Friday, December 10, 2010

Unsalted Salt

The strength of salt is that it has a very distinctive quality. It is unique because it has a very specific taste, and affects food in a particular way. You can count on it enhancing the flavor of our food, causing certain chemical reactions during baking, and melting snow on sidewalks.

But what happens when salt loses it's saltiness. It is no longer salt. But worse, it can't even be classified as something else. It is essentially nothing — unless you give it some chemical designation that does few people any good. Putting it on your food is like putting on sand. It adds no taste, just gravel. And it is useless for baking or melting snow. It is nothing.

Jesus said that we (believers) are the salt of the earth. But if we lose our saltiness, we aren't good for anything. And worse, we aren't good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled by other people. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Since this is undesirable (or it should be), what does Jesus mean by that? How are we like salt? And how are we like salt that isn't salty?

We are like salt when we hold certain convictions to be true. Our lives reflect these convictions through our attitudes, behavior, and habits. It comes out in the way we speak, and in what we say. We can't help ourselves, and the people around us know it.

But when someone pretends to be salt (hold to certain convictions), but seeks to be friends with the world, are unsalted salt. People like this join with the world in what it hates, likes, honors, and upholds — even when they say they don't. They adjust their behaviors, attitudes, and habits to be acceptable to everyone. And they speak as if they hold certain convictions to be true, and yet say things that directly contradict what they say they believe.

This makes that person seem wishy-washy and their opinion isn't worth much. The friends they long to please hate them for their duplicity. They get no respect from them or their enemies. They become as worthless as their friendship. For a time they may make a lot of "friends". But they do not produce good fruit for God.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

At the Shore of the Red Sea

It is hard to wait.

God promised to take care of me, no matter what. As long as I don't worry and seek first the Kingdom of God. Okay, I'm seeking it in all aspects of my life. And, I am waiting.

God has come through for me thus far. And I expect Him to keep His word. But, how long do I have to wait for these troubled times to reach their culmination? Will I be shaped appropriately by then? What am I to learn? How long will it be?

I await. An. Answer. Some. Day.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

False Forgiveness

When I was a 7 year old boy, I was hit by a car. I and my family were vacationing in California when this happened. I was following my cousin across the street when the car came up and hit me. The accident was very serious. I flew about 10 yards or so, according to my sister who witnessed it. My leg was broken and my arm was severely scraped and bleeding. I was also lying there in a semi-conscious state when the authorities arrived. To say the least, my mom was frantic at the sight of me. But, of course, I survived.

But here's the thing that happened, which some churches don't seem to understand. The paramedics, and all involved, weren't immediately concerned about the feelings of the driver, the need for the victim and the victim's family to forgive the driver, or to ensure that everyone gets over it and moves on. The immediate concerns were for my survival, the comfort of my family, making necessary adjustments for my rehabilitation, and for determining the driver's responsibilities monetarily. Sure, forgiveness played a role, but not as a panacea for the immediate concerns.

However, some churches tend to focus on forgiveness as if that is the solution for serious sin within its own ranks — such as an adulterous preacher, or deacon who is a wife beater. On the other hand, healthy churches — although they may have forgiveness as a concern too — see forgiveness as part of a process of repair and reconciliation after some serious work is done. Wrongs and the subsequent ramifications aren't ignored, appropriate blame and consequences are clearly handled, and then room is made for sincere forgiveness.

Very few people forgive when it's unsafe to do so. And no one truly forgives from the heart when they are compelled to forgive. Healthy churches understand this, and create an environment where true forgiveness can be accomplished. However, some churches, who use forgiveness as a solution to very real problems, use the concept of forgiveness as a means to avoid problems, unpleasant feelings, and hard solutions.

How can you tell the difference?

  1. Healthy forgiveness can overlook some insults and foolishness while acknowledging the pain of the sin. But it doesn't ignore significant sins and its ramifications.

    However, false forgiveness minimizes sin by equalizing all sin as the same. The philosophy works like this: Since all sin is falling short of the glory of God, and all have sinned, then there is really no significant difference between sexual sins and other sins. And there's no difference between the sin of a preacher, elder, or a new convert. As a result, forgiveness becomes the de facto response to sin regardless the grossness or consequences.
  2. Real forgiveness is done in response to repentance. Some people may disagree with this, because it is often taught that forgiveness is given even if people don't (or can't) repent. Victims are released from bitterness and emotional ties associated with demanding retribution of the perpetrator. But, even if it is true that releasing a situation into God's hand is often necessary when someone refuses to repent, or they just can't (like when they die), it doesn't follow that it is biblical forgiveness. Forgiveness is a two-way exchange. It is a response to a person's desire to be forgiven. God responds to our need for forgiveness when we repent. But if we refuse to repent, God doesn't forgive. However, God treats the unrepentant with kindness. God may overlook some of our sins, but he doesn't necessarily forgive us unless we repent. It may be a semantics problem, but no matter what you believe, forgiveness isn't used to avoid the problem.

    False forgiveness, on the other hand, ignores repentance altogether because the goal is to avoid problems and hurt feelings. At its root is a fear of man. Getting over bad feelings and uncomfortable circumstances is the goal.
  3. Last, real forgiveness doesn't avoid problems, but brings them into the light. Problems caused by the sin, dealing with the sinner and those who supported the sinner, and protecting the victims may be unpleasant but forgiveness comes from the light. Everything is visible and clear, consequences are understood, and forgiveness is done with full knowledge and safeguards in place.

    False forgiveness keeps problems in the dark. Only the obvious facts may be in the light. But darkness and secrecy is the result of false forgiveness. And although it is designed to alleviate bad feelings, these feelings simply go underground. People's relationships break, people don't talk, and if someone wants to bring it up it upsets the status quo.

Forgiveness isn't a solution for sin in the church. Acknowledging and working on problems is the best approach. And forgiveness may be the result of this work. And although there are times when reconciliation is impossible, those who practice true forgiveness would be able to recognize these situations clearly.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Bereans and Jehovah's Witnesses Would Not Get Along

After the last post, I've been thinking about the reasons why a Jehovah's Witness would be offended when told that there is a difference between Watchtower doctrine and Biblical doctrine. And that they, when they are challenged, always try to defend the organization, while claiming allegiance to the Bible. I guarantee you that no one who truly reads the Bible in context comes up with Watchtower doctrine (and extra-biblical prohibitions) on their own. At some point a potential Witness had to be convinced in the Watchtower doctrines before becoming a Witness. Unfortunately, those who are most susceptible to Watchtower doctrine are sincere people who either haven't really read the Bible, or have read it poorly.

The Watchtower approach is unlike that of Paul in Scripture. When Paul entered Berea in Acts 17:10-12. The Jewish Bereans didn't berate Paul or simply accept what he said was true. They checked out the Scriptures themselves. The Bible then commends the Bereans for their attitude — saying they were of noble character because of this. Paul didn't get angry with them for not "getting it." or disagreeing with him. In fact, it seems that the Bereans had a high view of Scripture, and were very knowledgeable of the text. The Scriptures were held as authoritative even over the Apostles themselves!

However, Watchtower doctrine is dependent on a particular manner of interpretation (prescribed by the Watchtower), not on a plain reading of the text, and sound Biblical exegesis. A prospect must be convinced that the Watchtower interpretation supersedes whatever she has come to believe the Bible says from simply reading it. She must be led to believe that she has read the Scriptures wrong, and that hard to understand sections are correctly interpreted by the Watchtower. Once convinced, the prospect naturally follows the Watchtower's conclusion that the Watchtower is God's organization, and therefore speaks for God (feeding the flock at the proper time).

She will become confused between Biblical authority and organizational authority. She will be unable to distinguish between the two. That's why a Jehovah's Witness would never admit that they follow the Watchtower. In their mind they are only following the Bible. But it's on the grounds that their interpretations match with Watchtower doctrine.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jehovah's Witnesses: Only One Problem

When that doorbell rings unexpectedly, especially around Easter or Christmas, it just might be a Jehovah's Witness coming to share her publications and a peculiar theological perspective. However, for many people, it is an unwelcome event—especially for Christians rooted in the truth of Scripture. For others it is simply an annoyance. But for a few people it is an opportunity to share the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But the difficulty with sharing Christ with Jehovah's Witnesses isn't the information, but the receptivity. It can be a frustrating experience for the immature or the mature Christian. Yet, there is really only one issue that needs to be dealt with if any headway is to be made.

A Jehovah's Witness is trained to defend preconceived ideas and challenge established Christian theology. They have no interest in what you have to say, because you are deceived. Therefore, they are predisposed to not listen to any reasoned argument if it doesn't reflect the Watchtower organization's point of view. Being fully devoted to the Watchtower organization's theological framework they are willing to reinterpret and twist Scripture to agree with the Watchtower.

What makes it more difficult is that they are fully convinced in their own minds that mangling Scripture isn't what they are doing. Instead, they believe that the Scriptures teach what the Watchtower believes. However, when they prove this point they will jump from passage to passage with no regard for context to justify this notion. Then they claim that their way of interpreting Scripture is the norm. "See the apostles use different Scriptures to make their point." What they ignore is that apostles and prophets are clearly ordained by God through visible power and special appointment by Jesus, or God himself, while our goal is to understand what they taught. (The difference between inspiration and perspiration.)

Another issue that makes it very difficult to share with them is that they are willing to tell half-truths, or even lie, to convince people that what they are saying is true. They call this spiritual warfare. The idea is that since Christians are deceived, it is okay to employ this tactic in order to get them to acknowledge their truth.

What's the best approach?

Well, how do you share with people who do these types of things? Ignoring them certainly isn't going to much effective. (Although, there are times when this is the best approach.) When Christians choose to engage a Jehovah Witness, there really is only one problem to deal with. Rather than going through bunny trails and endless debating, just ask them to explain one issue: "Why do you trust that the Watchtower speaks for God?" That really is the issue, isn't it?

Although Witnesses may counter with statements such as, "They only speak what the Bible says", "They don't speak for God, they merely interpret what God said", or even, "Don't you use trusted sources to help you interpret the Bible?", it doesn't matter. Find out why they trust the Watchtower organization (these few men) for themselves—as individuals. Did the men in the Watchtower organization do something to illicit this trust? How can you know what they say matches the Scriptures, if you need them to explain the Scriptures? If they aren't prophets or speak for God, how can they have the authority to teach on extra-biblical theology such as the nature of the Spirit, celebrating birthdays, and so on? And if they are ordained to speak for God (as prophets), how were they ordained and what's the proof?

I've found many times that Jehovah's Witnesses place their trust in the Watchtower organization (men) because they feel deep down inside that these men are telling them the truth. Some have even said that the publications, the Watchtower produces, says that they are telling the truth. (I kid you not.) So the next question is an obvious follow-up: "So, if I told you that I am telling you the truth from God, then why don't you believe me?" Some get the point, while others choose to ignore the problem. But either way, the true issue is exposed, rather than engaging in endless debating.

Whatever happens next really doesn't matter, because the problem still remains: the Jehovah's Witness has her trust in a few elders in a N.Y. office called the Watchtower for no good reason, other than she has chosen to. It is incumbent upon the Witness at your door to demonstrate why you should believe that too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Young People Don't Want This Type of Sex, But Are Too Afraid To Admit It

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
—Proverbs 29:25

A new study done by psychologists at James Madison University demonstrates that college students overwhelming prefer traditional dating over "hooking up" even though they "hook up" almost twice as much as date. (Hooking up is the term that refers to casual sexual encounters, while traditional dating refers to enjoying activities with a member of the opposite sex to develop a romantic relationship.)

Turns out—according to Arnie Kahn, one of the co-authors of the study—students are afraid to admit to this due to pluralistic ignorance. In other words these students feel like they are out of step with everybody else, and so they are mostly motivated to surrender their bodies to strangers out of social pressure.

How sad. Young men and women are willing to surrender their bodies to virtual strangers because of their fear of rejection—either by society or by their potential partners. That's so sad. Sex should be a joy, and bring a husband and wife closer to each other in total trust and commitment. Yet, when sex is used as a social tool, it disintegrates people's personalities, and makes their bodies a cheap commodity. And, sadly, for those too young to realize what is being lost, they are the ones being destroyed by this.

How sad.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

7 Mistakes Churches Make When Building a Website

In my design blog, I discuss 7 common mistakes I've encountered when churches design their websites. The problems center around handling content and site maintenance. I believe this is so because churches often lack the man-power, vision, or expertise to pull it off properly. However, churches that do this well tend to have a staff of designers and content providers, or simply out-source the design.

Hopefully my blog post can help those churches that can't afford to hire a design firm or staff. But there is value even for those that can afford to do this, because it sheds some light on considerations to make when building a website in general.

Let me know your opinion.

7 Mistakes Churches Make When Building a Website

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Liberals and Conservatives Can't Get Along

WARNING: This observation is not meant to be comprehensive. I am purposely using broad generalizations, and don't mean to be offensive to anyone. This is just a general observation, and I realize that I may be wrong in specific areas.

It seems to me that liberals and conservatives are not all that different. They agree, in principle, on many core issues. But they seem to disagree on how those principles should play out in practical life.

What I mean is that among the issues that tend to define someone as liberal or conservative—such as perceptions about greed, the role of government, individual freedom and responsibility, and helping the poor—they seem to agree. Yet, at a glance, they only appear to differ in degree, not substantive, when it comes to these core issues.

  • Each agrees that greed is wrong. But liberals define greed as the desire to make large profits. Conservatives define greed as the desire to find security in wealth. In other words, you don't have to be rich to be greedy.
  • They both agree that the role of government should be limited. However, they differ on the amount and kind of limits government should occupy. For instance, liberals believe that government should not take all of a person's income, but as much as possible to achieve equality (in wealth) and justice (for the poor). Conservatives believe that government has no right to confiscate a person's income at all—except whatever needs to be given for the government to able to enforce the law.
  • They would both agree that individual freedoms should be protected. The problem is that freedom brings responsibilities. Liberals define those freedoms as being able to do whatever one feels is right, and not being told otherwise. However, they also believe we have a responsibility to respect the freedoms and rights of other people. Conservatives believe that freedom is the right to not be controlled by government fiat, our a minority of people. Yet they want government to curtail any encroachments upon individual freedoms by those who do not respect that.
  • Both groups see helping the poor as a social good. The problem is that liberals define helping the poor as a government mandate of redistributing wealth. Conservatives see it as an extension of individual freedom and responsibility. In other words, some people are free to fail or succeed financially. However, those who do well are to offer help to those who do not do well as an act of freewill kindness, not a government responsibility.
In all these cases, it seems evident that liberals and conservatives share common concerns, and it even seems logical that working out differences would be mutually beneficial. However, what appears on the surface as simple disagreements is anything but simple. Each difference stems from a central assumption that cannot be reconciled so easily. And that's the issue of truth. Are there values and realities that must be "conserved" or appealed to when making sense out of life? Is there a central reality that we must adhere to in making decisions that exists outside ourselves?

Each group answers that central question differently. As a whole, liberals say that human decision-making is not dependent on some mystical or ancient reality called Truth outside ourselves, but on practical outcomes. "Whatever works is right." Solving immediate concerns is more important than the possible impact of antiquated beliefs or historical lessons.

On the other hand, most conservatives disagree with this approach. They think, "Whatever works may not always be right." They favor the idea that there are proven values and truths that have existed for a very long time that will have an impact on our decisions whether we believe in them or not. Therefore, they must be preserved (or conserved) as foundational when making any decisions.

This fundamental difference is what causes conflict. Not the issues themselves.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Purpose of Government and the U.S. Constitution

Government and religion. Church and State. The law and faith. Many people talk this way when they try to express the relationship between belief systems and sanctioned force. I know some people don't like the idea of government being associated with force, but that's what government really is. The applied use of force. This force, properly applied, accomplishes an ordered society by punishing those who do wrong, fear for those who consider to do wrong, and acquitting the innocent.

The problem is when societies become prosperous. The natural distrust of government can become a complacent trust. I don't mean the kind of trust you may have when someone is telling you the truth. I am talking about the kind of trust that convinces you that government has your best interest at heart and will take care of your needs. That sort of trust is misplaced. Government doesn't naturally do this.

The founders of the U.S. government understood that men will do wrong when given the power to do so. They smartly created laws that provided checks and balances within, to make it difficult for the government to do what it would naturally do — which is to naturally grow and control all areas of life.

When people see the government as the means to prosperity they are more willing to give government an expanded role. But the problem with giving the government an expanded role, for this reason, is that prosperity never comes from government. Government doesn't create prosperity. It only can create a stable environment where prosperity is possible — but not guaranteed. And government, when given more power to control the lives of innocent people, becomes oppressive. And government is never satisfied with limited power.

Although government is God's idea — for he gave it to create stability — government is built on belief systems, not in lieu of them. How a government is set up is based upon what people believe, not in spite of what people believe. This is good and bad. Of course when God's laws are upheld — like just punishment for murder, rape, and thievery — societies operate cohesively. However, when government acquits the guilty and punishes the innocent, injustice prevails. And when government moves from governing to controlling, the government becomes oppressive.

So, when people began to misunderstand the role of government, the nature of man, and the supremacy of God, government will naturally grow to invade every area of our lives, and oppress the innocent. You cannot divorce the consequences of our beliefs from how we are governed.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Big Lie

The Big Lie on Wikipedia is the idea that the more blatantly false an idea is, the more likely people will believe it. Interesting that The Big Lie is seen differently from different perspectives. Even biblically, Satan says the Big Lie is that God is good. God says the Big Lie is believing there is no God, or that he is inconsequential. And, to different degrees, everyone falls into one or the other camp. All in all, it's about one's perspective of reality or worldview.

Most people believe that real life is having a solid earthly perspective. They relegate spiritual life to a set of esoteric beliefs that may help us psychologically, but isn't as important as an earthly perspective. That's the Big Lie. Even a religious person who puts more stock in acting spiritual, does so for earthly gain (monetary or public praise). In fact, everyone who ignores a biblical mindset in lieu of appearing spiritual for earthly reasons is of the Big Lie.

The believer, on the other hand, sees all of reality through the lens of a biblical mindset. Their minds are on heavenly gain, and on an heavenly agenda. Earthly life is seen as important, but only in a subordinate role to heavenly realities. They aren't radicals who ignore a biblical perspective, but they are radical in the sense that they are not like most people, who do not know the Spirit. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; Philippians 3:18-21; Colossians 3:1-4)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Responsibility of Churches to Foster Serving Members

Last time I wrote that giving in churches is usually emphasized in one of two ways: as sacrificial or as equipping. Although most churches try to do both, they tend to emphasize one more than the other. There is no real problem per se with this. But as I had said, the problems and success of these approaches lies within the heart of the giver, not the methodology.

However — and this is a big however — churches have a responsibility in fostering good or bad attitudes about serving. (Now, when I talk about a churches responsibility to its membership, I am referring more to leadership than to all its membership makeup. The general tone of a congregation is primarily determined by its leadership. But, this does not diminish the responsibility of every member, because the collective membership of a congregation can determine it's tone as well.)

What I find most frustrating is when those who want to serve out of their love for God are discouraged in doing so, in favor of encouraging obligatory sacrifice. People who give all sorts of time and energy to serving in a driven need to be accepted and appreciated are held up as good examples by leadership and congregational members. Those who desire to make a godly investment in the kingdom are sometimes seen as lacking in commitment, because they don't "sign-up" for everything. This encourages an unhealthy approach to service. Only seeing the sacrifices, not the quality investments.

And to make matters worse, these churches are lax in equipping its membership. They expect much, but invest little into those who serve. They can't even spend money to have people trained or financially supported. "They're volunteers after all," I've actually been told before.

On the other hand, when churches feel secure in their equipping, they sometimes lack a certain level of accountability. Some even hate the word "accountability." They favor a more live-and-let-live attitude. And when people step up to serve they may do so with clear expectations for job performance, but very little concerning character development.

The best approach for church congregations is an acknowledgment of the purpose of service. It isn't to have functioning ministries, bring in more money, increase the size, or feel good about oneself — although these things are enjoyable fruits. The purpose of serving is the physical act of giving oneself to the Lord. It is the manifestation of genuine worship and thankfulness. The church environment ought to encourage the latter, and teach those who are young in the faith. The words out of the mouths of leadership emphasize the ideal, and calls to service are seen as opportunities to invest in eternal things, not temporal gain. And this type of service is exemplified by those in leadership.

Instead of calling people to sacrifice more, call them to invest in something that gives bigger dividends than whatever they own. Ask them to give themselves first to the Lord, and demonstrate that in service. And prove that you mean it by investing in them. Why should they sacrifice more when the church leadership is not willing to see them succeed?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When Giving Goes Wrong

I've found in my experience in different churches an interesting development. In some churches, usually under 1000 members, there is a tendency to call its members to sacrifice. They are required to use more of there talents and time in service to the church body. On the other hand there are also churches who place more emphasis on the training and development of membership to be better at service.

Each approach has an upside and a downside, and they are both needed. In smaller churches the call to sacrifice is admirable when people first give themselves to the Lord, and their service is an outworking of that commitment. However, it becomes either self-serving or detrimental when the motive is relief from guilt and people-pleasing.

On the other hand, when the call to service is centered around equipping, people who desire to serve the Lord with all their hearts are strengthened and encouraged to serve with excellence. And they see their service, not as a sacrifice, but a valuable investment in God's kingdom and in their own eternity. On the downside, when people in this type of community see their service as a necessary burden, they may be more prone to wander what's in it for them. Some will become perpetual learners, never practicing, while some will always be evaluating what they learn, but never implementing.

The root cause of both issues is the heart. Unless people give themselves first to the Lord, their service will be a burden. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haitians Need to Repent or Perish?

Jesus' disciples came to him with some bad news. Some Galileans were murdered by Pilate during pagan worship. But Jesus didn't say, "Oh what a shame. If only these Galileans had repented of their evil ways!" which is probably what they expected him to say. Rather, Jesus turned it around and asked, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." (Luke 13:1-9)

As you probably know a great earthquake has shaken Haiti. Relief efforts are underway to help the people there, along with Pat Robertson's ministry. However he also said that the people of Haiti are suffering because they had made a pact with the devil a long time ago when the French had dominion over them.

Whether that statement is true or not is irrelevant at this point. The problem is that it isn't a wise statement. Now, I agree with Pat that people need to turn toward God in times of disaster or in general, and Pat should've left it at that. But this other stuff sounds like he's blaming the Haitians for the disaster. In fact, I have an uncle and aunt who do missionary work in Haiti. What about the Haitian Christians? What did they do? And what about Europe? Don't they need a great turning toward God too?

I am not saying God cannot cause a disaster. But neither are disasters always caused by God — especially without a clear prophesy to that effect. It is the state of a fallen world. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Disaster falls on the just and the unjust. But like Jesus said, don't be fooled into thinking these people are worse sinners because something like this happened to them. For something worse will happen to everyone who doesn't repent.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Five Thoughts On My Troubles

I am experiencing some challenging times. I am about to lose my job, because the financial health of the educational institution I work for is not good. So, this institution has decided that firing everyone in my whole unit was part of the solution. Now, I am thrust into searching for a job.

Should I question God on whether this is fair or not? Should I be unconcerned, because God promised to take care of me? Has God abandoned me? Is God right beside me? Is God angry with me and punishing me? Is God using these events to humble and shape me?

Here's what I believe.
  • Although God is sovereign, and he can prevent suffering, Jesus said that we will experience trouble in this world (John 16:33). In fact, Jesus, who can avoid suffering, suffered why he was here on earth. And I have chosen to follow him. Why should I stop during tough times?

  • Suffering and hard times are the natural results of a fallen existence (Romans 8:20-23). However, Jesus said that my hope is in the triumph of Christ. He overcame, therefore I will overcome — if I continue in my faith, established and firm (Colossians 1:22-23).

  • Following, Jesus promised his presence no matter what I go through (Matthew 28:20b). He is with me, and he will see me through my troubles and bring me into his kingdom at the appointed time.

  • Also, God expects me to sometimes feel anxious or fearful sometimes, because he gave me ways to deal with worry. He said that we should pray because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). And we should pray remembering what we are thankful for, and what we know is true, lovely, and worthy (Philippians 4:6-9).

  • Finally, the Scriptures reveal a joyful purpose in suffering. My character development, and my faith being proved genuine (James 1:2-8; 1 Peter 1:3-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-7).

What I don't know is whether God will relieve my anxious heart by ending the suffering, or providing me with truth or both. I don't know how long it will take to find a job, or if I will. I don't know what the future holds. But I know he loves me and promised to never forsake me.

If only more of my brother's and sister's in Christ could speak to me this way.