How to Connect With God in a Way That Changes Everything

I’m often puzzled by those who seem to make a commitment to God yet somehow it doesn’t exactly stick.

They go forward in a church service or pray at a retreat. Then drift back to the old ways.

I mean seems like it should work. They did all the right things.

Yet, soon they’re back in their previous life. Or are they?

 

Photo Credit: Tommy Clark

Photo Credit: Tommy Clark

 

I think often it’s worse. Something caused them to want a change. Some crisis or just being tired of it all.

So when they drift back the old ways don’t exactly work anymore. And now they’ve tried the “God thing” and that didn’t work either.

 

 

So often they feel worse off than before.

 

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Finding Peace When You Feel Rejected by a Loved One

One of the hardest issues when we enter into a relationship with God is the rejection we’ll be surprised by. Especially sometimes from people we feel closest to.

 

Photo Credit: Edd Sowden

Photo Credit: Edd Sowden

 

I’ve seen it and experienced it several times. Of course it might be my personality that’s less than stellar on occasion also.

Yet, often it comes from ones we think will rejoice in the change that’s taken place.

But think about a wife who suddenly changes and her husband feels excluded.

Or a son and his parents feel somehow like they weren’t good enough.

Or a friend who now doesn’t enjoy some of the previous partying so she feels excluded.

What’s frustrating is when we’re trapped in that position we can’t go back because, well, we’ve changed. And we feel hurt going forward.

Now I’ll be the first to say some Christians can be really obnoxious. I’ve met more than a couple. And I don’t like hanging out with them either.

 

But I’m talking here about those who’ve been positively transformed yet find themselves feeling rejected.

 

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How to Overcome Doubts to be Sure of Heaven

When I first entered into a relationship with God my life radically changed. It felt new, positive, uplifting. I looked forward to the adventure of this life and the one to come.

Yet, by the time I’d finished seminary it’d gone south. Sounds strange I know, but I was filled with doubts and worries. My spiritual life had become a nightmare.

 

Photo Credit: Tommy Clark

Photo Credit: Tommy Clark

 

One incident epitomizes this.

While having lunch with another student one afternoon, I asked him, “So do you believe a person can lose his salvation?”

“Absolutely,” he responded. “If he sins and hasn’t asked for forgiveness he would lose it.”

“Really,” I asked. “So let’s say I’m driving home after classes and a hot looking girl is walking down the sidewalk wearing a tight miniskirt and I have just the smallest lustful thought about her.”

I know you’re shocked thinking that could never possibly happen to someone in seminary.

“So I’m distracted, run a red light and get broadsided killing me instantly. Am I going to Heaven?”

“Nope.”

Yikes, no wonder I felt depressed and frankly couldn’t wait to graduate.

 

I felt trapped. I couldn’t go back to my old way of life and I was suffocating in the new.

 

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Finding Courage in the Midst of Fearful Challenges

Number 55 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” The miracles and promises of Jesus that show us the awesome blessings we can experience each day. I hope it encourages you!

 

I don’t think a day goes by that we’re not bombarded by things to be afraid of. It’s one of the benefits of being totally connected isn’t it?

 

Photo Credit: Alon

Photo Credit: Alon

 

I mean the stock market tanks and we fret about our financial future.

Some nut job sets off a bomb in a city and we fear for our safety.

An egomaniac with a nuke starts threatening World War 3 and we worry about our future and the future of our kids.

Add on top worrying about cancer, the latest resistant disease, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s.

Or how about just keeping our job in the next recession? Yikes!

I’ve said before, “I’m not surprised by all the people who go crazy. I’m only surprised there aren’t more.”

Then how we deal with it is often perhaps less than helpful? Maybe a little too much TV? Or a wee small dram too much alcohol? Or an extra dessert a little too often?

 

Yet, the fear doesn’t leave does it? Oh, maybe for a moment but it always comes sneaking back.

 

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Sunday Music: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Celtic Woman

What a heart warming rendition of this favorite Simon & Garfunkel song.

When you listen to the words carefully there is a message behind them which is so encouraging.

We are not alone.

I hope you enjoy this on your Sunday.

 

If you have trouble viewing this you can watch it here.

 

Do you have a favorite music video?

Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or email me.  Thanks.

How to Find Solutions When Your Feel Oppressed

Number 54 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” The miracles and promises of Jesus that show us the awesome blessings we can experience each day. I hope it encourages you!

 

In California we’re in our fourth year of a drought. The government is completely unprepared. We’ve increased our population dramatically without increasing water storage. And California periodically has droughts. So surprise, now we’re running out of water.

 

Photo Credit: John Krzesinski

Photo Credit: John Krzesinski

 

So the governor proposed that everyone use 25 percent less water or pay a fine. So like brush my teeth only once a day? Flush the toilet every other time? Let our yard die? Really?

In addition to questioning the sanity of our state government once again it caused me to think about people who live under governments that really are oppressive. Who abuse their liberties continually.

And closer to home, those who work for organizations that are oppressive.

Yet, sometimes we just can’t escape. It’s currently not a reasonable option. So we struggle under the oppression.

 

In the midst we feel trapped. Like we’re suffocating. And we’re afraid.

 

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Sunday Music: “Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe

What a fun uplifting song.  A great reminder that when our world falls apart we can find peace in the midst.

I hope this encourages you this Sunday and brightens your day.

 

If you have trouble seeing this video you can watch it here.

 

Do you have a favorite music video?

Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or email me.  Thanks.

Be Surprised with Joy As You Allow Your Gifts to Blossom

Number 53 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” The miracles and promises of Jesus that show us the awesome blessings we can experience each day. I hope it encourages you!

 

Starting this blog has been a constant challenge that frankly I didn’t need.

I took a two year hiatus after ending my previous blog. Then when some commitments ended I pondered what I wanted to do with the extra time. One option was to write a new blog.

Honestly my first response was, “Ugh. Do I really want to?”

 

Photo Credit:  Daniel Foster

Photo Credit: Daniel Foster

 

I mean some days feel like I’ve signed up for an exploratory root canal.

So I pushed it off. Tried to ignore it. Debated with myself.

And no I don’t need psychoanalysis.

Yet something inside compels me to write.

 

When I thought about giving it up I felt like something died.  I felt depressed about it.

 

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We Can Gain Insights into Solving Mystifying Problems

Number 52 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” The miracles and promises of Jesus that show us the awesome blessings we can experience each day. I hope it encourages you!

 

Let’s face it, life can be pretty mystifying at times.

I mean we get life all wired and it’s running along smoothly when we get hammered with something out of the blue. And we think, “Ugh, not again?”

And often it’s something we haven’t dealt with before so it seems more confusing than ever.

 

Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

 

I’ve sometimes thought, “Why couldn’t God just have given us a huge binder full of steps to solve all contingencies? I mean today it could be on the internet with Google search. How hard would that be for him?”

But he didn’t consult me before setting up this whole thing called life.

So maybe we read the latest self help book and to get a couple of tips. Yet, somehow it’s just never enough. Or it never works quite as smoothly as written.

 

Frankly, sometimes I find myself more confused than when I started.

 

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Sunday Music: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

A haunting soulful version of this popular song sung by Leonard Cohen who wrote it.

I will leave it to you to draw your own message from it.

Personally I find it both troubling and comforting.  But I would be interested to hear your take.

Hope you enjoy it on your Sunday.

 

If you have trouble viewing this video you can watch it here.

 

Please share your thoughts about it with me on Facebook, Twitter or email me.

Also if you have a favorite music video I’d love to share it for you.  Thanks.