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Unveiling the Unexpected Gift of Suffering: A Christian Perspective

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I'd like to explore an unusual subject: finding thankfulness in the midst of suffering. This might seem odd, but Christianity has a different perspective on suffering that can astonish many. Embracing Thankfulness  Traditionally, as we navigate through the month of November, we often use each day to express thankfulness for various aspects of our lives, ranging from family to health and careers. But, as Christians, we go beyond the norm and find ourselves thankful for rather unusual things—grace, for instance. We are grateful for God's grace and how it instills in us a sense of liberation from our sins. But there's another element, quite peculiar, that we appreciate—suffering. A Christian Perspective on Suffering The notion of being thankful for suffering may sound worrisome. Yet, as followers of Christ, we trust that our trials and tribulations serve a purpose. Every pain, every emotional turmoil, offers an opportunity for spiritual
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The Day Our World Changed

November 13, 1989. 11:30 AM I had just finished my lunch in the teacher's workroom and was walking back to my classroom. I was teaching at San Jacinto Elementary in San Angelo, Texas at the time. Up until then, it had been a typical November day. As I walked past the school office, the door swung open, and a fellow teacher stepped out with a look of concern on her face. She spoke directly to me and said, “Your wife’s on the phone, and it sounds serious.” I ran into the office, took the phone, and heard my wife say, “I don’t know what happened, but your brother is on life support in a hospital in Austin.”  Twelve hours later, my father and I were sharing a room in a hotel on I-35 in Austin. My sister-in-law, Sandy, and her six-year-old daughter, Araceli, were in a room across the hall. I hardly slept that night. I would doze off and suddenly wake up to my father crying and calling out my brother’s name.  My brother was dead. Osiel had collapsed that morning while his high s

My Prayer for my Children

John grew up and became strong in spirit. -John 1:80 John the Baptist was an interesting man: a bit eccentric as evidenced by his appearance and his diet, and not afraid to tell the truth. Jesus referred to him as a truly great man. That he was. But one of the things that first gets my attention was that as a child, he became strong in spirit. Strong in spirit refers to being resolute and principled. It describes a person whose character is being molded and refined by learning to trust in God during life's difficulties. It speaks of someone who's not easily swayed by popular culture or opinion but who lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. My children aren't children anymore but I still want them to become strong in spirit because I know they frequently face difficult and painful situations. In their trials, I want them to remember that being strong is spirit is only possible when our lives are deeply rooted in Christ and when we learn to live in the

How to Please our Heavenly Father

This past weekend, my family and I had an opportunity to travel to San Antonio for a quick two-day get-away. We ate together, watched a Broadway musical, and laughed a lot! We had other extended family members and a very good friend with us, so the fun and excitement was maximized. Friday night, we all ate at Pappasitos to celebrate Bethany's birthday. The food was great, and the conversation was almost continually amusing. As I sat and watched our four children and their cousins talk and laugh, I felt such a strong measure of peace and joy to know that they all love each other and enjoy each other. There have been times in our family (as in every family, I'm sure) when our children have been at odds with each other and have not enjoyed each other's company. That always breaks my heart more than they know. It doesn't happen very often, but even once is too often. These are not my children. Just some people laughing. As I observed them laughing and enjoying the e

Sunday Night Reflections

This morning, we began a new series at Solid Rock Church titled "Lord, Bless my Family!" I believe that's a prayer that comes from deep within the hearts of many people. Many families are hurting and need an Divine intervention. That's what I'm praying will happen during this series.  We've been without a living room TV for a few months now. We watched the TV in  Ryan's bedroom for awhile, but now that one's also gone (to Trinity). I miss watching college football and other sports but it hasn't been the end of the world. So It's been four weeks since we dropped Ryan off at Trinity University . It sure has been a long four weeks! I'm still getting used to not having him around here. I don't really like it but it's getting better. I'm looking forward to a great week of ministry, teaching (school), sermon prep, organizing, planning,  and cleaning. I pray you all have a great week, too!

Breaking out of our comfort zone

What a great day we had at Solid Rock today! Today was the first day in a new location for us. We are now meeting at Cornerstone Christian School for our Sunday morning service. (We will continue to meet at our Koberlin location on Wednesdays.) This move will allow us more room for growth as we look ahead to the opportunity to reach more of our friends and family to Christ. We don't know how long we'll be at Cornerstone but we're committed to following the Lord wherever He leads us. It wasn't easy deciding to make this move because it means we will all have to work harder to set up and tear down each Sunday, along with all the other challenges that come with being a portable church. It definitely would have been more convenient to maintain the status quo. We could have just stayed in our small building where everything is already set up and where we have more comfortable chairs and...well, you get the picture. But our desire is truly to position ourselves to reach

Loving Our Prodigals

I’ve been thinking about this past Sunday’s sermon at Solid Rock Church. My brother, Benjy, spoke on the story of the Prodigal Son. He reminded us that it is really the story of the Loving Father. It never ceases to amaze me how loving the Father really was to his son, and how different (read unloving) we are when the prodigals in our lives come home. The Father had every reason to be angry with his son for wasting his money in wild living, but he met him only with love and restoration. Why are we so afraid to show unconditional love to our prodigals? Why do we find it so hard to forgive them? Why can’t we restore our relationship with them without first having them pay the price for their wrongs? When did God ever treat us the way we treat our prodigals? Never! Yes, it’s true that God will not be mocked, but that’s for Him to settle. Our part is to be loving and forgiving. That doesn’t mean we minimize the sin, but it does mean that we offer our love, forgiveness, and restora