in some ways, a labor of love and service? What if my choice is... do my best job for my kids? Or give people the time they need? Do I really have to decide? Do I trust God to give to those people, and trust that the job will get done? (I'll just sleep a little less... He will carry me through...)

What do you do when love brings conflict? What is the greatest conflict in your walk with God? And... can we maybe all pray over what we struggle with just a little bit more today?

Saturday, October 16, 2010


In the Bible, the analogy is often used of God being our Father. I think there is more than analogy to this description, but what a great analogy it is! As children, we don't always like or understand what our parents are doing, but it is often for the best, and we come to understand only later what they were up to! Same thing with us and God. While I love this comparison, it means more to some people than others. Every analogy does. The following analogy is another one that makes sense to me... what do you think?

We live in an age where, for many, pets are part of the family. I can't imagine my house without a cat or a dog around somewhere, and I really do miss them when they or I are not around. Do you think, in situations where pets are part of the family, there is some analogy between the Owner/pet and God/us relationship?

We take care of our pets. We give them food and drink (not always when or of the quality that they want), but we know what's best for them. God provides for us as well. We do things our pets love (give them attention, talk to them), and things they hate (take them to the bad place... the veterinarian's office!), again, all for their good. Sometimes the blessings God gives us are less than obvious... until later. We see things much "bigger picture" than our pets do. Same thing for God. Not to say that our pets view us like God, but it's interesting to think about the position He has put us in with animals!

My parents have a cat named Thomas. They adopted him from a shelter a few months ago. We think he was abused, and he gets spooked by simple things: if we pick up a newspaper too quickly, or just the sight of a fly swatter. He doesn't always trust us, because he's been hurt by too many things in this world before. Sound familiar, for you or those around you who have been hurt and struggle with believing in or trusting God?

Now the most important part: Have you ever had a pet that comes to you only when it wants to eat? Then that pet pays you some attention, and acts like it's done nothing but love you its whole life! Has your pet ever sulked and avoided you for no good reason? Do you do this to God? Sadly, here's where I have to be really honest: I do. Just like a moody pet, I will get upset or distracted, and not talk to God or read the Bible or anything... until I need something. Then I'm quick to pray! I guess, in the end, I long for faith and love for God like the love some pets have had for me... Will I keep avoiding God until I need something? Or will I crawl in His lap or sit down at His feet, just because He is my Master, and I love Him and trust Him?

Does this analogy ring true for you? How do you see God in the pets He gives us?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Two sides of the world

      I was driving home earlier on a rather long drive, thinking about... well... the world. I found myself wondering, how do people see it? How does God see it? I guess what follows is an attempt to make some sense of it all.

     First of all, I have to admit that I was taken by the fact that there is a lot that is ugly in this world. There is a lot that is saddening. There is a lot of poverty. A lot of hate. Slavery. Child labor. The sex trade, and slavery and child labor form parts of that. Hate and crimes of hate. Wars. Arguments. Broken families. And in the midst of it all, apathy persists. In a world where our human relationships and society are badly broken, a lot of people very simply don't care.

     Now, there is also a lot of good and a lot of beauty in the world. There are acts of extreme love and sacrifice. There are gifts to alleviate the pain of others. There are relationships so dear to people, so beautiful, it's hard to put into words. Friendship, charity, love, and those working for peace are all still very much alive and well. The natural world is full of beauty, too. I saw a photo earlier that a friend took of a rainbow, and it was stunning. And it was a reminder of the fact that God works in the midst of all the wonder and all the tragedy that meets our life.

     How do you see the world around you? Do you see acts of horror and sadness? Do you see hope? Do you see God working? Do you see it as your job to be a part of God working? Do you see it as fundamentally good or evil? Do you see it at all? I know some days my so-called busy life prevents me from thinking about what I'm doing, why I'm doing, and what God is doing, too.

     There's a lot more I could say or ask. I know very little of this world, after all. I do believe that there is a lot of ugliness and a lot of beauty in the world, and in each individual one of us. But I believe that God is a master artist, and I don't doubt that He is using all of those various elements to compose a work beyond all our imaginations. Sometimes you are the paint He is using, one of the dark or light colors on His canvas. And sometimes you are the brush in His hand, moving around those colors. What most needs healing in this broken world? In your relationships with those around you? In you? And what are you doing about it?