Pain is unavoidable in this world. The primary kind of pain I am referring to throughout this article is emotional, mental and psychological. Jesus promised us that in the world we will suffer tribulation John 16:33. (Both physical and emotional in this context.) There are many different reasons for pain: some pain is self inflicted, some is caused by unexpected tragedies like an accident, some is caused by the behavior of other people, some from mental and emotional trauma, some, like in the Book of Job are divine tests, and more.
Divorce has become a major plot line in entertainment today. Although we all know the divorce rate is over 50% in the USA, I have observed that many divorces occur with couples who have been married well over 20 years and are each over 45 years of age. This has astonished me.
By “rites of passage” I am referring to a person’s transition from one status or phase to another. In the church we have various ceremonies that mark different phases of spiritual and biological maturity like baptism, first communion, confirmation, etc. However, in the context of this article, a rite of passage is more of a test that is part of a process God uses to bring believers into another stage of maturity, before assigning them to another level of kingdom service.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:1,6).
How many of us have promises, hopes, or dreams that are yet unfulfilled?
When most people think of how to choose their friends they have more of a worldly, casual concept rather than a biblical one. In John 15:15 Jesus told His disciples He called them friends and not servants. Since the Kingdom of God is based upon relationship and not ministry, it is important we know how to choose our friends wisely.
Those who believe in the God of the Christian Scriptures believe that world history is purposeful — not just church history — because it is based on God’s design for the nations of the world. (Read Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 1:15-20; Daniel 4:34-35; Acts 17:24-31.)
This is in opposition to those with a classical, cyclical view of history who believe that all societies and cultures continually repeat history, and also those with a naturalistic view of history based on evolution in which everything that happens is based on chance.
Many years ago I was shocked when I realized that not all pastors have a strong gift of leadership. While that is okay, it is important to understand this to avoid confusion or frustration because of pastoral expectations and limitations.
In our culture we have a proclivity to elevate “doing over being”; to focus more on causes than on Christ. This means that the greatest threat we have as Christians (as defined by Paul in Galatians and Romans when we try to have salvation by works) to our growth in Christ by process is that we live in a future oriented culture that relates time largely to efficiency and productivity. We are more inclined than ever to use time to accomplish results than to enhance relationships.
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