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God is Not in Control

A psycho unleashed terror in Las Vegas, Nevada the beginning of October. He murdered 58 people and injured 546 people who were all at a country music concert. Even several months later, there are many questions unanswered. When mass murders like this occur, or even when smaller tragedies hit us, we want so desperately to make the pain a little more bearable. The range of emotions from rage and anger to anguish and melancholy leave us crying out, "Dear God, Why?" We comfort those who are hurting with our words, especially our "Christian" words. The two most common phrases we hear when the incomprehensible happen are, "God is in control," or "Everything happens for a reason." People post memes with these phrases, inspirational quotes and even send cards with these words. While these two phrases may give some momentary comfort in times of confusion and hurt, what they say about God is unbiblical and untrue.

We indeed need to "trust in the Lor…

Prodigal

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father represents God the father, while the prodigal son represents those of us who have strayed away from God and come back home. It teaches us that no matter how far away we stray, God will always be there waiting for us to return. It also teaches us the relationship with God is what He longs for.

We know that the prodigal son represents a person who is already a Christian. How do we know that he represents a Christian? Ephesians 1:5 tells us that God "predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ." (NIV) Romans 8:16 says that, "The Spirit himself testifies that we are God's children." (NIV) So when we are His children, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17 NIV) This lets us know that the Prodigal Son was indeed representative of a Christian--not someone who doesn't know God.

When the prodigal son went his own way, he broke off the relationship with his father. He did horrible and …

Chester

This past week, the lead singer of the band Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, committed suicide. Unlike other recent celebrity suicides and overdoses, this one has affected me more than any other. Maybe it's because he's so close to my age. Maybe it's because I liked Linkin Park so much. Maybe it's more than any of that.

When I was in college, the band Linkin Park released their first studio album, Hybrid Theory. One of my best friends and I couldn't wait until the band came to Texas so we could see them in concert. We drove two and a half hours to see them, and couldn't stop talking about the concert. We weaseled our way down to as close to the stage as the security guards would let us go without proper tickets. I can still see the sweat dripping down from Chester's frosted-tips to his temple. With their grungy guitar-heavy rock sound combined with Chester's scraggly voice and Mike's near rapping, the band was a perfect combination of all that I l…

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Jesus Would Advocate for Civil Disobedience

In March, executive orders from governors across the country forced us to stay home, to close schools and churches and to shut down private businesses. Businesses were classified as either "essential" or "non-essential." All businesses deemed "non-essential" were forced to close. This included markets, clothing stores, boutiques, dine-in restaurants, and beauty salons. State parks, city parks, beaches, walking trails, lakes, and other wide open spaces were closed as well.

Many people feel that the "social distancing," as it has come to be known, and stay at home executive orders violate their constitutional rights, such as our first amendment right to freely exercise our religion, our right to peaceably assemble, and that we shall not be deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some of the people who feel their rights have been violated have decided to exercise their First Amendment right to protest. Some have even chosen to defy…

Covert Red Flags: The Real Things You Should Be Looking Out For in Relationships

Your relationship with your spouse should be the closest human relationship you ever have. As we are dating, we are assessing whether or not that person could potentially fit into our inner circle. This causes us to be on high alert for red flags. Most red flags are obvious--lack of communication, anger issues, irresponsibility, controlling behavior, abuse, etc. A quick Google search will bring up list upon list of red flags we should look out for. Being rude to waitstaff, not making your relationship public, not caring about XYZ, stone walling, gaslighting, and more can all be found on most lists.

But what about the covert red flags? Those things that are less obvious. My first marriage taught me to look out for the overt red flags like the ones found in every advice column. My second marriage taught me to look out for covert red flags, ones that I never even realized were red flags until I could look back. The entire time we dated, I kept looking for the overt red flags, and there …

Because of Who I Am

Someone posted on Facebook the other day the following:
Why would you fight for someone who clearly doesn't want you? Please let them go. You are valuable, just not to them. I thought about it for a minute, because I indeed fought for my husband when he clearly didn't want me. I fought for our marriage, even when he had zero interest in making our marriage work. He had already checked out and told me point-blank that he just didn't want to work on our marriage, but yet I fought on my knees before the Lord.

Throughout the first few months of our separation, I prayed day-in and day-out. I beseeched the Lord to intercede. I rebuked Satan, and I prostrated myself before the Lord God Almighty. I went to therapy, and I watched sermons online. I listened to every Jimmy Evans podcast I could find. I journaled and devoured God's Word. I wrote my husband scriptures and prayers daily. I soon filled a 100-page journal front and back.

Shortly after he left in June, God told me tha…