Tag Archives: God

Today We Leave The Country

Our house sitter is set.

Our bags are packed.

In a few hours after this post goes live, I and Tony will be boarding a plane to Houston, then tomorrow, a plane to Honduras. It’s our first short term missions trip. Our first foreign trip. I am thrilled.

Please pray for us. God wants us on this trip. I won’t be able to receive texts or phone calls. Any comments or emails will be answered on Memorial Day. The week I get back I will schedule a series of blogs about our trip. I hope you will enjoy them.

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Answered Because it Pleased God #222Prayers

According to the Dake Annotated Reference Bible-KJV-Large Print, there are 176 prayers in the Old Testament and 46 prayers in the New Testament. I first heard about this reference (found here) during a prayer meeting. For the next several Sundays I will post a prayer in regards to each section of scripture mentioned until I have gone through all 222 prayers.

Lord, may our lives be pleasing to you, and may we love well.

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Why I Still Attend Church

Relevant interviewed author, Donald Miller, about his blog post, I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Worship Elsewhere. Relevant said:

There are several topics that are known to ignite controversy in many Christian circles, and one of those is church attendance. A few weeks ago, author and Storyline founder Donald Miller found this out the hard way. His blog post confessing that he doesn’t feel that he connects very well to God in the setting of a Sunday morning church service quickly went viral, drawing criticism, some rebuttals and plenty of questions.

A friend of mine calls these times in our lives seasons. Miller talked about worship, and that he worships through work. A writer is always working. His writing is worship. I understand his words. When I read the so-called controversial blog, I found it to be as he explained in the Relevant interview, about how different people learn. I, too, do not like the lecture format. I learn better by doing, and worship better when I am writing, hiking, running, or reading.

But work can hinder, too. It can be a shield to actual worship. Miller’s unconventional view of church reminds me that church isn’t about worship; it’s about fellowship. Stovall Weems of The God-First Life: Uncomplicate Your Life, God’s Way says, “If we want to experience the benefits of community, we have to invest in the communities we belong to. It’s a two-way street. I find that people can get so disappointed because the church was not “there for them” in their moment of crisis. But if we are not investing in others within the community, we won’t be in a position to reap the benefits of the community in your time of need.” Hence, attending church is an easy way of getting involved in community. But don’t restrict yourselves to just your church. Community is your neighborhood, other churches, missionary churches, etc. When I looked at Miller’s website, I find he’s not against church.

And I have a reason for still attending church. I can’t worship through music. Sitting in a pew or chairs, facing forward in a lecture-format is still not stimulating, and corporate prayer for longer than ten minutes makes my mind wander. However, its the people who have influenced me through church that make attending church worthwhile. The people who pray for me and who keep me accountable are invaluable. Many positive influences came through relations in church. Lots of expository sermons brought me to know the Christ I love, but in church, I have encountered people who are judgmental and hurtful. It’s the risk of going anywhere that a large group of people gather in intimate community.

The only way to avoid hurt is to avoid people. According to the Bible, we are not to leave from gathering together as believers. But what Miller said about wishing he had not written the blog really made me wish, that as believers, we were more sensitive. The only people who can rebuke a man for not attending church are the people who know them. They are the people privy to what is going on in their hearts. The rest of us should gentle our responses, and pray for those who do not have a church home. A large, home-church movement is out there, and while I do not agree with a home-church, I am glad, at least, the people without a church gather with a group of believers during the week. But I will not stop attending church. What church looks like for me may be different, but I still believe church matters. Church is also not a building, as a friend recently reminded me, but a body.

So please pray for those who do not have a church they feel they can call home. Pray for those hurt by church and pray for those who have trouble finding community in church. Help them realize that what we sow into community, we will reap.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Thrill of Creative Effort

Tricia Goyer posted this on her Facebook last Monday:

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort – Franklin  D. Roosevelt

Anyone, anywhere can find achievement and thrill in any job. The most mundane job can have hidden thrills or layers we can’t see because of our boredom or bitterness.  I call them blocks. I find complete happiness in all of my creative efforts, but  most especially when my creative efforts benefit someone else. After all, creativity is a gift you give away.

That gift brings joy. But the biggest joy comes from the Creator Himself who gave us creativity. He made the sunset and the sunrise; the Rembrandts and the Mona Lisa’s; the quilts and the sewing projects; the Tolkein’s and Lewis’ of our time; and I am so happy to be a child of His, belonging to a greater family than my own earthly one. The creative efforts and achievements are arrows pointing back to the Creator Himself who first made us and gave us these gifts that we take for granted.

In the comment section, list why you are grateful for the Creator of the Universe. Use this time to worship Him.

Pardon My Unbelief

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Oh, my soul, knock hard and ask large things of your generous Lord. Do not be bashful when Jesus invites. No unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No cold heart should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained. – Charles Spurgeon

Last night I confronted my half-empty faith in my weekly Bible Study. If a terrorist can become a Christian, why then do I have so little faith that, if God wills, He can remove this problem? He has been there all my life, drying my tears and wrapping my heart in His love. So why my unbelief?

Although, its not really an unbelief in Jesus. Hurt can cloud the heart and make seeing clearly difficult. Its Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on water, but soon sinking because he took his eyes off of Jesus. It helps to recall what God has done in my life.

God can still part the seas. He paints rainbows in the sky–a reminder that He keeps His promises. Oh, dear Lord, wash my eyes, use your mud to heal me of my blindness! Heal my wounded heart and right my attitude! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Have you suffered unbelief in a situation? Share that in the comments so we can pray for you.

On Chasing Rodents

On my own strength

The hot bath water surrounded me. I settled into the bubbles and grabbed the book from the toilet seat. After a full day, I finally could relax and read, even if that reading was a review book called, The God-First Life by Stovall Weems. Still, it was reading, and I am so addicted to books. The first thing that hit me was chapter two.

“Whatever has first place in your life directs how you live it.” (Pg. 21)

It’s been stressful for a long time. I won’t go into the reasons. Even a blogging sabbatical wasn’t really a sabbatical. A self-imposed deadline, poor choices in how I spent my time, and other unrelated items left me stretched emotionally and made me struggle physically as I trained for tomorrow’s marathon. Whatever has first place in our lives directs how we live it. The struggle began when I neglected my time with God. God wasn’t done with me yet.

Last Saturday, our Fellowship Group (or small group) met. We watched David Jeremiah’s Sunday recordings. David told the story of how we have to place the bigger rocks in the jar first which represent our priorities in life, and all the other stuff will fit in neatly (gravel, sand, water). I used to have an orderly life. It’s how I worked a full time job, running a magazine, and how I finished a novel. The stress hit its peak this week. I broke in two. God hit me over the head by reminding me of my lack of order.

In chapter two, page 30, Weems continued. He talked about how the lion has to go after the big meal because to chase the smaller meals, that would burn too many calories, which the smaller meals, the rodents, can’t replenish.

“I think the lion is on to something here, and we should pay attention to it. The lion knows what’s important, and he stays focused on that one big thing. He’s better than scurrying after rodents. And you know what? You’re better than that too. You’ve got a bigger purpose than chasing after all the little things in this life. Unless we focus on the kingdom, we’re going to burn ourselves out chasing the little rodents in our lives. The God-first life offers us that focus.” (emphasis mine, pg. 31).

Before this paragraph, God used this book to reaffirm what David Jeremiah said last Saturday to our group: recognize the difference between the urgent and the important.

I couldn’t believe what I read in chapter two! It’s as if God, after a week of stressing and crying out to Him, started to answer the prayers. He started to reprimand me for not putting Him first and relying on my own strength. I am fighting real battles (who isn’t?), but I was fighting them by myself. Hopelessness stole into my life. While the situation hasn’t really changed, my attitude is slowly firming and I am becoming stronger as I nestle deep into God’s Word once again. It will take time to heal, but I am surrounded by wise and loving friends and a wonderful husband who, not only support me, but also tell me what I don’t want to hear. I am grateful for them. The small changes I am making in my life will help me to rest a while. Marathons have aid stations for runners to get nourishment. God gives us aid stations where in our race we can pause and re-focus our eyes back on Him.

Meanwhile, my husband has placed large and small rocks all over our coffee table in the living room.

Are you struggling, too? Please write in the comments your prayer needs and let us pray for you.

Why Fight Gay Marriage?

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“Rosemary Williams, the third wife, said the fear of prosecution is always in the back of their minds, though they feel there is more acceptance for polygamous today than when the Browns came out. Brady Williams said the increasing social and legal acceptance of gay marriage has helped society open up toward plural marriage.”

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“Millionaire gay couple the Drewitt-Barlows have confirmed they have launched a legal challenge to the right of churches to opt out of gay weddings.

In fresh comments published by the Chelmsford Weekly News in the U.K. today, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said legal action had started.

“We’ve launched a challenge to the government’s decision to allow some religious groups to opt out of marrying same-sex couples,” he said.”

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“What wisdom did the aspiring potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee have to share with the world this time? Gay marriage will lead to hate speech laws and the persecution of pastors and Christians.

“Everywhere I go people are afraid for the future of our country;” Cruz says during the interview. “I think we’re at the edge of a precipice. If we keep going down this path, we’re risking losing our nation; we’re risking losing the incredible oasis of liberty.””

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“After six years and hundreds of celebratory confections, it wasn’t the economy, the stiff competition, financing, or any of the other usual road bumps of building a new business that caused Sweet Cakes by Melissa—a husband-and-wife bakery in Portland, Oregon area—to close its doors at the end of the summer.”

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“A Christian couple who refused to let a gay couple stay in a double bedroom at their B&B guesthouse, have been forced to sell up after losing a lengthy court battle.”

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“Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court a May 31 decision by a lower court finding a photography company guilty of discrimination for declining to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Furthermore, the court ordered the company to pay almost $6700 in attorneys’ fees to the lesbian who filed the complaint. The ominous implications of this case could affect churches and other religious groups who believe marriage is defined as one man and one woman.”

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“We see this last parallel throughout the Bible. For instance, Jesus refers to Himself as the “bridegroom” and to the kingdom of heaven as a “wedding banquet.”

These points demonstrate that God’s purposes for marriage extend far beyond personal happiness. Thomas is quick to clarify that God isn’t against happiness per se, but that marriage promotes even higher values.

“God did not create marriage just to give us a pleasant means of repopulating the world and providing a steady societal institution to raise children. He planted marriage among humans as yet another signpost pointing to His own eternal, spiritual existence.””

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The Word, Christian

A missionary friend once said he doesn’t use the word, “Christian,” in his field to identify his biblical belief because of how internationally re-defined it has become and how religions have made it all-inclusive. I came across Ravi Zacharius’ Youtube video on the word Christian and Cult. I love Ravi.