Oh, How I Wish It Were True!

Victory through the pain, not around it.
I was talking with someone who believed they should never have to live in or with pain, which they had for years. Oh, how I wished that were true! Then they asked me, “Why did God cause evil and pain in the world?”
“God didn’t cause evil and pain.”
“What do you mean, God didn’t? If God created everything, then He created evil because I’m experiencing the pain of it right now!”
“I understand,” I replied. “But God didn’t create evil, Adam and Eve brought it into the human experience. They would have never experienced death and all its painful causes, if only they had chosen to live God’s way. Once they chose to live their own way, however, they chose to pass this pain and death onto us.”
Shaking their head, this person said, “That seems so unfair that what someone else did so long ago is still affecting me today.”
“True, it is unfair, really unfair. The reality we live in, however, is that we must live with other people’s choices regardless of whether we believe it’s fair or not. Yet, there is another reality…Jesus. He came to show God’s tremendous love for us, a love that gives us the ability to live both with and/or through that pain, even if caused by other’s or by our choices.”
All the while a friend of mine, who lives in constant pain, was listening. He was able to back up this truth with firsthand experience. Oh, what a sweet Jesus story that was!
Don’t believe the lies that if you experience pain that you somehow deserve it or that you’ll live pain free by living a godly lifestyle. Nope, we all face pain. And it’s our choice as to how we’ll handle it, not whether it comes or not.
Jesus lived victoriously with and through pain caused by others, including ours! Let Jesus help you make good choices despite the pain – physical or otherwise. And when He does, you will be ready for His return.

Today is the Time for Thankfulness

Your Focus Affects Your Thanks
In the US, we’re in a special time of the year where we slow down, eat way too much, and express thankfulness for all the freedoms we enjoy.
As believers, we’re told to give thanks throughout our day (1 Thess. 5:18). As we do, a smile comes on our face, peace pours out our hearts and our step is just a little lighter. And, when we’re thankful, we also put a smile on God’s face because we’re doing what He asked us to do, which is an expression of love for Him.
Being thankful is not a suggestion either! It’s a command. Our God knows that focusing on being thankful throughout our day is extremely good for us. Think about it. What happens to your list of things you’re thankful for when you start thinking about tomorrow while it’s still today? It goes out the window along with your smile and peace!
Today is the time to be thankful. Show your God you love Him through being thankful. It brings a smile to both of your faces. When you do, you’ll be found smiling upon Jesus’ return as well.

Connection with Your Creator

Bonding not Begging
The meaning behind the Hebrew word for prayer (tfilia) is about bonding with the one you’re talking with. As one author put it, “In Jewish Hassidic traditions, tfilia is understood to be an introspection that results in bonding between the creature and the Creator, as a child would bond with their father.”
When asked to teach them how to pray, Jesus taught His followers to start their conversations with God with Our Father. In other words, talking with God is not simply a request-making session, but a time of great relationship building.
Jesus is called our friend, one who loves to spend time talking about life and all that goes with it with His friends. The Spirit is a great listener (aka comforter) with whom we can get things off our chest, which makes us feel better and closer to Him. And the Father, well, He cares more about us than we do ourselves.
Let me encourage you to stop having prayer times! And start having conversations throughout your day where you’re sharing life, bonding rather than begging, with the God you say you love. Talk about how you’re feeling, about what you are thinking and above all, BE REAL.
As you do, you’ll be ready for Jesus’ return.

Meant for More than Existence

Existence is not the same as livin’.
Farmers know something that many Jesus believers don’t. Soil without seeds is just dirt. I know it sounds like a “duh” statement, but think about it. Isn’t farming all about growing something?
And yet, without planting something, which takes both time and effort, nothing gets grown. Dirt might be filling if eaten, but not very nutritious.
Believers exist, but whether they’ll experience real living or not depends on the seeds planted in the soil of their hearts and minds. Planting seeds from Scripture takes both time and effort, but without it, all you’ve got is dirty existence.
What excuses and lies are keeping you existing, but not living? Be ready for Jesus’ return by making the time to plant life experiencing truths into your life.

True Validation

Jesus sees all of you – inside and out.
After turning water into wine, Jesus went to Jerusalem where He performed more miracles. At this point, John 2:23 says many people believed in Him.
Shouldn’t He be ecstatic? Nope, as seen in the very next phrase. Jesus didn’t entrust himself to them. He knew they could turn on Him just as easily as they had believed in Him. In fact, in just a few short years, many of these same people would call for Him to be hung on a tree.
Jesus was secure in who He was as seen in His “I am” statements. He didn’t need others to validate Him. Numbers didn’t impress Jesus either. What did was loving His Father through His daily choices. It was His Father who He said, “This is My Son. And I’m very proud of Him!”
We don’t need others or numbers to validate us! Jesus sees deep into our souls and still says, “I love you. Come walk with Me, right now.” This should result in less “beat me up” time and more loving Jesus. Less down time and more walking with Jesus. Today is the day and now is the time to love Jesus through your next choice. As you do, you’ll be ready for His return.