For the person who does not know Christ, trouble may produce nothing but misery. Where does a person turn when they have no faith in a God bigger than themselves and their problems? Hopefully, friends will provide comfort and help, but if there is real crisis or deep pain, human words may carry very little power.
When we go through difficult times, the hardship drains us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Struggle, pain, loss, confusion, and uncertainty have an impact on us, even if we think we are strong enough to endure. We may initially find energy to power through hard times, but eventually,
There is a lot of suffering in the world. Sometimes it seems there is more pain than we can bear. And, as a person who has the hope of Christ, I wonder how people without that same hope get through difficult times. Where do people turn when they don’t have a God bigger than their pain?
As we reflect on today’s passage, I believe it is important to note that if we are to experience profound spiritual Joy in our lives, it is crucial that we embrace the fundamental truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that God has created us with God’s given talents that serve as a transport of God’s prophetic presence in the world
Jesus’ command for his disciple to “serve,” highlights for us one of the fundamental truths and mandates of our faith, that if we are going to be in relationship with God, then we as a people of faith must be in service to humanity and the world. Jesus’ response to the disciple’s argument about power shows that Jesus connects service with faithfulness to Go
While today's passage highlights the importance of practicing the principle of forgiveness as a way to foster and grow a right relationship with God and each other, I would suggest that without forgiveness we cannot have Joy in our lives. In fact, because we are sinful creatures, we have a natural barrier that hinders our ability to make a meaningful connection with God and each other.
As we continue our Summer of Joy theme, today's passage can be looked on as a microcosm of the attitudes, priorities, and question we, particularly as a people of faith, struggle with when it comes to balancing our material life with our life of faith. While this passage raises questions
As we continue our reflection on our “Summer of Joy” theme. Yesterday’s reflection pointed out that James’ warrant to “count our joy” in the face of pain, suffering, and hardship, is an invitation to challenge our reality of where we find joy in our lives. Thus, we concluded in yesterday’s reflection that joy for us must come
As we take the time to reflect on today's passage in light of the “Summer of Joy” theme, I think it is important to note that this “warrant” written by James, “to count it all joy when faced with many kinds of trials,” runs counter-intuitive to the natural human response we have when exposed to danger, hardship, frustration or pain.
On the evening of September 11, 2001, we held a prayer service in our sanctuary. We were all numb from the horrific events of the day but I vividly remember having the privilege of helping plan one of the scripture readings for the service. I chose Romans 8:31-38. I can still feel some of the emotion and anxiety I experienced that day, and even now, as I write this, tears are welling up in my eyes and my heart is pounding a bit. I remember the atmosphere of the prayer service that evening.
It’s difficult to understand why bad things happen in the world when God, the Creator, is so good. I don’t have an explanation for this enigma but I hope you’ll give me a pass on this one because the Apostle Paul doesn’t have an explanation either. However, in verse 28 of today’s reading, Paul does assure us that in all things,
Waiting is really hard work. It’s likely that many of us spend more time strategically plotting to avoid waiting in line or for our turn than we would actually spend in waiting itself. And waiting patiently is even harder! It requires a certain rhythm of “being in the moment” to wait patiently. Waiting patiently requires grace. Waiting patiently requires noticing the people around me and being willing to wait with them
There is a verse in today’s reading that especially stands out to me. Perhaps it is the verse that most caught your attention as well. In verse 16, the Apostle Paul gives me a promise and an encouragement that as I pray, God’s Spirit is communicating with my spirit to teach me and bring me assurance in all the ways I truly need it.
A few years ago, I tried to memorize the entire eighth chapter of Romans because I wanted to be able to access the assurance I found in these words anytime I felt unsure about my relationship with God. I say try, because for a number of weeks I could remember all the words, but over time my memory faded
In this week’s Summer of Joy First 15, I want to share with you a chapter in the Bible that brings me a great deal of joy, Romans 8. This is a favorite for many people, including many pastors and theologians. These powerful words, from the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome, are filled with hope, joy and assurance.