Tag Archives: Love

Mercedes

Robbed

Mercedes…

When I got the call from our sister (Kelsie) about the news, didn’t know how to respond other than contact police departments to try and scrabble information. I didn’t want to believe what I heard, “NOO!…”.

The feeling to describe the state of loss was…ROBBED…because you and I are designed to live holding our grandparents and parents hands as they come of age to meet our Lord. I felt robbed of the many more years to experience life with you. And it was actually some friends (Daniel included) of mine that “coined” this feeling because of how they could relate to what I was presently experiencing—”feeling of being… robbed”.

And so here I am, robbed. Because when I go to message you now, there is no response, only…silence. Which is nothing like you at all. I think you might be one of the most obnoxious people I know apart from me. I mean, not that it was a competition or anything. Ha. That’s a laugh. Everything is a competition when you’re a free spirit; that’s what makes life interesting, reckless, and fun! Anyway… I can think of a few others in our family that are just as crazy as us and yet… still alive, go figure.

And for the record, Sadie, you cheated. I’m older, and it’s only fair that the elder goes first. Yes, you’re a lady and all. And myself, a gentlemen. But rules are rules. I get that ladies go first, but that’s cheating…sis!

Even though the feeling was a feeling of being robbed. After mourning and depression…have come to be at peace by the comfort of friends and family encouragement. But not only that, also in processing these moments I shared with you in our salvational engineering group discussion on facebook.

But I also feel the strength to not give up and to be around as much as possible to show the person the happiness and light I live in daily. I believe he made me for these types of people. Relatable to all types and strong in faith

I believe He (God) did too, Sadie. And I pray any friend and family that reflects on memories of you, they are comforted as I am by the motive of your heart.

I hate seeing beautiful souls get lost in thoughts of helplessness in their dark times … Now I just need them to want to ask questions and be ready and educated in my faith when it comes to those questions.

Me and you both, Sadie! I hope any person that ever comes to know you by testimonies about you, they will ask questions about that contentment and light, that hope, and us be ready and educated in faith to answer the hard questions. And while I’m not a judge to determine justice for any soul can only hope that every soul of which knows us will know Christ Jesus to be their salvation as He is ours.

Robbed

Speaking of answers to hard questions. The questions that surrounded the feelings of being robbed are put rest by answers that aren’t governed by my bias ideas of where you might be now, spiritually speaking. I can only hope to see you again in the clouds with Jesus Christ; while my dependency of that hope does not rest necessarily upon the sight of seeing you again, rather, that our sights together are focused on seeing Him because of the truth that Jesus Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith.

I love you Sadie! And don’t worry about Titan, the boy is in trustworthy hands.

Titan, BIG MAN TITAN…

You’re not quite old enough to read this yet, but one day, you will be. And I want you to know that your mom loved and still loves you sooooo sooo much. Don’t ever loose sight of that truth because it will be a compass for your soul. Don’t suppress the emotions of your heart, let the world know who you are. But understand this from your uncle Nathan, life is a mystery of proverbs that are worth discovering to learn from the Good Book.

Let the Bible be your compass in guiding you to life, truth, and love.

Here’s a quick story to remember your mom by: It was when we (me and your mom) were kids, just a few years older than you but can’t remember exactly what it was we were doing. I think it was either a game of tag or hide-n-go-seek. It’s a vague memory.

But that’s beside the point.

What I think I remember your mom running full speed away from was—getting tagged. She was always extremely competitive and quite fearless! Anytime there was a challenge, your mom was up for the task of proving her abilities. So as she was running full speed, focused and determined, nothing could stop her until… WHAM!

There was this horizontal steel pole that came out of no where, leveled her, knocking the air out of her as she hit the ground. But you know what… she got back up, she didn’t give up. Your mom was tough, just like you! And did you take notice of how focused and determined? She was, unstoppable.

And so even when obstacles come out of nowhere to stop you, Titan. Get back up, and don’t give up….

I love you.

Nathan Dooley


How Can A Good God Allow Suffering?

A good God can allow suffering because He is merciful. Let me explain.

IT GETS HARDER

The sixth and final question asked of the group brings up the problem of evil, but the original query that was asked was even tougher because it removed a core argument from the debate – freewill. So here is the full question that I will answer.

How can a good God allow suffering? Freewill seems just like an excuse.

I found this question to be quite difficult. I think the removal of freewill is the cause of my challenge in finding a complete answer. Freewill is not just an excuse. It is an essential piece to the human story. It is an essential piece to any love story. How can one love without choice? Does a wife love her husband because she can do nothing but love him? The question doesn’t even make sense. Love falls apart without freewill.

I digress.

Below are 7 statements backed by scripture to help understand the problem of suffering, doing my best not to harp on freewill. I prayed this would be God breathed and I pray now that this would be helpful to you.

1. Justice for all means extinction

If God were to end all suffering right now by bringing justice to the guilty everyone would be dead (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23, Romans 6;23). Suffering is the result of sin. Sin is done by sinners. We are all sinners. Therefore in order to get rid of suffering you must get rid of the sinner, and that would mean no one could be allowed to exist. The problem isn’t just some evil force working to do harm to all people. The problem is us.

2. God is merciful

God does not bring swift judgement to end all humanity (and all suffering) immediately because He loves us and is merciful (Psalm 86:5, Luke 6:36). 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God has not judged us yet because he wants everyone to be saved.

3. God did not design a world with suffering.

In the beginning God created good. We see that over and over again in Chapter 1 of Genesis (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). In Chapter 2 we even see that the relationship between man and woman is in good standing (Genesis 2:25). God did not design a world of suffering. This planet and its current affairs are not what He wanted for us.

4. Suffering is the result of human decision(s)

Genesis 3 lays out how what humans did to bring suffering into the world. They desired to be God, and they took action to achieve that goal in direct disobedience to God’s rule. Adam and Eve started a terrible tradition where men continue to try and replace God. This is the beginning of suffering. Elevating our thoughts, ideas, or desires above other’s wants and needs produces suffering. Our decision to lie at work hurts our employer and our customer. Having sex with a previous lover introduces possible insecurities in our next partner. Our rude, flippant remark at someone’s elementary mistake can scar an individual for a lifetime. We are the vicim and perpetrator of suffering.

5. God suffers with us

We are not alone in our suffering. God has done something really, really profound. He has chosen to suffer with us. In Mark 14:31 – 15:41 we witness God in human form (Jesus) experience dread, close friends unable to be there for Him in his time of need, betrayal, injustice, false accusations, disownment by a close friend, being mocked, torture, disgrace, public shame, and asphyxiation. Our God knows our suffering. He knows it intimately.

I’m not sure we understand the complete absurdity of this. God actually has experienced our suffering. It would be like if we were to go and experience the troubles of a worm. The individual worm’s suffering has no bearing on our life. There is no need for it. It makes no sense.

Unless there is love.

6. Suffering is not without purpose

A lot of us ask the question ‘why there is suffering in the world,’ but I think a more relevant and impactful question is ‘why do I suffer?’ The Bible tells us that our suffering has purpose (John 9:1-3, 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10; Luke 14:13-14; Acts 20:35).

This too is also quite profound. There must be suffering in this world because sin exists, but there does’t have to be purpose behind it. The purpose of suffering is a grace God has given to us in the midst of pain. He has found a way to make evil result in good.

7. God has taken action

When people say God has done nothing to combat evil and suffering that is a lie. God has done something and will do more.

He has always been a God of mercy and action. Even after the first sin God made clothes for Adam and Eve to help them cover their shame. He sent his only son to take our punishment for our sins so we can have peace and eternal life (John 3:16).

Finally, Jesus is coming back and His new kingdom is going to be epic. There will be no tears, pain, or death (Revelation 21:4). This world and its ways will pass away, and thank God!

Conclusion

The problem of evil and suffering is a very culturally relevant issue. I heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson give suffering and evil as the reason he does not believe in a good, all powerful God. He did not say because there was a lack of evidence. He didn’t say it was impossible. He said because there is evil and suffering. That reason does not stand, and we have an answer for it.

Please remember that just because we are people of faith does not mean that we are people without reason. Our God made the rules of this universe and any honest science will not disprove Him.

~ Daniel F. Grey

MORE ANSWERING HARD QUESTIONS
Is My Unbelieving Loved One In Hell?
Can Someone Embrace Homosexuality And Still Be Saved?
How Do You Admonish Someone Who Is Not A Believer?
How Do You Direct A Stranger Who Wants To Take The Next Step As A Believer?
Why Do Christians Obey Some OT Laws & Ignore Others?

SOURCES

Bible Gateway
CBS Sunday Morning

OUTLINE

How can a good God allow suffering? Freewill seems just like an excuse.

I found this question to be quite difficult and I still don’t think I am satisfied with the answer I prepared below. I think the removal of freewill is the cause of my difficulty in this. It is not just an excuse. It is an essential piece to the human story. It is an essential piece to any love story. How can one love without choice? Does a wife love her husband because she can do nothing, but love him? The question doesn’t even make sense. Love falls apart without freewill. Anyways below is 7 statements backed by scripture to help understand the problem of suffering, doing my best not to harp on freewill. I prayed this would be God breathed and I pray now that this would be helpful to you.

  1. If God were to end all suffering right now by bringing justice to the guilty everyone would be dead. Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:5-6; Romans 6:23
  2. God does not do this (point 1) because he loves us and is full of mercy. 2 Peter 3:9; Luke 6:36; Psalm 86:5
  3. Our God did not design a world with suffering. Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; 2:25
  4. Suffering is the result of human decision(s). Genesis 3
  5. Our God did not leave us to suffer alone; he experienced it too. In Mark 14:32 – 15:41 we see God go through dread, close fries unable to be there for Him in his time of need, betrayal, injustice, false accusations, disownment by a close friend, being mocked, torture, disgrace, public shaming, asphyxiation
  6. Suffering is not without purpose. John 9:1-3; 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10; Luke 14:13-14; Acts 20:35
  7. Our God does not just sit back and allow suffering. God DID/WILL DO something to eliminate suffering. John 3:16; Revelation 21:4

Is My Unbelieving Loved One In Hell?

Yes. Your deceased, unbelieving loved one is in hell, but I wouldn’t lead with that. Let me explain.

A Reminder

When these six questions were brought to my group they were all challenges we were scared to have someone ask us as a believer. Can you imagine your new friend bringing this loaded question to you? How do you respond to it without losing a soul, but also with gentleness and tact?

How To Respond

Each situation is unique and I would not approach every person the same way, but I think you could combine the truths listed below in a number of different ways and maintain integrity, gentleness, & truthfulness.

1. Speak Truth

It is important to speak truthfully and lovingly into this piercing, heartfelt question. This query is one of heartbreak. Please be gentle with this person, but don’t misrepresent the truth. A well timed word can comfort the heart and a lie can lose souls.

2. Read The Room

Before you bring your sword of truth to bear, remember this -> We do not know with 100% certainty the final state of a person’s heart; only God knows and sees that. We do know that God is good, just, and a God of mercy. We can trust Him to do the right thing, and He is the one that makes the final judgement, not us. So before you declare the truth to your friend see if you need to tend to their heart. Sometimes a hug and a ‘I don’t know” may be all that is needed.

3. A Message From The Grave

We may not know where their loved one is with 100% certainty, but we do know, whether in heaven or hell, they have a desire for your friend. The parable in Luke 16:19-31 tells of a rich man sentenced to hell. There he is starved of the goodness of God and is filled with agony. He begs that his family would be told the right way to get to heaven… No matter where our deceased loved ones are, they want us to know Jesus.

4. Heaven On Earth

The after life will always contain some mystery, but there are certain things we can thank God for now. In this life their loved one got to experience the goodness of God in what is known as common grace: food to enjoy, satisfying work, good friends, rain and sunshine, the beauty of the night sky, etc… The world is full of wonder and we all get to live in it, no matter what we believe.

Conclusion

If this question was brought to you with heartfelt sincerity I think you could use these four pointers to help plant or water the seed of faith in their life. However, if you are approached with hostility I think the best way to respond is through point 2, then show them you care by following up at a different time. In the words of Frederick William Faber “Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.”

~ Daniel F. Grey

MORE ANSWERING HARD QUESTIONS
How Can A Good God Allow Suffering?
Can Someone Embrace Homosexuality And Still Be Saved?
How Do You Admonish Someone Who Is Not A Believer?
How Do You Direct A Stranger Who Wants To Take The Next Step As A Believer?
Why Do Christians Obey Some OT Laws & Ignore Others?

SOURCES

Exoduse 34:6-7
Lamentation 3:23-24
Matthew 5:45
Luke 16:19-31
BrainyQuote.com

OUTLINE

  1. It is important to speak truth and love into this piercing, heartfelt question without misrepresenting the truth. 
  2. Sometimes a hug and a ‘I don’t know’ may be all that is needed to be done. 
    • We do not know the final state of a person’s heart; only God knows and sees that and He is the one that makes the final judgement
    • We do know that God is good and just and we can trust him to do the right things. Plus He is a God of mercy. Exodus 34:6-7
  3. Luke 16:19-31; we may not know where the loved one is, but we do know your loved one’s desire for you. The rich man, starved of the goodness of God, begged that his family would be told of the right way to get to God/heaven.
  4. We do not know where your loved one is now, but in this life they got to experience the goodness of God in the common grace He set forth on earth (Matthew 5:45).  Food to enjoy, satisfying work, good friends, rain and sunshine, the beauty of the night sky, etc…

Spiritual Insight | #2

At the tick tock of 2:40 in the morning listening to the sound of rain gracefully hit our house and the deep steady breathing laying next to me… It’s peaceful. I reach over to get my phone to read some scripture from the famous YouVersion Bible app, but “where should I read?”, I wonder, and meditate as the options of New or Old are presented before me; I choose Old and land in Leviticus at first, but it seemed off of how I needed to be fed spiritually until I found myself in Deuteronomy 4 to get my nutrition, but why? Why here?

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I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning (Conclusion)

Featured photo: Ben Jacobi www.bdjphoto.com 

“17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luke 10)

What demons are effecting you? I needed to read this again. The serpents and scorpions I face are but whispers of fleeting pleasures that distract me from my purpose. I ask myself, “How do I defeat them? There are so many.” The enemy whispers back, “here’s an idea…” And so here I am, stuck in this pattern of doubtful questions, my faith deteriorating. Revive me Lord, save me from this present evil, You are my salvation. Your blood alone is the ink of my name in the book of life. I will follow you, teach me by Your Spirit as you taught people in the time of your flesh. I love you. Amen.

A Letter Of Faith To The Unbelieving

Nathan, a believer in the faith of God my Father and Christ Jesus my Lord writing after the example of ambition in the apostles,

To a world under the influence:

It has been written that the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that you might not see the image of God. This letter is being written with a prayer, hope, and warning for you to remove the veil that blinds your mind. In the conscience of an unbelieving soul affections are stirred to please oneself. There is a truth of conviction within that is rejected, because the conviction informs our conscience of right and wrong. Where does this conviction come from? There is a power of good and evil within the sphere of life we live, the unbelieving will choose a life of rejecting the truth because of our design incapable of fully grasping the understanding of God, Who is good. We turn from the prayer of God’s desire, that all would be saved, and choose a life of a god (“I don’t need saving”). As once an unbeliever myself, thought myself a believer deluded by the desire to sin. No different than the delusion of those who would call themselves a “good person”, but knew within wasn’t good by the standard of righteousness every soul is convicted of. I was too arrogant to think of myself as someone broken by a fault not my own. Evil would have my unbelief believe that there was no such thing as a faith that can give confidence at the judgement seat of Christ; that I can continue in a sin hidden to the naked eye, and not reap the punishment. Do not mistake the warning of Hell as a threat, but recognize the warning as an authority given to Christ Jesus. The image of God is the Spirit of Jesus Christ in the believer. Jesus Christ was resurrected by God with a new body, not the body that was slain on the cross. A Body that is a Spirit living in every believer, and that Spirit is transforming the body of a believer into a Body of the image of God. And so just as the Spirit of God in the flesh of His Son, Jesus was sacrificed for those who will believe; so to now is the body of believers being sacrificed by the preaching of the gospel as a reflection of the only true sacrifice for the salvation of a believing soul. Now is the time to believe, unbeliever. The grace and mercy of God are here at this time to be received through Christ the Lord, Jesus.

Why was she called, Woman?

Featured photo: Ben Jacobi www.bdjphoto.com 

Segment-3

22 The Lord God [t]fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
[u]She shall be called [v]Woman,
Because [w]she was taken out of [x]Man.”

(Genesis 2)


In the providence of God, I understand the—woman for man—to mean something beyond the mechanical act of reproduction (be fruitful and multiply). Because, why not just continue to make men as suitable helpers for maintaining the garden? And the simple truth, I believe, is… Love. Is not the personality and nature of God defined as Love? But, with that understanding… I also see an appropriation for the order and governance of that nature, because of—what is evil; meaning that every aspect of creation (until the enacted fruition of Lucifer) was in perfect harmony with God. But what happens in the event any part of creation attempts to become apart from the Creator—what becomes the nature of that ‘part’ of creation? Or… If any created *being* attempts to be as god apart from the true God, then… What becomes the nature of that god? Because there is only One True God that is defined as Holy, Good, Truth and Love. A nature apart from that God, is evil!

So, is it not appropriate for there to be … set consequences, a course that leads to Hell for that which is evil? Of which is automatically entrusted and determined by the True God? (Because believe me, I’d rather it be me condemned not to believe for the sake of every other person to believe and be saved). But that reasoning is a result of what God has done and is doing in me because of believing in His Word as transforming my character into the likeness and image of Jesus. Not because I’ve attained righteousness. But because of an actual relationship with an eternal God through time with His Son (Word of God), it may sound crazy, but Jesus is teaching me about the meaning of what is true.

What had happened in the heavens before that imperfect occurrence on Earth? An evil influence (desires) manifested from the hearts of angelic beings that are now imprisoned until the time of the end. But at the beginning there was only… Harmony. The pure and holy form of intimacy between God and Creation, Man and Woman, Groom (Christ) and Bride that produces the light [or experience] of life in perfect harmony with God as Love. Do we as finite beings assume God is not love and alone because we refuse to see and not believe the ordination of God by the nature of our imperfections? How else is creation going to understand the process of its making if not by the revelation of Jesus? I mean, come-on! How are babies made? So then how does creation exist? The reason she was called “Woman”, I believe, for three reasons:

∞ Wisdom

∞ Love

∞ Life

Which, I think, these three combined produces an enlightenment to an intimate relationship with God. A woman is the answer to how our universe is expanding. The answer to every phenomenon and anomaly. The very Person of God functions as a marriage. An invisible God is manifested through the nature of creation (be fruitful and multiply). In more words… God is the nature of a perfect man and woman multiplying/producing the creation of everything. An invisible Spirit (seed) planted in the womb of Creation. And, it is by that nature of love, we exist! But this is only revealed by the name of Jesus because God calls Him, Son…

See you in the next segment…