Sunday, November 18, 2012

Are You Bored With God? - Dr. Ray Pritchard

“When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ‘‘My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God." Ecclesiastes 5:4-7

Louis Goldberg comments that Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 comes as a kind of interlude in the book. After considering so many of life’s harsh realities, it’s as if Solomon wants to remind us that through genuine worship we can come into contact with the living God. But even here there are warnings. When you worship, listen first (1-3). If you make a vow to God, keep it (4-6). Stand in awe of God (7). 

That leads me to share some good news and some bad news. The good news is, you can worship God anywhere. I agree with those who say you don’t have to go to church to worship God. That’s true, and lots of people who go to church don’t worship anyway. They come by force of habit or in order to see their friends. Worship is the last thing on their minds. You can worship anytime or anywhere as long as you catch a glimpse of God’s holiness. When you see God, you’ll worship no matter where you are.

Finding God in the Midst of Suffering - Ross Clark

"We suffer in relationships and search for answers"; and more precisely how we find God, or sometimes don't find God, in the midst of it.

Suffering will confront us all in one way or another. As the Greeks said, "God has ordained for mortal man that by suffering comes understanding". For me, the specific form of it I have had had to deal with is in relationship; or more precisely, the lack of relationship. To be honest, I have a longing to marry (though in this place, that is hardly a state secret); and at weddings, that longing can run very, very deep. But I am in a place where it seems that that longing can be neither met nor healed. Sometimes I feel like Moses on Mt. Nebo (Deut. 34), looking across at a Promised Land he could see but knew he could never enter.

Normally, I would "grin and bear it", as I am of a fairly stoic disposition. However, there is always something to aggravate a situation. I was told when I was younger, "Do the right thing and God will have someone for you. Don't, and ..." one was always left with the clear impression that there would be "consequences". Well, not only am I not married, but I've also had to see Christian friends of mine who broke every rule in the book, first "get away with it" and then, be given the blessing denied me.

So where is God in this situation? Can He be found? Indeed, He can be found, but more often that not He has to be asked in. Essentially, I've come to realise this.

First, I have met God directly in this "sea of troubles". And essentially, He has been very welcoming - no sense of criticism for all my doubts or questions. None of the "Job's Comforter" responses I have sometimes been lumbered with. If He has said anything, it is, "Nothing is wasted".

Second, I have met God though others, as people, including many of you, have stood by me on those occasions when I've proceeded to blow every fuse in the emotional box. That has been a marvellous "means of grace". Furthermore, it has given me light as I have come across suffering people and wondered what to do. It is a powerful way to express God's love when one listens - and loves - and does not judge.

The Bible has answers for human suffering, but they cannot be easy answers. Never let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

World Called on to Act Against 'Genocide' of Nigeria's Christians

After meeting with the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S. this week, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) is calling on the international community to pressure governments and those in authority to have Boko Haram declared a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) – as the militants have been blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths since they started waging Jihad in 2009.

Speaking with The Christian Post on Friday, Laolu Akande, Executive Director of the CANAN, said that although the discussion in Washington, D.C., on Thursday with Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye was positive, the Christian grassroots organization was concerned by the official's reluctance to support labeling the Islamist terror group as an FTO.

"The overall impression is that the ambassador would maintain the official position, because we clearly explained why designation of Boko Haram as a terrorist organization is the most important strike against the group," said Akande.

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