Thanks to Kari for posting this and being the burr in my britches to get me back here and writing again. This is a great jump start! I’ll say it again. Wow. Dude minces no words. Sit down first and get ready for a blast of Truth.
Archive for the 'answers' Category
Tags: adultery, answers, Bible, Christian, comfort, deceived, eternity, faith, God, Jesus, love, marriage, parenting, pornography, powerful, preach it, sin
Tags: adultery, answers, Bible, Christian, deceived, eternity, faith, God, hard times, issues, Jesus, love, pornography, prayer, promiscuity, searching, seeking, sin
What father wouldn’t want to help his child get his or her new business started on the right foot? If you had the ability and contacts as a parent, wouldn’t you let your friends, colleagues, golfing and fishing buddies know about your child’s new venture? Pass out business cards? Ask them to help your kid get started?
What parent wouldn’t help their child any way they could?
Now imagine your 22-year old daughter is auctioning her virginity on e-bay. Perhaps she’s marketing information services only and has launched her own porn site? Maybe she’s more professional and has become, well, a professional.
Would you call your friends and pass out her business card, asking them to bid on her auction, log-on to her XXX site, or become one of her clients?
If you (like most parents) wouldn’t dream of promoting one of your own children’s career in promiscuity, you might think about your own personal stand on the issue of pornography and prostitution.
This is not a “victimless” crime or a “victimless” pastime.
The reason we cringe when we think of our own sons and daughters in these careers is that our spirits bear witness to how very wrong it is.
And if you’re a Christian, you don’t have to dig too deep into the Bible to discover how God feels about it. Indeed, Jesus calls viewing pornography, adultery. Cut and dry. No rationalizing it. No getting around it. That’s just the way it is.
And sadly, it should not come as a mystery that this issue is epidemic in the church. We are ignoring it, looking the other way, making excuses, keeping secrets. It is a cancer that is destroying families and congregations from the inside out. The devil has a vast playground as secret sins stay in the darkness.
Are you or someone you know grappling with pornography or promiscuity? My prayer is that you bring that sin straight to the foot of the cross, and allow your merciful and loving Savior to free you from the prison you’re in. There is a way out. His name is Jesus.
And for those of us who call ourselves Christians, we best pause for a moment lest we get caught up in our self-righteous judgment of people like the seller in the ebay-virginity auction. Instead, how about we pray for the Lord to draw her to Himself, to heal all her wounds, and to provide for all her needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus?
Know somebody who is struggling? Pray for them. Especially if it’s your daughter. Especially if it’s you.
Tags: answers, Bible, Christian, fruit of the spirit, God, hard times, Jesus, love, parenting, powerful
The other day, one of my daughters stomped in from declining to do a task that had been Grossly Unfairly Assigned to Her, and angrily (and loudly) grumbled, “WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO BE NICE TO ANYONE WHEN NO ONE IS NICE TO ME?!”
Praise the Lord for His discernment and the fruit of self-control, because it truly was Him keeping me from becoming furious right back at her. It amazed me to hear the words coming from my own mouth, calmly and gently (how ’bout that, another fruit?!):
And in that moment, it was like a switch was flipped. Her fury subsided, she gave me a hug and went back to what she’d been asked to do.
Please understand, if you don’t know my kids personally, this is NOT what any of them are naturally inclined to do. Naturally, they are inclined to argue, defend, pout, grumble about fairness…you get the picture. Further, I am not naturally inclined to be calm and gentle when faced with Ultra-Snarkiness. This was not a natural phenomenon. It was quite literally, supernatural.
There’s simply no substitute for memorizing the Word, purposefully hiding it in your heart. I guess that’s one of the side-benefits of having that Word in your heart–it’s right there, ready to spring forth on your lips when you need it the most.
Now it doesn’t always work that way. Not because the Word of God is impotent, but because I’m sometimes inclined to put my own parental two-cents worth in–you know, “improving” God’s Word with my own “so there!” (Because God really needs my help…yes, right.)
But this day, the Lord gave me the discernment and strength to be able to respond like Jesus did when tempted in the wilderness by the devil himself, with the Word and the Word alone. Noteable that when Jesus responded to the enemy with the Word (“It is written”), “then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”
If it’s good enough for the King of Kings, perhaps the strategy might be good enough for me and my family. Worth a try. Sure helped score one in the win column that day.
Tags: answers, Bible, Christian, deceived, eternity, faith, God, good works, heaven, hell, Jesus, Look at God, love, peace, powerful, prayer, salvation, searching, seeking, sin
Well, this isn’t really a post for the atheists, but for the rest of us out there, a question:
What do you think will be the requirement for you to enter into heaven, once you’ve passed from this life?
As for me, being a Bible-kind-of girl, I don’t believe that anyone will be able to merely claim they are a Christian.
(“Why, here’s my membership card in Christian Club of the Earth.” “Why thanks, that’s really all we needed. Come right in.” Umm. No.)
I also don’t believe that we can “good work” our way into heaven or that there is some tally of good stuff versus bad stuff and that if the bad list is shorter than the good list, we’re in.
(Sounds more like Santa Claus–naughty and nice list–do you suppose that’s where we got that nonsense? Perhaps the “faith without works is dead”argument…but nooooo. Consider the context. It just isn’t so.)
Nope. Good works and church attendance and even membership in the Christian Club are not enough.
All we’ll be able to count on when we stand before the Lord at the end of our life on this earth, is the blood of Jesus.
Seriously, think about it. We’re all a big mess and there’s not not one of us who could stand sinless before God on our own. He does care about sin; He can’t coexist with it. Providing us a way out of that horrible separation from Him was not the His way of being a control-freak. It was His way of showing mercy to His messed-up creation (that would be me, and the person sitting in your chair reading this right now).
The way out of the mess way Jesus, pure and simple. We’ve gotta recognize that we’ve messed it up (a.k.a. “sin”–the “S” word so many teachers of the watered-down gospel seem to be afraid of…). We need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He was resurrected to bring victory over death, saving us from our sins. And we need to ask Jesus to save us from our sins and be the boss of our life (that is, Lord).
Some (including me) refer to this as being able to plead the blood of Jesus. And that’s the one thing I want to have with me when I stand before the Lord at the end of my life. No membership card. No list of good deeds. While those things might be nice, they’ve got nothing to do with admittance to anyplace I want to be going.
No, all I need is the blood of Jesus. It’s all we need.
With all due respect to those who may disagree (or appear to) with me (like, perhaps Mr. Shore, who’s blog I enjoy reading, though I haven’t quite figured out his perspective on critical eternal issues like this), I can lovingly appreciate the differences of opinion without having to ram my viewpoint down your throats, but please know I’m praying that any area of eternal consequence where you might be stumbling into error is revealed to you personally by the Holy Spirit this side of heaven (or hell). Surely you would not object to that?
Tags: answers, Bible, deceived, dig deeper, disillusion, eternity, God, hard times, Jesus, kingdom, love, new age, peace, powerful, searching, seeking, self help
With the chaos that we’re seeing and, let’s face it, experiencing, in our world, it’s easy to start to blame God. Why doesn’t He fix this? Doesn’t He care? He must be either mean or impotent. Why on earth would I follow anyOne like that?
Listen, God is not an idiot. The problem with the line of questioning above is that it starts at the middle of the story, instead of going back to the root of things.
Now, before you start thinking I’m going to slam Bible verses down your throat, I just want to encourage you to take a deep breath and ask yourself a few questions.
As a culture, we do a lot of blaming, scoffing at, or downright ignoring God. We treat Him as if He’s a monster, a tyrant, an ego-maniac, an indifferent taskmaster. We act like He’s mean, impotent, our fairy-godmother or our sugar-daddy. We’ve put expectations on Him based on how we view the world, not the way the world really is.
As Americans, in particular, we err because we (thankfully) have been brought up in a democracy, where we have votes, rights and choices because we are entitled to them. But God’s set-up isn’t a democracy, it’s a kingdom, and He’s the King. This really irks us Americans because we think because we’re entitled in our country, we should be entitled in eternity. (We aren’t.) We tend to think that a God who doesn’t rule by democracy, who indeed would have the audacity to rule at all, is just a big selfish meanie. (He isn’t.)
We are oh, so educated and sophisticated. We know a lot about a lot of things. But one area where we fail grievously, frequently, both in side “the church” and outside, is that we really mess it up when it comes to the character and nature of God.
God is not an idiot. He has a plan and we are part of it. We can’t even begin to conceive the breadth of His plan and purpose. Even if you could follow with your best logic, one thread of his eternal tapestry, your mind would boggle before getting far. Your best computer couldn’t run the equation. Eternity is written in all of our hearts, but we simply cannot wrap our minds full around it.
So does that mean that we need to just respond to every gut-wrenching, horrifying issue or fear or circumstance with a pie-in-the-sky, glib response of “well, we’ll just have to wait until heaven to figure out that mystery” or with the the converse decision to resign ourselves that God isn’t real, isn’t powerful, or doesn’t care?
NO! What it means is that we need to get back to the basics.
Years ago, I went through an intense time of searching and disillusionment. I really wanted to know the capital-T Truth about life and my place in it. I’d been brought up in church, and believed most of what I heard, but couldn’t understand why God seemed so impotent and indifferent to me, if He really was who my pastor had told me He was.
So I started looking–everywhere. I read tons of self-help books and “new-age” books and took courses and collected all kinds of treasures and techniques along my way. I devoured any kind of information that helped me to understand a God, a universe, that had some meaning in it. And I found a lot of answers. (What those “answers” were is a subject of (several) different posts.) The only problem was that while those answers usually provided some temporary relief to my searching soul, they didn’t yield any lasting real results.
Discouraged and frustrated, scared, even, since almost NOTHING had turned out the way I expected it to, despite my very best efforts, I did the last thing I could. I actually prayed.
I believed there was a God out there, a Supreme Being that maintained the order in the universe, but I was no longer so sure of myself as far as how to get to Him. I believed that there was an after-life, that what we are seeing and experiencing right now is not the end of the story, and that there was some Big Guy in charge of the whole thing. I even had a Very Intelligent Theory about how it all worked out–one that had me comfortable enough with the world I lived in to still claim God, yet not be crawling out of my skin all the time with angst about it.
I still remember the horrifying feeling when the thought crossed my mind: What if I get to the end of my life and find out I’ve gotten it wrong? Woo Boy–that would be the wrong time to find out that I’d been deceived. And then it hit me hard: no matter what, I did not want to be deceived. Not by any person or any religion or any theory, even my own. It occurred to me that at the end of my life, I wasn’t going to get the last word, and that it might behoove me to try to get a glimmer about the nature of that word now, this side of the grave.
So I had an earnest conversation with God, as I understood Him. I told Him that I didn’t want to be deceived and that I really wanted to know Him. I meant it, too–don’t you know, you really can’t snow-job God, no use trying. I told Him that if He would reveal Himself to me, I would follow Him, wherever He led. I asked Him to make whatever revelation He might have for me personal to me, and to take people with their religious or personal agendas out of the equation. (Being a skeptic, I naturally resisted anything that anyone tried to ram down my throat–still do now, come to think about it.)
I remember the conversation had a desperate feeling to it, as I so desperately did NOT want to be deceived and really did want to know the truth. I expected alternatively a big huge epiphany or just to be ignored.
Remarkably, I did hear back from God. This was not my imagination. It certainly was nothing that would have been forthcoming from my preexisting wiring. God’s response:
“Read my book.”
That was it. Pretty humbling, but not at all demeaning. Of course, I realized that I’d read tons and tons of other complete spiritual works–and even part of the Bible, but never had I read the whole Bible. Imagine that. Read my book. Seemed too simple. And to top it off, I’d heard from God and I didn’t feel any big emotional change either.
But I’d told Him that I’d do what He asked, and gambling (this was a good gamble) that He’d taken me at my word, I promptly started reading.
What followed was a string of events that was so personal and enlightening, that I am confident that God was in the midst of them. Questions were answered for me that I’d never dared ask another person out loud. As I would find myself asking a new question, the answer would appear as I dug just a little bit deeper. Piece by piece, graciously following my own quirky logical question-and-answer way of thinking, God Himself reached into my little life and took the time to answer me, personally and individually, as only He could.
(Caveat: God is not the only spiritual entity among us, so just because it feels spiritual or right doesn’t necessarily make it so. There are ways of discerning if something is really God or if it’s just a warm fuzzy feeling or if it’s something vastly worse–but that’s also the subject of a different post.)
Suffice it to say, the journey that I went on with God, which I certainly will detail here in future posts, has been sufficient to show me personally that God is not an idiot. He is not mean, or arrogant. He is not indifferent or impotent. He is immeasurably wise, loving, patient, caring and powerful.
I would not have believed those words if someone just told them to me. I’m not a “blind faith in a human leader” kind of gal. But I do believe them now.
I dare you: consider whether it’s possible at all that you’ve been deceived about God, about eternity, even by people who were well-meaning. If it’s the tiniest bit possible, then ask God Himself to show you The Truth. Don’t believe it just because I said it. God loves you enough to deliver the Truth straight to you. It may not come in a fancy package with warm fuzzy feelings, and you may need to dig for it. But He will come through. Because contrary to being an idiot, He delivers. That’s just the kind of God He is.
Tags: answers, Bible, Christian, comfort, God, hard times, issues, Jesus, Look at God, love, peace
During a recent, unanticipated, lengthy holiday stay in the hospital, my very brave husband was a complete trooper. Seriously, he surely has somehow earned the Good Patient Award for the month of December. I, on the other hand, won the Loud-Talking-Don’t-Make-Her-Mad-Get-It-Done-Or-Else Award, I’m afraid. But between the two of us, we managed to make sure he was well taken care of and (hopefully) maintain our testimony at the same time.
Near the end of this stay, as he really started to grow weary, my husband started sharing his concerns with me, which included (*gasp*), “I hate to say it, but I’m wondering, where is God in all this?” Now, I must tell you, he actually seemed to feel kind of guilty for even asking such a question. Forget, that Job and David and even Jesus dared to have such thoughts!
Somehow we had been programmed through our upbringing or teaching, that the God of the Universe was going to smack our hands (or worse) for even asking such a question. But far from a reprimand, what we got was incredible reassurance. It was almost as if the moment we posed the question to God, He responded, “I’m so glad you asked. Now, I think I will show you.” After that, we proceeded to have numerous, unsolicited blessings and reassurances that came our way, many times through sources that we didn’t expect.
A group of amazing homeschool mothers in our area rallied to provide us meals and prayers and comfort as soon as we returned home. A friend who is such a carrier of the peace of God showed up, just as my husband came around a corner, anxious and really feeling like he needed comfort. I could go on and on. Encouragement came from so many unexpected sources–we just paused and said to each other, “Look at God.”
In addition to asking, “Where is God?” we did one more thing. We remembered the character of God in the midst of our challenge. Late one night, as I wearily emailed an update to some friends, I found myself reflecting on the reason for the season. One of those friends put that part of my email in her blog–which I’ll let you click here to read.
The point being, first we remembered the character of God, as we know Him through the Holy Spirit and His Word. Then we placed our doubts, concerns, and needs in the lap of the Father. And then (why am I still always amazed when God comes through?), God answered us with encouragement beyond our expectations.
Where is God in all this? In every nook and cranny we surrender to Him. Everywhere we allow Him to be.
What’s God got to do with it? What kind of question is that? Glad you asked.
You don’t have to talk to too many people or spend too much time poking around cyberspace to realize that people everywhere are posing tons of questions about pretty meaningful stuff. As I’ve looked at some of the responses, I’ve noticed they range from highly intellectual to well, just plain stupid.
The thing I’ve noticed sorely missing is a meaningful discussion in the general population about how God might just respond to those questions.
Listen, I’m no Bible scholar, but I do know God. He has shown up in the middle of enough of my messes and protected me in serious situations and brought me through some gut-wrenching crises, to make me more than a little familiar with His nature. I know from personal experience who He is and Whose I am. And what He’s capable of.
God is absolutely awesome and His plans for each one of us are amazing. This blog explores and addresses the nature of God and how very RELEVANT He is to absolutely EVERYTHING each one of us faces.
This is not pie-in-the-sky, wish-want-hope, cling-blindly-to-religion, take-a-leap-of-faith-and-just-believe theory. This God is the Real Deal, ready to meet us right where we are. He is all about eternity (as you most likely heard as a kid growing up in Sunday School). But what you might have missed (I did), is that He is also a practical, relevant, roll-up-His-sleeves, and be right here where the rubber meets the road, kind of God.
I’ve got some stories about my life that would shock some people out there. It’ll take some time to get it all out there–but I know it’s time to start spilling the beans. And I’m confident that as I share my adventures and respond to yours, God will show up in the middle of it, big as day. Encouraging, inspiring, and edifying for you and me as well–and even for someone else you know who might be seeking answers or struggling with one of life’s many curve balls.
What issue are you facing? What decision are you grappling with? What dragon are you fighting? What wolf is at your door? What regret can’t you shake? What’s keeping you awake at night?
God Himself knew you would be at this very juncture at this very moment in your life. He is not disappointed in you. He is not angry with you. He loves you more than you can imagine. He’s waiting for you to ask Him for his intervention, guidance, direction.
Little by little, we’ll address these great big issues and the incredible nature of our great big God, who holds them all in the palm of His capable hand. I can’t wait to see how He shows up here!
What’s your story? What’s God got to do with it? Everything.