Suffering: A Good Opportunity for Spiritual Growth

Those closest to me keep encouraging me to write about navigating through suffering, disappointment, and discouragement. They think that because I have a nero-muscular disorder (see my post God is With Us In Our Pain), was diagnosed with cancer last November, and had surgery in March to end three years of suffering with a prostate condition, that I must be good at it. Good enough, anyway, to offer some insight and wisdom. But, frankly, I’d rather be known as a great rock-climber, surfer, or skydiver.

Its bad news (Essentials)

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Is Self-forgiveness Biblical?

Is God’s forgiveness enough, or does complete forgiveness require self-forgiveness? The biblical answer is: “God’s forgiveness completely absolves us of our sin.” Self-forgiveness, is not a biblical concept.

However, our emotions are quite real and we must distinguish between the efficacy of God’s forgiveness of sin and the management of our grief and self-condemnation. We receive His forgiveness, but we often have to work through our emotions.

Forgiveness Medicine

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Christlike Character vs Sarcasm and Slander

At noon each Monday, I go to the church sanctuary and spend an hour before the cross in prayer. I know, I know, I’m exceedingly holy. This week I had expected to spend the hour asking God to bless a specific family member, but, instead, God wanted to talk about character—mine, mostly. #intimacywithGod

What do people think of you

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External Humility

Pursuing Christlikeness was of paramount importance to committed believers in past centuries. Strategies for developing the fruit of the Spirit and Christlike virtue prompted much discussion and analysis, both verbal and written. They painstakingly considered all facets of these character qualities to determine how best to live them out in their daily lives. Quite frankly, many of them make us look like rank amateurs in comparison. We can learn much from them.

HumbleYourselves

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Ordering Your Private World (2017) – Review

I first read Gordon MacDonald’s Ordering Your Private World when it was originally released in 1984. He had been our pastor at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, for the prior two years where everyone affectionately called him Pastor Mac. Today, he is the chancellor at Denver Seminary. When the book was released, I was in the midst of frantic, high-pressured seminary training preparing for a life of ministry; which he had inspired me, and many others, to undertake.

OrderingPrivateWorld_300_600x392

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Intimacy with God

The phrase “Intimacy with God” falls awkwardly upon our modern ears. It shouldn’t because it reflects the perfect relationship Jesus won the right for us to have with God, and it is the profound relationship that He prayed for us to have, in John 17:20-23 (NAS):

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The Word Became Jesus!

If all the words we ever spoke became embodied in a new human being, what would that person be like? They would look different from us, but they would be an exact representation of us.
Imagine: all the good words, all the comforting words, all the encouraging words, and all the other words standing in front of you. That’s a scary thought … for me anyway. Words are selected, carefully sometimes, thoughtlessly most of the time. They are a mirror of thoughts and emotions, a window into our soul.
Eph_4-13_150_High

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Spiritual Discernment

Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven, people have claimed to receive spiritual gifts, dreams, visions, and special revelation. How do we determine if a spiritual experience is genuinely from God? In the Middle Ages, the number of reported spiritual experiences reached a feverish level. Folks got attention for such reports, and in some cases money and a large following. We’re in a similar environment today. Are all spiritual experiences false?

Spiritual Maturity_High

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