Posted in Christian Living

Are You There God?


The world is spinning on its axis the same as every other day, but today it feels like a merry-go-round. Out of control. And it’s easy to wonder “Where is God?”

In hopes of seeking an answer to this question, this post will share a few links to other posts on the subject.

First of all, what happens in our hearts when prayers go unanswered?

Isabella Morganthal writes:

Actually, there are a lot of moments when I just don’t understand what God is doing.

Like during those times when I pray for physical healing and yet I still suffer. Or when I ask God for a dream that still goes unfulfilled.

God, why do You allow so many prayers to seemingly go unanswered?

It’s the question heavy on my heart.

I continue watching the TV as the power of Hurricane Irma in Florida only grows stronger. Yes, these moments make me wonder. They cause me to cry out…

Why? Why would You give us the opposite of the good things we pray for, if You are a good God?

Read the rest of the post here.

Ps6.9

Bad things happen and we stare in awe at the devastation and wonder, “Where is God? What’s He doing? Why is this happening?”

But rather than dwelling on those questions, maybe we should focus on these:

  1. What could I have done differently to change this outcome?
  2. What part did I play in this bad thing?
  3. If my bad decisions led to it, what did I learn from it?
  4. Who can I help overcome a similar bad thing?
  5. What is God trying to teach me during this difficult time?

Most of the time, this keeps me from wallowing too long in the slop called self pity.

But it doesn’t free me from making amends when the answers to the first two questions indicate I played a role in what happened.
And question four empowers me to use what I’ve learned to help other people.
When bad things happen, they hurt more when we face them alone.
When bad things happen, people probably can’t stop them or change them, but they can buoy up the ones suffering.
There’s been an ongoing “bad thing” happening in my personal world for many months. I’ve prayed about it. Ranted about it. Tried to stand up to it.

You can read the rest of that post here.

Are you at a point in your life where you’re wondering if God is listening to your prayers? Maybe questioning how devastation and disaster is part of His good and perfect will?

Feel free to throw your questions God’s way, but if He didn’t answer Job, he probably won’t answer you.

Job_LifeLessons

Because when things are dark, He wants us to come into His light, bask in His goodness, focus on the future when He rules it all.

In other words: have faith in Him. Believe His promises. Really believe. It will make a difference in the way you think about the chaos swirling around you.

Go ahead and step off the merry-go-round and into the arms of the One who loves you unconditionally. Is God there? Yes, arms open wide, waiting for you to fling yourself into them with abandon.

Have you been questioning things happening around you? What verses help you when things are bad?

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Posted in Christian Living

What Happened to Unity?


Unity is not easily found in the world today. Bipartisan legislatures scream and scramble for position. Families are divided along party lines. Even churches are affected.

So maybe unity isn’t that big of a deal. If it’s harder to find than a black eraser in a pile of coal in a dark room, is it really worth the effort?

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! – Psalm 133:1

Scripture claims unity is a good thing. Having it with your brothers and sisters in Christ will make worship pleasant.

My recent experience suggests worship could be impossible without it. Continue reading “What Happened to Unity?”

Posted in Christian Living, Lesson

Which is More Important? Work or Worship


Without workers nothing gets done. And yet God gets pleasure from our worship of Him, and our spiritual man gets grounded and refreshed during worship.

So which is more important?

This isn’t a new argument. In fact, it’s been around since the beginning of time (remember Cain and Abel?) and people haven’t changed much, regardless of all the fancy gadgetry they carry around these days. Continue reading “Which is More Important? Work or Worship”

Posted in Christian Living

The Freedom of Summer


With Independence Day right around the corner, a post on freedom is a necessity. Summer is a time of freedom for children, who have no school, and teachers, whose work involves continuing their own education.

It’s also the time when most families take vacations. That means Dad and Mom are free from the daily grind of their jobs. And everyone escapes the drudgery of household chores.

But a recent blog post by Holley Gerth got me thinking about something else. This was confirmed with an email from another Christian author I follow (obscure because I can no longer locate the email).

With schedules freed up, we have the opportunity to invest more time in our relationship with God. Rather than rushing to get ready for work (or school) in the morning, we could open our Bible and meditate on a verse or two. (See this post for an idea involving Psalms.)

We are made free from many things when we accept Christ as our Savior. But most of the time we fall back into the chains of habitual sin, apathy and selfishness.

Who wouldn’t rather roast s’mores than meditate on a Bible verse? A day at the lake sounds more relaxing than a day in church.

And as long as we believe the lies of the world, we won’t experience true freedom in Christ.

This isn’t available only with the slack schedules of summer, when dinner is grilled chicken and watermelon.

God makes us free to be who He created us to be at the moment we’re born (again). He offers us all we need to succeed (2 Peter 1:3-8).

God-Made-Me-768x768

How about tapping into spiritual freedom this summer? Take your Bible (or Bible app) out onto the deck (patio, porch) in the evening when the world gets quiet. Read a verse. Ponder it. Pray over it.

Be still in the presence of the Lord so he can show you how to truly break the chains.

It’s better than any vacation. And lasts longer, too, if we continue to seek the Lord and be quiet before Him.

How will you experience freedom this summer?

Posted in Christian Living

Is Summer a Time for Spiritual Slacking?


Sure, there are church camps and Vacation Bible Schools and even tent meetings, but summer is the season for slackening one spiritual strengthening exercise: regular church attendance.

Or maybe that’s only at St. Helens Baptist Church. Maybe families don’t go on vacation for weeks at a time where you live and worship. Maybe there are summer baseball and softball tournaments over the weekends. If that’s the case, members at your church don’t have the usual distractions.

So does church attendance drop where you worship?

And is this truly a sign of a slack in the spiritual lives of these people?

I wish I had the answers, but I don’t. As you can see, there are more questions here than facts.

Spiritual strength comes from three things:

  1. Time reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God
  2. Prayer, supplication and quiet reflection at the feet of Jesus
  3. Facing the hard times without giving up on God

So, none of these have anything to do with church attendance. Or do they?

Church is the place where Jesus put His name. He built it for humans so they could meet together and study scripture, pray, fellowship and be encouraged to fight the fight. Because while Jesus went to Heaven, his enemy stayed right here on Earth.

Yes, the Old Serpent is the prince and power of the air in the physical realm. Eventually, King Jesus will take that title back. But for now, Satan prowls around looking for spiritually weak people to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

If Jesus paid for the church with His precious blood (Acts 20:28), then it must be an important part of his Kingdom plan.

Church strengthens in the spirit of a believer (if they attend with a receptive heart). Here are five things that you might need strengthened that church will help with:

  1. Humility (if worshiping the Almighty doesn’t humble you, nothing will)
  2. Knowledge (plenty of scripture presented and expounded)
  3. Love (Hebrews 10:24)
  4. Resolve to work for Christ (Hebrews 10:24)
  5. Family ties (with our brothers and sisters in Christ at church)

What are your thoughts? Do you think spirituality slips in the summer? Or is the fall of church attendance an indicator of something else?

Up next week:  The Freedom of Summer