I feel like I've done a bunch of things wrong lately. I feel like I’ve done something morally wrong. Like I’m a criminal, or a bad person. Like I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar when I never actually put it in. Or accidentally put it in. The fact is I’m a rule follower and I don’t like looking bad.
Some argue it’s easy to love God when life is comfortable. But I propose that it’s actually harder to stay close to and rely on him during these times. How do I nurture our relationship when life is fine, ordinary, and boring? What about when there isn’t a crisis, a hurt, or a longing to take to him?
“Getting rid of stuff makes me feel lighter,” my daughter-in-law said. Without thinking, I responded, “I don’t believe I’ll have the means to replace something if I let it go so I keep it just in case I might need it.” Even as the words were out of my mouth, my heart knew the truth. I still operate out of a scarcity mindset.
I received my Covid-19 vaccines with mixed emotions. Grateful for some form of protection while aware that absolute immunity is not guaranteed. Concerned about the possibility that I subjected myself to unnecessary risk, yet heartened by the prospect of mitigating it.
Leading a recent zoom book discussion on "When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference" by Carolyn Custis James reminded me why I have given away and recommended this book more than any other.
Let me introduce my guest writer: a worker with my agency serving in the Balkans. She originally wrote this for her own newsletter, but it is so good I want to share it with my readers with her permission.
I love a good benediction. There is something about the blessing spoken over me that I appreciate. I feel prepared to go out and do what the Spirit has directed me to do. However, Jude doesn’t conclude his letter this way. He directs us upward toward God. Our appropriate and only response is a doxology—an expression of praise to God!
"How do I know the Bible is true? Is God real? Is Jesus really God? I think the morality standards in the Bible no longer apply today. God loves everyone, so he won’t send any to eternal torment. The Bible is a book of nice stories but not the foundation for truth so it doesn’t matter how I live my life." Help for dealing with these questions and comments from my friends and loved ones can be found in Jude’s short New Testament letter.