If the current war in Ukraine has caused many to rediscover anything, it is specific prayers in the Bible that we used to ignore or that would cause embarrassment. The two I quoted above from Psalms fall into that category. They are pleas for God to essentially step in and beat up the enemies of Israel in some graphic ways. How can these be justified as “Christian” prayers?
The kind of hope the Bible speaks of is confident and sure. Hope is rooted in God’s character and nature, despite our feelings or situations. It’s a hope anchored in not just God’s promises but in his very person. It’s a hope that is eternal in nature and provides confidence found not in ourselves or in our circumstances. It’s a hope rooted in Jesus…
Sometimes, this message is why God leads us the way he leads us. I believe there is always a message in the miracle. Solutions exist to teach us something or learn a new lesson not just solve the present problem. They stretch our faith and deepen our trust in God.
Have you ever thought of faith being creative? Or how about the need for faith to be demonstrated in a creative way? I think many times we get stuck in the same routines and traditions that we fail to think outside the box and find new ways of doing things. Or maybe we see certain needs but think we are powerless to do anything about it and we give up rather than get creative.
Greetings from Nigeria, the country with the largest population in Africa! I just wrapped up my first international trip in a YEAR due to COVID. It was so good to get back out there on behalf of ServeNow, the mission organization I lead. Being ServeNow has always heavily emphasized serving in, with, and through national leaders and churches, we have been able to carry on our work without skipping too much of a beat over this last year. In fact, we served far more people in the previous year over COVID than even the year before COVID! It may have looked different, but the impact is still just as incredible, if not more so than years past.
These scenes remind me of passages right out of the bible. But I am not talking about the ones where God himself tells us he is with us. I am not diminishing those promises at all, but what I want to focus on in this blog is the fact that not only is God with us, but so are angels and other saints, both past and present. We are part of a much larger community and spiritual family than we often realize or remember. And it is this message that we are not alone that I believe needs rediscovered today.
Here’s the problem however for us: we want to understand with perfect clarity in the present what often only makes sense looking back. But as followers of Jesus, we need to come to a place of understanding that we won’t always understand everything right away…and that is ok! Part of what it means to follow Jesus is to submit to an authority higher than own, to One who sees a picture bigger than we see, who knows the end from the beginning, and whose ways are not our ways and thoughts not our thoughts.
Part of the issue with our anxieties is also our expectations. When I am anxious about something, I want the cause of it to be resolved. I want solutions. I want my circumstances to immediately change or troubles to go away. I want his provision now for what I may actually only need later, which means I am really wanting to find security and certainty in the provision instead of the Provider. However, this is not what Jesus promised us. He has however, promised us his peace in the midst of situations that are not ideal as we pray.
The Christian faith is not a blind, irrational, subjective faith devoid of reason, reality and evidence. As Christians, we should not turn our minds off and fail to engage the culture around us and questions people have. In fact, we are commanded to be ready to give “the reason” for the hope that we have. This is called “apologetics”; not because we apologize for our faith, but because we are to defend our faith with credible reasons for why we believe. True Christianity does not fly in the face of reason; rather reason supports the claims of Scripture!
Jesus has called us as believers to bear fruit for his glory. We are expected to be effective and productive in our witness of him in this world. But bearing fruit and being effective requires a deep commitment and being intentional. It doesn’t just “happen” without effort, discipline and focus on growing in the very character traits Peter highlights above.
Faith becomes most real when trust has to be exercised in the midst of doubt, not because of lack of doubt.
God can use anyone who will allow him to use them. He will use whatever “tools” you have or can find, no matter how “primitive” or imperfect they may seem. He will use even you, no matter how imperfect you may be!
The heavens are pointing us to a reality greater than we can possibly imagine or comprehend. They are speaking to us of the vastness of God, the promises of God and the glory of God. They are pointing us to something (or more like someone!) beyond ourselves, beyond our own little worlds, beyond our “small” problems and even beyond the universe itself. It is speaking to us of the faithfulness of God to fulfill every good promise in our lives. It is speaking to us of an eternally glorious God; a God of beauty and delight who alone can satisfy the thirst of our hearts and longing of our hearts.
Joy. Who isn’t looking for true, inner, and lasting joy? From an early age I have battled depression. I could also say I find myself deeply frustrated many times when things don’t seem to be going as I hope or happening as quickly as I might want. Joy is something that can seem elusive, but could it be because we mistake real internal joy with fleeting happiness? And more so, if that is true, how can we not only find, but remain filled with joy regardless of circumstances?
It is the presence of God that brings fullness of joy and eternal pleasures. It’s his person that satisfies and eternally thrills the human heart. Heaven is not boring because God is infinitely fascinating! God is not a cosmic kill joy, but the source of all true and lasting joy.
God wants to do a new thing in your life. More than that, He delights in and finds great pleasure in doing new things! Did you ever stop to think about the power and joy of that reality? We hear and use the word “new” all the time, but take a moment to let the definition of the word “new” sink into your spirit in a fresh way. The word new speaks of bringing into existence something that has not existed before, or that is discovered for the first time.
Today, because of a family connection to the Graham family (Billy Graham/Franklin Graham), I was able to have a personal tour and meet some people at the headquarters of Samaritans Purse. It was fascinating (and a bit overwhelming!) to get a glimpse into what happens “behind the scenes” of a very large but effective non-profitContinue reading ““Do Whatever He Tells You””
I don’t know about you, but I know it’s true of me, and even Jesus’ first disciples, that it is easy to lose that sense of child-likeness. I know first-hand and in very deep ways, how easy it is to become cynical, jaded, even bitter, due to the disappointments, hurt and things you see or experience in dealing with people and in ministry on a very intimate level. Here are four ways Jesus calls us to become more childlike.
Many of us do nothing for God because of “stones” that exist in our mind. There are obstacles that hold us back from even moving towards those situations. We feel called to serve but we see no way that we can do it, so we don’t even attempt. And because we don’t attempt, we never witness the resurrection power and reality of our Living Savior!
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. -Hebrews 6:12 This is not an easy article for me to write. I hate waiting. I live in a culture that is also very fast-paced, expects immediate gratification and is results oriented. IContinue reading “God is not in a Hurry”
There is such a big difference between us setting out to “work for God”, versus God doing his work in us and through us! God is not looking for us to work for him. However, he is looking for worshippers through whom he can do his work! (John 4:23).