The Surprising Upsides to Suffering

I am completely humbled by this lady’s words. She gets it… far better than I do. So I am re-posting it here. There is no question in my mind that we Christians… some of us anyway (including me)… as well as many in our culture suffer this “ontological lightness” and so the distractions, the, “hollow entertainment” and the business of life keep us from the, “weighty things.” There is a purpose to my suffering… and yours. BTW – I substitute suffering for sadness because that is what identify with more.

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The Surprising Upside to Sadness

Catherine Morgan / May 6, 2017

Depression. Discouragement. Sorrow.

 

Too often we find ourselves here. Waves of emotions overcome when we least expect them. While I’ve learned a lot about choosing light, daring to hope, hard thanksgiving, and spiritual battle, there are lessons yet to learn.

 

The more I consider these emotions I’d rather not experience, the more I see multiple reasons that depression—yes, depression—has been a gift to me. Here are five.

  1. Sadness forces me to depend on Jesus.

I am far more aware of Christ, attentive to Christ, and thirsty for Christ when I am discouraged. Trapped in a rough patch, the psalmists’ words suddenly spring to life: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Ps. 42:1). “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:26).

Only when I thirst for Jesus do I bend low to drink his living water. And so, paradoxically, in sadness I find the key to joy, which otherwise I might blithely miss.

  1. Sadness gives me humility and empathy.

Depression has a way of humbling me like nothing else, as God protects me from my own ego. It’s hard to feel you’ve arrived when you struggle to even get out of bed. In these moments I need grace like I need water, a knowledge that keeps me face-planted before the cross—a posture infinitely preferable to the kind of humiliating crash that often flows from pride.

Empathy lets me see the world from a brokenhearted perspective—it lets me borrow broken eyes. Am I compassionate? It’s only because I so deeply need mercy. How can I withhold this gift I’ve received and need more of each day? I meet homeless families, unemployed immigrants, teen moms, couples mid-divorce, suicidal folks, jilted sweethearts. Every one has the same needs, the same sinful soul, the same shy beauty of God’s image imprinted on their heart. When I see them, I see me. God redeems my sadness as he turns my eyes outward and fills me with compassion.

  1. Sadness rescues me from silliness.

As my seminary-nerd husband would say, my depression rescues me from ontological lightness. It’s easy to exchange weighty things for hollow entertainment. Unchecked, it can lead someone through 30,000 days only to face eternity with empty pockets. Isn’t this the spirit of Ecclesiastes 7:2? “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”

Joy is not inferior to gloom—emphatically it’s not—but it’s easy in all the levity to miss the grand epic as it unfolds. Like hobbits happy in the Shire while Sauron advances, we can forget the stakes—life is short, eternity beckons, souls hang in the balance. A healthy dose of sobriety helps me see the world as it is: cursed and lost, in need of a Redeemer.

  1. Sadness prepares me for future struggle.

How often does a rootless faith blow away in adversity? A quick survey of spiritual giants indicates they have this in common: They’ve suffered. In various ways, to various degrees, they’ve driven those roots down ever-deeper into the love of God, so that when the storms of persecution or tragedy arrive, they’re prepared. They know from repeated experience where to find living water in a drought.

  1. Sadness is God’s way of strengthening me.

Jesus, who holds the galaxies together by his power, demonstrated another kind of strength as he was stricken, smitten, and afflicted. And in his mercy, he lends us a measure of his strength when we suffer. When we’re weak in ourselves, we’re strong in him.

When I fall into the pit of despair, I’ve learned to look up, to seek light, to cry out for deliverance, to long for home. It’s a struggle I may face all my life. That’s okay. God is at work, and I can trust him.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Pet. 1:6–9)

Thank you, Jesus.

Catherine Morgan is a church planter’s wife in Aurora, Colorado, and the author of Thirty Thousand Days (Christian Focus). You can read more at her blog.

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July 4th 2017: A Time to Hate Evil

King Solomon wrote three books of the Bible. In Ecclesiastes he said there is a time to love and a time to hate.tumblr_l29yi3gag71qa8ix8o1_r1_1280

Paul in the Bible said we should hate what is evil and cling to what is good.

The New York Times estimates drug overdoses in America in 2016 were around 59,000. We have an opioid epidemic. The LA Times says this, “Last year, there were 20,792 homicides in Mexico — a 22% increase over 2015, and a 35% jump over 2014.”. These homicides are primarily drug cartel related. We need a wall for the health of both countries. Liberals hate the idea of a wall because illegal immigrants provide a dependent voting bloc. Republicans have zero courage. That is something to hate.

Now every June immoral men have parades taking “pride” in their evil behavior with even a President signing off on the wickedness. Obama in effect said sodomy is good – defying the very God who created him. Why is a good part of the world so enamored with homosexuality? Surely delusions run rampant on this earth. Homosexuals operate as if equality is the only worthwhile principle under the sun. Good men will hate such confusion.

Trump is hard to defend but he says he wants to make America great again. A good part of America would really like to see that happen. But the media and liberal democrats continually attack Trump with false narratives in an effort to derail his presidency out of sheer vengeance. Such an evil agenda must be hated.

The God of the Bible is the one who created you and all that you can see and behold. But this liberal nonsense of, “separation of church and state” that is not even in the constitution has been used by deceived men to drive God out of our society. That is a scheme of evil itself

Hillary committed a crime using her own email server and then lied to you about it. She also gave the Russians 20% of our plutonium for hefty donations to her foundation. There is plenty of evidence that the Clintons used Foundation funds for personal gain. Bill Clinton is an alleged serial sexual predator of which Hillary is an enabler. This low brow character is the person Democrats and the liberal media think would be a good president for you. Such delusions are easy to hate.

Any philosophy like liberalism that demands that Americans be snuffed out in the womb is surely the dung beetle of world philosophies. Fifty-Nine million dead Americans from abortion as a result of “sexual freedom” is incredible human carnage. Anyone who does not hate such slaughter has a leanness of soul.

While the liberal media and liberal democrats cook up false accusations regarding Trump, Obama gave billions of dollars to terrorist Iran, he used the IRS to attack political opponents, he used the DOJ to deflect responsibility regarding the fast and furious, and he used AG Loretta Lynch to get Hillary off of the hook. Add to all of that lying about Benghazi and having subordinates lie about a dead American ambassador all of which the liberal media gave Obama a complete pass on and the hate piles up like dead stinking rats.

Two caveats are in order for liberals. First is that we are to hate evil but not people. Second is that the typical liberal response is that we should not judge. Well, that is one verse in the Bible that paints a picture. Jesus also said we should judge with a right judgment and the need for discernment is thoroughly documented in the Bible.

There is plenty to be grateful about our country – the greatest civilization in the history of the world. First our great heritage is second only to God’s great providence in ancient Israel. Second, there are a whole lot of great people in our country who understand good from evil. Third, our appeals to our Creator do not fall on deaf ears.

If we continue on this foolish liberal path that says we are “evolving” beyond religion and our Creator then our decline will continue.

Jesus said He is the truth. This Fourth let us hate what is evil and embrace what is true.

Liberalism is Killing the American Soul

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This ran at the Visalia Times Delta on May 9th, 2016.

Liberalism is Killing the American Soul

This is in response to Haynes article, “Without LGBT Rights, Religious Freedom Fails.”

Why is liberalism so enamored with homosexuality? First, liberalism adopts an Enlightenment principle that says man is at the center of everything instead of having God at the center so God gives liberals over to very strong delusions. Second, liberals do not want to be held to a moral standard so they are sympathetic to anything opposed to Christianity.

There is a certain foolishness of men that has no regard for the design of God. Mr. Haynes advocacy is the kind of nonsense we get from those who have prestigious degrees but no wisdom because they do not know God.

If homosexuality is equal to one-man-one-woman Holy Matrimony then why are there are there over 30 million deaths due to AIDS – the genesis of which is sodomy? Why does Mr. Haynes advocate such carnage?

What kind of social justice is it to advocate for the, “B,” in LGBT which is bisexuality – the practice of which means that a man sleeps with a man and then he sleeps with a woman thereby giving her all sorts of nasty diseases. Why does Haynes promote disease for women?

The reason why God says homosexuality is a sin is because it is not His design. Why is this so very hard to grasp? The Bible also condemns thievery and drunkenness. My hands are designed for work to help myself and those around me. I can claim all day long that my hands were, “born” to steal from my neighbor but that is a lie. God did not design my hands to steal from others.

Alcohol has many legitimate uses. A glass of wine is nice. Alcohol is a great disinfectant and very useful solvent. But God did not give us our bodies and alcohol for drunkenness. To say that a person was, “born that way,” in regards to misusing alcohol is simply an excuse to sin.

I am not unsympathetic to a person’s struggles with sin. I have my own. My theory is that most men have some sort of fatal flaw that can take them out. The high challenge is in overcoming the flaw and attempting to be numbered among good men.

Trying to find common ground between such opposing worldviews is extremely difficult. Have you noticed that activist homosexuals, rather than living and let live, sue Christian florists, bakers and ministers over grievances? How do we co-exist with such antagonism? Bank robbers and law enforcement do not have compatible interests.

Everyone screams for equality but the hard fact is that equality originates with God. We should look to God to define good and evil and if we let man define right and wrong then the process is flawed because man is subject to error. We cannot claim the equality God affords us and then spurn the rest of His counsel.

The carnage of AIDS and STD’s should prove to liberals that God’s principles regarding the sacredness of sex are a matter of truth. We need religious freedom but we must realize that truth emanates from one true God and there are many false gods.

Obama – A Convoluted Mess

This article ran at Intellectual Conservative on February 7th, 2016

The unvarnished truth is that Obama is a convoluted mess because he claims Christianity, lives by liberalism for political power, but his heart is with Islam.”

Obama – A Convoluted Mess

This is a political essay.

I read an article about Obama’s, “Christianity” in the Washington Post recently.  The liberal media continually carries water for Obama, rationalizing his actions, spinning his dysfunction, and justifying his failures.  Churchill said this about truth: “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” In the American cultural wars the daily blast of white hot lies by the liberal media continually smoke-screens the truth.

Saul was a leader of ancient Israel.  The problem with Saul is that he tried to lead Israel in his own strength, by his own reasoning and by his own abilities.  God eventually rejected him as a leader.  This is a parallel for Obama’s type of leadership.

David in contrast led the Israelites by seeking God’s counsel with humility, much prayer as the Psalms attest, and he was described as a man after God’s own heart.  He was a type of Christ.

Read more here: http://intellectualconservative.com/obama-a-convoluted-mess/

 

 

Worldviews Determine Values

This article is vital because Christianity is illegal in at least 52 countries. Likewise, the recent national uproar over the comments about God’s design for marriage by the CEO of Chick-Fil-A reveals the widespread effort to silence Christians.

Worldviews determine values and values determine morals, laws, lifestyles and politics.  Today’s liberalism is a worldview – a view of how the world should be.  Christianity is a competing worldview.  Many liberals demand that religion be kept out of government and politics but of course they demand that liberalism rule the day in those arenas.

Our founders did not want a national religion for manifold reasons.  But, as John Adams said, “Our constitution is only fit for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly unsuited to the governance of any other kind.”  So how should respectable men of today apply Adams’ words to life and politics?  For many of us Christianity, which speaks to most issues of life, is the most viable way for a man to self-govern his life.  If a man does not self-govern, or properly rule himself, then something else has to step in and govern him which many times translates to excessive government laws, rules and regulations.

If we are to practice virtue, high character, responsibility and live in a productive fashion then we need correct values.  The same holds for groups of people and nations.  The values that a nation is based on matter greatly.  Soviet Russia obtained its values from Marxism and Communism.  Saudi Arabia draws its values from the Koran.  Israel draws many of its values from the Old Testament.  Our Founders drew their values from Judeo — Christian ethics and the Enlightenment.  It is important to consider that we are not a Muslim nation.  Nor are we a communist nation.  And we are not an Asian nation drawing our values from Buddha or Confucius.  We are not a Hindu nation.  We did not obtain our values from the Sikh religion.  But we do have freedom of religion so a person can draw from a worldview or religion of their choice.

America extracts a lot of insight from reason and science but those two disciplines do not speak to all realms of life.

Our constitution says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”  But if a pastor makes a political statement in the pulpit then he risks a visit from the IRS.  And our government has deemed it highly offensive to offer a word of thanks to our Creator in a public school. These things shouldn’t be.

Adversaries of Christianity continually claim that Christians are trying to force Christianity on America and therefore they demand that religion be kept out of government.  However, every law is based on a value and the source of that value is critical.  Behind every law that is passed there is a value that is forced on the population.  Some of our laws are good and some of them are not.  I maintain that Christians and Christianity have every right to influence people, laws, government and every area of life just like liberalism in fact does.

Consider that liberalism has forced on conservatives abortion laws, laws that mute pastors from commenting on politics, laws in California that teach elementary children about immoral behavior, the wayward idea that two men in a physical relationship can be called “marriage,” and the government taking control of 1/5 of the economy in the form of Obamacare.  All of these destructive liberal ideas, values, and parts of a worldview have been forced on conservatives legislatively or judicially.

And, to add insult to real injury, the liberal comes along and demands that Christians keep their worldview out of government!   Given that our government is a constitutional republic, my protest is that if enough moral people decide to pass a law that says marriage is between one man and one woman, or if enough moral and decent people are able to pass a law that says abortion snuffs out a life and so we will not allow that anymore, then that value and that law should prevail.  If Christian values prevail legislatively then that is fair play and Constitutional.

That is partially what Adams meant.  Moral people have the right to influence government and all aspects of life.  That Christians want a theocracy is just liberal subterfuge.  Christians want what was founded… adherence to the Constitution.  And just as liberalism influences all aspects of life so Christianity should have equal influence.

So, is this article about religion, politics, or life itself?  For the progressive this article is about religion so he will immediately scream separation of church and state, which is not in the constitution.  But the truth is that this article is about all three.

Evil has always tried to silence men of character.  Herod killed John the Baptist.  Hitler finally executed Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Martin Luther King was gunned down.  But men of virtue must stand up for the truth anyway despite the risks.

Ron Hunnicutt