Is it worth the price?

How many times do you ask yourself this question?

Unless you have a black AmEx card or unlimited trust fund, you likely weigh the cost of items against the benefit gained. A new pair of shoes, a certain cut of meat, a new sofa.

Sometimes it is well worth it. Other times you decide to pass.

You may even later regret the choice you made. But you still made a calculated decision.

Do you do the same for your spiritual choices?

I’m not talking about the big ones, the ones that leave you begging God to intervene. I’m talking about the little day-to-day ones that destroy your peace, one rotten worm at a time.

For me, it was the neighbor’s dog.

This dog had been let loose and kept coming into my yard, claiming it as his own. He’d pee all over my porch and aggressively antagonize my dogs. They became scared to go outside in their own yard and we would have to stand next to them just so they could relieve themselves.

I was upset.

About five days in, I realized that my simmering frustration had given way to full-blown anger. And it was affecting every area of my life.

It is hard to write about the peace of God when you no longer feel it.

It is hard to sleep at night when you are boiling over inside.

And it is hard to keep the anger inside from manifesting in your conversations with others.

I had to weigh the cost.

Now I’ll be honest. I love my dogs like they are my own children.

And I’m a mama bear when it comes to my kids.

So this wasn’t an easy decision.

That, in itself, was a little frightening.

But I knew that allowing the situation to rob me of life, of peace, of a right relationship with God was NOT worth the price. Not at all.

It took me about three more days before I was able to let it go.

It took prayer, asking God for help.

It took compassion, knowing the neighbors were going through a difficult time that made my inconvenience pale in comparison.

It even took understanding of the dog, who wanted the same attention we showed our own dogs after being forgotten in the midst of their struggles. He wasn’t a mean dog; just huge and instinctively responding to our dogs’ fear.

The bottom line was, right or wrong, I had to let it go.

There’s no such thing as justified anger with God.

As soon as I did, the situation resolved itself.

Weigh the cost of your spiritual decisions. The Lord has already paid the price.

Gear Up: Gratitude

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on GRATITUDE!

The saying is popular: Have an attitude of gratitude. It’s often used to informally measure a person’s progress in a rehab facility. Perhaps unfair, but maybe also a little accurate. For all of us.

We aren’t grateful for what we have if we keep focusing on what we don’t. If we allow negativity to pollute our thoughts and our words, how do we show the light of Christ?

To ensure that YOU have the attitude of gratitude, do these three things this week:

Make a list of things to be grateful for. (Home, health, purple binder that reminds you of home…)

Tell at least three people how thankful you are for them. (It could be the barista at the coffee shop, the IT guy who fixes your computer, your spouse for taking out the trash…)

Ask the Lord for forgiveness for all the times you’ve been unthankful and to remove the negativity from your heart.

There’s only one wedge in Heaven

I’m a great Trivial Pursuit player.

I can tell you which peanut butter choosy Moms choose and who thinks you deserve a break today. I can tell you who sings most of the current hits on the Billboard 200 and quote every single episode of Friends.

I know entirely too much about who Taylor Swift’s songs are about for a 50-year old and the platforms of every Miss America contestant in any given year.

TBH, I’m sorry not sorry that I think my Bae is on fleek. If you can’t speak millenial, don’t worry. #JOMO

I’m a boss on game nights!

But sitting in Bible study last Sunday, we were reading 2 Corinthians 2.

And this verse jumped out at me:

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Paul wasn’t learning about the latest fads. He didn’t care what entertainment all the rage. He wasn’t even focused on church history.

It was Jesus Christ and him crucified.

When I stand in front of the Lord, He isn’t going to want to know how many behind-the-scenes secrets of box-office hits I know. He won’t quiz me on the New York Times bestseller list.

I’ll get one wedge and one wedge only- Jesus Christ and him crucified.