Finding Answers 2

After her first question, the girl went on to say of God:  “If we can’t see Him, how did the person who wrote the Bible find out all these things about Him?”

 

Well, lots of people wrote the 66 books of the Bible.  Moses – the Moses I heard about at primary school, who spoke to God on the mountain by the burning bush, who stretched out a hand and the Red Sea parted for him and the Israelites to go across – he wrote the first 5 books.  There are lots by Paul as well – the man who spoke out against Christians until he went on a journey, there was a flashing light from heaven, and he fell to the ground and heard Jesus speaking to him.  He changed that day, and started telling people very clearly that Jesus was the One God had promised to send.

 

So how did these writers find out about God?  There’s a verse in the Bible, written by Paul, that says:  “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), so all of the Bible is God-breathed.  God’s Spirit breathed His words into them as they wrote.

 

The best way I can explain it is to tell you about when I wrote my first song.  I’ve said in this blog before that I could never write original songs before I was a Christian, but with my first one, I was just in the shower; I was singing, and I realised I didn’t recognise what I was singing.  The words and the tune were just there inside me.  I didn’t have to think; I didn’t have to try hard; they just came – God’s Spirit breathing into my spirit.  Does that make sense?

Finding Answers 1

I sometimes like to read people’s “Religious Views” on Facebook.  I’ve just read the views of a teenager, who started with some questions and finished off by saying it wasn’t that she didn’t believe; she just needed some answers … and so, the idea for these posts.

 

Her first question was:  “If God is real, why can’t we see Him?”  That’s a fun one to answer.  All of you out there, reading this blog, are you real?  I can’t see you.  If you have to see someone for them to be real, that would mean that if somebody went blind, no one would be real anymore.  That could be a good idea for a fantasy novel, but I’m very glad it’s not the truth.  Aren’t you?

I just read this and wanted to share it. Thank You Lord. 🙂

celtic straits

(Updates follow article)

Four years ago today, I posted a blog about my emergency room “miracle experience” after the Aurora Theater shooting. The post went viral, and created some controversy. Does God really do miracles? Why for one person and not another? Does a good God even exist?

I don’t claim to have all the answers. But I saw the miracle with my own eyes. Thank you to those who have asked me to repost this story for a reminder: God is still at work.


July 23, 2012

At Columbine High School, I have seen this before. But not up close.  As a church pastor in Denver, I have worked as a chaplain alongside several police and fire departments. I was privileged to counsel parents just hours after the Columbine shootings. However, in this new tragedy at the Aurora Theater Dark Night shooting, one of the victims was a 22-year-old…

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Go, Tell Your Enough

Lisa-Jo’s 5-Minute Friday theme this week was “Enough”.  I know; it’s not Friday, but as this has been a week when “Enough” meant so much, I thought I’d write my post – a bit belatedly.

 

I sat down the other day to do my budgeting.  I do it every year – work out how much I’m getting, what I have to pay out, and how much I’ll have left to spend … but it was different this year:  Because this year, the government had made some changes and the money I get to pay my rent had been halved.  My worst scenario was that eventually my savings would run out, and I wouldn’t have the money to see my children through the Compassion-programme any more.

 

When I start something, I start intending to finish.  I felt God had called me to sponsor these children, but my question was:  Had He called me to do that right to the end of their sponsorships?  I didn’t want to be a dropout and I didn’t want to let them down.

 

The next bit doesn’t make sense.  I looked at what was coming in; I took into account my utility bills, food etc.  I still had enough to sponsor them – and some to spend; not as much as previously, but enough.  To say I was excited was an understatement!  I wanted to tell people, which could have been a problem:  Because what about those who have more than enough – who’ve worked hard to get that more-than-enough?  When they see you not working as hard as they do, and still having enough; will they resent you?  And then, the ones who have less-than-enough; will they hear your news and think you’re insensitive because you mentioned it?

 

Well, I told people anyway, and they were happy to share my good news.  I had a surprise message today from one of those more-than-enough people who wrote:  “Glad you are still able to sponsor the children as you enjoy it so much”.

 

As I write this I’m starting to think:  Are we like that with God?  As I face my struggles and He gets me through the days, giving me peace when I turn to Him in my weakness, He’s my Enough.  Am I telling people?  Because spiritually-speaking, there are those with less-than-enough – those who struggle and think there’s no one to turn to in their time of need …  And what about the ones who think they have more than enough, but they’re living without Him; will I be a spokesperson for Jesus?  He told the church at Laodicea:  “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” – Revelation 3:17.

 

It takes courage to challenge people about where they are with the Lord, and wisdom too.  Jesus’ friend Peter wrote:  “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect” – 1 Peter 3:15, so as followers of Christ, we must speak with sensitivity … but let’s still speak.

 

Go, tell your Enough.

The Power of Words

I’ve written before on the importance of church.  Just thought I’d tell you an up-to-date story:

 

Last Sunday, a lady I don’t know very well said to me:  “You’re always smiling.  Do you know that?  You really shine with the Lord”.  I knew it was only half-true.  I’m not always smiling; for one thing I don’t smile much when I’ve really hoped for that job and it didn’t materialise, but the thought that somebody else could see Jesus in me!  That’s what church should be:  A group of Christians encouraging each other.

 

During the week, the things people say – even positive things – can fill you with questions sometimes.  I just saw one person comment to another on Facebook:  “Look at the glory of God in your life now”, and straightaway I’m asking myself:  Can people see the glory of God in my life?  And into my mind come that lady’s words from Sunday:  They’ve lasted me the whole week.

 

I love church.  How do people survive without it?  I know it isn’t always what it should be, but that’s why the Bible tells us to be patient and allow for one another’s faults (Ephesians 4:2).

 

Do you go to a church?  Would you recommend it to your friends?

Take a Lesson from my Gran

I talked to someone yesterday about a grandmother who delighted in her granddaughter, and it got me thinking of my gran again.  Gran (Mum’s mum) died when I was 18, but lived close by throughout my childhood.  I’d spend whole days with her when I was small.  They always finished with a tea of egg sandwiches, sausage rolls, and cheese-flavoured Hula Hoops in a little glass dish.  I kept the set of dishes to remind me of her.

 

Her middle name was Annie, which she hated, and they gave her the nickname “Gentle Annie” at school because she was such a sickly child.  Gran was gentle; I don’t ever remember her raising her voice, she was very loving, and I think she was wise too.  Once when I was about 13, I was on her settee reading a book.  It was a Danielle Steel book – my favourite at the time, but I wouldn’t recommend it now.  Gran sat across from me and after a while, she said:  “Will you read to me?”

 

I started reading, but I was just at the point where the daughter of the family was out with an Italian and there was a very explicit sex scene.  Embarrassed, I said:  “Oh.  We’ll skip that bit”.  I skimmed over several paragraphs until I found a part I thought was safe to read, but what a clever thing to do.  She really made me think, and I knew that what I was reading probably wasn’t acceptable to a grown-up.

 

If only she’d taken it a step further and said:  “If you can’t read it out-loud, maybe you shouldn’t be reading it”.  Perhaps she didn’t feel she could do that as a grandparent, and I’m not sure I would have taken any notice, but it might have been worth a try.

 

Does anyone stand out to you from your childhood?  What did they teach you?  Can you use their wisdom with your own children?

Impact Dominican Republic

More than Enough – By Luke

Remember the good old days of your childhood? Times filled with hot wheels, Barbie’s, Lego’s, and many other toys that we used to play with. The joy in a child is easily seen as he or she plays with their toys. A smile lights up instantly across their face.

This time on the DR trip I got to meet the sponsor child that Megan and I sponsor. His name is Fredely and he is eight years old and very handsome. He was also very shy and didn’t say much to us at first. Megan and I decided to give him his gifts first in hopes that he would open up a bit. We gave him the backpack with gifts and his face lit up in happiness and disbelief. After a while he said something that really struck me. He said “Finally I have toys.”…

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Under the Baked Beans

“When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter.  They asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”

“Certainly,” he answered.

Peter went into the house.  Before he could speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon?  From whom do the kings of the world collect fees or taxes?  Is it from their family members or from other people?”

“From other people,” Peter answered.

Jesus said to him, “Then the family members are exempt. However, so that we don’t create a scandal, go to the sea and throw in a hook.  Take the first fish that you catch.  Open its mouth, and you will find a coin.  Give that coin to them for you and Me” – Matthew 17:24-27 (God’s Word Translation)

* * *

If God’s the same yesterday, today and forever, which He is, don’t you sometimes wish He’d do that now?  Don’t you wish He’d say:  “Go to Lidl, and on the shelf under a tin of baked beans, you’ll find a cheque for £…”.  You’d look a bit odd picking up all the tins of beans, just as Peter probably looked odd opening the fish’s mouth, but who cares?

 

One of my whacky moments, but it did get me thinking about Peter.  He could have refused to go, but if he wanted to follow Jesus’ call on his life, he had to do what Jesus said.  Is there something God’s asking you to do today?  It might be a little thing, like:  “Don’t snap at that person when they’re texting and you don’t think they’re really listening to you”, or maybe it’s a bigger thing … but to follow, we have to keep our eyes on the One in front, don’t we?

Why you were Made

We had a really good time at church this morning.  Our poor pastor had laryngitis, but still managed to preach.  He was talking about our purpose in life, as Christians, and asked for ideas on what that was.  I tend to keep quiet in those situations and let other people speak up, but if I’d had to answer the question, here’s what I would have said:

Praising God.  My purpose in life, and yours too, is to praise God.  That’s why you were made, and it’s something you can do for all eternity.  “I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to My people, My chosen, the people I formed for Myself that they may proclaim My praise” – Isaiah 43:20-21.

 

I believe we have individual callings from God, and there are things He tells us all to do in our earthly lives, like sharing the good news of Jesus with people who don’t know Him and His love for them, but praising God doesn’t depend on your circumstances.  I’ve heard so many people say they’re useless; I’ve said it too sometimes, but that’s a lie because we can all do this one thing we were made to do.  If you’re a Christian in a far-off country, who’s been arrested for your faith and is in solitary confinement, you may not have the opportunity at that time to communicate your faith to others; you can still praise God.  I remember someone telling me about a person once who couldn’t talk, walk, or feed herself.  I asked could she smile and was told:  “Yes – well, sort of.  If you knew her, you’d know it was a smile”; she could still praise God.

 

Lots of times, we praise people for the things they do well.  Will you take a few minutes today to come to the God who knows you by name, and give Him some praise too?