The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Mysteries About God (SHEP)

Why God Performs Miracles Through Spiritual Rebels (Help for Disillusioned Christians)

139

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Father Marcus is a seriously devoted priest who cares deeply about the Lord and about the souls in his flock. One of his parishioners, Maria, is newly diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She’s suffering terribly, treatments aren’t working, and after she spends an hour weeping in Marcus’ office, he is very grieved for her and feels strongly led to give her hope that God will heal her. So he does. He tells her not to give up on the idea of receiving a miracle. Then he prays for her right then and there, lays his hands on her, and really believes that God is going to grant the healing right then. Why else would He be impressing on Marcus so strongly that Maria is going to be healed?

But when Marcus prays, nothing happens. Maria goes home. A week passes. She’s much worse and Marcus is feeling bad that perhaps he led her astray by urging her to hope for a miracle. While he’s wrestling with doubt, a well-known healer named Hank comes to town. Marcus knows that Hank is a pompous glory hog who doesn’t care in the least about honoring God. He’s even heard Hank laughing about how easy people are to dupe. Hank has gotten rich after years of conning people into giving him large sums of money in exchange for Divine healing. While Hank is in town, a desperate Maria goes over to him for healing. She drops hundreds of dollars into the offering plate, Hank picks her out of the crowd, lays his hands on her, says his usual dramatic prayer, and Maria is instantly healed. She’s ecstatic and she tells everyone how the great healer did what Father Marcus couldn’t. When Marcus finds out, he feels confused and hurt. Why would God choose to exalt a jerk like Hank and leave Marcus looking passed over? Read more of this post

Understanding Jesus’ Sameness (Hebrews 13:8)

109

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8)

What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that Jesus is some predictable Guy who never makes an unexpected move? Does it mean He never changes His mind or His mood or His current activities? Well, first we have to realize that the author of Hebrews grossly slanders who Christ is and doesn’t begin to give Him the respect He deserves as God Almighty (see Who is Jesus?). So if you’re looking for a deeper understanding of who Jesus is, the author of Hebrews really isn’t who you want to be going to. Happily, you’re not strung out on old historical documents to guide you closer to God. You have been granted direct access to God Himself, so if you want to know Jesus better, tell Him, and ask Him to guide you. Read more of this post

Understanding Unpardonable Sins: Lies vs. Truth

83

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

THE LIES

It is commonly assumed that there are certain kinds of sins which God absolutely will not forgive no matter what. The idea is that if you commit one of these sins one time, you’re eternally damned. Different Christian denominations and individuals put forth various candidates for the “unforgivable list.” Popular choices which are based on various passages of Scripture are publicly disowning Christ (Lk. 12:8-10), refusing to forgive someone else (Mt. 6:14-15), blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:30-32, Mk. 3:28-30, Lk. 12:8-10), and intentionally sinning after salvation (Heb. 6:4-8, Heb. 10:26-29). Read more of this post

The Great Gift of Sin: Why Our Depravity Gives Us Hope

80

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Ever feel confused about the topic of sin? You should, because it is confusing. Ever feel like God is impossible to please? It’s only natural to arrive at that conclusion once you understand a few things about how He defines sin. In this post, we’re going to sort out the confusion that leads to you feeling depressed and hopeless about ever being good enough in God’s eyes and help you understand how easy He is to succeed with. We’ll also learn why salvation is a permanent deal, and not some flimsy thing that you have to worry about losing through bad behavior.

In the Church today, various Christian denominations take drastically different stands on the subjects of sin and salvation. Some insist that it’s possible for you to be sinless. Many teach that unless you continuously strive and strain to be good, God will revoke your salvation and disown you. Cruise around the internet and you’ll find some very hostile language getting used on both sides as everyone insists that their views are right and everyone else is speaking for Satan. If Christian leaders can’t agree with each other on such essential theology, how can you ever hope to find peace yourself? How can you ever gain a confident understanding about what God requires of you and when He’s pleased with you? The answer’s simple: you need to talk to God directly. Read more of this post

The Purpose of Dysfunction: Understanding Why God Messed You Up

26

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

You have issues. Maybe you beat your wife. Maybe you always sabotage relationships. Maybe you have to show off all the time. Maybe you freak out over having sex. Maybe you can’t get enough sex. Maybe you fantasize about hurting people. Whatever it is, you can see that you’re messed up in your head, but you honestly don’t get why. The day comes when you finally decide to get help. All of a sudden, it’s like your eyes are opened. Finally you can see your dysfunctional behavior in a whole new light. Now you get that you beat your wife because you’re ragingly insecure and afraid of her dominating you. Now you get that you always sabotage relationships because you’re so afraid of someone else dumping you first. Now you understand that your obsession with sex is driven by a desperate need for the affirmation that you never got as a kid. When the lights go on like this, we feel like we’re making some real progress. By the time we start aggressively seeking help, we’re fed up with the damage that our destructive habits are having on our lives. We want to change. We want to cut away these old anchors and move on already. So now that we’re understanding ourselves better than ever before, it should be a simple matter to change, right? Wrong. Read more of this post

Behind the Scenes with God: Mass Casualties

255

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In this post, we are going to discuss the topic of humans being mass slaughtered on earth. We are not going to be discussing this subject from the typical horrified human perspective, but rather from the Divine perspective. The goal of this discussion is to try and appreciate the vast complexity of Divine strategies at work in situations of mass slaughter.

Now if this is a sensitive subject for you and you’re looking for guidance in how to deal with a traumatic experience you have undergone, this is not the right post for you to be reading. We’re not going to be discussing how to cope with these situations as human beings—that’s a topic for a different lesson. This post is for those of you who are wanting to get behind the scenes with God in times of mass slaughter and gain a better understanding of the positive things He is accomplishing. Read more of this post

The Timelessness of God

214

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

When we say that God dwells outside of time, we mean that He isn’t in our dimension of time. You see, there are multiple dimensions of time, space, and who knows what else. Now trying to discuss subjects like this often makes our brains feel overwhelmed. So let’s keep things simple. Metaphors are never perfect, but they can be very helpful in simplifying complex topics. Let’s use a metaphor to understand how God can be outside of time. Read more of this post

God’s Will vs. Human Choice Q&A

208

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

1. IF GOD ALWAYS GETS WHAT HE WANTS, DOESN’T THAT MAKE OUR CHOICE INVALID?

No, because part of what God wants is for us to have choice. The key to understanding how God can have His way without turning us into automatons is to realize how limited our choices are and how many scenarios please Him. Suppose you’re going out to lunch with a friend. You say to her, “Do you want to go to Italian or Mexican?” You’re giving her a choice, but it’s limited. You could easily enjoy either food at the time you ask the question, so though you’re giving her some degree of choice, no matter what she chooses, you’re going to feel satisfied. Read more of this post

Questioning God’s Methods: Is this really the best He could do?

146

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

HOW DOES GOD DEFINE GOOD?

It’s no use playing games of denial. A lot of what God calls good seems awful to us, so let’s be honest about it. And by the way, who was it that taught us how to define good and bad in the first place? God did. It is God who teaches us to view suffering as a negative thing. It is God who teaches us to be compassionate instead of amused when we see another human being hurting. It is God who teaches us that it’s wrong to sing and dance around those who are mourning. It is God who teaches us that intentionally inflicting pain on others is a terrible thing…and then He goes right on to inflict all kinds of pain on us. Hm.

While God has given us a general list of good and bad behaviors, He also teaches us that examining mere actions isn’t enough. To make an accurate assessment of something, we must examine motivation. In general, the action of murder is labeled as bad. But there are other times when murder is a good thing. When a cop shoots the man who is firing bullets at another policeman, that is a good thing. When a convicted murderer is exterminated for his crime in some humane way, that’s a good thing. When a doctor must kill a baby in order to save the life of the woman giving birth to him, that is a good thing. Murder has its place, and even bad actions can become good depending on motivation. Read more of this post

Why doesn’t God always grant requests that are in His will?

112

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

GOD’S GENERAL WILL

As you go along in life, the Holy Spirit educates you about God’s general will. He wants people to love and respect each other. He wants parents to protect and nurture their children. He wants laws to be just. He wants all souls to repent and spend eternity in Heaven.

Being educated about God’s general will gives us confidence in His goodness. We agree that the things He wants sound very pleasant and positive. But when we look at the world around us, we see that many of the things that God says are in His will aren’t happening. Government leaders are corrupt. Laws are crooked. Children are abused. People are cruel to each other. Here is where we should start to suspect that our education on God’s will is not yet complete. But instead of encouraging us to go to the Holy Spirit with our troubling questions, the Church teaches us to take on the role of God’s supervisors and guide Him in fixing a situation that has clearly gotten out of hand. This is when we start praying for Him to soften the heart of our unsaved neighbor, to relocate abused children to better homes, to make prodigal Christians repent, and to replace corrupt leaders with good ones. Because our requests align with the rosy picture of God’s general will, we feel justified in saying we are praying in His will. And if we’re praying in His will, God is supposed to answer us, right? Right. So why doesn’t He? Because the reality is that we’re NOT praying in His will. It turns out that God’s will is far more complex than we realize. Read more of this post