As solo terrorist attacks dominate the daily news headlines with increasing frequency, it’s a great time to think about what you are supposed to be learning from all of these suicide bombers, random stabbers, and crazed gunmen. The psychological factors that turn Average Joe Citizen into a screaming assailant really aren’t so mysterious. People always have logical reasons for what they do, and whether it’s revenge, desperation, or dreams of a better life in eternity, the final results look the same to the public: some random guy violently assaulted a bunch of people without warning and now some people are dead and others are so horribly injured that they wish they were dead. Terrorism is, well, terrifying. So how is it affecting you when you pull up the news and read that another attack has occurred? Have you ever been caught in one of these gruesome events, or have you known someone who was? Noticing your own level of angst is quite important, because the more upset you are by these events, the more there is for you to learn. You see, when it comes to your own spiritual development, there’s a principle that’s quite useful to bear in mind: if it upsets you, then it’s partly about you. Continue reading
You’re a parent and you find out that your child is ill. Very ill. Doctors are telling you that the recovery rate for this particular illness isn’t very high. The only treatments they’re offering are things that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Your kid is scared and looking at you with those big, anxious eyes. Parents are supposed to be able to fix anything, but you can’t fix this. Parents are supposed to always know what to say, but you’re speechless. Parents are supposed to be able to save the day, and you’re feeling like a total failure. It’s time to reach out for some help, so you hop online and start cruising through Christian websites looking for advice on how to handle your situation. It doesn’t take long to notice that a lot of them are telling you the same thing. This isn’t God’s will. Disease comes from the devil. Healing is just a prayer away. We have a big God: if you believe, you will receive. There’s power in numbers, power in repetition, power in holy water, power in fasting, power in chanting Bible verses. Tell God what you want enough times and He’ll surely do it. Continue reading
Your husband is a cop and he’s out trying to stop a gang fight. Your wife is a spy on a mission that she can’t talk about. Your brother is a federal agent who is tracking down some dangerous criminals. Your fiancé is a fireman trying to rescue people from a burning skyscraper. Your sister has been kidnapped. Your kid is in a coma. Your partner was gunned down on the field and the surgery isn’t going well. When our loved ones are in danger, the minutes feel like hours as we sit by the phone anxiously waiting for news. When we’re sick with worry, we can’t eat, we can’t sleep, and we can’t concentrate on anything else but all of the awful “what ifs.” So is this our only option in life—to sit around getting ulcers while we hope and pray for our loved ones to be returned to us safely? No, this is not our only option. We have much better choices available to us—choices that can greatly benefit our souls. But first we have to decide that we want to mature, and unfortunately most souls won’t make this choice. Continue reading
Our story begins over 850 years before the birth of Christ. The nation of Israel has been fractured into two kingdoms: Israel in the north, and Judah in the south. This fracture happened right after the death of Solomon, about 88 years ago. As the kings of Israel and Judah keep changing, the two kingdoms keep changing their minds about whether they want to be friends or enemies. Right now they’re in friend mode. King Jehoshaphat is ruling in the south and evil King Ahab has just recently died in the north.
Now most of the kings in both Israel and Judah are idolatrous yucks who grossly disrespect Yahweh. Now and then there’s one who puts more effort into caring about what God wants, but it’s a very rare day that anyone cares enough to actually outlaw idol worship in their kingdom. As evil kings erect shrines and temples to icky idols, better kings rise up and inspire the people to care more about Yahweh, yet they still leave all those shrines and temples standing. So that’s like your country saying, “We worship Jesus here,” while they keep maintaining large monuments, museums, and temples that all encourage the worship of Satan. It’s more than a little two-faced. Continue reading
In the Church today we spend a lot of time praying for the sick to get well. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. When they do, we rejoice in the power of prayer. When they don’t, we feel confused, frustrated and sad. We wonder where we went wrong. If you’re tired of riding this roller coaster, or if you’re wondering how to respond to a sick friend who is asking for your prayerful intervention, then this post is for you. Continue reading