January 18 – Scripture of the Day

Script-Day-01-18_0448

 

There is much in our lives that we cannot control. In fact, when we are willing to admit it to ourselves, there is far more we can’t control that we can control.

For many of us, that is difficult to deal with. By nature, we want to be in control of our lives and circumstances.

But that is often not the case.

Well known author and pastor Charles Swindoll is quoted as saying “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”

I think he’s right.

And our scripture today speaks to these types of circumstances in our lives.

Genesis 50:19-21 reads: 19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

At this point in Genesis, Joseph’s father Jacob has died, and Joseph’s brothers are afraid that Joseph will now seek revenge upon them for selling him into slavery.

But Joseph reassures them, and tells them while they intended their actions for harm, God used it for good.

God works in our lives today in these same ways.

How often does something happen to us that at the time seems very difficult? Yet looking back on it, we are able to see how God used it to bless us, or prepare us for a future circumstance.

God is a master at taking the bad things in our lives and using them for good.

Because we live in a fallen world that is rife with sin, bad things happen in our lives. Sometimes these bad things are a result of our poor decisions, but sometimes they happen because of circumstances beyond our control.

It won’t always be that way.

But for now, even in the midst of this broken world, God still uses all circumstances to bring about His will and His glory.

God uses the challenges in our lives to mold us, grow us, mature us, and make us better.

No matter the circumstance, God can and does use our lives for good.

Thanks be to God for that!

.

.

Today’s reading: Genesis 47:28-50:26
Tomorrow’s reading: Job 1:1-4:21

Quote-of-week-01-05

January 13 – Scripture of the Day

Script-Day-01-13_0448

 

Honestly, not much jumped out at me today in the reading. I chose Genesis 36:1 which says: This is the account of the descendants of Esau (also known as Edom).

I chose it because its representative of most of the reading today. Pretty much all the reading was an account, or record of, family history. It was genealogy. Not the most exciting reading.

But what it did bring do, was give me an excellent reminder about family.

After our relationship with God, there is nothing in this world more important than the relationships we have with family.

No, those relationships aren’t always easy.

Sometimes they cause frustration, anger, hurt, grief and anxiety, among other emotions.

But they also should be the most important and fulfilling relationships we have on Earth.

In our family relationships we have the greatest opportunity to learn, love, forgive and sacrifice.

To model Jesus’ love to the world.

And that is a good reminder, even if the reading was a bit boring.

.

.

Today’s reading: Genesis 36:1-43; 1 Chronicles 1:35-2:2
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 37:1-36; 38:1-30; 1 Chronicles 2:3-8; Genesis 39:1-23

The Year of Less

texture-2015-year-of-less_640pixabay

 

For me, 2015 is going to be the year of less.

See above: Those are my goals.

Most of these are really just building on some life changes I made in the last year.

As I have written, over a family holiday in Florida for Thanksgiving 2013, I began to read about minimalism, and simplicity. You can read about that and find links to some of the best minimalism/simplicity information here.

As a result of that reading and learning, in the last year I have significantly reduced the “stuff” I have, donating, selling or trashing A LOT of stuff that was just sitting around.

As a result, I’ve also been much more conscious about what I buy, what I spend time doing, and the reasons behind both.

For me, it’s been eye-opening. I am striving to live much more intentionally, with reason and purpose behind all I do.

So, all of the things I am striving for in 2015 are in that vein. As the graphic above shows, I am trying to slow down, simplify, and live more deliberately.

One of the specific goals I have is to climb Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Without going into great detail, last September I spent several days hiking and climbing in the Adirondacks, and quite frankly, the mountains kicked my backside.  Bad.

The reverse is going to happen this year; the mountains are in for a whuppin’.   Courtesy of yours truly.

One of the things I have done to achieve that goal is change my eating habits. No, I am not dieting. I have changed how and what I eat.

Thanks to help from friends, my cardiologist, and others, I am eating lower glycemic foods, drinking more water (Sodastream!) and eating more green vegetables and proteins. Less sugar, less carbs.

All the changes I have made in the last year have been fantastic. And I am looking forward to an amazing 2015.

What are your goals?

Most Popular Bible Verse 2014

bible-romans122_v2
The Bible app YouVersion has been downloaded an astonishing 164 million times.  It is a great app; I have it on my phone and tablet.

One of the most interesting things I have enjoyed seeing for the last few years, are the most popular verses that have been highlighted, shared or bookmarked.

For 2014, it is the verse in the above graphic:  Romans 12:2.

I thought this was interesting because for a long time it has been one of, if not my favorite, verse.  I think that’s the case because it speaks to what God has done in my life; and a big way he has done it is by changing what I think about, and how.

My first “sermon” I ever delivered was based on Romans 12:2.  And, the first post on this blog was also.

Kinda cool.  At least I think so.

Interestingly, the second most popular verse was Philippians 4:8, which reads, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Also of interest, the third most popular verse on YouVersion is Philippians 4:6, which was the most highlighted verse according on Amazon’s Kindle Bible.

What’s your favorite verse?

.

.

Scripture link:  Romans 12:2
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com
Source link:  Most Popular Bible Verse YouVersion 2014
http://blog.youversion.com/2014/12/our-year-with-the-bible-infographic-2014/

Busy is the New “Fine”

pedestrians-stop-glory-busy-mark-6-31_640pixabay

For as long as I can remember, when someone used to ask how you were doing, the default answer was “fine.”  It didn’t matter if you were actually fine or not, that was the response.

Now, I recognize that the interaction of “How are you?” followed by “Fine” was really more of a generic greeting.  It was’t ever really even a shallow discussion about how one was actually doing.

Nonetheless, today the most common response to “How are you?” seems to be “Busy.”

I’m busy.

I think there are a multitude of reasons as to why this is the case, but one of them is that we feel important if we appear to be “busy” to others.  If we’re busy, we must be in demand doing important things.  We must be important to be busy.

Well, if you as me that’s a bunch of malarky.  BUt there’s likely some truth in there.

Another possible explanation is that we are, in fact, actually overly busy.  And I’m concerned that is too often the case.

I saw recently some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It showed that for the “average” adult with children, we spend nearly 9 hours a day working and less than 8 hours a day sleeping.

After taking care of other responsibilities, like caring for children and the household among others, there is relatively little time left to rest and relax.

Gee, I wonder why we feel worn down and overwhelmed?

We need rest.  We need time to unwind.  We need time to “defrag.”  We need time to sit quietly and think.  We need time to simply recharge.

That’s why we should stop glorifying busy; because it’s not glorious at all.  It’s tiring and stupid.

We’ll all be better for it.

.

.

Scripture link:  Mark 6:31
Bureau of Labor Statistics Information 
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

Morality without God?

Aurora_borealis_space_NASA_higher-power-Gen-1-1

Have you ever noticed that everyone has a sense of how they want to be treated?   We all want to be loved, we all want to be cared for.

We think traits such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness are good.  We have this inborn idea of morality.

But where does morality come from?

I would argue that we cannot have a true morality without a Higher Power.

We cannot have a true morality without God.

Because if morality only comes from ourselves, or from an agreement of what “moral” behavior is, than it has little authority outside ourselves.

For example, let’s say you believe that stealing is wrong. But let’s say I don’t believe that. Perhaps I believe that if I want something, I should simply be able to take it.

That’s not a difference in morality; that’s a difference in opinion. It’s a difference of opinion because we are the same, we are equal. We are human beings. The same as one another.

Your viewpoint is no more valid than mine, and vice versa.  That is, unless there is something that stands above your and my opinion.

That’s why morality pre-supposes a Higher Power. God.

Some of my favorite writing on this topic comes from C.S. Lewis.   Some of this stuff will melt your brain.  Or at least it does mine; perhaps you’re smarter than I am.  =)

Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? And for many years I simply refused to listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling “whatever you say and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?” But then that threw me back into another difficulty.

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too — for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist — in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless — I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality — namely my idea of justice — was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

.

.

Scripture link:  Genesis 1:1
Photo credit:  NASA — The photo above is of the Aurora Borealis above North America, taken from the International Space Station.  Images like this make me think, even at the most basic level, that something created all of this.  A Higher Power.