How to think about God when life is rough

Life gets rough. How people respond is well known. “Why did God do this to me?” “How can God be good if he allows this to continue?” Adversity can foster many temptations. What role does God play in all of this?

James’ letter takes us straight to our questions about God. He does not answer every question we might pose. Rather he counsels us how to think about God when we are in the thick of it. Continue reading “How to think about God when life is rough”

Everyone faces economic trials

James described both the poor and the comfortable encountering economic trials. Although details of their challenges differ, nonetheless both situations test one’s mettle. Furthermore, both trials go to the heart of the matter.

Fortunately, James offers us a practical path foward filled with uncommon wisdom. He turns our financial perspectives upside down. His counsel reorients us by calling us to reframe how we think about ourselves.

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Pressures from without & stresses from within

While our current crisis differs in details, the letter of Philippians contains a message enabling us to navigate our own troubled waters. If we listen closely Philippians depicts an ancient church caught between a rock and a hard place. Yet what comes first to our minds when we think about Philippians? Is it not joy and rejoicing?

Let’s take a closer look at their problem. For if we agree points of commonality exist between our situation and theirs, then Paul’s message could lead us to rejoice in the midst of our adversity.

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I’m Safe

Yesterday my wife and I spent most of the day driving in order to assist our college age son move back to our city before the mayor’s shelter-in-place order took effect. We are safe and hunkered down.

The ability to say and embrace, “I’m safe” evokes peace. However when the heart is fearful, these words don’t ring true and fear persists.

What can assist us in getting over the hump to experience a plane of peacefulness? A brief understanding about what makes us tick reveals why the suggestions listed below offer practical help. Continue reading “I’m Safe”

God gives second chances? More like a complete makeover!

“God is a God of second chances.” This comforting message peppers blogs and sermons. It might even work its way into everyday conversations. We rightfully celebrate such good news. After all, the gospel with its message of forgiveness announces genuine hope and lifts heavy burdens.

Yet, to say that God is a God of second chances stops short. In fact, it could be misleading. Continue reading “God gives second chances? More like a complete makeover!”

Miraculous gifts today? Another temporary purpose (5)

Imagine what it would be like to hold an apostle’s handbook providing guidance for healing a dysfunctional church. Actually, we have held such guides many times. One of them is called 1 Corinthians.

Within this letter, Paul sought to alter the worldly-minded perspectives of a church possessing every spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 3:17; 3:1-3). One of his goals focused on promoting a healthy understanding regarding their participation in the diversity of the Spirit’s work within their church.

Yet it must have been very disappointing to them, to learn that part of Paul’s prescription involved popping their bubble about miraculous endowments. What Paul wrote within 1 Corinthians 12 through 14 provides yet another reason why some believe miraculous gifts have ended. Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Another temporary purpose (5)”

Miraculous gifts today? Laying on of hands (3)

Opinions contrast. Some claim God works miracles through his people today. Others say that God no longer gifts his people with miraculous abilities. What should not be overlooked is how definitions of the miraculous differ.  Thus to accurately understand what is being denied or affirmed requires first understanding how someone defines the miraculous.

Once such an understanding exists, the question still remains: why do some reject miraculous gifts today? The first reason revolves around observing how the Spirit chose to distribute these gifts. The baptism with the Spirit appears to have served a special purpose, while a second manner of distribution is no longer possible. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Laying on of hands (3)”

Miraculous gifts today? Baptism with the Spirit (2)

What is it within scripture that has led some to conclude miraculous gifts ended with the apostles? An overview of one explanation begins by observing that God chose to impart miraculous abilities through the baptism with the Spirit and the laying on of the apostles’ hands. If neither of these is occurring today this could provide grounds for concluding God no longer empowers his disciples to perform miracles.

Rounding out their perspective is scripture’s stated purpose for miraculous gifts as well as its commentary about their temporary nature. However, first things first. What does scripture teach us about the baptism with the Spirit?

Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Baptism with the Spirit (2)”