Monday, July 28, 2014

If God Can Prevent Tragedies, Why Doesn’t He? by Martin

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

I was standing before my congregation on a Wednesday night. The prayer request that surfaced from a member was innocent enough, but I doubt they had completely thought through what they asked. 

We lived fairly close to the South Carolina coast, and a dangerous hurricane was heading in our direction. It wasn’t the first time a hurricane threatened, nor was it the first time I had heard such a request. “Let’s pray that God will turn the hurricane away from us.” Though I acknowledged and commended the request, I couldn’t help but think: “So do you want him to send it someone else’s way?” 

Tragedies strike our personal lives periodically and our world daily. If God is good and powerful, why doesn’t he stop them? Jesus’ disciples—and Jews in general, were immensely proud of their city and Temple. But when they pointed out the beautiful buildings to Jesus, he crushed their excitement. Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another! (Matthew 24:2 NLT)

Typically, I define tragedy as something terrible. Car accident, natural disaster, random killing, child abuse. Tragic occurrences. Their ultimate cause is sin which not only affects the natures of individuals—leading them to commit dastardly acts, but also the physical world—causing occasional unfortunate weather patterns as well as deterioration. 

God, however, can turn tragedies into triumph. Since he allows sin to temporarily run rampant, tragedies come with the territory. As a parent can see what a child cannot and thus acts in the child’s best interest—even when it doesn’t seem good to the child, so God can do the same as our divine Parent. He can bring something good from a terrible set of circumstances. Churches filled because of 9/11, and an entire city repented when Old Testament Jonah preached to them. 

Rather than growing despondent over the why of tragedies, determine how you can be a part of helping God bring good from it. 

Prayer: Eternal God in heaven, when tragedy strikes, turn our eyes toward You so we can receive the wisdom needed to respond in healthy and beneficial ways.

Enter to win a free copy of my newest book, Grits & Grace & God. Visit the following link and sign up: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/99040-grace-grits-god-manna-from-heaven-served-up-southern-style

Saturday, July 26, 2014

If God’s so Good, Why Is There Evil? by Martin Wiles

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

While visiting the cemeteries surrounding the old churches in Cades Cove, Tennessee, my brother and I marveled over the numerous headstones showing children’s names—children who had lived only a few days or months. Children who lived in a place where medical care was scarce and fell far short of today’s standards. As they watched their children slowly slip from this life, some of these parents must have wondered why God was allowing this if he was so good. As a minister, I too have had this question posed to me by those who’ve lost children to illnesses or tragedies. And by some who haven’t experienced any personal tragedies but are simply trying to rectify in their minds how a good God and the presence of evil can co-exist. 

Jeremiah was given the unpleasant task of telling his people that their world would soon crumble because of their disobedience to God. While he understood the consequences of bad choices, he must have cringed at what God told him these pagan marauders would do to his people and beloved city. LORD, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. So let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? (Jeremiah 12:1 NLT)

Evil is present because God allows freedom of choice. Evidently this freedom originally extended beyond humans, for initially Satan was an angel. He and many others choose to rebel against God (Isaiah 41:13-14). With their rebellion, sin entered, and with Adam and Eve’s rebellion, sin entered my world. Freedom is a part of what makes me human, but it’s also what occasionally leads me into sin. Humanity—and even the world itself, is contaminated.

God is sovereign over evil but temporarily allows it. Why no one knows. Satan may currently spread mayhem, but he is limited by God’s power and permission. Old Testament Job’s dilemma reminds me of this. God’s power is exposed by observing how he takes Satan’s evil intentions and manufactures good from them (Romans 8:28). 

Satan may be wreaking havoc, but God is still good and still in control…all the time.  

Prayer: Merciful Father, protect us from the antics of the evil one, and remind us that You are always and eternally in control. Thank You guiding our world and lives with Your goodness. 

Enter to win a free copy of my newest book, Grits & Grace & God. Visit the following link and sign up: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/99040-grace-grits-god-manna-from-heaven-served-up-southern-style

Friday, July 25, 2014

WELCOME TO FLASHBACK FRIDAY...BECAUSE WE THINK EVERY DEVOTION DESERVES ANOTHER CHANCE. 

Work’s Goodness

Coins jingling in my pocket and bills resting in my wallet. My money. It felt good.

My parents taught me about the goodness of work and tested their opinion with chores. But I loved work. My grandmother was an Avon lady and took me along when ringing doorbells and saying; “Avon calling.” 
I spent summers with my grandparents and worked with my grandfather on the ice cream truck. A sumptuous job with fringe benefits. I progressed to bagging groceries at Piggly Wiggly. From plants to mills to offices to churches, I worked. Read more...

Martin N Michelle
Thanks to all our faithful followers who are "sharing" our posts--please keep it up! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Help us spread God's encouragement through his love lines. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Was Jesus God Or Just a Man? by Martin Wiles

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

When I glance at my dog and cat, I can easily distinguish the difference. How can I do this so easily? After all, they both have ears, mouths, tongues, eyes, tails, legs and feet, teeth, and fur. I suppose the obvious giveaway is that one meows while the other barks. But suppose I was deaf. Then how would I know. Somewhere in my distance past, my parents, grandparents, nursery workers, and other significant people taught me the difference. They either showed me a picture or the real thing and said “Dog” or “Cat.” Why even my fifteen-month-old grandson knows the difference. If I ask him where the kitty is, he looks at the cat and points. When he sees the dog, he says “Dog.” How does he know? Because I’ve done the same with him as others did with me. I show him the real thing as well as point them out in books we read. I know…he knows, because someone told us so and because I see others naming them the same thing. 

A more important question is how I can know the historical Jesus was God. He claimed to be, but is his word enough? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! (John 14:9 NLT)

The debate is ancient. Arius, a popular pastor of the fourth century, said Jesus was half-god—a proclamation that divided the early church. Roman emperor Constantine finally called the bishops together in Nicea. They produced the Nicene Creed which stated emphatically that Jesus was God. But does the work of councils answer the question with certainty?

For almost 2,000 years, the church has testified that Jesus was God. If it has been wrong, surely evidence would have surfaced by now. Many witnessed his resurrection. In addition to Jesus’ twelve apostles, more than 500 others witnessed it as well (I Corinthians 15:6). During his earthly ministry, Jesus manifested his ability to raise the dead, heal those with physical maladies, and perform a host of miracles. All testimonies that he was more than human. 

In the final analysis, however, none of the above actually proves Jesus was God if I don’t care to believe. Faith is the only answer. Like so many other spiritual matters, I must simply choose to believe even when there’s an absence of tangible proof. Have you?

Prayer: Father God, we believe that Jesus was Your only begotten Son sent to pay for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and eternal life with You. 

Martin N Michelle
Thanks to all our faithful followers who are "sharing" our posts--please keep it up! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Help us spread God's encouragement through his love lines. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...