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Awhile back I wrote a post about loving God when things are going well.  I’ve been thinking about it lately, wanting to follow up, so today when our pastor spoke about idols in our lives, I knew it was time to write.

It has always bothered me when I hear people making fun of Christians or saying hateful things about them.  In particular, it bothers me that people call Christians hypocrites.  In my mind, I always thought these haters must have met a Christian who didn’t really follow Jesus, or perhaps they were just out to complain, or maybe they just had their own issues.  In my self-righteous thinking, I figured if they met me, they might form a different opinion.  I’m nice, right??

Unfortunately, I’m realizing that my pride goes deeper than I thought it did, and perhaps it’s the dishonesty that is so offensive.  Because I tend to care too much about what other people think of me, it’s easy put up a front.   I’m probably even trying to convince myself that I’m “good enough”.

This year, our church began a Bible reading plan together.  I started out right on track.   In fact, I think God was really causing me to look at my own heart, and teaching me some really good things.  What is there?  I’m a Christian, so it’s supposed to be a love for God and others, but mostly I think it’s love for myself.  Hypocritical: someone who says one thing but does another; the people I’d been reading about in Matthew; and me.  Here’s the funny part: I had been reading about these prideful people, praying that God would give me humility, talking about being faithful to him, and lately, well, let’s just say that I haven’t been very faithful.  I’ve totally gotten off track with the reading program and I have not been faithful in prayer either.  Even these “baby steps” I was feeling positive about have been replaced with backward strides.  What do I spend my time thinking about?  Myself.

You know what is even more amazing?  God has been kind to me.  So kind.  He has given me things in the last three months that I totally don’t deserve.   Matt went out of town on business for two weeks and I was overwhelmed by how many people offered to help me while he was gone.  People that I am not very close to even came by to help!  It was God’s kindness that sent them to me.  A friend’s husband bought her a spa package for her birthday, and he paid for me to go with her!!!  Talk about kindness and undeserved blessings.   I could go on, but I want to wrap this up.

Mostly all of this is to say that there is alot that I don’t understand about God.  A passage comes to mind, 2 Timothy 2:11-13:

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

I shouldn’t pretend that I have it all together, because I don’t.  But God has it all together.  He does remain faithful, to Himself, and to us.  I want to be faithful like that.  Unfortunately, my will and my desire isn’t enough to do that in me.  There is so much I don’t understand about God and so much I have to learn.  The Bible says is that His “grace is sufficient” for us.  And He is faithful.   I need to cling to this, so I write these words to help me remember the Truth.

Another Kindness from God

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A few weeks back, I wrote a few words about how I often struggle with doubt.  I’ve been wanting to follow up with one about faith, but it just wasn’t right until now.

Last night in small group, one of our discussion questions was asked: What has God been teaching you?   I admit I didn’t answer, because my answer was “I don’t know.”  I feel ashamed to say this, because it means either (1.) I’m not listening, or (2.) God’s not trying to teach me anything.  I don’t think it’s #2.

I’ve been reading through the Psalms (slowly), and each day I pick one verse from the Psalm that really speaks to me.  This morning I was amazed to go back and see all of the verses I’ve written down.  Most of them say things about how good God is to us, how great He is, and how right it is for us to follow Him.

I’m not sure if I could verbalize what God wants me to learn (there is probably alot),but one thing I want to learn was summed up nicely in the verse I picked for Psalm 37:

Psalm 37:3  “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

In the sub notes in my Bible, it said that “cultivate faithfulness” could also be translated as “feed on His faithfulness”.  I like this verse because of it’s simplicity.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the things I have to do and be, and when I clearly don’t measure up, I doubt that God would still love me.  But He does!  Jesus is the perfect example of His love for us, not to mention all the blessings he gives us now.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I really think about how good God is.  I don’t understand His love.  It is above me.

When deciding names to name our son, Caleb was the first one we agreed on.  It was important to me that his name have a special meaning.  Caleb means “faithful”.  I hope that he is a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, a reminder to me to strive to remain faithful, and something to teach Caleb about as well.

Matthew 17:20 “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In another part of the Bible, Jesus also compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, “which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (Mark 4:31-32)

I think faith might be like that.  Small at first, but able to grow.  So, I guess what I really want to learn is how to grow in my faith.  It just might be that this is also what God wants to teach me about, and that would be a good thing.