Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Transforming Power of Jesus

One of the things that I could never reconcile when I was striving to put distance between God and myself was the Word of God. I just couldn't figure out why God would include some of the stories of people who did horrible things to other people, which sometimes included their own family. Man-made religious beliefs always put their founders and stories in the best light possible. But that's not the case with the Bible. In the book of Genesis alone we read about the moral failures of Lot, Cain, and  Abraham. Their mistakes are laid bare for the world to see. So let's look at Genesis 38, as we read about one of the most dysfunctional families and their misfortunes that you'll find in all of scripture. 

First a little bit of background:

Judah, who's name means thanksgiving or praise, was the fourth son born to Jacob and Leah. From birth his family situation was not ideal - Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah by Leah's father and the Bible said that Jacob hated Leah because of that deception. When Jacob was finally given his true love, Rachel, the gulf between Leah, her kids, and Rachel and her two sons was immense. Jacob, who was also known as a wheeler and dealer, (See Genesis 32:30 for just one example) didn't even bother hiding his favoritism for Rachel's oldest son, Joseph. To the point that finally, in a calculated fit of rage, Leah's sons decided to kill Joseph and rid themselves forever of Jacob's favored son. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Can I Really Expect God to Protect Me?

[This article is reprinted from 2005 | Author: Nancy Guthrie]

My bible study group assignment was to read Psalm 91 and express how it had been true in my life.

"He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. … For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone." [All Scripture citations from the New Living Translation.]

At first blush it sounds really good, but that day I had to say what I really thought. Through tears I told the group, "I don't get how this is true. He did not rescue us from a fatal plague. He did not keep us from striking our feet on a stone but, in fact, allowed much worse than that."

In the year preceding we had buried my daughter, Hope, who was born with a rare metabolic disorder and had a short and difficult life. At that low point in my grief, I simply wasn't willing to gloss over the nice-sounding verse. I couldn't reconcile this passage with my experience, with reality. But I wanted to. I wanted to figure out how the scriptural promises of protection apply not only to me, but also to anyone who suffers, especially now, the thousands who have endured homelessness, disease, and death in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to know, Can I expect God to protect me? And if not, what are these promises of protection in the Bible all about?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017