Jesus Was Brave

I had to read this devotion a couple of times for it to sink in. Then, it made all the sense in the world. Of course, Jesus had to be brave when He was on this earth. He was human as well as divine, and it has added a dimension to my bravery journey I didn’t expect. Let me explain. In recent months, as I’ve written about before, I’ve been making preparations to have an empty nest with the graduation of my younger son from high school. I was losing a role and didn’t know what would replace it. I was feeling like a square peg in a round hole (and still am), and I didn’t know what to do with it. I was not interested in the things Christian women are “supposed” to be interested in so the question of “What comes next?” became even more paramount. The only thing I knew was that I was going to write, but how and in what capacity was yet to be determined. I was in a place where many choices were possible, and I wasn’t sure which direction God wanted me to go in.

Part of me likes to think that maybe Jesus’ human side was facing some of those same uncertainties as He started His ministry. Oh, I know Scripture tells us He went out and started His ministry without any qualms or hesitations, and I know He knew the time was right to go as well. But, what about the human side of Jesus? Did He hesitate about leaving His job or His family? What about His friends? Did He like being a part of a community? We don’t know the answers to these questions. We do know what happened in His hometown after Jesus started His ministry. Mark speaks of it in Chapter 6, Verses 1-6.

“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (emphasis mine)

They “took offense” at Jesus, y’all. The leaders of His church, His hometown friends, some in His family. The people He was closest to. He expected more from them and didn’t get it. That’s why I know He was brave. I can’t imagine my pastor or the leaders of my church hating me the way they hated Jesus. I can’t imagine my church friends hating me either. Or maybe they do, and I just don’t know it. 🙂 (Please don’t tell me if you do.)

All kidding aside, it gives me courage to know Jesus was brave just like He wants me to be brave. He knows what it takes for me to get out of the bed, and He knows what it takes for me to go out of my comfort zone. But, that’s what He has called me to do as a follower of His, and that is what I’m going to do to the best of my ability.

I end with a quote from the author that I hope we all take to heart as we consider and live out our faith. “The truth of who Jesus is and what He did on earth–the Son of God who came to earth to take on our sins–is the most courageous thing this planet has ever seen.” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs)

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

Meeting With God: I Met God On Inverness Parkway

I’m sitting on my bed and listening to Christian music as I begin writing this post. I’ve taken a few minutes to listen to the words, to really listen, and I’ve realized the conclusion I came to the other day is correct. I have been in the wilderness. God has used the last few months to bring me closer to Him, or He’s tried to anyway. 🙂 I’ve come along for the ride, most days, kicking and screaming, because being brought to my lowest is not one of my favorite things. All of the things I don’t like about myself have come out in full force–pride, jealousy, worthlessness, ugliness. But, God is willing to meet me there, within the ugliness. It doesn’t have to be gone before He comes. And I praise Him for it just like I praise Him when I am walking in His creation.

That seems to be when I’m the bravest–when I’m alone and meeting with God in His creation. Like the author says, “His love makes me brave, and there is no place I love to meet with God more than sitting in His creation. Sitting in nature.” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs) It bring to mind this Scripture from Psalm 96. Verses 11-12 say, “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” I can praise God with abandon when I’m alone with Him, and it brings me so much courage.

But, then I have to be around those pesky beings called people, :-), with the chances to wound, to be cruel, and to not reflect what I want to reflect like Paul says in Romans 7. From Verses 18-19, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.” We all can be so cruel to each other even when we don’t want to be.

But when we meet with God though, we’re reminded of what those hard times are supposed to do for us. I’m not sure I would have had the words to verbalize this if I hadn’t read them in my friend’s blog. I’m only going to give you a small sample because I want you to go there and read the whole thing. “That bothersome thing, that circumstance, that person, that difficult time, is your school teacher. When it comes, you’re supposed to recognize it at once and say, ‘By the grace of God, I will pass this test.'” (https://upliftgirl.com/2018/06/15/that-thing-is-your-school-teacher/) Here’s a little more. “I’m going to love. I’m going to trust. I’m going to be patient. I will choose God. I will hold on in faith. I will wait.” (https://upliftgirl.com/2018/06/15/that-thing-is-your-school-teacher/) Ok, that was more than a little, but they were words I needed to hear because I seem to have forgotten them lately. Please go visit her blog anyway. The whole post is just brilliant, and she has a lot of wisdom.

Those words, her words–we all fail at them, me especially. I meet with God; I talk to Him; and then I go back out and do the same cruel things because they have been done to me. Where’s the grace we’re supposed to give each other? I know where it is. It’s in the part of our hearts that says we don’t deserve it. Ok, some of you might not have a problem with unmerited favor and grace, but I know I do, and I’m freely admitting it.

I’m working on it though. Working to root the truth of Ephesians 2:8-9 into my heart. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Because, you see, we don’t just meet with God once, and everything gets settled. No, while we are still here on this earth, we are fighting a battle every day like my friend says in her blog and like it says in Ephesians 6. I’ve not been as well-equipped to fight that battle recently as I should have been, but I know better now. And because I know better, I am starting to feel better.

So, as I end this post, I want to quote Ephesians 6:13 as a goal for myself, and hopefully, a goal for all of us who are believers. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand.” (emphasis mine)

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

An addendum or postscript of sorts:

I Met God On Inverness Parkway!

I usually don’t do this, but something important happened between my writing and typing this post. Like the sub-title says, I met God on Inverness Parkway. I was going to run an errand and put gas in my son’s car when I ran out just before getting to the main highway. I said all the not-so-nice things people usually say when I was trying to start the car again and cars were mounting behind me. Then, I realized what was wrong. The gas had completely run out. I made a call and was told that the person would get there as soon as they could. I got out of the car and started directing people around me. I had a big gulp in the middle of my throat because we have all heard the stories about road rage and how people don’t like to be delayed when they’re going somewhere. I was not in a very safe place on the road.

But, then people surprised me, and my faith in humanity was restored. One man stopped and pushed my car onto a side street so it wouldn’t be in the way. Several people stopped and asked if I was okay. More than a dozen by the time my friends with the gas got there. Someone else I know happened to stop by and was willing to help as well. In fact, we were all ready to have a church meeting by the time the gas got there as my pastor and associate pastor were the ones coming to my rescue. I am so grateful that God showed me I wasn’t alone today because sometimes I don’t think I have anyone besides God. Know what I mean? We all think church is the building we go to, but we are all supposed to be the church in the middle of our communities.

So, thank you to all who stopped and asked if I was okay. Thank you to the man who pushed my car out-of-the-way. And thank you especially to my three friends, Garry, Charlie, and Justin, who showed me God in the middle of Inverness Parkway!

Generous With Our Time

For the next few days, I will be writing about how God wants us to be generous with various aspects of our lives. The first one in this series is time. I don’t think people consider this one as valuable as other elements. Or maybe they do, and that’s why they give money so they can make up for it. I’m not sure what other people think, but I do know I’ve never felt like the time I could give was as valuable as what other people could give.

But, there is one think about time that’s equal for everyone. We all get twenty-four hours of it every day–not one hour more and not one hour less. There’s not anything we can do to get any more or less since we’re not the ones who created time. Who did, you ask? God, of course. We’re stewards of this equal amount of time He has given us. According to the author, “God trusts me to be brave and to be generous with each day He gives me on this planet.” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs) He trusts all of us. We never have to feel deficient about the time we have to give because we have equal amounts of it. At least, that’s what we should be telling ourselves. 🙂

This week I’m giving time I wasn’t expecting to give. I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, well, more like a rough couple of months, and when I saw the sign-ups for VBS, the first thing I felt was complete exhaustion. I wasn’t sure I had the strength, energy, or time to give. The role I had taken at VBS over the last couple of years didn’t feel within my reach. But, then I saw other roles where help was needed. Roles that I had a better possibility of filling well. It reminded me of the Scripture verse the author shared for today’s devotion. From Romans 12:13, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” God brought me to a role where I was needed, but without the pressure, stress, or exhaustion. How could I not want to give my time after God so tailor-made it to what I needed right now. So, I did. I volunteered to serve in VBS this week and am excited about the possibilities it offers.

Giving time can be hard especially with the faith struggle I’m in right now, but I’m hoping that by giving time and sharing God’s love with other people, I can be encouraged of God’s love for me and encouraged that God does have a purpose for my life despite all of the heartache and the pain. So thankful for my Lord and Savior as He  encourages us to be generous with our time!

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

Apologies to My Subscriber List

It has been a little over a month since I moved my blog to a new website, but I’ve just now realized that my subscriber list didn’t move with it. I’d like to offer apologies to all of you. I think I’ve fixed it now so you should be able to enjoy my posts again. Please let me know either by a comment or a like that you can see this now. Also, if you have this page bookmarked, please change it so you can continue seeing my posts. Thanks so much!

A Heart Like His

My sons have often asked me why I want to know something before everyone else does. I suppose it could be the natural inclination of wanting to be the first to tell someone information they don’t know. Or it could be the chance to tease someone about it. Did you ever say these words as a child? “I know something you don’t know.” This usually resulted in your friend pestering you until you told them whatever information you had. We all have a natural inclination to want to be first so thinking this would be my reason is plausible.

But, for the most part, this isn’t my reason for wanting to know something first. As a writer, I have a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world that demands time for me to think and process what I learn about my world. I need that time to process new information so I can write about it. Some of that writing is just for me, and some of it, I share with the world. The more time I have to think about and process a topic, the better my writing usually is. I understand the topic better as well, and it becomes rooted in my heart. Not only can I write about that topic specifically, I can use my knowledge as I write stories and blog posts further down the line.

I think it’s going to be that way with what I found out yesterday. I went to a ministry leader, shepherd, and staff meeting at my church. I’m grateful that these kind of meetings are open to all whether a person holds one of those titles or not. But, I digress. Yesterday, I found out what our theme for 2018 is going to be. A theme which all the sermons and Wednesday night classes are going to be intertwined with. A theme which, I think, will be beneficial to my own personal faith walk. And before the suspense gets to be too much, let me reveal the theme–A Heart Like His. How do we develop a heart like Jesus’ heart? Interesting question, right? We’ve spent the past year looking at Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus, and this year’s theme will deepen that idea. It’s a good theme, and one I will have a lot to say about in the coming year.

But, for now, some preliminary thoughts. Does having a heart like Jesus mean doing the increased amount of dishes that comes with having everyone home without complaint? Or scraping gum off the church carpet yesterday though I know I looked funny sitting there while people were walking out? What about being willing to sacrifice someone you love to a form of service in the church because there aren’t a whole lot of people willing to volunteer for that particular service? Or being content with what I have and not wishing I would have taken a different path twelve years ago?

I’ll remove the suspense. All of my questions come with “yes” answers, and those answers bring me closer to the heart Jesus wants me to have. Why do I wonder though, and why do I want to be selfish especially with my family’s time? Sin nature, I know, but still, why is it so hard to be the person Jesus wants me to be? Why doesn’t doing these things come automatically to me like they do to so many others? Why do I feel so deficient with my faith when I look at others who seem perfect? We all know these kinds of people. The people who never seem to have anything wrong with them. The people who never wonder. The people who never seem to struggle. The people who are never curious about the things they think are wrong. The people who never think differently.

I think that’s why God gave me that sense of wonder and curiosity though. He wants me to ask questions. He’s not afraid to dialogue with me, and He doesn’t want me to be afraid either. I have to tell myself that over and over, and some days I am more successful than others. But, as 2017 closes and 2018 beckons, I am going to do my best to move forward each day and use the gifts God gave me to bring my heart closer to His.

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

Hope in God's Promises

It’s four days into December, and our thoughts have gone to having the most “perfect” Christmas possible. It’s what we see in the secular world. It’s what we see in the church. Everything has to be “perfect”at Christmas. It’s when Jesus was born.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the quotation marks I placed around perfect. We all know that life isn’t perfect at Christmas much as we might like to pretend it is. It’s not perfect at any other time of the year either. Why should Christmas be any different? The pictures of people on social media going through life with their best friends can be frustrating to people in a different reality. Social media, in general, can be frustrating to people at Christmas whose reality is far different from what the pictures portray.

That’s where I’m at today. Lack of money, lack of time, wondering what the next day is going to bring with all of the bad things that have happened recently. Trying to stay faithful to God, but knowing that the things I’d like to do just won’t be possible this year. You could say that this month is a frustrating end to a frustrating year.

But, it really isn’t so don’t quit reading. Even with the frustrations and the health issues, I do have blessings. I know I will be treasured on my birthday by my husband and my sons even if no one else remembers. I will be blessed by getting to spend time with my birthday buddy this weekend. I will be blessed when my first son turns 21 later on in the month. And I am thoroughly blessed that my sons know the true meaning of Christmas and that the trappings don’t matter to them.

I am even more blessed by God’s promises which is my point in writing this post today. Even if I had nothing and was homeless, I would still have my Lord and Savior, and that is what I consider the most important!

Here are a few of those promises so you can be comforted as I have been.

From Psalm 119:50, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

Verse 76 in the same chapter says this, “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.”

John 3:16 is the ultimate promise of the Christian faith. “For God so loved the World that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

I like this one from Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

I also like the one from Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

But, the one that I treasure the most and the one that I think is appropriate for this Christmas season comes from what Elizabeth said to Mary in Luke 1:45. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.”

So, if your circumstances are not the best this month, don’t look at what the world says about Christmas. Don’t even look at what the church says about Christmas. Go to God’s Word and read the promises He has written to us. They are the best hope we will ever receive!

May we all rest our hope in the Lord’s promises this morning!

(Feel free to add more of God’s promises in the comments.)

How Jesus Really Sees Us

I’m taking a break from the prompts today to explore this topic because, sometimes, I don’t think we, as believers, truly understand this. I know I don’t.

What do you do when you get up in the morning? Do you take a shower? Wash your hair? Ladies, do you put on make-up? Guys, do you shave? Do you make sure your clothes and hair look the best they can look before you walk out the door? If you do that, you are presenting your best face to the world. Who am I kidding? We all do that. We want the people in our world to see us in the best possible light.

It’s not in how we physically appear either. When we are around other people, we want the best parts of our character to be present so they will love us. We want to do good deeds, have good attitudes, and be seen praising God even if we don’t want to. In other words, we put our best front forward.

As all of us know though, our best front doesn’t stay good all of the time. We get mad. We’re sad about something. We’re difficult to get along with. We’re unreasonable. We’re demanding. It’s all a part of sin nature. And that doesn’t even count the deepest things we hide at the bottom of our souls. Things that don’t come out at all, ever, even on the pain of death. That’s what sin nature is.

Jesus knows everything though. What, you didn’t think He knew? 🙂 Yes, He knows everything, and He still loves you. He died on a cross for you.

Sometimes, though, I need words and imagery to come from another place. And, in this instance, how Jesus really sees me comes from the words of a song. One of my favorite songs, as a matter of fact. If you’ve ever been married or you have participated in a wedding, you’ll understand this. Everyone looks their best on their wedding day. It’s a moment of significance that, hopefully, will last for a lifetime. But, our sin nature still exists underneath all the finery. Jesus knows all the things we’ve done wrong and will do wrong. We should look like dirt to Him, but we don’t. That’s why I love the song “Wedding Day” by Casting Crowns. Even though the words fit a bride more than they do a groom, I believe all of us can take something away from this song. Jesus loves each and every one of us, and we appear perfect to Him though we are not because our sins are covered by the cross. I’m going to quote the verses of this song so you can see what I mean. May we all understand how Jesus really sees us today!

“Wedding Day” by Casting Crowns

There’s a stirring in the throne room
And all creation holds it’s breath
Waiting now to see the bride groom
Wondering how the bride will dress
And she wears white
And she knows that she’s undeserving
She bears the shame of history
With this worn and weary maiden
Is not the bride that he sees
And she wears white, head to toe
But only he could make it so

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says you’re beautiful
When you don’t know you are
And all you’ve longed to see
Is written on his face
When love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day

She has danced in golden castles
And she has crawled through beggar’s dust
But today she stands before him
And she wears his righteousness
And she will be who he adores
And this is what he made her for

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says your beautiful
When you don’t know you are
And all you’ve longed to see
Is written on his face
When love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day

When the hand that bears the only scars
And heaven touch her face
And the last tears she’ll ever cry
Are finally wiped away
And the clouds roll back as he takes her hand
And walks her through the gates
Forever we will reign

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says your beautiful
When you don’t know you are
And all you’ve longed to see
Is written on his face
When love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day”

I am so glad my Lord and Savior sees me with the cover of the cross. May God bless you all today!

New Beginnings

Saw a challenge earlier and realized I could use it as a writing warm-up time. So, for the next thirty days, I will be completing Jeff Goins’ challenge to “practice in public” on this blog. It will be interesting to see what topics I can come up with.

For the past week, I’ve been using journaling prompts from bibleconnection.com as my topics. Today is the third prompt. I learned a great deal from the first two prompts, and I don’t expect anything less from the third one.

First, the prompt. “Beginnings can be exciting! What new chapter in your life are you about to begin? What have you recently started that you are excited about? What are you hopes for the future? Tell God about it—he wants to be involved in your life.”

The topic is new beginnings. Coincidence? I don’t think so. God has been leading me on a journey to trust Him and what He has given me as gifts. My gifts aren’t necessarily what other people think they are and not necessarily meant to be shared in the church.

So, what about that first question? What new chapter am I about to begin? The chapter of being an empty nester. My younger son is graduating from high school this spring. Though he will be staying at home for college, my role with him will change. Homeschooling will be done, and he will be venturing out to prepare for what he wants to do in life. He’s ready just like his brother was two and a half years ago when he graduated from high school. By the time this school year ends, I will have homeschooled them for 12 years. I was 40 when I began and will be 52 when I finish. That’s a lot of life. I am excited about the possibilities, but a little nervous too. I have poured myself into my kids for the last 12 years. I’ve lived in 6 different places and come back to my faith. I’ve lost family members and experienced illness and financial difficulties.

But, I know the next years will be just as amazing. I will have more time to write and maybe get something off the ground with my writing. I will have time to get in better shape. And I will have more time to either volunteer or get a job. My role with my kids will change, but it will be a good change I am looking forward to–relating with them as adults. I am most looking forward to growing in my faith in God. With God by my side, anything is possible, and I know the things I’ve mentioned will be more possible.

Answering the second question has more profound implications. I am most excited about my recent writing and where it is bringing me in my faith. The things I consider to be weaknesses are the things God wants me to focus on. Why weaknesses, I ask? Shouldn’t I be focusing on my strengths? That seems to be more logical. But, if I am transparent about my weaknesses, God has more of a chance to be seen in my life. This is shown in the first part of 2 Corinthians 12:9. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” Paul is speaking here, and I’m glad we have the second part of what he said. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” We don’t generally boast about weaknesses in the church. In fact, we are reticent to bring up any part of ourselves which may be considered badly. That’s not what God wants though. God wants us to be as authentic within our community as He does when we are talking to Him alone.

So now, I have some knowledge of the steps God wants me to take. He wants me to be authentic and transparent. He wants me to show my weaknesses without being self-conscious. And He wants me to be confident in His love. For it is only in His love that my hopes for the future can be realized. They are all intertwined in order to show God’s glory. And that is the best hope of all!

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

God's Gifts

The other day I was sent an email from bibleconnectionnews.com with seven journaling prompts. When I looked at it, I decided the prompts would be good blog topics so I’m making my first attempt at one.

First, here’s the prompt. “God has chosen and gifted you with a wonderful set of skills, knowledge, and abilities unique to you–and he wants you to use those gifts to bring him praise. What talents and skills do you possess? What knowledge would you like to grow in? How are you planning to use this to honor God?”

I think God gives us gifts to use at the different stages of our lives. When I was in my 20’s, I could think of nothing better to do for God than work with kids. My bachelors and masters degrees were in psychology and teaching, and teaching kids seemed to be a natural fit. I would work with them on Sunday mornings, Sunday and Wednesday nights, and during Vacation Bible School. The energy and drive I had for God would sustain me, and I formed many precious relationships during those years.

This time went through the birth and preschool ages of my sons. Then, we left the church for several years. But, God had a plan for me though I wasn’t sharing my gifts within a church’s walls. I was teaching my own kids, and we were growing as a family. I was pouring myself and my gifts into my sons. I also began anew something I had started as a child–my writing. I would pour out my thoughts in notebooks, journals, and on the computer screen. The words I put together blossomed forth in my mind and took me through the good times as well as the bad. When times were bad, I would escape into my stories where I felt happy and fulfilled. God used this time to develop my talent so He could use it for His glory, and I am grateful.

When we came back to the church, I was in my 40’s. I could tell my energy had slowed down, and it took me awhile to find my feet at church. I had to learn to trust again and find out where I fit. I’ve done different things. I’ve worked in Vacation Bible School. I’ve greeted and cooked meals. I’ve formed relationships. I’ve even tried writing. That one didn’t work too well. 🙁

In fact, this year has been a year of things that haven’t worked too well. From greeting to working with kids, I’ve been told that things I’ve done at church haven’t been done the way people have wanted them done, or I’ve had experiences at church that I never want to repeat again. (Ask me about the day when I watched  fifteen children from the ages of 5 to 12 by myself for three hours.)  It’s hard to come home crying from doing something in the church for God that used to give me such joy. I didn’t think things had changed that much in the way of teaching kids, but apparently they have so I knew at that point that my gift of teaching kids was gone. Gone like the energy and drive of my 20’s.

So, I’ve had to figure out that maybe I don’t have gifts to share in the church like my husband does. Yes, the ones he gets phone calls and emails about all of the time. I looked back at this blog I started a couple of years ago and thought that maybe my gifts aren’t meant to be shared inside the church. I write in this blog for God’s glory, and there is not a person who can tell me I can’t because I’m a woman or for any other reason. I can talk about my relationship with God and tell truths about what He’s doing in my life. I can also talk about what I’m learning through my studies and my prayer time. In short, share my writing for His glory.

In answer to the last two questions, I want to grow in my knowledge of writing. I want to write consistently with God-honoring words. I want to share my writing with others so they can know God’s love. And I want to do my best to honor God in this next phase of my life as I did when I was younger. Share the gifts He has given me for this time and jump into the unknown trusting God will stay right beside me.

God’s blessings on all of you today!

Praying for Our Daily Bread

Many of us learn the Lord’s Prayer early in our believing life and recite it automatically when asked to do so. I’ve recently been challenged by a sermon in which these verses were used and have been convicted to really think about the words when I pray this prayer. Western Christians have a tendency to reflect their culture, and since financial planning is a part of that culture, this is reflected in our work lives, our personal lives, and in our church lives. When we plan in this way, we tend to think that we are responsible for the work we have done and don’t give God the credit where credit is due. We also have more of a tendency to worry when things aren’t going the way we want them to. Like when the price of stock goes down or when the interest rates go down. Or when our salaries don’t meet the expenses of our lives. Or when we want to do something in our churches, and no money is available.

I listened to this minister on Sunday, and when he said that there were people in Third World countries who prayed the Lord’s Prayer asking for their food for the day, something clicked inside my head and my heart. These people weren’t saying this prayer by rote; they meant every word that they said. They did not know where their food was going to come from, and they rejoiced and thanked God when He did provide for them that day. My heart hurt when I heard this. Though I’m not rich by any stretch of the imagination, I have prayed the Lord’s Prayer by rote. I’ve been worried and anxious when we’ve gone through bad times, and there have been times when I’ve taken care of things on my own and forgotten to thank God when everything turned out all right.

It’s easy to be grateful when we have full pantries and money to pay our bills, and when we’re doing all the things our culture says we should be doing. We’re not depending on God though. We’re depending on ourselves.  And then we judge when we see someone who doesn’t have all the things we have and say that it’s their fault they don’t have a place to live or food to eat. I think I understand better now why Jesus said it was difficult for a rich person to get into heaven. We’re more “worried” about the resources we have here and how to keep them in our hands.

I’ve not made a secret of suffering from depression or anxiety in this blog. I’ve had to hang on to God a lot through the turmoil of my life over the past few years. I’ve  prayed more during the bad times than I have during the good. I don’t want to be so focused on the future anymore though. I think if I can pray the Lord’s Prayer each morning and be focused on each day as it comes, I will have an easier time with my depression and anxiety, and I will remember where my true provision comes from.

I will leave you with the Lord’s Prayer so you can pray for your daily bread as well.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:9-13