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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Finding the Answer in a World Burning with Questions

People are battling discouragement and are seeking encouragement. They want to see change and experience transformation. People are hurting. Lacking confidence many are searching for answers in a world burning with questions.

So who can you turn to for hope amid the struggles that accompany our journey in a seemingly upside-down, chaotic world?

Jesus.

The presence of evil is as clear as the day is long.  An ever-increasing desensitization to suffering and violence, and the devaluation of life in all its forms fill the news headlines. We have become experts in pointing fingers, lacking accountability, and failing to accept responsibility. We shout at God when misery wreaks havoc in the world while simultaneously screaming that no such God really exists. We have grown to believe that the power of prayer is irrelevant and view the words of Scripture as  powerless. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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We have grown immune to violence, deception, and corruption. If we are all basically good, how did this happen?

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:15 (NIV)

Sin.

Humans separated themselves from God because of sin. While we would like to see ourselves as being basically good, the ugly reality is we have an innate tendency to do the wrong thing (Psalm 51). We have selfish hearts living in a world that celebrates seeking one’s self-interest.  We like to follow our own will rather than the will of God. We seek to satisfy the desires of our own heart instead of seeking to have a heart for the things of the Lord. Scripture is clear. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If we claim to have no sin, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8-10).

God provided a solution to our sin problem that separates us from Him (Mark 2:17).

While forgiveness and salvation can’t be earned, (Titus 2:11), we have a bridge that can help us find the way back to God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Scripture tells us that all we have to do is ask God to forgive us and make a conscious choice to follow Christ (Acts 20:21). The death and resurrection of Jesus provides the only way to restoring our relationship with God. Trusting in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and confessing our sins to Him, opens the door to salvation (John 3:16, Romans 10:9). When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, giving each of us the power to live a Christian life (Romans 8:2, 6). The Spirit gives us strength to withstand the trials and temptations. All anyone of us has to do is accept through faith the gift of grace God has provided for us through His son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

Alone, you can’t change the world. But you can accept the One who is able to transform you exceedingly abundantly above all you can think, ask, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Life change begins with true heart change. That change comes through Jesus. He alone is the answer.

Personlized Serenity Prayer Edited

Keith & Kristyn Getty-“In Christ Alone”

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