Questioning God

God is not put off by our questions.

  • Job had questions.

Certain truths about God in the Bible are confusing and even troubling to some. In this lab, John Piper corrects one way of questioning God, and encourages another. Questions are welcome, even necessary part of the Christian life, but they must be offered to God with the right attitude. Click here for further study.

God does not count questions as disbelief.

  • God had answers.

Now, when it comes to prayer, there are a lot of folks who have the idea that God doesn’t want us to ask Him questions. But that’s not true! God delights in His children asking Him questions. In fact, God was asked questions… big and small… all the way through the Bible. Click here to read about some ways that Gods answers our questions.

Seek first to understand.

  • Above all, seek wisdom.

“I tend to ask God for help in understanding, rather than blindly asking for elimination of something because that might be the only way for me to learn. It’s called experience. From experience comes testimony. James 1:5 tells us that if you ask for wisdom, God will give it generously without finding fault: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James A. Washington. Read more about it here.

It is OK not to understand everything.

  • God meets us where we are.

” Sometimes people think they have to get their lives together BEFORE they come to Christ (like, “i need to get over my addiction, get a hold of my vices,” etc), whereas it is Christ who saves and cleanses you. If we could fix ourselves, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. But like was said before, we still need to have repentant hearts… He’s not going to shove himself down our throats” manillabar Quote taken from this question/answer forum.

It is OK to ask questions.

  • Only seek Him with a sincere heart.

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. Proverbs 3:13-14 (ESV)

Idyllic Venue – Serene Setting

As with many weekend trips, something always tends to happen; sometimes large, sometimes small, and for Americans, always considered to be first world problems.

Imagine, if you will, a weekend trip that turns out unexpectedly delightful.

  • The drive; perfect.
  • The event; perfect.
  • The weather; perfect.
  • The venue; perfect.
  • The sense of belonging; perfect and heartfelt.

It sounds almost too good to be true, right?

But it was true for us.

We have some dear friends that moved away from here several years ago.

We have managed to keep in touch.

When they left, they had six children; now there are twelve.

The event was the wedding of the second oldest son.

This is the third wedding we’ve been to for our friend’s family.

We look forward to at least nine more weddings, and all the subsequent babies that come along with the territory.

In this post, I will not share photos of the family, (well maybe one) but I want to share some of the venue.

You have to understand, we live in the country.

We know what “quiet” is.

This place was not only quiet, but carried with it a serenity that most people search a life time for.

Just a few photos for the blog, and then I prepared a short video to share the venue.

I hope the sense of peace and serenity will prevail as you watch and listen.

The wedding garden.
Oh. There they are.
No. Here they are for real!

Be well.

Overcoming Fear

How good is it to know that there are others out there trying to process the same kinds of things that you are?.

I was chatting with a friend the other day. She asked a question that I have considered many times over.

What was the question you ask?

“How in the world do people who do not know Christ personally, manage in their lives when everything comes unglued?”

The truth is; they don’t.

They get addicted to things like drugs, alcohol or work; and engage in all sorts of behaviors that dull, numb, or otherwise cover up their fear, and pain, and sorrow,

Our conversation put me in mind of a blog post that I made on October 3, 2011; about fear and how we face it without coming unglued.

I share it with you here.

Rocking Chairs and Tornadoes

Oct3

With all the news as of late about natural disasters, it is really difficult to

“Be not afraid.” or “Fear not.”

Some events in our lives may make us feel like we are in those disasters, even though physically, we may not be.

You know what I mean don’t you?

Are there things going on in your life that have the potential to strike sorrow and fear into you?

If we compared these disasters, what would we find they have in common?

I never gave this question much thought until I heard Nate Berkus recount his experience  of being swept away in a tsunami.                       

In the water with him were telephone poles, barbed wire, parts of trees and people’s homes …. and people.                                                   

All these things were swirling around him and beating his body, all the while he was fighting for his very life.

Is that how you feel right now?

Is the debris of your life beating you while you are struggling to keep your head above it all?

Are sorrow and fear and loss threatening to engulf you?

Do your circumstances feel like they are beating the life out of you?

   Consider this picture.

Your life is a tornado.

Debris is flying everywhere and the mayhem of it all is causing you mass confusion.

You are swirling around with this mess and there is no exit.

This is not too much of a stretch, if you are like many of the people you know.

The fact is, you may recognize some of those folks in the havoc, right along with you!

              Now push the pause button, and consider a different picture.

The tornado is still there.

The debris is still flying and the mayhem is still circling you.

HOWEVER

The difference is that YOU aren’t anywhere to be found in the mass confusion.

YOU are firmly planted in the middle of the eye of that storm.

YOU are seated in a rocking chair.

                                                 What does that mean?????

Firmly seated in a rocking chair, in the eye of the storm?

The peace of your Father God is planted deeply in your heart.

YOUR heart is full of the knowledge that He is aware and in total control.

To be sure, there still may be sorrow and loss, but YOU do not have to live with fear.

How do I know this?

First off, I’ve had my fair share of living in fear. 

Secondly, the Word of God plainly states that if you know Him, if you receive what His Son Jesus did for you on the cross, then you need not be afraid.

I believe the word of God to be true. 

Every word.

So when He says not to be afraid (found over 80 times) in the Bible,

I choose to obey.

Notice I said “choose”.  Being afraid is not a sin.  

What you do with it could be.

You get to make that choice.

The only thing you are to fear is God.

That is a different fear.

Not spooky, creepy fear, but a fear that is defined as being in awe of Him.

Here’s the ask.  For today. 

Use the following verses in your circumstances.  Today.

We can truly only do it for today.

Choose to let God be in control of your chaos.  Today.

Choose to sit in that rocking chair and relax while He takes on everything that would set your heart to fear.  Today.

This is not an easy task.  The world we live in caters to fear.  Its goal is to make us afraid.

Just look at the nightly news.  (No wait, maybe you shouldn’t)

At any rate, giving your fear to God will get easier with practice.

Note: Remember ~ Doctors practice.  Lawyers practice. Athletes practice.

Why do they do so?  To get better at what they do.

I encourage you to practice not being afraid.

Choose to sit and rest on your rocker, while God handles things.

Hebrews 13:6 (ESV) So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

John 14:27 (ESV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Matthew 10:31(ESV) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Isaiah 41:10  (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)  Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

This entry was posted on October 3, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged choicefearheartJesusmindNatural disasterrestthought lifeTornadoestruth. Bookmark the permalink.

Windows on the World

Sunday Stills; My Way ← In this post I tell how “My photos are not primarily OF windows. They are mostly FROM windows. My home office window, car windows, hotel windows, plane windows.

The windows I want to talk about today, are the windows of our hearts; the windows of our minds; and the windows of our perceptions.

It all started when I happened across a TED Talk – called “The Price of Shame” – by Monica Lewinsky – from March 20, 2015.

She spoke about humiliation, shame, cyber bullying, public shaming, and online harassment.

She quoted Brene’ Brown saying that “Shame cannot survive empathy.”

We have freedom of expression, but also responsibility of that freedom.

Might our harsh words cause the demise of another?

Let’s face it, myself, and many others I am quite sure, heard Monica’s story while it was going on, and thought what a horrible person she must be, as well as the one she was involved with.

Did we consider her with compassion? Did we think of her as young and naive? Did we consider that she may have been being taken advantage of by another? Did we think of her as Someone’s Daughter?

Maybe for a moment, but the mainstream media of the day made it very easy to characterize her as a floozy; or many other names that she goes over in her talk.

Her stand in her talk was that we need to communicate, consume, and click with compassion.

We must take back our own narrative, and help others currently in that position.

As a child, I was bullied a lot. Every day.

I somehow knew (not in my head and not until much later) on a visceral level, that I was being protected.

I simply cannot imagine how much more infinitely difficult it is during THIS time period.

What with social media and TV media and print media all screaming insults and vitriol all over the place for no reason, and hardly any basis in fact.

So I ask you now to consider your own “Windows on the World”. (Heart, mind, perceptions)

  • Are you communicating your thoughts with compassion?
  • Are you consuming your media with compassion?
  • Are you clicking with compassion? (Clicking usually = dollars)
  • Are you listening to EACH side, or only the one you like?

Along with the link to Monica’s story above, I’ve added a few more links.

Perhaps they can help you to begin your search for your OWN WAY to do things with more compassion.

American SPCC – American Society for the Positive Care of Children

From Bystander to Upstander (Stand up Agaisnt Bullies)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Scroll for Help for Specific people Groups

V22Kill – Veteran – First Responder – PTS – Suicide

We do not need to agree on everything; in fact, we can disagree completely with another’s world view, and still listen to them, and treat them with compassion.

If we use compassion, we can have some really good conversation, and who knows: maybe everybody can learn something.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

The Ability to Forgive

Photo found on Pinterest. https://bit.ly/2TbZoZt May be subject to copyright

Join me today for a guest post from someone I’ve known for a long time.

With his permission I copied his article word for word from his Facebook page.

I’ve added my own comments to the end.

Enjoy.

People come into our lives for a reason; a season; or a lifetime.

He’s that kind of friend.

PSALMS OF LIFE·MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2019·

In this article I’m going to share with you 5 of the most important things that I’ve personally discovered about the ability to forgive THAT WORKS!
(CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO OPEN THE ARTICLE)

1. We do NOT have the natural ability to forgive anyone…no matter how hard we try! In fact, the more we try, the more weary we become. That does NOT mean we are helpless victims of other people’s foolishness. Because what we do have is the God-given ability to choose…to choose to forgive. That opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do in and through you the same thing that He did through Jesus on the Cross when He said, “Father, forgive them…” Jesus did not do that in His own strength. He made the choice, in the same way that you and I make the choice. That brings us to point number 2:

2. The Holy Spirit has the power that it takes to cause forgiveness to take place. More than anyone, He knows the value and power of forgiveness. He also knows our weaknesses, and is more than willing to fill our weakness with God’s strength. But, equally, the Holy Spirit will not (and cannot) make the choice for us. That’s our part. Making the choice when everything within our pain is shouting, “For what they did, they don’t deserve to be forgiven!” And, that leads us to our third point:

3. The other person (or people) don’t deserve it! The Lord’s prayer is, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” The person (or people) owe you a debt. Jesus prayed from the Cross, “Father forgive them…(why?)…because they don’t know what they are doing. If the devil knew what he was doing when Jesus was crucified, he would not have done it! Easily ninety-five percent of the time (or more) the person (or people) that inflicted pain upon you, did not really know what they were doing. We like to think they knew because it justifies our anger and bitterness. But, in truth, they are blind to themselves and their own actions. That doesn’t justify horrible behavior, but it sheds light on a human reality.

4. Forgiving isn’t the same as forgetting. We’ve probably all heard the saying, “To forgive is to forget.” If we can’t forget, it leads us to the conclusion that we must not have truly forgiven.” Forgiving is releasing a person from a debt they truly owe you. You make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to move in forgiveness in and through you. It begins as an act of faith that you may or may not feel for awhile, but if you continue to make the choice and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work only He can do, the feelings begin to catch up.

Why do you supposed Jesus told His disciples to forgive 70 time 7 (490 times in one day)? It’s because of what the power that not forgiving does to destroy us emotionally and physically. Choosing to forgive and releasing the Holy Spirit then to do His work in and through us is one of the main ways to enter the river of God’s love. This may sound very strange, but the choice to forgive is one of the most positive selfish things you can do for yourself.

5. Finally, forgiving DOESN’T mean that you automatically allow the person or people to return into your life as if nothing has happened. You can forgive and still be wise. There needs to be a time of proof where you see a change in their attitudes and actions before you fully embrace them. That is another area where the Holy Spirit will help you with wisdom if you will ask Him for the wisdom.

I truly hope this helps! Learning to walk in the love as well as the wisdom of forgiveness is one of the most critical things we need to learn!

If this was beneficial, please respond with a “Like”! If you have any questions, please ask in the comments. If you have some wisdom that you’ve worked out in your own life, please comment. And “Share” this with someone you believe it may help!

Prayer: Father, In Jesus Name, I now make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to work forgiveness because of what _____________ did/said to me. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Gary Ellis

1. Choices. I never realized I even had a choice until I was in my mid twenties. That was a life giving revelation. It meant I no longer had to eat it just because it was put on my plate by someone. I get to fill my own plate.

2. My not forgiving them was poisoning me, while they were walking around “free”.

3. Wrong doers do wrong. That’s what they do. We can expect no different from them. Many times they have literally no idea just how wrong they are. They have no chip for that.

4. Unforgivness harbors bitterness, and causes sorrow and grief. Psalm 31:10 says “For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.” Note that it takes away our strength. 5. It is not wise to forgive, and then to return immediately, this is so true. Give yourself time, and time, and time. After that, you can make a wise choice due to the actions you see. During that time, you are not holding on to poison, but allowing yourself to regain your strength.

Thanks for being here, and please join me again next time!

Time to Dream

I was reading an article about the proven benefits of daydreaming.

It shares this fun little chart;

The Scientifically Proven Benefits of Daydreaming
https://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2012/the-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-daydreaming/

Like many, I was often in trouble with teachers in my youth, for wasting my time being a day dreamer.

  • From promoting creativity
  • To problem solving
  • To increasing your IQ
  • To lowering the blood pressure

Turns out day dreaming can be quite a good way to spend your time!

If you have visited this blog in the past, you will find that am quite fond of cloud watching.

It is my favorite way to “Day dream” if you will.

There are many ways to “use” that day dream time; or “Quietude” as I like to call it.

The article mentions ““good daydreaming,” as in, when the mind is exploring imagination or creativity. “Bad daydreaming,” like focusing on a negative comment”.

One is helpful, the other not.

I enjoy reading a bit of scripture, (good daydreaming) and then using that time to consider what I’ve read.

Example;

TLB (The Living Bible) In this act we see what real love is: it is not our love for God but his love for us when he sent his Son to satisfy God’s anger against our sins.

  • What does it say?
  • What does it mean?
    • How much does God love me?
    • How does this make me feel?
  • There may be more questions.
  • Or there may simply be a space of calm and quiet.

Sometimes absolute silence is in order.

Other times call for a little quiet music.

Music without words could be less distracting.

Sometimes staring out the window.

Sometimes a little video will help the process.

Join me if you will, for just a moment of quiet reflection,

a little daydreaming session.

The world we live in will not give us a quiet place to be.
Sometimes we must find that place for ourselves.
A place to rest our soul, our body and our spirit.

I hope you were able to enjoy a few minutes of “Quietude” with me.

Hope to see you again the next time around.