from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the category “christianity”

Waiting Can End Quickly

No doubt we all wait from time to time. Maybe a lot of the time. I find myself waiting on God…waiting…waiting. It’s easy to lose heart and have our faith challenged. And while many times God is actually waiting on us, there are situations where other things simply haven’t fallen in to place yet. The time is not right for God to act.

Isaiah chapter 60 is about Christ’s return and the very last sentence is the kicker. Verse 22b says, “I will accomplish it quickly in its time.” Even though it may seem like something is taking forever and the waiting endless, and you simply can’t see how things will ever come together, remember this verse. When it’s time, God can make things happen so quickly it may make your head spin.

 

The Cycle of LIFE

A study of history reveals a definite cycle of human spiritual behavior. From the ups and downs of God’s chosen people in the Bible to American history even prior to the Revolution, we have experienced times of closeness to God and times of rebellion.

I have a personal dream to be part of a revival in our country. I read about previous great awakenings and wonder what it must have been like and then visualize one happening today – what effect it would have on our government and daily lives. It’s exciting but also disheartening when I realize how short-lived all the previous ones were. Some even debate if what took place in the 1960s and 70s actually qualifies as a great awakening.

The occurrence of these ups and downs throughout history, I believe, have been significant in delaying God’s decision to rapture the Church. And I have to admit, there are times when I’m not so sure I want to delay him. Regardless of eschatological views on whether we’re in the millennial or the tribulation, or neither, it’s doubtful that Christ will return in the midst of a revival. Prophecy seems to point to things not being so good when that happens.

This leaves us with a conundrum of experiencing a national (or better still, international) revival and theoretically delaying “the rapture,” or continuing in our societal downfall ushering in the end. What do you think?

Political Prayers

Job 12:24 provides a little hint as to how we should pray for our country, not just during times of political elections.

“He [God] deprives the world’s leaders of reason, and makes them wander in a trackless wasteland.”

Our prayers tend to be, “God, put so and so in office,” or “God, please get so and so out of office.”
Maybe our prayers should be for God to give those already in office “reason,” wisdom, courage, and insight.

Perhaps one reason we don’t is because the whole idea of God changing those already in office seems hopeless. But think about that for a moment. Is anything hopeless with God? Is anything too hard for him?

Maybe we should exercise more faith and less political slandering. Maybe. It’s just a thought.

Our Double-Standard on Sin

While we are quick to point out and criticize the double standard liberals have with tolerance, we as Christians tend to ignore the double standards we hold with sin. We are quick to point out the faults and failures of others, but make excuses for our own.

Foul language, cheating on taxes, gossip, lust. But the one that gets me the most is gluttony and the obvious neglect of one’s health. The picture of the very overweight preacher condemning the homosexual, gambler, etc. says more to the world than we realize.

Perry Noble posted a great article earlier this month addressing this. You can read it here.

What God Hates

A reminder today that while nothing separates us from the love of God, there are some definite things God hates.

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:

  1. haughty eyes
  2. a lying tongue
  3. hands that shed innocent blood
  4. a heart that devises wicked plans
  5. feet that make haste to run to evil
  6. a false witness who breathes out lies
  7. one who sows discord among brothers

Prov 6:16-19

Waiting for a Plan to Come Together

I’ve lived much of my adult life by these verses like these (among others) and have waited patiently (and sometimes not) for plans I felt God had revealed to me for my life.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 20:11

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Then I happen upon this old post by Donald Miller about God’s plan, or the lack thereof, for our lives. Here are some quotes to give you the gist of his thoughts.

“God does have a general desire for everybody, for them to be reunited with the Trinity through Christ,and for them to have food and shelter and relationships, but I don’t believe God has mapped out a plan for your every day, or even for your every year.”

“If God has something specific for you, you’ll know, I promise. But if He is setting a box of crayons down in front of you (a box of crayons called life) then by all means draw. He’s taught you right from wrong, good from bad, beautiful from profane, so draw. He will be with you, proud of you, cheering you on, so draw.”

Read the full article and be sure to read the comments section too.

There is an aspect of liberation in Miller’s opinion. Quit worrying about catching the train or missing the train and just live. But regardless of whether I agree entirely with Miller or not, I suppose I’ve shifted in that direction over time and circumstances. And I can’t deny a bit of a let down. It’s exciting to think God has specific and special plans for your life.

But in the end, God himself is enough to get excited about. What do you think?

Ezra’s Prayer

English: Ezra Kneels in Prayer (Ezr. 9:1-15) Р...

One of the first things Ezra did upon his return to Jerusalem was the prayer in Chapter 9. It is a prayer of confession for the sins of the exiled of Israel, mainly that of intermarriage with pagans. Ezra genuinely mourns the sins of the nation in his plea to God.

Matthew Henry sums the prayer up with three words – amazed, ashamed, afraid. Ezra was amazed at the sin of his nation, ashamed of them, and afraid of God’s judgement once again.

It made me question when was the last time I was sincerely amazed, ashamed, or afraid over sin, whether my own, my family, or my country. How about you? It’s sad to say these are three things we rarely feel any more, and that is a dangerous place to be.

The Root of Injustices

Many mourn over sufferings, who will not forsake the sins that caused God to send them. – Matthew Henry

People will speak out against injustice and atrocities, throw money toward the cause, protest, boycott, etc. But more often than not they fail to attack the problem at its source. As long as we tolerate and condone the sins that bring about the problems, there is no “justice league” that can rid us of them.

Promoting your Church, Business, or Organization with Facebook

Facebook is a great connection tool not only for keeping up with friends and family but for also for businesses and organizations. Facebook Pages are designed for this purpose and can be an effective way to communicate to your chosen audience. Facebook even provides analytics to see how well you are connecting.

There are a few basic things to do for your page. First select a username to make directing others to your page simpler. Using a username for your page shortens and clarifies the url to the page. To set your username, go to http://www.facebook.com/username/, choose the page you want to set a username for, then check its availability. Choose your username wisely because you won’t be able to change it.

The next thing is to load a cover photo and avatar that tells visitors who you are; your logo for instance. If you don’t have a cover photo or avatar, I can design one for you that will be sized appropriately so you all you have to do is upload it. Contact me for prices.

Social media is a great way for churches to communicate to their membership and others. We tried a couple of alternatives, but our members were already pretty connected on Facebook, so that was the easiest method for us to integrate. Leonard Sweet’s new book Viral has some great advice on using social media for sharing the gospel.

Here’s an article full of statistics from the church point of view, and here is another from Forbes on making the most of your Facebook Page and Timeline.

My Help

There is a wonderful prayer in 2 Chronicles 20 by King Jehoshaphat that ends with the simple sentence “we do not know what to do, but we look to you.” The key word in this sentence is “but.” I checked several translations to be sure, and they all use the word “but” as the conjunction between these two sentences. So often we say to God, “I don’t know what to do, so I’ll ask God, but Jehoshaphat essentially said, “we don’t know what to do, but that doesn’t matter because we are relying on you, God.”

God’s answer was equally wonderful. “You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Relying on God doesn’t mean sitting back and doing nothing. God tells them to “position” themselves, or “stand firm” as some translations state. In other words, don’t give up, be strong, prepare. That preparation could be any number of things depending on the circumstances. I think of it as doing whatever you would do if you were handling the situation yourself…except, the next phrase from God is “stand still” – prepare yourself for battle, but let me do it.

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