Proof that 2012 is the End of Days:
I’ve been convicted lately. Convicted to be more open with my testimony.
I’ve been pretty open already. If someone asks me, I will gladly share it. Earlier this year, I shared it in front of two different Celebrate Recovery large groups, one of which had over 300 members.
I guess that’s what is really fueling this desire to share more. Ever since I shared my testimony in January, I have heard about more and more people who were convicted or inspired that night. Six people gave their lives to Christ that night, publically.
Here’s the thing: That night, I was out of my mind with fear. It’s so scary to get in front of people and basically tell them all the worst things you’ve ever done. But God moved. He gave me courage. He used my words. He used my story to help others.
The issue is that I don’t enjoy bringing up my failures. My failures are tough ones to admit to. Not just embarrassing, but soul-crushing. But, I know from research and experience that my past issues are dealt with by the majority of men today. It’s keeping men from becoming Christians and it’s keeping Christian men from becoming the men they desire to be.
I heard a message recently about how when we hear God tugging on our heart to share our situations with others, it’s not for our benefit. You never know who out there listening needed to hear some hope. Continue Reading
I’ve made it a goal to sit down at least once a week, read one chapter of the Bible, and pull out as much as I can from it, to see what God has taught me and to find out what he’s going to teach me next.
Today, I’m reading chapter 6 of Genesis.
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” –Genesis 6:3 NIV84
There are a couple different interpretations as to what this verse refers to, as many believe that this refers to the maximum length of a man’s life from that moment forward (since people at one point lived for hundreds of years).
I, however, interpret this as part of the story of the Flood, setting the stage. As the population grew, God saw how the hearts of men were turning away from him. At one point, he made the decision to wipe the world clean. Yet, he stopped and decided to give humanity time to turn back to him. He gave them 120 more years to repent and return. He wanted them to have every chance, every opportunity, to turn from the wicked ways of the world and walk in the grace of God once more.
The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. –Genesis 6:5-8 NIV84 Continue Reading
Exercising is hard.
I don’t need to tell you. I’m sure you’ve thought the same thing before.
But I’m doing it.
Most of the time, I have someone exercising with me, but every now and then, our schedules creep up and one of us can’t make it.
Yesterday, I was alone, going to the trail and walking/jogging for about 45 minutes.
I was ramping up my routine, doubling my jogging. But being overweight often causes my back to hurt.
Halfway through, my back was hurting so much that I could barely walk, but I kept going.
Very quickly, my shins and ankles started hurting much worse than my back, to the point where I couldn’t feel my back pain anymore.
And I found myself thanking God. While the leg pain hurt more, the back pain was keeping me from exercising. I could still move with the leg pain. It was pain that I was happy for. Pain I needed. Continue Reading
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Thanksgiving. The most literal of holiday names. This week is all about gratitude and grace, contentment and counting our blessings, given freely and without conditions.
Until Black Friday.
Then we wait in lines for hours, trample each other at malls, mutter under our breath about “how some people act these days” and get googly-eyed at the shiniest, biggest, latest toys.
What happens in that 24-hour period that takes us from a feast of unselfish thankfulness to a shopping day so dreaded that it is known as Black?
It’s not that every Black Friday shopper is inherently greedy or materialistic. My family and I have a ritual of going shopping that Friday afternoon, though it is less of a manic drive for deals and more from a coincidental proximity to outlet malls that only comes once a year when we visit family “in the big city.”
But from both annual news reports and my years of experience people-watching in the malls of Dallas, Texas, something happens on that fateful day that motivates people to camp out in front of stores, push each other to emotional and physical limits and lash out irrationally at the same family they just gave thanks for around the table the day before. Call it the holiday rush or the hustle and bustle, but surely there has to be another option. Continue Reading
The motives of God are called into question often. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” is question #1 that most people have for God and suffering is usually enough to convince them God doesn’t exist. “If God really existed/loved me, he wouldn’t have let this happen!”
Why does God allow us, as Christians, to still make mistakes, to still suffer, to still be hurt by others, to still become ill?
I mean, we already joined the team, right? We’ve already chosen the right path to follow, and yet, even still, we often find ourselves in darkness, feeling alone and lost.
How can a loving God allow such bad things to happen, even to his own believers?
Our logical minds want to judge him like we would a human father. He must not be as loving as we think, or as powerful as he says. Maybe he’s not as perfect as we’ve told ourselves, or maybe he’s just like any abusive father, taking his rage out on his own children.
He could have made us perfect from the start. He could have made us perfect beings who would never sin and never have to suffer or feel pain. But if he had done that, we wouldn’t have the free will to choose to love and worship God or not. We would be a bunch of parrots, echoing back what God wants us to say, but pretty mindless beyond that. Continue Reading