The cross is an instrument of torture associated with pain and suffering. So what’s the place of this contraption of pain in a gospel of love?
It’s difficult to associate God with suffering. The world has its fair share of evil. So the general idea is that we come to God to escape evil.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)
Jesus emphasized the presence of suffering on earth and never minced words about it…
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16, NIV).
Our possessions are not accurate measurements for fruitfulness. There’s more to life than that, and the Bible distinguishes between being fruitful and asking God for things.
After receiving God’s words, fruitfulness is the natural outcome before we consider asking for physical things. …
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15–16, NIV)
For everything God called us to be, He is so much more. His good character is beyond outstanding.
Being the Judge of the Universe requires impeccable character. Only a flawless entity can address humanity’s issues and stand as an example telling the whole world, “be like me.”
It’s difficult to understand why God would ask us to be holy like He is — a task seemingly unattainable. …
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:10, NIV)
“I will make you fishers of men” never meant Jesus was unable to make them successful fishermen. With the miraculous catch of fish, He proved to them that if He wanted them to remain fishermen, He had what it took to make them successful. But that wasn’t their purpose.
If Jesus didn’t help them catch the fish and called them anyway, He would have given support to a lot of the impure motives we see for starting churches.
And that’s one…
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7, CWSB).
A few years ago, at Sunday School, a discussion ensued about whether it’s okay to repeat prayers.
I can’t remember what led to the discussion, but I remember some of the arguments against repeating prayers. Here are a few of them:
When God called Abraham, He said:
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. (Genesis 12:1, NIV)
It wasn’t Abraham’s idea to leave Haran. He was comfortable there. He was a rich man with many servants. But God told Abraham to go to a land he had never seen before.
To comfort Abraham and convince him that following this direction was the right choice, God made the following promises:
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)
What did Abraham have that made him wait on God for a child for those many years?
What did Mary have that made her certain she would have a child as a virgin?
What did David have that made him certain he would defeat his enemies if he followed a specific plan of attack?
We all have hopes and dreams. We have things we want to happen in our lives. That’s why we are humans and we look forward to…
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1, NIV)
Is there a need to pray for extended periods?
What do you say when you’re talking for two to three hours in prayer?
Aren’t you being repetitive? Because even Jesus warned us against vain repetition.
These are questions worth considering because inadequate answers could lead to a shipwrecked faith. And no one wants that.
Some believe that you ask only once and anything more than that is an expression of unbelief. …
I believe as a writer you would get to this point in the journey where there’s that grinding in our chest as you write.
You punch each key louder and louder trying to silence the voice of your conscience telling you, “But you don’t believe that, do you?”
However, the creative juice is flowing and you’re making sense to yourself. The message is popular and it pays the bills. But here’s the crisis — do you write what the market wants or do you write what the market needs?
Every writer has a deep desire to be widely accepted by…
I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
(Psalms 34:1–2, NIV)
We all have the opportunity to face difficult times. It’s not always of our choosing and no one is immune to this experience. Prayers won’t always prevent you from meeting them but surely they can rescue you or keep you through.
Difficulties come from various sources. Sometimes it’s external forces that just want to toy with your thinking and destiny. …
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