Searching for the Perfect Life?

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This morning, a powerful thought hit me.  I have been talking to a number of people who are searching for something “more” in their lives.  I read the prayer requests on this site and my heart goes out to those who are hurting.  Today, I realized that whenever you fill one void or solve one problem that it may actually create something else for you to deal with…  Here are a few examples:

Are you lonely because you are single and praying that God will send you a spouse?  Realize that there are married people who are in turmoil and hurting in their relationship with their husband or wife.

Are you unemployed and searching for a job?  Realize that we all need money to survive, but you had the opportunity to sleep in late today and you are free of on the job stress.  Many people who are working wish they could have sometime off from work and time away from their co-workers and supervisors!

Do you like the city you live in?  Your blessings, your happiness could actually be awaiting you in another place…but if you go, there will be things you miss about where you live now…

Are you hurting financially?  Do you know that people with money have alot of headaches too?  They are losing money in the stock market and they constantly have people asking them for money or worse…they have people in their lives who are more concerned about their money than them.

Looking for a higher paying job?  Realize that there are people with high paying jobs that have work piled up because more money alot of times means more responsibility.

These are just a few examples.  My point is that we all seem to be searching for something else, for something more, for something different…and we must remember that those things we seek come with baggage too.  Just look at the people who have what you want…they have problems too!  We must learn to be content with where we are…that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to improve our lives (of course, we should)…but never think that your life would be perfect “only if you had…”  Life is just not designed that way.  Change the things you can, but realize that life still will have its challenges.  Ask God to help you find contentment and happiness despite the things that could be better in your life.

Are you at peace?

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Our Bible lesson for this week focuses on the principle of peace.  When I think of peace, I think of something that is more valuable than any material thing on Earth.  Throughout my life, I have encountered so many people who are not at peace within themselves.  Whether it is a temporary problem they are faced with or a long-term issue in their life, people are searching for relief from that which causes them feelings of worry, fear, shame, discontentment, frustration or unrest.  Life is too short for us to spend it in a state of inner chaos and confusion.  Achieving personal peace will take work and prayer.  If you are one of the many people who seek peace, the first step is to acknowledge that there are emotions going on inside of you that are causing you problems.  After acknowledging the problem, start trying to figure out why those emotions exist and what you can do to feel better.  Often times, our life situations don’t change quickly so we have to change the way we view what’s going on in our lives.  That change in perception can often give us some of the relief we need.  In the Serenity Prayer which is so popular, one of the lines says, “…to accept the things I cannot change”.  Many of us are not at peace about things we have no power to change!  We must accept those things, pray about them and find peace in the fact that God is in control of the things we have no control over.  In 2009, let us all work to be at peace within ourselves…

The Process of Forgiving

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Our Bible lesson this week focuses on forgiveness.  Writing this lesson has been good for me because I have been able to see that while we all know that we must forgive, that for some people forgiveness is a process.  It doesn’t take a long time to do something that causes pain in another person’s life.  An offense can happen in an instant, but it could take years to recover from it.  Being able to forgive, especially when the offense is a major one, usually doesn’t happen overnight.  Rather, it requires much thought, contemplation, prayer, patience and it might require time.  It might be awhile before you reach a point where you can fully release the person who has offended you from the debt they owe you…but you must adhere to the Word of God and do the work that is necessary to reach that place of forgiveness.

The major thing that I gained from this study was that we all need forgiveness.  If you live long enough, there will be a time when you will be hurt and there will be a time when you hurt someone.  When we extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, then we can be hopeful that forgiveness will be extended to us when we hurt someone else.  More importantly, when we forgive those who hurt us, God forgives us when we hurt Him.  When we violate His Word, we disappoint Him.  In the Book of Genesis, the Bible says that the Lord was grieved when he saw the sinful state of man.  He was in pain.  He was disappointed then, and I imagine that He is disappointed now when we veer off-course in our lives as it relates to our walk with Him.  We all need grace and mercy.  If you’ve been hurt, realize that sin and a need for self-gratification causes many people to temporarily lose their mind and do things they might not otherwise do.  This is no excuse for bad behavior, but it kind of explains why people make some of the horrendous decisions they do and end up hurting us.  We have to give people room to be human and forgive them when they make mistakes.  Forgiveness is tough.  In many cases, it takes time and effort to fully release feelings of hurt, disappointment and anger.  Decide today to work on forgiving that person who has offended you.  You will feel much better when you let go of the pinned up negative emotions that have prevented you from having peace in your life.

Carl