Author: Christopher
•11:23 AM
Okay, this is for the kiddoes but it may be a big help to other readers.

How do I deal with a past hurt? Let's take for example the fella who says, "My parents hurt me when I was a kid, and I still carry the root of bitterness in my heart."

The typical solution is for a well-meaning friend to say that God will work it out for good. He will eventually take the ashes and turn them into beauty, and will eventually turn our mourning into dancing.

Yeah, right. I was born in the morning but it wasn't yesterday morning. All your advice did there was say that God couldn't prevent the hurt from happening to me. So I end up with a secret and hidden, but very real bitterness toward God (who could have prevented it, but didn't), and toward my parents/teacher/friend who actually hurt me. You just made the matter worse.

I talked to an atheist lady once about Jesus. She said that she didn't believe in God. So I asked the question:

"How did He hurt you?"

And she began to cry.

"How could he take my mom away from me? Why would he take a mom from a little girl?"

It's not that she didn't believe in God, she just didn't believe in a God who would hurt her like that. She didn't want to believe in a God who was cruel.

Now listen, I believe that many Christians have a lack luster walk with God because they know that they SHOULD walk with God, but they really don't WANT to because of hidden pains, and unforgiveness toward him. They are not whole-hearted; they "oppose themselves.' (2 Tim 2) They run as fast as they dare after God, but they are afraid to ever really catch him.

"Be not deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners." That is, wrong teaching on this subject has brought about a lot of poor walks with God.

Okay, so what is the biblical way to deal with this situation? It's simple: Thankfulness. That's it.

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; " (Eph 5)

It's not enough to claim Romans 8:28 and say that 'God will eventually work this for good' and therefore I will be thankful for the result. No, we have to be thankful FOR the thing that hurt us.

I remember taking Evan to the doctor to have a boil on his leg lanced. Ouch. Because of his limited knowledge and understanding, all I could offer him was "TRUST me, honey. This is a good thing." But it hurt. And I hurt for him.

But it was good and necessary. And he trusted me, and I held him down. And I allowed him to be hurt. No, I brought him to the doctor and caused him to be hurt. I did it on purpose.

Now listen, our God is sovereign. He controls all things. He doesn't just ALLOW things to happen to us, he brings them on us. And sometimes they hurt us.

"HOW CRUEL!" you say.

But that is the response of someone who doesn't know that God is good and that I can trust him with everything, for everything, and in everything. He is ALWAYS good, and can always be trusted.

So, next time you are tempted to say, "Why did God allow that happen?" stop yourself and say, "God caused this to happen." But then, with faith in your heart, say, "Thank you. I trust that this is GOOD because it comes from the hand of my loving Father. I don't understand it. I HATE it. I am angry. But, Father, since it is YOU who has done this, then it is good. Thank you."

Sure it will be hard. It will take a lot of faith. It won't feel right to lay such a huge hurt at the feet of God, but it's okay. He can handle it. And he won't get angry with you for doing it.

He always loves you. He always has. He always will.

We usually fail in this faith response. This right here is where we mess up. We doubt that God is good, and rather than trusting him in FAITH, we respond with doubt like the lady who became an atheist. We turn away because we don't trust him anymore.

But God loves you. He always has. He always will.

Trust him.

Thank him.

That's it.
Author: Christopher
•6:52 PM
The Haven of Rest is a church-supported ministry to people who are homeless. It is a wonderful ministry. I had been asked to preach there one evening, and so I was sitting on the platform waiting for the song service to finish.

Actually, waiting is too calm of a word. I was fidgeting ... very calmly. Ever heard the one about the duck who is peaceful on the top but paddling like mad underneath? That was me. I was on the platform about to preach to a hundred strangers, and I had no idea what I was going to say!

As the song service came to a close, I walked 'confidently' to the podium. Sometimes you just have to do these things by faith. I opened my Bible to Isaiah 53, and began to speak at verse 1.

Soon I was preaching the Cross of Jesus in the flowing river of the Spirit of God. God took over. I don't even remember what I said.

When I finished, I gave an invitation. Probably 8 or 9 people came forward, several for salvation. I was told later that the women who came from the back rows were very hardened to the gospel, but even some of them came forward to get saved!

Among those at the altar was a man in his mid-thirties. I prayed for him, and then he started to walk away.

"Wait a minute," I said, "come here for a second."

When he did, I put my arms around him and hugged him like he was a prodigal son coming home. He began to cry. And cry.

He told me, "I've been asking God for a hug all day, and he just gave it to me."

Turns out the fella was a Bible school graduate who was going through some pretty awful marital problems. He didn't know where to turn, and had ended up at the Haven of Rest. He really needed to know that God had not abandoned him.

And apparently he hadn't! He sent me there to show him the love of God!

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:" Deut 33:27
Author: Christopher
•10:17 PM
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I used to work with Child Evangelism Fellowship all over the city. I led clubs myself, but I was also a helper. Mainly, I was the puppet guy.

I had a little African-American puppet named Tyrone who was on loan for the summer. I had so much fun with him! He liked to do an imitation of Michael Jackson complete with sequined glove and black hat. Once, he did a Karate Kid imitation wearing a white karate outfit. Mostly, he just sang songs (badly), and joked with the kids.

One day, I went to my mailbox at the church. Technically, it was the mailbox for the youth ministry...but that was me most of the time, so it was my mailbox :) Anyway, there was a flyer for a Puppet Ministry School in the mailbox. How cool.

And, they were going to give away a professional puppet!

I prayed a very quick prayer, "Lord, we could really use that puppet in the ministry, but make sure that it goes to the folks who need it the most. And Lord, I'm only asking this once, so if it's for me, I'd like to have it. Thank you."

Weeks passed, and eventually the day of the Puppet School arrived.

There must have been 300 people there! I was sitting in the front row (because I'm a geek, and always sit in the front row; a good habit that I developed in school). We were all holding on to our tickets until the the give away at the end of the night. When the time came, they brought out a pretty girl puppet. They drew a ticket from a hat, and ...

It wasn't mine.

Yep. That stunk.

But I had asked the Lord that they give the puppet to the ministry that needed it most.

"There are so many of you here today, that we have decided to give away a second puppet."

Really!?!

And the puppet fella walked over to ME, and stuck the hat right in front of me.

"Draw a ticket."

I did.

"Please read it loud enough for everyone to hear."

I read the numbers out loud, and smiled.

"It's my number," I said.

He didn't believe me. I showed him my ticket alongside of the other one. It was mine.

I was so excited! My first real answer to prayer. A professional puppet with break-away legs, and they even threw in a pair of puppeteering bracelets and sticks so that I could move his hands.

I named him Isaac because he came to me through faith.

Isn't the Lord awesome?