Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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I attended Bible College in Seattle [Burien] Washington during the late 70's; I then returned to northern Indiana and found a wife. After a brief time together we had 3 children born 13 months apart, I love them dearly; being the rarest of my gems.Though a catastrophic situation occurred within the church we attended along side the renowned Christian author Janette Oke, her husband Ed and all 4 of their children. We all were witness of the direction the church was heading; causing a split in the church and a chasm in our family that did not heal. We divorced with no hope of ever reconciling; I left for Central America as a missionary 2 yrs later. After returning to the States, I took a job as a salesman on a new car lot. I fell in love with another, who became my second wife. With her, I share another daughter who is a senior now in high school; the only diamond in my life I have contact with. Of whom I have learned some about myself, and the ma-lay of confusion that is ever present. I have ignored the minimizing caucuses, the fire conferences, the conventions with souvenirs honoring the speaker and the constant barrage of tithing till I can't ignore it any longer. The portrayal that seed tithing will earn or gain God's unmerited favor is a pox on what grace really is, thus disgracing it. During my life I have found it isn't tithing that God wants; its simply friendship! I have realized it isn't band-aiding our hope that builds trusting faith; rather its exercising our faith beyond its comfort zone that expands hope into faith, and faith into explosive confidence. I often wondered if planting a seed tithe did in fact result in an abundant harvest; then why when the tithes are planted into a ministry, the only harvest coming from it, is a sometime apparent financial blessing or healing for the planter, who evidently didn't fail at "attaching their faith" to their seed tithe, and too, newly acquired funds for another teaching session to propagate the seed tithe philosophy to a new fold of listeners. Which then is evidently exhausted, to where a new crop of seed tithe funds must be planted so to keep their ministries afloat. Giving me the only obvious conclusion that though these ministry's financial sowing may not be fruitless as in bringing souls to Christ, their financial harvest is minimal at best; when they should be having orchards and fields to pluck from, from all they have "sown". Because anything else would be poor examples of what seeds are designed to do; and what our Father promised to provide. It was proven repeatedly to me while on every missionary trip I took that God will indeed provide all the provisions the servant[s] of God needs; but not only for their own requirements but as Jesus exampled by feeding the 5000 with only two fish and five loaves, He will provide these listener's needs too. According to the faith/confidence level of those who are preaching for His name sake; supposedly to build confidence in those who are being discipled to expand their faith. No where within God's reach was a token of money needed to gain His unmerited favor. This action of donations, gifts, seed tithes and contributions to gain a blessing are all under one heading....FEAR! None of which include gaining God's favor through FAITH IN GOD; ...as the seed tithe regiment explain it as. Actually, to a fault, they are instead developing a confidence IN THE TOKEN OF MONEY, as being some kind of artifact with special powers of attraction which God can't resist. Therefore literally destroying what faith in God is, and the development of a mature faith that these listeners will need when calamity really comes. With no better obvious results than this, I have been compelled to write Faith Reflected in response to the cult-like teachings and lackluster standards I see all around us; goading us to accept many alternatives and man inspired back doors to gain God's attention, affection, pardon, and any number of types of positive reaction for a final blessing of grace through giving money. In faith reflected I explain my findings of how simple it is to reach God, find God, entwine with God as one flesh and know beyond a doubt it has happened by the undeniable friendship with Christ that occurs. Each of us are no less than the craftsmanship of God; We all know He doesn't make mistakes, therefore if any of us are not living out this craftsmanship by a lack of godliness, its because of our weakness in accepting the temptations we face and/or fear we are spurned by; becoming neither hot nor cold. Our biggest foe isn't the demons who tempt, challenge and berate us; though they are indeed a innumerable enemy and must be dealt with; with the precision of the armor of God and the resurrection power of Christ in expertise. People are not the problem either, rather they are half of the reason for our being anointed to be the best witness for Christ, and the mature sons and daughters we can be; to satisfy God's desire to be as a family. Its the influence of society as a whole that molds us, with an occasional individual like mom, dad, grandparent, maybe someone we've read about, heard or seen somewhere that inspires the pursuit of and development of either kindness or hatred, greatness or weakness. Hopefully we will be influenced by the Holy Spirit ever more so, because it's the person we see in the mirror who we ultimately must make current concessions with, so we can make eternal concessions for, with God. Of whom this image in the mirror, with a newly shaven chin or a bit of cosmetics, doesn't look so bad; but may be teetering on the edge of an abysmal eternity. Our greatest challenge is to not ignore this persona in the mirror that society and hard times has developed; rather confront it as to whether he or she is what they appear to be. To understand more of where my heart is burdened please read my blog, thank you.