at a time of your greatest adversity.
The darker it gets, the more we need to look up and believe.
at a time of your greatest adversity.
The darker it gets, the more we need to look up and believe.
It is forgiveness.
Jesus cried out, in the midst of unimaginable pain on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I tend to think the knew very well what they were doing.
Stephen was being pelted unto death with stones. He did the same. “Don’t take this sin into account against them,” he prayed as he was being struck.
Can I forgive? Can you?
Christianity is not based on works. It is based on forgiveness. We are forgiven of our sins only for the asking.
Jesus asks us to forgive as best as we can those who have wronged us, and he does so most emphatically.
I think that all the rigmarole that blasts around the internet about how bad Christianity is misses its central tenet. Why is nobody talking about forgiveness? It is the most beautiful thing in the world. It is also the most difficult.
It is necessary. If you are going to have any semblance of human relations with people, you are going to need to master forgiveness.
Image source: Google
The greatest revivals have been born out of the most trying times.
Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t believe in such fanciful stories. As a matter of fact, such a ridiculous story (yes, it’s hilarious!) is proof — you say — that the Bible couldn’t be true.
Well, to the stubbornest, God has resorted to some tough communication. He blinded Paul and knocked him off his donkey. He killed Pharoah’s firstborn.
I’m not trying to scare anybody here. Just remember one thing: God loves you. When He reaches out to you, it’s because of love.
It’s only a recommendation. Don’t it make tough for God to get through to you.
Original image from my friends at https://donkeywhispererfarm2010.wordpress.com/
The two things are absolutely related. It’s hard to beat Banner, even though his older brother Mario is almost as good at soccer. I was on Mario’s team, and we pretty much trailed Banner’s team by one goal the whole game.
But after two-and-a-half hours playing in the sun, having fasted breakfast, I suddenly found myself, somewhere between heat stroke and exhaustion, on the bench in the shade. I needed water, and there was none. I was breathing quickly.
“Pastor, come and play. This is probably the last time you’ll play in Guatemala.” Ordinarily these words would shot energy into me. But this time this 48-year-old body wouldn’t budge. I didn’t care any more. I was really dog-tired.
As poorly as I played (about 20 turnovers), still my presence on the field counted for something. I made it a little bit harder for them to score, a little bit harder for them to defend. My absence proved our demise by simple math: one less player favored them.
When you quit the church, you cause the team to lose. Keep playing.
Dream big. Fear small. Based your decisions on your vision for a better future, not on the fears of a bad future.
Don’t resist change. When you come to Christ, He will make all things beautiful in your life.
I, like all humans, am drawn to sin, tripped up by temptation. But I — and not everybody knows this! — know where to turn in repentance. I know that God is most beautiful, His way radiant and peaceful.
If you need to change your diet for health reasons, don’t despise the vegetables. Learn to enjoy them. The gym is not a hellhole to be endured. It is a healthhole to be enjoyed.
Change is beautiful.
*I don’t own the image, nor am I making any $ on it.
Gather in the souls. Each soul is a light to burn brightly for Christ, the Chief and Source of Light. Fret not about the thickening darkness. No matter how tiny your light, no matter how overwhelming the darkness appears to grow, your light will be seen. Don’t run away from the world and hide like hermits. To the contrary, get out more and more into the world and let your light shine.
The easier it gets to get into sin, the more desperate people will become. The more desperate they become, the more they will want Christ. We Christians will be there to rescue them.
Good luck — if you wish to find peace in the world.
True peace can be found in God.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:24.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:7
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. — Isaiah 26:3
If you give to the poor BECAUSE of love, that is a very good thing. But Paul seems to indicate that a human could give to the poor without having love. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and have not love, it profits me nothing. — 1 Cor. 13:3.
Maybe people give to the poor to appease their conscience or to compensate their evil actions with good ones. What’s surprising is that we can DO loving things without love.
Of course, I think love is an action (like giving to the poor). Yeah, no smug love that I just wish upon the world without doing anything to alleviate the world’s sufferings. Indeed, Prov. 19:17 says: Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
“I would beat up bullies,” Philbert MacKowiak said. “When I was a little kid, my mom told me the story of Samson. I would pray to God to give me strength against my three older brothers when they would pick on me, and I would beat them up.”
But if he knew about Samson, his understanding of God was limited. He fell into drugs and alcohol at age 8.
By the age of 23, living in Oakland, California, he was a serious addict. One day he smoked 10 PCP joints in his car. When a police officer rapped on his window and ordered him to open it, he suddenly hit the gas pedal, flying off with “50 cop cars after me,” he recounted.
He started driving towards the Bay Bridge with patrol cars in tow.
“I was going to drive my car off the Bay Bridge,” he said. “I was furious. I hated the world. I didn’t want to live, but I was scared to kill myself because I heard it was a mortal sin.”
Read the rest of the article about the Tucson Door Church.
She was beautiful, had talent, played soccer. She was a Christian.
But she was suicidal.
Even now Jess Trussell, 18, can’t fully explain the incongruence of possessing the joy of salvation but despairing over spiraling circumstances.
At the time, Jess was a sophomore in high school. Her family had just changed churches and she lost the support network of friends who were like family. Her parents had hit some rough patches in their marriage. She would come home after soccer practice to try to finish homework. Her grades were slipping. And her eyesight was growing worse.
“Everything that was important to me in my life was falling through my hands,” she says on her blog. It was a time of months of discouragement that seemed to drain into endless hopelessness.
The way out came at a Christian concert where God spoke to here. To pass into eternity and be with Jesus, to leave behind the problems, would be wonderful, but people needed her here on Earth, was the gist. She felt God’s love.
Her focus had been on herself. She needed to focus on others. Today she is a college sophomore at California Baptist University in Riverside, California.
Christians are not immune from the attacks of the devil, but they have the Resource, Jesus, to escape Satan’s clutches. Christians are not perfect. They get tempted just like anyone else. They sin. They are forgiven, not superior. They are forgiven only because they ask God for His forgiveness.
Being a Christian doesn’t negate our humanness. It just gives us a future eternalness.
I rejoice with Jess’ decision to share her story because I know that there are thousands of other Christian Jesses who the devil is tormenting, exploiting the secretiveness induced by shame. Jesus gives you the way out.
First you follow your heart (excuse the pun) whole-heartedly.
Then when your heart leads you to pain (because of sin), you want to get rid of it.
But those who try only make things worse. They try to deaden the pain with a deluge of sin (drugs, alcohol, meaningless sex). These are neither permanent nor true fixes.
Jesus heals hearts. Cry out to Him.
The central issue of the poorly named “cultural wars” is trust. People cannot bring themselves to trust our loving God whose Bible is nothing more than instructions on how to have happiness in life. He tells us how to avoid pratfalls and how to succeed.
But many people refuse to trust that He knows what He’s doing. They prefer to take matters into their own hands. Typically, they mock the Bible, sneer at Christians or just plain ignore them. And then they destroy their lives.
That’s ok because at any point you can come back to your Loving Savior, who will NOT reproach you for your rebellion. He’ll heal your wounds and give you a new life.
You can trust putting your heart into the hands of the Maker.
Gif: Gavin on Reddit. I don’t own rights to this gif and I’m not making any money on it. I admire its creator for his talent and work.
[Editor’s note: Mark Ellis is my editor at GodReports.com. He is currently in Southeast Asia reporting on God’s moves there. The following is one of his articles.]
By Mark Ellis
Raised in a strict Buddhist family in Chanthaburi, about three hours east of Bangkok, her parents didn’t understand when she became a born again Christian.
“My parents brought me to the temple, but I never felt connected to those things,” says Blue Erika Ployamporn. “They prayed in a language I didn’t understand.”
An unusual thing happened to her as a young teen. “When I was 13 brushing my teeth God called me,” Blue recalls. Her mother had been ill, and she told Blue she would have to take care of her brother and sister if she died.
She began to weep because she realized she didn’t know where her mother would go after she died. “I didn’t know how to see her again,” she says. “They said there is the next life, but you can’t choose where you go. I felt so hopeless.” Read the rest of the article here: Revival in Southeast Asia.
By far, Bill Sweeney, 54, has already outlived expectations for a normal patient afflicted with what’s otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a degenerative neural disorder that progresses until patients can’t breathe – usually within 3-5 years of diagnosis.
And though his paralysis keeps him cooped up at home, he never complains on his blog. To the contrary, he chides gently those who do rant – and his buoyant optimism would make anyone ashamed about sniveling over trivial inconveniences.
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from this long trial is that hope – and the joy, peace and faith that always accompany Christ-centered hope, only comes through a conscious, determined effort,” he writes on his blog through a painstakingly slow process that employs eye-tracking software to detect letter by letter what he wants to write on his computer.
“I’ve had my hope challenged many times, and I’ve become pretty good at conquering these challenges.” Read the rest of this Christian news article.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. — Isaiah 26:3 NKJV.
The devil assails our minds with worry. Trusting in Jesus means having peace.
Photo source: Pinterest. I’m not making any money on it. I don’t own the rights to it.
No longer was it impossible to please a completely holy God, who demanded an animal sacrifice for every sin. That’s A LOT!
Jesus was the last sacrifice to end all sacrifice. He was the price paid in ransom for us; we sold ourselves to sin, death and Hell.
If you experience the love of a family during Christmas, that’s a mere taste of the full flavor of love from God. If you didn’t experience human love during Christmas, you are missing a drop of the ocean of love God has for you.
In fact, his essential purpose in leaving his kingship in Heaven and condescending to take mortal form was to suffer. And it started with his birth in a filthy stable.
During his life, He alleviated pain everywhere He found it. Blind eyes were opened. Condemned prostitutes were forgiven. Tax collectors escaped a life of being despised by others. The demon-oppressed were freed.
Then he died excruciatingly.
If Christmas conjures magical feelings of family and beauty, let us never forget its underpinnings are the Son of God coming to help the helpless, the defend the defenseless, to redeemed the scum of society, to sanctify the sinner and prick the self-righteous to reflection.
He feels your pain. He came to take the pain away.
Photo from soulation org
Don’t give up on dreaming. Don’t give up on praying. Don’t give up on living.
For when you have done any of those three, your life has become a mechanical nothingness.
Original image: Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles. I don’t own the rights to this picture, and I’m not making any money with it.
The real question is: Where does evil come from? The modern question, “If there is a God, why is there suffering in the world?” is a ploy to trip up Christians. It’s meant to be unanswerable, a knockout punch, a word trap. It’s insincere because if the atheists were TRULY worried about suffering in the world, they would strive to mitigate it. If there are any atheists WORKING (not talking) to ease suffering, then I will join you at your side and work with you. If you then ask me where God is, I will tell you, He is in your heart, my friend the atheist who works to ease suffering in the world.
Pandora was given an irresistible temptation: Whatever you do, don’t open this box. Of course, curiosity got the best of her, as it does with us all. Out flew all the evils of the world: hate, greed, envy, murder, etc. When she realized whas was happening, Pandora struggled to close up the last demons in the box before they flew out, but alas, it was too late.
Last to struggle out was a misfit among rogues: Hope came out. So as the Greek mythology goes: With evil, comes suffering, but humans can look up with hope for better days. The story so resonates with humans.
Obviously, I adhere to the Creation account of Eve and the apple. But I see in the Pandora version a universal questioning. Ultimately, I believe that if you’re sincere, such questioning will lead you to merciful and loving arms of the Father.
As Americans, we are willing to lose to win. After all, an investment of money or time is a present loss that holds the potential for a future gain. Even if we lose on an investment, we keep making them. Some are risk-adverse, others risk-takers. In investing, the higher the risk, the higher the return.
Would you leave one modest business for the opportunity to make it big? That’s what the disciples did. They left fishing fish to get in on fishing men.
They probably didn’t understand everything at the beginning. They thought, like all Jews at the time, that the Messiah would inaugurate an earthly kingdom like King David’s. So the disciples were banking on becoming his cabinets heads. As things panned out, the investment was far greater than expected and the payout, in Heaven.
Is it worth it to lose 80 years of life for an eternity of glory?
You can’t “do it yourself” when it comes to earning Heaven. Only what Jesus did suffices to earn your entrance. He lived perfectly according to the law. After he passed sinless on the earth, He took our punishment upon Himself. If you have received Jesus, believing in Him, you possess salvation.
Many have tried to earn salvation. Some whip themselves. Some make huge charitable donations. Others become suicide bombers. It’s all pointless.
It’s good to do good things and bad to do bad things, but all are irrelevant is you are trying to “do it yourself,” to impress God enough that He lets you in. We are saved by grace, not by works.
Jepthah was run off by his brothers. He was an illegitimate son. When he became a man, he carried out great exploits, vanquishing Israel. But he never healed his hurting heart, and in consequence rejected his daughter. His lack of family love led him to a wrong-headed idea of an unloving God. He made a stupid vow (to sacrifice whatever came first out of his house to greet him when he returned victorious from battle) and instead of repenting and recanting his vow, he stupidly carried it out. He killed his daughter.
The greatest danger of rejection is NOT how lousy we feel. It is that we will do the same to others. As the saying goes, hurting people hurt people.
Supposedly, the church is a refuge for hurting people. Instead, it turns into a lair of cruel critics. I don’t leave the church because there is no where better to go. After all, Christ left His church. Nothing else.
I wish to be different: loving, accepting, patient, comprehending, optimistic with people, seeing the positive and not the negative.
Don’t think I’m touchy-feeling. The naked truth is I have rejected too many people in my time. God, forgive!
I am determined to change. I am determined to praise my children instead of criticizing them. I am decided to see good in everybody, to be patient with problems, to love the unlovable. It is not easy. I must pray every day before the day begins because, if not, bile flows from this wicked mouth of mine.
True change is not a glib meme or a mantra. It takes work and, I believe, divine assistance.
You may be involved in the most prosaic business or ordinary life, and God is looking for you to give you the most extraordinary life.
Many people aren’t looking for God (maybe they’re trying to avoid Him). But God is going to find them.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,fn neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom. 8:28-29 NIV.
The darkness, as it grows, only serves to beautify the light. People will be drawn more and more naturally to the lighthouse under the gathering storm of godlessness. The more hopeless it becomes, the greater the need for hope.
How do your actually feel happiness for trials?
When you pass the test, you pass the class!
Trials come in all sizes. Generally, beginner Christians get beginner trials. And older Christians are in advanced classes, so to speak. Don’t despair by the size of your trials.
My definition of “pure joy” was something else. Like if Argentina would have won the World Cup. But I have to change my definition of “pure joy.”
You never had time to learn. They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you. Or they killed you gratuitously like Aymo. Or gave you the syphilis like Rinaldi. But they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you.
— Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms
All the existentialists and atheists have to offer is a dismal outlook. Hemingway’s message: have as much fun as you can in life, enjoy selfish pleasures, but in the end death is cruel and capricious.
This is a far cry from the Christian cosmovision. Our sins have separated us from God, but we can repent and run to God’s mercy. If we do, we are no longer subject to an arbitrary and harsh life and death. God protects and sustains us. And when we die, we go to Heaven, where we continue to enjoy joy — not the fictitious joys sinners continually try in vain to grasp.
It amazes me that people can read Hemingway and not turn to God. They embrace his hopelessness and rail against God. His message led him to commit suicide at 61. The Bible says: You will know the tree by its fruit. In other words: Before you buy into someone’s message, see if it worked for that person, at least.
Frederick Nietzsche went insane. Christopher Hitches died of alcoholism-induced cancer. He confessed that he was so bored of people that he kept himself drunk. Jean Paul Sartre took speed to stay up for days and not have to take a break in his writing. The list goes on.
Actually, the lighted waterfall is a sunset striking directly into the water. I read on the site where I got this photo that it’s not photoshopped.
Incredible photo. Nature provides a powerful image of truth.
Happy Resurrection Day! Keep your feet on the ground, your heart on the cross and your mind on Heaven.
As a Christian, I believe the chief work is done by Christ. But we Christians must do the work of focusing our thought life on positives. Maybe you’re surrounded by hounds who criticize. Maybe you need to cancel your EnvyBook account. It’s astonishing what a little Bible-reading and prayer can do to lift your spirits.
I needed to remember this.
My father-in-law had been a big shot in LA’s Chinatown. A community watchdog and advocate, he built a sub-station for police use. He haggled with politicians for stop signs at dangerous crosswalks. He fought for neighborhood-sprucing funds to resist Chinatown’s downward spiral towards ghettodom.
For his indefatigable self-sacrifice in pro of mankind, he was named “Man of the Year” by the City of Los Angeles in 1982. As he lay dying, the newspaper clipping trumpeting his feats was pinned to the wall like a specimen. The only thing that mattered to him now was family and sleep.
Fortunately, Stan was a Christian. His departure Sunday from Earth meant his arrival in Heaven. When you think about the common denominator of death, what do earthly accomplishments, pleasure or riches signify? At best, they are a news article.
We packed Stan’s plaques, crystal glass awards gathering dust, from the shelf, into a box. There they rest. His body is being cremated and the ashes will lie in the Veteran’s Administration cemetery. A titanium identification will be placed in the urn, the only lasting memory on this planet.
But as his memory fades, He will live on in Heaven. His achievements for the gospel will be remembered.