When Big Questions Loom: An Honest Response

Some questions linger unanswered – questions that weigh heavy on your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

They threaten to suffocate the joy out of life and life can feel barren, hopeless, endless.

Everyone else seems to have all the answers or they never had any questions. Their lives seem purposeful, full of meaning, with no lingering questions. They are successful or at least apparently happy and their happiness seems to add weight to your questions.

And the simple answers – the ones not won after wrestling with God – feel like the force of a cannon ball shot a close quarters.

Questions

Would someone be honest enough to say the question has no simple answer?

Would we as the church stand up and say there are many things we do not understand?

Could we be honest enough to admit that more often than not God’s ways are not our ways and He is bigger and better than we can imagine even in the questions and injustices of life?

What if we made prayer circles and prayed big prayers that only God can fulfill, but then prayed as Jesus did, “Not my will, but Yours?”

Can we, church, admit that although we know God is good, holy, righteous, pure, and perfect that we aren’t privy to how He choses to shape the course of history?

Can we stop attempting to shore up God’s reputation by denying or failing to mention He is also a jealous God and a God of wrath?

Maybe there in the midst of uncertainty true faith develops.

Faith that knows it does not have all the answers, but trusts a God who does.

Faith that believes God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, but knows that God’s plans – which are for our good – may not always look good in this physical world.

Faith that begs Jesus to help our unbelief.

Faith that clings to God even when questions linger.

Angela

Your Holy Calling

You have a calling.

Yes, you momma with the unwashed hair and spit-up stained shirt, you have a calling.

Yes you who have made a mess of things again and you wonder if God could really use you.

All of us, we have a calling and God tells us to live worthy of it…

And I wonder how I could possibly live worthy of godliness, holiness.

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But God reminds me that His great calling on my life comes with the power to do it. The power to say no to ungodliness. The power to live a holy life…God give it to us. We just have to choose to live in that power.

And it starts with a desperate plea for help to our Heavenly Father. Help, because we cannot live this holy life without His help. And it continues as we keep our eyes on Jesus. When we remember what He did for us on the cross, we long for holiness so we may bring Him glory and honor.

“For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11

How will we be richly provided a way to the eternal kingdom? In the power given to us for life and godliness — the power of Christ in us. So our holy calling is not how we get to heaven, but it is us agreeing with God that our lives belongs to Him. And God doesn’t stop there.

“For if these qualities [of holiness] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8

This holy calling on our lives then is possible through the power God gives us which is the same power that frees us from the penalty of our sin. And it is the same power that makes what we do for God effective.

God has called us to holiness. God has empowered us to live holy lives. He tells us this holy calling means our work for Him will be effective. Praise God! He loves us enough not only to call us to holiness, but to empower us to live holy.

What ungodly thing do you need to say no today? Have you been walking contrary to your holy calling? It isn’t too late.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Now let’s walk in the power God has given so we can say no to ungodliness and yes to our holy calling.

Want to know more about New Start 15?

New Start 15 invitation

New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan

New Start 15 Blogging Schedule

New Start 15 Facebook Page

Angela

How to Begin Again

Every ministry I touch turns to ash, my perfectionist self handed down the verdict as I wandered memory lane. My heart squeezed tight as I felt the truth of it.

God can’t use me because I just mess things up. The lie felt like a heavy weight around my shoulders and though I knew it was a lie – know it is a lie – the weight still hangs heavy.

How do I begin again when all my clothes are stained by ash? Or when it seems so futile?

But God reminds us…

“…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

The ash is washed away…And what seems impossible?

‘Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”’ Mark 10:27

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20

God is able to do things that we cannot do, He is able to do more than we can even imagine. And still

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

So we must pray as Jesus did:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39

In order to begin again we must stand in the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross. Then we must walk in the power of God who is able to do more than all we can imagine. And as we walk we must trust God despite what circumstances look like that He is in control and He has what is best for us in mind.

Beginning again takes faith to trust the God whose ways are not our ways to give us the power we need to walk in His will despite what circumstances He allows to come to our lives.

In what ways are you beginning again today?

Angela

Intimacy, Holiness, and Power

“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” Psalm 15:1

My heart echoes the cry of the psalmist. How do I get close to God? How do I develop a deep and abiding relationship? Can I move-in with God? What must I do so I can dwell with God?

The short answer is…

“The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart…” Psalm 15:2

And my heart clenches tight as my mind works out a way I could meet these standards.

Blameless…well maybe if God grades on a curve…I'll make it.

Righteous…I am right most of the time…Check.

Speaks truth…I'm not a liar. I mean when it really counts I'm honest…Got that one too. God's so lucky to have me.

All the while my heart whispers, “You can never live up to this standard. It is hopeless, so why try.”

Is there no other way? Must I wrestle with either being self-righteous and far from God or give-up trying to be holy at all because I know I fail and also remain estranged from God?

There is another way. It is accepting Jesus' holiness as our own by admitting we cannot live up to God's perfect law. Then believing that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and rose again to show His sacrifice was accepted. Finally we must confess that Jesus is now in charge of our lives.

Once we realize the amazing gift of forgiveness that God gave us through Jesus then not only do we long to be close to God, but we long to live holy lives in gratitude for all He has done for us. Self-righteousness melts away because only Jesus can save us. Hopelessness vanishes because God gives us power to live holy righteous lives.

And the light dawns in our hearts. We can live on God's holy hill in close relationship with God. We are blameless through Jesus. Righteous through faith in Jesus and through His free gift we can say no to unholiness. And as we live holy lives though difficult circumstances come and it seems the earth is shifting beneath our feet, we will not be moved. For Psalm 15:5b says, “…Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”

Have you accepted the free gift Jesus has offered you?

If not pray: God I know I cannot live up to Your perfect law. I believe Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for the laws I have broken and rose again. I now want Jesus to be in charge of my life and I want to live for Him always. Amen.

Are you using God's power to say no to unholy behavior and yes to godliness?

Ask God to show you areas in your life you have unholy behavior. Ask God to forgive you and for the power to say no to unholiness. Now walk in the holiness of God with the help of His Spirit.

Continue your New Start 15 by visiting Kathy Howard’s blog tomorrow.

 

 

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Angela