TROUBLEMAKERS

Let’s be real. Life’s journey can be difficult at times and our faith can be tried simply because of difficult people who are trying to suck the joy out of life. If I can be open and candid, growing up, I heard this statement many times. “If you don’t have anything good to say about someone, then say nothing.” I wish life was that simple. Honestly, there are some people along life’s journey that can really be a pain in the backside. Even as a pastor or active church leader, difficult people will have a downward pull on our faith. The negativity can cause you to nearly want to give up on church. If we are around it frequently it can poison our hearts and minds.
     In 2 Samuel 2:1-2 (NIV) we find David faced with an interesting issue. “Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, “We have no share in David, no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, O Israel!” So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba…”
    Have you ever been blindsided by a “troublemaker” that seems to have a goal of ruining your life? How do you handle them? We can’t just snap our fingers and make them disappear. But we can pray for them. We can search for reasons why perhaps God put them in our life. After all, Romans 5 reminds us that “we can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Next time a troublemaker comes into your life…rejoice…they may be just exactly what you need!
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JUST LEAN

Isolation is one of the greatest tendencies in the life of people who are having difficulties. Isolation is also the worst thing we can do when we are having difficulties. The pathway of life has its potholes and its rough spots. There is no way around it. Our faith can take a beating when we feel inundated by difficulties. The first thing many of us do when we feel overwhelmed is isolate. We want to find a corner and crawl up into the fetal position and escape the world. If you are feeling overwhelmed and have a desire to isolate yourself from the rest of the world, I want to encourage you to “just lean.”
     Years ago, I pastored a church in a small Oklahoma community that was predominately Native American. My kids wanted to visit the cultural museum to see a “real live teepee!” At first, I thought, “You’ve seen one teepee you’ve seen ‘em all!” But as I began to study its structure, God began to speak to my heart about my relationships. Most houses in America are built with 2×4 studs standing straight up in the air and nailed together to keep from falling down. But a teepee is made up of log poles that all lean on each other and then bound together at the top by a single rope. That style of structure is very strong and secure against the mighty Oklahoma wind. If applied to relationships, we stand best by leaning. During those times in life when we can be blown away by problems, the best stance is to lean on others. In those trials, grief, pain and struggles, I encourage you to simply lean on God and on others. We find strength when we lean on each other rather than isolating and standing up on our own two feet.
     Next time you feel overwhelmed by problems try leaning on your friends, on your God’s Word and on God’s comforting shoulder. You’ll be glad you did when you suddenly find strength you never dreamed you had.

WELCOME

Hi, there. My name is Richard and I’m on a journey. In fact, we are all on a journey. This journey is a spiritual journey. It has a major ingredient, faith. But if you are like me, my faith waivers. There are days my faith is strong. There are days my faith is weak. There are days life is going well. There are days when something hits us like a curve ball hitting us in the head.
Our faith centered journey is about our Christian walk with God. Though religion and its methods may play a part in our journey once in awhile. These pages are not necessarily about religion, but rather about our connection and relationship with Christ.
Thank you for stopping by. Whether you stumbled across this page on purpose or accident, I hope that the random pages will encourage you in your everyday journey of faith.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus reminds us that He is always with us and we are never alone.
This journey of life requires faith in Christ and His presence even in those hours that we feel all alone. When we look at this passage of Scripture, the phrase “with you” in Greek is the word “meta.”
The Greek word “meta” is a confusing word to define. It often can mean “in the vicinity of” but in this specific passage it means more. Christ is not just in the vicinity of us, with us, by us, but rather it means he is among us and behind us. In other words, “He’s got our backs.”
I remember years ago when my daughter was learning to ride her bicycle. We took off the training wheels, but she was scared, I told her, “Don’t worry, I will be right here beside you the whole way.” Her face immediately released its look of fear. She trusted her dad’s promise. Even though she couldn’t see it, I was not only running beside her the entire time she pedaled for the first time without training wheels. But I wasn’t just running beside her, I had her back. I was literally holding the back of her seat the entire time with my thumb.
There are days, that we face new and frighting issues in life. Yet, Christ has promised that He is always there. In fact, he has promised more than just His presence, He has promised that He’s got our backs. He has his thumb holding us up so that we cannot fall or fail.