God’s love on a receipt? Not even close…

I am continuously shocked at the Christians in this world who don’t understand the concept of God’s love and how we are to display it for EVERYONE just as Christ did.receiptgrab

For example, a pastor and a large group of people recently dined somewhere together and were charged an automatic gratuity. This happens a lot with groups larger than 8 or so. Apparently the service was fine, nothing terrible happened during the meal, but the pastor felt the need to leave the message, “I give God 10%, why do you get 18%?” You can read the entire article here.

Wow.

I can only imagine, if the server wasn’t a Christian, what he now thinks about Christianity.

Does a server deserve more than God? Of course not. This pastor gives 10% regularly in his tithes to the Lord. Giving 18% on a ONE-TIME meal really isn’t that big of a deal. To compare it to what he gives to God is simply absurd.

This pastor clearly missed a rather important part of the Bible, and some of the greatest words Christ ever spoke:

“…just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

It’s one thing for this pastor to not leave the server an extra tip since the 18% was already added on. It’s quite another to make a connection between a tip at a restaurant and what God deserves from us, and to then write it on the receipt. What kind of love does that show?

Do we really need to give the world more ammunition against Christians? Will we ever learn that Christ wasn’t kidding when He said we were to love one another and show God’s love to everyone? I can just imagine an atheist reading this article and thinking, “That’s why I don’t believe- self-righteous Christians, who show no love, prove that there is no God.”

One of my favorite quotes comes from Brennan Manning:

“The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

It gives me chills every time I think about it, because it holds so much truth. Is it true? Are Christians the reason so many people DON’T believe in Christ? I think it’s highly possible.

I’m not saying this pastor is a terrible person. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to be a pastor or that the rest of us don’t sometimes have poor judgment. But I do believe that the biggest step towards being a true disciple of Christ is showing His love… to EVERYONE.

No Thank You

When life hands me crap, I want to say to life, “No thank you.”

Today I’m going to take some of the things in my life I am not typically thankful for, and turn them around into things that I am so grateful for, and to which I say to God on this blessed Thanksgiving day, “Thank you.”

The “No thank you.”– I have to work Friday.
The “Thank you.”– I have a job. So many people don’t.

The “No thank you,”– Ugh! The calories I will consume today at my aunt and uncle’s.
The “Thank you.”– I have a membership to the YMCA where I can go work off some of those calories tomorrow.

The “No thank you,”– I am not making as much money as I hoped.
The “Thank you.”– At least I’m making money.

The “No thank you,”– I live in a country where being a Christian is mocked and looked down upon by many.
The “Thank you.”– I’m allowed to be a Christian here in America where I can worship openly and freely without fearing for my life.

The “No thank you.” – Single at 32
The “Thank you.” – I get alone time whenever I want it, I can go here and there without organizing my life around someone else, I get lots of time to make myself better for whoever I end up with when I do get married.

The “No thank you,”– I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana
The “Thank you.”– I’m close to family, and they mean the world to me.

The “No thank you,”– Today is Thanksgiving #5 without Grandma Shideler. Even more Thanksgivings since Grandpa Trout was here. 30 Thanksgivings without Grandpa Shideler.
The “Thank you.”– I know they are in heaven, having the Thanksgiving of a lifetime each and every day.

Those things that life hands us and we want to say, “No thank you,” try turning them around into something positive. God’s got a reason for every trial and heartache.

What if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”

Those words come from Laura Story’s “Blessings.” I think it is one of the most beautiful and inspirational songs ever written. Please remember that God knows what He’s doing in your life. Thank Him for everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Here is a link to a YouTube video of the song mentioned above. If you’re a Christian and music gets to you, have some tissues ready!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ

Let go or be dragged…

Ever make a mistake and want to just crumple it up and throw it in the trash can, wait for the garbage man to come and take it away so you never have to think about it ever again? Unfortunately, that’s not how our minds work.

I saw a magnet at the store the other day that said, “Let go or be dragged.” That can be applied to a lot of situations in our lives- especially mistakes we’ve made. You have to let them go, or you will be dragged around by them.

Sometimes we’re way too hard on ourselves. Instead of dwelling on mistakes we’ve made, we should learn from them and then let them go. One of the speakers at the women’s conference last weekend said something along the lines of, “Don’t put yourself on the cross- Jesus already paid the price.” How about we stop beating ourselves up for all the mistakes we’ve made?

I’m not perfect. Far from it. Don’t think that just because I’m a Christian or because I take mission trips to Africa that I think I’m any better than anyone else or that I am without sin. I never, EVER want to give the impression that I don’t make mistakes. I just hope I always learn something from each and every mistake I make.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

Perhaps the number one person you need to forgive is yourself. Figure out what you can learn from your mistake, and then move on. God’s got a great life waiting for you, but you won’t ever see it if can’t forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made.