BY MEGAN OAKS
For the past few weeks my family and I have been doing some summer traveling. As I’m sure any of you with kids know, traveling can be a lot of fun and at the same time very daunting.
I typically go into these times with the highest hopes, full of anticipation for new things we’ll see, memories we’ll make and the bonding my three acorns will share. My husband on the other hand, the yin to my yang, tends to have a less positive outlook on the experience; he calls it realistic, I call it negative.
Either way, our trip always ends up landing somewhere in the middle of our ideas, yet so far we’ve survived and some would say are stronger from the experience.
As we were traveling a few weeks ago with some extended family, making our way to Roswell NM, my 5 year old daughter asks me from the backseat “Mom, are we there yet”… those infamous four words that loom like a dark cloud on every family road trip.
BY JAMES DAMAN
Pokémon Go is a mobile app game that was released this past month and has been downloaded millions of times. The game allows players to capture virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as though in the real world. You then train them and bring them into "gym's" to battle on your behalf. I often wish that life worked like the game does, I wish we get to watch something else experience the pain in life on our behalf and I wish we could choose everyone who comes into our life.
Unfortunately in real life, we do not get to pick who comes into our lives and oftentimes those who come into our life are difficult to deal with.
Furthermore, we don't get to pick and choose the battles we face and when we face battles in our lives we have the possibility of getting hurt, while in Pokémon Go our Pokémon are the ones that get hurt.
When we face a difficult person, we don't realize that many of them have been difficult people for so long that it has become an identity for them. Or they identify as an addict, someone who is constantly angry or unhappy, or something else that causes them to manifest as a difficult person.
The only thing I've learned from Pokémon Go is that it is not designed to teach us life lessons, it's just for fun and I do love playing it. But, if I'm seeking those answers from Pokémon Go then it's a good reminder that I certainly don't have all the answers in life. But, it did help remind me of lessons from the bible that playing Pokémon Go sparked in my life:
BY ELLEN MARTIN
Do you have that person (or people) in your life that are just hard to get along with? I am guilty of ending things badly or making a bad situation worse. It may be easier to just write people off that frustrate and aggravate you and never speak to them again. Is this what God wants for us, though?
Romans 12:17-18 says “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Verse 19 goes on to say “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’”.
God commands us to live at peace with everyone. I would be the first to admit that this is very difficult to do. I have a tendency to not back down and to have the last word. We need to allow God to be in control. As Romans 12:19 says, we do not need to avenge ourselves. We need to trust God with our hurts, offenses, and other wrongs people have done to us.
Ellen Martin | @ellenmartin03
One of the things I struggle with is being anxious and worrying about things. I know that Jesus provides, but it is difficult to fully trust Him with everything. Matthew 6:31-33 notes what Jesus said about anxiety: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
We are to concern ourselves with seeking the kingdom of God; not about things that need not be worried about. As followers of Jesus, we should be concerned about spreading the Gospel, not about daily things. While it is true that we go through hard times, Paul instructs us in Philippians 4:6-7: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Although these verses are often quoted, it is comforting to know that we can give our burdens and anxieties over to God and He will give us peace.
Greg Stokley | @gregstokley
On a rainy Friday night, an old friend of mine passed away.
He was in his prime, with a wife, a daughter, and a son on the way.
On a rainy night in April, God took him away.
It was sudden. It was tragic. The next day I sat with his parents, deep in grief and disoriented in loss. Sure, I was grieving too, but they had lost a son. Their world had been rocked to its very core. I couldn’t comprehend it. I always have words to say to someone. That day, words escaped me. Command over words is one of the gifts I have been blessed with, but on that day the words wouldn’t come.
Aaron Jeffries | @churchhusher
After arriving home my children ran from the van, to the door, as they do every time. Typically my oldest wins the race as he knows the fastest way to get there. This time however, my youngest won the race and my oldest threw a fit.
After calming the situation down, (my wife and I don’t talk to our children like babies we explain things to them) I told him not to be so consumed with winning, that sometimes it is okay to lose. After a little whimper and sigh it was over and now they’re back to being best of friends.
I say all this to say that too often our being right and them wrong is celebrated -- when our ultimate goal in life is to glorify the Father in heaven. While on earth Jesus had to deal with a lot of argumentative folks, and every time Jesus opened His mouth, he was right and they were wrong. But he didn't argue. He stated the truth and let those who heard make up their minds.
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, SO THAT YOU MAY NOT GROW WEARY OR FAINTHEARTED. Hebrews 12:2-3, Emphasis mine
Aaron Jeffries lives in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. He is married to his beautiful wife Kristen, and has been blessed with two amazing little boys. Join him as he writes about life and our amazing Heavenly Father. He can be reached on Twitter at @churchhusher.
Kevin Welborn | @theKevinWelborn
I don’t have a nemesis. Some days, I want a nemesis. At least an archenemy. Archenemies are typically less diabolical than nemesises. Nemesisises…nemesisi. What is the plural of nemesis? It doesn’t matter, I am certain that no one is allowed more than one nemesis.
Anyway, if I had a nemesis I would at least always have something to do. If I was bored, I could just conjure up some scheme that would antagonize my rival. When shenanigans happened, people would just comment, “Oh, it’s just Kevin and the Bad Guy again”. Were a nemesis to be had, make no mistake that tomfoolery and escapades would be a certainty.
The real truth is that I do not want an enemy. Much less an archenemy. Now, I know that the Bible calls Satan “the enemy”, but I mean that I do not want another human being to be my enemy. I am also aware that preaching the Gospel of Jesus will be very offensive to some.
But to have a bona fide enemy? That is a heavy thought.