Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Darkest-Side of Life

Blogger: Sarah Gilbertson

One of my biggest fears is cancer. I feel like the world is getting cancer, if you hear someone in your distant family died you can almost bet it's going to be cancer. Sometimes I feel insane like it's only a matter of time until I get it....sometimes it really feels like EVERYONE is GETTING IT! For a really dark couple of weeks in my life....okay...actually couple of years...I was continually worried about getting cancer or some other disease like it, I would worry that my parents were going to get it too. I was worried everyone in my family was going to get it. It really controlled me. I let my fear control me.
Then I got married....and it only got worse. Worrying about my husband getting sick took a lot of time out of my days, worrying that I was going to get sick and die and leave him alone and thinking of how sad he would be made me so scared. And that fear got in the way of our marriage at times, sometimes I would just end up sounding like a paranoid idiot because everything I said started with "Well...I'm afraid that..." I can't imagine living with someone who is continually afraid, but my husband did. He was VERY patient but there came a time when we had to talk about it. And I came to the realization just how much time I wasted by worrying about things all the time. I was robbing me and my husband and my family of valuable time, time that God had given us! I think I justified it in my head sometimes by thinking: "If I am always paranoid about it and talking about it then maybe I won't get it!" You know those weird thoughts we have to ourselves, where we think if we think something in a certain way like: "I'm NEVER getting married!" over and over so that then the opposite will happen somehow is SO ridiculous! We don't have that much power! God's going to decide whether something happens or not no matter how or what we think. That's not to say that thinking in a way that is pleasing to God is not important (though thinking thoughts like that are probably not very pleasing to God), but it's a reminder that we can't control what happens to us just by thinking the right thoughts. We are in a way trying to take that power away from God, we might not be realizing we are doing it, or doing it on purpose but that's what it is.
My husband, Andrew, would try to comfort me when I got down and depressed about my 'inevitability' of getting cancer, he would say: "God knows what's going to happen! Worrying isn't going to change anything! You just have to let go and know that God is going to control it all and He wouldn't let anything happen that wasn't for a reason." To which I would glumly reply: "Yeah...well maybe His reason is that I get cancer and leave you alone forever. Sounds like a good reason to me." or I would say "But that doesn't help! It means I could STILL get cancer, that could still be what happens, even though God is in control of everything" and Andrew would say "But if that's what God allowed to happen, don't you think there would be a reason? Don't you think His ways are higher than our ways?" To which I would never reply because I knew it would be stupid to try and argue with that point even though I wanted to. I knew Andrew was right, deep down I knew he was right...but I couldn't convince myself of it. So I kept on dealing with this dark side of me, the side that was always worried I wouldn't live to have kids, or live to have a house of our own someday, or just live to be old with Andrew; happy and satisfied that we'd 'made it', that we'd gotten to grow old together and 'who cares what happens next? we're 98!!!" I tried half-heartedly praying that God will help me defeat this side of me, that He would give me some assurance. But I think even when I was praying that I still was secretly praying: "Give me some assurance that I WON'T get cancer, that Andrew won't either, that we WILL grow old together!". It's weird how we pray so earnestly to God sometimes, and then sometimes we REALLY think we can hide the real reason we are praying. Like somehow if we say the right words but slip in a different meaning God will be tricked into giving us the REAL thing we want, the thing we are too afraid to ask for out loud, or the thing we are SURE He will say no to. Kind of like when we were kids and we would try to slip things past our parents by asking for permission to do something in a roundabout, bare-bones of information kind of way.
I think that we really should come to God with the REAL desires of our hearts, that He wouldn't be angry with me for praying: "Give me assurance that Andrew and I will be happy and healthy and together for forever!!" but I don't think He will necessarily give that to me, He might have some bigger plan. Yeah that scares me...but it's how it is. But that doesn't mean I can't still pray about that desire I just means that I need to open my heart to Him and say that I will accept His will for me even if it's something really terrible...even if it's something sad...even if it's the BEST THING that ever happened in my life! I need to bow to HIS will, and know that HE'S the one who knows best...even if it feels like awful to me. Now that's a hard thing. Because that means accepting His will even if that means one day I will get cancer. Bleah. I just didn't know how I was going to get to that point. And then one day I was reading in the Bible Pslam 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before any one of them came to be."
And it hit me...that THIS was what God and Andrew were trying to tell me all DOESN'T matter how much I worry or how careful I try to be...God knows already how many days He's given to me. Sometimes you have to read it and feel it for yourself for it to be true, that's how I know that some people reading this might feel like "That doesn't comfort me!", if you are dealing with these same kind of fears and this blog isn't helping then you need to go on your own journey, seeking God's comfort through the Bible and prayer in your own way and GODSPEED!...but for those who it IS helping...keep reading!:) It made me realize how futile and silly and DUMB it was for me to be overly worried about my life or Andrew's life or anyone in my families life. (Now for those who might say "So if we DO get sick or have serious health problems we are just supposed to ignore it?" NO! Don't ignore it, seek help for it, find out what it is but DON'T worry so much about it that it takes over your entire life!) Because God already knows. If God, who is all-powerful, amazing, loving, supernatural, and awesome, already knows how long I am going to the heck could I change that by worrying about it? It's already taken care of, God knows when He's going to pick me up and take me to heaven, He already knows when He's coming to pick up Andrew, when He's coming to pick up Joe, and Mom, and Dad and Tim and ALL the rest of my wonderful family, immediate and extended. What can I, an immortal soul in a mortal body whose only power and strength and goodness comes from God, do to change that? Why would I even try? Doesn't God know when it's best and HOW it's best?
I am sorry for the families who go through cancer. It really tests you and tears at you, and makes you question God, I am sure. And I don't know what it's really like...because PRAISE GOD, so far none in my family have gotten it, but I know it must be SO so hard. I think the hardest thing is that you think; "God doesn't HAVE to let this happen! He doesn't WANT us to suffer, does He?". But then I realized...God doesn't WANT us to suffer, He loves us so much I am sure that He WANTS to keep us from EVERY kind of suffering there is, He's our father! Why would He want us to suffer? But He also knows what is best for us. And maybe...the really difficult thing we are going through is happening because HE knows...something good is going to come of this. This is how things need to happen...for a reason. And the sucky part is...we might not know that reason until we die and go to heaven...but we need to believe that God would never let anything happen just to let it happen. That would not make sense and it wouldn't be the God we love, a God who just goes; "Ooh...I think I am going to let this girl get shot today, just so I can see what happens!!" He already KNOWS what happens, He doesn't need to perform experiments or tricks or bad things just to satisfy some sadistic need! There is a reason. I think people lose that belief sometimes because they can't SEE the reason, they can't find it, and they think there isn't one and that there never will be one. But sometimes the reason may be SO far above our understanding that God can't show it to us until we are with Him in heaven where we WILL understand. "OH!!! So THAT'S why I crashed my brand-new car, God! Wow. That's cool...and weird." I think if we knew some of the reasons now they would only confuse us....or we just wouldn't understand them.
Another thing is...consequences and bad things are JUST a part of this fallen world, sadly it's just how things are. "Innocent" people pay for 'bad people's mistakes or actions, and I HATE that, and I know God hates it too. But, praise God, even though those bad things happen....God can ALWAYS and will ALWAYS use it for a reason, for a GOOD and GODLY reason....just once again...unfortunately...we will NOT always be able to see what the reason is. And if we don't trust that He does know what's best, and that He does have a reason even if we can't see it, it's going to drive so much distance between us and Him because we will start having the attitude of Him being a cruel, cold, and horrible God, that He just lets things happen to let them happen. I am not saying this is easy in ANY way, shape or form, and I am also not saying that I am going to be able to think this way all the time, that I am going to be able to rest assured that God knows best even if I can't understand it. But I know I am going to keep coming back to that belief because if I really love God, then I will know that's how He is. He loves us, He wants to be near us...but Fear separates us from Him. When I give into fear I put myself into a little dark room where everything is out to get me and I'm alone. "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." 1 John 4:18 God IS perfect love, He DOES drive out get into GOD and let God get into you! Don't let it be fear that gets into you, and don't get into fear! If you are getting into fear keep crying out to God to save you! "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me." Psalm 18:16-17 "He brought me out into a spacious place, because He delighted in me" Psalm 18:19. He loves you, let Him save you. You might have to keep asking Him to save you from fear every second, hour, day, year because we are weak and we fall back into doing the wrong thing so easily...but He loves you, He will save you!
"If I say "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." Psalm 139:11-12
I am still going to pray that I won't get cancer...and I am still going to HOPE that's His will...but I am not going to ruin the joyful days that He has given to me by worrying about everything, because I know He has a plan; that even if sucky things happen, there is a reason.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirt of power, of love, and of self-discipline" 2 Timothy 1:7
(The Greek definition for the word timidity is fear)
God didn't give you fear, so don't use it.
And if the only thing you can hold onto is that God loves you and He died on the cross for your sins so you could go to heaven to be with Him when you die....that's more than enough.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

09-28-09 Episode Preview

Blogger: Joe Harrison

Each weekend before Monday you will receive a preview/overview of what the new week's episode of Christianese Radio will be about.

Half-Hour 1: "So here's what happened..."
In this half-hour I will be giving the "lowdown" on what has been happening, specifically why there was no episode this past week, even though it was promised twice that there would be one. Then I share some interesting possibilities that God has been revealing to me about my future in serving Him and the Kingdom. We also take a look at the final results of the last Christianese Poll question: "How many Natures does Jesus Christ have?" and then take a look at the new poll question.

Half-Hour 2: "The First Commandment"
As a reversal followup to the 09-08-09 episode, "The Second Commandment", we take a look at the First Commandment, "You shall have no other gods before Me." It is easy to put God second, in both times of joy and crisis. We rush into action, which can lead to negative consequences. If a relationship is breaking up, we focus on the person and try to rush into fixing the problem, putting your relationship with God second. In worst cases, such as divorce or death of a spouse, we lose sight of God altogether and put our needs first. But this is the exact opposite of what needs to be done. It is better for us if we put God first.


The new episode will, Lord-willing, be available early tomorrow morning ready for you before you go to work and/or start the day. Be sure to sign-up to receive these blogposts as newsletters in your e-mail inbox. Just enter your e-mail address into the box on the upper right-hand side of this site.

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"Christianese Radio" and Lion's Mouth Entertainment are for non-profit use only and copyright © 2009 by Joe Harrison. All blogposts herein are permitted to be shared and distributed freely. For more information visit Lion's Mouth Entertainment online at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why Isn't God Blessing Me?

Blogger: Joe Harrison

All of us have hit this problem at one point in our lives. You're praying so hard, probably about multiple things, day in, day out; yet God is not answering your prayers. He is not blessing you. Maybe you're praying that your friend would turn to Christ. Maybe you're praying for financial aid. Maybe you're praying for peace of mind or that God would bring you out of spiritual depression.

But the days go by and your prayers go unanswered. This can sometimes lead to a dangerous faith-crisis. Sometimes we get angry with God; we say "God! Why aren't you answering my prayers!? Why aren't you blessing me!?" And this often times leads us to turning our backs on God for a time. We lose our hunger for His word. We stop praying. We stop talking to Him. We either stop going to Church or we go but don't pay attention to the message from the pulpit.

We start blaming God.... Which is an absolute "No-no".

Time after time after time we see in the Bible that when someone blames someone else, you can usually trace the blame back to the accuser. Let us not forget the famous words of a certain man in the Garden of Eden:

"...This woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Genesis 3:12 (NASB)

Not only is dear Adam blaming Eve for his troubles, but he is blaming God. And, of course I don't have to tell you what's wrong with this. But I'm going to. It was Adam's choice to take the fruit from Eve. She didn't make him eat. He took it.

So, perhaps you're blaming God. But now, as you look at your finger, pointing upward, you noticed three other fingers pointing back at you, as the age old saying goes.

But maybe you're trying not to blame God. And whenever you're about to, you turn away. Well that's good. But, either way, you will most likely find that the problem is yours, not His.

If God isn't answering your prayers or blessing you, it's time to start examining yourself. Chances are, if you dig deep enough, you will find that there is Sin in your life that you have not yet let go of. A habitual sin, which we are warned of all throughout 1 John. Something you're doing, something you're holding onto, maybe even something you did in the past that you haven't had fixed yet. Maybe you hurt a friend of yours some time ago in some way and never apologized. Maybe the friend doesn't even know you hurt him, and you need to confess it to him (and to God, if you haven't already). Maybe you're engaged in illegal activity, but you try to dismiss it as 'nothing', making up excuses for it. Maybe you've set up an idol in your life; your TV, computer, video games, sports, work, a relationship; something that you just can't let go of. That is an idol. And the Second Commandment commands us to do away with our idols. Maybe you're not tithing each Sunday; not giving your 10% to God; this is thievery. You are stealing from God. And then while you're stealing from God you turn around ask Him for financial aid..... This doesn't work!

"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' - In tithes and offerings." Malachi 3:8 (NASB)

I can tell you from experience; there was a time, I am ashamed to say, (to listeners of the show this is old news) that I used to download computer programs illegally off the Internet. Programs I didn't pay for. So I was stealing these programs from their manufacturers. During this time, I hit so many rough bumps I nearly turned my back on God once or twice. But when, through Christ, I was able to rise up and do away with those programs, I turned to God with a renewed heart and renewed strength, and He brought me by the hand out of my Spiritual Depression. My hunger for the Bible returned. My comfort in talking with Him returned. He brought great joy in His Grace into my life. And while it was very hard to give up those illegal programs, the joy and blessing I received afterward gave me more peace then I had ever known up to that point. And since then I have been working with God to reveal all my deepest Sins that I haven't yet confessed, or maybe habitual sins that perhaps I didn't even know were sins.

Maybe you don't know what sin you're committing. But that's when you need to ask God to reveal it to you. And because He desires to have no hindrance in His relationship with you, He will help you! But either way, we must rid ourselves of the sins we are holding onto, otherwise John calls us liars:

"If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." 1 John 1:6 (NASB)

God is waiting eagerly to bless you, to answer your prayers! But you need to let go of your sins, first. Stop walking in the darkness and start walking in the Light that you profess to walk in. Stop being a liar and "practice the truth". Seek out what's hindering God from blessing your life and answering your prayers or what's causing you spiritual depression. And when you, through the strength of Jesus Christ, remove that hindrance, God's blessings will pour out. Now this is not, necessarily, to say that you will find the type of blessings that certain "pastors" would have you believe, such as health, wealth, and prosperity. God will bless you in that He will meet your needs in the way that He knows is best for you, not what you think is best for you, what He knows is best for you. With the hindrance gone, you will regain a hunger to read the Bible. You will find yourself in almost constant deep gratitude to God for what He's done. You will find peace in talking with Him. These blessings which have to do with your relationship with HIM.

We will go more into this issue in a future newsletter, because I should also note that unanswered prayers do not always mean something is wrong, for God may have other plans, but for now, examine yourself, seek out the hindrance with God's help, and overcome it through Christ's strength.

"I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 (NASB)

Meditate on this as we near the closing of the week, and may the Grace of Christ be with you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Refurbished Christian

Blogger: Joe Harrison

There are, of course, many things in life that can be refurbished, but I'm sure most of us in the younger generation are more familiar with the term when it refers to video game systems. Refurbishing refers to the cleaning up of something that has already been furbished (or brand new). Take a video game system, for instance; you buy a brand new Nintendo Wii and play it for hours, days, weeks, months, and while there are some systems that remain strong, 1 in 4 will usually crack under the stress of remaining in constant heat. So, rather than just throwing the console away, it gets taken to the manufacturer to be refurbished; cleaned up, tweaked, given new parts that work better, etc.

I think for a lot of Christians this line of events is true for us. We get going in our faith in Christ and we are running strong. But as time goes on, the heat of fighting against sin becomes too strong--this is usually because, when things are going great we tend to start getting too self-confident--and we start buckling, and not working the way we're supposed to.

Throughout the Bible we see such occurrences; that when you're on the right trail and everything's going great, the longer you are on that trail it can sometimes lead to you straying from God. Among our examples, King David, who became so wrapped up in his kingly authority and his place of royalty, which God had given to him, that he distanced himself from God and committed adultery with Bathsheba, and had her husband Uriah killed (2 Sam. 11:1-12).

You know this is why it isn't healthy for us to have comfortable lives in which nothing bad happens and why we need spiritual exercise with trials. James tells us:

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4 (NASB)

If our faith isn't tested, then it can go stagnant, bringing our temperature down to lukewarm (which God abhors, Rev. 3:15-16), or worse, it can turn us away from God completely.

So now that you know we need trials and tests, we return to the original point of this post. Often times we will hit a period in our faith in Christ where we feel invincible. Everything's going great, you're feeling strong! This is when you are especially vulnerable to self-confidence. And that's when it happens. Paul warns us:

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NASB)

As we become more self-confident we start trying to fight sin with our own strength. And it is very evident that Sin is stronger than us. You can hinder sin with your own strength, but doing so only makes it stronger, so that when it hits the next time it will be harder to fight.

We buckle under the heat, and break down. Sin is victorious. And there we sit, alone and broken, most likely wallowing in our guilt, just as Jonah felt when he was swallowed up by the great fish. But what did Jonah do next? He spent three days in the belly of the fish evaluating, examining, testing himself and getting right with God (Jonah 2:1-9). Paul tells us to do this very thing:

"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless you indeed fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)

When we break down, we can't waste our time wallowing in our guilt and feeling sorry for ourselves. We need to immediately turn to God and examine ourselves to see where things went wrong and why they went wrong. The chances are pretty high that you will come to see that you fell because you were relying on your own strength as opposed to God's strength.

So now a crossroads stands before you. Go on sulking, or get up and get "refurbished" in Christ. Let Jesus Christ renew you and re-strengthen you. Because this is exactly what God wants to do! He wants to renew you. And as you set out, refurbished, continuously examine yourself to see if you are "in the faith". Make it a weekly habit. Maybe even a daily habit. Turn to God and ask Him "Lord, reveal to me anything that is in my life that is hindering my relationship with you." Keep in contact with God, even when your life seems to be going great. Don't let your self-confidence take over! Abide in God's word, the Bible. Take a daily walk and talk with Him. And each week (or each day) examine the last few days and make sure that your contact with God hasn't been diminishing. And if it has been, you know the danger, and you have God help you get it fixed before it's too late.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

I hope you will remember all of this as we begin the new week. And as you set out prepared to deal with your self-confidence, may the Grace of Christ be with you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Christianese Radio: Apologies!!!

Blogger: Joe Harrison

I am really, really, really, sorry, but once again there will be no episode of Christianese Radio today. I promise, this is not just a scheme to get us back to the Tuesday schedule! A lot has happened this week, a lot of thought about my future, actually. And so much has been on my mind that I just haven't found the time to work out an episode. Plus I am coming down with a cold that has me in a pretty much constant state of exhaustion. But Lord-willing it will be short-lived and I will be back up and running soon!

As for the show, Lord-willing I will be able to do one tonight (Monday night) and have it ready by Tuesday morning (as has been the case with the last two episodes). But if anything changes I will post it here.

I really am terribly sorry for this because I know it is not very professional. But I promise I will start doing better. Just a few kinks I have to work out (and get worked out).

In the meantime, take a look about this new blog (the official Christianese Radio Blog) and add it to your Favorites (or Bookmark it), as, Lord-willing, this will be the future home of blogposts from myself and other Guest Bloggers (see the "Welcome" section to the Right, as well is the first blog post below)

Again, I really am sorry!

The Grace of Christ be with you,


Please Excuse Us!

Blogger: Joe Harrison

Hello and welcome to the official blog of Christianese Radio! I decided to give the show it's own blog, as opposed to using my Sola-Scriptura Man and the Blog of Absurdity blog for Christianese updates. This blog will (hopefully) feature some posts from Guest Bloggers in the near future, as well as my own thoughts (see Welcome section on Right for information on this blog).

But I have to ask you to excuse the appearance of the blog. It's a little bare, but Lord-willing will look a little bit more presentable in the near future. But for now, I hope you find something of usefulness to you with whatever blogposts may come.

The grace of Christ be with you,

~Joe Harrison