If your faith cannot make it through adversity, then, with all respect, I would have to say that it isn't real faith. The faith that cannot be tested is the faith that cannot be trusted. Real faith gets stronger through hardship, not weaker. It becomes more resilient; it doesn't fall apart.
Periodically books are written in which people claim to have had visions of heaven. But there is an instance of someone's writing about heaven that we know is legitimate. The apostle Paul went there, and he wrote a few verses about it in 2 Corinthians 12.
Imagine that you were desperately hoping for a letter from someone special. You stand at the window, waiting for what seems like an eternity for the mail carrier to arrive. Finally, he drives up and puts something in your mailbox. You bolt outside and tear into your mail, looking for that precious letter. Maybe it's from someone you love. Maybe it's an answer to a job application.
The great preacher John Wesley was riding along on his horse one day when he realized that three days had passed, and he had not been persecuted in any way. Not a single brick had been thrown in his direction. He had not been hit by an egg. So he actually stopped his horse and said out loud, "Could it be that I am backslidden or I have sinned?" Slipping down from his horse, he knelt on one knee and asked the Lord to show him if there was anything wrong with him spiritually.
In the age of the iPhone, iPod, and iPad, our culture also has an iFaith. It's a do-it-yourself divinity that has been customized for an individual's needs. But this is not the faith that is given to us in Scripture.1 comments
If you want to learn about God and His ways, then learn to study this wonderful book God has given to us, the Bible. It is the user's manual to life. It tells us what is right and wrong and what is good and evil. It tells us how to live, how to do business, how to have a successful marriage, and much, much more.
I think when we get to heaven, we will see things differently. I think we will discover that the things we saw as good weren't as good as we thought they were. And I think some things that we thought were bad actually will be seen in a new light.1 comments
The Christian life is the greatest life there is. God takes a life that was empty and aimless and headed to a certain judgment, and He turns it around and transforms it. He removes all of our sin. That is more than enough right there, but then He puts the righteousness of Jesus Christ into our spiritual bank account. That is called justification. He removes the guilt that haunted us, fills the emptiness inside of us, and literally takes residence in our hearts. This all comes as a result of the gospel, believed and followed. That is the good news.
Imagine what an honor it would have been to know you were mentioned in one of Paul's epistles. In his letter to Philemon, the apostle wrote, "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers" (Philemon 1:23–24).
We tend to put on pedestals the first-century believers and, in particular, the apostles. We imagine them speaking in King James English, perfectly living out God's commandments and boasting stained-glass lives.
I have always been amazed by weeds. You can take a little flower, plant it in the perfect location, water it, and make sure there are no pests to threaten it. You can do everything possible for that flower, and it will slowly grow. But then, in the same amount of time, some weed springs up from a little crack in the sidewalk, and that weed chokes out the flower.
How is it that someone could appear to be radically converted and so passionate about their new faith and then, without warning, suddenly give up and walk away?
Why is it that some people never respond to the gospel? They are not necessarily mean about it, though they may be. They are simply not open to it.
When I travel, I take my laptop computer with me, because I try to work on my messages. But often I must work off the battery, so whenever I get the opportunity, I plug in to the nearest electrical outlet. Why? Because my battery is running down, and I need to recharge.
I don't think it is ever a bad thing to ask God why. Some people will say that we should never question God. But I question God all the time. I don't mean that I doubt His existence. But I do say, "Lord, I don't understand why you have done (thus and so). . . . Why, Lord?"