We Can’t Change The Past
But The Past Has The Power
To Change Us
God isn’t isolated to one area or one time slot each week, like church.
He’s in church, yes, but no more so than the office or the kitchen or the wee hours of the morning when we can’t sleep. God is a little bigger than a few small segments of your life.
He’s everywhere all the time and He’s never idle.
He’s listening and responding even when He isn’t doing any apparent thing in your behalf.
He tags along everywhere we go, in church and out, and that means He is aware of it when we feel like people are throwing stones at us. He feels the impact of every stone but rather than protect us He uses those “stone throwing” moments to help us learn.
Church is His classroom. Life is His internship.
Sometimes, however, we miss opportunities to gain valuable experience because we respond to life’s difficulties the wrong way. We feel cheated, insulted, unfairly passed over, misrepresented, falsely accused or manipulated – Offensive, all of it! – and we call on God to make it go away as if He is our personal judge, prosecutor and jury.
We cry and moan and writhe in pain and we usually do this because revenge isn’t really an option. Unfortunately, there is only one thing that helps and it is the last option on the list . . . if it’s on the list at all.
Forgive all the stone throwers!
Offenses Are Inevitable
Now, before I say more about forgiveness please understand that offenses are inevitable and Jesus is the one who made the point.
For offenses must come. (Matthew 18:7 – NKJV)
The proof of that statement is the reality we live everyday. Offenses occur more regularly than the sun rises and they come from every direction: Read more
Don’t Run From Pain
Or Wish It Away
God May Be The Author
It is quite normal to find God in church but that isn’t the only place we can expect to find Him. God is a little bigger than a church service (omnipresent) and I’m sure He is active more than one hour a week so we should expect to find Him mingling in all of life and by “life” I mean everything outside of church.
Since He created life for us, and us for life, we shouldn’t be surprised to find Him tagging along when we leave church.
Church does serve an important purpose but a very limited one. It is only a classroom and offers only theory. Life offers what the classroom can’t, experience. It is the lab where we learn to apply the theory and God is involved in both places. He instructs us in one and mentors us in the other.
God Isn’t On Emergency Standby
Most people do invoke God’s presence in their daily living but more as a protector or body guard or shield. He gets called for emergencies only.
Life can be hard and we don’t like “hard.” We much prefer easy and convenient. The ideal job is one in which productivity smoothly moves along and the people we work with are always agreeable but who has a job like that.
If you have a boss, and most people with jobs do, he or she is constantly expecting performance quotas to be met. Even if you work for yourself, bill collectors are there to remind you of the same.
And if you are fortunate enough to achieve financial security – that is you don’t have to work – you find you must still work hard and smart to maintain the value of your resources, whether they be investments or savings.
You can’t really get away from it. There is constant pressure and that pressure sometimes produces pain. Jobs aren’t the only source of pain but it one common to us all.
And the question is, where is God when the pain comes? In our thinking God and pain can’t be reconciled. Pain is a problem and God is the solution.
Well, Unfortunately, God is not Vicodin or a magic wand and Life, which can sometimes be painful, is His training ground. Read more
The Inability To Do One Thing
Highlights Abilities To Do Others
We recently had Snicker Sunday at church. It was great fun and tasty too. Every person was given a Snickers Chocolate bar but the sermon wasn’t about the bar. It was a gimmick. It made people curious and allowed me to introduce a discussion on why people snicker at the perceived inabilities of others or snivel over the inabilities they don’t have.
Tales of this happening in the younger years are legion. Kids try to do some particular thing, academically, athletically or socially, and fail. Peers snicker and the failing individual snivels.
To start the discussion I introduced several disabled but notable people: Read more
Filed under: Answering an Atheist, Bad Things, Christian Living
I recently answered several questions about miracles. The questions originally came from an agnostic/atheist type (Agath) who thought miracles were nonsense and I partly agreed. Agath’s questions were aimed at Christians and for obvious reasons. Who else makes more noise about miracles.
My intent was to answer Agath’s questions, which implied God doesn’t exist and therefore miracles can’t happen. My intent in this post is quite different.
I want to bring a little sense to the grab bag approach to miracles popularized in some circles. It might seem strange but in one sense I agree with Agath here. But that really shouldn’t surprise you. Because Atheists and Christians differ on a few important issues doesn’t mean they disagree on everything. It also doesn’t mean all Christians agree.
So, this post is aimed at Christians who I believe are confusing the issues and making it difficult for practically minded people to believe.
The problem, as I see it, is this. Some Christians are claiming a large number of miracles – of the most sensational kind – and suggesting miracles are promised on demand.
I say “some” because not all Christians agree. I, for one, am of a different opinion and I’m not alone. Many of us are a little skeptical about all the claims.
And it’s a sensitive issue for everyone. Who hasn’t been desperate enough to want a miracle occasionally? When life gets hard, unpredictable and cruel, what better (easier) way to solve the problem than pour a miracle on it.
God, however, hasn’t promised that and the few promises He has made that require miracles in order to be fulfilled have little to do with your personal problems or wish list.
So, let’s analyze the concept of miracles and answer a few questions. Read more
Filed under: Answering an Atheist, Bad Things, God's Sovereignty
A friend recently sent me an email posing an assortment of questions about miracles. The questions originally came from an agnostic/atheist type (Agath) – my friend is neither – and were intended to discredit God and belittle believers.
A summary of each question is included for your reference. I summarized them because unedited they were quite long but I was careful to retain the essence:
- If God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, as the Bible claims, why does He allow people to die in floods and tsunamis or children to die of cancer?
- Why are miracles reported less frequently and in fewer numbers in modern times?
- If God is so powerful why does the Devil exist?
- Why are the Ten Commandments so shallow/narrow? Why do the commandments say nothing about children’s rights, mathematics or the internet?
- Why doesn’t God heal amputees (restore lost limbs)? Why does God only heal things that have a statistical possibility of healing on their own, e.g., cancers?
- Doesn’t the conflict between Christian, Muslim and Jewish beliefs cancel each other out? If one is right wouldn’t the others be considered atheists?
I can’t say whether Agath is genuinely open to real answers or not but he apparently won’t accept fluff. According to my friend “God works in mysterious ways” won’t do, hence this post.
Disasters, Diseases And Miracles – Accusations vs Issues
I’ll discuss only the first two questions in this article. The others will come later but since the first two are closely related and Agath offered an answer for each they seemed like a good place to start. Read more