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How me, Lord?

We have a natural tendency toward self-pity.  Why me, Lord? Why do I have to go through this?  Often time, it’s borne of envy; more a ‘Why not me, Lord?’.  The struggle for the Christian is reconciling the self-interest with knowledge that we are sinners, God has blessed us more than we deserve by giving us anything more than death for our sin, and yet seeing so many that are blessed in spite of their sin.  Even reconciling these, there is a further complication of struggle and suffering: it might be part of the plan.  Sure, Jesus works miracles.  He is able.  So we ask ourselves, if He is able, why is He not willing?  He has healed others, so why not me?  Then reality sets in:  He allows suffering, even (especially?) to those whom he loves.  Many of the apostles and early believers were martyred in gruesome ways. Why?

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. ~ Hebrews 11:35b – 37 NLT

Why? Intellectually we may grasp that suffering reveals and glorifies God.  That is cold comfort.

I must confess that I ask “Why Me Lord? Why us?” a lot.  I’m coming to the realization that (a) I may not want to know the answer, and (b) even if I did know the answer, it might not be comforting.  The better question, then, is: How me, Lord?

Forget why. How do you expect me to handle this? How am I going to make it through? How am I supposed to make it through today? This month? This year? I try to find comfort in His word on this subject, but I just tend to find more suffering among seemingly indiscriminate (to my mortal mind) miracles and healing.  I keep coming back to Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. He’s telling them to stop boasting and whining (2 sides of a self-centered coin):

I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.
Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. …When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me. I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, 32-33 NLT
Even in the midst of all of this suffering while serving God, Paul was still in danger of becoming proud of his sacrifices, proud of his sufferings…
So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT
I confess that would rather, for my own selfish reasons, that God shine through miracles of deliverance and healing and prosperity in my life; for His own reasons, he seems to want to shine through miracles of endurance and faith.  How shall I endure? Only through His strength.
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May the Fourth Be With You

It’s awesome how the truth of God reveals itself in the timeless stories of our culture. Intentionally in Narnia and Middle Earth by Christian authors, to be sure, but also unintentionally in the stories of Harry Potter and even long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…

chappelltemple

It’s been thirty-seven years since it first came out but I remember it as though it were yesterday.  For the moment the movie began, like a tractor beam pulling in the Millenium Falcon, I was drawn into the imagery, the ideas, the heroes and villains, the soaring music, even the cheesy title slides of George Lucas’ space-opera trilogy, Star Wars.  What’s more, so was almost everybody else I knew.  Because something within that story hit a nerve for a lot of people and it still does.  Indeed, not only was the film franchise able to span decades, but there’s a new set of Star Wars movies being produced right now for release next year, and I have no doubt but that they will set box office records as well, adding to the haul of some 4.3 billion dollars made so far and counting.

Now I mention all of…

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I don’t respect the president or his office, and neither should you

Amen. If you don’t follow this blog, you need to.

The Matt Walsh Blog

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Of all the flaccid refrains constantly shrieked by the hordes of Statist sycophants, the worst is probably this:

“Even if you don’t respect Obama, you should still respect the office!”

Respect ‘the office,’ they say.

Definition of respect: to hold in esteem or honor.

Synonyms for respect: deference, awe, reverence.

As you might imagine, I was recently reacquainted with the rather sickening idea that I have a duty to show reverence for a political office, when I wrote a post last week where I merely called the president a liar. Indeed, anytime you criticize the president with an intent more serious than playfully teasing him for picking the wrong team in his March Madness bracket — anytime you attack authority, particularly presidential authority, particularly THIS president’s authority — the ‘respect the office’ propagators will come streaming in, fingers-a-wagging and heads-a-shaking.

‘Respect the office,’ they gush. Noticeably, the folks most concerned with respecting Obama’s office weren’t to…

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Marriage Isn’t For You

I’ve posted in similar fashion about the way we husbands are called to love our wives the way Christ loved the church. Here’s a great way to put it by Seth Adam Smith.

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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An email from a proud deadbeat dad

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absent-Fathers

“Matt, I like some of the things you’ve written but your constant woman worship is nauseating. Again I hear you talk about how men should “protect and serve” their wives. F*ck that. You are everything that’s wrong with men in this country. I’ve had two women try to trap me with a baby. I told them to get an abortion (I offered to PAY for it) and they didn’t. That’s their choice. Am I going to ruin my whole life by letting them hold be hostage and forcing me to “serve” them? F*ck that. Those kids aren’t my business. I’m contributing to society in other ways. Monogamy might work for you because you’re a whipped assh*le but it doesn’t work for those of us who are actually trying to be happy in life. I like women so why would I resign myself to just one? No I’m not kidding or…

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His Math

We have been through some really tight times financially over the last few years.  During that time, we went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and have been trying to implement the lessons we learned there.  As hard as it has been, and as much as we tend to worry about the end of the month, there have been numerous occasions of God’s provision for our family.  That is, looking toward the end of a month and running the numbers, we have thought, “there’s no way this going to work,” only to have something happen inexplicably, unpredictably, or even unbelievably to make it work out.  I’ve taken to calling these miracles His Math. Continue reading

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Trash Your Resume, Rely on Your References

In life, it’s easy to get caught up in our accomplishments — academic and otherwise — and the belief that they accumulate to entitle us to something in life.  Perhaps this belief comes from an earlier generation in which a college degree was sufficient to start a career.  Study hard, get that sheepskin, get a job, have a happy life.  I know that’s the recipe for success that was instilled in me from an early age.  Unfortunately, my generation has learned that it is not so simple or formulaic.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul makes a profound point.

We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. …I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  ~ Philippians 3:3-7, 14

What I take from this revelation is this:  Forget your resume.  The things you do on your own are worthless.  Instead build your relationship with Christ like an apprentice to a master.  When it comes time for a reference, when a job needs to be done, when a position needs to be filled in His kingdom, you will be in the running because he knows you and your work.  Also keep in mind that if you seem to be passed over for the jobs you want, he may be saving a special task for you, or you may even be doing it already.

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