Thursday, July 21, 2011

God and Suffering

I've been working on my sermon for this Sunday based on Romans 8:26-39.  Verse 28 has that wonderful promise, "We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose."  I can't help thinking as I read that list in verse 38-39 (...neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.) that suffering in our lives never means God does not love us.  Nevertheless, many well-meaning Christians seem to offer this view perhaps unintentially. 

It happens when we are around people who have just suffered some calamity by saying things like, "It's all in God's plan." or "God has a reason for everything."   I simply do not believe it is God's will for babies to die, people to starve, etc.  What I do believe is that we live in a fallen world with sickness and disease.  God's promise is that he will be with us in the midst of the suffering.  This is what brings me hope and comfort.  Therefore, I, like Paul, have learned to satified with whatever my circumstances may be because God is with me by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I wonder how you feel about this subject.  Please comment and let me know your thoughts.  You have to register as a user and log in to leave comments. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter

I saw the last Harry Potter film Friday night and enjoyed it.  I've long been a fan.  I have read all the books and seen all the films.  It is a great story.  I still have friends that will not let their children read the books or see the films.  There are so many parallels to the Christian story that could be used.  For example, in this movie (SPOILER ALERT), Harry discovers that he must die in order for Voldermort, evil incarnate, to die.  Harry decides he will sacrifice himself for the benefit of others.  Of course, Harry finds that he returns to life following his sacrifice.  What a parallel to the teaching of Jesus that he who tries to save his life will lose it and he who willing gives up his life will find it.  Anyway, I feel it is a good story about people making the right, selfless choices when faced with temptation in life.  I will miss Harry and his friends.

Friday, July 15, 2011

National Debt

It seems amazing to me that our federal government is arguing over whether to raise the national debt ceiling.  Our nation is in the state it is due to debt, both on the public and private sectors.  

When are we Americans going to understand that when you spend more than you take in you will be saddled with debt you cannot repay.  I have been teaching a personal finance class for a few years and one tenet is that when your expenses are greater than your income it is never a good idea to try and increase you income.  The more effective tactic is to reduce your expenses.  Apparently the federal government can't seem to agree on the best method.  One side wants to increase the debt limit and increase revenue (by raising taxes) while the other side wants to freeze the debt limit and reduce spending.  I have to agree with the later. 

Some readers will not agree with me.  However, I see a real problem with the spending habits of our government.  We have so many programs that discourage people from taking responsibility for their own decisions.  This is America where we are supposed to be free - free to succeed and free to fail.  It increasingly seems that our chances to do either is disappearing.  We appear to be free to be mediocre. 

When our citizens see the governments role as provider we have a real problem.  There is no end to this type of thinking.  Benjamin Franklin once said, "When the people find they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic."  I believe we are seeing this end in sight.  If our representatives do not begin to see this and begin making decisions based on what is best for this country instead of their political careers, there is only one end for this story - socialism.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Blog Site

I finally gave up on the blog function on my church's website.  To register in as a user on the site just didn't work right so people could read, but not comment.  My hope for this blog site is for folks to be able to discuss issues of the day, Christianity, Music, or anything else that is on your minds.  I hope to be able to allow anyone to post comments, so keep it clean, folks.

The topic that comes to mind for me is the meeting I attended of the home team for the Griffith's family.  God has been calling my friends Nick, Heidi, and Gilly Griffiths to the mission field for quite some time now.  God is leading them to the country of Kenya where they will be working to construct water filtration sites.  It is so sad to hear about the billions that die from drinking unclean water in the world when we have the resources to provide clean water.  I find it amazing how we Americans have the cleanest tap water in the world and yet find a need to further filter our water when other folks around the world have to drink water out of unclean lakes and rivers where wild animals bathe and sewage is dumped.  What does this say about us as followers of Jesus who called us to take care of the poor?