Category Archives: Faith

Treasure

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”  Luke 12:34 (ESV)

I find that my understanding of this verse has evolved over the years.  I used to believe that well, my treasure is in heaven so my heart (focus, desires, etc.) should be in heaven too.  There was sort of this guilt that I wasn’t so heaven-minded and for my desire for “earthly treasures”.

Quick, think of the things that matter the most to you.  

Done yet?  Let me guess… your spouse or significant other, your kids, your friends… Now, take a look at your calender and your bank account.  On what do you spend your time and your money?  

treasure

 Now, do the two lists match up?  Where your treasure is (your money and your time) reflects where your heart really is.  

I think most of us WANT to treasure all of those good things, but reality speaks differently.  Would those people in your life be able to say they are treasured?  Just something to think about. 🙂

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Persecution & Perspective

I’ve always been drawn to stories of persecuted Christians.  When I was younger I devoured the stories of men like John Wycliffe and William Tyndale.  In more recent years, I’ve been so interested in Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

From my insulated, American lifestyle, persecution is unthinkable.  We get caught up in “Merry Christmas” wars while a Christian woman is being raped with a cattle prod in China.  We get worried about our kids learning about Islam i school while a Christian couple is sentenced to death in Pakistan.

The unfathomable, backwards mentality persecution of followers of Christ is current.  Its NOW, not in the 1600’s.

I highly suggest EVERY Western Christian educate yourself on the cause of martyrs.  Personally, I’m still praying about what God would have my family and myself to do help.  The first thing is praying for the persecuted themselves and the persecutors.  Here are some great resources to get yourself knowledgeable about persecution; past and present:

TFC Book
Click on the picture for a free copy from Voice of the Martyrs 


B
ob Fu and his wife escaped China when they found they were expecting their first child.  It is illegal to get pregnant without permission (even with your first).

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – John Foxe (free, online reprinting)


I
 first read this as a teenager.  I think its a great introduction for students and teens.

 

 

Be {N}ice

How often, as kids, were we told, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”?  Now, as a grown-up how many of us need to relearn this sage advice?  It never ceases to surprise me how cruel one spouse can be to another.  And no,  I’m not implying one spouse over another.  Both men and women are equally at fault.

Seriously, we wouldn’t talk to a stranger the way we talk to our husbands or wives!  How hard could it possibly be to say, “Please” or “Thank you”?  Or even refrain from name-calling or gossiping.

I am of the opinion (which isn’t expert by any means) that a whole heck of a lot of marriage problems could be solved if we were just nicer.  Then there’s the, “But, but, you don’t know MY spouse!”

Nope, I sure don’t.

But, I do know that the Bible doesn’t typically have qualifiers like, “be nice only if you’re in a good mood, or your spouse is pleasant all the time, or whatever.”  In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never seen such qualifiers.

I’m not trying to brag, but I have a pretty good marriage.  And a good marriage requires some hard work.  It requires giving up things that you really, really want.  Sometimes it means holding your tongue.  “But, I’m just telling the truth in love!”, some might protest.  There are moments and times to confront your spouse.  Making fun of their weight, baldness, parenting skills, paycheck (or lack thereof) being demanding and crass, gossiping, and overall just not very pleasant  makes for a miserable marriage.

Maybe your marriage or any other relationships need healing.  Kind words go quite a long way in healing.   Do not wait until you feel like it.   Don’t wait until the other person is nice first.  Don’t wait until… whenever you can think.  Just start.  Now!

Here are my absolute favorite marriage resources and have helped My Husband and myself:


 

Hope Deferred

This has been a hard week.  I’m writing this, oh, about 2 weeks before it will post.  I imagine when I read this in a few weeks time, I’ll shake my head and roll my eyes a bit.  It’s been one part hormones, one part exhaustion from baby not sleeping, one part My Husband working tons of overtime (I think last count was 60 hours and I said NO to Sunday).

It’s a Sunday today as I type this.  My living room is finally cleaned up thanks to my kids and Husband.  The kitchen is still a bit of a mess (read:its a complete nuclear disaster) .

hope

Hope… Lately, God has challenged my prayers.  My prayers normally read like this, “God, if you could just maybe please help.” or “God, just watch over My Husband as he drives home.” or “Thanks for this dinner.”  After reading my Bible for one and some various devotionals and biographies, God was saying to me – pray bigger and with faith and drop the qualifiers (“well, God, I know this is silly and doesn’t matter, but could you maybe please just help?”)

The problems is now I have to ask God for what it is I really want.  There are certain things I’ve said, “I’m content without this.”  I really sensed that those are the exact prayers God wants me to utter.  The problem is that they’re painful.  Because I don’t have the answers yet.

So there we come full circle to how difficult this week has been.  We have family around us.  However, everyone is quite busy with their own young children or work or whatever. There are those moments when I just need help.  I need to call someone and say, “please come get the kids I have a horrible migraine.”  or “please, come to dinner – I haven’t eaten a meal with a grown-up for the last week”.  And that was the moment I was on my knees, crying, asking God to bring help after another sleepless night and another headache and another argument.  My prayer wasn’t preceded by qualifiers and disclaimers and I allowed myself to hope.

I don’t know, maybe God answered another way or maybe He has yet to send an answer.  Maybe its that I’m stronger for going through this week (although I sure as heck don’t feel like it).  Maybe I’m just supposed to keep praying and keep hoping.

 

Grace

I can’t remember where I read it exactly, but I know it was a book written by a Rabbi.  He essentially said that the reason the Christian Church isn’t really an influence in America is because we don’t have the strict religious rules across the board.  Essentially, we should all be adhering to the Law because that is where power lies.  Its been quite a while when I read this so I may not be doing it justice.  However, I happened to read this when i was dabbling in the idea of spiritual discipline.  I really started to question the way I lived my faith.

I suppose having something concrete, something predictable is a relief. I can trust in the system.  If I do A then B happens.  I prayed long and hard about this in my life.  Just how much am I supposed to do vs. how much I trust God to do?

One day it finally all clicked for me.  I was reading something in the New Testament and I realized that grace must come first.  Absolutely nothing we do can  guarantee  salvation.  In fact, I think that anything we try to do hinders us.  We simply have to trust in the grace of God to rescue us from our own sin.

However, there is an expectation that who we are changes.  Now, we have only two commandments – to love God and to love others.  When I experience grace I don’t have to live this strict adherence to the 10 commandments.  But, because of grace I don’t want to steal or lie or whatever.  Will I be perfect? No!

If we want to change the world, we don’t need rules, we need grace.

Grace