In Response to All the Nonsense on Social media

“O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand;
where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us
and heal our strife-torn world” (William Watkins Reid, Jr.)

If you’ve been paying attention to social media, you know there’s a lot of hate and fear dividing this nation. It seems to me that both the hate and fear are bipartisan as both seem to exhibit both, but in different ways.

Some days, it feels like there will always be a divide running through the land. It seems like people will never cross the political aisle to at least try to see things from a different perspective.

Lately, there is no middle ground of any kind. The mantra is that “my side is 100% right and holy and just and righteous, and your side is 100% wrong, therefore you must not only be wrong but stupid and evil as well.”

This is where believers step in. Jesus calls us to be one as He and the Father are one. He doesn’t give us any loopholes. This isn’t optional.

It means praying for your enemies instead of bashing them on Facebook. It means loving them instead of publicly wishing them harm. Again, that goes for both sides.

Above all, it means realizing that as a believer in Christ, your ultimate allegiance isn’t to a political party or a platform. It’s not to an ideology. It’s to a King and a Kingdom that will last beyond all the kingdoms and republics of the world, including the one we’re currently living in.

Maybe instead of casting blame, it’s time to look in the mirror and start repenting of hateful attitudes and critical spirits. Maybe it’s time to start being the change we want to see in the world.

And that change starts with love.

 

Repeat After Me

I saw something that I posted a year ago on this date. It said, “Repeat after me: my current situation is not my final destination.”

That got me thinking. What else do we need to repeat to ourselves to remind ourselves of the truth when it seems that just about everything and everyone out there in social media land wants to feed us lies?

Here are a few I think that are good to repeat to yourself as often as needed:

Repeat after me: the next Presidential election will not thwart God’s eternal plans, no matter who wins. Neither Clinton nor Trump winning will take the Almighty by surprise and alter His eternal game-plan for you and me.

Repeat after me: regardless of whether this was your best week ever or your worst or somewhere in between, your identity is still not in your performance. Ultimately, your identity is still who God says you are, and that title doesn’t change with each new job title. You are still His Beloved.

Repeat after me: you matter. The fact that you woke up this morning means that you have a purpose and that God is not done with you yet. Nothing God has made yet is useless or worthless or of no value.

Repeat after me: tomorrow’s Friday. You made it through another week. Sure, Monday seemed like it would never end and by Wednesday, you weren’t sure you could hold out. Yet here you are, presumably still breathing and with a pulse, reading this like a boss. You made it.

Repeat any or all of these as needed. You can even make up your own mantras to repeat as necessary for whatever situation you’re in. Send some my way if you think of some good ones. I might need them some day.

 

Just Breathe

Sometimes, those moments of anxiety can be overwhelming. You know the feeling. You’re cruising down the interstate or sitting at your desk at work and suddenly, all those worries come crashing down on you. There may not be any logical reason for any of it, but you still find yourself fearful and anxious.

Just breathe.

Remember that today you will face nothing that Jesus hasn’t already overcome. Nothing will come up against you that He hasn’t already defeated on the cross.

He will work out all things for your good. It may not always look like you imagined it would, but in the end, it works out for not just the good but for the best.

Sometimes, you can say a prayer while you’re breathing in and out to calm yourself. I don’t mean a lengthy theological narrative, but a short one-sentence prayer. Maybe even a one- or two-word prayer along the lines of “Thank you” or “Help me.”

Or you can try this prayer I learned from one of Brennan Manning’s books.

When you breathe in, you can say, “Abba Father,” and when you breathe out you can say, “I belong to you,” until it becomes a kind of mantra. Say the words slowly and deliberately as if savoring and meditating on each one.

Repeat as often as necessary or until the meaning of the words finally begins to sink in and fear and anxiety loses their power over you.

It also helps to find a quiet, calm space to be alone for a bit. You may not be able to find a perfectly silent and still atmosphere, but you can find somewhere where you can hear yourself think.

Remember, God is with you. There’s nothing you will face that He can’t get you through. Absolutely nothing.

The end.

Too Good Not to Share

“look — we’re facing some pretty big things, Lord,
And You whisper: “Child, look — look at Me.
Now You’re facing the Best thing, who dwarfs all the other things.”
And we exhale.. and we get it, God, because that is the thing:
Prayer isn’t so much to remind our God of what all the problems are —
but to remind all the problems of who our God is.

And You cup us close tonight and tell us: No matter what you’re facing, look into My face — and know it, feel it: Your God is greater than what you’re trying to face, your God is bigger than what you’re trying to escape, your God is better than anything you’re trying to chase.
And our problems fade in the light of Your gentle face, Your tender embrace….” (Ann Voskamp).

That’s it. “Prayer isn’t so much to remind our God of what all the problems are– but to remind all the problems of who our God is.”

That sentence. For the win.

I got my health insurance premiums for 2016. Apparently, they’re going up over $150 a month. That’s a whole lot of moolah.

But no matter how big my insurance premium gets, God is bigger.

No matter how overwhelmed I’ve felt over the pressing issues facing me, God has been and will always be able.

That’s not a news flash, but it’s a good reminder out there to all the weary and heavy-laden hearts tonight who need to hear it one more time. It’s a great comfort to all those who feel like they’re less than adequate to meet all that life has thrown their way this past week.

No matter what, God will be enough.

Let that be your mantra for the days to come. Let it resound in your heart and mind when the lies come and try to drag you down into defeat.

No matter what, God will be enough.

 

I Believe, I Believe. It’s Silly, But I Believe

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I love the little girl in Miracle on 34th Street. She’s like me and so many others who really and truly want to believe but seem to be running low on faith.

Sometimes, faith IS believing in things when common sense tells you not to. Faith really is the art of believing still even after circumstances and life events haven’t gone your way.

Maybe you’re single with no hope of a spouse in sight, yet you cling tenaciously to a slender thread of faith.

Maybe you’re married to an unbelieving spouse and it’s all you can do to mouth the words ” All things are possible” when it comes to your mate’s salvation.

Maybe it’s a wayward prodigal child or an illness that lingerd. Maybe it’s a dead end job that makes you feel like you’re living a dead end life. Maybe it’s just a general sense of hopelessness and despair.

There’s wisdom in that little girl’s mantra. Good things come to those who keep waiting and hoping. God’s best comes to those who refuse to quit despite everyone else telling them to give up.

I don’t know your specifics or your situation, but I do know God. He hasn’t broken a promise yet or failed to keep His Word. Ever.

Faith isn’t so much holding on to God, but being firmly convinced that He’s holding on to you with everything He’s got and He won’t let go.

We believe, Lord. Help our unbelief.

Amen.