This past weekend I helped at a Winterfest event. It is so funny....I teach at these events, but I find-probably like alot of other teachers--that the lessons are often as much for me as the kids!
Trust God No Matter Who You Are--For this lesson we studied the Roman Guard that had great faith in Jesus....Jesus called his faith amazing! Can you imagine amazing Jesus? I cannot fathom this! This guy was probably the last person that you would expect to have great faith...but he did. The world tries to tell us that we are not good enough....it tries to throw all of our past and our mistakes and our history in our face...but guess what. The world's story for us is NOT the story God has planned for us!
Trust God No Matter How You Feel--We often don't feel it....We don't feel worthy, it isn't fun, it makes us different. The story here was Jesus and Lazarus. Lazarus got sick....they sent for Jesus. He took his sweet time getting there. Lazarus died in the meantime and Jesus did not get there for three days. This story reminded me about Becky. I can really imagine how Lazarus' sisters felt when Jesus didn't make it in time and then performed a miracle. The point is that God is in control all the time...whether we feel it or not, we need to trust him.
Trust God No Matter What Other People Do--This story was about Judas. It was interesting getting ready for this lesson. Jesus clearly knew what Judas would do even before he chose him as a disciple. He KNEW. He knew the whole time he was teaching him and hanging out with him. But, he still did it. He still chose him and hung out with him and taught him. We are always going to be surrounded by people who disappoint us. But, we cannot blame that on God. We cannot use other people and their failures as an excuse to not trust God. An interesting side note came up during this lesson. We talked about how Judas felt so bad after he betrayed Jesus that he gave the money back and killed himself. We talked about how this was another big mistake he made. What he should have done was ask God to forgive him. We all mess up and sometimes we feel so bad about it that we reject God or pull away. That is not what we should do! We need to draw close to him and really trust him during those times.
Trust God No Matter What Happens--Jesus died on the cross. God's plans pretty much NEVER look like I think they are going to! Seriously, just about never....I am sure that when he died on the cross, the Roman's were excited. I bet they thought "woo hoo! That was easy." And all of Jesus' followers probably thought, "Wait, what just happened here...this isn't right. This isn't how this is supposed to go." But, clearly God had it under control and had something very special up his sleeve. What an amazing thing. It is so easy to get bogged down with life when things do not go the way we think they should...but me must remember that God is ALWAYS in control.
Trust God No Matter Where You Are--For this lesson Jesus met the disciples on the beach and cooked them breakfast. This was the third time he had revealed himself to them and somehow they still did not recognize him immediately. They figured it out pretty quickly though. I think it is easy to be a Christian when you are on a mission trip, or at camp, or in church. But, we sometimes forget when we are out and about. It is alot harder when people are looking at us funny or they are doing fun things that are things we should not be doing. The tempatation is great. We have to trust that God is still there and will help us if we ask. I think we also need to remember that God shows up different ways and keep our eyes open to recognize him when he shows up. It may be a song or a friend or a Bible verse or even a thought that pops into our brain....
Sunday, February 3, 2013
The other night a friend and I were talking and he joked with me and said (looking at my empty water glass) so is it half full or half empty....I laughed and said, neither it is empty. Those words came back to me today. Last night I got sick with this yuckiness that has been going around. And then this morning I woke up to a freezing house. My furnace had stopped working. I tried everything I could think of to fix it and prayed for it to be something easy and cheap to fix...But, it would not work. I went out to get new batteries for the thermostat as a last ditch effort before I had someone come out to look at it and frankly I was just about in tears. I told a couple of people what was going on and followed with, "I cannot seem to catch a break ever..." Followed by, "But, it could be worse....furnaces can be fixed." And that is when those half full / half empty words came back to me. I almost always follow bad news or something negative with something positive like, "it will get better" or "it could be worse", or "at least...." I think most of us do that. Someone dies and we say, "Well, at least they are in a better place." We lose our jobs and we say, "Something better will come along." We break up with someone and we say, "It's ok, there are other fish" or "There is someone perfect for you waiting out there and now you are free to find them." My question is...is it ok to just say life stinks sometimes? Can we just say, "My cup is empty right now, period"? I don't have the answer. I always feel bad when I complain. I try to laugh about it and smile it off...but is it ok not to do that sometimes? We all know people who complain all the time and are generally a drain to be around. I don't want to be like that, but is it real to always have a smile on your face? Is it real to always put a positive spin on things? I just don't know....I am going to have to wrestle on this for a bit. I would love to hear your thoughts on this!