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  1. 11 points
    Just want to bring up the importance of kindness. We never know what a person has gone through or is currently going through....so it's important to always be kind to others.
  2. 11 points
    I am freeeee ... I got home from the hospital this afternoon. I am on an antibiotic for an infection. Hopefully I will continue to do well. Thank you for your prayers. I still have 3 more rounds of chemo to get through, then surgery.
  3. 10 points
    Turtletwo asked me to post some of my poetry. I also have written some spiritual thoughts and devotionals, so thought I would post some of those, too. I have more of those than of poems. All Things to God, by Debp I cannot be all things to people, I must be all things to God... And God all things to me. Only then can I be What God would have me to be... To others and myself.
  4. 10 points
    One moment, I was having a discussion about how to witness to two lost neighbors. The next, I was crying. Somewhere along the way, I realized I really cared about these neighbors and really didn't want them to go to hell. Further, I hated the helpless feeling of not knowing how to proceed. Its more than just a duty now. And I believe this is love from God--- the missing ingredient in my witnessing strategy. I realized I liked them as people whether they converted or not. And if they are to be saved, they need to know this love. In giving me a burden of compassion, I believe God may be equipping me to finally give a death blow to the darkness that surrounds these people I've come to care about. Prayers appreciated.
  5. 9 points
    Sep. 27, 2018 | China More Closures, Raids and Arrests for Chinese House Churches Government authorities shut down Beijing’s largest house church on Sept. 9 as the result of a conflict that began in April, when authorities ordered the Zion Church to install security cameras facing the congregation. The church refused, and authorities subsequently closed the church. In Henan province, thousands of churches have been forced to close and several key leaders have been jailed for one to two weeks. Government officials also removed crosses from churches and replaced them with the communist flag. The increase in persecution is attributed to new religion rules that went into effect on Feb. 1. Many Christians remain resolute, however. When officials burst into a house church in Guangdong province, Pastor Huang Xiaoning asked them to show respect and wait until the end of his sermon. The 11 members of law enforcement listened to his sermon for 30 minutes. Pray for the grace, patience and steadfast faith of house church Christians in China. Pray also that they will not succumb to fear.
  6. 9 points
    The ambulance is taking mom over to the hospital as I type this. All I know is she has pneumonia and something is malfunctioning with her heart, at the same time! The nurse said she looks real bad. Please pray!!
  7. 8 points
    Oct. 04, 2018 | Yemen After leaving Islam recently and placing his faith in Christ, Khalid has faced several tests of his new faith. His wife left him, taking their two young children with her, and said she would return only if Khalid returned to Islam. And his three closest friends told him that news of his conversion had spread and he could be killed for rejecting Muhammad. Khalid faced the choice of remaining faithful to Christ and facing persecution or returning to a perceived safety in the form of a false religion. After much prayer, Khalid chose Jesus. He knows, however, that his life won’t be easy. His wife has returned to him, but she still urges him to follow Islam. Pray that Khalid will remain firm in his new faith and continue to grow through reading the Scriptures, praying and fellowshipping with other believers. Pray that his wife and two children will also come to know Jesus. Pray for the protection of Khalid and his family, and that his life will prompt others to seek Christ. (source: VOM)
  8. 7 points
    Update: My mom has a ESBL infection which means it is resistant to antibiotics. Pray the one they have been giving her through IV will be effective to get rid of this. It's a 14 day course (they started it back at the hospital) to go thru October 8th. Other names of it are Bacteremia and Proteus Mirabilus.
  9. 7 points
    Please pray for Mikejn1, a worthy member, he is in constant pain from lower back pain etc. Medications don't help. Please pray for Healing and comfort. Thanks for praying
  10. 7 points
    If the condition of Christianity in the West saddens you, then what are you doing to help? I feel like a lot of us are saddened by things we see in North America and certain parts of Europe in the churches around us. What I don't agree with is simply accepting this as inevitable, as if there is nothing we can do about it. I just would like to say that there are two major ways we can be effective for change. A) Pray for God to strengthen the churches and church plants. B) Be an active member of a local congregation and serve there faithfully. I really use to not get this but... I believe local congregations are God's ordained way of accomplishing the Great Commission on the earth and we'd be remiss to neglect it. I don't agree that distancing yourself from the local church is the way to help it. Sure, if false teaching is promoted, avoid that church, but if you really can't find a church in your area that preaches the truth, get a team and start one. Or, find a church that's not perfect but has potential and use your gifts and prayers to build that church up. The church is not first and foremost, there to satisfy us, but we are there to build up the church body.
  11. 7 points
    I have been overweight most of my adult life. Even though I pray to God to let me lose the weight, I just accepted that I was meant to be overweight. When things started going wrong in my body, I ignore it and comfort myself with more food. I started having arthritis, back problems, sleep apnea, high blood pressure. My knees would give out for no reason, and I often fell. Sometimes I couldn't even walk to the corner street without limping. I still ignore it all. I had my best friend, food! I got the mother of all sinusitis infection then I couldn't eat anything but chicken soup and fruit anything else would make it worse. I felt like someone had shoved a hot poker up my nose. I couldn't breathe and the medicine didn't help much. The only thing that did help me was praying, soup, fruits and walking. It took four months before my infection went away. When it did, I notice that I had dropped some weight around sixty pounds. It got me thinking that if I could lose weight when I'm sick then I could certainly lose it when I'm healthy. I have lost almost 120 pounds. I notice that I can do more and today I jogged for the first time in five years. Thank you, God!
  12. 7 points
    Still in hospital. Hoping to go home within 24-48 hrs. However rough this is i know He is with me.
  13. 7 points
    I did that for a long time (and still do to some extent). When things fizzle out, burn us out, tire us out, and just in general waver as soon as we lose our resolve and will-power, it's sometimes indicative we were doing it in the flesh. I did this for close to 3 decades without knowing any better. I would just double down, try to work harder, and try to get more serious about serving God. I'd find times where things would go well and I'd be fully occupied in them. But, then something would falter and I'd find myself trying to find another activity to do to replace that one. I was spending my life looking for what God wanted me to do so I could accomplish it. What I was really doing was defining myself by tasks, calling, gifts, talents, and measuring my value by the results. In the midst of finally crashing and burning, God took me out into a quiet desert place (that I at first detested) to get away from it all. The real question I found that needed answering was who had God created me to be? Not the standard responses that apply to all Christians, but rather who did God intend for me to individually to be. Over a period of a year or so, God slowly lead me on a journey of starting to see this. Since then, I've found that ministry (and pretty much everything else in my life) just more naturally flows outward and is much less affected by the world around me. I find that my focus is on those things I'm meant to do and not distracted by those things I'm not meant to do. Jesus' words that his yoke is easy and burden light took on a real meaning for me. By no means is everything perfect, but in general I'm finding that more things that I'm doing simply feel much more natural and easy than being things I have to work at to make happen. I find my focus is much more on who God created me to be and letting that flow outward rather than on a list of things to do that I work hard at accomplishing. I'm finding life is becoming much more about walking with God and doing what I'm naturally good at as opportunity arises.
  14. 6 points
    hello i started to suffer cognitive impairment a few weeks ago and it keep getting worse, the rate of decline is really noticeable, even between today and saturday i noticed decline again. please help thank you
  15. 6 points
    I'm ashamed that I came to such a low point in my life. I suffer from dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia. everytime I want to follow Christ, the enemy shuts me down. that's not to say I haven't had victories before or inspired or loved people in the past, but rejection by other jealous people sucks. I'm a fool and a coward. one minute I say I want to follow Christ, the next minute I'm backsliding. people have tried to help me in the past but I wasn't submissive to authority or respectful of my elders. I guess this is my punishment for being part of the Babylonian system. I have tried to pray, but my prayers are so weak~where is my faith? I lost the joy of my salvation...I don't want to be blessed unless I can handle the opposition. ive stopped praying for other saints cuz of my own struggles. however, not too long ago, I prayed for myself and felt relief. I suffer from demonic strongholds and I feel like I reject God's love despite what he has done for me. because I feel unworthy. I feel like altho God has used a sinner like me in the past, I fell down the sinkhole. sometimes I know what to do and don't do it. however, I passed a challenge today. there was a time when I was a true child of God, but because I didn't take healthy pride of my accomplishments, I stopped. I'm ganna go thru a lot of trials and tribulations in life because of the calling in my life, but the true me wants to have a desire to count the cost so I can not lose my salvation. I have to forgive my mother but I also have to separate and I'm full of fear and doubt. Lord have mercy on me. I make ppl an idol and I'm sensitive, insecure,jealous,lustful yet not promiscuous, bold yet shy, and I'm honestly tired of living in defeat and I'm terribly lazy. I need relief but it will take time until I feel the difference. if u don't believe in personality disorders, demons , deliverance, and healing, please ignore this message. I have no time for ignorant Christians. this cruel world makes me sick...
  16. 6 points
    Mom is the one still working in the family after dad's forced retirement a couple years ago. She works at an elementary school in a low-income area. Lots of fatherless children with severe disciplinary problems. They don't respect authority and cause so much trouble. After getting just five hours of sleep at night, she spends each stressful day yelling and screaming just to try to keep them from killing each other or torching the library, and often comes home in tears, too tired to do anything but collapse and try to eat away her stress (creating further health issues for her). All this for someone who is almost 70 now, and legally disabled due to a childhood foot injury. It's untenable. She's finally working towards trying to get retired but insurance for her and dad (which they currently have through her job) is the key issue. Please pray for strength for her in her job, and for her to be able to find the information she needs to get good medical coverage after she retires. If she can figure it out by mid-October then she can retire at the end of the semester in December. Both she and I could really use this for health reasons. God bless you all richly!
  17. 6 points
    Hi. Please pray for me as I will be serving in a new way. Please pray for God's guidance and equipping. Pray for open, softened hearts and spiritual growth and commitment to the Lord. Anyone there that is not saved would accept Jesus as their Savior that day. That there would be good attendance and no distractions. God give me the right words, tone, and love and clarity as I serve him. Thanks for praying for me.
  18. 6 points
    I have chemo again tomorrow (thursday). I struggled a lot this last round with eating and drinking. I am concerned it will be even worse this time around. I may end up needing a blood transfusion at some point as well. (It was discussed in the hospital.) I would prefer not having a transfusion. Prayers needed and appreciated.
  19. 6 points
    I am trying to reach out to my neighbors in the apartment complex for Christ. The first two families are around my age and seemed interested in coming to church when I invited them. But my next door neighbor (we'll call him Tom, which is not his real name) and I had an interesting conversation today. I invited him to church and said the church and I were about Jesus. But he was clearly drunk, didn't accept the church address card, and only seemed to understand half of what I was saying. It would almost have been funny if it weren't sad. Tom is an alcoholic who's recently been divorced. He loves his children and has even been to church for years. He volunteered this information. Thinking about it, I feel like there were two good things that came of the conversation. A) Tom knows I'm a Christian, and the kind who will reach out to others for Jesus. B) I learned about Tom. Inviting Tom to church obviously won't work because he has no interest in going. So if Tom is to be saved, the gospel needs to come to Tom. Since Tom has been to church before, I'm assuming he's heard about Jesus and the gospel. I don't think words alone will do the trick for Tom because he went to church and was around Christians for years and his life is still not transformed. I know a lot of people who are like this. They've been to church but weren't convicted. No. I suspect if Tom is going to accept Christ, it will be because he sees a genuine difference in the life of the believers around him. The only thing left to do is pray, and find opportunities to show Christ through action. It was so frustrating to try and reach out to someone who wasn't sober enough to comprehend the whole conversation. Even more so that he put up walls as if his life was a lot better off without Jesus or church, despite having an obviously broken life. Tom said he'd been drinking for 47 years. That is a long time! I now get why people don't go around witnessing more often. It's not like when you're in church and you feel the Holy Spirit encouraging you in a service. Out in the world, you can almost feel the hostility towards Christ in the air. So please pray for my neighbors and pray that I can be a consistent and faithful witness to those around me. I'm not giving up, since Tom lives right next door. I will have to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me and the Lord to set up opportunities for actions to speak louder than words.
  20. 6 points
    My problem is trying to have "fellowship" with Christians who simply choose to disregard the Bible. This may explain it: when I joined the Army (many years ago), one of things I was introduced to early in basic training was a book called the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or more simply, the UCMJ. The first night I was there, our DI slowly walked the barracks floor between us with it held high in his hand. I'm going to clean up what he said, but its gist was, "ladies [yeah, we were men, but he was making a point], this book I'm holding is THE book you will abide by. In it is found every rule, and the penalty for breaking that rule. I'm not asking you to memorize it, but know this, you WILL be judged by it. That may not seem fair. That may not be right. But it IS the truth, and if you go against its pages, the punishment WILL be severe." So it is with God's Word. Yes, Jesus saves us, and yes, there is grace, but when God makes His wishes about certain issues known in clear terms, we go against those wishes at our peril.
  21. 6 points
    “EMERGENT INEBRIATES: Some Thoughts on Pub Theology” By Larry DeBruyn As he begins to rip into “a screaming guitar solo,” a band member sarcastically yells out at the audience, “Let’s go to church boys!”[1] Welcome to Pub Theology. As the reporter describes it, Pub Theology is “a Sunday night show that’s one part church and one part party.” Among other posters on the barroom walls, one alludes to the final verse of the biblical chapter on love. It reads, “Faith, Hope, Love and Beer” (The biblical text reads, “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13, NASB). Being “shaggy-haired, body-pierced and colored with assorted body art,” members of the Sunday evening pub rock group double as members of a mega-church’s “worship team” on Sunday mornings. Confessing to love both Jesus and rock ‘n’ roll, band members will burn through a pack of cigarettes and exhort the audience to visit the bar and buy beer during Sunday night “church.” Initially skeptical about hosting Pub Theology on Sunday nights, the bar owner now admits the band has turned an otherwise dead night into a profitable evening. Regarding this new outreach–the mega-church’s ministerial staff approve of doing Pub Theology–one of the band’s members says: “We want to be sincere and authentic and be who we really are, whether that is wearing jeans and a T-shirt or having a beer. I think that is real” he continues, “and I don’t think it is wrong or that God is unhappy about that.” Relates another band member: “I can drink a beer and smoke a cigarette and play some of my favorite songs and hang out with my friends and maybe meet someone and tell them about Jesus.” Interestingly, most of the band members were raised in religious homes. In fact, two of its members are former PKS (That’s an acronym for “preacher’s kids.”). Having been a former pastor, their father has now become the band’s “roadie” (That’s a term which refers to the managers and technicians traveling with the band.). The members account for the band’s existence and approach to ministry for reason of their holier-than-thou Wesleyan upbringing–you know, “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t go to R-rated movies, I don’t dance.” On this point, and as a rebellious child of the 60s who too was raised in the legalistic environment of Western Michigan, let me say that I understand and somewhat sympathize with the band members’ rejection of legalism. But all rebels ought to be cautioned that, “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23). Yet God doesn’t make Christians from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. Though one’s Christianity is defined by inner faith not outer works, Paul did write that Christians are God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). So we must not assume the opposite attitude from legalism, that of antinomianism (i.e., that God’s grace cancels out any need to obey His moral and spiritual law). For as Paul asked: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2). Contradicting antinomianism the writer of Hebrews orders us to, “Follow [pursue-NKJV] . . . holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:14-15). Nevertheless, the casual and alcoholically lubricated atmosphere of Pub Theology raises an important issue, for as the reporter asks, “Does Pub Theology produce any lasting effects, or is it just a casual encounter with church in a bar—a spiritual one-night stand?” All the band’s claims of “doing ministry” notwithstanding—they do field questions about Christianity from the audience and callers-in, give inebriated individuals rides home, and have even seen one rescued drunk baptized a few days later in their church—Pub Theology shows every symptom of being a carnal “one-night-stand.” (Note: I do not use the word spiritual.) First, Pub Theology is not church. If it is, then where’s the reading of Scripture, the apostles’ teaching, prayer and observance of the Lord’s Table? (Acts 2:42) But on this point, we can be certain that the band will avoid any impression of being too “churchly or preachy.” But beer steins are no substitute for communion cups. In fact, to the true church, the apostle Peter announced that, “the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3). Second, Pub Theology is not theology. Reportedly, the band’s opening song was Joan Osborne’s one-hit wonder, “What if God was one of us?” The lyrics add, “Just a slob like one of us.”[2] Imagine . . . God being a slob like the rest of the inebriated crowd at the bar. Given such a humanizing of God, what we’re dealing with is not Pub Theology, but pub idolatry. “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:23). Do you think Joan Osborne’s lyrical questions in any way resemble or affirm the great Christological passages of the New Testament? (John 1:1 ff.; Colossians 1:15-17; Philippians 2:5-11). By the way, these cited passages are comprised of theological statements extracted from early Christian hymns. Would the pub theology band sing them? I’d think they’d estimate that the lyrics of these biblical hymns are far too dogmatic, stodgy, and preachy for the “boys” at the bar! Third, Pub Theology is not Christian outreach. To attain a “spiritual” end, it employs carnal, fleshly, and worldly means. But the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19). If the song “What if God was one of us?” gives any indication, probably none of the other music the band plays includes “psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs.” The apostle Paul would not have employed carnal means to attain spiritual ends. You can’t fight fire with fire. He wrote: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; compare Galatians 5:21 where Paul labels “drunkenness” a work of the flesh). So we conclude: Given the atmosphere surrounding Pub Theology, the description of love as it exists on a poster at “Sunday-night-church-in-a-bar” might be parodied to read: Now abide these four, “faith, hope, love, and beer,” but the greatest of these is beer! https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=28858
  22. 6 points
    My first marriage was 20 years. It was pretty good the first ten but then she went 'round the bend and decided she didn't want to be married any more. My second just crossed the 20 year mark. It is "heaven on earth". We fit in every way. Our love grows every day. We simply do not fight. We pray together every day. We are a united front. Before I met my wife I always laughed at fairy tales that ended with "And they lived happily ever after" because I knew they had fights and loss of respect, etc. I was wrong. Some marriages really do become "happily ever after". I used to think chick films were "science fiction for women". I was wrong. If I jokingly say to my wife, "Make me a sandwich!", there is a good chance she'll hand me one 20 minutes later. And it will be GOOD. And when she asks me to take out the trash, it's gone, immediately. That's assuming she even had to ask. We are a team. She knows I'm not a woman and I know she's not a man. That's how it works.
  23. 6 points
    My apartment was bought by a new owner last year. And they started to refurbish the units. They sent us letters that we had to get out soon. I don't blame them. Anyway i have a job and my daughter has a full time job too. But we now live at a motel. It's pretty expensive. I pay a week what I paid a month for. I guess I am homeless but I don't feel that way. I can see if the motel told us to leave we could become street homeless. And then might lose our jobs. Then people would say look at those homeless people. They are lazy and probably use drugs and alcohol. I would start to smell and get weak from not proper rest. I think this is possible. But even if so the lord will never leave nor desert me. I feel for the homeless. Many cannot work because of many reasons. We should not judge but just shine christ to them. If they do wrong we can still show God's love.
  24. 6 points
    I was looking for an explanation on the division of Gideon's soldiers and came across this statement in a commentary. iii. We might say that God eliminated the fearful and those who thought first only of convenience, the easy way. “The thought is disturbing, but it may well be true, that the composition of God’s army to fight Satan’s hosts in any day is really little different. How many Christians are so fearful of the enemy that they are of no real use in this warfare, and how many of the remainder are so self-centered, rather than God centered, that they find little place for effective ministry.” (Wood) That last part is really getting to me. I don't just want to be saved just for my own sake. People around have needs to and they need Christ. I get frustrated sometimes because every time I feel a sense of urgency, I soon get around other people and it fizzles out like a candle in damp air. I really hope that I can make the best use of my time on earth. I'm praying I can keep a sense of urgency to minister to others in the name of Christ. Does anyone else have this issue? Can anyone else speak to ways to maintain a sense of urgency? I am trying now to be around other believers. I'm trying to stay in the Word but at times I still feel that tug to just go back to sleep.
  25. 6 points
    @Chrisy This does not sound dumb at all. I think most (and probably all) Christians have felt this way at times. I know I did early in my Christian walk. I think one starting point is to realize what the gospel is and what it isn't. Many Christians seem to think and act like the gospel is this: 1. God forgives us, and 2. We then try as hard as possible to stop sinning and live the right way. However, the gospel is really this. 1. God forgives us (and adopts us as children and puts us in a right relationship with Him) and 2. We are a new creation in Christ. This means that God starts a new spiritual work inside of us so that over time we are changed and transformed. God has created us to be unique individuals meant to reflect His glory in some way. The issue is that unique person is trapped in an old sinful nature that is corrupted and will be destroyed with the rest of the world when God finally decides to rid the universe of evil and suffering once and for all. With the new birth (or being born again or being saved or whatever word we use), God puts a new nature inside of us. We become new creations in Christ. We are His workmanship created for good deeds in Christ. That unique person God made each of us to be is now being freed from the old corrupt nature and being brought into being in a new spiritual nature in Christ. The Christian life is about watching that unique person God created you to be slowly emerge in a new spiritual nature from the rubble heap of the old corrupt nature. It is not about trying hard to clean up and fix the old nature. The point is that it is impossible to fix the old nature. It is a dead end that will go out onto the garbage heap at the end of the world. It is about learning to live as that new creation that flows through the Holy Spirit that is life everlasting. The bible (in Galatians 5:22-23) describes such things as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control as *fruit* of the Holy Spirit. Fruit is something that naturally emerges and grows in our lives. It is not a goal or a new year's resolution that we work hard at achieving. It is not about taking anger management classes to cover up the anger inside; it is about being transformed so that we don't have anger inside. It is something that naturally emerges in our lives over time as our new nature emerges more and more. My observation (from over 40 years as a Christian) is that sins seem to fit into 3 general categories. First, there are sins that we can trivially address by just stopping doing them. We realize that something is not spiritually healthy for us and we just stop. Second, there are sins that will just disappear as we grow spiritually. Those are the things where fruit in our lives just grows and causes some things to change over time. Third, there are those besetting sins and bondages that require God's healing and deliverance to be free of. Addictions, compulsive behaviors, overpowering emotional reactions, and similar things often disappear because God does something, not because we stoke up enough sincerity and discipline and willpower to change ourselves. My observation is that these types of besetting sins often have their roots in spiritual and emotional trauma, injury, and bondage from before we were Christians. The outward behaviors we see are often symptoms of something deep inside that God needs to heal or deliver us from in some way. Over the years, I've heard many testimonies of various ways God healed or delivered people from such things. Often Christians fall into the trap of treating each and every sin and failure as being a result of not trying hard enough or being sincere enough and beat themselves up over it. The reality is that there are some things in our lives we cannot fix. This is indeed the gospel or the Good News. God is slowly remaking that unique person He intends each of us to be out of a new nature that is incorruptible and good. He is doing what is impossible for us to do. One of the things that grows over time is our trust and confidence in God Himself. Our trust and confidence (which is what faith in God really is) comes about from knowing God more and more. Over months and years and decades as we see His hand in our lives and others, our trust and confidence simply grows in response to Him. Trust and confidence is not something we convince ourselves of by repeating Bible verses over and over to ourselves to try to eliminate doubt. Trust and confidence is something that emerges deep in our hearts as we simply know that our heavenly Father is holding us in His arms and won't let us go. We simply trust that God's heart toward us is good and that He is not holding out on us or trying to catch us in mistakes. This is something that emerges more and more over time as we know Him more and more. One of the things I've noted that many Christians do (been there, done that myself) is we try to eliminate doubt thinking that lack of doubt is equivalent to faith. We might strike off looking for miracles or works of God that we think will prove to us God is really there. We might spend time repeating certain Bible verses to ourselves over and over to try to convince ourselves not to doubt. We might dive deep into apologetics thinking that we can learn enough facts about the historical factualness of the Bible to eliminate our doubts. We might throw ourselves into a flurry of ministries and Christian activities so as not to even give ourselves time to think about doubt. We basically end up trying to grow our faith in those types of things hoping it will cause us to have more faith in God. The problem is, none of those things are trust and confidence in God Himself. Ultimately, trust and confidence in God Himself comes from walking consistently with Him over months, years, and decades. Faith in God comes as a response to Him; it's not something we stoke up by trying hard to have more faith and less doubt. I just had to quote these lines (I've met a lot of highly spiritual Christians who when compared to me make me look like a rash. They know all the words, verses, stories and everything) and comment on them. In my Christian walk, I've had the opportunity to observe a lot of Christians over a long time span. I've seen who has become fruitful over the long haul, who continued to grow and mature, and who basically stayed the same year after year as well as those who God has consistently uses to touch other people's lives in deep and meaningful ways. I've observed that there is a huge difference between those who put on a good front (with sincere intentions and motives) because that is what they think being a Christian is about and those who have an actual spiritual maturity and depth to them that has come from years and decades of walking ever more closely with God and spiritually maturing. The people I look for to learn from are those whose words come from a deep intimate relationship with God and who God regularly uses to touch other people's lives. I've seen all too many people who could rattle off a string of stories, bible quotations, doctrinal positions, theological words, pray eloquent prayers, etc., but whose spiritual walk hasn't significantly changed over the years. The main thing I look for is if characteristics such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control are apparent in their lives and if their words consistently reflect a deep knowledge of God that has come from walking with Him for a long time and if they consistently minister life to people they interact with.
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