Monday, March 21, 2011


“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

-English Proverb

“If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, you can bet the water bill is higher.”


So many of us feel that 'the grass is greener on the otherside' and too often we think of the 'what if' situations we passed up on in our lives. Some of us spend way too much time thinking about our past that it begs the question: How is it that you and I are able to live a full life if you and I constantly keep looking back on what might have been instead of where we are now and why? An interesting conundrum isn't it?

Jesus said: 'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.' (John 10:10) Yet, in our attempt to life to fullest you and I continue to struggle in our day to day choices-between what's right and wrong, between what we think we can get away with and things we think are so innocent that we haven't the foggiest concerning how it will affect us weeks, months, and even years from now. The interesting thing here is that most, if not all, of our struggles come from our own selfishness. James puts it this way: 'What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.' (James 4:1-2)

So what is it that you've been personally struggling with lately? Does it concern school, work, the internet, a guy, a gal, or something you wish had or haven't done?

We only need to look to the book of Gensis to understand that this is an ancient problem-original sin (Genesis 3). You and I constantly struggle with guilt-sometimes guilt for things that we've done or left undone and even guilt for things we're about to do knowing full well it isn't the right thing to do.

When we examine the case of Adam and Eve we find out that God tells Adam that he can eat from any fruit in the Garden of Eden with exception to the tree 'of the knowledge of good and evil.' And that if he does eat from this tree he would die. (Genesis 2:15-17) Now, shortly after that, God created Eve (Genesis 2:18-23) who would be Adam's life long companion-his wife as we might consider her today. Anyway, in chapter three things get interesting in that the serpent creates doubt in Eve's mind. He plays with the 'verbage' of God's instructions concerng the fruit from the 'tree of knowledge'. He asks Eve: 'Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?' And after her reply of truth he goes on and says: 'You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.' (Genesis 3:1-7)

The rest is as we would say...'history,' but I would be inclined to disagree. Why? Because when God was searching for them as a parent might for their lost child in a mall or grocery store, God continues to ask 'where are you'? He asks that of you and I even today. Like Adam and Eve who were convinced they weren't good enough (naked, ashamed, confused, and worried of judgment), we too are convinced we aren't good enough to be loved or forgiven by friends, family members, and God. We find ourselves feeling as though we're too guilty or too sinful to be loved or forgiven.

*We need to note that once they were 'busted' the blame game began...Adam blamed Eve and then Eve blamed the serpent...this type of thing still exists today. Sometimes we fail to take responsibility for our own actions and place the blame on others and some of us even place too much blame upon themselves.

Now, the grass can seem greener on the otherside, but you and I already know what lies on the 'otherside'. We've seen the brokenness of others who have made some poor choices and many of us have endured our own misadventures there and back too.

I liked the second quote better concerning the grass being greener and that there's a higher price to pay for it. Too often we don't think about the price we might have to pay-loss of sleep, friendship, health, and even love.

For far too long you and I have listened to the seeds of doubt created by fears (in our past and near future) and have made ourselves too timid and unsure of our worthiness as 'the beloved'. Some have let this become too crippling and debilitating that it's cost them more than they ever imaged. It's time to stop listening to the 'great deceiver' who whispers seeds of doubt and hope we nurture it.

You and I can live life to the fullest and have it abundantly, but we must stop reliving the past and thinking about the 'what if' scenarios in our lives. If we continue to live in the past we will surely have a sad future filled with regret.

Remember, the grass may be greener, but there's always a price to pay...pray about it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


'So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.'

'Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.'

Now, depending on which tranlsation you have, the first quote may actually use the word 'anxious' instead of worry. What's interesting is that they aren't the same-yet worry and anxious is used interchangingly. Worry creates anxiety in my mind...but lets take a closer look at the words themselves:
Worry- to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; a cause of uneasiness or anxiety...
Anxiety-distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune; psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.

So is David writing about how there is no fear right? I don't believe so...I think he's talking about how while he is in the midst of great dispair he will 'fear no evil' because God is with Him. Yet, in today's world, we live in constant fear-whether it's at work, at home, or at school. Teenagers constantly fear they aren't good enough-not only emotionally, but physically too. Guys and girls worry about what they look like or 'seem' to convey to their peers. And adults fear they'll lose control of their children, not get the promotion or bonus, or can't keep up 'with the Jones'. The point? That it doesn't matter your age...we all suffer the paralyzing thoughts and affects of  fear in our lives-sometimes daily.

When many of us think or hear-even from Jesus, that we should worry or fear...our knee jerk reaction is: 'it's always easier said than done' however, I would submit to you that it isn't. Just like the discipline of prayer, we need to work on how we let our emotions affect our faith. Now, did I just turn a page or two ahead here? Did I lose you? Let me be clear...I'm saying that we let our emotions affect our faith. To clarify I will give you some biblical examples: Peter walking on water, then sinking. Jesus calms the storm. Treasure.

Now, I realize that two of them were great examples, powerful examples in fact, but the last one hits home too-in that, Jesus ends his little talk on treasures and possessions with: 'Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.' I feel that's the perfect transition for what I'd like to talk about-emotions. For Peter, it wasn't until he let his emotions get the best of him that he began to sink, and even after they had witnessed Jesus peform great miracles the disciples woke Jesus up to save them and after these two instances Jesus asked them: where is your faith?

So where is your faith? Is it emotional or fixed upon the promises of God? Even the disciples struggled with their emotions getting in the way of their faith. I'm not saying that emotions are bad, but they do tend to get us off the prize and distracted. So what does one do when their emotions get the better of them? Remember His promises-go and read the scriptures again. You may find that Jesus himself took up the practice of really listening to his Father-our God, even in the midst of death.

We can hear God through prayer and His word, but none of  that matters if we're going through the motions. None of that matters if we aren't truly open and have an attitude of expectations here and now. And I think we know when we're going through the motions; it's when we let fear take hold in our hearts and minds when it comes to the things we face each and every day...

So take control and don't lose sight of His promises. Jesus told us: 'For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'  Whatever it is that continues to through you off your 'game' as a Christian, focus on how it can change and needs to change. Don't let your emotions guide your into a dark hole or into denial, learn to control them and give your anxiety to God. Again, how do we know our emotions get the best of us-check your focus in tight situations or throughout your daily lives. A good time to 'check' would be when you pray...are you a 'scatter brain' and can't seem to focus? It's time to shut it down and decompress.

So there is my challenge-I dare you to take control of your emotions...David was in a bad spot when he wrote the majority of the Psalms. Again, emotions aren't bad, but they can be when they distract us from His truth and His promises.