Unreturned Favors From God

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Sometimes I just want to yell: what the heck God!? What. The. Heck!?

The back story will help give some context. I haven’t quite lost my rocker yet. ;)

A few weeks ago I felt challenged by God to be more generous with my money. You know, making it rain with the dolla, dolla bills, ya’ll.

Immediately two things came to mind. $500 and a specific family I know. Easy enough. I blessed them with a $500 check. Not only that, but I decided to bump my tithe from 10% to 11%.

If you’re like me, you probably sub-consciously hope God’s going to return the favor somehow. In this case, he did with a not so subtle reminder.

I gave God $500, but I found out the following since:

  • I owe an additional $3400 in taxes.
  • The tenants at my rental property broke their lease, moved out and left me at least $1000 in repairs.
  • Their security deposit would cover most of that, except they also didn’t pay their last month’s rent. Double whammy.
  • I have an empty rental property which will cost $1000 for every month it’s vacant.

Plus $500 in exchange for minus $5400 and counting.

Boooooo hiss.

This is a classic example of an “unreturned favor” God. Don’t you know that!?

But here’s the deal.

Even if that comes at our own individual expense.

Last I checked, God hasn’t asked any of us to sacrifice our physical lives. So, really, it is no sacrifice at all. Especially if you consider this one moment/situation does not even come close to negating a lifetime of God’s faithfulness to me.

The next time God does not return a “favor,” consider all God’s done for you and then see if you’re still wanting that favor.

Photo courtesy of nathanmac87.

The Most Comprehensive List of Bible Reading Plans

Reading Plan Screenshot

I’m pretty stoked to be living in this generation. Namely because of how much the Internet and technology has improved our lives. This is especially true when it comes to being more engaged in the Bible.

At the intersection of technology and the Bible is the YouVersion Bible App. The only resource you’ll ever need for Bible reading plans. (tweet this.)

Whatever your heart is looking for in a reading plan, you’ll be able to find it in the Bible App. Are you looking to read the Bible in a year? Or looking for just an Old Testament or New Testament reading plan? How about Bible reading plans that touch on certain topics like forgiveness, parenting or trust? 5 day, 2 week, 30 day reading plans?

The Bible Apps got ya covered!

There are over 600 reading plans available, but I’m just going to highlight a handful of them from some of the available categories.

If you have a smartphone or iPod Touch, be sure you download the app so you can read your plan wherever you go. And you’ll be able to take advantage of the built-in audio Bibles. Perfect for your daily commute!

No need for a printable version because it’ll always be in your pocket (or on the website).

Let’s Read the Bible Together (Bible in a Year)

From the Whole Bible category, this plan (smartly) has you focus on reading one month at a time. Because we all know the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right?

The first month has you reading in Luke, Acts, Daniel and Genesis. It’s a great reading plan to invite some friends to read along each month for accountability!

View a sample.

Let's Read the Bible Together Reading Plan

My Utmost For His Highest (30 days)

In the Devotional category you’ll not only find good reading plans but also daily devotionals written by some well known folks such as John Piper, Joyce Meyer, Billy Graham and others.

This plan from Oswald Champers is probably the most read devotional ever. It’s a classic!

View a sample.

My Utmost For His Highest Reading Plan

Temptation (7 days)

The Topical category has pretty much every topic you could imagine (e.g., anger, doubt, addiction, relationships).

If this one on temptation doesn’t float your boat go check out the 170 other options (as of this post).

View a sample.

Temptation Reading Plan

The Essential 100 (100 days)

Found in the Partial Bible category, this reading plan helps give you an overview of the Bible using 50 Old Testament and 50 New Testament passages.

View a sample.

Elsewhere in this category you’ll find plans that take you through a specific book of the Bible or ones that take you through portions of the Bible (varying in length from a few days to a year).

The Essential 100 Reading Plan

Other YouVersion Bible App Reading Plans

What I highlighted here is just the tip of the iceberg! Here’s where you can find the rest of the iceberg.

If you’ve seen God work in your life through reading Scripture, do me a favor and share this post with your friends.

The Bible App makes it so easy to engage in Scripture. Let’s use technology to become the most Bible-engaged generation ever.

Now holler at me in the comments!

What’s your favorite Bible App reading plan? How else are you planning on staying in the Word this year?

The Crossroads of Speaking Negative Words

Face Scar

I couldn’t fall asleep last Thursday.

You’d think it was because I was feeling the pressure of performing not just my first wedding ceremony, but the wedding ceremony of my little sister (picture) in less than 48 hours.

Nope.

Sleep eluded me because I was thinking about an article I read about gossiping positively (read the sixth point). There were no witnesses so I cannot confirm or deny if a few tears were shed as I lay there restless in bed.

My spirit was burdened by one thought.

Why is it so easy to tear down those closest to us with our words? (tweet this.)

Is it just me or is there a point in most relationships (friends, spouse, co-workers) where you become more comfortable talking about a person’s weaknesses or the negative aspects of their habits/personality?

You’re always late. You get your feelings hurt too easily. You only think about yourself.

That point in a relationship is a potentially dangerous crossroad.

One path has you continually speaking negatively about a person which (guaranteed) breeds mistrust, resentment, bitterness, annoyance and the like (on both sides).

This path truly frightens me.

It has the potential of leading a relationship to the point of no return.

Negative words are like jabbing a fork at someone. It doesn’t matter how thick a person’s skin is. If kept up, eventually your words will draw blood and the wound will scar. You’ll have left permanent damage on the relationship.

The other option is you fight hard, often and diligently to replace your negative words with why that person is valuable to God. What makes them unique? What strengths do they have that you lack?

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.

I have been on the receiving end of negative comments. I like to think I have thick skin and am not easily offended. But I found myself wincing when I heard negative things said about me. Words that became hurtful even though they were true and things I already knew about myself. They made me more insecure and self-conscious.

Negative words have a tendency to land right where a person is most vulnerable and insecure. (tweet this.)

I shed some tears (wouldn’t call it a cry…) the other day because I saw the negative affect words had not only on me but those closest to me as well.

Everyday we eat the fruit of our words.

Use words that bring life.

Please.

Thoughts? Please share in the comments.

Photo courtesy of lauralewis23.