A Skewered View?

Let me start this with the bad news….I am about to be homeless. I have been out of work since just before Christmas (5 days before to be exact), and I have come to the end of being able to support myself and my family of six. Initially, I have been able to support my family through the cashing in of a 401K account. That lasted a couple of months, and I have since subsisted on my wife’s very meager income, some very odd temporary jobs, and the generosity of some amazing friends. Well, that is all gone, and I find myself with no help, and no hope of deliverance from this inevitability in my life. Believe me, I have done EVERYTHING!!!! I have applied to literally over 200 jobs! I have applied at fast food restaurants, and temp services. I am registered with 6 temp services!!!! I have sought help with social service organizations and charities to no avail!

The Question Arises:

After reading this, someone might be inclined to say, “Have you sought the Lord about this?” The answer is an EMPHATIC, RESOUNDING, “YES!” I have sought the Lord consistently since I lost my job. I have made sure that my relationship is right with the Lord, my family, and everyone that I know. I have repented of sins that I did and didn’t commit, just to cover everything! I have asked God to show me if there’s ANYTHING He needs me to make right, so that He is not hindered in my life! I told God that I will do anything He asks of me. So WHY is God not helping me? I am about to lose EVERYTHING! Literally!

What people say/What people think.

So many have approached me during this trial, and have said, “Don’t worry. You’re not gonna lose everything. God is gonna bless you. God is gonna provide a job, a blessing, a way out, etc.” I have “claimed” all these things. I have told God I trust Him. I have tried to encourage myself in the Lord….I have told my wife, “Don’t worry. God’s gonna provide a job that will keep us.”…..

I have also seen the looks. I have seen those who will not say it, but it’s obvious what they are thinking. “Why can’t you get a job?” “Why can’t you support your family?” “Are you some kind of bum?” “Do you just not wanna work?”

I have dealt with all of this…

Struggling with God

Through seeking God, I have found myself asking the question “WHY” quite often. I’m yelling at God, saying, “WHY won’t you help me, God?!!! “WHY is this happening to me, God!!!?” “WHY can’t I support my family, God?!!!” “Don’t you understand what’s going on , God?!!” “Where are you, God?” “I THOUGHT you were gonna rescue me, God!”

And then I realized..

I have a skewered view of who God is, and what He does! I have told people in tough situations, “God will do this or that.”God won’t allow this or that to happen.” I have presumed what God would do, and yet He didn’t do it. Sometimes I was right, but mostly I was wrong! So, has God just suddenly decided to abandon me, or to not hold true to His character? Has God forgotten His own word? Am I in the wrong, or is God? After all, the Bible says that “My God shall supply all your needs..” (Phil 4:19) and “He will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5) and ” He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or think” (Eph 3:20) What about this? “I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging for bread” (Ps 37:25). There are more, but these will do. I’ll ask again. Has God abandoned His word? Has God totally left me to myself? Is God not really who His word says He is? What about this? “For you have magnified your word above your name” (Ps 138:2) Has God betrayed His character?

The answer here is a resounding, EMPHATIC, NO! God has not, nor ever will change! (Mal 3:6) His character is intact! (Heb 13:8) His love is unending! (Rom 8:35-39) So, if that’s the case, what’s the problem?

Where the rubber meets the road

Since God is perfect, does not change, still loves me in spite of myself, and gives promises to me in His word, then WHY oh WHY would He allow me to go through this trial?

I think the problem is that I have viewed Christianity through American glasses for too long. Trials are going to come to all. The Bible clearly let’s lets us know.(Jn 16:33, Phil 1:29, 2 Tim 3:12) Americans live in a bubble. We think we are going through a trial if we get made fun of at work for being a Christian. We think we are going through a trial if our order gets messed up at the Clown Burger drive-thru. We think we are going through a trial if we get a cold. And, we’ve grown so fat and accustomed to the blessings of God, that we have lost sight of Him. We won’t admit it, but we serve Him based upon the blessings we receive, and not on who He is! And our preaching is “God’s gonna bless you!” “God’s not gonna allow A, B,C, or D!” “Don’t claim it brother, sister!” We also put trials into two categories. Either a person is going through a trial because they’re in sin, and God’s chastising them, or it’s the devil’s fault! And, if it IS the devil, then we need to “REBUKE HIM, IN JESUS NAME!”W I don’t doubt that these two situations CAN exist, more often than not, it is just due to the fact that we live in a fallen world, and bad things happen! In America, we’ve become so accustomed to the blessings of God, that we almost DARE Him to give us hardship! And when He does, we are quick with the “WHY”S!!! We base our status as Christians upon how blessed we are or are not. And we compare ourselves with other Christians, for better or for worse! But we FORGET that the storms of life come to EVERYONE! In Matthew 7, (vs. 24-27) we are told about two houses. One is obviously the saved, and one is obviously the unsaved. However, the key thing that we often miss when reading this passage is that the STORMS OF LIFE come to BOTH!!!

I spoke of American Christianity before as opposed to Christianity elsewhere. The problem with American Christianity is that we think we are untouchable. We think that we will always be well fed, well clothed, healthy, wealthy and wise. Again, we almost DARE God to allow us to suffer! We have NEVER suffered like some of our brethren around the world! It is inconceivable to us! We must have forgotten that God tests our faith…I would argue,You will NEVER hear a sermon from ANY prosperity false prophet on these passages! (Ps 11:4, 1 Pet 1:6-9) Our doctrine, if it is true to God’s word, MUST work throughout the whole world! FYI..God didn’t write a different meaning to the American church than He did to the rest of the Church scattered throughout the world! In America , we believe that God has, and always will bless us! We cannot wrap our minds around poverty, sickness, famine, homelessness, and I dare say, instant answers to microwave prayers! There are Christians in other countries who are homeless! There are Christians in other countries that cannot get enough food to feed themselves or their families! There are Christians in other countries who don’t have access to clean water, utilities, or even basic needs!!! Why??? Do they lack the faith??? I once saw a story of a PASTOR in the Sudan, who STARVED to death because he was giving HIS food away to his congregation!!! We would look at him, and without saying it, call him stupid!!!Didn’t that Pastor read Psalm 37:25??? Or maybe, it is US who got it wrong!!! Maybe we need to reexamine where we are in the faith!!! (2 Cor 13:5) Maybe we need to search our hearts. Are we trusting Christ for what He has done or is doing for us? Or are we trusting Christ for who He is? WHY are we REALLY serving God????

I confess that I’ve been struggling with this since I lost my job! I have been doing ALL the things I spoke of! And, if anything good can come out of this for me, it is that my situation has FORCED me to rethink where I REALLY stand on trusting God, and in finding that He is the same as He’s ALWAYS been, and that He hasn’t left me…He has just allowed this trial in my life!!!

I’m going to be homeless. NOTHING, apart from a sheer miracle can stop that now!!! I’m not saying that God can’t provide a miracle…I’m accepting that He probably won’t.. It’s not a lack of faith on my part…It’s a confident trust, that though He allows me to go through this, He will go with me through the midst of it!!! I am gonna lose EVERYTHING!! But I will gain that simpleness of faith again!

God has allowed my worst fears to come true…But I believe whatever deliverance that WILL come, if it does at all, will come on the other side of homelessness. At that point, my fear will truly be gone. We all have probably prayed, ” God, I’ll serve you no matter what!.” But we don’t REALLY mean that! I found this to be true in my own life! When God tested me on the “no matter what”, I faltered. But now, as I prepare for the seemingly inevitable, I declare now with CONVICTION AND PASSION. GOD, I WILL SERVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT!!!! I wrote all of this because I ABSOLUTELY needed to! I am on NO WAY asking for sympathy! I wrote it because I am Repenting of my skewered view of God, and for an encouragement to all of you! No matter what you go through…God is, and will ALWAYS be God! He will ALWAYS be GOOD, ALWAYS be JUST, and ALWAYS LOVE US!!! Let us love Him the same!!

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Sports Rant.

My $.02.
Ok. Short rant. Am I the only one who could care less about the U.S Women’s Soccer Team winning the World Cup?? I say, they trashed our country, trashed our President, and stomped on our flag…Now, they expect praise from Americans?? NOPE!!! Not from this one!!! Shame on them!!!!😠
I know they have a right to their own political opinions…But this was NOT the place or time to do it, in front of the world, while supposedly representing America!!! Again…SHAME on them! No congrats here!

Religion? Or Relationship!

My $.02.
re·li·gion
rəˈlijən/
noun
1.the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
synonyms: faith, belief, worship, creed; More

  1. a particular system of faith and worship.
    plural noun: religions
  2. a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.

Do we have the religion of Christ, or are we Christians? Do we go to Church? Or are we the Church?
I try to read my Bible daily and seek the Lord. I pray before every meal. I don’t drink, smoke, use any illegal substances, cheat on my taxes, watch R rated movies, or listen to what I deem as ungodly music.
Is that enough?
I am a member of good standing in my church ( at least I believe I am). I have been baptized, I’ve spoken in tongues, and I can post about Jesus Christ on Facebook!
Is that enough?
The answer is NO! NONE of the things we DO qualify us for heaven! (Isa 64:6)
The truth is that if we ARE Christians,then we won’t want to do anything that displeases God, and we WILL want to seek Him in His word and in prayer! But those things in and of themselves will not qualify us for heaven or make us right with God! When it comes down to the heart of the matter, it’s about knowing Jesus and having a relationship with him! Religion is basically man’s belief and pursuit of God! I would add that it comes with a personal system of “do”s and ” don’t”s that will either make or break you according to how you live by those standards! And, there are religious people in every church, and EVERY religion! And the best that religion can offer is….”I hope so”.
Christianity ( knowing Christ) is just the opposite! It is where God seeks US to follow Him! (Luke 5:31-32, Luke 19:10) And He tells us in His word that we have already blown it and fallen below the standard that God has set (Rom 3:23, Rom 3:10, Ezek 18:4) We are doomed already! But the HOPE is that, IN Christ, we are forgiven, made free, and made righteous! Our freedom is not in what we can do…but what He has DONE! Some of His (Jesus) last words on Earth were..”It is finished”, meaning that Christ has accomplished everything we need for salvation! Anything we try outside of that is only religion…Religion kills! Jesus gives life!
(Matt 11:28-30, Rom 10:9-13, John 8:36)

Is Jesus a “guest”, or a permanent resident?

My $.02.
I have heard it suggested, “What would you do if Jesus came to your house?”
It got me thinkin’…
If we are servants of Jesus Christ, then He HAS COME to our “house”! (1 Cor 6:19)
He is not to be a guest on Sunday and Wednesday! He wants to MOVE IN PERMANENTLY! And, He not only wants to move in, He wants to rearrange the furniture, throw stuff away, and basically DEMAND that the house be run according to HIS way! He wants CONTROL! We need to let Him have the remote, so He can change the channels in our lives! Besides, His programs are much better!
The problem is that most people don’t mind inviting Jesus in for a visit, just as long as He doesn’t “mess things up” and throw off our “status quo”!
The welcome often quickly ends when Christ starts to DEMAND obedience to His word in our lives! And we often wonder why we can’t get victory over the sins and trials that we go through! If He RULES the house, He TAKES CARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD! I need to remember this most of all! And I think I need Jesus to do some more interior decorating!

A thought about the cross..

The difference between struggling and victory is a choice! Jesus said to “take up” the cross, but He didn’t mean for us to carry it around! We want to struggle with our “cross to bear” …Jesus calls us to come and DIE! Dead men don’t struggle…(Luke 9:23-24, Phil 1:21, Gal 2:20 )

Just a little “Ha Ha”…😂😂

An old storekeeper in a rural Kentucky town was known for sharing scriptures after each sale in his general store. Since his store was a sort of gathering place, a couple of the old men would often gather on the porch to share stories and listen for the scripture as each sale was made. On one occasion, some kids were purchasing penny candy and didn’t have enough money. The wise storekeeper gave them the candy anyway, and said “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”
But one particular day, a large expensive truck pulled up in front of the store with a horse trailer in tow.
The well dressed man driving the truck walked into the store, and stated, “I would like a blanket for my horse. He is a fine Arabian, and I am taking him to the Kentucky Derby to race. I need the best one you have.” The storekeeper went in back and brought a horse blanket to the man, and announced, “That’ll be $25”.
The man looked back with disdain and said, “Sir. You don’t realize. This horse is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars! I need a FINE horse blanket for such a horse as this!”
Mind you, the storekeeper only had one kind of horse blanket, but in different colors. He told the man, “I see, sir..I have JUST the one!” He then went to the back again, and grabbed another horse blanket of a different color. When he returned, he handed it to the man and said, “That’ll be $250.”
“Now you’re talkin'”, said the man, who quickly paid for the blanket and was on his way.
The whole scenario didn’t escape the old men who sat there intently waiting to hear what the storekeeper might possibly say about this sale. The storekeeper thought for a moment, and finally said, “He was a stranger…..and I took him in!” 😂😂😂😂

What’s wrong with the church?

People wonder why the church as a whole is no longer effective at winning the lost for Christ: (This is not indicative of ALL churches, but MANY in our country!)
Here are a few reasons: (in no particular order)

  1. We have allowed to world to dictate how the church should be and operate.
  2. We have caved in to worldliness in the name of evangelism to attract sinners.
  3. We have traded worship for entertainment.
  4. We have traded TRUTH for feelings.
  5. We have traded DOCTRINE (Nobody likes that word anymore!)
    for “new revelation”.
  6. We have replaced the prayer meeting with socialization and gossip.
  7. We have dummed down salvation to a “heads bowed, eyes closed, hand raised” nod to “accept Jesus” and give mental assent to a few passages of scripture, instead of a lifelong commitment to Christ. The question is not, “Do you accept Jesus?” “The question should be, “Does Jesus accept you?”
  8. We have gloried in “decisions made for Christ” and neglected to disciple those who really do come to Christ.
  9. We have forgotten to be Bereans! We don’t read the Bible anymore! (Acts 17) We just take at face value “every wind of doctrine” instead of “searching the scriptures daily to see if these things are so”. In other words, we haven’t filtered what we hear about the word of God through scripture itself. We’ve become lazy.
  10. We have allowed SIN to infiltrate not only the church, but the pulpit as well, and in the name of “love”, we have supposed that a sinful identity can somehow be called “Christian”. (i.e. “gay Christian”)
  11. We have neglected to teach the whole Gospel! We often speak only of Jesus as a God of LOVE, but fail to teach about the Judgement of God. We teach often that by coming to Christ is easy, and that all will be fine. We fail to prepare those that come to Christ that there is a life to be lived, and a struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil! (1 Jn 2:15-17) As a result, we leave them unprepared for the devil’s attack, (Eph 6:10-18, 1 Pet 5:8-9), and many suffer shipwreck. Again…failure to disciple.
  12. We have become afraid to say “Jesus is the only way!” (Jn 14:6) And we have become afraid to preach against sin because we fear losing the “tithers”.