This article was written decades ago; much more is this counsel needed in our day.
No one likes to go through trials but one reason I don’t care for them is that they reveal things in my heart that I would rather not see. I like thinking of myself as a strong woman of faith who praises God in every circumstance. Yet, when the storm comes, wham! That all blows away.
I don’t know why it is hard to trust God. He has never been anything but good to me and yet I tend to think I know better than Him. If He would just _________, then I could serve Him better. And yet God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect through your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). And He’s always right!
I am currently going through a trial which I know is, in part, to bring me into a greater place of trust and surrender, but I confess this has been hard for me. I console myself that this trial is light and momentary and is a sign that God will complete the work He has begun in me, but it is taking me a while to rest in that.
Part of the problem is that I have plans. I have ideas of how life should work out, and when my plan doesn’t turn out, I don’t handle it well. I can quote Proverbs 16:9 (“A man’s heart plans his way; but the Lord directs his steps”), but knowing it and really embracing it can be two different things.
I’ve stated it before but it’s been a while so I’ll say it again. I don’t write because I have all the answers. I write because there are things that God is teaching me, and I expect I’m not the only one who needs to learn these lessons. Maybe not every post will speak to you but, if you read my writings long enough, I’m sure some will.
Life is not all mountaintops. And it’s really not all valleys. The fact is you will have some of both. The key is, in whatever state you find yourself, to press on, keeping your eyes on the Light, not looking to the right or the left.
Things I am reminding myself and, therefore, reminding you:
1) Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is not always easy, and I don’t believe this means that we need to thank God for the trial, but it does say we need to give thanks. There is always something to be thankful for, so find that.
2) God’s plans for you really are good. You don’t have to doubt. They may not be the plans you made, but your plans may not have been for your best. You need to trust Him.
3) This is the hardest point for me right now, but I’m learning that sometimes God does what He needs to do make us slow down and spend more time with Him. I don’t realize how much I am rushing through my prayer and Bible reading times until God rearranges my schedule to where I can’t do many other things. I’m learning that resting is more than just sleeping or not doing anything; it is making your mind and heart rest in accepting God’s will, even when it isn’t easy.
I encourage you to ponder these points and pray for God’s help to do these things. That is what I’m doing and, although it is hard right now, I believe that, in time, they will become easier as I more fully rest in Him.
No doubt many have run into an atheist who is adamant about the non-existence of God (usually, in a more specific sense, the Judaeo-Christian God of the Bible). Whether it is all religions or just Christianity in general, they tend to reject what they believe is blind faith and fairy tales. Of course, they are entitled to their opinion. And there is no small shortage of satirical and philosophical rhetoric that some of them use to “refute” the existence of God. But, if you pay attention to the arguments they use to defame, blaspheme, and misalign God, there is one thing that Christians can agree with them on – the god they believe doesn’t exist really doesn’t.
A Strawman Argument is a logical fallacy that someone sets up as a misrepresentation, exaggeration, or complete fabrication of someone else’s position in order to make their own argument seem more reasonable. In this case, many atheists misrepresent their understanding of God/gods and portray them in such a way as to make their own argument seem reasonable, logical, and justified. But, in doing so, they not only set up a strawman, but they commit the most common and widely violated of all sins – idolatry. How? Well, it’s simple.
Anytime you hear an atheist speak, you will usually hear them mock God’s love in contrast to His justice (hell). Or misrepresent His “inability” to answer prayer. Or maybe you might hear how they don’t agree with Him creating intelligent human beings, yet require them to use “faith” to trust in Him (as if faith is absolutely blind). These are just a few of the many. But even if there is an answer to every misrepresentation they have about God, the most important thing is to reveal that although they don’t believe in God, they have inevitably made one up in their own mind! They have set up a divine strawman by which they can reason against over and over so that they can justify their suppression of the truth (Rom 1:8). So even though atheists may suppress the knowledge of God, and know that the true God of the Bible exists, in order for them to ease their conscience and justify their sin, they must create an image of god that suits themselves. A god that that they can deny, vilify, and reject by the approval of their own thoughts and imaginations. Most of their arguments do not work if they don’t do this. Whether you set up a idol to worship to go to war with, it is still idolatry.
Hopefully this strikes you as a much different approach then just providing scientific evidence for God’s existence. This is a mixed approach between revealing their sin and pressupostionally showing them another reason how and why they reject God. Next time you hear a false representation of God, you should disarm the atheist by telling them something like this, “Boy, I’m glad that the god that you are talking about doesn’t exist, because if he did, I would be an atheist too.” Because when you really get down to the nitty-gritty, what atheists do is exchange the truth of God for a lie (Rom 1:25) just like everyone else who does not know Him. And since eternal life is defined by knowing Christ intimately (John 17:3), other than the fact that the typical atheist is just suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, we must engage them by showing them that they are just like every other religion in the world (yes, atheism is a religion) that believes in false gods. Except theirs is just a deified punching bag that they can throw philosophical blows at in order to make themselves feel superior, more intelligent, and morally justified in their sin.
While other world religions offer sacrifice to their gods in order to appease them, atheists repeatedly sacrifice their false representation of God on the altar of reason, logic, and scientific method (systems of thinking our Lord Jesus Christ gave them) in order to appease themselves. But hey, at least now when we speak to atheists, Christians can agree that the god they are talking about truly doesn’t exist. Because once they are introduced to the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, and are regenerated by His Spirit, they will no longer speak defiantly, but devotedly; no longer with a heart of war, but of worship.
Let’s pray for the atheists that we witness to and bring the light of the gospel to them.
Below is an quick example on dealing with these kinds of atheists in conversation.
-Until we go home
Disclaimer: DefCon does not support Peter Kreeft. Only the quote used in the link window.
To all our followers. I urge you to take the time to watch this video. It explains the roots of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) which follows a doctrine called Black Liberation Theology. In the beginning of the video, I briefly touch on the hypocrisy of those that support BLM and yet believe in Darwinian Evolution, but then afterward thoroughly expose the history of this movement by dissecting an interview of what is deemed the founder of Black Liberation Theology – James Cone.
Take a seat, turn on your brain, because this one is going to require a lot of your attention. Please share this with other Christians and non-Christians alike.
-Until we go home
Click link to watch:
Or watch here:
“And the people of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger’” (Exodus 16:3).
“Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:3).
It’s interesting to me how much we tend to think we know better than God. “Oh, that we had died in Egypt instead of being brought into this wilderness to die?” (As if those were the only options.) “Back then we had food to eat and a roof over our heads.” (Forget that we were being controlled and beaten and treated cruelly and that God led us out in response to our cries for help.) I think the problem is that we try to figure God out when, in reality, God’s ways are not our ways. He is not obligated to tell us His plans. Our job is to trust Him.
You may not realize it but grumbling is a sin. It is being ungrateful for what He has given you. It is easy to fall into this trap, but important that you do not.
I’ve walked with God long enough to know that His plans are good. He does not bring you through the wilderness to kill you. Everything that happens is for your good and His glory. If you keep moving forward and refrain from fainting, you will one day reach the Promised Land.
Don’t keep pining for the days when you had friends, “fun,” money, whatever. Those days weren’t as glorious as you may remember them to be. It’s walking with God that brings peace, joy, and contentment. If you are not experiencing that, there is something you still need to surrender. I implore you to do that today. Repent for your ingratitude and ask God to fill your heart with thanksgiving. He is truly faithful.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).
Gracious speech is something that many struggle with and something that I strive to attain. It is true that you cannot take words back after you’ve said them. How many words are said in anger and then regretted for the rest of one’s life?
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
This verse tells just how important controlling the tongue really is. It’s easy to think we are right with God but, if we don’t control our tongue, James tells us our religion is worthless. This can be shown by temper, cussing, anything that is the opposite of self-control.
“If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body (James 3:2).
We all know that there is no such thing as a perfect person and yet Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye, therefore, perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” If we are to strive for perfection, we must strive to control our tongue.
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:6-10).
Wow. There is a lot in these verses. I encourage you to meditate on these but don’t come away with the conclusion that, “See? It’s hopeless.” The call goes out to challenge you to control your tongue so that God is honored in everything you do.
When I was in school, I learned how two-faced people can be, especially girls. They would tell you they like you one minute and then turn on you the next. I expect some of that came from insecurity but it was deceit, and I hated it.
Unfortunately, I sometimes see this in adults too. Instead of using words to build up others, we may be nice to a person’s face but then we stab them in the back, killing them with our words. They may or may not ever find out but the damage is done just the same.
What are the primary things that come out of your mouth? Gossip? Slander? Profanity? Curses? Tearing down others?
Or are you speaking words of life, blessing, encouragement, and joy to everyone you encounter? You are the only one who can control your tongue. Or maybe I should say the Holy Spirit in you is able to control your tongue, but you have to let Him. Sometimes you may have to literally bite your tongue to keep from reacting the way you usually would but do that if it helps.
Today can be a new day. When you find yourself going back into old habits, get on your knees, ask God’s forgiveness, and start anew. Do that 50 times a day if you have to. But don’t give up. God can give you a new, uplifting vocabulary if you want it. Won’t you start incorporating that today?
Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry
While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by
Do you ever feel that way? As though God is so busy tending to everyone else’s cries that He doesn’t have time to hear yours? I expect everyone has wondered that at some time or other but, for those who have walked with the Lord for any length of time, you know that He is never too busy for anyone who cries out to Him.
I heard someone say that, when we have walked with God a while, it’s not as important that we receive immediate answers to our prayers. In fact, it’s during the waiting periods, when we’re not hearing anything, that the greatest growth can come if we let patience have her perfect work.
There are still times I wish God would answer me sooner but I can honestly say that I never doubt that He hears me and that He cares. If our prayers were always answered right away, there would be no need for faith.
If you are asking the Savior not to pass you by today, take courage. He has not forgotten you. Your answer is on the way. It may not be the answer you want but it will come. Let your trial draw you closer to Him. And know He loves you more than you could ever imagine.
WAKE UP, CHRISTIANS! GET UP! TURN OFF THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE WORLD AND LISTEN!!
On second thought, just go ahead and listen to the Sandman as he takes you off to Slumberland. Faintly, maybe you can hear the melody and discordant trills of the Pied Piper that sounds almost comforting. You are not quite sure any more because you have been listening to the Sandman or the Pied Piper for so long that you don’t realize that behind the two-faced masks lies the evil one. It is Satan himself.
However, most of those who claim the name of Christ enjoy their sleep. They enjoy the tunes of the world that lure them deeper and deeper into the realms of darkness.
The writing has been on the wall for a long time. Like Belshazzar from the book of Daniel, we in the west have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.
When I began writing at Defending Contending over 8 years ago, I continued shouting the warnings that these days were coming. I shouted like a madman just as I have for years in the ministry that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were coming. I warned about the LGBT movement over and over. I argued with passion that they would NEVER be content to just destroy the Biblical pattern of marriage which was established by God as being between one man and one woman until death.
I was very vocal that the LGBT movement hated God and would strive diligently to destroy true Biblical Christianity. I also told you that they would infiltrate every aspect of government, the military, commerce, and down to the school system. Most have ignored me. Many mocked me. I have received more hate email than I care to have ever read.
In addition, I told you that they had a homosexual agenda. Their agenda has been detailed at great length that can be found with a simple search using any search engine.
Yet Christians closed their eyes. Pastors refused to take a stand. Churches capitulated to the enemy. It started simply enough by making comments like, “Well, what they do behind closed doors is not really anybody’s business.” But the LGBT movement was NEVER going to be content with that. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was not good enough for those who support this very small, but vitriolic and violent segment of the population who wanted complete openness to practice their abominations.
But that would NEVER be enough. The LGBT movement wants not only openness to do what they want and where they want and when they want, BUT…their key demand is that EVERYBODY MUST ACCEPT their perversions or they will be defined as bigots. Christians are responding with zzzzzzzzzzzzzz……….
Read the article linked here at FoxNews and weep. If you are willing to allow your children to sit under such deception, then do not be dismayed when they choose paths that are deliberately opposed to the ways of God. Don’t go and cry at the mid-week prayer meetings when you not only set them up for failure, but allowed them to be part of the celebrations that are taking place under the watchful eyes of those who you THOUGHT were tasked with the protection of little Johnny and little Susie.
Pastors, stop worrying about your next paycheck and allow the world to dictate what you can or cannot say. Your sermons will be nice pithy sermonettes and the applause will soon resound with the sound of church coffers being filled. Your conscience may grieve you temporarily, but don’t worry, this too shall pass as you shrug your shoulders and state, “Not my problem to correct the whole world!”
Missions support will probably go the way of the dodo bird, but don’t worry, the UN will do a great job providing care for all those poor misplaced Africans or Asians who still resoundingly believe that homosexuality and lesbianism is an abomination to the soul of mankind.
Oh yes, one more thing. Just forget about this article. It really is nothing more than the deluded thoughts of man who is nothing more than a bigoted crackpot. In fact, he probably still believes that the Word of God is good for all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). As crazy as it sounds, he probably even believes that GOD DOES NOT CHANGE and that JUDGMENT IS COMING!
Shhhhhh….go back to sleep. The Sandman is com…..zzzzzzzzz…..
*** Note from Mark – knowing how much this has affected Sony, this is not an invitation to debate on this one, nor will derogatory comments be permitted. It is simply meant to be an encouragement to people to reach out if they are struggling with the thought of suicide. We are not all going to agree on every aspect of doctrine, but these words are helpful. ***
Last week, I found out that an acquaintance committed suicide. This was not a close friend but it affected me as I’ve pondered why people take such extreme measures when, more often than not, the trials of life are only temporary afflictions.
This is only the second time I can remember someone I know dying by his own hand. In the other case, the motive seemed to be selfishness: getting back at someone else.
In many cases, the motive is extreme hopelessness, and this makes me sad. Where there is life, there is always hope. It is only after death that nothing can be changed. At that point, not only your past, but your present and future are determined forever.
I wonder, though, if sometimes people commit suicide due to guilt. Could people honestly have done something “so bad” that they don’t think even God would forgive them, so they take the “easy way out” instead of humbling themselves in repentance and trusting God’s saving grace?
This last thought concerns me even more than the others. There is no sin that God won’t forgive IF a person is willing to repent and turn from that sin. The problem is that many don’t want to do that and so they live with the guilt of the life they are living until tragedy claims that life.
I understand discouragement, and I have been down to the point of wanting to die. But I remind myself that there is a reason that I am still alive, and it has nothing to do with me. The God who placed me on this earth still has a plan for my life and, until that plan is finished, I must be faithful. There is no “easy out” for a Christian. We are called to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
The thoughts going through my mind right now are many. First of all, my heart goes out to those who think the only way out of their problem is to end their life. But I also wonder how many people I know are struggling more deeply than I would ever imagine. We live in a world of “happy” faces, where people don’t want to be burdened with others. Therefore, there are a lot of lonely people in this world. As Christians, we should never be so busy or unconcerned that we don’t take time to listen to someone who is struggling. If someone is willing to open up and talk to you, it may be because they are hoping you will show them the Hope they need.
If you are one who is down and suicide has even crossed your mind, please find someone to talk to. I realize that you can’t trust just anybody but ask God to show you someone who would be willing to pray with you and check on you periodically to make sure you are okay. Although there will always be trials in this life, they truly are temporary, and God can give you the strength to walk through them if you allow Him to.
Don’t become another statistic. Be a victor! And help others to be victorious as well.
The following article by Frank Powell gives us a lot to think about:
9 Sins the Church Is Surprisingly OK With as Long as You Love Jesus
What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat?
I was in an engineering class the first time I watched the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Even though I wasn’t alive when it happened, I caught a glimpse of the horror thousands must have felt as the events unfolded.
And, the first question everyone wanted to know was, “What happened?”
After months of investigation, here’s what the Rogers Commission (the group commissioned to investigate the explosion) discovered: An o-ring seal in the right solid rocket booster failed at take-off. I won’t bore you with the details, but an o-ring is a small device relative to the size of a space shuttle. Very small.
It wasn’t something huge, like a puncture in the rocket booster or a hole in the cabin, that caused this disaster. It was a small, seemingly insignificant, o-ring failure.
I think there’s a lesson here for the church. What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?
Maybe it’s the sins lying underneath, the ones considered normal or acceptable, the ones going undetected, that are affecting the church the most. I want to address nine of these sins.
Continue reading here.
This morning, I was reading Hebrews 4 and it got me to thinking about rest. What exactly is rest and am I doing it? Are you doing it?
On the seventh day, God rested from creating the earth and He called the Sabbath day holy and told His children not to do any work on that day. In today’s society, it seems people don’t get the rest they need and, because of that, we have depression, sickness, anger, frustration, etc. God knew what His people needed but sometimes we think we know better than God.
For myself, more often than not, the best rest I can get is sleeping in or lying down during the day after a long, stressful week. But rest is more than that. If I’m not able to shut my brain off from the cares of this world, I am not really resting. And, honestly, that is hard for me to do, but I am fighting to discipline myself to do just that.
If you’re not able to get much sleep, you can still draw near to the Lord and rest in Him. This is something I am still learning. I am not always able to sleep but I enjoy lying on my bed and praying and focusing on my Savior. I wouldn’t trade those times of feeling His arms around me for nothing!
During the times I am not able to rest like that, I still look for times that I can turn my heart and mind to the Lord. If I don’t get that time of prayer and/or worship, it affects me negatively. I am so grateful for the fact that no matter what I’m doing or where I’m at or who is around, no one else can control my mind.
It is also important to rest in the Lord during times of trial. We need to get to the point where we can honestly say, “For I know whate’er befalls me, Jesus doeth all things well.” When you can sing that with all your heart, you will truly be able to rest in knowing that God has a plan. Your job is just to trust.
I often speak to myself when I write, and this is no exception. I have a hard time accepting things that I don’t want to accept, but I can attest that I grow more through the hard times than at any other time.
My question to you today is: Are you resting? Forget everything that is going on in your life and surrender to Jesus. That is where you will find the greatest rest for your soul.