Mud spreading? Positive thoughts on negativity

Tired of negativity?

I am.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I’m noticing an awful lot of mudslinging by Christians. Not all of them actually throw mud bombs. Some of them quote others and post links about mud—sharing it secondhand.

Secondhand mud is slime.

I don’t want slime, either.

We all have our own views on politics, religion, race relations, and various and sundries. I think it’s okay to differ on these to some extent. Each person is entitled to his opinion.

I’m not sure, though, that Christians realize how they affect others when they freely share dirt.

Aren’t we supposed to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)? That’s what the Bible says. We also combat sinful stuff with thankfulness and praise (Ephesians 5:4).

The psalmist said he was actually thinking about God, and it produced joy in his life. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD (Psalm 104:34).

This is why, when I see Christians spreading mud all over a grassy field, it grieves my heart.

What can we share instead? Let me suggest a few ideas:

  • beauty and good design
  • fun
  • Bible verses—Truth
  • praises to God
  • good news stories—dog, cat or child found; someone did something wonderful for someone else; success, achievement; kindness; good testimonies, etc.
  • nice photography
  • tributes
  • happy faces
  • beautiful music
  • artwork

Surely, you’ve thought of something else that reflects Christ, brings happiness to others, and actually points people to the Lord.

Quoting the old Mission Impossible opening, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it,” is to spread good stuff.

Not mud.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Over and over again: the routines of life

I woke up this morning and noticed the bathroom sink needs cleaned again. I’m just about ready to get my second cup of coffee and make my cereal concoction—again. Later, I will mess up the kitchen with our main meal preparation and afterwards clean it all up—again.

The rhythms of life include doing a lot of tasks again and again and again.

Get up, work and mess up, clean up.

Repeat.

All day long.

Every day.

These rhythms and tasks are good for us. Did you know that? Much of our life—think about it—is spent in mundane activities. Showers, laundry, kitchen jobs, washing the car, repairing things, driving, grocery shopping. They have a purpose, or we wouldn’t do them.

Do you want food? Tend a garden or go to the store—or both.

Want a clean home? Someone has to clean it. Ideally, everyone in the family contributes.

In life, whatever is worthwhile requires work. Even prayer and Bible reading mean discipline. Ever notice?

One of the most brilliant and gifted men the world has ever known wrote perhaps the most mind-boggling book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I’d like to share some tidbits of wisdom about the mundane things of life. Let’s listen to Solomon.

  • What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God (3:9-13).
  • The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much (5:12a).
  • Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might (9:10a).
  • By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through (10:18).
  • Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (12:13-14).

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do today, even if it’s the same old thing, do it with thy might.

May we find joy in the mundane and do our everyday tasks as unto the Lord.

God bless you.

Is it okay for Christians to beg?

Not too long ago, several of my friends were in dire straits. Each had health limitations, money problems, and other difficulties in their lives. They reached out for help—and people were more than happy to lend a hand, a vehicle, bring a meal, and wash some laundry. When the need was known, Christian friends were there for them.

I know it must’ve been humbling to say, “I can hardly move, and I need help,” but it was the right thing to do. That’s what the body of Christ is all about. We let our needs be known, and our fellow Christians take up the slack for us. They have the opportunity to minister. Someday, when we feel better, we can do the same for them.

Letting needs be known is different from begging. Begging is asking for charity and not going through the proper channels.

When King David was an old man, he said, I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread (Psalm 37:25).

God indeed promises to provide all our needs.

But, the truth is, sometimes Christians suffer.

Many years ago, I found out that a widow in our church had been eating watery soup for more than a month because she had no money. The church could have helped her, had we any idea at all. But, she was ashamed, and we didn’t know. Therefore, she suffered.

Others are disobeying God, and sometimes God chastises. Of course, we aren’t God, and we can’t tell when it’s chastisement or not, but there are times I wonder. Not too long ago, someone called my pastor husband, saying they didn’t have anything at all in the house to eat. Knowing the backstory, it was sadder than the simple need for food. Was this God’s trying to get this person’s attention, so he would do right? I don’t know.

Some Christians refuse to work, because they like welfare, and the work they’re qualified to do doesn’t pay much. They would prefer to sit back and let the government take care of them—and complain it’s not enough. The Bible says (talking about those who are physically able), For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

It goes further. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8). The Bible has harsh words for those who are lazy.

I personally admire someone who advertises, “Will work for food.” Good for him!

Do you have a need?

Have you prayed? Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:7, 11b)

Did you let your pastor know? Speaking about the relationship between church members and pastors, the Bible says, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).

Hudson Taylor, George Müller, and other godly men of the past purposed in their hearts to depend upon the Lord alone and not publicly announce their needs. They prayed, and God answered. For Taylor, who lived in China, the help was often on the way before he actually prayed. Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (Matthew 6:8b). Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3).

If you don’t have pressing needs at this time, and you can share with others, see who you can help. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

Sometimes, a person only needs a hug and encouraging words. But, some people need the use of a car for a day or two, or a meal, or a helping hand at home, or someone to watch the children for a few hours. You can make someone’s day by helping others.

If you don’t know who needs help, ask your pastor.

Is it okay for Christians to literally beg? I don’t think so.

Can you let your needs be known? Yes, absolutely, and you should at least let the Lord know about them in prayer.

Should you offer to work for pay? Of course, if you are physically able.

As a church, should we be looking out for others? Yes. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).

God has met our needs many times when we prayed about them. At least some of those answers were miraculous. God burdened others to help us in the amount we needed at the right time. He is a loving Father and delights in hearing His children’s petitions.

May He use you to meet others’ needs—and your own.

If you’d like to share a personal testimony about how God met a specific need, please feel free to comment.

Disappointments

I will never forget how disappointed I was when I saw Plymouth Rock. My impression from history books was that it would be an outcropping, a large rock—like Gibraltar. But, it wasn’t. Our family walked over to it, looked down from the railing, and it was only a stone. To be fair, it’s a big stone and probably weighs a few tons. Stamped with 1620, it’s thought to be the same one the Pilgrims saw.

I was dumbfounded. This is it? Okay, let’s move on. Why even include this rock in the history books?

For an entirely different reason, I was disappointed with the site of Custer’s Last Stand at Little Big Horn—the great battle between the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Native American tribes against the Seventh Calvalry Regiment of the United States Army. Legend has it that only one army man survived. They were entirely outnumbered, and it was a sad day.

My disappointment, however, was in the signage. At the time of our visit, there were some fine granite monuments, detailing the happenings during the battle from sites that overlook the battlefield. A desolate, hilly place, one can easily picture the action.

One of these monuments divided the words as needed in order to fit its tapered shape: TR-OOPS and BESIE-GED were two of the hyphenating gems we noted, carved with care into the beautiful gray granite. My family was cracking up. I am sure General Custer felt worse than “oops” when he perceived the multitude surrounding him.

We quoted “Bessie-Jed” the remainder of our trip. It was funny but disappointing that the stone carver wasn’t more familiar with rules for syllable divisions. It’s amazing that the National Park Service actually put up those stones without correcting them. TR-OOPS, for sure!

All of us have been disappointed at one time or another—and not only with stones. We might be disappointed in people and circumstances.

My father used to sing a song, “There’s No Disappointment in Jesus.”*

“There’s no disappointment in Jesus, He’s more than my tongue can tell; His love is so sure and so steadfast, His friendship divine will not fail.  

Chorus: There’s no disappointment in Jesus, He’s all that He promised to be; His love and His care comfort me everywhere; He is no disappointment to me.”

When everything around us is crazy—as it is now—Jesus never changes. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). This means that the same God who created the world, parted the Red Sea and dried the path, led His people with a column of fire and cloud, and then sent His Son for us is the same God we know today.

That same Jesus who healed the sick, raised the dead, read men’s thoughts, and cast out demons is with us today.

There is no disappointment in Jesus. He’s perfect. He loves you. He saves. He rescues. He’s a refuge for us. We can call out, and He actually translates our prayers to God. He acts as a lawyer, representing us to God. He cares.

I don’t know what you face today. Whatever it is, you can run to Jesus. There is no disappointment in Him.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

*by John C. Hallett, 1940.

The message in misspellings

Social media is full of misspelled memes.

My students, who are excellent texters, don’t use capital letters, periods, or correct spelling. I crack up at “thx sra keiser.” I understand it, and it’s okay—unless we’re doing Spanish verbs or vocabulary. If the word is not correct or recognizable, it gets marked wrong.

A bakery’s sign says, “Don’t forget to pick up bread with tongues.” Too funny!

Bible verses get misspelled, too. I saw several on social media today. One would think that the writers would double-check Scripture, but then again, maybe not. I remember reading about the scribes back in the first centuries who copied the Bible by hand. If they made a mistake, the whole page had to be destroyed and started it over. I can’t even imagine.

What do misspellings say about us? I am not sure, but here are some ideas:

  • Spelling is not my gift. I can understand this one, as I have known lots of brilliant people who don’t spell well. I advise young people to use spell check when they go to college. It will literally save their lives.
  • I never proofread. This person is in a hurry to get it said and whoosh out the door.
  • The way I spell isn’t important to me. I’m not sure why, but it seems this person’s crowd is growing exponentially.
  • Texting is the way I communicate, and good spelling isn’t needed, lol. Yes, just laugh out loud.

I’m afraid, though, misspellings, especially in memes, make the writer seem ignorant.

You and I know that’s not so. Maybe it was someone in a hurry, or he’s a texter.

But, the finished project isn’t excellence.

I went to a Christian university that pushed students towards excellence—in every part of their studies. It’s important to strive for it. No one will achieve perfection, though. I still misspell sometimes. Everyone who writes misses a key from time to time. I proofread and still sometimes miss them.

Where am I going with this?

We need to give folks the benefit of the doubt. When you see a mistake, recognize that you make mistakes, too. Be generous in your judgments—or don’t even make a judgment on mistakes.

The Bible says, in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves  and that real love thinketh no evil (Philippians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:5).

We all make errors. Everyone, even the best writer, makes spelling mistakes.

But, it goes much further. God loved us, knowing we were nothing better than sinners. He gave His Son to pay for our sins. That is ultimate love, the most amazing example of unselfishness. In order to give eternal life to His creation, guiltless Jesus paid for sin. Anyone—no matter what the sins committed—can go to heaven, if he accepts this amazing gift.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We often forget the next verse. It’s about the way Christians are supposed to act. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

The next time you notice a misspelling in a meme, smile and say to yourself, “Maybe he was in a hurry.”

And, don’t use your tongue to get bread. Please use the tongs.