Have you ever experienced homesickness, the longing for your home away from home? In the book of Daniel, we read about a people that were experiencing much more than homesickness. They had been removed from their homeland, culture and everything they held dear, and thrust into exile in a foreign place and culture. Yet, despite the challenges, they thrived. What was the key?
Over the course of the next 7 weeks we are going to be diving into the first half of the book of Daniel. Daniel is full of great narratives and vivid imagery, that tell the story of God’s works in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances. It’s an encouragement in faithful living in exile.
What was the last thing you were consciously thankful for? If you are like most people, the things that we have concern about seem to outweigh the things we are thankful for. A 2014 Forbes magazine article entitled, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round” stated that research backs up the notion that being thankful is good for us. Why is being thankful about the good things in our lives more difficult than dwelling on life’s challenges? As we celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving we will look into God’s word to discover more about this subject.
Christians talk a lot about the love of God – about a good God – sometimes to the point where it becomes difficult to comprehend how a good God can send people to hell – a place of eternal suffering. Didn’t Jesus accept everybody – tax collectors and prostitutes? The question of whether hell is real or whether God sends someone to hell or whether we make that choice ourselves – is not an appealing one. No one likes the idea of many people suffering judgment in the life to come. Why talk about it at all? Over the past few weeks we’ve been tackling some big questions with honest answers. We’ll conclude the series with this very question ‘How can a loving God send people to hell?’
Today, it seems like anything goes. Lying is ok if you’re trying not to hurt someone’s feelings. Cheating is ok as long as no one finds out. If you act out violently against someone, you might think he deserved it. You hit someone’s car while parking and blame the other driver for parking so poorly. It’s ok to cut corners in a building construction to get the job done faster and save money. The saleslady gives you back too much change but it’s ok because it’s her mistake. It’s ok to have sex outside marriage because everyone is doing it. You might look at the values of the Christian faith and decide it’s too restrictive. There seem to be too many ‘thou shalt nots.’ Isn’t Christianity repressive? Good question. We’ll take a closer look at this.
Go down the list of the most popular questions asked about God and the Bible and you’ll find questions like – “Can people actually look down on us from heaven?” and “Do pets go to heaven when they die?” to “What is God’s view on cloning?” and “Why are there so many Bible translations?” But probably one of the most difficult questions many people ask is “How could a good God allow suffering?” You can’t listen to the news without hearing about a disaster or tragedy in some part of the world. For some of us, tragedies or suffering hit closer to home. Do we just accept this as a natural part of life or is there another perspective? We’ll talk about it more as we continue our series “UNFILTERED. Big Questions. Honest Answers.”
Asking questions plays a crucial role in a child’s development as it helps them gather information needed to develop problem-solving skills and broaden their understanding of how the world works. What about in our adult life? Is it good to ask questions about God or the Bible? Does it show a lack of respect, or faith or trust? Good questions! We’re going to encourage these kinds of questions and explore some answers in our new four-part series “UNFILTERED.” We start this week with the question “Aren’t all religions the same?”