People You Can’t Stand

People you can’t stand. The mutual friends that annoy you, the coworkers that are mean, the guy on the bus that gives you attitude because you sat next to him, and the people that shove you around in the crowded subways. Sometimes they are irritating blips on your life screen; other times you get caught up in a cycle of anger and resentment.

You pray and ask God to help you love them. Maybe you have to say that prayer repeatedly, in each moment that your heart rebels against the command to love them. It’s not easy to have the grace that God has. 

Just take a moment to soak that in. It gives new insight to the oft-repeated but rarely-considered line in the Lord’s prayer – “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others who have trespassed against us.” How easily we ask for God’s forgiveness yet we rarely think of the well of patience our Lord has for us.

There is a mind-blowing (if you really let your heart mull over it) lesson to learn from these interactions – how amazingly endless is the DEPTH AND BREADTH OF GOD’S LOVE & GRACE?!

*Image taken from:http://www.pktfuel.com/neighbourly-love/

Why read the Bible?

10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

– Isaiah 55:10-11

 

Translation? God’s word has power. It’s active. It achieves something. It produces fruit. Take that in for a moment.

If God’s word has power, then choose to read it, listen to it, weave it into your life so that you are never separated from it. And experience that power in full force.

Struck down but not destroyed.

struck-down-but-not-destroyedYou know that awful feeling when you’ve done something wrong? That anxious guilt at the pit of your stomach? Or the nervousness of facing the consequences and not knowing how things will turn out?

We’ve all felt the weight of sin, regardless of whether we believe in God or not. Guilt and darkness and negativity – every human being is familiar with those things at some level.

We’ve all had those moments in life when everything feels impossible – when your shoulders are weighed down by the world in a way that feels worse than anything you’ve ever known. Or when you feel stuck in a cycle you desperately want to get out of but don’t know if you can. Some might say ‘it feels worse than death’.

Imagine choosing to take that feeling for someone else; for every single sin of every single person that ever walked this earth.

Jesus did that. A perfect and pure man took on every ounce of darkness, shame, guilt,  and hopelessness from all of us, onto himself.

Can we even begin to comprehend what that felt like? He experienced absolute separation from God, our Father- our connection to hope and peace and joy. His cry on the cross was raw anguish (Matthew 27:46)!

 

All for us.

All for love.

So that even when we feel like God isn’t there, He is.

So that we never have to be separated from God, if we don’t want to be.

So that we can be free from the shackles of everything dark.

 

The story we celebrate this Sunday is one of perfect love. A love of incredible sacrifice. A love that allows us to have victory, hope, and freedom no matter where we are in life, what we’ve done, or what situation we’re facing.

That feeling worse than death? It doesn’t have to be our reality. That’s what it means when we say that Jesus overcame death for us. That’s why we can say “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Stand on the promise of Jesus’ resurrection and know that you can trust in God’s victory in your life.

What is God’s answer?

There are times when I start to spiral out of control with my desire to know exactly what God’s will is. Even when I’ve gotten an answer, I want to know I heard God right. A friend once asked me what would make God’s will clear to me. What would tell me exactly what His answer was? I had no idea how to respond. I joked about wanting Him to write me a letter, but part of me was hoping something like that would actually happen.

Later in the day, I came across this article (Maybe God Doesn’t Care) and I was reminded that while there is no such thing as too much prayer, there is a danger in relentlessly pursuing a concrete answer. Why? Because it actually stems from a need to control; a desire to know exactly what is in store and when. Yes, we should submit to God and seek to do his will. However, we also need to trust in Him and his ability to direct us. We have to allow him to actually act and give him the reins. We can’t allow ourselves to get stuck in a never-ending cycle of doubt and worry disguised as seeking his will.

Image taken from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6FYom8sr5L4/Ty1zdliEQyI/AAAAAAAAITE/3_vVk0I_VWQ/s1600/proverbs+3+5+6+copy.jpg

I don’t understand, God.

Ecclesiastes 11:3-5

3 If clouds are full of water,

they pour rain on the earth.

Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,

in the place where it falls, there it will lie.

In my words: It is what it is. Things will take place as intended or as designed by nature.

4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant;

whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

In my words: How can you expect results if you’re so busy worrying about the circumstances that you don’t invest in doing the work?

 5 As you do not know the path of the wind,

or how the body is formed[a] in a mother’s womb,

so you cannot understand the work of God,

the Maker of all things.

In my words: So much is beyond our own knowledge. If we can accept that, then why can’t we acknowledge that we won’t always understand what God is up to?

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

In my words: Maybe things don’t look so great or even interesting. Maybe you’re in an ugly situation. But perhaps, given time, that ugly situation will turn into something beautiful in God’s hands. Perhaps that not-so-interesting job or place or thing will end up becoming so much more than what you originally envisioned.  God has seen, not to mention created, all of eternity. It’s beyond our ability to comprehend.

When life feels exhausting…

Note: Text written by pursuingHISwill. Background image taken from Microsoft Clip Art.

Note: Text written by pursuingHISwill. Background image taken from Microsoft Clip Art.

Isaiah 58:11

“Abstinence is unrealistic and old fashioned.” – One blogger’s response.

In a recent conversation with some friends, I related a story about a young woman whose conversation I was unable to block from my hearing. I complained and rolled my eyes at how young and immature she is and the way in which she is playing into society’s supposed promotion of women’s liberation. I couldn’t stand the way in which she talked about her multiple boyfriends and casual relationships as if it was the most enlightened way of life. Because the truth is that it’s unnatural. You can’t pretend that sex means nothing and that living a promiscuous life doesn’t do any damage. As I told my friends about this instance, my tone was annoyed. But I think the truth is that I was disturbed and later God pointed out that instead of judging this girl, I should be praying for her. I should be considering that very damage in her life and hoping that it can be repaired rather than condemning her.

Thank you Matt Walsh for your perspective – a much needed one. And I’m so glad that Jeremy reached out to you for advice on abstinence in today’s world. However, my one point of contention is to not make the mistake I did. Although I am equally unhappy about what that health teacher had to say, it’s also not right to condemn her. We have a responsibility to speak truth into people’s lives but not to judge them. That’s for God to do. Obviously, this young woman has some misguided sense of reality and a true disconnect from much-needed wisdom. Unfortunately, she’s in an influential position and could do some serious damage with the kids she’s teaching. I think she’s wrong but instead of condemning her, let’s pray for her and others like her who desperately need to know the real truth. God loves her, the young woman I mentioned, and Jeremy equally.

The Matt Walsh Blog

From my inbox, an email from a high school student named Jeremy:

“Dear Matt, first I want to say I really like your blog. One of my teachers actually mentioned it in class once after you wrote something (she didn’t mention it in a good way lol) and I went and looked you up so I’ve been following you ever since. I know you get so much email so I don’t expect you to see this but in case you do I wanted to get your opinion about something. You write a lot about relationships and everything so I’m wondering if you think abstinence should be encouraged in school?

Reason I’m asking is because we are doing our sex ed lessons in health class now and the topic has come up. Yesterday my health teacher was talking about safe sex and someone mentioned abstinence and she said it wasn’t realistic…

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An Airport Run-In Fit for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

I Kissed My Date Goodnight

Airport DelaysI’ve been traveling a bit lately for both personal and work-related reasons. As much as I love life on the road, there are things about it that are just plain annoying. You know what I’m talking about, right? Wannabe-cop TSA agents, delayed-for-no-apparent-reason flights, airplane seats designed for Kristin Chenoweth, and non-existent airplane food and blankets. I mean, either turn the airplane temperature up by 20 degrees or give me a dang blanket already!

Now that airlines are charging for everything except breathing, one of the newly challenging aspects of flying is the no-holds-barred fight for overhead luggage space. No one wants to pay to check bags anymore, so there’s now not enough space for everyone’s over-packed carry-ons. That’s where Southwest comes in handy for me. Two free bags per ticketed passenger and I can stroll onto the flight with just my laptop and a medium coffee. Sigh. So nice!

Of…

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Can an Unanswered Prayer be a Prayer Answered?

Have you ever hit a point when you can’t remember the last time you laughed wholeheartedly? When you’ve been so burdened, stressed, and frustrated that you don’t even know what to pray for anymore?

Maybe you know in your head that you’re supposed to wait on God’s plan and that he knows best. You may be aware that there are reasons that things don’t turn out the way you want. But that doesn’t necessarily make things easier.

My advice: Keep talking to God. Keep trying to get to know him and his will. Persist because it’s what you need to do and God will enable you to keep going. Sometimes he is pulling things together and he needs you to wait. Sometimes you were better off not getting what you asked for. Sometimes you grow and learn as you wait, and your prayer ends up completely changing.

Take a look at this man’s struggle to pray when he loses the ideal job; it’s a great reminder of God’s wisdom and foresight.

“Never Too Strong for God!”

Just another reminder that although we may face more than we can handle on our own, nothing can overwhelm God!

A similar post: More Than You Can Handle

Word For Life Says . . .

“He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me;
For they were too strong for me,” 2 Samuel 22:18

 

“Is there anything too hard for me?” is a question God asked Jeremiah, (Jer. 32:27). “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” was the question God put to Abraham after Sarah laughed at the possibility of having a child in her old age. Luke 1:37 tells us, “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and yet, when faced with things in this life we don’t understand and heartaches untold, we often feel our situations are out of His reach. As if the problems that overwhelm us are too strong for Him, also.

Due to the anointing on his life, David faced enemies who hated him for no reason. He spent many days with his life hanging in the balance. But, in the end, he declared, “He…

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