My Monday Morning Cup: Life is Better When You Laugh

Good news doesn’t get as much attention as bad. We’re more apt to gawk at a car wreck than notice the planes successfully navigating the blue skies above. People doing bad things dominate the headlines, burying the good works of many. Good news is thrown in like a bonus, as if to say “Hey look, life ain’t all bad.”  Even then, it’s usually a story about someone doing something good amid an otherwise tough situation.

The old saying “Misery loves company” remains alive and well in our world today, despite our protestations of love and equality for all mankind. I get it. Bad things happen to good people. Living ain’t for sugar cookies.

squad-3370836_1920

Back in the late 1970s, humorist Erma Bombeck wrote a bestseller entitled “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries What Am I Doing in the Pits?”  The book is a collection of humorous anecdotes about family life back in those days. People reading Bombeck’s tales were often caught laughing out loud, even in public.

My late niece, Natalie, used to say “Life is better when you laugh.” She was right.

It’s far too easy to get mired in the murky swamps of darkness and lose sight of the many points of light. We enjoy the freedom to choose where we focus our eyes. We can stare at the gloom and doom around us, crying “Woe is me!” or we can choose to look at the thousand lights of love and laughter surrounding us.

It’s Monday. Which will you choose?

I encourage you to run toward the light, remembering to laugh along the way.

Blessings.

coffee-1117933_1920

Communicating the Wondrous Truth of God’s Love and Mercy

People, past and present, love to communicate and share stories. Throughout our history, we have found new ways to communicate over distances near and far. People want to communicate important moments in their lives and share them with others. Ages ago, in Altimira, Spain and in Lascaux, France, prehistoric people painted cave drawings depicting their existence and their daily struggle to survive. From cave drawings, we advanced to writing letters on papyrus. Papyrus is like thick paper and prepared from the pithy stem of the papyrus water plant. Joined together, side by side, and rolled up in a scroll, papyrus was used to make early forms of books. The alphabet took shape and the Greeks and Romans introduced ways of composing letters, teaching these methods in their schools.

The early Christian church relied on communication to share the Gospel and to spread their faith. Jesus, the son of God, himself, used stories to teach valuable lessons to his followers and vast audiences. While miracles demonstrate God’s power and mercy, parables illustrate God’s grace and judgment. The truths of the parables teach the natural and confirm the inevitable.

beautiful feet

In the mid-1400s, Johaness Gutenberg introduced his printing press to the world, using it to record early church processes and capturing an early written version of the Bible in print. His moveable type press sparked the beginning of the Printing Revolution, making it possible for people to replicate their ideas rapidly and share them with large audiences.

Fast forward to the late 20th century and 1989, the year that public commercial use of the Internet began, followed by the introduction of social media, a group of computer-facilitated technologies that make it easy for people to create and share information, ideas, interests, and many other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks.

Today, more than ever, Christians have a greater ability to spread the Gospel and to share their God-stories with a lost and hurting world. The internet and social media can be great tools to communicate what we are for, what we are about, and how God has transformed our lives for the better. In a barrage of news highlighting our shortcomings and failures, we need to do a better job illustrating that we are for people, not against them.

blog-684748_1920

We can use modern communication methods to show how God has worked in our lives and how He is continually at work around us. We can share stories about having the privilege of joining God in His work and tout the modern-day miracles God is performing in our midst, in a world often too blind to see them or too hard-hearted to accept them.

If the early Christian church grew through sharing stories and letters recorded at the hands and feet of the early disciples, many who were unschooled fisher men, then imagine what we can do to advance the Kingdom with the embarrassing abundance of tools we have available to us to communicate the love, grace, and mercy of God.

We have the tools. How we use them is up to us. We can use them to sow discord or we can let the world hear the Good News that we have, by His grace, come to know.

I pray that you will share what was freely given to you with someone today. Our world needs to hear the Gospel more than ever. When you do, I’d love to hear about it. Please share your experiences in the comments section. Blessings.

blogging-2620148_1920

 

The Seven Wonders of God

The late Reverend Billy Graham once spoke about the seven wonders of God.

Reverend Graham noted that the first wonder of God is His love. Imagine, the Creator of Everything, loves us and is interested in you and me as if we were the only people who had ever lived. This is true even as we sin against Him. God still wants to put His arms around us and tell us, “I love you.”

stone-3339776_1920

Psalm 63:3-4 (ESV)

Because your steadfast love is better than life,

    my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live;

    in your name I will lift up my hands.

In fact, God’s tremendous love for us led to the second wonder of God: God coming to live among us. God became a man named Immanuel-God is with Us. The First Advent of Jesus is God’s second wonder.

Jesus, fully God, fully man, leads us to the third wonder of God: the Cross. It is on the Cross that Jesus died for you and for me. On the Cross, Jesus was pierced for our transgressions and bore our iniquity upon His shoulders. In that excruciating, painful suffering, God laid all our sins on Him, atoning for us what we could not ever possibly atone for ourselves.

paint-2985569_1920

Revelation 3:20 (ESV)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

From the Cross, we derive God’s fourth wonder-the wonder of repentance. To repent means to change direction or to turn around. When we repent, we turn from the wrong path straying away from God to the right path walking with God. Through repentance, we change from our old ways to our new life. Thus, repentance is the fourth wonder of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

lion-577104_1920

Because of the fourth wonder of God, we receive the fifth wonder of God-the gift of peace and joy that comes from Christ. God’s wondrous love and gracious forgiveness is ours to freely receive because of Jesus’ atoning work on the Cross and our repentance.

The sixth wonder of God is His plan for the future. Your future. My future. The future of the world. As believers, we can take comfort in knowing that in the future God will return. Jesus is coming back.

The seventh wonder of God is our individual commitment to Jesus Christ. When we repent and believe, we experience genuine life change. We are rescued from sin and freed from the sting of death. Through our commitment to Jesus, you and I can claim an eternal life spent in the presence of God forever and ever. Amen.

Chris Tomlin-Resurrection Power