The Green-Eyed Monster

We’ve been talking for the last couple of weeks about the loads of life we bear when we try and do it apart from Jesus. We’ve talked about anger and, last week, fear. This week we are talking about yet another load. This time the challenge comes from our not trusting God will provide for us as abundantly as He has promised. If God isn’t doing it, then we have to pick up the slack. When it all depends on us, though, and we see someone who has more than we do, our natural tendency is to envy them for it. Let’s talk more about envy and how Jesus offers us a better way.

The Green-Eyed Monster

Think back with me to your childhood for a few minutes this morning. What were some of your favorite toys? Personally, I was an action figures guy. (And just so we’re clear, those are not dolls for boys. They are totally different.) I had all kinds of action figures and I’d make elaborate set ups all over our basement. To the casual observer it probably looked totally random, but everything was right in its place. All of the various toy catalogues are starting to hit mailboxes around the country. Of course, you won’t be able to find any of the things in them, but it’s still fun to look through them and dream. I know we’ve received at least the Amazon Kids’ Wish Book. The last time I looked through it, I’m pretty sure there was something circled on every single page of the book. I remember doing that. I remember once when my dad was serving as a local judge, sitting in his chambers while court was in session and going through and circling everything I wanted in the Toys R Us catalogue we had just received. 

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Morning Musing: Mark 6:42-43

“Everyone ate and was satisfied. They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you were really and truly satisfied? Follow up question: What was the vehicle for that feeling? Was it perhaps a really good meal? We cooked steaks on New Year’s Eve and they turned out really, really good. We also made some cheese fondue that was right on point. By the time I finished eating, I was satisfied…but a little too full which kind of spoiled the effect. I listened to our oldest taking the lead on a group project while he was in virtual class from my office the other day. He did an absolutely superb job of it. It was like all the little things we’ve told him about getting along with others clicked in place at once. That was pretty satisfying. Whenever I finish a particularly difficult metal model (like the Stormtrooper I’m working on right now), that brings a pretty satisfied feeling with it. How about you? Being satisfied is a good feeling. Well, it’s a feeling that comes part and parcel with the kingdom of God.

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Uncomplicated Relationships

In this final part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we tackle one last area where we all struggle with finding contentment: Our relationships. Relationships can be hard. They can be so complicated. What causes that and how can we fix it? With some wise words from Paul as our guide, we wrap up our journey by answering those very two questions. Thanks for reading.

Uncomplicated Relationships

Around about the time that I was coming through my early teenage years, schools were just beginning to transition from having junior high schools to having middle schools.  My own school district followed the trend pretty closely.  When I was a freshman in high school, they passed a huge bond issue to fund some badly needed new school buildings.  The initial plan was to build three single-grade schools for all the students in the district.  So, they opened Pioneer Ridge Sixth Grade Center, George Caleb Bingham Seventh Grade Center, and they converted my junior high building into the James Bridger Eighth Grade Center.  The first class of those students came in as freshmen during my senior year of high school.  Imagine that—an entire grade who had been entirely on their own for three years.  And the year before that, they were all the last class of fifth graders at their various elementary schools.  Forget about not knowing how the standard school pecking order worked; they didn’t even remember what a pecking order was! 

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A Slower Pace

This week was part five of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life. Last week we started getting more practical about how to live a life of simple contentment in some specific situations. We started with our stuff. This week: Our time. In a world that is busy and chaotic and stressful, when we feel the pressure of life pushing in on us as we run from one thing to the next, how can we slow things down? With an ancient practice that is often misunderstood. Keep reading to find out what that is and what we can do with it.

A Slower Pace

Do you remember going on vacation as a kid?  I remember several different vacations we took.  I remember seeing Disney for the first time and marveling at the magic found there.  I’ll never forget the first time I saw Old Faithful erupt, or gaping in awe at the artistic wonder of Mount Rushmore.  Long will I treasure seeing the history of our nation preserved in the various Smithsonian Museums, sitting in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol Building, and walking the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg.  And the feeling of being small while standing at the base of the giant redwoods in King’s Canyon, California is one that will ever give me perspective on just how big the world is.  I really was privileged to get to go and see a lot of our incredible nation when I was growing up. 

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Use It Well

In this fourth part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we get practical. What does it actually look like to live with the simplicity and contentment found only in Christ in some specific situations that everyone faces? We start this week with a situation that is powerful tempting for just about everyone to seek their contentment somewhere other than Jesus. Keep reading to find out where.

Use It Well

By a show of hands, how many of you have heard of Benny Hinn? The televangelist is a longtime peddler of the Prosperity Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel is a uniquely American heresy (that we have unfortunately exported around the world) which holds that God rewards faithfulness with material blessings, that worldly success is an obvious sign of God’s favor. It holds that the contrary is true as well: Poor health and financial loss and the like are signs of faithlessness on our part. If we aren’t seeing the life outcomes we want to see, it is because we don’t believe strongly enough. Hinn’s specialty is healing. His services are filled with him waving a hand in someone’s direction and that person falling over backwards as she is “slain by the Spirit.” In practice it’s pretty wild stuff.

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