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Kevin Chambers: Are you “gifted” or “called”?

Written by Staff on November 12, 2019 – 11:57 am -

Kevin Chambers: Are you "gifted" or "called"?Be Who You Are — For God’s Glory! By  Kevin Chambers

I surrendered the call to preach in 1997. It was some time after that when I began to seriously study the scriptural concepts of gifts and calling. I’d like to share some things that I learned on that journey, in the hope that it might help you in your daily pursuit of Godly wisdom.

The best place to begin a study of these concepts is Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” I found in my studies that gifts is plural but calling is singular. I searched the Bible diligently for every occurrence of any form of the words “call,” “called,” “calling,” etc. 

Kevin Chambers: Are you "gifted" or "called"?After extensive study, I found exactly one calling in the Bible. It is the call to be saved, to come to Christ, to join the family of God. I discovered that every other religious use of that word was something invented quite recently (in terms of the age of the Church) and outside the Bible.

I learned that when John Bunyan wrote of his calling in his amazing autobiography, “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,” he meant something notably different from what we think of today. In the section “Imprisonment in November 1660,” he wrote of being examined by magistrates who urged him to “content (himself) with following his calling” and not preach, since that was against the law! Bunyan himself answered that he could “…do both these without confusion, follow my calling and preach the Word also.”

My point is that any religious “calling” (other than salvation) is a new concept that was not known as recently as Bunyan’s day. In that courtroom, all concerned knew that Bunyan’s calling was as a tinker (one who repairs pots and pans). In 1660 England, one’s calling was their regular job. There was no religious connotation in the word.

Eagle's Wings with Kevin Chambers

Eagle’s Wings with Kevin Chambers (far right)

I also noted in my Biblical studies in I Timothy 3:1-7, qualifications for a Bishop, generally understood to be equivalent to the modern idea of a pastor/shepherd/overseer, there is no mention of a calling. Verse one says “…if a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a good work.” Honestly, there is no call to preach in the Bible at all. There are numerous commands to preach. There is desire to preach. But, you must look elsewhere to find the call to any ministry.

I learned that in the early church, any man who was of age, past his bar mitzvah, was welcome to read from scripture and make comments, or preach. They were to speak by two or three at most in any meeting to avoid confusion, and the pastor, literally “overseer,” should watch and call out any errors in love, not hostility; see I Corinthians 14:29-32. There was no “clergy” class. This was something conceived much later, for very questionable motives in the organized church hierarchy.

So, what does this have to do with Southern gospel music? I’m glad you asked.

Eagle's Wings with Kevin ChambersThere are many people in the ministry; preaching, singing, teaching, who at some point claimed or still claim an extra-Biblical “calling” on their lives. Once they made this claim and started down the path, they were trapped. They often have discovered that they do not have the gifts truly needed for that particular pursuit. That is not to say they do not have gifts, but they are afraid to manifest those gifts, since they have said that God called them to do some other specific thing, their “calling”.

Many times, this drives a person to literal despair, all while staying busy and active in their professed calling, knowing inside that they are not equipped to do the job.

The Bible is amazingly clear on the very plural subject of gifts. Paul, in Ephesians 4:7 and 4:11-12, speaks of the various gifts God has given to equip the Church. He also explains, like the body with many parts in I Corinthians 12, that we all have something valuable to contribute. Romans 12 puts it so beautifully. Please read Romans 12:3-8 if you get nothing else from this article.

Some people say they are specially called and that is between them and God. Others wait, pray and beg God for countless years, waiting for a mysterious calling, one that God never mentioned as necessary. Some believe they are gifted in one specific area, but, if they would be honest with themselves and God, then act logically and use their God-given strengths or gifts, they could lead much happier lives.

My earnest desire for you, the reader, is that you, courageously, “Be who you are… for God!”

We are all gifted in some way (Romans 12:3-8) 

We are all called (Philippians 3:14)

God has a plan for you (Ephesians 4:12) 

Don’t try to be something you are not (Psalm 84:10)

Never be afraid of failure (Proverbs 24:16)

Don’t let man’s idea of success be your standard. Noah and Jeremiah had public ministries that were dismal failures, by man’s account. Just do something to the glory of God. Keep trying until you find your gift. Remember this: “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” (Daniel 11:35)

Like the prospective pastor in I Timothy 3:1, if you have a desire to spread the good news of the Gospel in songs or sermons or books or any other way, then that desire is a good thing. I don’t believe the devil ever plants desires like that.

If you get to sing, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Amazing Grace,” to a group of 10 people, God is praised. And one of them might understand a little bit more of the love of God, or how amazing his grace really is, that is a successful ministry.

Be who you are, for God. Don’t let religious language and concepts keep you from finding and using your God-given gifts to glorify him.

I hope this helps someone in their daily walk with the Lord.

Hey Y'all Media

Eagle’s Wings

By Kevin Chambers

Kevin Chambers sings vocals, plays mandolin, bass and guitar with Eagle’s Wings. He is the music director at Central Baptist Church in Jasper, Alabama. He is also a maritime security analyst.

Kevin’s credentials include: “U.S. Air Force Active Duty, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Civil Air Patrol-USAF Auxiliary, US Coast Guard AMSC Civilian… 35 years of working “in/for/with” the military in one capacity or another… I just hope we can keep a free country for the next generation… Then it would be worth all the trouble.”

For more Gospel music features, read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine In PDF Here
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Listen To Todays Gospel Music Here


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Cheryl Smith: Letting go of “if onlys…” and “what ifs?”

Written by Staff on November 7, 2019 – 8:17 am -

 letting go of "if onlys" and "what ifs?"By Cheryl Smith

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

— Jesus’ words in John 14:27

How many times have you uttered the two little words, “if only?”  “If only I hadn’t gone so far into debt.”  “If only I had been more respectful of my parents and their needs.”  “If only I had spent more time with my kids.”  “If only I hadn’t gained so much weight.”  “If only I hadn’t spoken such unkind words.”  “If only I had chosen a different path.”  “If only I had listened to wise counsel.”

How about those other two little words, “what if?”  “What if the bottom falls out?”  “What if something bad happens?”  “What if I try again and fail again?”  “What if other people talk about me?”  “What if this relationship doesn’t work out?”  “What if I never find my purpose?”  “What if we can’t make ends meet?”

Your “if onlys” and “what ifs?” may be worlds-apart different than mine, but there’s a good chance, if you have lived very long at all, you have amassed a huge pile of “if onlys” and “what ifs?” all your own.

These are the things “if onlys” and “what ifs” are made of.  “If onlys” communicate remorse and regret over the past.  “What ifs” convey fears and anxiety over the future.  Both prevent us from living in complete joy in the present.  If you are like me, you may teeter between the two on a regular basis.  It sort of feels like an irreconcilable, futile tug-of war, lamenting one minute over things I wish I had done differently in the past and dreading unforeseen potentially bad things that may or may not happen in the future.

Can you envision just for a moment how much happier and more serene present life would be if we decluttered all “if onlys” and “what ifs” and never uttered those four words again?  “If onlys” and “what ifs” are a complete waste of time and energy because the truth is, we cannot go back and make alterations, nor can we see or control what happens beyond the moment in front of us.  “If onlys” and “what ifs” hold the power of rendering us incapable of experiencing joy in the beautiful parts of our own reality and they rob us of being able to live the peaceful life we all crave.

Remember the serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference?”  (Written by Reinhold Niebuhr)

Acceptance, courage, and wisdom are quite possibly the three main qualities we all need on this path to a minimal life.

 

Acceptance of the things we cannot change—


What we sow will grow, and it is impossible to go back and unearth any of the seeds we have planted.  We will never find a sense of peace until we make the choice to let go of regret and embrace that what has already happened cannot be undone.  Regrets are past deeds for which we refuse to forgive ourselves.  Surrendering the grudge we are holding against ourselves is extremely liberating and conducive to peace.  It is completely okay to finally forgive yourself for doing the things you wish you hadn’t, leave the past where it happened, let it go, and walk on.

 

Courage to change the things we can—


Since we can’t rewrite the history of our own actions, why not focus our energy on learning the lessons our regrets have taught us and start courageously applying that knowledge to present and future behavior?  Why don’t we stop obsessing over what we can’t do and redirect that energy to what we still can?  While we can’t change the way we may have treated departed loved ones, we can recklessly and wholeheartedly love and care for the important people who are in our lives today.  Whenever possible, we can say we’re sorry to people we may have hurt along the way.  We can nourish relationships with our children and do our best to make up for lost time with them, regardless of their current age.  We can scale back on unnecessary commitments and obligations and set our current priorities in order.  We can pay off past debt and stop buying things on credit.  We can make better eating choices, start exercising and lose excess weight.  We can do whatever it takes to change career paths and start doing something we really love.  We can start today by mustering the courage to do the things we wish we had done in the past.  Life is incredibly short, no one is getting any younger, and there is no time like the present.  Start today to make the changes you wish you had made years ago.

 

Wisdom to know the difference—


There is a sense of relief that can be found in the mere act of compartmentalizing the things that bother us.  Just as it helps us feel more productive to place unwanted physical possessions into minimizing boxes that are labeled, “Donate,” “Sell,” “Trash,” and “Put Away,” tossing troublesome “what ifs” and “if onlys” into the “Things I Can Change” and “Things I Cannot Change” categories will help us feel that we are making progress and taking a step in the right direction.  Making the distinction between what we can change and what we cannot change empowers us to take control over hypothetical circumstances and realign our thoughts with what is real and doable.

The enemy of our souls wants to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in our lives.  If he can convince us to dwell on “if onlys” and “what ifs,” he can take our eyes off the blessings God so faithfully and bountifully pours into our lives.  Jesus came to give us life.  Not just existence, but life that is abundant.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

“If onlys” produce regret.  “What ifs” generate anxiety.  Both are toxic to our well being, and regardless how much progress we may have made in minimizing stressful situations and letting go of excess physical possessions, they can rob our newfound peace and cause our otherwise simple lives to feel unnecessarily complicated.  The next time you are tempted to say, “if only” or “what if,” make the intentional decision to think of something about present life that you are thankful for, turn your eyes upon Jesus, and thank Him for that instead.

Cheryl Smith. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people

Cheryl Smith, author of the Inner Views and Homespun Devotions

By Cheryl Smith

First published at www.biblicalminimalism.com  The post can be found HERE.

Cheryl Smith is a Blessed & Grateful Wife to Kevin and Homeschool Mama to Zach 

Prayer Action Leader for Concerned Women for America

For more Gospel music features, read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine In PDF Here
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook Here

Listen To Todays Gospel Music Here


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Rob Patz: How long have you been waiting? 

Written by Staff on October 28, 2019 – 6:47 pm -

Facing your fears with Rob Patz2019 October SGNScoops Publisher’s Point by Rob Patz

“For the man was more than forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was wrought.” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭4:22‬ ‭ASV‬‬

How long have you been waiting? 

I’m sure most of us are familiar with this story in Acts from Sunday School and I’m sure you’ve heard countless sermons about the man who was crippled from birth.

As the story is detailed in Acts chapter 3, we see the crippled man continues to be faithful, waiting for someone to come along and help him. 

I read this as I was getting on a plane headed from Columbus, Mississippi, to Atlanta, Georgia, and I thought about him, a man who struggled from birth with a situation that in the time and era of the Bible, would’ve put him in a very vulnerable position. There are a few parts of the story that I really wonder about: I wonder about the people that helped him each day to get where he needed to go, and I wonder about his faith.

2018 June SGNScoops Publisher’s Point by Rob PatzSo back to my story for a second. Here I am, on a plane headed from Columbus, Mississippi. We’ve just finished a great event in Vernon Alabama, and I was headed back to Atlanta. The joke is that it takes a village to keep me (Rob) going. That really is the case. I have a fantastic group of people, both on my staff, and in my personal life, who allow me to do exactly what God has called me to do. 

There are some neat things that are happening with the magazine and with my company. As we took off and breached the cloud cover into beautiful sunny skies, I thought about some of those things, some of the opportunities I have prayed for, for 20+ years. I could have become discouraged, I could have given up and moved on, but instead I have done everything I can to hold fast to what God has promised.

Sometimes, in our Christian faith, as doers of the word and workers in his kingdom, we all need a Peter and/or John to come alongside us.  There are times in life we have to be reminded that even though we are strong in the faith, it takes a community, it takes people that are willing to listen to what God has for us and who are willing to lift us up.

Over the last 12 months, I will tell you that I have watched God answer prayers that not only have I prayed about, but close family friends have also prayed about since I was a child. I’m excited to talk about those answers over the next year. As we continue our journey together, look around you for your Peter and John, and your miracle could be today.

Rob Patz. Picture courtesy of Penny Walters and Gloryland. Road to Creekside

Rob Patz. Picture courtesy of Penny Walters and Gloryland.

Just remember that this may not happen immediately. There must’ve been so many days of discouragement for the crippled man. However, I can only imagine the victory that this man felt when, after his healing, he could share the joy of his healing, not only with his family, but also with those who cared for him for all those years.

I pray that each of us who are in transition, waiting for our answers to prayer to occur, will remember that we need our community, our family and friends who support us. And that each of us will have our own story of victory to share with each other.

Come be with our Creekside family at Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on Oct. 27 – 31. We want to share music, fun, fellowship, and prayer with you. If you enjoy Southern, Country, or Bluegrass gospel music, you need to join us. For more information visit www.gospelmusicconvention.com or write events@sgnscoops.com.

By Rob Patz

First published by SGNScoops Magazine October 2019

For more Gospel music features, read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine In PDF Here
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook Here

Listen To Todays Gospel Music Here

 

 

 


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Lorraine Walker: September, Seasons, and SGNScoops

Written by Staff on September 27, 2019 – 3:09 pm -

Editor’s Last Word for September 2019 SGNScoops Magazine by Lorraine Walker

(Photo above depicts September in Ontario)

Thank you so much for reading to the very end of the 121st issue of SGNScoops digital magazine. I am so happy that our magazine has been read and enjoyed by so many for so long. I give my thanks to previous editors, Kelly Burton and Rhonda Frye, and to my publisher, Rob Patz, for leading the way and teaching me the ropes of editing such a unique and constantly changing vehicle for the love of God. Our main purpose for SGNScoops is, and has always been, to be used by God to share his love and grace with everyone who reads it. We pray that as long as he can use us, we will be available for him.

 

September 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

September 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

That is also the message that we have been receiving from others who are celebrating anniversaries along with us in this issue. It is always a privilege and an honour to talk with Scott Fowler of Legacy Five. What a pleasure it was to share in the last concert with tenor, Josh Feemster, and baritone, Scott Howard. Scott Fowler had nothing but praises for the gentlemen who were leaving as well as the gentlemen who were coming in to take their place. Over their 20 years, Legacy Five has seen fewer changeovers than many in this industry. That says a lot about his style of leadership, integrity and love for this music.

 

Speaking of leadership and integrity, Mike Moran and the Torchmen have been representing Canada with excellence for 50 years. It was a pleasure once again to present their ministry to our readers. 

 

The artists we have featured in SGNScoops, like Carol Barham, Ivan Parker, the Pine Ridge Boys, and the Chordsmen, all love their music, and share the love of God this music. We thank all of the artists that have graced the pages of our magazine for being ambassadors for Jesus Christ.

Scott Fowler and Lorraine Walker

Scott Fowler and Lorraine Walker

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the writers, creative designers, editors, proofers, and all those who have shared their talents both in the magazine and website. Thank you for sharing your time and your lives with SGNScoops.

 

In the ten years I have been talking to artists for SGNScoops, one thing I have learned that is universal, regardless of who or where you are; if you are alive, you are going through something. If you are in a good season, your bad season is still visible in the rearview mirror. If you are in difficult circumstances, you aren’t alone.

 

I may be living with physical pain, but the person next to me might be enduring a recent death of a loved one. You might be working your way through deep depression while that artist on stage may have a child in the final stages of cancer. Or maybe they are facing bankruptcy while that joyful saint in the front row left a loved one with dementia at home with a caretaker.

 

We all experience heart-rending circumstances regardless of who we are. We can spend our time asking, “Why?” Although maybe the question should be “Why not?” We live in a fallen world filled with disease, death and debauchery. As Christians, we should not expect a free pass. What we should expect, as we grow closer to Jesus, is to join him in suffering. This pain becomes part of our testimony as others watch how we handle tough times. And as my friend Mike Moran assures me, it came to pass. Even if you can’t see the end of your tough time, I pray you know that Jesus sees your tears and he is right there with you. He has a purpose for your pain. He loves you too much to let you suffer for no reason, even though you may not know what that is until you reach heaven.

 

My dear friend who is suffering, may I suggest that asking for a reason isn’t the best use of your prayer time? I say this after spending many nights asking the same thing. Tell Jesus where it hurts. Pour out your heart. Then start to tell him about your friends who are hurting. Ask him to meet their needs. As you see the Lord work in the lives of others, you may be thrilled to find that he is answering prayers for you as well. 

 

Lorraine Walker

Lorraine Walker

I pray today that you will be filled with the joy of the Lord, as he blesses you with enough mercy, grace, bread and love to make it through the day. I pray this issue, and every future SGNScoops Magazine, will deliver his love to your heart, every time. 

 

I’d love to hear from you. Write to me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com.

By Lorraine Walker

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in September 2019

For more Gospel music features, read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine In PDF Here
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook Here

Listen To Todays Gospel Music Here


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Rob Patz: What if I told you…?

Written by Staff on September 25, 2019 – 10:40 am -

Rob Patz. Picture courtesy of Penny Walters and Gloryland. Road to Creekside

Rob Patz. Picture courtesy of Penny Walters and Gloryland.

Publisher’s Point for September 2019 by Rob Patz

What if I told you…?

What if I told you that I never imagined my life would be exactly the way it is? I felt that I was going to do something completely different with my life, that I would be married, and that I would have kids. I’ll be completely honest: There are nights I have laid in bed and wondered what was wrong with me, and why it didn’t happen the way I wanted it to. But in the end I will tell you that I didn’t imagine this place, but God did.

 

What if I told you that everything you see on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter really isn’t what is happening? That people place so much in what they see and not what really is the truth?

 

What if I told you that every year in September when it’s my birthday, I reflect back on my life, and most of the time I’m not happy with any of it. That’s just the truth. Raw truth. I’m sure most of us can say that. As my mom used to say, “Hindsight is 20/20!” So, looking back on what decisions we’ve made during the year, or years past, they are easily dissected in the rearview mirror.

 

What if I told you that it took until this year for me to be comfortable in my own skin? For me to realize that God created me to be just who I am, for just his plan? I hate to admit it but I’ve always been one of those people for whom appearance was important. What other people thought and other people perceived about who I was, was something I worked on daily. I struggled with the thought that people saw parts of me that I didn’t want viewed. Over these last 12 months, I’ve come to realize that all the parts of me make up who I am, and I need to celebrate who God made me to be.

 

What if I told you that the blessings God gives you are not for you to keep, but for you to bless those that are less fortunate, whether that be through financial, or mentoring, or just an act of kindness? 

 

September 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

September 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

We live in a society now that stares at their phone more than they stare at their TV. To be honest with you, people spend more time looking at their phones, then they do interacting with other people. I’ve noticed this more and more as I travel. 

 

A week ago, I was sitting in a hotel breakfast room, which happens to be one of my favorites. I get to stay there at least once a month. On this morning, I looked around at the other people in the large restaurant area and I realized that no one was really talking except for a cluster of men in the corner, obviously headed off to do sales that day. But other than that, everyone in the room was staring at their phones. What if I suggested that you put the phone down and interact with those people around you? You may just change someone’s day.

 

What if I told you your dreams aren’t dead, or that they may have just taken a detour in your mind, but not in God’s? I’m amazed how many times in my life I have thought I had blown everything and that God couldn’t put back together everything that I had messed up. But it has been awesome to see how God takes all of the pieces and turns them into something incredible – a mosaic – beautiful, broken pieces put together into an incredible, beautiful picture.

 

Stevens Family Tradition, with Rob Patz and Vonda Armstrong

Stevens Family Tradition, with Rob Patz and Vonda Armstrong

What if I told you it was not by accident that this month that you are reading my Publisher’s Point? What if I told you that God is working in your life in ways that you can’t even imagine, to bring you to the point of the dreams that you’ve always had?

 

Creekside 2019 presented by Coastal Media

Creekside 2019 presented by Coastal Media

I hope to see you next month in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for Creekside Gospel Music Convention 2019, Oct. 27- 31, at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center. Contact events@sgnscoops.com for more information.

For more Gospel music features, read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine In PDF Here
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook Here

Listen To Todays Gospel Music Here

 


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Kristina Cornell: No Other Name — Deliverance

Written by Staff on September 6, 2019 – 1:46 pm -

Kristina Cornell. No other name. Deliverance

Kristina Cornell

No Other Name – Deliverance

“The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.

Deliverance from Prison 

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew [his] sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, ‘Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.’ He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.’ So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. He brought them up into his house and provided a meal and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.” Acts 16:22-34.

The scripture goes on to explain that Paul and Silas were actually Roman citizens. How frustrating it must have been for them to be accused of being something that they were not. And in addition to that, ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned, surrounded by darkness.  

As we read the New Testament, we understand that Paul wrote a lot of it.  Once a Christian killer, Paul was actually named Saul. As Saul, he was ruthless, what we would refer to today as a terrorist. But, on the road to Damascus, Saul had an encounter with the Lord and was converted to Christianity. He had a real experience with the Holy Spirit. Because of that experience, we have the greatest evangelist of all time, Paul.

The Lord used Paul in a mighty way for the early church. Paul wrote, “It is no longer I that lives, but Christ that lives in me.”  And, he exemplified that statement.  

In my life, I have been falsely accused, even misunderstood. I have been abused and rejected. I have experienced circumstances that held me captive, imprisoned in a situation that I, in myself, could not escape. 

These were very dark times in my life.

As I reflect, I am reminded of the difference in the outcomes of such situations. The outcomes were a direct result of my behavior, my actions, and my reactions.

There was a time in my life when I was so broken and so devastated that I was angry with God. I served him for my whole life and I faced some really awful things in a horrible sequence of events. 

I would have taken my life if I did not have a child that needed me. I had nothing left to give, nothing left to do.  That was the lie of the enemy that almost took my life.

Through some tough times, unnecessary self-inflicted trials, I surrendered my life to the Lord again.  He took me back into his arms and loved me, like a father does. He never reminded me of my wrongs, only redirected my path.  

Several years later, I had a very similar set of circumstances in my life. The same abuse, the same loss, the same devastation.

However, I learned a huge lesson the first time I suffered through this. I learned that being angry with God because of my circumstances was silliness.

He gives free will, and sometimes people make very poor choices, choices that make them seem like monsters. 

My free will had the right to choose how I would endure this hardship. Would I walk away from my best friend, Jesus? Would I cling tighter and expect him to deliver me however he saw fit?  This time, I chose “b”. I cried, I hurt, I sought God’s face constantly, I surrounded myself with worship and those who would join me in it.  

See, the enemy mistook my loyalty. He thought he could beat me up, humiliate me, bind me in chains, and keep me in darkness. But in my midnight, one of the most depression-riddled seasons of my life, my perspective changed. My behavior and actions were different. 

This time, I began to worship. I began to serve God more and deeper. I sang louder and louder. I wrote music to God. I stopped praising and began worshipping. I refused to be blinded by the darkness that was so thick I could not see.  

Something amazing began to happen. The chains of anxiety that bound me were being released. The prison walls of depression began to fall around me. I was free.

Like Paul and Silas, I sat there for a minute. See, the awesomeness of the freedom was not because I could now walk free from the scenario. It was awesome because even as I sat in the middle of my broken chains and darkness, I just was free. Whether walking out in the night or sitting in the middle of it, my freedom was the same.

One of the coolest points to this story is that Paul and Silas could have walked out, but they did not want their freedom to cause anyone else to stumble or to not experience freedom with them. When my deliverance began, I sat there. I waited ’til the Lord told me to go. In that time he was not only strengthening me but allowing me to be a witness to countless people. 

Dear friends, your deliverance is not only for you, it is for a testimony to others who also need deliverance. Theirs may look different than yours, like the guard’s deliverance was salvation, which was different than that which Paul and Silas experienced, but there was deliverance nonetheless.

I know that when God begins to break things from us and we enjoy freedom it can be difficult to wait and allow yourself to be used in such an exhausted state. But God has a plan and we will live a beautiful life of peace when we surrender all to him.

Kristina Cornell. No other name. Healing

Kristina Cornell

There is no other name for deliverance than the precious name of Jesus. He makes all things new.

By Kristina Cornell

Kristina Cornell is a regular contributor to SGNScoops website.

“…I have been delivered so many times by the hand of God that any creativity that I have I only want to give back to Him. I really have nothing else to say, as I have learned that I have nothing of significance to offer of myself. I am just like everyone else, in need of a Savior. I write from my heart, I write devotionals, stories, songs, messages, even starting on a book, and all I have to offer is Jesus and what He has done in my life!” — Kristina Cornell. Visit her website at www.tellthemministries.net.

You can find out more about Kristina on Facebook HERE.

 

For more Gospel music features read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine In PDF Here
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook Here
Listen To Todays Gospel Music Here

 


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Ten Ways to Have a More Successful, Effective Prayer Life

Written by Staff on September 4, 2019 – 10:35 am -

Ten Ways to Have a More Successful, Effective Prayer Life

Ten Ways to Have a More Successful, Effective Prayer Life

The other day as I was poring through some papers that belonged to my dear Mom, I came across an article she used to refer to often. It was written by someone in China many years ago, and it gave a description of how things would be right before Jesus comes back. I found the words as sobering as they used to be when Mom would read them to me or speak of them through the years. One of the main subjects the author spoke about was how increasingly difficult it would be to pray as we approach Jesus’ 2nd coming.

As I read the words again, I was amazed at the accuracy of this “prophecy” written so long ago.

Does anyone else have as difficult a time entering into intercessory prayer as I do?

It is not that I don’t love to pray.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I DO love to pray. I cannot begin to express how much I love immersing in a time of deep communion and conversation with my Heavenly Father.  Those moments with Him are my favorite moments of all, and without that time of keeping our communication open and fresh, I could not, by any means, maintain the spiritual Christian walk that He enables me to walk day by day.

I have lived for Jesus long enough and neglected my prayer life enough times to come to a full realization that prayer is absolutely essential and imperative to my success in living a Christian life. I cannot do without it for it is in Him that I live and move and have my being.  (Acts 17:28)

I have no ability to know which path to take, without consistently engaging in conversation with my Lord. “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”  Jeremiah 10:23

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in His way.”  Psalm 37:23

I desperately need to continually hear His voice instructing me which way to go, and it is crucial that I do whatever is necessary to draw daily strength and grace from Him to overcome the onslaught of evil that we all have to contend with in daily life.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Matthew 26:41

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”  John 15:51

I know I need to pray, and I know the consequences that ensue when I don’t pray as I should, so I determined to try to identify the main opponents to my prayer life.

Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

What exactly is it that makes praying so difficult in these last days?

Once I identified my biggest prayer hindrances, it was easier to come up with ammunition to combat those deterrents and win!  I hope you will also find these tips helpful as you pursue a more effective prayer life for truly there is no substitute for the amazing power of consistent, effectual prayer in the life of a Christian.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.“James 5:16

Ten Ways to Have a More Successful, Effective Prayer Life?1.  Pray first.  

Let it begin as soon as you awaken in the morning.  Just get it done!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

On days that I don’t pray first, not only does it seem the day falls apart, I also walk around with a continual nagging sense of not having done what I should.  It sets an out-of-sorts tone for the whole day.  Spending those first moments of the day with God in prayer gives a sense of having done my duty and arms me with what I will need to face the unfamiliar challenges of a new day.  As I get older and don’t sleep as soundly as I used to, I find that I am doing a lot of praying during the night, too.  There is nothing more comforting to do when you are tossing and turning than to turn your heart Heavenward and talk it all over with Him.  It is soothing to the soul and gives a sense of refreshed peace when you wake up later.

My mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: when I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.  Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.”  Psalm 63:5-7

Yet the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”  Psalm 42:8

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises.”Psalm 119:148

Most importantly, Jesus, our example, prayed all night long.

And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”  Luke 6:12

The Bible mentions Jesus’ prayer life enough times to reveal His prayer patterns to us, and we would all do well to pay careful attention to those details.  If He needed to pray so often and for such long, extended periods of time, do we really think we can run a successful Christian race doing less?

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees.”—-EM Bounds

2.  If you can’t pray first, pray faithfully.

If praying during the first part of the day doesn’t work for you, the main thing is to be intentional about specifying a block of daily time for prayer regardless of the time of day, and then committing to it daily and making it a habit —just like a daily important appointment.  It is actually the most important of all.

3. Establish a designated place to pray.

  Though we can obviously pray from anywhere, it helps to have a particular place to pray. Having a designated prayer spot will associate prayer to that location and become a place that draws and reminds you to pray.  Over time, as you experience God’s anointing in that place, you will begin to regard and cherish it as holy ground.

4.  Be comfortable.

This may sound like an odd prayer strategy, but if you are in an uncomfortable position, you probably won’t want to stay there long.  Again, as I get older, I find that being on my knees isn’t the most comfortable position, and when I start out praying that way, I usually end up moving to my recliner to finish.  It may be just my opinion, but I don’t believe God is nearly as concerned about bodily position while praying as He is in fervency, earnestness, and the condition of the heart.  I will never forget how much it impressed me to read about how Charles Stanley arms himself with the whole armor of God before his feet touch the floor each morning.  This lends support to the point of praying first and gives another reason that it is a good idea.  Praying in bed first thing in the morning brings us into the presence of God and insures that He is the first one we face and talk to.  We never leave an encounter with Him unchanged, and after being with Him, we will find ourselves prepared for every other intersection and interaction that will happen throughout the day.

5.  Keep paper and pen near your prayer spot.

One of my main inhibitors during prayer time is becoming so distracted by the onslaught of meddlesome thoughts that continually stream through my mind as I am trying to pray.  I start thinking of phone calls I need to make, emails I need to write, people I need to reach out to and connect with, chores I need to accomplish, what I will cook for my family, and upcoming occasions for which I need to prepare.  So, to beat the enemy at his distractions game, I started keeping a pad of paper and pen close by.  Now, when those distracting thoughts start invading, I start jotting short little note reminders.  This transfers the task from my mind to paper, and I can let it go to be revisited later in the day.  It’s a winning strategy that works perfectly and enables me to keep right on praying until I am finished!

6.  Allow for listening.  

The fact that a conversation is two-way also applies to prayer, but an often overlooked part of prayer is allowing space for God to speak.  We want to do all the talking and asking and petitioning, but we rush away from prayer after pouring out what we want to say, and we fail to linger long enough to give Him an opportunity to deal with our hearts and reveal His thoughts.  There is much that He will relay to us if we will make the effort to be still before Him.  Reduce noise, and pray in solitude.  Jesus did.

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone.” Matthew 14:23

And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray.”  Mark 6:46

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”  Mark 1:35

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”  Luke 5:16

Just as I am with Justin McLeod7.  Pray on.

Though you have an allocated prayer spot and time, it is important to also remember to stay in a spirit of prayer after you finish and as you continue throughout the entirety of your day.  I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray without ceasing.”  We obviously cannot stay in our designated prayer spot and preferred prayer position 24/7, but we can continually call on the Lord and pray unceasingly as we go about our day and perform our duties, keeping our minds in a continual state of communion with Jesus.  He is always there with us, as close as the slightest whisper, and every time we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.  “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”  James 4:8  I have found that my daily duties, i.e., homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and even errands have become springboards from which prayer wells up, and things that would otherwise be mundane and laborious are transformed into opportunities for deep conversation with my Lord.

8.  Shed toxic influences.

Shed people who continually hinder and dampen the audaciousness of your faith.  Stop listening to those who quench your inspiration.  When Jesus was on the earth, and He was faced with an impossibility to pray through, He sent all doubters away and dispelled hindering spirits from the atmosphere.  They were not allowed access into His inner circle.  In fact, in particular situations and circumstances, Jesus ONLY permitted a select three of His twelve disciples to go with Him.

In the case of raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead, He allowed only Peter, James, John, and the girl’s parents to stay in the room as He performed the miracle.  (Luke 8:50-55)

When Jesus was going to the mountain to be miraculously transfigured, (Matthew 17:1-2), He only took Peter, James, and John.  When He entered the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His crucifixion, He only invited Peter, James, and John to go farthest into the garden with Him to pray.

There was no place for doubt, fear, or unbelief in Jesus’ realm.  When opposing spirits were present, He removed them.  Why?  Because fear, doubt, and unbelief can hinder the miracle from manifesting.  It can also deeply influence and injure the faith of others who DO believe God is going to answer prayer.  If you are praying with someone who does not believe for what you are asking, that spirit of unbelief can absolutely hinder the answer from coming through and can start to cause you to start doubting God’s ability to do what you are asking Him to.  Doubt is toxic to faith.  Get rid of it, and shed those who inject it into your prayer life.  It may sound cruel and heartless, but it is just that necessary.

9.  Surround yourself with Godly influencers of faith.

  Surround yourself with those who unfailingly believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

Ask the Lord to send earnest, relentless prayer partners into your life.  Seek out those who speak life into the situations you are praying about.  Abraham had faith in “Him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.‘  Romans 4:17

THAT is the God we serve.  He has not lost one bit of His power, and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8

Just as Jesus chose those whom He knew believed with all their hearts and placed them in His inmost inner circle, we have the free will to choose the people we allow in ours.  None of us want to hurt another, but when it comes to running a successful Christian race, and knowing the main tool to make that happen is the maintaining of a strong, faith-filled prayer life, it is imperative that the people we permit access to our closest companionship are those who possess a resolute, unshakable faith in God.  It took me a long time to realize the depth of wisdom in expending the necessary effort it took to develop an encirclement of stalwart faith-filled prayer warriors around me.  When a need arises, I want to know that the people I ask to pray will fervently pray and that they will do so with zero doubt in the God they are praying to.

Don’t you?

Cheryl Smith. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people

Cheryl Smith, author of the Inner Views and Homespun Devotions

10.  Keep prayer commitments. 

Just as you want to know you and your prayer requests are being faithfully prayed for, be careful to pray for those for whom you have promised to pray.  If you tell someone you will pray for them, honor your word and be committed to keeping your promise to carry their needs to the Father.  I find it is very helpful to keep a prayer book where I record the names of those I have made a commitment to pray for.  Life is busy and full of care, and it is easy for me to become so absorbed in all that is going on in my own life and completely forget to keep my promise to pray for others.  I have also learned to drop what I am doing and pray instantly with/for those who ask for prayer, if at all possible.

As always, if anyone who reads this needs prayer, please always feel free to email me through this site.  When I tell you I will be praying for you, by God’s grace, I will keep my word!

God bless you as you pursue an ever-deepening prayer life, and may He send people into your life who will reinforce your faith, support your determination, and powerfully enhance the strength of your prayers.

First published on Homespun Devotions at https://www.homespundevotions.com/2019/08/ten-ways-to-have-more-successful.html

By Cheryl Smith
Blessed & Grateful Wifeto Kevin and Homeschool Mamato Zach
Prayer Action Leader for Concerned Women for America

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Lorraine Walker: Sweet corn, birthdays, and rain

Written by Staff on August 23, 2019 – 3:32 pm -

Lorraine Walker: Sweet corn, birthdays, and rain

Lorraine Walker: Sweet corn, birthdays, and rain. Photo credit: Snyder’s Sweet Corn

2019 August SGNScoops Editor’s Last Word By Lorraine Walker

August is a lovely month in my part of the world. There are many flowers, as long as we have rain, plus it is time for sweet corn and peaches. It is also lovely because I get to celebrate my birthday. I have decided, as I learn more to live in the moment and embrace what God has for me today, that each day and each year is special. Instead of wishing for times past, or to relive a younger age, I am learning that I am who I am because God has brought me through mountains and valleys to teach me to closely follow him. Life isn’t always sunshine and roses; as the song says, we have to have a little rain. That is how we grow, isn’t it?

 

A little rain fell on the gospel music community last month as we mourned the passing of Dr. Jerry Goff. Charlie Griffin brought us a great overview and we are also thankful for the artists and industry personnel that shared their memories with us. He was a considerate, joyful, gentle and genuine man of God. He will be missed and we send our love, sympathy and prayers to his wife Jan and all of his family and friends.

 

Lorraine Walker: Sweet corn, birthdays, and rain

August 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

We offered you quite an eclectic bunch of artists for your reading pleasure this month and I do hope you enjoyed reading about all of them. Our writers again did a fantastic job and I am so grateful. Our creative team presented this issue with excellence and we are so appreciative. Summer is a busy time and it is not always possible to delegate moments to our hobbies, such as writing for SGNScoops. So we do thank you all.

 

As I was reading the Publisher’s Point for this month, I was reflecting on how my attitude about prayer has been shifted and focussed by my experiences. Pain, death, friendship, love, joy and sadness all color our lives but also deeply affect our relationship with God. None of these things, or any other emotion or experience changes who he is, for which I am grateful. But they do affect the lens through which we see him. 

 

Lorraine WalkerFor me, I have learned that he is closeby, always interested in what I am experiencing, always listening to hear my plea and my praise. He wants such a close relationship with me that he will stop at nothing to lead me along the path that leads to sanctification. That includes experiences that cause me to hurt, even for an extended time, whether it is physical or emotional pain. He won’t just lift me out of something I don’t like. He may let me remain there. But he is a good Father and it is always for a good reason. 

 

Sometimes, when we are in the midst of pain, it is hard to see the hand of God gripping our hand. That is why it is important to record our prayers to God, such as Rob was suggesting in his article. Then, when you refer to them later, you will see how God has answered and how far he has brought you along. It is faith-building and trust-securing.

 

Thank you to each of you for reading this month’s issue of SGNScoops Magazine. It has been my pleasure and my honor to present this to you and to God, month after month. May you find enjoyment and inspiration within these pages. As always, if you have a question or comment, please email me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com or find me on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you. 

By Lorraine Walker

First published in the August 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

For more Gospel music features read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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Kristina Cornell: No Other Name — Healing

Written by Staff on July 18, 2019 – 7:30 am -

Kristina Cornell. No other name. Healing

Kristina Cornell

NO OTHER NAME — Healing

What is the difference?  If you had a favorite item and you could take it and have it repaired, OR, if someone could revitalize, remake the item, using the same structure, what would you choose? 

I have a pair of black leather boots. They are my favorite. They fit me perfectly, they are flattering with everything, and they are 10 years old. I wear them so much that the soles wear to nothing. They are leather so they get a little scratched here and there.

Early on, I would try and fix them myself. However, I decided to take them to a shoemaker. He removes the heel and sole, he conditions the leather, then polishes it. He replaces the sole with a new one.  I have had this process done twice. They look brand new every time he restores them. He actually calls it that. He does not call it a boot-repair, he calls it boot-restoration because he takes them apart and remakes them. 

No Other Name Like Jesus: The Tenth Leper

There is no other name that brings healing, but the name of Jesus. Isaiah prophesied of the Savior, Jehovah. He wrote: Isaiah 53:5 “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging, we are healed.”  Isaiah was shown by the Father that the Messiah would come to save the world. Last month was the first part of this series, and it was No Other Name – Salvation. This month we are doing No Other Name – Healing.  Jesus came to cleanse us from our sin and save us from an eternal removal from Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. He also came to save us from hurts and pains, from brokenness and sicknesses, from diseases and depressions.  

In the Gospels, the recollection of Jesus life on earth, we have Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Luke was a physician and offers a different perspective on a lot of what was recorded. This is one of my FAVORITE stories in the Bible, and we find it in Luke 17:11-19.  Verses 11-14 set up the situation:

“11 As He went on His way to Jerusalem, it occurred that Jesus was passing along the border between Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance.

13 And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us!

14 And when He saw them, He said to them, “Go at once and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cured and made clean.

Oh my goodness, when we get to verse 15, it starts to get good.

15 Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice;

16 And he fell prostrate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him over and over. And he was a Samaritan.

17 Then Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the nine?

18 Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien?”

Every single time that I reach verse 17, I get butterflies in my stomach. I cannot imagine being one of the other nine. Jesus was disappointed. I could not imagine disappointing Jesus!  Of course, I also am so emotional and such a words driven person, I thank Jesus when I find an extra piece of gum in my purse. I cannot imagine being cleansed of leprosy and just going on my merry way without saying thank you. 

We really do not have a lot of information on those nine lepers that continued on their way. but we do know that number 10 was a Samaritan. Jesus called him an alien. There was nothing special about him. As a matter of fact, he had a mark against him for being a Samaritan, as they were not a good match with Jewish people. They had a long history of animosity toward each other.

This man was not high society; he was a have-not. He had no etiquette or training; he was a Samaritan and Jewish people called them dogs. Jesus was not affected by his title. Jesus was not affected by his status and by his disease. Jesus was affected by his heart. Jesus proved the greatest love that day. He loved others above all, and He selflessly cleansed these unclean people.

But the tenth leper…

Verse 19 says it all to me: “And He said to him, “Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.”  All of the lepers were cleansed, BUT the tenth leper was restored.  He was not fixed; he was made new.  

On, the blood of Jesus, that washes white as snow. He poured out His blood for us, for our salvation and for our healing. By His stripes, we are healed. We can claim victory in our lives today because of who He is.

The tenth leper’s faith in healing is not what made him whole. The tenth leper’s faith in Jesus is what made him whole.  

No Other Name — Healing

You do not have to hold on to things in your life.  Let go and let God have His way. When He cleanses you, praise Him; when He delivers you, praise Him; when He heals you, praise Him…

Restoration will come into your life when you trust in Jesus. Trust that He has the best plan for you. If He does not take the sickness away, He will use it for your good and His glory. If you are afflicted at the hand of another, it is not God’s fault, it is their free will.  But God can take anything and “work it together for good, when we love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

Will we face difficult challenges in our lives? Absolutely. Can Jesus still cleanse us from our uncleanliness?  Absolutely.

Just…Please…Don’t miss the next step…

Praise Him even when everyone else leaves, even if you feel like you’re a lesser-than and unworthy. Praise Him when everyone else wants to go tell others what happened instead of giving thanks. Praise Him even when you think He may not listen because you feel that you don’t deserve His grace or mercy.

Kristina Cornell. No other name. Healing

Kristina Cornell

Jesus hears us. He recognizes us. He restores us.

There is no other Name for healing, but the name of Jesus.

By Kristina Cornell.

Kristina Cornell is a regular contributor to SGNScoops website.

“…I have been delivered so many times by the hand of God that any creativity that I have I only want to give back to Him. I really have nothing else to say, as I have learned that I have nothing of significance to offer of myself. I am just like everyone else, in need of a Savior. I write from my heart, I write devotionals, stories, songs, messages, even starting on a book, and all I have to offer is Jesus and what He has done in my life!” — Kristina Cornell. Visit her website at www.tellthemministries.net.

You can find out more about Kristina on Facebook HERE.

Download the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine HERE
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Listen To The Best In Today’s Gospel Music HERE

 

 


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Cheryl Smith: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Written by Staff on July 16, 2019 – 11:55 am -

Cheryl Smith: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Cheryl Smith: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

A mother of four returns home from church to find her husband’s mangled car, just a block from home. As she enters her house, the phone is ringing. It is the hospital telling her to come quick, that her husband has been in an accident. She asks, ‘How bad is he,’ only to have the nurse on the other end of the line insufficiently cover the receiver while asking another nurse, “Shall I tell her?” At that moment, she knows he is gone. She struggles, wondering why he wouldn’t stop drinking, how she will tell her children their daddy is gone, and how they will ever make it through.

***

After the ending of a tumultuous relationship, a sweet, kind-hearted girlfriend takes him back just one more time. She gives him everything he asks for, including the money in her purse, only to have him return a few hours later to ruthlessly and repeatedly stab her face and body, leaving her lying in a pool of blood. She is found, arms folded, eyes turned heavenward, dead, on her apartment floor.

***

I stand beside my mother’s/her great-grandmother’s casket as the young girl in front of me pours out her heart. Addiction, abuse, and bad lifestyle choices have caused her to lose custody of her three children, and the only way she could attend the funeral was by obtaining a special pass from rehab. She tells me how she has made up her mind to change, and I tell her how proud of her I am. Just a few weeks later, she is released from rehab and everyone thinks she is finally turning her life around. Then someone makes an offer she can’t refuse, and she decides to go back for one more fix. Something goes terribly wrong, and her daddy finds her dead the next morning, lying on his bathroom floor.

***

This stuff isn’t made up. This is real life. Each of these is true and have touched my life and the lives of those I love in a deeply personal way. My mother was the young widow with four children; my niece, Victoria, was the kind-hearted girlfriend; and my great-niece, Ashley, was the young mom in rehab. I could go on and on. There are plenty of stories. You could probably share many of your own. The human condition is something we all have in common. Everybody hurts. We all cry. Things touch our lives, and we are left reeling, sometimes to never fully recover.

So, the question is, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Why does God look on while such things happen? How can a loving God allow such pain to be inflicted upon His creation? We hear of horrific happenings every evening on the nightly news, and we find ourselves asking the age-old, still-unanswered question again and again: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

In spite of the frequency and number of times it has been asked, the question remains unanswered because to answer this question one would have to be able to see into, know, and fully understand the mind and reasoning of God. We know from Scripture that God is high above us, and His thoughts and ways are beyond what we have the capacity of comprehending.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him?” I Corinthians 2:16

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Job 38:1-4

From these verses, we conclude that we can never fully answer the question of why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but as we look at a broader view of Scripture, we can see that God’s original and never-faltering nature is and always has been purely and entirely good.

Our hearts cry, “Why, God?” when bad things happen because deep in each one of our spirits, we believe that God is good. We believe He is sovereign, that He is in complete control, and that He can prevent bad things from happening. So, why doesn’t He?

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