Why I believe

In 1 Peter 3:15, we are told to be ready to explain the hope we have in Christ. I was thinking this morning, why do I follow God? If I were to explain to a non-believing friend how I know that God is real, what would I say? What would you say? Here are some of my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours. The more evidence the better, right?

1. He rescued me from a deep depression over 10 years ago. When I didn’t know where else to turn, when family and friends were no longer able to comfort me, God called to me, consoled me and gave me light. I’ve not succumb to depression like that since.
2. Once you experience the presence of God and His leading, you know He’s real. There is no doubt.
3. He’s faithfully provided for me for 13 years, based on a prayer I prayed when I wasn’t yet walking with Him. I quit my full time job almost 13 years ago now, becoming self employed. The day I quit my job, I prayed to God, “I’m not sure what I’m doing here. Lord, help me. I trust you to care for my needs.” Or something to that effect, anyway. Not once have I ever gone hungry or missed paying a bill.
4. His answers to prayers demonstrate He’s real, He hears and He cares. Pay checks come when I need them most. Friends give me hugs or phone calls when I’m feeling lonely. He provides wisdom, understanding and confidence to lead groups or deliver presentations when I go to Him for help. Even when I’m not fully prepared, or especially when I’m not fully prepared, He seemingly takes over, giving me grace, answers and authority that others trust and follow.
5. He gives me great peace and wisdom when I read His Word. He changed me and my heart as I studied His Word more and more.
6. He has ordered circumstances in such a way that I know that only He could be orchestrating it all. Before I started BSF 9 years ago, three different people, all unknown to each other, suggested that I look into the program. When you hear something three different times, in a matter of days, it gets your attention.
7. Living according to His will, while not always easy, life makes sense. Why am I here? Why do these things happen? What is my purpose? I have a sense of these things because of my faith. I am not a random occurrence.

Why do you believe?

Who I want to be

Ernie is alone in the pasture these days. The first day or two after Boomer left, Ernie naturally was uneasy, pacing and whinnying. I tried to comfort him as much as humanly possible with little success. As hard as I may try, I am no substitute for a horse.

I often try to be things I’m not. I pursue endeavors at the suggestion of others. I put on a happy face at times when I’m not the least bit happy. I can seem outwardly pious when doing anything spiritual is a struggle for me. I strive to meet everyone’s needs and make their lives easier. Much of this is done because it’s what I perceive others would like me to be or do. It’s as though my life is constantly under a microscope with me trying to decipher the details through another’s eyes.

So, here’s the truth: I’m tired. I’m tired of caring about what others think. I’m tired of pretending I am someone I’m not. I cannot live to please others. I can only live for God. As I live In His will and trust Him completely, I will experience perfect peace and freedom. There is no need to strive. No need to worry. No need to fear. No need to be insecure or discouraged. In that state of being, then I will be who I am meant to be – not who others want me to be.

That, my friends, is who I want to be.

Assignment: have fun

I’m reading the Good and Beautiful Life right now. The second book in the apprenticeship series by James Bryan Smith. Like the first book, The Good And Beautiful God, each chapter ends with “homework” intended to draw you closer to God.

The second week’s exercise was relatively simple, or so it may seem: to have fun. The idea was to ignite our inner child, to lighten up. After all, Jesus says in Matthew 19:14: “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” The author suggested a few ways to dive into the assignment, but none really fit me. So, I set out to define my own sense of fun.

That shouldn’t be so hard, right? Wrong.

The intention is good. The practice is very hard though when faced with mounting house and horse chores, work demands, family commitments, travel and a bevy of appointments. The other hurdle for me is an almost complete inability to have fun. I don’t even know what it looks like. What does one do for fun?

So, I pledged I was going to have fun, take a Sabbath. The weather wasn’t stupendous, so riding Ernie was not very appealing. I did something different.

I went shopping.

What was I thinking? I hate shopping. That’s not fun. It is painful. But, it was different.

I am feeling like a lost cause. Can you help a fun-deprived soul find some enjoyment? What do you do for fun?