RickThomas.net 
1Sep
The importance and benefit of God being silent NS

The importance and benefit of God being silent

The importance and benefit of God being silent NS

Ultimately, we have to trust the LORD’s wisdom in all matters of life because life does not function in a formulaic matter. What was true one time, is not true all of the time. The plans we laid made sense to us when we laid them, but the LORD redirects our paths and sometimes His paths lead us (Psalm 23:3) to places we never anticipated.

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

Human ingenuity and understanding cannot answer all of our questions because we serve an active God, who is always working in ways that we cannot fully understand or explain. This is especially hard (and scary) for us when our plans fall apart and we face plant into personal suffering.

Typically, when this happens we are tempted to make the point-of-focus on what we did wrong or maybe we direct our disappointment toward the LORD because He did not meet our expectations. To falsify the character of the sufferer (you did wrong) or the character of the LORD (He did wrong) is not our best play.

Maybe you did not do anything wrong, or at least not wrong enough to warrant such suffering. Maybe the LORD knows better than you do, so He redirects your path in such a way that brings pain into your life.

  • Is it possible for the LORD to be up to something good that can only come about through your suffering?
  • Could the dark pain you are going through today be the tapestry the LORD will use to show the beauty of His plans for you?

These are good truths to consider as we reflect on His mysterious and good intentions for us. The real issue for us to ponder during these times of suffering is the silence of God.

  • Why does the LORD not tell us the plans He has for us?
  • Why does He have to be silent?

The silence of God

Silence does not mean a lack of leadership. Just because God is not speaking, it would be wrong to assume He is not leading. Leadership is verbal and leadership is silence. It can be either/or because there are times when it is important for the LORD to choose silence over...

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30Aug
Teen Life Lesson Three The world does not care about your self-esteem NS

Teen Life Lesson Three: The world does not care about your self-esteem

Dear Teen,

The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. If you do not learn this lesson, then you will try to feel good about yourself through means that could possibly ensnare you for the rest of your life.

Do not be that teenager with the angry chip on his shoulder because you were treated poorly. I wish I could change your circumstances, but I know I cannot do that for you. I am sorry.

Though it is wrong for you to be hurt so...

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30Aug
Two acceptable conflicts I hope you have in your home NS

Two acceptable conflicts I hope you have in your home

It is impossible for two people to completely agree on everything. If you are married, you know this is true. Two fallen people living in close proximity to each other will always have a few perspectives and preferences that will never be the same. It is unavoidable.

But what about good conflict? Are there some things in which you should never agree? Are there some things worth fighting for? In our family, we have narrowed it down two things in which Lucia and I will never agree. I have no intention of changing and she is pretty much the same...

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29Aug
Three keys to make your small group dynamic NS

Three keys to make your small group dynamic

What do all of these things have in common?

Failure Community Hypocrisy Friendship Lust Envy Reconciliation Confession Anger Grumpiness Disappointment Criticalness Humility Dysfunction Repentance Unity Misunderstanding Prejudice Forgiveness Un-forgiveness Arguments Laughter Embarrassment Jealousy Lying Self-righteousness Compassion Fear Hurtfulness Restoration

There are probably several good answers to the question. I can think of at least two:

  • The list represents our commonality. It is...

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  • 27Aug
    Why it is okay to smoke cigarettes NS

    Why it is okay to smoke cigarettes

    The following is one of the more embarrassing moments in my life. It was around 1988 when I met a young man who was at the end of his rope. Life was not turning out for him the way he had hoped.

  • He had relational problems.
  • He had drug problems.
  • He had employment problems.
  • He had financial problems.
  • He had tattoos and tattered clothes.
  • He had long, disheveled hair.
  • He lived in a trailer park, on the wrong side of town.
  • He had few friends.
  • He did not know Jesus.
  • And he smoked...

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  • 26Aug
    Seven step template for personal change when trouble comes NS

    Seven step template for personal change when trouble comes

    Let’s start here: Are you problem-centered or God-centered? A quick way to analyze this question is by assessing your most common responses to the problems the LORD brings into your life.

    Bud was having a good day. He just came from an extended weekend at the beach with his family. Time well spent is how he put it on Monday morning. He was alive, refreshed, and ready to do battle with the business of the week.

    By Tuesday, our old friend Bud was slumping back into his all too familiar patterns. Rather than being feisty and hope-filled, he...

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    25Aug
    How do you want to suffer With or without God NS

    How do you want to suffer? With or without God?

    All people born in Adam have no choice about personal suffering (Genesis 2:16-17). That is the bad news. The good news is we can choose whether we want to experience our suffering with or without God.

    It is so easy to forget how suffering comes with the human package–a consequence of the fall of Adam (Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 2:21). It is even easier to forget how the LORD wants to walk with us through our suffering.

    Not knowing God is in our problems certainly adds to the complexity of the...

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    24Aug
    Three essential things to know when life does not make sense NS

    Three essential things to know when life does not make sense

    The number one relationship in your life is God, so what you think about Him is the most important thing to take up your brain space. There are no thoughts higher than our un-transcend-able, infinite, all-powerful God.

    He is our most effective help when trouble comes into our lives (Psalm 46:1), but if our thoughts about Him are insufficient, then the help we receive from Him will be insufficient.

    This makes assessing your God thoughts one of the most important things you can do. The good news is we can assess our thoughts about God at...

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    23Aug
    Can you be quiet NS

    Can you be quiet? – Ten keys to noise reduction

    A few years ago I was speaking with a friend who had a troubled conscience. She did not tell me she had a troubled conscience, but after spending time with her, it became apparent she had a lot of anxiety in her soul.

    She was bitter, angry, often frustrated, unforgiving, and always right. As long as I did not press into her in any meaningful way that remotely suggested there was something wrong with her, we were okay.

    During one of our stronger relational moments I had the opportunity to ask her one of my out of the blue questions. I asked if she ever drove home in...

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    22Aug
    Today is Lucia's birthday - This is how we celebrate NS

    Today is Lucia’s birthday – This is how we celebrate

    Today (08.23) we celebrate Lucia. It is her birthday. Five times a year we have what we call our Birthday Adventure Week–a week-long celebration of a family member’s life. This article is a practical explanation of how we do it. There are fun pictures and a lot of practical advice. Enjoy!

    Why a Birthday Adventure?

    Birthday parties are usually all about the kids, but with the birthday freebie adventure, your whole family (parents, too!)...

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