Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trail Lessons – Seasons Will Come and Go

I often go for long walks on the Santa Fe Trail—“Empowerment Walks”.  I am extremely blessed to live in a beautiful place, with such gorgeous scenery, strong sunshine, and mostly mild temperatures.  My walks serve as a time to give my body some exercise and de-stress.  Most of all, my walks are a time for thinking, singing and worship, and talking and listening to God.  As I’ve walked miles and miles on the Santa Fe Trail, God has taught me an abundance of lessons and has reassured my heart and soul countless times.  Yesterday, I set out on another empowerment walk.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Marriage Isn’t For You; Marriage is For Us

A few days ago, my 19 year-old son asked me if I had read a blog post which had gone viral.  The post is titled Marriage Isn’t For You and written by Seth Adam Smith.  At approximately the same time my son was asking me about the article, his girlfriend happened to message me a link to it and asked for my opinion.  I was curious what this post was all about and took the time to read it multiple times and ponder it for a couple of days.  I asked my husband (of 26 ½ years) to also read the article. 

I offered my son and his girlfriend a different viewpoint:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Unveiling the Myth of Hell and Eternal Torment, Part 3

Part 3 – The Greek Word Hades

If you have not read Part 1, A Brief Backdrop of My Journey or Part 2, The Hebrew Word Sheol, please do so before reading this Part 3.

Once again, I’ll repeat myself and say that mankind’s present is enormously influenced by the past and by other cultures.  Christianity’s modern ideas of hell have mostly come from Greek and Roman mythology, the poetic (and fictional) writing of Dante Alighieri’s (1265-1321) Inferno, and from ancient church leaders of Roman Catholicism and so called “church fathers” who had the wrong perception of God’s character, held an unhealthy fear of God, and/or wanted to have power and control over people. 

In Part 2, I explained the Hebrew word Sheol which is used in the Old Testament.  In this Part 3, I will explain the Greek word Hades, which is the equivalent to Sheol.

What is Hades?  

The Greek word “Hades” ([h]ades) is constructed out of two root words: 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Unveiling the Myth of Hell and Eternal Torment, Part 2

Part 2 – The Hebrew Word Sheol

If you have not read Part 1, A Brief Backdrop of My Journey, please do so before reading this Part 2.

Now, let’s get on to our discussion about hell…

So…what the hell is hell, anyway?

Where does the idea of hell and it being promoted as a place of eternal conscious torment come from?  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Unveiling the Myth of Hell and Eternal Torment, Part 1

Part 1 – A Brief Backdrop of My Journey

I have appropriately used the word “unveiling” in the title to this series about hell because God is the One who must lift the veil or pull back the curtain for us to see any truth.  And that’s precisely what He has done for me and continues to do on a daily basis.  

“A man cannot get anything if it should not 
be given him out of heaven.”
(John 3:17, CLNT)

The Backdrop

Please bear with me for a moment while I set a very brief backdrop of my spiritual journey.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Daily Truth – Only God Knows

The last writing (or “book”) in our modern Bibles is commonly known as Revelation.  The New American Standard (NAS) translation titles it “The Revelation of John”.  

The Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT) most appropriately titles it “The Unveiling of Jesus Christ”.

The Writ, Dabhar Translation Vol. 2, simply shortens it to “Unveiling”

Monday, June 3, 2013

My 45th Birthday Thanksgivings

My 45th birthday came and went a couple of weeks ago.  I awoke that morning thanking God for my life and all His work in my life and journaled some thanksgivings.  I have wanted to type those up and post them because they are so important to me. 

Thanksgivings are so significant.  They remind us of how much we have, how much we’ve been given, and how blessed we truly are.  Sometimes, when life is hard, we tend to focus on the negatives and become negative ourselves and ungrateful.  Thanksgivings are a powerful force against negativity and ungratefulness.
On my 45th birthday morning, I offered these initial thanksgivings to God…

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Response to Suffering and Sorrow – Finding Comfort through Job

“Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept evil?”
(Job 2:10)

It is never easy accepting painful circumstances in our lives.  Adversity is guaranteed to come and go while we usually find ourselves kicking and screaming against any of it.  The child in us prefers to only live out the happy ending of a fairy tale.  At this point of life and in my faith, I am confident that the life I have this very day is the life God has ordained for me.  No matter how difficult things may be, through whatever today brings, I know it holds an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to overcome.  In spite of knowing that, it’s still not easy to endure suffering and sorrow. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stand on Your Knees! The Sun WILL Rise after the Night

I have been observing that there seems to be a sudden surge of utter despair overcoming people.  This life is full of ups and downs.  Living this life carries with it the promise that not only will we face joys but that we will also face great sorrows.  It seems to me too many people are being tempted to give up in total hopelessness rather than endure and push through with perseverance.  It truly breaks my heart.  As all these things happen, I am reminded of something I wrote a long time ago and eventually posted on this site in the post God is Hope.

I am currently 44 years old.  I have faced my share of joys and sorrows.  I’ve had my share of trials and sufferings—as a child, as a youth, as a young adult, and as a full grown adult.  I have faced the death of loved ones.  I have faced the heartache of being forsaken and abandoned by those who had previously claimed to love me.  I have felt the bitter sting of hatred from those I love deeply.  Some of the trials have certainly felt like much more than I wanted to endure or felt like I could endure.  Some of the trials lasted a short time (days or months) while others went on for years, which felt to me like an eternity.  During some of those trials, I was tempted to give up all hope and despair completely.  My spiritual enemy and adversary of God, the devil, lied to me and tried to convince me to give up hope and to give up my faith in God.  There were times when the spiritual enemy even tried to convince me that death was better than life. 

Who brings utter despair knocking on the door of our soul?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Daily Truth - The All Surpassing Love of God

I woke up this morning with these thoughts of truth. 

God’s love extends far, far beyond all human love.  God’s love truly knows no boundaries whatsoever and is never withdrawn.  While human love has limitations, God’s love does not. 

Whether we like to admit it or not, our human love and affection are conditional and sometimes too easily withdrawn when we face particular circumstances.  Depending on the behavior of a person, we may choose whether to love them or withhold love.  Some people’s behavior even leads us to feel utter hatred towards them.  Unfortunately, we are faced with the same conundrum in regards to our human love towards God.  When God is behaving the way we want Him to behave, we are able to easily love Him and extend our praise and affection toward Him.  But when God is not doing things the way we prefer or is seemingly not giving answer to our requests, we may choose to withdraw our love and affection from Him. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Disillusionment with God

Our general populace has arrived at a loss of faith and trust in God. 

Some people find it easier to believe there is some “higher power” but will not call it God.  Is that “higher power” luck, fortune, the stars, the planets, or the universe?  What exactly is it?  Why don't they call it God? 

Other people simply choose to believe there is nothing greater or more powerful than man.  Man is his own god—his own master and commander.  After all, life on this earth can be quite chaotic at times.  Why waste time believing in a God that doesn’t stop the “bad” things from happening? 

And there are those people who start out having a faith in God but find themselves at a crossroads where they question that faith or give it up altogether. 

Why this crisis of faith in God? 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Where Is God When Bad Things Happen? Finding Understanding through Job - Part 3, Afflicted Beyond What We Can Bear

This is a continuation to the previous posts:
Part 3 – Afflicted Beyond What We Can Bear

When people are going through terrible suffering, their friends might thoughtlessly quote to them the cliché “The Bible says God will not give you more than you can handle”.  This is actually not a scriptural statement whatsoever; it is based on misunderstood and misquoted verses.  The verses of 1 Corinthians 10:12-14 speak on the subject of temptation, not about trials of enduring suffering.  Most contrary to the popular cliché, the apostle Paul stated that we do face afflictions that may bring us to despair and feel beyond our strength to endure, even to the point of making us feel like we may die.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Abortion News of February 2013

To many people, abortion news is like “old news”.  Even this post may not interest you, and you’ll decide to not give it your time of day.  Regrettably, our general public has become dulled and numb to the realities of abortion in our country.  Abortion has been legal for four decades, and it’s a subject of heated debate that seems to have no end in sight.  Does that mean we should stop caring and verbalizing the truth and close our ears, mouths, and eyes to it? 

Some people in our nation cry out and mourn over the death of a newborn baby or of the violent shooting of elementary school aged children, boycott and call out against the injustices of innocently slain animals or endangered species, and battle against the decimation of the rain forest all the while ignoring the daily ongoing murder of unborn babies and the adverse effects upon the women who are their mothers. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

God Will Have His Perfect Way, Part 2

Back in March of 2010, I read a blog post by David Flowers titled Hell: Eternal Torture?  I was prompted to comment on David’s post and also posted my reply here on this site and titled it God Will Have His Perfect Way.  At that time, I checked a little option box at David’s blog saying that I wanted to get emails of any future comments pertaining to that post.  Over the past three years, comments have come and gone, and I’ve not been compelled to comment again, until last night.  

Yesterday, a man named Andrew posted his comments and asked particular questions beginning with “Is anyone up for this subject?”  His comments caused me to want to immediately reply. 

Andrew’s comments were as follows:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Finding Understanding through Job, Part 2 – Facing Tragic Loss

Part 2 – Facing Tragic Loss

Time and time again, I can’t help but return to Job when I experience suffering or when I see or hear of the suffering of others.  Corresponding to the extensive suffering he endured, the literal meaning of Job’s name in the Hebrew language is “persecuted”.  The story of Job, the man who was persecuted, begins this way:

The Art of William Blake
JOB 1:1-5 (NAS)

1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him. His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “ Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Finding Understanding Through Job, Part 1 - Asking Hard Questions

Part I – Asking Hard Questions

Where is God when our greatest fears become a reality?

When tragedy strikes or the unthinkable happens, where is God? 

Does God hear us when we beg and plead Him to prevent something bad from occurring in our lives?

Is God aware of the terrible things that go on in this world every single day? 

Why doesn’t He stop them?

Doesn’t God care about the evil in this world or the tragedies that take place?

When we face trials that overwhelm us, where is God? 

Where is He when we face suffering and trials that feel way too much for us to bear?

Why doesn’t God relieve us from our sufferings?

Is the world and mankind’s behavior spinning round and round out of His control?

Why doesn’t God put an end to evil once and for all?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DAILY TRUTH – God’s Grace Superexceeds All Sin

“Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds…”
(Romans 5:20, CLNT)

Those are some of the most beautiful words in the Scriptures, so I’ll type them again:

…where sin increases, grace superexceeds…

Read them over and over again.  Say them aloud, slowly.  Let them sink in.  Do not just read them or hear them, allow them to plant and take root in your soul. 

Are you aware that you cannot outdo God’s grace?  God’s grace cannot be outdone or outsinned.  The Scriptures tell us that God’s grace superexceeds all sin, no matter how much sin increases.  His grace extends above and beyond all sin.  There is no sin that can trample over God’s grace.  His grace is immeasurable.  It is boundless.  It has not limits.  God’s grace is superior to all our wrongdoings. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

We are Losing the Art of Listening

I wanted to write this post as an extension of my previous post titled Feeling Alone in a Technology Driven and Social Media Society

There is an enormous difference between hearing someone’s voice and actually listening to what they are saying.  Hearing involves sound, while listening involves the mind and emotions.  As we find ourselves more focused on digital technology, I believe we are losing the art of truly listening to what people are saying.  We may be hearing them, but what they are saying is not sinking in.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Feeling Alone in a Technology Driven and Social Media Society

There have been a number of articles written over the past year talking about social media and some of its negative effects upon us.  The first article I came across and read in 2012 spoke about people feeling lonelier in spite of having hundreds of “friends” on Facebook.  I didn’t find the aspect shocking and began to consider if it was true or not.  I’ve been mulling over this (off and on) for many months and have read more articles.  Some of the articles address the loneliness, jealousy, and narcissistic factors promoted by social media.  Meanwhile, some articles lean the other way and state that all that negativity about social media is probably unfounded and not true.  

Through my personal experience, the following is what I’ve concluded about this matter.