Tag: Questions

Why Am I Me?


So, tell me…have you ever wanted to be someone else? Have you spent time wondering why you are you? Has your life been frustrating at times, all because you ARE you, and not some other person?

Like many people, I’ve had my fair share of questions. Such as, “Why was I born into my particular family?” “Why didn’t I get a better lot in life?” “What did I do to deserve the parents I was given?” 

Or maybe, “Why couldn’t I have parents like so and so has?”

I remember as a kid wishing my good friend Bob’s mother was my mom (usually immediately following an argument with my parents).

Right or wrong, it was a wish. (Though I’m not at all saying I was squeaky clean…)

There have been other times throughout the last 60+ years I’ve asked similar questions. 

But I’ve recently learned something. Maybe it will speak to you as well.

God had the complete and final say regarding all the things in which I had no say. 

Everything.

Even though bad things sometimes happen, things which aren’t His will, we’re placed into our specific families. 

God, Who knew me even while I was in my mother’s womb, had the final say. 

It was God who gave me, and you, life in the first place.

So, with that in mind, I’ve had to move on and not let those “why”, “why not”, and “what if” questions drive me crazy.

In John chapter nine, the disciples asked Jesus a question about a man who was born blind. I can almost imagine the blind man pulling Peter aside to see if Peter would ask Jesus the question he had been wondering about for quite awhile. 

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins.” (John 9:1 – 9:2 NLT)

Somewhat like the questions I’ve had throughout my life…”Why?”

To read Jesus’ answer (in many translations) it can appear that God doesn’t mind seeing just how bad He can make someone’s life become. 
That doesn’t sound like the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

It doesn’t sound like my Savior, either.

So this time, read it from “The Message” translation:

“Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.” (John 9:1 – 9:3 MSG)

“You’re asking the wrong question…” What a great response! 

For them, and for me. 

And, quite possibly, for you.

The Lord doesn’t want any of us attempting to find out why we got the short end of the deal when we were born. He’s not exactly pleased with the way some parents have treated/raised their kids. He’s not happy about the child abuse some kids endure. Or how many people have to find a way to cope with all the scars well into their adult life. 

We’ve all been given a life to live. And we can’t live it to the fullest when we’ve buried ourselves beneath the rubble of “Why me?” questions.

Blaming someone never corrected anything. No matter who is to blame, we must still look at what God can do. 

“With Me, all things are possible.”

Maybe you’ve accumulated a lot of baggage, maybe tons of garbage, growing up in your not-so-perfect world. I did. But my life need not, better not, be consumed by looking for someone to blame. 

There’s too much life to live to waste time doing that. 

So, to end this post on a positive note:

God uses less-than-perfect people from less-than-perfect homes, who have less-than-perfect parents, siblings, and circumstances. Why not let Him help give us purpose, direction, and, where needed, the emotional, mental, and physical help we may have missed while growing up.

Let’s get away from the blame game, and instead, get on with life; the life God has in store for all who will embrace His ways and thoughts.

“Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:7 – 55:9 NLT)

Should I…?

 

IMG_7009.JPGI sometimes wonder about this crazy, mixed up world. 

Specifically, how should I act as a follower of Jesus Christ?

Should I be nice, smile a lot, and show God’s love with only my actions?

I mean, we all know most people aren’t interested in church, religion, or Jesus, don’t we?

I would rather not make someone mad, or turn them off, by speaking about such a personal topic.

Would it be best if I built a good rapport with people before I mentioned something as strong and personal as “God loves you”? Like I said, a person’s relationship with God is a VERY personal thing!

And how should I, as a preacher of the gospel, relate to this world and all its diverse and tolerant people?

Can the gospel I believe COEXIST with other faiths; other religions?

If I dilute the gospel message, so it’s not quite so offensive, will I still witness the power of God? Will people be transformed if I share a more “sinner friendly” message?

How much truth should I be willing to defend? Must I stand against government pressure, and possibly lose my tax exempt status? Do I have to look like a religious goofball in order to present the message of life?

How strong a stance should I take against sin, whether in or out of the church?

If I succeed in “getting along” with everyone here on earth, will anyone be in heaven because of my testimony?

Do I REALLY need to hate my life, loving Jesus more?

Contemplating these and other questions, and wondering what society will be like just prior to Jesus’ return, I remembered what the early followers of Jesus had to contend with.

Suddenly, I received the answers to all my questions.

“But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

“And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council and all the senate of the people of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”” (Acts 5:17-32 ESV) 

There’s only one way to live for God, and thus make an impact for Him.

Though not everyone who hears will agree, if they are going to “repent and believe the gospel”, they must HEAR the gospel in all its purity and power.

If God is to “confirm His word with accompanying signs”, I must preach His word; not some weakened substitute.

As for “coexisting”: yes, we all can live on the same planet, and maybe sit together and share a steak or a bowl of soy beans. But if Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, and He is, then nothing else will work.

If NO ONE has eternal life without receiving Jesus as the Lord of their life, then lighting a stick of incense and joining hands while singing Kum Ba Yah just won’t cut it. 

I MUST be prepared to go all out for the gospel; giving my all for my Savior. If I’m only going part way, I might as well not go at all.

I truly hope we, as “last days followers”, do as well as the “first days followers” of Christ. What was their response to the pressures and questions of the day?

It was a response that ignited the fury of the devil, but released the power from on High.

“We must obey God rather than men.”

And so must you and I.

How much time do you think we have?

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How much time do you think we have?

“For what?”, you may ask.

Well, several things, actually.

How much time do you think we have until Russia and her confederates decide to take care of the little old nation called Israel? Russia? Yep. Even now the Great Russian Bear is testing the world by flexing its muscle, hungry for the good old days of a century ago.

How much time is there before the one known as Antichrist is introduced to the world as its savior and deliverer? How much time do you think we have until peace comes to the Middle East? Sorry, I meant pseudo-peace.

How long will it be until Mexico, the United States, and Canada are joined together as one “nation”? It would get rid of a lot of problems, don’t you think? And really, why do we need a president, congress, or politicians?

The United Nations could handle everything.

How much time do you think we have?

How long will it be until the only church allowed to gather publicly is the State run humanistic church? After all, if it weren’t for all the God nuts this world could live in peace. Right? And, the world could sure use all that money the saints spend on buildings, crosses, and choir robes. Don’t you think?

So, tell me…how long?

When will the armies of the world gather in a place called Armageddon? When will all the figs be shaken from the tree? Will it happen soon?

When?

During the course of history, many have asked similar questions. Some have been so bold as to broadcast their “prophetic word”, only to be ridiculed by saints and sinners alike. But the question still remains…

How much time do you think we have?

Someone thought he knew the answer. May 21, 2011 was the pronounced “end of the world”. Wrong.

Remember the date, December 21, 2012? What happened? Nothing.

And don’t blame that error on the Mayans.

Maybe it’s all a hoax, all of this end of the world junk. Is it junk?

I won’t ask the question, “How long until man’s ‘wisdom’ backs him into a self-destructive corner?” No need to ask. We’ve already done it.

It’s only the mercy of God that has allowed man to make it this long.

Maybe we should ask God a different question or two. Like, “Lord, will you please forgive us for thinking we were smarter than you? Will you take away our selfish, prideful heart, and save us and our world?”

I believe he’d answer…

What’s next? Please think with me.

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Something is stirring in my heart. I’m seeing something in the scriptures, yet I can’t quite see it. Do you understand what I mean?

I read this yesterday:

“So Solomon finished building the Temple.” (1 Kings 6:14 NLT)

Then, as I meditated on that passage, I remembered what happened after Solomon had finished building. As the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant and other items into the Temple (kind of like moving God’s furniture into his house), then:

“…At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14 NLT)

In other words, God moved inside; he took up residence there.

Okay, with that thought I started looking at Moses’ ministry, and the building of the Tabernacle of Meeting.

“So at last Moses finished the work.” (Exodus 40:33 NLT)

Again, just like in Solomon’s example, when the place was finished and every part was in place…

“…So at last Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:33-35 NLT)

Yes. God moved inside, and his glory became evident to all.

So now I read the passage in Ephesians.

“Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:20-22 NLT)

I know what I’m thinking and sensing; but I’m not certain I can articulate it.
God is in each individual. Right. But is there something the Church is missing?

So I ask you…what comes next?

If God established a pattern, first with Moses and then with Solomon, what can we expect when the Body of Christ finally grows up? What is on the horizon for the church?

What will it take for us to get “there”? Or, “are we there yet?”

I look forward to your thoughts…

A Question For God?

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There’s no one on earth who knows everything. Not you, me, or anyone.

Because of that, we need to find people who know more than we do about a particular subject, and ask them questions.

Of course, you may be a person others use as a resource. You may find yourself answering more questions than you ask. That’s alright; answer away.

However, everyone has limits…so don’t feel bad if you get stumped.

There’s only one person who knows everything about everything; and that’s God.

So if you could ask God Almighty one question, and you knew he would answer you immediately in a way you could understand, what would you ask him?

Don’t be shy.

What question would you like to ask God?

He just might answer, and in a surprising way.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever…” (Deuteronomy 29:29 ESV)

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)

Questions, Boxes, Heaven, and Faith

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Allow me just a wee bit of thinking outside the religious dogma we call “the box”. I promise I’ll try to stay in view of it, but sometimes a feller just needs to get out and stretch. Know what I mean?

Please read this passage from the Bible; the Book of Revelation. This is from the apostle John, as he described the things he saw while “in the Spirit”.

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 7:9-12 NLT)

To me, this is an awesome picture. I’m even wondering if John could see me in that crowd? After all, he seemed to indicate he was being shown the future; the final days of man’s time on earth, the devil’s judgment, man’s final judgment, and the new heavens and earth.

I’m sure he saw me!

John said he saw a vast crowd, too many to count. People from every nation, people, tribe, and language. The vast, innumerable crowd stood before the Lamb of God. They were in Heaven because of the Lamb; who had carried their sin all the way to the cross, shedding His blood for their complete salvation.

Okay, up to now, I haven’t left the box. But my hand’s on the door knob, I’m turning the knob, opening the door…

…here we go!

The Debate

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Debates.

Does the world need them? Does a “pro” ever become a “con”? Vice-versa?

How does one win a debate? How do you score a debate? Do you win points for finger pointing, and are points deducted for each time you say, “huh?”

I mean, it’s easy to tell who wins a football game. There are clearly defined rules for scoring points. Wrestling, baseball, basketball, hockey; at the end of every game there’s no doubt as to which team won.

So how does one score a debate?

I watched part of the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham this evening. I listened to each person give their opening statements; five minutes for each. But I know what I believe and why I believe it, so I decided to save my data and move on to something else.

Like write this article.

Do arguments ever settle anything? Can a person be won over to “the other side” by someone who is more articulate and has a better Power Point presentation than his opponent? If so, what does that say about the audience, the listener?

I’m really not against debates. Really, I’m not. It’s good to hear intellectual arguments for both sides, in my opinion. However, there’s something everyone must understand. After the debate is finished and both gentlemen thank each other for the fine debate, shake hands, and go their separate ways, life will continue as before. Bill Nye will believe his way and Ken Ham will stick with his. Bill will continue to tie his bow tie as before, and I imagine Ken will keep his beard trimmed as always.

The world keeps turning. And no matter if people believe in a young earth, old earth, evolution, or revolution; whether they watched the Nye/Ham debate or not, they will have to face and answer THE most important question this side of eternity:

Not as one who debates. Not as a scientist. Not as a theologian or an atheist. Not as a politician or a clown.

Not even as a moderator.

But as someone who will stand before the Creator God, the Ruler and Judge of all mankind. The One Who gave His only Son, so each and every person could have eternal life.

The question each person will have to answer, with their mind AND their heart is: “Have I been born again?”

And though it’s not a game, the final score will be obvious.

3 Big Questions

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This post is very short; probably my shortest. It consists of 3 questions and a passage of scripture from Psalm 24.

The questions:

1. Is true praise and worship limited only to people whose hands and hearts are clean, who do not worship idols and never tell lies?

2. If not, why does David write, “Such people may seek you and worship in your presence”?

3. What does the psalmist mean with his questions, “who may climb” and “who may stand”?

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.

“Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you
and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24:1-6 NLT)

Please leave your comments in the space below. Thanks for helping me with this post.

Worship Questions

20131208-072846.jpgI’d like to ask you some questions, if you don’t mind. Questions that pertain to worshipping God. Please feel free to write your thoughts and comments, as I think it would be good to develop some dialog between us. Thanks.

1. Why should a church schedule time each week to sing songs?

2. How much time do you think should be devoted to singing?

3. Is the sermon more valuable to a congregation than singing?

4. If so, why sing? If not, why not have all music?

5. Which do you prefer; fast or slow songs? Why?

6. Do you enjoy singing the old hymns, or are you more drawn to a contemporary style?

7. If you could change just one thing in your church, in regards to its music, what would it be?

8. Do you have times of personal worship outside of a church service?

9. What do you think worship in Heaven will be like? Describe, please.

10. Is it possible to have a “heavenly” worship experience here on earth?

Thank you for responding. May God bless you with His Presence today, and always!

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask!

20130829-210508.jpgHave you ever been afraid to ask a question? Have you ever felt stupid for not knowing the answer to a seemingly easy question?

Have you ever been too embarrassed to go to God with a problem? Or maybe you’ve figured it was too late for the answer, so you kept your mouth shut.

I believe Adam was that way. He’d been given the instructions from his Creator – what he could, or couldn’t eat. And he probably did well with those instruction until the serpent queried he and his wife with that crafty hiss: “Did God really s-s-say you mus-s-s-t not eat the fruit from any of the trees-s-s in the garden? S-s-sounds s-s-suspicious-s-s, does-s-s-n’t it? This-s-s garden is-s-s for your s-s-supreme pleas-s-sure.”

But let’s not be too hard on old Adam and Eve. They were dealing with the father of lies, the master deceiver. And they were using natural reasoning, as great and effective as it is, to try and win a battle they didn’t realize had begun.

Their adversary, the devil in serpent’s form, hit them with his enchanting voice, his magic spell. The Hebrew word for serpent or snake means, “enchant” or “whisper a magic spell.” Yep, the war was over before they knew it had even started!

But it could’ve turned out differently. And our situation, today, can have an ending other than death and destruction, if we’ll learn to invite God into the fight. If we’ll ask the necessary questions, inquire of The Lord, and not be afraid to admit we don’t know what to do.

We cannot wage a successful battle against our spiritual enemy using our puny mental faculties. We’ll lose every time. But if and when something comes our way, something that may not sound correct or in agreement with God’s word (such as “did God say…?), and we say, “stop for just a minute, sir; I need to ask a question”, we’ll experience a lot more victory than defeat!

We don’t have to know every spiritual trick of the enemy! We DO need to learn to recognize the voice of God through study of His Word and prayer. We don’t even need to memorize all the different masks the devil uses. We simply need to be ready to ask the questions. “God, what’s going on here? Something doesn’t seem right. I need Your help, Your discernment.”

Mark it down! Hide this truth in your heart! God does NOT get mad at someone for asking too many questions! He will not ridicule, embarrass, or ignore anyone who asks sincerely.

Help isn’t far away. It’s as close as a question! Don’t be afraid to ask!

“Call to Me and I will answer…” Jeremiah 33:37

“As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” (Micah 7:7 NLT)

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” (2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT)