Can You Be Trusted?

Posted: September 27th, 2017 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

cornucopia 1789664 1920 760x507 Can You Be Trusted?

There are times when I struggle with trusting God, so it’s something I’m constantly working to get better at.

I invest time in His word. I thank and praise Him for His goodness, faithfulness and generosity. I try to take every thought captive and hold them up against the truth of His word. When I feel myself getting worried or anxious over my circumstances, I re-focus my eyes on Him. I have a long way to go, but I’m getting better.

While learning to trust God is crucial, there’s another question that’s just as important: Can God trust me?

I personally don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like to have more money or more influence or more answers to prayer or more success. I wonder what would happen though if God granted us the desires of our hearts.

What would happen if God answered your most passionate prayers? Would the world be a better place? Or would you just have more stuff and be more comfortable?

How would you handle 10x the amount of money you have now?  It’s tempting to think we’d be wonderfully generous with a large amount of money, but if we’re not generous with the amount we have now, that won’t change if we’re given more.

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Why Does God Test Us?

Posted: September 2nd, 2017 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As followers of Jesus, we have become citizens of a new kingdom. Paul wrote, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)

It’s important to realize, this kingdom operates very differently than the earthly realm in which we also live. When we approach life in God’s kingdom like we do life in the earthly realm, we will experience frustration and confusion. One very major difference between God’s kingdom and the earthly realm has to do with seeing and believing.

In the Kingdom of God, we believe then we see. Our faith perceives what is unseen and then we wait for God to bring it to pass. But the world system doesn’t operate that way; it says, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” To experience success in God’s kingdom, we must operate according to His values. And that requires intentional effort, because He has said…

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

As we grow in our understanding of God’s kingdom-priorities, we can align ourselves with Him and experience the life He has for us. His thoughts and ways begin to take precedence over ours. Now we might not always like the way God does things, but that’s besides the point. This is His universe and His kingdom and He gets to decide what the priorities will be and how things will be done.

One of God’s major priorities for our lives is growing our faith, our ability to trust Him completely regardless of our circumstances or feelings. Hebrews 11:17-19 says:

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

God tested Abraham. And it was a big one. He told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. I can only imagine what Abraham must have been feeling. He and Sarah had waited all their lives to have a son. And finally in their old age, Isaac was born. And now it looks like God is going to take him from them.

“Sacrifice my son, Lord? But why? How will I explain this to his mother? I don’t understand. You promised You were going to bless the world through him. There must be another way.”

God had no intention of letting Abraham go through with it. It was only a test of his faith. And Abraham passed. So how did he do it?

He “embraced the promises.” He knew what God had told him about Isaac. It would be through him that God would bless the world. Isaac would eventually become the father of Jacob. And Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, had his own sons who became the nation of Israel.

Abraham also reasoned that even if Isaac was sacrificed, God could raise him from the dead. The Hebrew word for “reasoned” means: to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over. In other words, Abraham took into account what God had said previously. He thought it all through very carefully. And he embraced God’s promises. The end result of his reasoning was that he knew he could trust God to come through for him. And God did.

Since God never changes, it means He will test us too. I’ve seen it in my life this summer. As God has been at work in me, teaching me and strengthening my faith, I’ve noticed He has also been testing me. Something will happen that seems to contradict what God has said in His word. My tendency has been to focus on the circumstances and doubt God. And that only leads to discouragement. But once I realized God was testing my faith, I chose to embrace His promises and reason that I could continue to trust Him.

So what are you facing today? What circumstances seem overwhelming right now?

Could it be God is testing you? Maybe He wants you to know He really will come through for you, just as He did for Abraham. But if your faith is never tested…how will you know? If you never feel the need to see God come through, how will your faith ever grow?

Maybe the challenges you’re facing today are the tests that are preparing you for what God has in store for you in this next season. What if He has great plans to bless you and use you in ways you’ve never experienced before, but first your ability to trust Him must grow?

Like Abraham, take some time to reason. Don’t focus on what you can see. That will only lead to discouragement and hopelessness. Keep your eyes on God’s character and His promises. You’ll pass the test, see your faith grow and move into a new season of fruitfulness.


Changing Your Mind

Posted: June 20th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Think back over the past 24 hours or so. What emotions have been most prominent?

Have you felt happy or joyful? Peaceful? Content? Secure?

Or have you been angry? Anxious? Worried?

Maybe you’ve felt frustrated. Or discouraged. Or afraid.

More than likely, you’ve experienced multiple emotions…sometimes within just a few minutes. Often, our emotions fluctuate depending on our circumstances. If things are going well, we tend to feel better. When circumstances are hard or confusing, it’s easy to give into negative emotions.

I like to think of negative emotions like the warning lights on the dashboard of a car. When the “check engine” light comes on it usually means there’s something going on underneath the hood that needs to be checked out. It’s the same with emotions like fear, worry, discouragement, anger and anxiety. Those feelings are a signal that something in us needs to be checked out.

Romans 8:5-8 says…

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

The mind set on and governed by the flesh is hostile to God, is unable to submit to God’s law and is characterized by death. But the mind set on the Spirit pleases God and experiences life and peace.

The flesh is that part of us that still desires to live independently of God. It’s that part of us that seeks to get our physical needs met according to the world’s plan. The flesh is consumed with the current, material realm in which we live. The flesh doesn’t give thought to the spiritual realm or eternity.

So what emotions have you been feeling lately? Would you put them under the heading of “life and peace” or “death?”

If you’ve been primarily dealing with negative emotions, then chances are your mind has been set on the flesh. Your feelings don’t randomly occur. They result from your thoughts, from your mindset. The answer for feeling better isn’t to try and change your feelings. The answer lies in changing your thoughts. We have to choose to set our minds on what God’s Spirit desires. And the only way to do that is to invest time in God’s word. There’s no substitute for it.

Maybe the beginning of summer is a good time to make a new start, to change your mindset. Choose to set your mind on what the Spirit desires. Learn to see your circumstances the way God sees them. He promises life and peace to those who do.


Worldview

Posted: April 20th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Do you find it hard to understand why those two brothers in Boston would detonate bombs to kill innocent people? Or how other Muslim terrorists would fly planes into buildings to kill innocent people?

Or how could an abortion doctor from Philadelphia deliver live babies and then cut their spinal cords with scissors to complete the abortion procedure? How could someone commit rape? Why do some people go on looting sprees during natural disasters?

Why are some people in support of higher taxes and others want them lowered? Why do some people devote themselves to serving the poor while others are equally as devoted to accumulating as many material possessions for themselves as they can?

How you live your life and make choices stems from your worldview. In other words, what is the lens through which you view the world? What is it that you truly believe about yourself, about God and about this life?

So how could a terrorist kill innocent people? You first have to understand their worldview to answer that question. Perhaps they feel their god has instructed them to kill those who don’t believe as they do. That would lead them to conclude the people they are killing are in fact not innocent.

How could an abortion doctor kill babies outside the womb? Ultimately, he must believe those babies aren’t fully human. Or that they have no rights. Or that making money from abortions is more important than someone’s life.

Regardless of the question or issue–you must understand someone’s worldview before you can understand their choices.

There’s something even more foundational than someone’s worldview though. And that’s their identity. What do they believe about themselves? Who do they really see themselves as?

There are various aspects to our identity that are all critical. There’s our spiritual identity, our emotional identity, our sexual identity and our personality. There are many factors that go into the development of our identity, but in large measure, I believe it’s determined by the family in which we grew up, authority figures, our view of God and any abuse we may have suffered.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about–let’s say a little boy grew up in a home with an angry, hard-to-please father. The predominant message at home was “you’ll never amount to anything.” The family attends a legalistic church filled with lots of rules to follow.

When this little boy grows up, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn he lacks self-confidence and views God as a divine disciplinarian who he’s continually disappointed. Outwardly though, he might be an over-achiever. He’s determined to prove everyone wrong by getting straight A’s and doing his best to follow the rules. Try as he might though, he can’t ever shake the feeling that God is disappointed in him.

Now add in any type of abuse and his identity will be even more damaged. Sexual abuse can lead to confusion regarding sexual identity. Emotional abuse can lead to plaguing negative emotions. Any type of abuse can have a powerfully negative influence on our identity.

It may seem like a small thing, but when I was growing up I distinctly remember the day my mother labeled me as “anti-social” because I wanted to stay home rather than going with my parents to a party. The subtle unintended message from my mother was “there’s something wrong with you.” By nature, I enjoy alone time. I’m energized by solitude, not people. I enjoy people, but that’s not where I get my energy. I wonder though–could some of my reluctance to be in situations with lots of new people come from the “anti-social” label I received forty years ago?

Ultimately, the only way to correct our confused or damage identities is to know and believe the truth. What God says about me is true, regardless of what my mother or coach or friends said.

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

So what does God say about your spiritual identity? Your sexual identity? Your emotional identity? And your personality? Unless you know it and  believe it, you will live in bondage to any abuse you suffered or lies you’ve believed.

And unless you understand all this–you’ll never understand why two brothers could kill innocent people and think they were justified.


Seeking and Finding God

Posted: March 28th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

For a long time, I’ve assumed it should be easy to seek and find God. I’ve been wrong though.

Can you think of any good or worthwhile activity that’s easy?

Eating healthy and staying in good physical condition requires planning, commitment and hard work. Doing well at your job and advancing in your career can mean long hours and sacrifices in other areas. Getting a college degree requires a big financial investment and years of studying. Having a good marriage requires a lot of time and effort. Having a thick, green, weed-free lawn requires year-round attention.

Anything good requires commitment, sacrifice and hard work. So why would we think any less is required to truly find God and experience Him? And let me take this one step further. I suspect it will require more effort to find God the longer we’ve known Him. If you work out, you know the longer you train the harder you must work to continue seeing gains. I believe the same is true when it comes to God. I’m not suggesting He’s hiding from us, but let’s not make the mistake of thinking God is easy.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” To seek Him earnestly means to seek with serious effort…and when we do, He rewards us.

And Jeremiah 29:13 says, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” We don’t find Him when we seek Him with minimal, half-hearted effort.

If you want to lose weight and get in better shape, you know it means saying “no” to the potato chips and ice cream and “yes” to healthier foods. It means going to the gym or running three miles rather than sitting on the couch.

What do you need to say “no” to, so you can say “yes” to more time in prayer and reading the Bible? What habits or sins are keeping you from seeking Him with your whole heart?

Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

If we sow little effort in seeking God, we will not find much of Him. If we sow serious, whole-hearted effort, we will find much more of Him.

I believe we can experience as little or as much of God as we’d like. So the question is…

How much of God would you like?


The Tragedy of a Life Without Purpose

Posted: January 25th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Why are you here? On earth, I mean. Why do you exist?

If the atheist is right, then questions of meaning or purpose are irrelevant. If the universe exists purely by chance, then you and I have no purpose. Of course, we could each assign a purpose to our own lives, but there’s nothing beyond that. There’s no higher purpose. Without God, we exist by accident and ultimately have no meaning.

Have you ever wondered why famous or wealthy people commit suicide? They seemingly have it all–money, houses, cars, vacation, jewelry, power and popularity. And yet, some choose to end their own lives or waste away consumed by drugs or alcohol. Without a purpose and significance, I’m left with two choices–end my life or numb my life. Without a genuine purpose in life, without true meaning, our lives are empty.

But if God created this life and knows how it should be lived, then there’s a third option: I can align my life with the truth. I can choose to believe God and live according to His purposes and plan for my life.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he begins by writing “to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

A saint isn’t someone who has lived an exemplary life or performed a miracle of some sort. A saint is someone who has been set apart by God for His purposes. If you have placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, then you are a saint. You have been set apart from the world system, from your former way of life, from the bondage of sin and from the power of Satan. God has assigned meaning and significance to your life. He has a plan for you.

Is it possible to miss God’s purposes and plan for our lives? Absolutely. When we continue to live according to the world’s plan, then we miss out on what God says is true and all He wants to do in and through us. The world’s plan is easy to identify. It is primarily concerned with the accumulation of material wealth and possessions, maximizing pleasure and/or giving my life away to a someone or something other than Jesus. Ultimately, the world’s way of doing life comes down to this–does whatever I’m doing make me happy?

What do you desire most? What are you passionate about? What do you spend your time and money on? The answers to those questions will help you figure out whether you’re living for God’s purposes or your own.

The truth is this: God calls us saints. He says we are set apart for His purposes and plans.

Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Real life is found in a relationship with God through Jesus. And as we walk with Him through life, we discover the work He has for us to do. Meaning, happiness, peace and fulfillment come as a result of living our lives aligned with God’s purposes and plans for us.

You are a saint. God has set you apart. He has given meaning to your life. If life often feels busy or hectic or meaningless or ordinary, then be sure you’re aligned with God’s truth. Are you making your relationship with Him your number one priority? And are you seeing your life and family and work as an opportunity to serve Him and reflect His glory and goodness to those around you?

You are a saint. And you can begin living like one today.


Sandy the Destroyer

Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »
Screen Shot 2012 10 30 at 9.50.20 PM 300x199 Sandy the Destroyer

Brick, New Jersey

Sandy, a once-in-a-lifetime storm, cut a path of destruction across the northeastern United States over the past several days.

The above picture was taken just a few miles from where I grew up. It’s hard to believe.

Some areas of the Jersey Shore have been totally destroyed. The devastation is just overwhelming. And I’m only seeing snapshots and short videos. I can only imagine what it’s like to be there. I spoke with my step-mom earlier today–she hasn’t been back to her house yet, but was told the water was up to her mailbox.

I know this storm is certainly different than when our country was attacked on 9/11, but I’ve found myself wrestling with similar emotions. Sadness. Loss. Helplessness.

Even though I moved away from New York and New Jersey over twenty years ago, in some ways it’s still home. When I was a kid, I remember my dad saying we were going “up home” when talking about going to visit his family in central Pennsylvania where he grew up. I know not everyone enjoyed their childhood or high school years, but I did. So I will always have a strong affection for the Jersey Shore, which makes it hard to see and hear of the destruction that took place.

The images coming out of New York and New Jersey make it clear–Sandy was a powerful destroyer. And that reminded of a verse from the book of Revelation where Satan is called “the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.”

Abaddon and Apollyon both mean the same thing: Destroyer.

When I look at the state of our world, I can only conclude there’s a powerful destroyer on the loose. Like Sandy, this destroyer is bent on destroying homes, but he does it by destroying the people who live in them. And his greatest weapons are not wind and water, but lies and deception.

Our enemy’s goal is to keep us from knowing and seeking Jesus Christ. And he will use whatever means he can. He doesn’t care who or what we seek as long as it’s not the one true God.

Because we were made by God to live in relationship with Him and to experience life as He designed it, Satan will always entice us to look for life elsewhere. And the more we do, the more lonely or discouraged or desperate or hopeless we become. Things that were meant to be enjoyed as gifts become our gods. We desperately try to find happiness in a person or a job or an accomplishment or a possession.

But none of it works and we always end up unsatisfied and longing for more. More of what can never fulfill us.

Satan is much more subtle than Sandy. He pulls the strings behind the world system to tempt and entice us to get legitimate, God-given needs met outside of God’s will. He pushes us to go beyond the good, healthy boundaries God has put in place for our protection and provision.

Food, sex, money, work, leisure, pleasures, marriage, children–those are all God’s idea. He knows how they work best. And how they don’t. Doing life apart from God always lead us into the path of a storm. It always lead to some level of destruction.

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)

God invites us to experience life to the full.

Satan has come to destroy us.

We get to choose who we’ll listen to.


The Razorbacks Drop From the Poll

Posted: September 9th, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I’ve been a football fan for as long as I can remember. This is a picture of me in a three point stance at about three-years-old.

Gregg in football stance 300x300 The Razorbacks Drop From the Poll

My dad played and coached football. I played and have coached a couple seasons. And now my son is playing high school football.

Almost forty years ago–it just hit me it was actually that long ago–my cousin played tight end for Penn State, so I’ve been a Penn State fan for a long time. I grew up in New Jersey, so I’m also a Giants fan. I’ve now lived in Arkansas since 1988, so I’ve been a Razorbacks fan for almost 25 years. And with my son playing for Fayetteville High School, I’m a Bulldogs fan, too.

So how are “my” teams doing so far this season?

Penn State has started 0-2 and everything points to a very long, hard road. Their football program may not recover from the NCAA sanctions in my lifetime.

The Giants opened the season this past Wednesday night by losing to the Dallas Cowboys, so they’re now 0-1.

The Razorbacks won their opening game and moved up to #8 in the Associated Press poll. That was setting up a big game this coming Saturday against #1 Alabama. All Arkansas had to do was beat the University of Louisiana-Monroe, but that didn’t happen. Arkansas lost 34-31 and dropped completely out of the poll. Apparently, it was the second biggest drop ever.

The Fayetteville Bulldogs varsity team started the season ranked #1 in Arkansas and #53 nationally. They lost their first game to one of the best teams from Tennessee and lost their second game to one of the top teams in Missouri. They’re 0-2.

What’s sad to me is the reaction I’ve seen from Razorback fans. Many are angry. Extremely angry. They’re quick to cast blame. These aren’t people who are associated with the Razorback football team–they’re just fans. Fans that easily become angry and hateful when “their” team loses.

Several years ago, I sat behind a man and his family at Razorback Stadium during a game. I can’t remember the final score, but I know at one point the Razorbacks weren’t playing well. It was also around this time that the man’s young son asked when they were going to leave. This guy completely lost control of himself. He told his son he didn’t even want him there and then he got up and left the stadium. The wife and kids were left there by themselves.

This isn’t unique to Razorback fans. And it’s not unique to the sport of football. It happens everywhere.

I understand players and coaches being upset by a loss or being elated by a win. They’re the ones who’ve trained and studied and practiced together for weeks and months and years. And I can understand fans being momentarily disappointed by a loss or excited by a win. But angry? Depressed? Hateful?

Football is a game. A GAME.

A game is: a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators

We’ve completely lost sight of the fact that we’re watching an activity being played for our amusement. AMUSEMENT!

Yes, I know we pay money to go to the games. We pay for tickets. We pay to park. We pay for concessions. We buy jerseys and hats and posters. We feel invested. But if the success or failure of “your” team causes you to be angry or sad or depressed, then–and let me say this with all due respect–you have a problem.

I know, because that used to be me up until about fifteen years ago. I had difficulty even watching Penn State play. I was nervous watching games and often had to turn them off. I was happy when they won and sad when they lost. I had to get over it. It wasn’t healthy. It was a total loss of perspective.

Anything that has taken on that degree of importance in our lives has become an idol, a god.

We think about it. We talk about it. We desire it. We worship it. We look to it to make us happy and give us life.

Maybe for you, it’s not football. It’s food. Or clothes. Or your house. Or your grades. Or your job. Or your kids being successful. It can be anything. Anything that makes you feel good…or bad. Anything that consumes your thoughts. Or money. Anything that you let control you. Anything you’ve allowed to define you. Anything you can’t live without.

Let’s see if we can bring things into perspective a little.

On Saturday, a football player for Tulane suffered a severe spinal injury in their game against Tulsa. It’s possible that he’ll be permanently paralyzed. One of the Razorback defensive players also had to be carted off the field in their game. The extent of his injury is unclear, but it looks like he’ll recover. I don’t know if that means he’ll play football again or not.

So let’s say you could only have one of the following two scenarios, which would you choose?

“Your” team wins the national championship, but a third team linebacker is injured in the fourth game of the season and will probably never walk again.

OR

2. “Your” team finishes with a losing record for the fourth year in a row, but everyone is healthy.

Maybe another way to think about it is this–what makes you more angry, “your” team losing a big game or knowing there are kids in your town who will go to bed hungry tonight?


Everyone has a Story

Posted: August 21st, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I went to lunch today at a friend’s restaurant. Last week at this time, he was in Houston at MD Anderson waiting for the results of his latest scan. Unfortunately, he found out the next day his cancer is back.

While at his restaurant, he pointed out a guy who has a similar type of cancer that’s even more advanced. The doctors told him there’s nothing more they can do. If you were to see my friend or this other guy, you’d never know they had cancer.

After lunch, I was in Wal-Mart and got into a conversation with the greeter that probably lasted thirty minutes. As we talked, she told me she started singing in bars in 1958 at the age of 13. She’d make more money in two nights than her dad did in two weeks working for Philips Petroleum. At one point, she and a guy named Harold Jenkins won a singing competition. Harold later changed his name to Conway Twitty.

She also knew Janis Joplin who called her one day and told her to get to Love Field (Dallas) where she’d pick her up. In a plane. Janis said they were going to a concert in upstate New York. The year was 1969. The concert was Woodstock.

This woman has a story. So does my friend. We all do.

Everyone has a story.

Some of us are in a good part of the story. Health is great. Job is going well. Finances are in good shape. No major relationship problems.

But others are in the midst of a story they never wanted.

The person who cut you off in traffic has a story. Maybe he’s been unemployed for two years and is embarrassed every time his wife and kids have to go to the store to buy groceries with food stamps. And now he’s late for a job interview that could change everything. He didn’t mean to cut you off. He was just in a hurry and didn’t see you.

The girl who sits near you in class has a story. She’s friendly, pretty and smart. But her dad is an alcoholic. Sometimes things get out of hand. That’s when he hits her mom. Like he did again last night. They’re too scared to call the police.

The man in line behind you at the store is addicted to pornography. The shame and guilt are killing him.

The woman in front of you buying the diapers isn’t buying them for her baby. They’re for a baby shower she’s going to. She has no children and recently miscarried for the third time.

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to forgetting all this. Someone was tailgating me the other day and it made me furious. Later, I thought about how I should have stopped in the middle of the street and had a “talk” with the person. I felt wronged and wanted revenge. But what if it was someone who was late for something important or just had to go to the bathroom really bad?

That person had a story. I just didn’t care.

What if I did care though? What if rather than being angry, I just pulled over so I was no longer in the way? And if pulling over wasn’t an option, what if I simply took the time to remember that everyone has a story. Including tailgaters.

What if my prayer for others was the same as Paul’s greeting in Ephesians 1:2, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Isn’t that what we all want and need? Grace. And peace. From God our Father. And from Jesus.

The next time you and I are tempted to get angry or defensive or ignore someone we cross paths with–what if we at least took the time to ask God to give them grace and peace?

Because everyone has a story.

What’s yours?

If you’d like to share it as a comment, I, and hopefully others who read it, can pray for you.


What if __________?

Posted: April 27th, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »
  1. What if God wants to tell you something really important about the next step in your life, but you can’t hear Him because of all the noise?
  2. What if you exchanged the amount of time you currently spend on your phone, laptop and television with the amount of time you read the Bible and talk to God?
  3. What if God meant everything He said?
  4. What if that thing you believe about yourself isn’t true?
  5. What if freedom isn’t found in doing whatever you want, but in obeying God?
  6. What if you made it your goal to meet as many of your spouse’s needs and wants as you can…starting today?
  7. What if you took a big risk to advance God’s kingdom?
  8. What if heaven is going to be a lot like the absolute best day on earth you can possibly imagine…only a million times better and minus any pain, sin, conflict or difficulties?
  9. What if your word of encouragement is the only thing that will give someone the hope to keep living?
  10. What if God is a lot more interested in your response to problems than in getting you out of them?
  11. What if the same God who did all those miracles in the Bible lives inside you and wants to help you?
  12. What if you treated your family the way you want to be treated?
  13. What if how your child treats others is more important than getting an “A” on a test?
  14. What if God is crazy in love with you?
  15. What if your current level of obeying God never changes–where will you be in ten years?
  16. What if God said He was going to bless you financially in proportion to how generous you’ve been lately–would you be excited or disappointed?
  17. What if you don’t need to worry because God has things figured out?
  18. What if you’re going to come under spiritual attack and your only defense is believing the truth–how well-armed are you?
  19. What if someone in the Bible faced the same problems you are and you could learn from that person how to (or not to) handle them?
  20. What if God treated you the way you treat your spouse?
  21. What if you don’t have something because you haven’t asked God or if you have asked, you’ve asked with wrong motives?
  22. What if “fearing God” doesn’t just mean respecting Him or being in awe of Him?
  23. What if God invented sex and His guidelines for it were for our good, not to rob us of a good time?
  24. What if the negative emotions (fear, worry, anxiety, etc.) you’re feeling are signal that you’ve got a wrong belief about God or yourself?
  25. What if almost everything in the world is a distraction to keep you from experiencing life in Christ?