Monthly Archives: July 2014

Three reasons why God allows things to happen?

Why does God allow things to happen? That is the age old question, isn’t it? I’ll just keep this personal to me. Why does God allow things to happen to me?

First of all I have to tell you that I love how the Holy Spirit ties all things together. He oftentimes doesn’t reveal it to us all at one time because we likely couldn’t handle it. But little by little it has been revealed to me that He allows things to happen for my good.

It is tough to hear sometimes. But bear with me and about think about it. I believe God allows things to happen for three reasons. It could be any combination of these reasons or for one reason alone. But I believe He is always in control and always works it out.

First, God allows things to happen for my protection. Perhaps He is protecting me from something. I know all too well the disappointment of not getting something that I wanted. Or I know first hand the heartache when something bad happens. But perhaps it is better that I NOT get something. It could be something that would have brought harm to me. Or if something bad happened, maybe something even worse could have happened.

Second, God allows things to happen for my provision. Or you could say perhaps He is preparing me for something. The saying, ‘That which does not kill us only makes us stronger,’ is a perfect illustration of preparing me for something. It could be something bigger and better and God is just getting me ready for it.

Finally, God allows things to happen as part of a process. It could be that God allows things to happen to bring me closer to Him. If my first response is ‘Lord, guide me through this,’ it is the process to include God in everything about my life.

So why does God allow things to happen to me? It’s all part of His great plan for me. What about you?

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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A Prayer

Lord, I am broken hearted today. Lord, I need you. Lord I am afraid.

You are awesome God. You are powerful. You are merciful. You are gracious.

I believe your word. I believe your promise. I am asking for deliverance and redemption. I am asking for healing.

Lord, I love you and trust you to work this thing out.

Thank you Father for what you have done. Thank you Father for what you are doing right now. Thank you Father for what you are going to do to work this thing out.

Thank you Lord.

Amen.

Five Ways to Connect in Your Church

I’ve been thinking about my church membership and connections lately. I changed churches three years ago because I moved. The church I previously attended was about 35 minutes away. I didn’t want to drive across town to get there. I used the excuse that it was too far to be very involved. When in reality, my heart just wasn’t in it. I was having a hard time making meaningful connections in the church. I felt as if I could be gone for a month of Sunday’s and no one would notice.

I have been a member of four churches in my lifetime. The church I grew up in as a child was mostly family – connections were built in. But I have been a member at three churches as an adult. Each time I look around at who is in my new member’s class – provided the church offers one. A year later I look to see who is still there. Oftentimes some of the people are no longer around.

The thought occurred to me that people can find it hard making connections in church. But when you understand about church membership and the great commission, and you take that to heart that you should get involved in your church’s missions and programs to show God’s love. Whether it’s feeding the hungry with a soup kitchen, providing clothes in a clothing bank, offering a listening ear through a Stephen’s Ministry program you are the hands and feet of God’s love.

So how do you make connections at church?

  1. First and foremost, understand that church membership is unlike any other kind of membership. As a Christian you are called to service.
  2. Find a ministry interests you. Typically churches have lots of different ministries. Finding something that interests you and get involved. If you see there is a ministry need in the church, talk to the pastor about starting that ministry. Create a ministry to fill a need.
  3. Take a class at the church. Many churches offer classes. Leadership training classes, Bible study classes, or spiritual gifts class. People connect with each other when they are learning and growing together.
  4. Attend your church’s prayer service. Nothing binds hearts together like praying together. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and talk about your prayer needs and learn the needs of others, you begin to develop bonds.
  5. Join a Sunday School class. Adult Sunday School classes are mostly discussion around a book or scriptures. It is a great way to learn about new people.

Ephesians 4:16 “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

Can You Hear Through the Noise?

It has been almost one year ago that I learned how to quiet the distractions of the day and listen for God speaking to me.

My Walk to Emmaus gave me the tools, the guidance and the confidence to sit quietly and hear from God. In case you don’t know, Emmaus is a 72-hour escape from the world to draw closer to God.

It is no easy task. I know for me it was hard. And I imagine that thousands of other Christians face the same challenge. The world’s expectations of you are to be busy – fill each moment of every day. But that left me feeling like my wheels were spinning in the mud. I couldn’t get any traction. No matter how much I read my Bible and prayed to God, I couldn’t hear Him. I used to say “God you may need to shout at me because I’m a little hard-headed.”

There was so much noise going on inside my head only a little bit was getting through. But I am thankful for what was coming through. The most significant thing that I heard was that I needed a closer walk. The path I had been following was shallow and I keep going round in circles. I keep repeating the same mistakes because I hadn’t learned the lesson the first time. And thankfully God is a patient father. He will teach you time and again until you get it right. And then it’s on to the next lesson. The sweet reward is the joy of being in his presence.

Sometimes it literally takes shutting off the TV, cell phone, and the internet to hear God. But what I crave even more now than TV is the voice of God speaking quietly to my heart.

Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Where Is Your Home?

I received word recently that the annual family reunion is coming up in August. That is always a time to reconnect to family, catch up with aunts and uncles, cousins – relations – close and distant. It’s a time I always cherish. In fact, I loved the fun so much that I volunteered as head of the reunion committee several years ago. It is a time to go back home.

But I recall a period in my life when I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. My mother had passed away and I was newly divorced. I didn’t have my mother to run “home” to and the house I shared with my husband was no longer mine. I had rented this small, little house that was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I did my best to make it feel homey. But I felt very lost. I felt like a nomad and that I didn’t have any roots to anchor me. I felt like to could just drift away and no one would notice. And part of me did want to drift away. I didn’t want to hurt myself or my son but I did want to disappear.

It was a really dark time for me. Those thoughts occasionally come back to haunt me but I have a much bigger family – even bigger than the family I’ll see at reunion time. It is the family of Christian believers. And I have a home waiting for me in glory.

As the gospel singer Douglas Miller tells us in his rich baritone voice, ‘My soul has been anchored in the Lord.’

John 14:1-3 “Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be to be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

The Subtle Sins of Life

Forgiveness is a tricky concept when you don’t realize or think you’ve done anything for which to be forgiven. Christians understand the concept of being born into sin, the fall from grace by Adam and Eve, and Jesus dying on the cross as a sacrifice for us. But do you realize how many times you sin throughout the day?

I have heard many people say, “But I’m a good person” as if those words mean anything. It is as if their actions alone on this earth exempt them from the need to repent and to be forgiven. But the subtle sins of life are so overlooked that we often don’t think of them as sin at all. But anything that goes against the love and compassion shown by Christ is sin.

I am a good person but I know that I have sinned when I’m driving in traffic and someone cuts me off and I wish that they would get caught by the police. Revenge is a sin. Leviticus 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.”

I know I have sinned when I get angry because a promise by someone to complete a task isn’t kept and it means I have to seek other means for completing that task. Anger is a sin. Colossians 3:8 “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.”

I know I have sinned when I roll my eyes and mumble under my breath at the person in front of me in the grocery line who is chatting with the cashier and not moving quick enough for my sake. Impatience is a sin. Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love.”

I know I have sinned when I worried about how I was going to pay for that expensive car repair. Worry is sin. Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not your life more important that food and the body more important that food, and the body more important than clothes.” And isn’t the body more important than a car (I added this).

I ask the Lord for forgiveness many times during the day. I ask Him to give me a clean heart and a renewed mind and to deliver me from my subtle sins.

When you commit your life to Christ your perspective changes. The standard and goal to be Christ-like is a daily journey that must be renewed each day. Let us keep in mind that the subtle sins of everyday life is a place to start.