The Blessing of Hard Times

Have you ever considered that your personal calamity might be God’s way of blessing you?

When someone’s business is doing well, or when they come into money, I often hear that “God is really blessing me now!”  Is money a blessing?  Is your job a blessing?  I can certainly understand the sentiment, and it may well be true, but I am cautious to agree with it too quickly.

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The Battle is not Yours… or is it?

2 Chronicles 20:15 & 17

“…Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”

I recently saw this passage on the web page of a fairly prominent ministry. It reminded me that I am finding that I like bible verses less and less. Don’t get me wrong – I love the bible. I love the stories and passages we can learn from. But verses can cause enormous problems. Those tiny numbers that you see throughout your bible didn’t exist 500 years ago. These were added (thankfully!) so that we can find our way through it and have a common frame of reference. They were not added so that we could have theology that fits on refrigerator magnets and bumper stickers.

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It All Matters

In the 1990 movie Flatliners, Nelson (played by Kiefer Sutherland) convinces his closest friends in medical school to kill him.  He has decided that he wants to experience death so he can see what is on the other side.  The plan is to let him experience death for a few moments, then revive him.  It works, and through the course of the movie, the others experience death as well.

After his first trip into the afterlife, Nelson describes death as difficult to put into words, but somehow comforting.  In death though, they all end up somehow awakening past transgressions they thought were buried.  Whether grade-school teasing and bullying or promiscuity later in life, they all somehow brought back these issues they had not yet dealt with.

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“Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.” (Jn 4:27)

Not your usual memory verse. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it quoted either. It stood out to me yesterday though.

Would Jesus’ followers, or the self-appointed religious class, ever be surprised to see who you’re hanging out with? I’m not talking about being consumed by what is going on around you. I’m talking about being in it – not afraid to get your hands dirty. Jesus hung out “in the world” with normal, regular people. But it did not corrupt him. He didn’t sin. He was with “bad people” – those whom society does not accept – and did so without making any compromises. The only corners he had to cut were with the religious.

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Time to stop cutting the ham

One day a woman was preparing dinner when her little girl asked her a question, “Mommy – why are you cutting off the ends of the ham?  Isn’t it good to eat?”

The woman replied, “That’s a good question honey.  It looks just like the other meat.  So I’m sure it’s probably fine to eat.”

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