Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Humor in Christianity

If you grew up in church or go to church now, you may notice that most of the portraits of Jesus are either serious, humble, painful, or just plain sad. In fact, these are the kinds of images of Jesus we see more than 90% of the time whether it's in church, on TV, online, or anywhere else.

I'm not saying that Jesus wasn't a serious person. He was humble to his Heavenly Father, prayed very sincerely and whole-heartedly, went through a lot of pain and suffering to save us from sin, and was very serious about God's Will and Purpose for him on this Earth in human flesh. That is why we do see the many serious, sad and painful pictures of him.

But Jesus was also a very joyful and pleasant person! 

Being a Christian isn't about fun and games, but it isn't merely serious and orthodox either. Take advantage of the freedom we have to express our faith in many different ways...including humor!

Looking for some good Christian humor? 
Keep reading!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Devotional: Are Hardships also "Good" Ships?

Each and every one of us go through very difficult times in life. That's a given. If you didn't have ups and downs, you would be dead (according to the picture).

But knowing that life is supposed to be full of ups and downs doesn't make it any easier to cope with difficult times....

Whether it's the loss of a loved one, getting fired from a job, financial stress, depression, loneliness, health issues, divorce, or anything else you may be going through, there are 5 things you should meditate on when hardships strike:

1) God is in control.
    • "Thank you, God, for unanswered prayers, broken hearts, and unexpected turns in life...for I now realize the importance and depth of putting my complete trust in your unfailing and ultimate plan for my life. I know I will be able to look back on these difficult times and see that you had the perfect plan for me all along and that better things are always yet to come for those who love you. Your will be done, not mine. Thank you, God, for everything..."   -Anonymous

2) Change your attitude and perspective on the situation.

3) The best is yet to come.

4) No matter how bad your situation may be, somebody (somewhere) will always be in a WORSE situation than you.

5) God has 3 answers to your prayers:

The Devotional Part:

So why are Hardships also "Good Ships?" 

The typical (yet true) answer to this question is: Hardships make you stronger, wiser, prepare you for future hardships, change your perspective on life, and give you the ability to help others cope with similar difficult times.

But hardships do more than that...

They make you realize your need for God and turn to Him for guidance and comfort. They help you to realize that GOD is in control of your life, has a plan for your life, and wants you to put your full trust in HIS plan...instead of you trying to be the one in control of your life. He is the only one who sees what is yet to come and He knows what you must go through in order to get you where He wants you

Some have "harder" ships because they have fallen further from where they need to be and have a bigger U-Turn to take in order to get off the bumpy road heading further South. Some reject the unexpected turn God is trying to take them on and instead, try to be the one in control of the steering wheel of their life. They want to go down the path they think is right, but that God knows will just lead them to more destruction. And they wonder why God keeps allowing more hardships to come in their life? He is trying to get their attention...and some need more "attention grabbers" than others. Some need more caution and construction "signs" that are attempting to delay their path to further destruction or to warn them from getting in a horrible "wreck" down the road (a.k.a. hitting rock bottom).

Put your full trust in God and remember that your hardships are good ships, because God has a beautiful and wonderful plan for your life and He is always faithful. His plan never fails and if you try to steer the wheel in a different direction, He will throw some "attention grabbers" in order to get your life back on the track He wants you on. His plan will always succeed, but if you don't allow Him to control every part of your life or trust that He will fulfill His Will (not yours), then God will have to put you on a detour (which may be a bumpier road then you were hoping for), which will still finish at the place God wanted you to be all along....it'll just take you longer to get there, and probably more of a pain. Trust in God with every part of your life and he will direct your path and make it straight.

  • You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. -Proverbs 19:21

  • More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:3-5

  • "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9

  • The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you."-Psalm 32:8

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take. -Proverbs 3:5-6

  • For the Lord grants wisdom. From His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. -Proverbs 2:6-9

  • "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you," declares the Lord. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him. 
  • -Psalm 32:8-10

  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7