Looking forward to prayer... how I have changed!

I mentioned in a previous post how initially as a Christian I was rather grudging about prayer, and considered it more of a duty than anything I would willingly do. But, reading the Bible and praying and getting to know God better definitely had results that completely changed me! One Easter I realized I had changed a lot as a person: I was happy to take a 1-hour shift of prayer at Easter Vigil at the church (you can read about that here).

This Easter, I'm looking forward again to praying - another reminder that I have changed so much. Some relatives of ours are going on a fun vacation over Easter. In the past, I probably would have felt rather jealous that they are going on vacation while we are not going anywhere. But actually I didn't feel the slightest bit jealous this year. Because I knew that I wanted to pray at Easter Vigil. I feel that Easter is the part of the year where there is a lot of spiritual danger in the world. I wanted to pray, mainly to be thankful and prais…

Get to know God better first, then know what to ask for

I have been attending a small group Bible study, and have been learning a lot from Christian women who are more spiritually advanced than I am. One important concept which I learned from attending this group was that we should get to know God better first, and then we will know what to ask Him for.

All too often we ask God for something but we have no idea if that's something he would want for us. Instead, knowing God (through prayer and reading the Bible) leads us to then knowing what He wants for us, which means we will know what things to ask Him for.

Without that knowledge, we would be asking God for things which are not necessarily in line with what He wants for us, which means we are wasting our time asking for those things.

As a related concept, in church I also learned that God is more concerned with developing our character than our level of comfort. While this seems painful (and often is), it is less painful to go with the character development than to resist it. Also, w…

The End of Days and the Mark of the Beast - what is it, and why?

At the End of Days, there will be a situation where people are required by some power other than God to be marked on the right hand and forehead in order to buy or sell. See the verse below:

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Revelation 13: 16-17
We don't yet know what form this mark will take (a tattoo? an implanted radio-frequency ID tag?). But to understand a little better the events leading up to this, let's read a little of the preceding context of the chapter:

Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. It performs great signs, even …

Why we as Christians should care about the environment

In the Bible it makes it clear that Adam and the human race were created to be the caretakers of the earth.

Would God be happy with the mountains of trash on the planet? 
Obviously, some trash is always going to be created no matter how conscientious the human race is going to be about the environment. 
But when people do not make any effort to even consider the environment (either in the things they create or in the things they purchase), we wind up producing more trash or more emissions than we need to. I don't think that is being a very good caretaker.
I'm not intending this to be a politically-slanted topic at all. I dislike politics myself and can't bring myself to identify with any type of political party. I'm talking purely from a Biblical perspective, I feel like we as humans have not done a great job at being caretakers of the planet.
What is even more puzzling to me is that there are many individuals who are Christian but who readily admit they don't real…

An open letter to atheist parents of young children

Even if you are not concerned about your own soul, what about your children's? Did you know that there is a huge battle going on, over your child's soul? I know that to you, it seems literally unbelievable.

But if you will, just for a second, pose the (admittedly scary) question "What if?"

Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean it's not real. Imagine us trying to explain the existence of the atom to someone from the Middle Ages. We can understand why that person simply won't believe it, but the atom was still 100% real in the Middle Ages - regardless of whether the people of that time could a) detect it or b) believe in it.

Let's switch over a little. Have you ever watched the movie "The Matrix"? It is set in what seems to be a very real world, but in fact turns out to be a virtual world surrounded by an external, real, world.

Right now, the Earth, planets, galaxies and everything in it are like the inner world of The M…

Why we shouldn't take things too personally

When serving in some volunteer capacity as I do at the church, I occasionally have hurt feelings or feelings of conflict if someone has a criticism toward me that is not worded in a constructive or loving manner. To be fair to my church family, this is a rare and unusual occurrence, but when it happens it can feel jarring to me.

In this situation it is all too easy to get take it too personally and have negative feelings - whether toward the other person, the church, the volunteer role itself, or whatever. That is a trap that Satan would love for us to fall into.
Instead, we need to remind ourselves that when we are serving in any capacity, we are there to serve the Lord as best as we can. We are not there to control everyone else's reaction to our serving role! 
If we keep the focus on the fact of our serving role, and on God, that is going to be a lot better than focusing on what others think of us or of our own hurt feelings.
But it is all too easy to wind up with the wrong foc…

The 3 people in the Bible I would most like to ask questions of

Besides Jesus, there are 3 other people in the Bible I would most like to ask questions of. These are Eve, Lazarus, and the apostle Mark.

How I wish that more had been recorded in the Bible from each of these people! But of course I have to remember that the fact that there wasn't more is because it wasn't strictly necessary for us to hear more from them. The Bible is sufficient to generate faith.

For Eve, the questions I'd want to ask are not "why did you do it?" because I too disobey God every day. The question of why she ate the apple is exactly the same question we could ask ourselves "Why was I judgmental toward this person?" "Why did I not listen to God about this situation?", "Why did I allow myself to fall into temptation?" and so on. After thinking about it, I knew it would be hypocritical of me to blame Eve for mankind's fallen state (see my other article about that).

What I would ask is that I would be really curiou…