No Easy Answers, and Don’t Tell Me You Know

There are some things in life that can’t be explained. I mean explained from the deep depths of the soul where you struggle with faith.

There have been tons of things written about pain and suffering. I wrote a book about it, too:  Joy & Trouble

The struggle you go through to work through things in life are part of what takes your faith from a shallow, wading-type of faith into the deep waters, to the type that will get you out of the boat and walking on the roaring sea toward Jesus.

Peter is used a lot to talk about how he looked at the waves instead of Jesus and then began to sink.

What some may have forgotten is, he’s the only one who got out to try it! Me, I’m not so sure. Maybe I’d stay in the boat.

But then, again, perhaps the safest place to be in a terrible storm is out on the deep sea walking towards Jesus. At least when you start to sink because of doubt, he will be there to reach down and lift you up.

After all, Jesus could have let Peter sink.

He didn’t though.

So, when you are struggling with pain and suffering: either yours, someone you love, or even just overwhelming events you see on the news, don’t feel bad for struggling. Just reach up your hand to Jesus and say:

Lord, save me! Save me from my doubts. Save me from my sadness.

And if anyone has a pat answer for pain and suffering for you, perhaps that’s the only way they can handle it. They may not have enough energy to go through the struggle right now.

That’s OK, too.

Pain and struggles won’t go away, and they’ll get another chance to work through it.


What Can You Learn from Eve’s Decision?

The very first woman, Eve, was approached by a smooth salesman: Satan.

Satan promises Eve a lot of things that were really enticing:

  • Secret Knowledge
  • No Consequences to her behavior
  • Being a god

Secret Knowledge

Some ads use the word “secret” in them. We have this knowledge that is secret that is going to solve your problem. You can’t find it anywhere else. Only we have it.

The thing is, knowledge that is wonderful often it isn’t hidden at all. It just takes work. Losing weight is eating less calories and moving more. No secret to that. But it’s hard. So, instead, people sell you a pill, or a new diet plan that is going to work when the last one didn’t, or some easy exercise equipment that looks like it just helps you melt pounds off just by looking at it – ha!

Some religious groups do the same thing. They claim to have hidden knowledge of God, or will tell you the Bible has hidden codes in it.

However, God didn’t reveal himself in the Bible to make himself hidden.

The Gnostics who were around during the time John wrote his short letters in the Bible claimed to have knowledge about God that you could only get through them.

No Consequences

Many things that are bad for your body are “sold” to people without telling you there are severe consequences.

We are seeing this with the drug epidemic. “This drug will make you feel better.” What it really does is numb you to the reality that you aren’t facing. It doesn’t make you feel better in the long run. It hooks you, and many of the ones out there on the streets are killing people or hooking you severely – sometimes on the very first use.

The same thing is seen in drinking, smoking, etc. It is made to look cool, fit in with others, enjoying life, but often it leads down a very sad path with lots of bad consequences.

Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant. Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8 CEB) Galatians 6: 7-8 (Bible Gateway)

There are consequences to behavior. Sometimes, the consequences are deadly as in the case with Eve. Her decision led to death. Not immediately, but eventually. This is the same way that consequences often work. Sometimes the results are not immediate, but they do come.

Being a god

This promise was very subtle. Eve was told that God was holding back on her, keeping her from enjoying life.

Being responsible is not “fun” sometimes. It may look like changing diapers, going to work every day, studying for an exam instead of going to a party. In other words, being an adult.

It seems that it would be more enjoyable to do what’s fun and use that as a criteria to making decisions. This is what being a god is really offering: Make your own decisions, live life the way you want to, and everything will work out anyway.

The consequences to that type of life may make it enjoyable for you, maybe even a lifetime, but it leaves behind scarred children, broken hearts, and a difficult world to live in and, eventually, eternal consequences.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. But all fun needs to have boundaries. So, the next day, you wake up with good memories and not a lousy-feeling body, or consequences that follow you or someone you love for the rest of your life.

God puts boundaries in place and tells us not to “eat from that tree,” because he made us, and he knows what’s good for us.

If you are looking for wisdom to live life, a great book of the Bible to read is the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters. So, you can read one chapter a day. It has advice for life in many categories.

I hope that the next time someone comes to you promising you one of the above things, you’ll take a closer look at their promises. Perhaps, they are offering you a piece of fruit that looks great, tastes great, but will leave a sour taste in your mouth in the long run.

Answering the Call, The Doctor Who Made Africa His Life

Ken Gire has written a very interesting book about the life of Albert Schweitzer.

The book tells of a man who was extremely intelligent, and would be considered a success in multiple areas. He had degrees and knowledge of philosophy, music, and medicine.

He used his knowledge to help those who did not have the health services they needed to survive in a rough environment: Africa.

Albert Schweitzer lived through World War 1 and World War 2. He was considered a prisoner of war during the First War and he had to leave his work at the hospital to be imprisoned.

He also had to leave his work to raise money to continue the hospital’s work several times.

In addition to working in establishing the hospital, playing concerts, lecturing at universities, he also was a writer.

Albert Schweitzer not only helped people during his lifetime, his life continues to inspire people today through foundations named for him, the hospital he established, and his influence on others that was profound.

This book can be purchased at: – at least at the time of this writing. It is not an affiliate link.

Joseph’s Story: Riches to Rags, Rags to Riches, Rinse and Repeat

Joseph’s story was not the typical rags to riches story.

Joseph’s story in the Bible tells of a young man who went from being the favorite son, to being a slave, rising again to become the person in charge of his master’s entire estate, to being thrown into prison, and then being removed from prison to become second in command in the country where he had arrived as a slave.

It is the ultimate riches to rags, to riches, to rags, to riches story. (Is that confusing or what?)

It seems to follow along with an old joke, that has been told multiple ways, of a person who goes through events in his life which seem at one point to be good, then turn out to be bad, then turn out to be good….

Joseph’s life was like that.

Joseph summed up his life later to tell his brothers (those who began the process by selling him into slavery) that what they intended for bad, God used for good.

Joseph’s life story was not just his story. He was part of something bigger, a lot bigger! God used his pain to bring about the salvation of his entire family during a famine. This family became a nation from which a savior would come.

You may be going through something really tough right now. It may not make any sense at all why you are having these problems.

It might be something you did, and you are getting the results of bad decisions (Galatians 6:7; Hosea 8:7).

It could be something that someone has done to you, and you are having to live with the consequences (Proverbs 13:23).

However these things have come, God can use them to work for good in your life and the lives of others:

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. (Romans 8:28 CEB)

Sometimes, like Joseph, it may take some time before we can see where the events in our life are leading for the good; but if we love God, God promises to use all things for good – not that all things will be good.

You can read about Joseph in Genesis 37 and the following chapters.

Atlas of the World Coloring Book by Amber Books, Ltd. 2017

Sometimes the way a book is marketed isn’t necessarily the only way you can use the book.

I visited Barnes & Noble in Greensboro, NC recently. They place books in the entrance foyer to grab your attention. One of the stacks of books was an Atlas of the World Coloring Book. On the inside front cover it says:

Atlas of the World Coloring Book is both an excellent reference guide and a relaxing learning tool.

However, when I saw the book, I saw it could fulfill needs I had that weren’t mentioned.

I had been praying through the countries of the world, but then I stopped praying for them.

Honestly, prayer sometimes can get mundane, repetitious, even boring when trying to pray through lists of countries, people, etc. So, if you want to keep up your prayer life, I’ve found you have to look for new ways to continue praying through these lists.

This book answered my prayer in two ways.

One, I was looking for updated maps of the world. The world is constantly changing. Countries that were one, split into two such as Sudan. Sometimes they change names. This book was published in 2017. So, it is current.

Two, it gave me an interesting way to continue my goal of praying through the countries of the world.

The atlas shows the topographical layout of countries on some maps. It shows the divisions of countries on other maps. It gives tidbits of information about countries on the pages. In other words, lots of things to add to my prayer as I go through the countries.

This is a fascinating book that could be used for children to learn more about the world. It could be used in home schools or public schools for extra outside work.

Look for ways to enhance your prayer life. Maybe a coloring book can help you. Besides, it’s fun to be a kid again at times!