Archive | January 2020

the problem with faith.

For years, years, I have been troubled with people who prayed and “believed God” for a miracle, got healed, and proclaimed their experience for others to believe, too.

Don’t misunderstand. I was happy for them. I understood their thankfulness and desire to make known what prayer can do.

I was not troubled with them.

I was troubled with the people who believed God, too, and did not get healed.

In my 40 years of being surrounded and involved with understanding faith and prayer, I can count on one hand how many people have been healed.

We have to do something with this. Because there are a whole lot of people who are confused and discouraged. And I think God cares about this.

I believe in prayer simply because the scriptures are clear.

Yet, I think we should be careful about isolating a scripture and building so much upon it that we have created inaccuracy. Because God cares about those people who were not healed and are broken-hearted.

It only poses questions such as, “Doesn’t God love me?”, “Didn’t I have enough faith?”

I don’t believe God wants that for anyone.

I have struck a balance in my life of praying for good but accepting the bad. Too much either way causes problems.

Many contemporary churches emphasize Bible believing Christians doing greater works than Jesus.  

Hmm. If that were the case, where are all the miracles, healing, and deliverance?

If some can proclaim what they see, some should be able to proclaim what they don’t see. This is not a lack of faith. In fact, I think it reflects a very deep kind of faith which is not based on personal experience, but acknowledges that we do not see and understand everything.

Faith isn’t always visible. Faith can weather many disappointments and still rest firmly on God’s promises, and ultimately, the last chapter of the book when everything concludes:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.

There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,

for the old order of things has passed away.

I often think about the people who endured suffering throughout the centuries. Read their biographies. Sing their hymns. They still speak to us today, “the great cloud of witnesses”. What truths did they build their life on that contemporary Christian thinking has all but ignored?

What ever you are facing, let your faith find its place. And while I cannot promise a miracle, I can promise wherever you plant yourself, your roots will go deep and sustain you for the rest of your life…

until God fixes everything in eternity.

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grieving.

We’re all familiar with grieving when someone dies.

But we can be grieving over other things and not realize it.

Working really hard at something, only to watch it slip through your fingers. This is grieving, too.

Disappointments, unfairness, betrayal, and more.

We are aware of the unhappiness playing in the background. Not enough to plunge you into despair, but you feel it swirling around your heart, wanting to remind you of what wasn’t.

So what do we do?

We often turn to temporary comforts to help. Everything from “me time” – a day at the spa, a vacation, shopping – to alcohol, sex, and illegal drugs.

There’s nothing wrong with some practical (healthy) comforts. But that unhappiness is still there, isn’t it?

I have been well versed with the God-is-doing-a-new-thing in contemporary Christian circles. While I would never limit God’s ability to do new things, I have found it can play with our emotions.

Mostly, it does nothing for the unhappiness every one of us feel.

When you go home after a contemporary worship service with lots of exhortations and edification, that unhappiness is waiting for you at home.

How are you on Monday morning? When none of that is around?

Recently, I heard a preacher on the radio say something about being careful not to trade the old hymns for contemporary music; lyrics which often reflect how we feel.

The hymns are rich with truth and honestly, when I have suffered, when I have grieved, it was the hymns I wanted.

I found out a long time ago, the way to manage unhappiness is to accept it. Yes, there are things we can do to change our situation. But if there is nothing we can do, we have to accept it. But we do not accept it without hope. We have the hope of eternity.

If we are filling ourselves with the kind of faith these days that require energy to “name and claim”, “stake our claim”, or the like – consider it may be much to do about nothing if it does not sustain your soul day and night.

That mindset did not get me through my oldest son’s death and it doesn’t get me through grieving over other personal disappointments.

What gets me through is the awareness of being anchored to the Lord. No bells. No whistles. A quiet, presence of God’s promises to be near the brokenhearted. And the reminder of our home in eternity as promised by God.

Shouldn’t Christians be about living with eternity in our view instead of God-wants-to-fix-this? Yes, we should ask and pray.  But we also keep eternity in our view. It should be a very present thought and common in conversation.

We are supposed to encourage each other with these words. These words will carry you through anything.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.

Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4

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