John 4:19-26

"Sir," the woman said, "you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?"

Jesus replied, "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on the tis mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming-indeed it's here now- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth."

The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming-the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

Then Jesus told her, "I AM the Messiah!"

Friday, April 30, 2010

Blessings

As most of you know, Tiffany, my wife, lost her job about six months ago. It was a very emotional time for us, not because she lost her job, but because of the way she lost it. I won't go into details, but I'll say this: my wife is probably one of the most Godly, kindest, professional, smartest, and beautiful (inside and out!) people that I've ever known. She was an executive and had some employees that, well, just didn't like her. I don't know why, though I'd guess it's because she wouldn't let them get away with doing things that they shouldn't be doing anyway. Needless to say, one thing led to another and she found herself in front of her board of directors, shocked and hurt at the accusations, and the way the whole process was handled. In the end, she resigned, though there was no fault found with her or her job as the executive of that company, not wanting to make a big deal out of it, and we moved on.

Now as you all know, I'm in ministry full time. I make hundreds of dollars a year! WOW! I'm rolling in it, right?! LOL. So needless to say, it was a tough time for us. Well, this past week, she did her third interview for a company, who absolutely loves her, and has asked her to take a job with them. She's very excited to be getting back into the corporate world, and I'm very proud of her. But that's not the story. This is.

During that time, we were forced to look at a lot of things, budget, time, budget, maybe selling our house if we needed, budget... you get the idea. The thing that we ultimately realized was this: None of that mattered. What mattered was the thing we had already known, and the thing that gets us through life anyway. God is in control. Period! No, our situation wasn't one that we would just choose to have, but it was one in which God wanted to show us something. And that something was all the blessings that we have. My wife and I are so blessed, that if I had to list out all of the blessings that we experience on a daily basis, we'd be here for the next week.

So often times we only see our blessings when things are going well. We forget that to merely wake up and take a breath is a blessing that our Father in Heaven has ordained. We all say that we don't want to take our blessings for granted, but do we really mean that? I don't think we do. We take EVERYTHING for granted, every day. The whole idea reminds me of a teaching series that we did here at The Journey, called "Highly Flammable". The whole series was about how to traverse the fires of life. The entire series revolved around a piece of scripture from the book of Daniel, where three young men were given the choice to either worship King Nebuchadnezzar, or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Here's what they said. (paraphrasing) The God that we serve is ABLE to rescue us, but even if He DOESN'T, we will still worship HIM. That's a big statement!

Tiffany and I held onto that passage during this time, knowing that, our God can bring us out of this stressful, despondent time. But even if He didn't or wouldn't, we would put our faith and trust in Him, knowing that, for whatever reason, He wanted us to go through this. Peter says that we are to count it as a blessing when we get to suffer, that we may share in Christ's sufferings, meaning that God will grow us in these times and reveal more of His character to us, as we lean on Him for our provisions. 1 Peter 4:12-14.

This post could go on and on and on about how we should count our blessings. But instead, I would ask you to take an inventory of your own life. This is something that Pastor Erik has challenged our church with a few times. Take some time by yourself. Take a piece of paper, think of as many blessings that you can, and write them down. Then pray over them. Take them, one by one, and thank God for your blessings. Really try to understand just how much we've been given, and see if you're not overwhelmed at the list you compile. And if you're like Tiffany and myself, you'll find yourself on your knees, thanking the God of creation for the very breath you take, and wanting to serve Him more.

Here is a link to some passages that are encouraging, and you can use as a reference when you're going through some rough patches. Start by reading the passage from Daniel. I hope they bring you comfort. They have me.


-robbie

2 comments:

Molly Mac Neil said...

First of all, I totally agree about your wife being so compassionate and one of the most wonderful people you could know!
I think non-believers would use the time that you your family went through, and the trials and tribulations they experience, to say, "Why Me?" I think sometimes as Christians, we may say the same thing, only we say, "Why Me, God?" But the answer is, life will bring you storms, life will bring you trials and tribulations. It's how you use your faith and how you use the love of God to ride out the storm and how you show others, that they too can receive the warmth of His embrace, they just have to follow Him.
I mean, look how much more time Tiffany got to spend with Hadyn and Cason because of this unfortunate situation. You all were able to spend more time together as a family, and that's what people need most at these times, family, and God- their Father! It's absolutely necessary that we look at these times and find the blessings in them. I totally agree that we need to do a continual "spiritual check" with ourselves.
I saw a marquis sign on a church the other day that read: Can't sleep? Try counting your blessings.

Richie said...

Robbie, great post and very heart felt.

It is so easy to take our blessings for granted when all is going well. I am guilty of that soooo many times.

In the trials of life that seems the hardest that, in my experience, has been the times that God has really molded me and chipped away some of the imperfections in my life and got my attention to how much i REALLY need Him.

It amazes me sometimes how He can take a bad situation and use it for good.

I can look back at times in my life when I went thru certain hardships and realized just how much GOD was in them working them for them out for MY benefit!!! What an amazing God we serve!

Often times when going thru trials I have thought "God, WHY me, why US!" But looking back on ALL of them, I can see where God carried and guided me through them and am a better person and even able to help others that may be going through a similar situation giving comfort letting them know how GOD got me thru them and how He can do the same for them......

Thanks for sharing your struggles and your faith!!! God Bless!