Based on the unpredictable and seemingly impossible commands the Lord has given His people, I don’t think He would have won any ancient popularity contests.
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The first book of our Bible, Genesis, contains accounts that, if we didn’t have the whole story, could make God seem more like a sinister bully than a sovereign Savior.
The people whose stories of faith are recorded in the Word had no idea what the whole story would be, yet they exhibited otherworldly trust.
Noah’s Nautical Carpentry
For example, only a couple chapters after the creation and fall accounts, we learn that humanity continued to make a mess of things. Yet God saw Noah,
Maybe it’s time to give up your DIY project and allow the Holy Spirit to invade . . . I mean take over what you cannot face or endure alone.
The text read . . . “Hey, please give me a call back when you can. Love you!” My daughter isn’t a big texter. Something was up. I called immediately.
(Image from Pixabay)
Her voice sounded fragile—not the typical healthy, “busy-about-life” one I’m used to. I listened as she began with a truth I’ve taught my kids over the years:
I’m not a mind reader, so if you need my help, you have to talk to me about it. I promise to listen, learn, and love no matter what.
Sometimes it’s been tough to keep this promise, but our children (whether tiny or adult) are free to be honest and open when they are given a safe place, knowing they won’t be condemned or immediately corrected.
In fact, the foundation of any healthy relationship is safety and trust; knowing that no matter what we share, we will still be loved, cared for, and safe—even if the topic is tough, disagreeable, or all knotted up.
My daughter and her husband had just visited. Some issues had surfaced that were confusing, frustrating, and difficult for them. She bravely shared more with me:
Jesus, the great carpenter, has a blueprint in mind for each of us. He slices, sands, and whittles our lives in order to remove what isn’t needed for the job He has for you and for me.
It is a dark and difficult subject to talk about. It is also one of the most imperative subjects the church must deeply discuss. That is, the subject of human trafficking. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation . . .
Human trafficking, believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, is a form of human slavery which . . . includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking.
It involves both U.S. citizens and foreigners alike, and has no demographic restrictions. Here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves.
They are typically beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay.
God must be on the throne of your heart, in the center of your mind, and the seat of your passions.
So what’s been keeping you up at night? Sleepless nights . . . we’ve all been there: lying awake for hours, tossing and turning, tangled in our sheets as our thoughts and emotions twist up into tight knots.
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We try to self-medicate, but . . .
Doesn’t keep us from restless worry.
When God’s Ways Don’t Make Sense
During our worry-induced insomnia, the talking-to-God thing can leave us far more irritated than inspired; after all, He could have stopped this thing that’s plaguing us. Why didn’t He stop . . .
While pastoring one of the nation’s fastest-growing churches, Brad’s life fell apart due to a mental-health challenge. Now, he has committed his life to stomping out hopelessness for those who have mental illnesses. Brad challenges the church-at-large to address the needs of those who struggle in silence.
God shows us we are valuable but not essential. He shows us we are strong but not sovereign. He shows us that dedication and commitment follow a heart surrendered to His will.
When you hear the word church, what comes to mind? Do words like comfort, connection, authenticity, excitement, joy, acceptance, or support surface?
Or do words like . . .
Bubble up? Our world today is desperate for hope. The church is the community God ordained to offer the hope found only in Jesus. Sadly, oftentimes, those looking for hope have found rejection, judgment, and hurt—not from Jesus but from those who profess to be Christians.
Brad Hoefs knows this all too well. While pastoring one of the nation’s fastest-growing churches, Brad’s life fell apart due to a mental-health challenge.