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Sunday, Aug 23 2015
 
 

When Life Hands You Lemons


I typically try to shy away from blogging about religious stuff as to avoid any type of online conflict or debate, as this is not where that type of discussion belongs, but today, I decided to do just that because I feel very strongly about how my faith has effected me this year when so many things have gone right, and so many things have gone wrong.

What's gone right?
On May 15th I married the love of my life and started the next chapter of my life. The wedding had its own set of issues but nothing we couldn't overcome, and at the end of the day we were husband and wife and that's what matters most! If you have read any of my blogs from two years ago, you know that being single was a huge hurdle for me and to finally reach my wedding day was something I never thought I wold be able to do.

We spent our honeymoon in Italy, traveling to several different cities. You can read all about that trip here. The trip its self had it's ups and downs, but again, at the end of the day we had a wonderful time, took some amazing pictures, and celebrated spending our lives together the way we wanted to!

I also got a new job in July, making more money and better benefits. I also get to play basketball twice a week at this job, which we all know is something I love. The hours are a little longer but they make up for it with the abundance of free food everywhere!

Okay... What went wrong?
Just two short weeks after our nuptials, life took a drastic turn for the worse. My entire team and I were let go from our jobs. Couldn't have been at a worse time. My funds were low because I just threw two parties for a couple hundred people, and my new in-laws had just left so I was looking forward to starting normal married life. I spent the next month looking for a job and after a bit of drama I was able to start my new job on July 1st, only having been unemployed for a month.

Two days into our honeymoon, I lost my debit card in London! Not good. I had to call and cancel the card, but since this was the first part of a three week trip, it wasn't like I could get a new one, and was reliant on places that took my discover card as we continued to travel, which I found out was not that many places.

After returning from my honeymoon, up twelve pounds since the wedding, I recommitted myself to loosing weight and got right back into basketball and jogging. One week in, I tore my Achilles tendon! Had to be rushed to the ER and I will be having surgery on my Achilles this coming Thursday, and it looks like it will be at least 3 months before I can even walk normal again.

What Most People Do
I find that too often, people only turn to God when things have gone terrible wrong. Usually after a day or two of possibly "blaming" God for whatever it is that has gone wrong, you start asking for his forgiveness and asking him to heal your wounds, sometimes even making a deal with him if he can follow through.

Just as often, people don't give god the glory when things are going right in their lives. We tend to turn the credit inwards when we should start by giving God his due.

When Life Hands You Lemons
In trying to get my spiritual life back on track, I'm trying to get better at the things "most people do" and trying to do things the right way. The old saying is "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Well for the spiritual of us, it's "When God hands you lemons..." I believe that God doesn't want us to make lemonade, he wants us to pray over those lemons, humble ourselves, and hand those lemons back to him, and he will create the most delicious lemonade you have ever had.

With each thing that went right with me this year, I tried my best to remember to thank God for his blessings. With everything that went wrong, I would still thank God for his blessings, and ask for the patience and peace in order to see what it was he had in store for me. Adversity is just an opportunity God has given you to learn how to overcome. I believe that is very evident this year.

I may have lost my job and spent a torturous month searching for a new one, but God blessed me with a better job, better pay, better benefits, and a job that was okay with me leaving for almost a month just two weeks after I started. I received a large severance pay from my last job due to the fact I had a lot of vacation time built up so that I could go on our three week honeymoon trip. With the short turnaround in jobs, I did not have to use much of it and I was able to recover financially from all the money I spent on the wedding rather quickly. That's lemons into lemonade.

After I lost my debit card and had to use my Discover card across Europe, I came to find out that Discover does not charge foreign transactions fees, and I earn 1% cash back by using the card, so I ended up saving more money in the end by putting up with the headaches of getting cash and finding places that took Discover. That's another lemon into lemonade.

While I do not know what will come of my Achilles surgery, and what God will have in store for me on the other end of this struggle, the past has taught me that as long as I continue to praise him, pray to him, and give my problems back to him, he will ALWAYS see me through, and give me some of the best lemonade I have ever had.

Around my neck I wear a necklace with a charm, on the charm is a portion of the "Footprints" poem. It reads:

"God said "My child, I love you and will never leave you. When you saw only one set of footprints it was then I carried you"


Right now, I know God is carrying me, and carrying me to a better place than where I was before.

Well someone has to carry me, I can barley walk....



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Monday, Jun 4 2012
 
 

Do the right thing.


I was having a discussion/debate with a atheist friend of mine recently.  I like to talk to atheists about stuff because, as it is interesting to me to see how someones religion affects not only their actions, but also their opinions, its just as interesting to me to see how the lack of religion can affect someones actions and opinions.  This friend was curious as to how I came to be a christian and am a christian still. He was curious because, to him, he doesn't understand how someone as "logical and intelligent" as I (his words not mine folks) could believe wholeheartedly in something for which I have no proof, and something that in his eyes contradicts itself repeatedly (not just Christianity, a lot of religions in his eyes). He definitely subscribes to the belief that man created god and not the other way around. The conversation got really deep and obtuse but it basically ended with me telling him he was entitled to his opinion but that's what faith is, believing in something from your heart without anything society would deem as "proof", and that I was happy for him that he was content with his life without any faith, but me personally, I NEED my faith.

There was one part of the conversation though I wanted to highlight. He asked me if I "did the right thing" out of fear of what god would do to punish me. I told him "99.9% of the time I do the right thing because its the right thing to do, but there have been times where I've found myself wanting to do something, willing to deal with societies consequences, but not gods, and 'did the right thing'". The more and more I thought about it after the conversation ended, I realized that that statement isn't completely true. Sure I do the right thing because I'm a good guy (I think) and its the right thing to do, but even those decisions, in the back of my head I wonder if I'm not doing them out of "fear" of god, but in hopes that god will "reward" me.  Is that the same? When I was going up my parents rewarded good grades, and punished bad grades, and I often wondered, did I get good grades out of fear of the punishment or motivation for the reward.

The question I am battling with is are these two concepts different or the same? What should be your motivations to do the right things in life? Should it be out of fear? Should it be because you want the reward? Should it be both? Should it be neither? I should have wanted to get good grades for myself, but with my parents influence I'm not sure if that was even an option in life.

Something to ponder...



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