When I started writing this blog post, I was sitting by myself on the last day of a Christian writers conference in Colorado. The previous three days had been filled with workshops on writing and marketing, one-on-one appointments with publishers and agents, worship sessions, and chatting with new acquaintances. Like most conferences I’ve attended, there were ups and downs as my writing was sometimes praised and sometimes criticized. I was tired that day, and I was depressed.
One of the challenges I had been given during the week was to rewrite the bio on my website—the “about the author” piece that allows readers to get to know the real person behind the site. I have two websites, one to promote my new book (not yet in print) and one to promote my previous writings. I’ve kept the two websites separate on purpose. Nowhere on my new website (this website) is there a link to my other site. I never talk about my other books or writing credits, and my bio consists of a short paragraph which says very little beyond my limited qualifications to write the new book.
I had even asked several people for advice on whether I should publish my new book under a pseudonym (a fake name) or just my initials (J. L. Ruth) so people wouldn’t know I was the author of three books which were self-published, had few sales, and received only a handful of reviews (including a one-star review for my novel which begins, “This is the most poorly written novel I have ever read”). I was wondering if I should start fresh and reinvent myself, ignoring the twenty years I had already put into trying to be a professional writer.
As I tried to rewrite my bio, starting and discarding seven or eight drafts, I began to feel very small and insecure. What could I say about myself? I could list the things I used to be: a trial and appellate attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office (which I left 26 years ago); a staff attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs (which I left 23 years ago); an adjunct college professor teaching criminal justice classes (which I left 17 years ago). I could include a long list of part-time, short-term volunteer positions I held during the years I was primarily a stay-at-home mom. But “mostly stay-at-home mom” didn’t sound very impressive, and now that my children are both adults, I can’t even claim that title.
It occurred to me, though, that the story of my life is what it is, no matter how hard I try to dress it up or hide it away. More importantly, I am not the author of my life’s story. God is.
In Psalm 139:16, David proclaims, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” What David realized about his own life is true of mine as well. God is the author of my life’s story. I’ve made my own choices along the way, some good and some not so good, and I have to live with the consequences of those decisions. But God has had his hand in it the whole time. Because I am his, my story is not about failure, but about purpose, even if I don’t always see it that way.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
My story isn’t over yet. Whether it continues on its current path or takes a turn for the better or the worse, I need to trust God to work out the story according to his plan. One of the things I learned at the conference is to “take the next best step.” Maybe I’ll start by finally rewriting my bio.
Avengers: Endgame steamrolled into theaters last weekend, shattering box office records. One news announcer called it “a cultural community event” – which is a fancy way to say a WHOLE LOT of people were united in their desire to experience this final chapter of the Infinity Stones saga. In the theater I was in opening night, we didn’t just watch the movie. We laughed, gasped, cheered, and cried together. It really was a community event.
However, not everyone was happy with the movie. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook were full of people voicing their disappointment, or even outrage, at certain aspects of the movie. Some didn’t like the science (as if time travel really has any science behind it). Some didn’t like the character development. Some people even complained about the amount of effort Marvel put into keeping the story secret until the movie opened. Even the actors in the movie didn’t know the whole story line until they went to the movie premiere. Each actor was only given enough of the script to do their scenes. The rest remained a mystery.
I have to admit I went to the movie with certain expectations about the story, but about a half-hour into the three-hour movie, I turned to my daughter and said, “I didn’t see that coming.” For the remainder of the movie, I threw out my expectations and watched eagerly to see how it would all turn out. Personally, I thought it wasn’t a great movie, but it was a really good one.
Expectations can be tricky. If you believe something is going to turn out a certain way and it doesn’t, you will probably be bummed. On the other hand, going through life with no surprises would be pretty dull. Not knowing what’s coming can be exciting, but it can also be anxiety-inducing, which is why most of us try to keep surprises in our lives to a minimum. Unfortunately, that can also mean never taking risks, never going outside our comfort zones, and never trying anything new. It’s safer that way—but also boring. And it limits our opportunities to be used by God for his purposes in this world.
Just think of all the characters in the Bible who were pulled outside their comfort zones and asked to live their lives opposed to all their expectations. Abraham. Joseph. Moses. Gideon. Esther. Ruth. David. Mary. And every one of Jesus’ disciples. They didn’t get what they expected from life—and we should be thankful for that!
Sometimes we don’t get what we expect from life (or from movies). But how we respond to life’s surprises can show us the most important thing about our lives. As Christians, we are called to live a life of faith—trusting God no matter what comes our way. I’ve learned from personal experience that I can’t trust God to give me everything I want. And I can’t trust him to give me everything I expect or hope for. But I can trust him to give me everything I need to do what he has called me to do.
Sometimes, I may have to throw out my expectations about what I think God is doing in my life and in my world. I have to sit back and watch the story unfold. But I’m one of the characters in God’s master story—just like all those Bible characters I mentioned above. You are one, too. So when we see a chance to jump into the action, we need to do it. Even if we can’t be sure what to expect from it. We have to trust that the Author of the story will do what he has promised and work it all out for good in the end.
In a few days, Marvel’s newest and probably most anticipated movie will be released in theaters. Avengers: Endgame is the second part of the epic story which started in Avengers: Infinity Wars last year. Actually, the story started over ten years ago with the first Marvel movie, Iron Man (2008), and continued with movies introducing other heroes like Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Spiderman, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, all of whom appeared in Infinity Wars.
A lot of people were shocked and quite unhappy about the ending of Infinity Wars. Even with a huge cast of heroes fighting together, the bad guy won in the end. And he won big. After traveling from planet to planet to gather six powerful Infinity Stones, Thanos simply snapped his fingers and destroyed half of all living beings throughout the universe. They simply dissolved into dust and blew away—including more than half of the Marvel heroes trying to stop him.
After the movie came out last year, people were screaming on social media about how awful the ending was. How could the bad guy win? How could so many lives be lost? How could Marvel just write off half its heroes in a single act? Those people forgot—or didn’t know—that Infinity Wars was not the end of the story. We get to see the end this weekend when Endgame finally arrives and the remaining heroes have another chance to stop Thanos and possibly bring back the billions of people who were lost.
In life, as well, we sometimes forget that we have not yet reached the end of the story.
One of the most common reasons people give for not believing in the God of the Bible is the fact that evil seems to be winning in our world. If God is good and loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t he put an end to evil and suffering? Why did he let it start in the first place? People who struggle with these questions may conclude that there is no God, that God doesn’t care, or that God isn’t sovereign and able to do whatever he desires. They are judging God by what they see in the middle of the story instead of waiting for the end.
People who believe in the God of the Bible have also asked these questions about the presence of evil and suffering in the world. Some shift the blame from God to humanity. God created humans with free will and the ability to make meaningful choices, including the choice to reject God’s plan for our lives. The pain and suffering we see in our fallen world are a result of our free choices, not God’s.
Other Christians believe the fall of mankind was always part of God’s plan, just as conflict and opposition are an intentional part of any story. Sin changed the way God relates to mankind, but he has a plan to resolve the conflict and bring good out of the ashes of all the evil the world has known.
How can we know that God and goodness win in the end? The Bible makes that clear in prophetic statements made throughout the Old and New Testaments. Just read the last chapter of Revelation to see a preview of the end God has in store for us.
The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions about what’s to come, but it does show us a God who kept his promises without fail in the past. It shows us a God who cared enough to take on flesh, become human, and die on a cross for our sins. And it shows us an empty grave with its promise of new life for all who believe.
The end has not yet come, but the previews are pretty exciting. Don’t give up on God. Don’t let doubt, disappointment, and evil win in your life. Hang in there, and wait for the end! It will be worth it.
I enjoy reading devotionals—short writings designed to help us focus on God and his Word for a few minutes each day. Devotional writers have a special ability to see God’s handiwork in the everyday world or to hear him speaking through ordinary experiences, and they share those experiences with us. It’s as if they’re wearing special glasses that help them see what the rest of us miss. Or maybe they’re just paying attention and looking for God in ways the rest of us aren’t.
Yet, I believe this ability to see God in everyday things is not a gift given only to a few. Anyone can develop the habit of looking and listening for evidence of God throughout their day. It’s just a matter of being focused, like a person scanning a shoreline for seashells or a child on Easter morning searching their yard for painted eggs.
Meaningful surprises don’t have to come just from rainbows, sunsets, and the adorable things our children and grandchildren say. They can also be found in laundry, bad traffic, and funny conversations with our spouses. Some of my favorite “Easter Eggs” are ones I’ve found in books and movies.
“Easter Egg” even has a unique meaning when applied to movies, TV shows, video games, and comic books. It’s a feature in a game, book, or film which isn’t necessary to the story—a little something extra some of the audience will appreciate while others completely miss it. It can be an inside joke, a disguised reference to another movie or game, or a hidden message. Some examples include the yellow, blue, and red ball hidden in many Pixar films and the cameo appearances of Stan Lee in Marvel movies.
Ready Player One, a movie I mention on my Sign Up page, is full of Easter Eggs. It contains references to older films like Back To The Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, The Shining, Buckaroo Bonzai, and The Iron Giant, along with numerous video and arcade games popular before the turn of the century. The movie even references the first Easter Egg ever hidden in a video game--Adventure, released by Atari in 1980.
As Parzival states in Ready Player One: “There’s a secret in Adventure, and you don’t find it by winning. You find it by wandering around in a dark room until you get to an invisible dot…. You see, Warren Robinett was proud of Adventure. He wanted people to know who was behind it. That’s why he created the first digital Easter Egg. And to find it, you don’t even have to win. You just had to blindly play, searching around in rooms for an invisible dot. You took the dot back to the main screen and that’s when you found the first Easter Egg ever put in a video game—the creator’s name.”
The creator’s name.
The Bible tells us that we have a creator and he can be known, in part, through his creation. Evidence of his power and presence is everywhere. All we have to do is look for it. In a flower. In a song. In a story. God’s Easter Eggs are hidden everywhere.
He’s thinking of you today. Are you thinking of Him?
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
For the past few weeks, I’ve been re-watching past seasons of Marvel’s Agents of Shield on Netflix. Season 6 starts on May 10, and I want to be ready for the new story line. A sci-fi series worthy of the name Marvel, Agents of Shield is not a family-friendly show, and I wouldn’t recommend it for kids under 13. But for older kids and adults, the show has done a good job of exploring issues like the definition of good and evil, the nature of humanity, and what makes each of us the kind of person we are.
In season 4, the Shield team ended up inside a computer-generated virtual reality. Most of the agents had no idea the world they were living in wasn’t real. They made decisions, formed relationships, and did their work as their real selves—with one big difference. The virtual world had been programmed to erase from the past one major regret of each of the team members. Because each had taken a different path in the past, their present in the virtual world looked very different from their present in the real world.
Phil Coulson, instead of being the Director of Shield, was a high school history teacher. Melinda May and Leopold Fitz, instead of working for Shield (the good guys), worked for Hydra (the bad guys). Grant Ward, instead of being a Hydra spy inside Shield, was a resistance fighter working against Hydra.
The show illustrates how our past choices form each of us into the person we are today. It also reminds us that, no matter how much we regret some past decisions, we can’t erase them and see what our lives would have been like if we had gone another way. There are no computer programs that can show us with any certainty what would have happened if we had made a different choice in the past. We can guess. We can agonize over it. We can try to undo what we did. But we can’t ever go back and start again.
As Aslan said to Lucy in Prince Caspian, Book 4 of The Chronicles of Narnia, “To know what would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that. But anybody can find out what will happen.”
The mistakes we’ve made in past mark us enough without carrying them around with us, always wishing things had been different—wishing we had been different. The great message of the Bible is that Jesus came to wash clean our past mistakes so that our Father in Heaven doesn’t see them anymore. So why do we keep looking back at them? Why do waste our time wishing for a better past instead of working to make a better present and a brighter future? (See, Ephesians 2:1-10.)
God is not waiting for you to undo past mistakes. Jesus has already paid the price for them. What he is waiting for is to see what you will do today, as the person you are today. It’s this moment that matters, and how you decide to live it.
The past lives in you. But you don’t have to live in the past.
“If you could have one superpower, what would you pick?”
Chances are you’ve been asked that question at least once in your life. So, what would you pick? Flight. Super strength. Invisibility. Speed. They’re all good choices. In Shazaam!, the new DC Comics movie that opened this weekend, a fourteen-year-old boy is suddenly transformed into an adult superhero with several of these powers. Along with his new powers come some new dilemmas, including how to figure out which powers he has.
“Can you fly?”
“I don’t know. How do I find out?”
And so begins a series of hilarious tests where Shazaam tries to find out if he is fireproof, super-speedy, super-strong, able to leap a tall building in one bound, and able to fly. Unless he tries—really tries—to do what seems impossible, he’ll never find out if he can.
Did you know that you have been given a superpower, too? The Bible says you have. If you are a Christian, you have been given a gift by the Holy Spirit to do something in his strength that you could never do on your own.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them…. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 8-10)
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8)
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides….” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
But how do you know which gift you have been given? And how do you know how to use it?
There are books on spiritual gifts and written tests and inventories to try and identify your gift or gifts. But the only way to really know if you can do something is to try. “But I’m not good at teaching,” you say, or “I’m uncomfortable with leading.” But we’re not talking about what you can do. We’re talking about what the Holy Spirit can do through you. It’s a supernatural gift. A superpower.
It won’t always be easy. The results won’t always be perfect. But if you believe the Spirit can work through you and you’re willing to try, you’ll find you can do more than you ever imagined.
Disney’s latest live-action remake of an animated movie opens in theaters this weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing this new version of Dumbo, which will be almost double the length of the original movie. There will be additions to the first film, and some deletions, too, such as the absence of Timothy, the mouse who helped convince Dumbo he could fly.
In 1941, Dumbo was the fifth animated movie to be released by Disney. Seventy-eight years and hundreds of movies later, it remains one of the best-loved stories Disney has produced. Part of Dumbo’s continuing fame may be due in part to the “Flying Elephant” ride at Disney parks that let’s us all experience the thrill of soaring through the air, but I think the main attraction of Dumbo the movie is Dumbo the elephant. And it’s not because he can fly. It’s because he believed in himself and reached his full potential—something we all want to do.
Bookstores and online sites are full of advice and encouragement to help us reach our full potential, follow our dreams, be successful, and have it all. Yet somewhere in the back of our minds lurks a quiet voice that says, “I can’t do that” – “I’m not good enough” – “I don’t have enough talent, or connections, or luck to make it.” Because it seems that only the most talented, most beautiful, most connected, or luckiest people ever do make it big in this world.
And that’s why we love Dumbo—a small, odd, clumsy, elephant, mostly alone in the world, with no one rooting for him but a tiny mouse and some silly crows. If he could do amazing things, why can’t we?
Of course, Dumbo didn’t believe in himself at first. Timothy and the crows tricked him into flying by telling him a “magic feather” would allow him to fly. When he lost the feather and had nothing to rely on but himself, he finally learned of his own special abilities.
As Christians, we can be tempted like everyone else to believe that this kind of education, or that kind of look, or someone else’s plan of action is what it will take for us to be successful. We look for resources outside ourselves to help us do the things we dream of doing. But, like Dumbo, we need to look within ourselves. But it’s not ourselves we need to rely on. It’s the Holy Spirit within us. It’s Jesus Christ who redeemed us. It’s God the Father who gives us all good things.
We have great abilities to do amazing things as we allow God to do his work through us. We just have to believe—in Him.
If you are feeling overwhelmed today, or stuck, or incapable, or too small and odd and clumsy, remind yourself of one of the stories in the Bible of a man or woman who was also overwhelmed, or stuck, or incapable and yet overcame their own limitations by God’s power. Read their story again. Remind yourself that the same God who empowered them will empower you to do His will.
Please comment below and tell me which Bible character you thought of. You can click on the “Comment” link at the top of this post (by the date) to see other comments, too.
Then, go, believe, and fly!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
I went on a walk last week in the desert mountain park near my house. I had recently purchased a new camera, and I took it with me to try out some of the settings. The sun was shining, and I was wearing sunglasses, which made it difficult to see the image on the camera screen. Much of the time, I was pointing the camera and shooting without knowing what the final picture would look like. One photo of a bird surrounded by the bare branches of a Palo Verde tree did not work out at all as I planned.
When I got home and transferred the pictures to my laptop, I was disappointed to see that I hadn’t captured any details about the bird in the photo. The camera had focused on the empty branches instead. It reminded me of a quote from a movie that often pops into my head. In Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn tells a young Anakin Skywalker to watch him and learn from him. “Remember,” he says, “Your focus determines your reality.”
What Qui-Gon was trying to teach Anakin was that our perception of reality—what we think is happening in the world around us—will influence us more than what is really happening. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to our focus.
Anakin, who resented leaving his mother behind so he could learn to be a Jedi, focused on his distrust of the Jedi Council and was easily deceived by the enemy of the Jedi. He also focused on his own talents and felt he wasn’t given enough responsibility or respect. All he could see was what was missing from his life, because that’s where his thoughts and feelings were focused. If he had adjusted his focus to see himself as part of the bigger mission of the Jedi and see all the people who the Jedi protected, his future life might have been very different.
Unfortunately, too many people interpret Qui-Gon’s words differently. They think if they focus on something hard enough, if they want it sincerely enough, if they convince themselves they deserve it, then they will get the future they imagine. They pay attention to their focus, but they focus on themselves and miss the bigger picture. They think they are creating a reality for themselves. But instead they are ignoring reality—and they may end up regretting it.
In his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus made it clear where the focus of his people should be—on God and on others. Not on ourselves. Not on our needs and desires. Not on our disappointments or the people who have offended us. Not on what we can gain in this life.
Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)
God is the really real. He is the creator of all that is. When we keep him in focus, instead of ourselves, we can begin to see the world as it really is, and we can play the part God designed just for us. If, instead, we focus on ourselves and what we want or think we need, we might see only the empty branches instead of all the beautiful things God has in store for us.
Last night, I went to see the new movie Captain Marvel. If you like superhero movies with lots of action and likable main characters, you’ll enjoy this one. Or if you just want to take your daughter to see a movie with a strong female lead, this is a good choice.
Don’t worry—I won’t give away anything about the movie that hasn’t been in the trailers. And I must admit, the studio did a good job of not giving away too much in the trailers. There are a lot of surprises in the movie, even for people who are familiar with the main characters from Marvel comic books.
You can tell from the Blockbuster store in the trailer that this story takes place in the past. In fact, it’s sometime in the 1990’s. It’s an origin story for a character who is expected to play a large role in future Marvel movies. One question left unanswered by the movie is where has Captain Marvel been since the 90’s? Why hasn’t she been around to help with the serious threats to earth we’ve seen in other Marvel movies?
And that got me thinking about one of the biggest (possibly the biggest) question to plague Christianity. Christians believe in a supernatural, all-powerful, all-knowing, and loving God. But where is he when bad things happen in our lives? What has he been doing during the thousands of years of wars, starvation, and natural disasters? Why hasn’t he put a stop to all the evil in the world? Why did he let it start in the first place?
Believers have grappled with these questions and have come up with different answers, including some that stray from orthodox Christian beliefs. For example, some suggest that maybe God isn’t all-powerful or all-knowing, or maybe he doesn’t love us as the Bible says. But if we assume the Bible is truthful in telling us that God loves us and that he has the power and authority to do all that he desires, we have to accept the idea that God has a perfectly good reason to allow evil and suffering in the world.
And that’s where we lose people.
But we don’t have to.
Jesus was once asked by his disciples why a man was born blind. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:2-3) Then Jesus healed the man, clearly displaying “the works of God.”
But the works of God are not limited to healing. We don’t just see God at work in the blessings he provides. We see him in the peace he gives to the dying, the patience he gives to the persecuted, the courage he gives to the missionary, and the hope he gives to the hungry. We feel his presence most clearly in the humble surrender of our hearts to his will when we are least able to understand it. And if we let other people see God working in us then, maybe we won’t lose them after all.
The greatest hope of Christianity is that God will set everything right in the end. Although we may not have all the answers now, we believe that there will be justice. There will be an end to pain and suffering. If we don’t see it in this world or this age, we’ll see it in the next. So, we can confidently say with the Psalmist: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
To learn more about how Christians respond to the problem of evil in the world, I recommend you watch this podcast from the Dallas Theological Seminary.
For someone who enjoys watching movies, it’s interesting to see all the different jobs involved in creating one. So, like many of you, I watched the 2019 Academy Awards this week. Awards were given not only to actors and directors but to cinematographers, production designers, animators, costume designers, makeup artists, film editors, music composers, sound editors, visual effects artists, sound mixers, and script writers. That’s a lot of people working together to create an experience that will carry an audience away to another world.
Each member of the team creating a movie has a part in deciding what goes in—the clothes the actors wear, the set or scenery around them, what we hear, and what we see when the movie is complete. If they do their jobs well, we will hardly notice the clothes and makeup, the set pieces, or the background noise. If they mess up, that’s all we’re likely to remember about the film.
The biggest mess-ups are the ones that keep a story from being believable. Credibility is key to good story telling. That doesn’t mean that everything we see in a movie has to be something that could happen in real life. But everything in the movie has to be something that could happen in the world of that story.
I think one of the main reasons people are losing interest in Christianity is because the Christian story we’ve been taught can lack credibility. We look at what we’ve been told about God and Jesus, then we look at the real world around us, and it can be hard to keep believing that the Christian story is true. If God created a good world, why is there so much wrong with it? If God loves us, why doesn’t he fix our problems? If Christians are supposed to act like Jesus, why are so many of them judgmental and hateful?
If we just look at the surface, we can decide that the story doesn’t make sense. But we shouldn’t stop at the surface. We need to dig deeper to really understand the Christian story before we dismiss it. We need to ask questions and look for answers. If there is some part of the story that causes us to doubt, we should talk about it with other Christians. And we should be open to other Christians expressing their doubts, rather than expecting them to simply believe.
A recent headline in Christianity Today declared, “The Biggest Hindrance to Your Kids’ Faith Isn’t Doubt. It’s Silence.” It turns out that young Christians who express doubts and ask questions about their faith are less likely to walk away from their faith than those who don’t. If they speak up and look for answers, they are likely to find them.
Consider Job who questioned God’s justice. God himself showed up to remind Job of His power and sovereignty. Consider Thomas who doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus himself showed up and showed Thomas the holes in his hands and side. And I can’t count the number of times the Holy Spirit has showed up to remind me of his presence when I’ve prayed for answers to life’s big questions.
So don’t silence the doubters. Listen to them. Be challenged by them. Challenge them to go deeper into God’s story than they’ve ever gone before.
In a rarely-quoted verse, Jude tells his fellow Christians, “Be merciful to those who doubt” (Jude 1:22). Help them see the whole story. It really is the only believable choice.
Stories are a metaphor for life. That's a deep way of saying we can learn life lessons from stories we read or watch on stage or on big or small screens. When viewed through a Christian worldview, even secular films and books can tell us something about our Christian walk. Here you will find a collection of blog posts with lessons I have learned from stories. I hope you enjoy them!