Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gifts left unwrapped

I wonder how often as Christians we receive answers to prayers and requests, and then we end up not accepting God's special assistance and intervention.

We ask.

God offers help.

We pass.

Wisdom not accepted, divine guidance not acted on, warnings not heeded, opportunities not taken.

I have both seen personally and heard others tell me of times they have prayed for someone else, either for spiritual awakening or financial and relationship help, and then we see those prayers answered in some way. A renewed interest in spiritual things, a second chance at a relationship, or an opportunity providing a way out of the financial trouble they are in.

But before long, the interest wanes, the chances are squandered, and opportunities get missed.

What happened?

And just as importantly: Is this happening in my own life as well? Am I getting answers to prayer and then not recognizing or ignoring the advice, squandering my temporary financial relief by relaxing a little rather than using it to improve my situation?

And for those times that we pray for others, and then see the answers come to them, is there anything we can do to keep God's gifts from amounting to nothing?

Have others seen this same effect or am I imagining things?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thought you might like this too.

From Morris Venden's "Life's Little Instuction Manual"

1. Above all else, love God alone.
2. Bow down to neither wood nor stone.
3. God’s name, refuse to take in vain.
4. The Sabbath rest with care maintain.
5. Respect your parents all your days.
6. Hold sacred human life always.
7. Be loyal to your chosen mate.
8. Steal nothing, either small or great.
9. Speak truly of your neighbor’s deed.
10 Rid your mind of selfish greed.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Everybody does it

"Everybody does it" can sometimes lull us into complacency about the higher calling we are called to. God expects us to be different, in places calling us his "strange and peculiar people" and "the salt of the earth"

Some areas we might be lax:

* Fudging or cheating on our tax reporting
* Our language
* Speeding
* pre-marital sexual relations
* watching inappropriate material
* downloading pirated songs or movies
* keeping the change if a clerk makes a mistake

Why do these "Little things" matter? They matter because if we are no different from others in the world, then we don't represent the change that Christ brings about. Often Christianity is discarded as an option when those who might otherwise be seeking have been exposed to Christians who showed them there is no difference. As Christians we are representatives of Christ, and when we are shown to be dishonest, poor at repayment of debts, given to adultery, using "that's business" as an excuse to be hard-nosed or greedy, then we don't represent Christ at all, and we convince others that Chistians have nothing special, or worse, that we use our Christianity as license to do as we please.

So next time you think "Everybody else does it" just remember, we're not everybody else. We're called to be different.

Selling your birthright for a bowl of porridge

In these tough economic times, some people are being forced to sell possessions on craigslist or kijiji etc. for less than they paid for the items initially. Furniture, computers, electronics, the "extra" vehicle, all are being considered as a way to make it through the month, making the rent and credit card payments.

But what went into those credit cards? Fast food, coffee drinks, a night at the movies, snacks and impulse stuff. In the end we may have to sell something valuable and more important to pay for our poor impulsive decisions to buy a "bowl of porridge" (Juice instead of water, snacks at high prices at the gas station, movies instead of waiting for the DVD or better yet, reading a book or enjoying family time)

I don't mean to cheapen the traditional moral of that story, which is that we should be careful not to trade away things eternal for the frivolous "now", but the real-life economic metaphor can perhaps serve as a reinforcement of that same principle.