Suffering: What are man’s ways of dealing with the suffering God allows? Part 3

This is Part 3 in answering the question, “What are man’s ways of dealing with the suffering God allows?” in the larger question, “How can a loving God allow suffering?”

Man’s Efforts to Deal with Problems

What are some of the man-centered ways of dealing with suffering? We need to look no further than the Garden of Eden and examine how Adam and Eve dealt with their failure, because it exposes how man deals with suffering. Suffering is NOT always or even often from personal sin, however, sin is what caused the first suffering in life. How Adam and Eve dealt with their sin-failure is often how many deal with suffering.  Man, when they exclude God from their lives, or do not depend on Him. Continue reading


Suffering: What are man’s ways of dealing with the suffering God allows? Part 2

This is Part 2 answering the question, “What are man’s ways of dealing with the suffering God allows?” in the larger question, “How can a loving God allow suffering?” Part 3 will be posted tomorrow.

Man is Rebellious and Inadequate

Man (natural man in contrast to spiritual man), apart from God, is rebellious and inadequate.1 When Adam and Eve had the best of everything  in the Garden of Eden, they fell to temptation, instead of relying upon God’s provision and protection (Gen. 3:1-6). In fact, all through history man has demonstrated his rebelliousness by suppressing the truth and instead of being thankful and giving God glory, he became futile (empty) in his thinking, Continue reading

Life Insights: Encouragement in the face of Wrong Judicial Decisions

Encouragement in the face of Wrong Judicial Decisions

Today the Supreme Court historically became involved in the same-sex marriage issue.  On one day, the day before they recessed for the summer, the Justices, crossing ideological lines, struck down Proposition 8 from California and the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Proposition 8 was the mandate by the people of California to prohibit gay marriages in the state constitution.  Same-sex couples sued for their rights to be recognized as legally married couples and the court agreed with their cause and position.  It affects 18,000 same-sex couples wedded in California back in 2008, after which the voters disapproved same-sex marriage on the ballot.  So now everyone in California has to accept what state constitution did not allow nor the majority of the people wanted.  Now you can guess and realize that the power lies with the court of man rather than the Constitution or the people. This is an attack on what is written.

The federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, was also struck down.  Those in states with same-sex marriage laws will be allowed to claim rights and benefits the same as hetero-sexual marriages. This is an attack on what is written.

This decision by the courtroom of man does not catch God by surprise.  The Courtroom of Heaven is still in session.  Our responsibility is to mourn for our nation as Daniel did so well in Daniel 9 and prayed on behalf of the nation. Our responsibility is to grow up spiritually and become spiritual parents, that is, to have disciples who are discipling others.   Our responsibility is to ask people if they know Jesus. If they do not or are not sure, then to share the gospel truth and help them understand the truth by faith. Our responsibility is to help draw the body of Christ to BE the body of Christ and care for one another.  Our responsibility is to influence our community through good works and be ready to given an account of the hope that is within.  What a privilege that responsibility is!  Let’s roll!

Do not be discouraged.  Press forward in truth and wait upon the Lord by sharing the truth with every soul who will listen.



Blessings: God owns our days

Blessings: God owns our days

A week ago I had the privilege to minister to a dear member of our church in the hospital.  I just kneel  by the bed (as long as my knees hold out or unless there is a handy chair) and listen to the person who might be struggling or suffering.  I have known this dear sister for twenty years.  She lost her husband a year and a half ago and I know she has missed him greatly.  She is ready to move north to be close to one of her children, but this sped up the process. Now she is already north until her unit opens up in the home close by to her daughter.

While I was at the hospital, I remembered a waitress who had tended to the same table at the same restaurant for the last ten years. The men always went there for breakfast after Men’s Prayer.  She had not been at Cracker Barrel very much in the last year as she had battled cancer in her lungs.  The week before one of the other waitresses informed me the cancer had spread to her bones and she was struggling.  Fortunately, I remembered her and I went to see her. 

Some of her family was present and she looked pretty well.  I spoke with her husband for twenty minutes in the hallway and found out he was a spiritual man wanting to lead his family.  As we went in to see her, I read from Psalm 91 and spoke of God as a strong refuge.  He would protect.  We needed to trust Him.

The next Thursday, right after prayer meeting, we went over to Cracker Barrel and one of the other waitresses lit up.  She was so excited to see us, but I could immediately tell something was wrong.  I asked, “Is she okay?”  Shesaid, “She died Sunday afternoon at two o’clock.”  We hugged and she asked that I be ready to do a memorial service. 

As I ate breakfast that day, I could only think of the great Psalm 90 Moses wrote. Moses wrote, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12) Friends are you ready to see your Creator.  None of us knows how many days we have.  Some will have a warning through a lingering disease, but many of us may see our last view of earth on the way home.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, what He did for you on the cross and you will be saved.  Ask if you have any questions about salvation.

Words: Godly vs. Ungodly Results

Words: Godly vs. Ungodly Results

            In the Garden of Eden, Adam enjoyed perfect environment.  He was never concerned with rubbing his eyes from air pollution, testing the water for contaminants, or listening to foul-mouthed neighbors.  Everything was perfect, because he was made in the image of God and sin had not become a part of his nature or the world around him.

            Scream forward to Genesis 3 and the serpent allures the woman into a conversation, to which she can’t resist.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, `You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
 3 “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:1-6)

At that moment, because of disobedience to God’s command, sin enters into the human race.  Now, instead of perfect environment, thorns and thistles grow, sweat becomes normal and childbirth is overcome only by the joy of new life. This initiates the contrast of godly and ungodly results. 

            Take for example the following chart. 

Proper Use
Sinful Use
Chemical Elements
Spoken letters
Bible teaching
Lying, slander
Written letters
Music lyrics
C.S. Lewis, “Messiah”
Moral filth
Gangsta Rap
Sound waves
Refreshing the spirit and body
Stimulating lust Instant gratification


There are four columns and four examples.  The first column identifies a component at its basic level.  For example, chemical elements can be hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.   The second column identifies the particular discipline or category of study or function which comes from the “component.”  From chemical elements comes a discipline of “chemistry.”  From that discipline, there will be two types of uses of that discipline: a proper use or godly result and a sinful use or ungodly result.

There are many proper uses of chemistry. One example is to use chemistry to create vaccines.  Another is to develop prescription drugs, like pain killers for after surgery.  However, chemistry can be twisted in a sinful use or ungodly result, for example to develop poisons to hurt people. 

Each of the components has a resulting discipline and then a proper use or sinful use.  It depends on whether God is behind it or whether man’s sin nature is behind it.  If you understand this, you’ll understand why there is evil in the world and not be shocked when wickedness develops.  What other examples would you suggest to continue lengthening this chart?



God’s Way vs. Man’s Way: Relationship Responses

This is an excellent chart prepared by Martha Peace in her book, “The Excellent Wife.”  Much of the wording is from the perspective of a woman, because the book is written for the wife.  The chart comparisons are tremendously applicable in any situation.  If you read down the left column, you’ll recognize many phrases and actions that have been done by people.  The right column provides the biblical approach for responses to offenses.

Sinful Thought Responses
Godly Thought Responses
“How could he do this to me after all I have done for him?”
“He is sinning.  How does God want me to respond to his sin?” 1 Peter. 3:8ff
“This is more than I can stand.”
“This feels like more than I can stand, but God will help me get through it.” 1 Cor. 10:13
“I can’t take the pressure anymore!”
“I can bear up under the pressure for as long as God deems necessary.” 1 Cor. 10:36
“I’ll show him what it is like.”
“I’ll develop a biblical plan to fight back with good.” Rom. 12:21
“I hate him.”
“God hates what he is doing.  God will avenge his sin.  My responsibility is to forgive whether I feel like it not.” Luke 6:27
“I can’t believe what he did to me.  First he did _________ to me, then he…”
“Any person is capable of any sin however gross.” Jer. 17:9
“His sin is against God.  My responsibility is not to compound his sin with my own sin.” 1 Cor. 13:5
“He will never hurt me again.”
“He may hurt me again.  I hope not, but if he does he will just have to hurt me, I am going to glorify God.” 1 Cor. 10:31
“I’m so humiliated. What will others think?”
“I it others’ responsibility to think about this in a Christian manner, not to gossip or slander my husband or me. James 4:1 If they do gossip and I find out about it, God will give me the grace to handle it at that time.”
“How could God let this happen to me?”
“God is good. He, too, wants my husband to repent. I thank God for reminding me how much I need Him.” 1 Thess. 5:18
These charts are from:
“The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace, pp. 239-242
Sinful Actions
Godly Actions
Detailed gossiping of his sin to others.
Having the right motives, only giving necessary details to those directly involved in helping her biblically to respond.
Judging her husband’s motives.
Assuming the best about his motives unless he tells her otherwise.
Exaggerating offenses.
Facing the offenses realistically, not exaggerating or minimizing them.
Not giving him a chance to repent and re-earn her trust.
Going against feelings and working towards reconciliation, realizing she must forgive but it may take time for him to re-earn her trust.
Ceasing to attend church because of embarrassment.
Continuing to attend church and to fulfill her responsibility.
Outburst of anger.
Realizing her anger will not achieve God’s purposes.  Thinking long and hard about how to biblically answer.
Seeking solace in another man.
Seeking solace in God and His Word, and perhaps, one or two godly women in the church.
Sharing deep emotional pain with the children in an intimate fashion that only adults are mature enough to handle.
Sharing appropriate factual information with the children and in the process giving them hope that even if their Daddy does not repent, God will take care of them and somehow they will be alright.
Wishing she could purchase a gun and kill her husband.
Realizing vengeance belongs to the Lord.  Praying for and longing for his repentance.
Wishing he were dead.
Instead of longing for vengeance, putting godly pressure on him to repent by overcoming evil with good and praying for his repentance.
Committing suicide. 
Continuing to fulfill her responsibilities whether she feels like it or not.


Newtown, Connecticut

It is devastating to lose one you love.  It is more devastating to lose a child to death.  It is tragic and horrific to lose children taken from you by a deranged man who has acted like the enemy:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy… “ (John 10:10a)

I am trying to put myself in the shoes of the parents, grandparents, family and friends of the 18 children and 9 adults that were killed without any provocation or guilt on their part.  They were trying to teach about life, learn about life and live life.  They were innocent to this shooter.

Why did it happen?  I’ve heard the question asked many times.  The same question was asked in Aurora, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and now Newton, Connecticut. Why did it happen?

There is a human reason for each incident.  There is a circumstantial contributing factor for each tragedy.  But there is one cause and it is the war of sin in the flesh.  We as a nation are pushing God out of our nation. 

We pushed prayer out of our schools in 1962, fifty years ago.  We don’t allow God’s Word in schools.  We are pushing the Ten Commandments out of the public arena.  We are seeing the tragedy of what happens when God is less a part of a nation. 

The solution is not gun control, but God-control.  If people would humble themselves before God, repent of their sins, and fervently turn back to God, pursuing all that God calls us to do, righteousness would reign again.  That includes doing what we are supposed to do, not just “not doing what we are not supposed to do.”  We Christians have stopped doing many sins, but we must also disciple others to build the kingdom of Jesus Christ and show His love toward others.

This is a time for mourning.  Mourning for the loss of innocent lives, grieving families and troubled people who will look to man for solutions rather than Jesus Christ.  Decisions may be made on the human level to prevent this in the future, but unless the Lord is included in the answer, no decision will provide what we need.

Jesus said it best, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Book Review: Who Moved the Goalpost? By Bob Gresh

Book Review: Who Moved the Goalpost?   By Bob Gresh

The best part of being a human being is experiencing all the sensory experiences God has created.  The worst part of being a human being is experiencing all the sensory experiences God has created.  The difference is known by God’s truth and discernment of wisdom.

There are many books highlighting the challenges of being godly in a temptation-filled world of lust.  Bob Gresh has put together a great set of winning strategies for men, especially men in the younger years.  The world has seized the hearts of young men down to ten and eleven years old and tantalized them with the blatant imagery, false promises and empty experiences of pornography.

Bob exposes Satan’s three sex lies that set young men up for a world of frustration, misery and pain.  Sex is not a four-letter word, you are not here alone and it (lust) won’t go away when you get married.  But men believe those lies and fail to enjoy the sex that God designed to be enjoyed between one man and one woman in marriage.

Bob then describes three truths that can give a young man hope if he waits on the Lord for the right person.  God’s way is so much more fulfilling than anything the world has to offer.  The flesh doesn’t want to wait or be restricted, but the reward is spectacular.

Bob finally lays out seven strategies for success on preparing for a lifetime of enjoyment in marriage and how to finish strong.  Guys, we need to teach young men in Middle School and High School these principles.  Moms, if you have boys and you are parenting alone, then you’ll have to grab hold of this and help prepare your boys. 

Parents, your boys are going to learn about sex and you don’t want them to learn on their own or from the world.  Too many marriages are struggling and are being destroyed, because young men have not been taught God’s view for biblical sex.  The enemy is destroying too many lives by his quick fix solutions.  God’s way is always best.  Bob Gresh presents this serious material in a well constructed way and includes good-young-men-humor along the way.  You can help young men not miss out on what so many men are not able to enjoy, because they didn’t learn God’s way of enjoying sex.

Peer Pressure – Part 4

Most people like to fit in with others.  Peer pressure can easily cause us to walk down the wrong road.  David understood it well, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”1  David said you will be blessed if you don’t walk in ungodly counsel, or stand thinking about the way the sinful walk or considering their lifestyle, nor sit contemplating or being pressured into listening to the scornful or mockers of God.   Yet, when you look at the society and culture around you, you see this all the time.

There are many temptations in which peer pressure can influence you wrongly.  We saw the drinking scenario in the last segment.  Unfortunately the age at which young people are having sex is becoming younger and younger according to surveys, of which peer pressure is a huge influence.  Peer pressure influences people to any kind of immoral or abhorrent behavior.

You have to decide what you are going to do.  If you give into peer pressure, you’ll become a follower, just like Adam became a follower in the Garden of Eden.  He should have been leading Eve and protecting her from the deception of the serpent, but he was standing idly by and foolishly accepted the fruit and ate it in direct disobedience to the Lord.2  As you consider how you are in dealing with peer pressure, ask yourself these questions and spend some time thinking through the Scriptures:

·         Do I realize how much other people can influence me?   Proverbs 1:10-13

·         Do I realize my decisions are often based on how others influence me?  Proverbs 1:15-19

·         Do I listen to the voice of Scripture? Proverbs 1:20-23

·         Do I know my own strengths and weaknesses? Proverbs 1:24-28

·         Do I love God’s Word more than what friends say, even good friends? Proverbs 1:29-30

·         Do I understand the consequences of my decisions? Proverbs 1:31-33

·         Do I trust myself? Proverbs 5:6

·         Do I know how to say no? Proverbs 5:7-9

·         Do I know how to practice self-control? Proverbs 5:12-14

·         Do I know my own sin patterns? Proverbs 5:20-23

Do you know who you can talk to about peer pressure?  Are your parents open?  Do you have a church leader who is willing to listen in order to understand?  Maybe you need a trusted friend.  While everyone wants to have friends, it’s far better to have a few good friends than attempt to fit in with everyone.  There is ultimately one person you need to please in life and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.3

When you know who you are in Jesus Christ and are positionally already complete in Him, you’ll stand up to the peer pressure and it will back down from you.4

1Psalm 1:1; 2Genesis 3:1-6; 32 Coriinthians 5:9; 4Colossians 2:9-10