You can celebrate even the most Mondayish of Mondays

Ever wake up, and you’re just in a horrible mood? There’s no real reason for it. You’re just in a funk. And then things get worse? You forget stuff and have to go back for it. You lose stuff and waste time looking for it. You are so preoccupied with everything you forgot, you lose track of the things you actually remembered?

That was me yesterday morning. Just an all-around, no-good, Mondayish Monday. For no particular reason. I just couldn’t seem to get out of it either. I was grumpy at home, grumpy at work, grumpy to people I talked to.

But then something landed on my desk. By all rights, it should have made my mood worse. But it didn’t. Instead, it just made me realize that life isn’t as bad as it could be. Someday I’ll figure out how my brain works, but until then I’m just going to assume it was that “last straw” kind of moment. In those moments, you can either choose to cry, or you can laugh about it.

My default is laughter. So that’s what I did. And almost immediately, once I started seeing my day from that perspective, my attitude got better. Because maybe it sucked, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Maybe that doesn’t sound like something to celebrate, but wait until you’re there. And then you’ll understand how much joy you can find in the simple realization that life is so much better than it could be.

Bad Hair Day - AlpacaToday’s verses are Deuteronomy 30:19-20.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.

This is God talking to the Children of Israel. They are the descendants of the Hebrew slaves who Moses led out of Egypt, but because of their sin they weren’t allowed to enter the Promised Land. They had to wander the wilderness for 40 years until that generation died out and only their children were left.

This statement is to those children.

See, everyone wakes up in a bad mood once in a while. Everybody has bad days. And that’s okay. We’re human. But that also means we’re capable of making a choice.

You can wake up in a bad mood, but it’s your choice to stay in a bad mood. You can have a bad day, but it’s your choice to foster a bad attitude about it. Your attitude isn’t bad because your day was bad. That’s not how it works. Your attitude is bad because you chose that attitude.

When God gave the Children of Israel the choice to trust Him or rely on themselves, they chose themselves. They chose exile. That was their choice. When God gave their children the same choice, they chose to follow Him instead because they saw the mistakes their parents had made.

The truth is, we’re all born in a broken world. Nothing down here is ever going to work right. It’s not supposed to, not since Adam and Eve broke it. But a day is coming when all of that is going to change. All the things that are wrong, God will make right again.

But God has given us a choice. Follow Him or follow yourself. Believe He is right, or believe you know better. That choice is up to us. It’s always been up to us.

And on the most Mondayish of Mondays, if you believe God really does know what He’s doing, you can still sit back and laugh at the troubles and problems that come your way. Why? Because God is in control and everything that happens to you will work out for His glory and your good.

Didn’t say it would be good. But God will use it for good and will make it good. That’s His promise, and He never breaks His promises.

So are you having a bad day? It’s all right. Bad days happen to everyone. But just because it starts badly doesn’t mean it has to end badly. Talk to someone who loves you. Take a walk outside. Get a glass of cold, clear water to drink. And take a moment and think about everything you have and everything God has given you, and it won’t take long before you remember just how blessed you really are.

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Old red shed at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Following God doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days

What happens when you obey God? I think we all make the assumption at times that if we do what God tells us to do, God will do what we ask Him to do. But that’s not really how it works, is it?

I’d like to think that doing what God commands would protect me from trouble, and in many instances, that’s true. If we do what God says, we’ll avoid the paths that can lead to danger and negative circumstances, but obedience doesn’t mean we’ll never face challenges.

Old red shed at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Old red shed at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Psalm 34:19.

The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

Verses like this aren’t the kind that we like to read. We want to hear that righteous people never struggle, that righteous people never get sick, that righteous people never fall down. But that’s not the case.

Righteous people–or people who obey God’s Word–still live in a broken world, and bad things happen to good people in a broken world. That’s what makes it broken.

I’ve heard many Christians talking about how obeying God will protect them from trouble. Some Christian leaders in our culture preach messages that claim doing what God says prevents difficulty or challenge or struggle in our lives, but that’s not true. God doesn’t promise that we won’t have trouble in this life; He promises He won’t leave us when we do.

We are guaranteed to have trouble in this life. We don’t belong here. This world isn’t our home, and as Christ followers, the world will hate us. Plus, we have an enemy. Satan is constantly looking for ways to derail us. Put all of that together and you’ve got a recipe for conflict.

Christ followers will have trouble. Period. We’re going to run into difficult times, dark days, and challenging circumstances, but God has promised to come to the rescue. We don’t have to face those troubles alone. We don’t have to fight by ourselves. God will be right beside us every step of the way, offering His strength, His resources, and His insights into what’s really happening.

So when you run into trouble today, don’t be surprised. Don’t let it shake you. Don’t question whether God is really there. Realize that trouble is something everyone experiences, and God has promised that He’ll help us through it. So ask Him for help and wait for Him to show up. He will.

A pebble in your shoe should never ruin your day

Today’s verse is 1 Peter 1:3.

 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,

What does it mean to live with great expectation? Well, the first thing I thought of was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, which I must admit I have only read portions of. If I’m correct, I believe it centers around a mistreated child’s expectations of wealth, but it’s Dickens so it will be a morality tale as well.

I think everyone lives with a certain level of expectation. If we live in the U.S., we expect to be free to speak our minds and believe what we want. If we are children, we expect that our parents will provide for us. If we are adults, we expect our taxes to go up every year.

But what does it mean to live with great expecation? The Amplified Version says the same verse this way:

3Praised (honored, blessed) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)! By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Ever-living hope. To live with great expectation means to live with a hope that never dies. As Christians, though, can we honestly say we live like that? Do we face each day with confidence and certainty, knowing deep down inside that Christ has saved us? Do we let that fact seep into our thoughts and our actions every moment? If we did, none of us would ever have a bad day.

Yes, there are difficult people in our lives. And there are challenges to deal with. And obstacles to overcome. And stress. Loads and loads of stress. But what are those but bumps in the road? What are they but little pebbles in our shoes? If you’re walking in a park and you get a pebble in your shoe, does it ruin your whole day? No. That would be silly. When you get a pebble in your shoe, you walk to a place where you can lean, take your shoe off, dump it out, put it on and keep walking.

We can’t live with great expectation if all we focus on are our failures or the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in. If focus on the difficulties, they will become insurmountable. But if we look at them as just a passing annoyance, something that’s there to bother us until we learn a lesson from it, then they won’t seem so intimidating.

Now, am I saying to take your difficulties lightly? No. We all have trouble in our lives, but all have it for a reason. Trouble is never random. For every cause there is an effect. Some effects may stem from the cause that the world is broken. People have trouble they don’t deserve. That is true. But oftentimes the case is that we bring trouble on ourselves. And we shouldn’t step back and take that with a grain of salt. We need to realize where it comes from and take the appropriate steps to correct the problem . . . otherwise it will come back . . . or it will never leave in the first place.

God lets us go through difficult things to help us learn. Because we learn from trouble. We get stronger if we’re weak. Or we get weaker if we’re too strong. But in either case, our faith grows because God doesn’t ever let us down, no matter what we’re going through.

1 Peter 1:3 is the beginning of a sentence, and it doesn’t finish the thought. You’ll notice the comma at the end of the verse. So I was wondering what the rest of the verse said. I thought I’d look at it in the Message. Even though the Message is a paraphrase, it gives a really good idea of the whole concept of the passage.

1 Peter 1:3-5

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

Live with great expectation. That’s what believers are called to do. Walk through every day with hope, understanding that trouble we have are there to teach us and when we learn the lessons we need to learn, they’ll fade away.

We have an ever-living hope in Christ and a future in heaven and God is watching over us. If we keep that in mind and truly live by it, I’m not sure we’ll ever have a bad day. Oh, there will be difficult days and hard days, but if our perspective is in the right place, they’ll just be a pebble in your shoe. Annoying but pretty easy to leave behind.