Within each one of us is a longing to be seen. It is this very longing that makes social media such a powerful medium. Every post offers a glimpse into our daily life. We can share our favorite foods, our cute pets, our cutting complaints, our magical moments. Better still, we get to control how much we reveal, making our lives look "practically perfect in every way"! Yet does anybody---on social media or in our day-to-day---really see us as we are? Do they see our grueling work (or, at times, embarrassing laziness)? Do they see the tears? The frustrations? The joys? The longings?
When our valleys last longer than expected, the people we expect to be with us grow fewer and farther between. Take, for instance, the long road of grief. When we lose someone, there is an instant outpouring of support. The refrigerator fills with meals. Phones vibrate with texts. The ads in the mailbox get outnumbered by sympathy cards. The scent of lilies and roses permeates every nook and cranny of our home. Our front door becomes a revolving door as people come and go in order to sit with us, and possibly cry with us. Within a few weeks (or even days), the flow of support slows to a trickle. Life moves on, but the grief does not. And that, my friends, is one of many such valleys. Take heart, God will get you through your valley.
Before we can have an intelligent discussion about hot-button issues, we must establish that there is a standard for truth, and that such a standard is far greater and more reliable than popular opinion.
Why are we willing to speak and teach the truth---even when it is unpopular? Are we teaching the truth to inflate our own self-righteousness? OR... Do we hope to lead people away from the catastrophic consequences of their choices? Are we teaching the truth because we love God and seek to glorify Him? OR... Do we simply seek self-promotion? The truth must be taught, but we must teach it with love.
When I entered college in 1999, many were under the impression that evolutionary theory and, of course, the obvious problem of peer pressure, had the greatest faith-wrecking potential.
We were wrong.
What is the greatest challenge facing Christians?
People used to say things like, "the devil made me do it," or "I can't help it, I was born this way!" Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. The facts remain clear: our own desire lures us into sin.
The book of James is like one of those magnification mirrors women use to put on makeup. In those mirrors, all the lines and contours are easier to see. Cringe-worthy pores, wrinkles, blemishes, and unwanted hairs also become more manifest, and we make any modifications within our power to conceal or alter such things. Every single time I read this book, it exposes the oversized pores and blemishes in my life, challenging me to change both my attitude and my actions.
Numbers is the fourth book in the Old Testament, in the section known as either the Pentateuch, The Torah, or The Books of Moses. The majority of scholars agree that it was written by Moses through inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Like Leviticus, there are passages which may seem dry or insignificant, and yet there is much to be learned in this section of the Bible. How do we read through it?
"Hello, my name is Elihu and I am a control-aholic. It's been 24 hours since my last surge of anxiety and 3 days since I felt the need to control a situation."
For control-aholics, the urge to regulate every piece of our world damages our relationships---particularly our relationship with the Father. Anxiety and anger become our constant companions as we fight to regulate every aspect of our life.
It's time for a change.
Wishing to be someone else or longing for life to be different sounds understandable on the surface---particularly in our culture where self-fulfillment and happiness are counted among the highest goals. However, there is an underlying insidiousness in these longings.
Am I looking at what God has given me as though it isn't good... or isn't good enough?