Tag: faith

Depression

As Christians we are supposed to be full of joy, hope, faith and peace.  We are conquerors.  We have domain over evil and the enemy’s attacks.  We have salvation.  We have been delivered.

Yeah right.

Oh, I believe all that.  I really do.  I just don’t always feel it.  We all have bad days.  But I’m talking about true believers that struggle daily to just get out of bed.  I’m talking about believers who live on the edge of suicide and can’t eat or sleep.  I’m talking about believers who are racked with pain and can’t see the light of day.

If a believer breaks a leg, we understand that there is pain.  We don’t expect them to jump up and down singing Hallelujah!  I just broke my leg!  If they have just suffered a great loss we understand that too.  What if they don’t suffer from a broken leg but instead have a missing connection in the brain that is misfiring?  How long are we willing to put up with a sad sack Christian that is always down?  Do we yell at them and say “Where is your joy?  Where is your hope in Christ?  You are a new creature that should be basking in glory!”

What if they need medication?  What if it is not a personality trait but a real medical imbalance?  On the other hand, what if that person sitting next to you on Sunday isn’t smiling because of Jesus but because they found really good drugs?  Does that change your faith level in Jesus?

I don’t understand the brain.  I don’t know why some heathens seem happy all the time and some believers are miserable.  I don’t even understand why some people can have a cavity filled without novocaine.  I would rather be hit over the head and knocked unconscious then have a tooth filled while I sit there!

I have hope that I will find joy.  I have peace that I am saved.  I have faith that I do walk with God.  I also take anti depressants and I probably should take more on most days.  I don’t get it.  I probably never will.  I’ll say a prayer but don’t take my pills away.

Psalm 143:7-8

Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
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Guns and Church, pt 3 – Poor Peter and his denials

Anyone raised in a Christian church knows this story:

Matthew 26:33-35 (NIV)

33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Poor Peter – this story has been re-told millions of times.  Yes, Peter denied Jesus but look at the situation – his world was turned upside down.  He was confused, scared, in shock and in disbelief!  At that point he didn’t know what was true and what was a lie. He feared for his life and didn’t know where to turn.

Fast forward 2,000 years.  We as Christians have based our testimony on this – don’t ever deny your faith.

Matthew 10:33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

But a mad man comes into your school or church, points a gun to your head and asks you point blank: ‘Are you a Christian’?  Do you stand for your faith knowing that you will be killed or do you wimp out and say “no” knowing that your life will be spared?

We have grown up with the teaching that not denying our faith is a the right answer; a testimony that may lead to the attackers salvation, a testimony to anyone else who is watching, and most important proving a bonded relationship with our Lord and Savior.  We may lose our temporary life on earth but immediately enter into eternal blessing as a martyr.

I still agree with that but we have entered the realm of ‘madmen’ with guns who are often on killing sprees motivated by severe mental illness.  These shooting sprees often end with the killer ending his own life – not turning to salvation by testimony.

My point – Does it show disregard to God to say “I’m not a Christian” to a madman determined to kill Christians?  Does that statement destroy a relationship with God?  Are we less faithful to want to live out our lives here?  We have celebrated the victims who have stood by their faith but is that what Jesus would have really wanted?

If your daughter or son is faced with this horrible choice, do you want them to take a pass on early death (basically lying and for a moment denying their faith) or should they stand strong only to die?  Even though you may be proud of them for standing their faith, doesn’t a part of you want them to lie and live?  Is that wrong?  Is that a cop out on God?

This denial was not the downfall for Peter.  It did not end his relationship with Jesus but it may have made him stronger and more faithful.  In the end, he did die a martyr but it was by his choice to stand with Jesus.

We may all face a day when we need to stand for our faith or deny it.  I am ready to take that stand but is it wrong to deny it in the face of shock and madness?  I hope we never have to decide.

gun

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

One of my catch phrases in business and life is “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”  I am dealt many hard scenarios to battle through in business.  When I have a challenge to work through, I give myself perspective by looking at the worst outcome possible and then building from there.

Here is a really simple example:  Today I was driving on a busy highway and I was in the wrong lane to exit off.  The worst case option would be to hit someone and cause an accident.  The next option would be to stay in the lane and get off at the next exit and circle back.  This isn’t a great option but it is far better than the 1st one.  Again, it’s all about perspective.

What are you facing today that has you down and worried?  What is the absolute worst (WORST) thing that can happen?  Ok, now take a deep breath.  That worst thing probably won’t happen . . .so start moving up the list.  What will happen probably won’t be the end of the world and it will resolve in some way.

Have faith.  Have hope.  Have patience.  Know that God will be glorified and that a little bit of light will shine down on you while you walk through it.

Psalm 41All my enemies whisper together against me;
    they imagine the worst for me, saying,
“A vile disease has afflicted him;
    he will never get up from the place where he lies.”

Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment
    and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
    my righteousness will never fail.

world fell apart

Without Hope

Being raised a “cheap” Mennonite, I was taught early and often not to gamble.  My dad: “Not only is it a sin but it is a waste of money”.  How many times do I get in a line behind people who look like they are on their last dollar only to see them use their few dollars to buy lottery tickets?  Such a waste of money.  If they would use that little bit to buy healthy food, they would be so much better off.  Don’t they know that the odds are millions to one?  It’s very sad to watch.

When the economy gets worse, lottery sales go up.  Why? Because people lose hope of ever getting out of their poverty.  Their only “hope” is to win big.  Again, I always saw this as sad logic.  Everyone can dig out if they work harder.

This is what I thought until I got hit with economic tsunamis in my 50’s.  I am too old to start over.  I don’t have the drive and energy that I had when I was in my 20’s.  How can I recover?  How can I dig out?  For the first time in my life I began looking at the lottery tickets and thinking, “maybe”.  God could give me the winning number.  I only need to buy one ticket.  If God wants me to win, I will win.  Think of it!  I could pay off all my debts, clean up my business and set up a foundation to support missions!  Win Win!  I started planning my foundation already!

Is that what God wants?  A winning lottery ticket?  Or does He want a devoted heart that seeks Him no matter what?  Am I more concerned about my economic tsunami than I am about my walk with God? Where does our wealth come from?  Where does our hope come from?

1 Chronicles 29: Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

hannahpraise

Move On

My post yesterday might have came across “holier than thou”.   Ha.  If you would have seen my hands trembling yesterday as I typed those words “Stand firm”, “Do not be afraid”, “Do not be afraid” you might have been laughing.  You might have called me a hypocrite.

I am one.  Sometimes it is easy to stand in the face of a storm but often its not.  I didn’t type them to brag.  I typed them to encourage myself and hopefully you.  If you read further in that passage, God doesn’t say to stand still forever.  He also commands us to move forward.

Hold up your arms today and move forward in the direction that God is pointing.  If you have a friend that is weak, hold up their arms for them.

Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will seethe deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.

mountain

Trust

So, my dog is getting a little old and has problems with her legs.  She limps at times.  Today she can’t climb steps.  She doesn’t mind being picked up or held.  I can carry her around the house without any objection.  That is, until I come to the stairs.  When I get to the top of the stairs, she squirms and gets nervous.  Does she think after all this time that I will throw her over the side?  I have never harmed her.  I have never dropped her.  She knows that I am carrying her because her legs hurt.  Why does she think I will drop her down the stairs?

Aren’t we a lot like that?  Has God ever hurt us? Has He ever dropped us? Would He throw us over the side?

How many times do we need to be carried before we trust God?  Will we doubt Him again the next time we need to be carried?  Isn’t it a little ridiculous how we squirm and cry over our situation when we know that God has carried us so many times before?

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
107

Mountains

It’s so easy to see the mountain.  It looms in front of you.  There are jagged rocks, cliffs and snow on the peak.  It is impossible to climb, yet alone remove.  Even if you had dynamite and a bulldozer you wouldn’t be able to clear it out of the way.

Are you going to stand there and stare at it for the rest of your life?

Are you going to give up and live at its base never getting to the other side?

Are you going to go back from where you came?

Do you have any faith?  Do you believe?  Can you speak?

Matthew 17:20

New International Version (NIV)

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

mountain

Faith

Brian, would you like to recommend Faith?  I found this amusing.  It was a prompt line on Linkedin for a friend named “Faith”.

Would I like to recommend Faith and faith.  I would like to recommend love, joy, and peace too.

Can I recommend salvation through Jesus?  Yes

How about prayer?  Sure

We don’t believe out of fear.  We don’t follow out of force.  We don’t worship out of duress.  We believe, follow and worship by choice through faith.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hannah thanksgiving

Restore

re·store  (r-stôr, -str)

tr.v. re·storedre·stor·ingre·stores

1. To bring back into existence or use; reestablish: restore law and order.
2. To bring back to an original condition: restore a building. See Synonyms at revive.
3. To put (someone) back in a former position: restore the emperor to the throne.
4. To make restitution of; give back: restore the stolen funds.
We celebrate restoration.  We love to be restored.  But before you get too excited, remember, that to be restored you first have to lose your place!  Losing your place, your files, your possessions, health, etc. can be painful and scary.  While you are in the place of “lost” you are never sure if you will be fully restored.  It’s only after you are restored that you know that you are safe again.  No matter how many reassurances you have it is still an anxious moment.
Are you at a point of loss?  Worry? Dread? Hopelessness? Or are you at the point of hope? Faith? Belief? Or are you at the point of restoration?  Has your loss given you life? While your eyes were bandaged did you get to “hear” life around you for the first time?
Psalm 80:3  Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.