Do we expect too much?

Help stop the endless cycles of expectation, disappointment and despair.

Wisdomforlife

  • Do we have unrealistic expectations of happiness in western culture?
  • Do we expect to experience unbroken tranquility in a world that has fallen from its Creator?
  • Do we have a place for the groaning described in Romans 8:22-23?
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

As diagnoses of depression and cases of suicide escalate, the Church must equip people to understand what the Bible teaches about trials, hardships, suffering and sadness.

An inadequate theology of suffering contributes to unrealistic expectations of the “good” life. This in turn sends one through endless cycles of expectation-disappointment and despair.

Along these lines, it’s equally important to help people distinguish sadness due to neurological challenges from…

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How did Adam’s sin affect Humanity?

One of the deepest discussions among biblical scholars concerns the way Adam’s sin affected humanity.

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After Genesis 5, the Old Testament does not mention Adam. He doesn’t reappear in Scripture until the genealogy of Jesus.

There is also a kind of strange silence in most of the Bible on specifics in the narrative of the fall of humanity (Genesis 3). 

It’s not until we come to Romans 5 and I Corinthians 15 that we encounter vigorous consideration of the way the actions of Adam affected humanity. This focus is on the redemptive work of the one identified as the second Adam. 

Romans 5 and I Corinthians 15 answer the question…

How did the actions of Adam and Christ affect humanity? 

Romans 5:12, 17-19

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—(12) For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how…

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Why doesn’t God put an end to evil?

We must learn to think of God not only in relation to His sovereignty and benevolence but also in terms of His patience, mercy and grace.

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When evil things happen people commonly ask why God doesn’t do something about it. Why Doesn’t He stop it from happening? 

We think of God as the one who has the power and resources to change things. We’ve been told that God loves us and cares about our lives. Yet what exactly do we want Him to do regarding evil?

We certainly don’t want God to run the world on a principle of immediate justice.  This would bring judgment down on everyone! Since we’ve all sinned, and the wages of sin is death, living sinners ought to be grateful God’s mercy and grace restrain His judgment. 

Herein lies a problem.

For God to allow the world to go on with sinners living in it involves certain risks. When we sinners are permitted to make choices with real consequences, bad things should be expected.

It’s not entirely strange that we long…

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Extravagantly thankful

What if God made you live today on only those things you thanked Him for yesterday?

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55692-gratitude3Extravagantly?

Why would I associate this word with anything? We mostly use extravagant in negative ways.

  • extravagant claims -exceeding the limits of reason or necessity.
  • extravagant praiselacking in moderation, balance, and restraint.
  • extravagant displayexcessively elaborate.
  • extravagant with moneyspending much more than necessary.
  • extravagant priceextremely or unreasonably high in price.

Should we then be moderately thankful? Occasionally thankful? No.

Extravagant is a much better word (as I’ll demonstrate in a moment). First, however, consider some references to extravagant descriptions of the work of God.

God’s Extravagant ways

  • I John 3:1 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us”
  • Romans 2:4 – “the riches of his kindness”
  • I Timothy 1:14 – “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly
  • I Timothy 1:16 – I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience

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The power of giving thanks

Good things flourish in thankful hearts.

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large_be-grateful-titleThis is a day for giving thanks in America! It’s a day that stretches back to a time before America became a nation.

When the Pilgrims landed in 1620, they were unprepared for the harsh realities of life in the new world. Sadly, about half of them died in the first year.

After a successful corn harvest in their second year, they  celebrated a feast of thanksgiving in November of 1621.

Edward Winslow reflected on that first thanksgiving meal, “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we gathered the fruit of our labors. …And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want.”

Americans continue to celebrate a day of feasting and thanksgiving in the fall of each year.

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When bad things happen

Bad things happen to us. Painful things. Things that crush our spirits. Things that leave wounds and scars.

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Imagine God appearing to you on New Year’s Eve to tell you that nothing bad will happen to you in the coming year. A great sense of relief would come over you. Each time you felt the pull of anxiety, you could dismiss it because of God’s announcement. You’re in for a year free of sadness, disappointment, failure, pain, or any other bad thing. It will be a great year! But how much would God have to rearrange to make this happen?

I would like to live in a world where nothing bad happened to anyone. Yet, as we all know, this is not the way things go in this world. Bad things happen to all of us. And sometimes bad things happen to people we might consider to be good. Suffering and evil are harsh realities in this world.

Does God care about this?

Many feel, as one has written, that “…there has been just too much suffering…

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Feeling blessed…

We now have eight beautiful grandchildren and we feel very blessed!
Giving thanks to God for His gifts! 

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Our two oldest grandchildren, McKenna Faith Griffen and Austin Charles Cornell. Hard to believe they will soon be 10 years old! We now have eight beautiful grandchildren and we feel very blessed!

Giving thanks to God for His gifts! 

Austin Charles Cornell and McKenna Faith Griffen

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Reforming the Church

Helpful insights…

Wisdomforlife

be-the-church--blue_2265_1024x768It is good to be willing to innovate and adapt for the sake of the gospel but, “when sociological reality is taken as the given to which church strategy and tactics must adjust, the church is in danger of becoming market-driven in an attempt to create a particularly attractive religious boutique to which all (or all within an identifiable market niche) are welcome and within which a variety of goods and services must be offered for personal choice.” (Joseph D. Small)

According to John Calvin reform of the church is based on the three pillars of

  1. Doctrine
  2. Administering the sacraments
  3. Governing the church

If the church was to be restored to faithfulness, three things were required…

  1. Attention to the truth of the gospel
  2. Attention to worship centered in the grace of the lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit
  3. Attention to the disciplined…

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Ministry in a postmodern world

Times have changed and those who minister in western cultures must take a closer look at the changes.

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Ministry always happens in a cultural context. Faithful ministry requires an understanding of the underlying ways people think and especially the way people view truth and reality in the context. Missionaries sent to foreign cultures have consistently recognized this need.

For many years, those who lived in western cultures have not been as concerned about cultural awareness. But times have changed and those who minister in western cultures must take a closer look at these changes.

Fairly recent and significant shifts in the way people view truth and reality must be understood if ministry is to remain effective. Many have identified the shift as movement from a modern to a postmodern culture. But is this shift as significant as some suggest? And, if it is, what is at the heart of it? And, what does faithful ministry look like in light of these changes?

In, The Ruins of the Church: Sustaining Faith in an age of…

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Knowing the one who is beyond knowledge

Take time to worshipfully reflect on the one called Jesus. Choose one title each day and make it the focus of prayer, praise, and song!

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Names of Jesus Christ

Why do we need so many titles to explain Jesus? The NT uses more than 100 titles for Him. Why? Is it because in Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3)?

Is it because in Jesus resides all the fullness of Deity in bodily form (Colossians 2:9)?

Understanding just the love of Christ, its width and length; height and depth, is to try to grasp something that is ultimately beyond knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19). Can His love be known and experienced? Yes. But its fullness cannot be fully understood in this life.

As Christmas approaches take time to worshipfully reflect on the one called Jesus. His description is accessible, personal, and yet, infinite. He is all we need and more.

Begin with these words from Hebrews 1:1-3:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has…

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