[Image via Geee Kay – Creative Commons]
Dear Friend In Pain,
I feel so sad and so sorry about what you’re going through right now. I can’t imagine what it’s like. I can guarantee you that what I’m sharing in this letter won’t take the pain away. And I want you to feel perfectly free not to read it. If you don’t I won’t take the least bit of offence. I only want to share with you what made the biggest difference for me when I went through my time of pain. Continue reading
Easily our most popular post. (from the archives)
Originally posted on God Running:
The Holy Spirit Better Than a Burger?
At church the other night our pastor directed anyone interested in receiving prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to go to the prayer room after the service.
I was amazed.
Only a half dozen or so showed up. On a normal summer Sunday, our church offers free burgers and the line is a mile long. How much better is God’s Holy Spirit than a burger?
I recently wrote a guest post about the importance of the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit for Not Ashamed of the Gospel and this prompted someone to ask, How do I know if I have His Holy Spirit?
The person asking the question is referring to God’s Holy Spirit being poured out upon someone in such a way as to provide supernatural inspiration. As distinguished from having the…
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There’s This Thirty-Something
There’s this thirty-something in my life who is always asking me these great questions about the Bible: provocative questions, hard questions, but very interesting questions. And it’s caused me to look at the Bible differently. I read and hear so much about how the Bible is restrictive. But this person with the questions has got me thinking about the freedom God has given us. Freedom to make our own choices. Have you ever considered what’s not illegal in the Old Testament? For instance, prostitution is not illegal in the Old Testament, and neither is polygamy. I’m not saying that either of those are good, I’m just saying neither of those is illegal in the civic code given to Israel in the Old Testament. People are free to engage in these activities without legal repercussions, though the spiritual ramifications and life consequences are still there.
God is radical when it comes to our freedom. He wants us to have the freedom to do what we want, even when it’s wrong. And it’s really made me look at my own ideas about what God wants me to do concerning the behavior of others. Because sometimes I want other people to do what I want them to do, and I can get frustrated when they don’t.
Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there. Maybe you want to spend money a certain way but your wife wants to do it her way. Or maybe you want more time to recreate with the guys, but she has other ideas. Or maybe it’s just deciding what to do for dinner (not that this question would ever result in a disagreement). Whatever it is, our perspective changes when we Continue reading
Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award winning journalist who shares his life and his inspirational insights with the purpose of helping you to connect with God.
His book, Framing Faith, From Camera to Pen, An Award-Winning Photojournalist Captures God in a Hurried World, was written with artists in mind. By artist I mean bloggers, photographers, writers, painters, musicians, and filmmakers, or anyone who has a healthy appreciation for the arts.
The Main Message
Throughout the book I was inspired and occasionally amused–I found his interaction with George W. Bush especially amusing. The main message of the book might be summarized by what Knisely wrote in the introduction: “In this modern age, many of us fill every spare moment we have rather than taking an intermission to see the true works of God and realize that he is present in every moment.” That message resonates with me because for decades I did that, I scheduled every spare moment to the exclusion of the influence of God’s Holy Spirit. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve really prioritized my relationship with God and Christ and what a difference that has made. Framing Faith delivers a great message to anyone in the habit of over committing their self to the exclusion of their connection with Christ.
My Favorite Part
But easily my favorite part of the book was where he describes his disability. Matt Knisely doesn’t take in the world the way you and I do. Matt Knisely doesn’t process words the same as a normal person. His first grade teacher told his parents Continue reading
And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
Not Of This World
“…persons from every tribe and language and people and nation,” they sang. And Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” So patriotism is out right? I mean, Jesus died for every nation so, God doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t put our country at the top of His list of nations and say, Yeah, they’re the ones to root for, they’re who I favor in the world, so you should favor that nation too. No, He doesn’t say that. So patriotism is out, right? Continue reading
Today I read about a Christian man who claims to have the ability to teleport, cure cancer, and repair avionics problems in flying airplanes–while he’s standing on the ground. He was eventually convicted of fraud for taking money from the relatives of deceased people with the promise that he would resurrect them. Wow. That’s a Christian for you. (At least I think he claims to be a Christian.)
There was this firefighter I worked with and I found him to be obnoxious–and he called himself a Christian. And I said to myself the words, “Man, how can this guy call himself a Christian.” (We’ll talk more about him a little later.) Maybe you’ve never encountered someone like the guy who says he can teleport, but I know you’ve experienced obnoxious Christians before. I know you have because I have. And I know you have because I’ve overheard people talking. People saying things like, “I just can’t believe she said that–and she’s a Christian!” Or, “Man that dude was obnoxious–and he’s a Christian!” Or, “That guy is such an idiot–and he calls himself a Christian!”
So why? Why do they behave that way, these Christians?
How Can He Call Himself A Christian?
When I read this one certain passage of scripture a certain part of me cries out: “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”
It’s the passage where Continue reading
Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician and physicist who laid the foundation for the modern theory of probability. His father appointed himself as his educator and, curiously, decided to omit mathematics from Blaise’s curriculum, so Blaise could focus on the languages (especially Latin and Greek) and the classics. This had the opposite effect from that which was desired and young Blaise found all things mathematical to be irresistible. At 18 Blaise Pascal invented one of the first calculators. At 24 he began his work called The Generation of Conic Sections. He was only 31 when he discovered the fixed likelihood of seemingly random events based on probability. Nicklaus Wirth invented a computer language in the 70s and insisted on naming it after Pascal, in honor of Pascal’s calculator which was one of the very earliest forms of the modern computer. Blaise Pascal died of cancer at the age of 39. (biography.com)
Pascal was a genius. He was also a Christian. And I think his quote about faith offers insight into the question, “Why doesn’t God show Himself?”
How I Would Do It If I Were God
So you’re hurting. You’re struggling. Every day you wake up in the morning wondering how you’re going to make it through. It’s so bad sometimes you can feel it, physically. You get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, or that intense ache in your chest, or that lump in your throat. When you’re around others you fake it as best you can, but the faking gets more and more difficult every day this thing drags on. And you wonder how long you can hang on.
Here’s what turned it around for me. Continue reading
Last Sunday I heard one of my heroes of the faith say he has offered opinions on topics that have compromised his effectiveness at reflecting the nature of Christ. Sometimes the topics were political, sometimes they were about what other churches are teaching, but what really struck me was that this guy–who I consider to be one of the best people on the planet at communicating Christ–sees himself as a failure in this way. I felt horrible after hearing that sermon, because I had to ask myself,
Where does that leave me?
I’m as nothing compared to this man. I remember him telling a story a long time ago about how he encountered a skunk walking next to him, and how he took it as a message from the Lord that he stunk.
A similar thing happened to me on October 7, 2013. I was angry that day, so I did what I often do when I’m angry Continue reading