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Have you ever experienced God’s silence?
I’m guessing you have, unless your prayers have never gone deeper than those of a college freshman.
“Dear, God, I know I haven’t studied at all and I stayed up all night playing Xbox Live, but I would really appreciate an ‘A’ on this quiz! If I pass this class, I will go to the mission field!”
Actually, I bet that guy experienced a lot of God’s silence, too!
When God really does go silent, it can be one of the most stressful, painful times in our lives! Why is it that God is never silent when things are going really well? When the bills are paid, we have a stocked fridge, and our job is going well, we never seem to be concerned with how much God is talking to us or answering our prayers. I mean, things are good! Of course He is answering our prayers, right!
But when that job opportunity disappears, and I don’t know how I’m going to provide for my family next month? Then I want God to show up right here and now! I want answers. I want solutions. Yet, it is in these times- when our daughter is in the hospital, our car was broken into and our debit card was stolen, or our dad passes away- that God seems to go quiet.
Why is that?
I have no idea. None of us do. Sure, we can remind people that God is always with us, but that doesn’t always help at that moment. As a matter of fact, that can cause anger and resentment towards God. “Well then, if He is here with me, why won’t He answer and give me some Hope!”
We don’t have those answers. But maybe there are some things we can do. As easy as it would be to just sit back and do nothing until we see a flash of light in the sky, I’m convinced that this is rarely the solution. And even though we may want to crawl into bed for a week, you guessed it. Not the answer, either.
So, what can we do? Do we just have to sit and wait?
That is what a lot of Christian advice sounds like. “Stop. Wait on God. Be ready for Him to speak to you. When the time comes, you’ll know!”
But think about this: First, how many people in the Bible (that did amazing things in God’s name!) actually waited on God? Very few! Second, according to Barna research, 60% of Christians have no idea what God’s will is for their lives. So, is that who you want to take advice from? I would put money down in Vegas that the people so concerned with waiting on God are the same exact people that don’t know what God wants them to do with their lives.
Yes, there are times we need to wait on God. But I can guarantee you there are a lot more times where we should DO something. How can I be sure? Because that is what Abraham, David, Moses, and Paul did. They acted, even when they didn’t have a clear direction.
So, here are three things we can do when God appears to go silent. (more…)
Yes, I’m talking to you. I am scared of you. Totally. Completely. 100%.
It’s not because of what you may think. It has nothing to do with your appearance or how much money you make. I would have no problem meeting you in any type of social setting. No, you don’t freak me out. I’m not afraid you will steal from me or hurt my family. This is not some sort of paranoia. My fear comes from a completely different place. But it is just as real. It is so strong, in fact, that it has the power to paralyze. My fear of you has done this on many occasions, more than I can remember, and much more than I want to admit to you. That would simply add to my paralysis.
You don’t realize the power that you possess. But I do. I have seen it many times, and I have experienced both the positive and negative sides of this power.
Your power is simple: You have the ability to accept or reject.
This may not seem like much at first, but I assure you, it is! This power is able to build up or tear down. Entire careers have been created through the wielding of this power. Yet, many more lives have been crushed.
And so, this power has rendered me, well, powerless. I know that I have a message to share with the world. I also know that every time I write, every time I post, every time I shoot a video, you have the power to accept it or reject it, accepting or rejecting me in the process.
And I think I’ve handled just about as much rejection as I can handle.
I can blame busyness or moving states or job changes or any number of things on the fact that Phosphorus Project has floundered for so many years. I could. But it would be total crap. And I know it. I have not ever fully given my “all” to my dream because I am afraid that you will reject me. That you will think I am a fraud or just plain suck. And then you will turn your back on me and walk out the door.
While it may seem like I am being hard on myself, I’m not. Honest, but not overly harsh. I’m not even unique in this struggle. Every writer that I follow has admitted to wrestling with this same issue. What if I share my art with the world, and the world hates it?
Or even worse, ignores it! (more…)
We all come to faith for selfish reasons. But have you stayed there?
Normally, religion and selfishness don’t mix too well. As a matter of fact, when we usually hear the world selfish in the context of spirituality, it is for a very bad reason. Selfishness is not a positive character trait. It’s a mistake to live our lives focused on “me.” It’s a sin. Yet, this is how all of us came to faith!
It’s true. No one decided to follow Jesus because they thought that was the best way to heal the world. Plenty of people are doing great things in the world. And honestly, you don’t need Jesus to do it. So, why then, do we come to faith? Simply put, because of what we get out of it!
Most people seriously consider religion, faith, or spirituality when they are experiencing some sort of life crisis. Maybe it was a death in the family, a financial obstacle, or a divorce. During these times, we are looking for hope, for answers, and a support network. These are things that lead to faith. We have to see the needs in our lives, first. Otherwise, why would you need God? That is why Jesus said it is so hard for rich people to believe in Him… They don’t realize they have any problems. But once life punches you in the gut a few times and you finally understand that you aren’t in control, that’s when we start looking for answers outside of ourselves. That’s when we turn to God.
The problem is that our churches are filled with Christians that have never moved beyond this point. They went to church for years and even served on committees. In fact, there is a nice little indention of their butt on one of the padded seats because that has been their spot since 1997.
But our faith can’t stay there. If we try to stay in this state of “What’s in it for me?” or “What have you done for me, lately” spirituality, we are nothing more than empty souls. This was the religion of the Pharisees. They were only interested in what their spirituality did for their lives,bringing them power, influence, and prestige. Jesus had some strong words for this type of spirituality. (more…)