Tag Archives: Christian

While God Warms our Bottle

8 Mar

Recently I was engaged in conversation with a young Methodist pastor two months after his wife had given birth to a beautiful little girl. Lupe was relating how God was teaching and growing him through this totally dependent and adorable creation. He and Kelsey named their daughter Adarah, which is a Hebrew word meaning “beautiful.”

Adarah lets her hunger be known in no uncertain terms. Daddy hears and understands, but it’s necessary to first warm the bottle before satisfying her needs. Meanwhile, Adarah gets more frustrated and frantic. What a beautiful picture of God and His children. He hears and understands, but first God makes sure the bottle is warm. We doubt His goodness and believe He ignores our frantic pleas. We want satisfaction now. We worry and fret because we can’t see or understand how our problem will be solved. God has a solution.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT).

As time passes, if caregivers are consistent and loving, babies learn that their needs will be filled. They also learn to eat solid foods. Toddlers express preferences and gradually mealtime can become fun or it can become an ever increasing power struggle. So much depends on the patience and nurture of the parent as well as the health of the child.

Our heavenly Father is always loving and patient because that is His nature. However, as His children we aren’t always patient or healthy—emotionally, spiritually, or even physically. We don’t grow up. We fail to thrive. The writer to the Hebrew speaks to this age-old problem.

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right” (Hebrews 5:12–13 NLT).

God knows our needs and takes us where we are. In the beginning we need milk.

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into God salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2–3 NRSV).

He wants us trust His goodness and love. He wants what’s best for us. He alone knows the future and His timing is perfect. He offers solid food through Scripture, friends, books, sermons, and even blogs.

Choose to grow.

Remember He’s warming the milk.

Trust Him.

Say Yes to Confrontation

24 Aug

Recently, I’ve prayed for several people in conflict. Some situations are heart-rending. Others are frustrating or irritating. None of these people enjoyed conflict or desired confrontation. Here are some reasons used to avoid confrontation.

  1. Christians are supposed to be self-sacrificing. Confrontation seems selfish.
  2. He won’t listen anyway.
  3. She will get mad.
  4. They might not come back to visit.
  5. I’m afraid I’ll lose her love.
  6. I don’t know how to confront. I’ll only make things worse.

As a recovering people pleaser, I understand how dreading confrontation can immobilize us. Jesus says staying in biblical truth sets us free (John 8:31–32), so for the next few posts we will renew our mind regarding conflict and confrontation.

First, let’s be specific about terms using the Encarta Dictionary. Conflict is “a disagreement or clash between ideas, principles, or people.” Confrontation is “a face-to-face meeting or encounter, especially a challenging or hostile one.” It’s often necessary to confront someone regarding a conflict.

The Bible has much to say about conflict because it’s unavoidable. We’re not clones or cookie cutter Christians; neither are we perfect. Since we can’t avoid disagreement, God wants us to utilize His way of managing conflict.

I believed all six reasons above, so I “handled” conflict by rolling over and playing dead. Experience taught me some hard truths.

Refusing to confront

a)      Conveys silent agreement and approval.

b)      Denies truth and the impact of the other person’s behavior.

c)      Withholds relevant information necessary for decision-making.

d)     Is disrespectful because it assumes the worst response from the other person and doesn’t give him/her the opportunity to change.

The depth of relationship determines our level of confrontation. We confront our children who exhibit poor manners in a restaurant and ignore the person at a nearby table doing the same thing. We must earn the right to offer constructive criticism.

This is probably a good time to say not every conflict is worth confrontation. Remember love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Many times a conflict isn’t a question of right or wrong; rather, it’s a question of preference or opinion. In such cases, compromise and trade-off is appropriate. Love doesn’t insist on its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5) and in many cases we are to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). However, people sometimes behave in a way that is detrimental to the family, the community, and themselves.

Jesus didn’t avoid conflict. He went head-to-head with religious hypocrites calling them a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 18:15) and “blind guides” (Matthew 15:14). John 2:13–16 tells how Jesus drove out the moneychangers who turned the temple into a marketplace. I’d call that some pretty intense confrontation.

However, the thing that freed me from my fear of confrontation was realizing reason #1 above was incorrect. Confrontation can be the most loving response to conflict. Most people would agree that ignoring drunken chaos in the home enables the behavior to continue. Yet we overlook disrespect, irresponsibility, or verbal abuse because we don’t want to appear selfish. In fact, our silence says, “Go right ahead. I approve of your behavior.” We have to care enough to confront. It takes emotional energy and courage to confront someone we love.

I hope some of you will confront my opinion. Please respond with comments and questions. We will continue the discussion in future posts.

Who Am I Going to Believe?

13 Apr

Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (NKJV).

I’ve been a Christian for many years and still fall short of what God intends for me, including my choices and thought-life. Maybe that’s not true of you, but I know many people who struggle to be Christ-like.

In spite of my failures, it’s my desire to handle God’s word accurately as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (NKJV).

The word handling in the Greek means “to lay down a way,” “to build a road; also “to open a way.” That’s what I hope you’ll help me do on this blog—open a way of understanding, a way to live life with wisdom and joy.

The Bible says this about itself. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV).

So here’s my dilemma. Is it my place to choose which verses are believable and worthy of obedience? Am I going to set myself up as the authority over God’s word? Each person has to answer that question individually. But I look at it this way, if I can’t believe all Scripture, then I can’t believe any of it. Who wants a god who would deceive, mislead, or play tricks? Not me. Additionally, we have archeological proofs, personal testimonies, and historical evidence that the Bible is true. Therefore, I choose the inspired Word of God above personal experience or opinion.

Years ago, I decided my responsibility was to discover what it means to “have the mind of Christ.” That’s where we’ll start with the next blog.

How about you? Where are you in your belief of Scripture? How did you arrive at your conclusions? For additional study, you might want to read Josh McDowell’s Answers to Tough Questions or Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little. If you would like to share your thoughts or other resources, click on the link below.