Monday, December 16, 2013

Holding Hands

I love being a daddy. Have I ever mentioned that? As unexpected and undesired as it was, the love that I have for my son literally pains me. At his little stage in life, there’s one thing that he does that so moves me. It’s nothing extravagant or some grand fruit of obedience. It’s a simple action really. When we’re walking and my son reaches up his little hand to hold mine, something in me is moved in my innermost being. So much is wrapped up in this little action. Without a word, he’s telling me he trusts me. He needs me. He’s reliant upon me to guide him. Perhaps we’re somewhere he’s never been before and he’s unsure where we’re going. Maybe there’s strangers around and he finds solace in my hand. Sometimes it may even be we are somewhere we’ve been before, but in this place he’s learned to stay close because it’s not a safe place.

I want to be like this. You see, I too am a son. Of course at forty years of age, I’m not referring to walking around a department store holding my natural father’s hand (that would be quite awkward, I would assume).  I long to be so reliant upon my Heavenly Father. Even after all of these years of knowing better, I’m still so often infantile in recognizing my need for Him. I'm still prone to run across the street, where I don’t belong and seemingly forget how I need the care and guidance of His hand.

I’ve been learning a lot more about this lately as my son becomes more and more independent, even at only two and a half.  I don’t want to be a stubborn son. I don’t want to fight the yoke that I’m now under that is so easy. Fears, anxieties, questions, distractions… the patterns of the old me will always fight to distract me from my Father. I’m well aware of that. I’m OK with it too for it’s all part of the journey. That being said, I just want to be a reliant son. Knowing how much joy it brings to my heart when Noah reaches his little hand up for mine - by his own choosing – drives me to want to do the same. I want to surrender my will and way and quietly reach up my hand for my Father’s guidance.

He knows I’m stubborn. He knows that I have to daily lay down my will. He knows my fears. I rejoice over the fact that He’s not just looking for me to perform, He sees my heart. It’s this place that I continue to willingly lay bare and confess my need. I don’t need to be the strong you know. He is my strength. He is my salvation. He is my everlasting Father. Today, I will raise my hand and whisper “Abba Father, I’m in need of you”. There’s no need to shout, He’s already beside me with His hand waiting for mine. What a treasure it is to be a son…. a son of the Most High God.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Mind Set On The Carnality Of The Flesh

Romans 8:6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”


For the mind (phronema: thoughts and purposes) set on the flesh (sarx: carnally minded, the body, sensuous nature of man) is death (thanatos: misery of the soul arising from sin; figuratively, a region enveloped in the darkness of ignorance and sin), but the mind set on the Spirit (pneuma: Holy Spirit, Spirit of God, Spirit of Jesus Christ) is life (zoe: vitality, fullness, active and vigorous devoted to God) and peace (eirene: rest, quietness, tranquility, tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ).”


For the thoughts and purposes of man that are of the carnal, sensuous nature are misery and darkness, but the mind set on the Holy Spirit is a life of vitality and rest, assured of its salvation in Christ.


Some people are fascinated with the goings on of the flesh. Indulgences and pleasures are front and center throughout every corner of the globe, perhaps none more tangible and present than here in the US. Many a Christian, with great pleasure I might add, will woefully point a finger at the carnality of the world. But what of us (those called according to Christ)? Are we, the Body of Christ not also riddled with a different set of carnal pleasures often disguised as religious exercise or super-spiritualness? It should be of no surprise that carnal gratification can be found wrapped in religious performance. Have we not learned from Jesus’ confrontations with the religious elite of His day?

But that’s not what I'd like to delve into today. I’d like to pose a question. What if this verse could encapsulate a two-fold message? The first being the obvious - in Christ, we’re to forsake the carnality of our flesh and pursue the things of the Spirit. Although this is, and forever will be, an ongoing task, it’s quite elementary. Secondly, and perhaps missed entirely, is what I’d like to pose as a possibility. I like to call it “failure fascination”. This second message is that a Believer in Christ can actually be captivated with the existence of their carnality. This person is always consumed with their shortcomings and sin. Please don‘t get me wrong, there obviously needs to be a constant awareness of our need to pursue holiness and spiritual maturity.

That being said, I don’t believe it’s spiritually healthy whatsoever to have a mind entirely set on my carnality and sin.

With the obvious instruction of this verse to be setting one’s mind on the Spirit, can that be done when one is always enamored with their personal failures and sin? I don’t think that it can. In an underlying sense of translation of this verse, I think that this too is a mind set on the things of the flesh (fixated on shortcomings and sin). As I’ve stated a lot over the last year or so, I’ve come to terms with the reality of my carnality. I’m OK with the fact that sin will be a certainty for me until the day that this body breathes its last breath. Now this in no way excuses me to sin or live a voluntary life of disobedience, excused away by this carnality. As Paul said, the fact that I have a proneness to sin and God’s forgiveness of it is absolutely not a license to excuse it. In fact, I still loathe my wretchedness apart from Christ. But…. but! In Him I’m being conformed more and more into His image. I no longer spend my days dwelling on my sin and offenses. Quite simply, I’ve embraced that they will always be a part of my physical state. It is a simple fact that my Heavenly Father is very well aware of.

So with this approach in action, I choose to set my mind on who I am in Christ. I meditate on who He is creating me to be, despite all of my disobedience and failures. I no longer walk in a lifestyle of willful sin. I just don’t. So I’ve moved out of that mindset to one of going to my Father in the midst of it all - my victories and my transgressions. Now I choose to delve deeper into cultivating my relationship with my Father, free from the distractions of my sin which will always be present.

God, in His superior design and handiwork, set in motion a plan before time that would leave me in my physical body post-salvation for a reason.  

God’s blueprint was obviously never to remove us from our natural state upon surrendering our life to the Son. With this in mind, I rejoice over my current condition as one given to me by God Himself. So do I, as Paul did, groan and long for my heavenly dwelling? You’d better believe it! There are days when I literally cry out longing to be free from this body of flesh so that so I can interact with my Father unencumbered by the limitations of this body. I hate the sin that entangles me! But there is a beauty within this journey. Without my sin and disobedience, I would never see the beauty that is the forgiveness and longsuffering of my Father. I would never see my need for the sacrificial gift of my Saviour Who laid down His life for me despite knowing I would fall even after surrendering my life to Him. It’s my brokenness as I keep my gaze set upon the things of the Spirit that leads me back to the place of absolution.

So my constant challenge is this - am I walking in a place where I’m captivated by and fixated on my carnality? Or am I free to be me, in Christ, as I go about my day to day activities? Is my mind consumed with walking according to the Spirit or am I riddled with a failure fascination?  

I just don’t desire to sit around and discuss how much of a mess I am anymore.

I’m not saying that there’s not a time to delve into one’s sin and divulge in conversation about it – in a group setting or in one’s own mind. But it should never be a constant theme that overshadows all other spiritual matters and crowds out our awe of the LORD. I want to talk about how awesome my LORD is. I want to meditate on His goodness and mercy. I want to be obsessed with Him to the point of absolute fascination. In His presence, all that opposes His plan for my spiritual growth into Christ-likeness goes. His light easily drives out my darkness so I have no fear that I might somehow miss “working out my salvation” as my passage from one age (natural) to another (spiritual) continues. As the light of Christ shines within the darkest crevices of my innermost being, I can choose to give Him access and address those places or I can remain in darkness. Of course the choice is mine and it will be ongoing until my new/eternal body is inhabited. But I long to walk in absolute freedom to be me - my Christ-identity! I’m a mess, I get that. Of this there’s absolutely no debate. But my Jesus is OK with that. He’s the washer of the feet of the betrayers. He’s the guest at the tables of sinners. He’s the lover of the diseased and afflicted. He pardons the murderers.  He alone is my hope and anticipation of being freed from this natural state. I rejoice over this journey. I’m in need of saving. I’m in need of redemption. I’m in need of lovingkindness and mercy – daily! Thank You LORD that You are all of these and more. Praise be to the only One entirely capable of accepting me just as I am.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Because He Is

I hear a lot of chatter about praising God when things are going peachy for people. The Smith’s got a new house. Well, praise God! He’s so good! Mr. Howard got a promotion! Well, praise the Lord! Isn’t God awesome?!? *sigh* I don’t purposely try to be a downer, but something sure seems wrong with the common approach to how we attribute praise to God. We’re far too often swayed by ever-changing circumstances and personal agendas. Just a few weeks ago, I was intensely praying for a friend and just thanking God for Who He is. I vividly saw some things going on in the spiritual realm around them and in the midst of this, I heard God speak the following simple phrase that has given me hours of reflection.

Some people praise Me when and many praise Me if, but I’m looking for those who will praise Me because! (You may want to stop and read that again.) True praise and adoration of the Father is not circumstantial but rather is rooted in Who He is -and that alone is enough!

Allow me to briefly elaborate. Some people praise God if – if He does this or does that. Preconceived ideas of what God should do on our behalf makes us manipulators and is quite dangerous. An “I’ll praise you, love you, respond to you if you” attitude can easily overflow into every single area of our lives. It’s a self-based love that is always looking out for personal gain and it is not the agape love of the Father that we’ve been shown through Christ. He willingly showers us with His perfect love, though entirely undeserving we are.  Many people were raised under this kind of love and unknowingly pass it on to other generations. It will always lead to failure and disappointments within fractured relationships, rooted in a distorted and unhealthy view of God.

As I just mentioned, most Believers praise God when - when He does something on our behalf that we desire or when He seemingly brings about an outcome that we deem as advantageous. The new car. The new house. Your daughter made the honor role. Well praise the Lord! These are often hollow and can easily be corrupted views of thanking God if and only if He does what we feel is best.

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Col 3:17

I’m thankful that, over the last ten years primarily, I’ve been given the opportunity to test my approach of how I praise God in the midst of testing. A virtually unexplainable (and of course unexpected) stroke at age 36 was my first major trial. But in the midst of chaos in the natural, my spirit was in awe of my Father like I’ve still to this day never known. I wouldn’t trade those days of watching Him work supernaturally in me (and others) for anything in the world. My circumstances, although entirely “why me, God?”-worthy only propelled me to praise Him more! I experienced and learned so many life-changing things during that time. I was miraculously healed - entirely unexplainable to doctors. I didn’t wait to praise Him when I was healed. He is God and I praised Him because.

Fast forward several years to the birth of our son. My wife was extremely sick during the time of delivery. She needed a lot of emergency medical care during and after the birth. My son was simultaneously born with breathing issues and potential complications. Absolutely everything was the exact opposite of what we had planned and wanted it to be. Was I scared to death? You’d better believe I was! But, where else do I turn but to my Father!? I rested in the fact that all of our lives are His and He alone was deserving of my praise. He had formed and fashioned my son in my beautiful wife’s womb so I rested in the fact that the ultimate outcome was for Him to hold. I remember clearly that even in the midst of it all, I never once questioned why He was allowing all of this to happen. Even in the mess of things in the natural, I chose to see the eternal. Even when the entire situation was chaos, I didn’t stand tell God I’d praise Him if He healed my wife and son. He is God and I praised Him because.

Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5

Recently, I received word that a friend was being taken to the ER. I knew few details and even though I was out working, I began to thank God for the opportunity for her to be carried and held by Him. I asked Him to teach her in the midst of it all and to take her to a higher place of reliance upon Him – an experiential encounter. Of course I asked God to heal her and keep her safe but there are so many more deep levels to these things that must not go overlooked for the maturing Believer. (This approach is much more than just blindly asking for “God’s will to be done”.) I didn’t cry out to God pridefully demanding He heal my friend and then I’d praise Him for it when I heard good news. He is God and I praised Him because.

I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34

Perspective. Perspective. Perspective. It’s all about perspective. Allow me to give one more example. Our son Noah has a pretty intense dairy and egg allergy. If he even inhales some parmesan cheese dust, he’ll begin to sneeze. Kiss him after you’ve eaten a dairy product and his face will break out. If he actually eats dairy or egg… well, it’s bad and I don’t even like to talk about it. He can’t use shared crayons in restaurants and he can’t play on play place equipment at restaurants because even the residue from others gets to him. While I’ll be quick to state that this is extremely challenging and at times makes us want to scream, we do our best to see it all in light of the bigger picture. We’re so thankful our son isn’t terminally ill. We’re grateful he does not have a peanut allergy as well. We often thank the Lord for how Noah’s current allergies allowed my wife to completely overhaul our eating as a family, resulting in her own health dramatically improving! You see, we want to perceive things as Jesus did - seeing as the Father sees. From His perspective we see things so much differently than from our own limited view. We rejoice in what is, often buried deep within the what is not’s. I believe this is a view that pleases my Father and we want to cultivate lives that establish this as a normal way of life. He is God and He formed my son in his mother’s womb. My wife and I will not wait to praise God for His awesome works to give us a son. He alone holds all in His glorious hands and I will praise Him because.

Now let me be clear to state that I’m not at all trying to paint me as some super-Christian or have you to believe that I don’t ever wrestle with the why’s or why not’s of life.  But first and foremost, I desire to turn to my Father in praise and adoration. Worshipping Him in spirit and in truth, unmoved as much as possible, by my personal expectations or agendas. I’ve been shown entirely unconditional love and I’m moved to do likewise, whether all goes how I plan it or not. He is worthy – period.

Hebrews 13:15 states, “Through [Jesus Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Surely we can’t wait until we “feel like” praising God or when everything is doing what we deem as perfect. If this were the case, we’d surely never do it! For those in Christ, their spirits desire to praise God because of His nature in us.

So, have you ever attempted to manipulate God with an if and when You… I will…? I know I sure have! Remember, God is looking for a people who will praise Him because of Who He is. This has got to be enough! If it isn’t, we’ve not truly known the Father for He is so much higher than what we can ever fully grasp. May we who are called according to the name of Christ lay down our if’s and when’s and pour out our adoration to our Father, because He is.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The “You Deserve It” Deception

A great vacation, a new car, or even just an extra scoop of ice cream – at some time in our lives, we’ve likely all been told the interesting phrase, “Go ahead! You deserve it!” Usually, we don’t need someone else to give us license to have this approach in life. We do plenty of it for ourselves. In our heads, we validate decisions and in order to excuse many things that we desire (or to escape things that we don’t), we implement this into our thought life and ultimately, into our decision making. As we’ll see, we may find that we do this more than we realize – often entirely unaware.

This thought pattern is seemingly running as rampant today within the Body of Christ as it is within the world. TV preachers and highly-acclaimed “Christian” authors declare that we, as children of God, deserve prosperity, success and all the best that this world has to offer. The mainstream Christian patterns clearly announce that the modern-day Believer should meet certain criteria in order to be properly viewed as an acceptable and successful Christian (much of which is entirely unbiblical by the way). I won’t spend the time spelling out what many of these things are because that isn’t the point. The main issue however can be summed up quite simply. We’re told the lie that surely we must deserve to be happy, at all costs. So we buy into the same deception that governs the world in order to seek out personal pleasures, to preserve our comfortable way of life and to assure that we’re top dog.  

Anything that causes us trial, grief or hurt is often categorized as “the work of the devil” and must be avoided at all costs. So we, in spiritual ignorance and immaturity, become those who take flight at the arrival of adversity. Instead of patiently waiting to see if it’s an opportunity for us to be purified and refined, we fight it off and resist because it threatens our temporal happiness and comfort. (Luke 21:19, 2 Cor 6:4, James 1:3,4) Let’s run a few common scenarios as examples (some serious, some simple).

Are you too tired from a long week’s work to take time to spend with your family this weekend? Of course you are. You deserve some time to yourself. Go take another weekend  golf outing with the guys and relax, you deserve it.

Is your marriage failing? No one should have to put up with that. Just leave her/him and go get someone else. You deserve to be happy, don’t you?

As you round the aisle corner about to get in line at the supermarket, a young lady with a cart teeming with groceries gets into the line right in front of you (how dare she)! You should not have to wait for her! She’s surely not aware of your time constraints. You should have gone first… you deserve it!

Of course, all you really need to eat tonight is a small meal and, yes, people within a few blocks of you literally have no dinner to eat, but you work hard for what you have. Go drop $100 on a meal and indulge! You deserve it!

Yes we know that Jesus said to love our enemies and turn the other cheek, but they're just so evil. They must be eradicated! We deserve to be free and safe!

Is it really God’s will for you to live a life of giving away your time and possessions? Surely not! Buy that new car and the new house! You surely deserve it!

Of course we could do this all day but you get the point. Interestingly, these types of thought patterns and views are nothing new. In fact, I’d pose the simple fact that they all mirror, and flow from, the original rebellion in the Garden recorded in Genesis chapter 3. What I call the “you deserve it deception”. When the crafty serpent approached Eve, he instantly catered to her fleshly desire to have it all. Even though she walked and talked with God Himself and enjoyed life in a lavish garden of perfection, when presented with “more” she had to have it. The serpent, before he did anything, got Eve to question what she knew as truth. Before she even considered biting the fruit, she bit into the lie of questioning Who God is and what He had established as order. The serpent basically told Eve that she deserved so much more than what God had promised her. And he presents the same lie today to you and me.

Oh how this needs to sink deep into our hearts and minds today! It all starts in the unregenerated patterns of thought that we’ve not submitted to the mind of Christ. The great Deceiver’s tactics have not changed throughout the ages. He whispers, “Does God really desire for you to stay with your wife? Surely He knows how miserable you are. Run! Get away! You deserve better.” “Did Jesus really say to give away your earthly possessions and  help the poor? Surely that was just metaphorical, right? It’s OK to live life to the fullest. Get what can. You deserve it!” “Does Jesus really want you take the lower position and always be last in the here and now? Surely not! He wants you to have the best!” And just like Eve, we bite into the rebellious deception that removes God from the throne of our lives and we gleefully climb into it ourselves and attempt to get comfy. Deservedly! Eve saw that what the Deceiver was enticing her with was “good for food, a delight to her eyes and desirable to make [her] wise.” We do the same today my friend and this must not be so for the child of God. We must have eyes opened and illuminated by Christ in order to see these deceptions for what they truly are (2 Cor 4).

I’ll only briefly mention this, but it’s worth pointing out that much of today’s American religion expresses the thought that clergy and others “in ministry” somehow are deserving of earthly favor. Many fully expect restaurant discounts, gifts and other various “blessings” for their service. I find this almost impossible to grasp when I study the Scriptures and read about early Christian fathers. Friends, we should be leading the way in desiring the lowest position in all that we do in order to point others to Christ.  All we deserve, according the Jesus, is to be “despised because of [His] name”.

I would like to add some clarity here and be sure to point out that there are things due us as children of God. Things are imputed to us by Christ but absolutely all of it is for His glory and our transformation to become more like Him. Almost all of it is of the eternal sort and cannot be linked to temporal conditions. Time after time, in the Scriptures (as well as early Church history) we see examples of those called according to the name of Christ finding joy and life in the midst of their trials and tribulations. When appropriately viewed, it will never be circumstantial or based upon worldly pleasures. God does not desire us to be miserable and forlorn throughout this life! But, it absolutely must be sought out within His law and conditions or else we forfeit His will, exchanging it for our own (as Eve).

With my son nearing the two-year mark in a few weeks, I currently see a lot of this run its course in our home. His rebellion and desire to get his way mirrors the spiritual so much it baffles me. It’s this same, “I deserve!” approach that often rules us. He wants his way, despite what the guidelines we have set state. He wants and wholeheartedly feels that he is deserving of it too (and he will, of course, make sure that you know it). If it restrains him, limits him or goes against what he desires, he often responds with great opposition. Are we so different? We, like our children, must properly behave as children of the Most High. We must surrender our fleshly cravings and acknowledge that we’ve too often allowed the Deceiver to tickle our ears. It all must start with knowing the voice of our Father and understanding His law and commands. We must know what Christ says in regards to daily matters that we encounter. Secondly we must be found recognizing the cunning ways of the Deceiver. If it caters to our fleshly desires (belly, eyes, wisdom exalted above God), then we must be alert to see it for what it is. Only one walking in the activated mind of Christ and maturing in the Lord will come out the other side of these deceptions victorious (1 Cor 14:20, Heb 5:14).

Today, I urge you to take some time to assess your priorities. Ponder some of the major decisions that you’ve made over the last twelve months or so. What was your motive? What propelled you to act? What was your desired outcome? How much of what you desired to see as an outcome was originally rooted in an “I deserve” mindset? It’s my hope and prayer that we get to a place where our goal is to honor God and remain whole-heartedly seeking His perfect law above all else. Trials and challenges will come, of this we can be sure. It’s our biblical response to them that defines us as the children of God. Let’s allow them to propel us into a deeper reliance upon our Father to hold us, teach us and refine us into obedient sons and daughters of the Most High! Body of Christ, let’s leave the ancient “you deserve it” deception behind and forge ahead into obedience at all costs!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Facing Doubts

“But he said to them, ‘Unless I see (eido or  oida: know, perceive with the eyes or senses, look upon, behold) in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe (pisteuo: commit to trust, to be persuaded of, place confidence in).’ Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’” (John chapter 20)

I find this account of Thomas quite puzzling. One commentary states that this text about Thomas “shows either [his] perplexity about the miracle or a certain stubbornness of character”. Either way I think, if honest, we all have a good bit of Thomas in us. We believe but oh how much more we’d believe if God would just allow us to see, taste or feel “x”. I believe that in the case of Thomas, it’s crucial that we remember that he had shared years of his life in close relationship with Jesus. When Jesus was crucified, the pain and hurt of His leaving must have been unimaginable. I would like to assume that Thomas’ confession was perhaps more rooted in his emotions than a deep-seeded doubt. I would also suppose that he was possibly cautious to once more hand over his heart to Jesus after several days of sorrow and grief. We must remember the full context of the Scriptures!

Thomas was obviously a dedicated follower of Christ as we see in chapter 11 of John where he states, Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”  If these are in fact the words of Thomas, then his commitment or belief in what Jesus was foretelling was surely not lacking. We don’t have an account of Him doubting Jesus’ determination or intention to go to the cross. I believe that the post-resurrection scene (the main text that we started with) had many more dynamics and layers of emotions that I’ve never really heard anyone delve into when teaching it.

From my thirty years of church service attendance, I’ve heard countless sermons on how awful Thomas was because he doubted and desired “proof” of Jesus’ return. “Don’t be a Thomas!!! Believe!!!”, the preachers would always proclaim. *sigh* We so easily forget our own humanity and especially of those within the Scriptures. I whole-heartedly believe that it’s alright to wrestle with and question what we believe and what we devote ourselves to. It’s not a “lukewarm instead of hot or cold” issue at all, for me. It’s an honest approach to intimacy with my Father. I will have doubts and questions at many positions along my journey to become more like Christ. My personal choice is to embrace the questions and take them to my Saviour.

But how do we know that that’s OK? What if God turns me away because of my disbelief? We clearly see in verse 27 that Jesus actually invites doubt. He seemingly welcomes disbelief! He is entirely OK with our questions, fears and disbelief. Jesus did not say, “Thomas, get away from me then, you faithless skeptic!” He simply said, in summary, “Come and see for yourself. I am here. I am alive. I am Who I said that I am. It’s OK to believe again, Thomas. I am with you.” This is the Jesus that I’ve come to know over the last several years of my life. He beckons me to come to Him just as I am – unbelief and all! I don’t hide it away in guilt and shame, attempting to just ignore it. He desires to speak to me about the matters I question. I love that!

Another account of Thomas seems gravely overlooked and I want to be careful not to do that here. Of course we all love to quote Jesus saying, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. But why did Jesus tell us this? Because none other than Thomas confessed Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way? All because Thomas asked and revealed his ignorance (in the true sense), we have this eternal truth forever sealed in Scripture!

The Body of Christ seems to allow little, if any room for asking questions. The mindset that it’s sin if you ask questions or struggle with believing something is so spiritually suffocating. Blindly following doctrines and never addressing issues that you absolutely must resolve within your own inner man just isn’t spiritually healthy whatsoever. Friend, God can handle our disbelief and questions! Do you know this? He already sees into our innermost places so it’s kind of silly really to not lay ourselves bare before Him and discuss these matters without fear. I know parents who literally dread their children asking them tough questions about church, other people’s beliefs, Christianity, etc. because they either don’t know, or don’t like the answers that will follow. I just don’t understand this whatsoever. I cannot wait for my son to ask questions (he’s only 21 months)!  I long for the time that lies before us to search out answers together! I don’t fear what I don’t know or don’t understand! My Father is entirely able and eager to teach us and guide us.

One of our primary issues is that we’re biblically ignorant. Sure we know prominent verses from popular sermon topics but we don’t take the time to actually study the Word. (A Bible app on your iphone is not it my friends.) We must take time to study the Scriptures! We must sit in the quiet and ask the Father to give us clarity on matters that we wrestle with and most of all we must be transparent with Him always. Throughout the Old Testament you’ll find a phrase to be quite common that I believe we need to return to. The people were often found going to “inquire of the Lord”. Now, not every time, but in most occurrences, the people inquired and the Lord responded. May we be a people who live likewise and inquire of the Lord in our ignorance and doubts.

I don’t know it all and I never will. It’s so freeing to be alright with this simple fact. I may not know every spiritual/biblical question people will ask me. I may doubt the why’s of what God is bringing about in my life. I may even look up to the heavens and ask “God, are you really all that You say You are?” and I’m OK with that… and I believe that my Lord is too. May we be OK with being a Thomas because, as we saw in the text, he was ready to go with Jesus to the very end. Jesus knew this and invited his doubts and said, “Come… see… know…. experience Me.” I’m so thankful that I serve a Saviour like that. His awesome love  and compassion overwhelms and overtakes all of my doubt.