Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hard Lessons on Envy

I'm so excited to introduce you to my friend Felicia Bridges. Her new book, CzechMatejust released. I got a sneak peek a few weeks ago and it is awesome!! Perfect for the teens (and adults) in your life who love a great story and have a heart for missions.  Here's a little bit about CzechMate...
Nicole Wise loves her new life in Prague almost as much as she loves telling people about Jesus. But when an election upset changes the balance of power in the formerly communist country, Nicole’s outspoken attempts at evangelism lead to her parents’ arrest on espionage charges. Teaming up with Jakub, a handsome, young Romani Czech, who has grown up homeless, Nicole and her little brother, Adam, evade corrupt authorities by hiding out in underground tunnels of the ancient city while hoping to find evidence of their parents’ innocence. Their last resort is to make the proof public in a desperate bid to save them before it’s too late. When Nicole and Adam’s parents are caught in a standoff between political forces that threaten to erupt into a bloody civil war, Nicole finds herself standing alone against an army, faith her only defense.

AGGGH! Doesn't that sound awesome?!

Felicia has such a passion for the Lord and for living her life on mission. Her post (written a couple of weeks ago while the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference was in full swing) spoke to me. Well, it actually hit me between the eyes and stomped on my toes...you've been warned!



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It’s started already.

Most of my writerly friends are spending this week enjoying a slice of Carolina heaven known as Ridgecrest at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC). The Facebook posts about packing and preparing started weeks ago and with them, the little green monster crept in.

Facebook itself fed the monster with reminders of years past and the fun, fellowship and worship we enjoyed together.

Before long, I found myself posting things like, “Jealous,” or “Wish I could be there” or emoticons with tears flowing down.


But this morning our pastor had a message just for me – a message I would have missed if I had been at BRMCWC.

It wasn’t the key point of his message, but he made this statement that has echoed in my heart all day: “Envy is based on a doubt of the goodness of God to you.”

It’s a child receiving a cookie and wanting to see his sister’s cookie to be sure she didn’t get something better.

It’s a husband ogling another man’s wife.

It’s an employee with bitterness over their co-worker’s success.

Envy tells us no matter how blessed we are…is there something more? Am I missing out? Is God keeping His very best for someone else?

Ah! And there we have it – the root of the very first sin. Doubting the goodness of God.

When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, this was the lie he used. The lie that tells us that God is withholding His very best or giving it to someone else. It suggests that God’s motivation is not in our best interest.

Now for confession time. The very reason I couldn’t make it to the conference this year is because of God’s magnificent and overwhelming blessings. Over the past year, God has blessed me by guiding me to a publisher (Vinspire Publishing) and an agent (Julie Gwinn, with The Seymour Agency).

By His grace, I signed a contract not only for the book I had finished writing, but for the second book I had barely begun.

By His grace, I was able to finish that second book and meet the deadline.

By His grace, my employer has allowed me to take time off to work on writing. By His grace, I’ve been able to meet deadlines at work that seemed impossible.

By His grace, we celebrated two graduations in a single day – one from graduate school, the first in our family, and the other from college.

By His grace, both of my daughters found their forever love, godly men who honor and treasure them. By this time next month, both will be happily married.

In the midst of all this joy, sorrow and grief, almost guilt, gripped me as God brought to mind so many friends who are grieving. Grieving the death of a child. Grieving a child who has lost their way. Grieving a parent who isn’t there to share special moments.

The disparity between all these blessings in my life and the grief in the lives of people I love brought me to tears.

What if you’re watching others receive blessings while your health is failing, your finances are tapped out, or someone you love is standing on the threshold of meeting Jesus face-to-face?

What if you’re sitting on the sidelines watching your friends’ children graduate, while mourning the loss of your own?

What if you’re watching your friends get married and wondering if your Boaz will every show up?

What if you’re working harder and harder and earning less and less?

Who wouldn’t look longingly at those around them and wonder, why me, Lord?

Joni Eareckson Tada, who lost the use of her arms and legs at age 18 in a diving accident, said, “My weakness, that is, my quadriplegia, is my greatest asset because it forces me into the arms of Christ every single morning when I get up.

As Pastor JD Greear put it, “I would gladly forfeit everything if it means I know God more.”

Do we want more of God as a means to the end of providing for our needs and wants – or is He the end we seek? Is knowing Him worth giving up everything else?

“Jesus is better to us than anything life can give us or that death can take away from us.”

Paul put it this way, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Whether your life is filled with blessings and busy-ness or turmoil and tragedy, choose today to value God above anything this world has to offer. Resist the enemy who crouches at your door seeking to devour by filling us with discontent over the life that God has purposed for us.

Rather than envy my friends at the conference, I choose to thank God for His blessings, to silence the voice of doubt that suggests I am missing out, and to enjoy the conference vicariously through their posts, tweets, and pictures knowing that God gives to each of us good gifts in perfect season.

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Felicia Bridges
Felicia Bridges’ nomadic childhood as an Army BRAT created a passion for missions and travel which energizes her writing. The International Mission Force Series, featuring teenage missionaries around the world, begins with CzechMate, available now. Book two, BoliviaKnight will release in December 2016.
Her blog, www.AdventuresThatInspireAction.wordpress.com, focuses on living on mission wherever life’s adventure leads.

Felicia has a B.A. in Psychology/Human Resources Development from North Carolina State University. Her ten years’ experience as an HR Manager provides for interesting stories and as a Dale Carnegie Course graduate, she is equally comfortable speaking to a stranger or an auditorium full of people.

Catch up with Felicia’s adventures at:
Facebook: Felicia Bowen Bridges – Writer
Twitter: @fbridges272
Pinterest: Felicia Bridges
Instagram: fbridges2





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