Author: DwightClough

Questions we cannot answer

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Trust God with the things we don’t understand.

I believe in healing. Yet sometimes people aren’t healed.

My daughter was born with birth defects. I prayed and believed God for a miracle. I sat in the waiting room of the hospital praying and believing for supernatural healing. But, five hours later, as I propped her bloodstained cast on a pillow, I looked into the eyes of my six-month-old baby girl, eyes dulled by pain and confused by an experience she couldn’t understand.

Why didn’t God heal her? She’s been through two surgeries and, apart from God’s intervention, may need more later in life.

How do we deal with that?

Let me explain that I’m not really writing about healing. I’m writing about doubt, confusion and struggles. I’m writing about not understanding God.

Some people will look at my story and say, “God doesn’t heal supernaturally any more.” Others will say, “It just wasn’t God’s will.” Others will say, “You didn’t have enough faith,” or “There was sin in your life.”

None of these explanations satisfy me. I believe God still cares about people who suffer. The Jesus who went around healing people hasn’t changed—He still wants to heal, and He remains perfectly capable of healing. And just because someone doesn’t get healed doesn’t mean that they are at fault. Maybe they did everything right. And, yet, the healing didn’t come.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me with a question that I’m not smart enough to answer.

Here’s the point: If we are honest, and if we live long enough, we will come to questions that we can’t answer. What does that mean? It means that God trusts us enough to trust Him with things we don’t understand. And there is a quietness that comes when we release the reins and let God be God.

Today’s verses:
When Trophimus, my traveling companion, became ill, I left him in the city of Miletus. 2 Timothy 4:20 The Easy Bible
I get thrown in jail just because I love Jesus and tell my world about Him. Does that embarrass me? No way! I know the God whom I trust. I know that He will guard everything I’ve trusted to Him, and it will all turn out well in the end. 2 Timothy 1:12 The Easy Bible


Remember, you are designed to make a difference!


Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Christian Scheja, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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Prescription or description?

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Suppose I’m not loving. Suppose I’m not joyful. Suppose I’m not patient. And so on. What should I do?

Should I straighten up? Should I act more loving, more joyful, more patient?

Sometimes we confuse description with prescription. These qualities describe the result of God’s work in our life; they are not a to-do list for us. This fruit validates the Spirit’s work in our lives. This list helps us test the spirits.

If we find that we are not loving, then we invite the Holy Spirit into that part of our life that does not love. If we lack joy, then we invite the Spirit into that lack. If we are troubled, then this is where we need God.

Fruit is not produced mechanically, by design and execution. Fruit is produced organically, by connection with the vine.

And thank God for that, because my imitations wouldn’t taste very good.

Today’s verse: The passage commonly known as “the fruit of the Spirit” …
How do you know if you’re making room for God’s Spirit? If you are, here’s what grows in your life: love, joy, peace, patience and perseverance, kindness and integrity; you keep your promises; fragile people are safe with you; you don’t lose control. Your life won’t contradict God’s law because you want what God wants. Galatians 5:22-23 The Easy Bible


Remember, you are designed to make a difference!


Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Charles Williams, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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Someone who may seem not quite right to us may be very right with God

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Someone who may seem not quite right to us may be very right with God.

We don’t know, most of the time, what is really going on around us.

Today’s verse:
I, God, examine what’s really inside a person’s heart—all thoughts, motives and feelings. Jeremiah 17:10a The Easy Bible


Remember, you are designed to make a difference!


Adapted from a photo by Garry Knight, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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What problem are we trying to solve?

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If sin is our attempt to solve a problem apart from Christ (and I think it is), then what problem are we trying to solve?

Think it over.

Today’s verse:
Motives are not easily discerned, but if you’re wise, you will figure them out. Proverbs 20:5 The Easy Bible


Remember, you are designed to make a difference.


Photo credit: Adapted from an image by FutUndBeidl, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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Want to be transformed? Let God speak to you

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If your feelings could talk, what would they say?

God often brings us to the place of looking inside, because it is in the “inner parts” of our souls (see Psalm 51:6) that God wants to do His work.

You may know the story: Jesus had a follower named Peter. Peter promised Jesus that he would stand up for him no matter what. “I will follow You to prison and to death,” Peter said. Yet after Jesus was arrested, Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus. Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. Several days later, Jesus meets with Peter.

Talk about uncomfortable!

We read about this meeting John 21. “Do you love Me?” Jesus asks Peter not once, but twice. Then He asks, “Peter, do you even like me?” We read about Peter’s response here:

Peter was hurt…John 21:17 The Easy Bible

Jesus doesn’t try to smooth things over. Instead, He stirs them up! He brings the shame and hurt that Peter felt right out into the open. Jesus does not minimize. He does not ignore. There are no “elephants in the room” when Jesus is there. He wanted to restore Peter, and He knew the only way to do it was to get out the scalpel and do surgery on his soul. Peter said that he would follow Jesus to prison and to death. But his promise was empty, a bunch of hot air. Peter now knows how little he has to offer. He’s not at all sure that Jesus will take him back. So Jesus brings all this shame and uncertainty out into the open. Then He tells Peter the truth: “You are restored. You will care for my followers. After a long and faithful life, you will do exactly what you promised: You will follow Me to prison and to death.” Peter emerged from this meeting a courageous leader who stood up to the most powerful men of his day, and did not back down. He was transformed.

Want to be transformed? Let God speak to you in the vulnerable place of your feelings.


Remember, you were designed to make a difference!


Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Craig Deakin, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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God is at work in you

50 01 06 imageDo you ever feel like quitting?

Years ago, my little engine of spiritual energy ran out of steam. I just drifted for a while until one day I discovered this verse.

I’m confident of this: God finishes what He starts. He started a good work in you. He won’t give up on you. He will finish the beautiful work He started so you will be everything He imagined when Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 The Easy Bible

It electrified me. I found something greater than my mistakes, my sin, my apathy, my fatigue—something greater than me. An amazing thing happened. The less I worried about how spiritual I was, and the more I concentrated on what a fantastic job God is doing with me, the easier everything got to be.

If spiritual growth were just a matter of spiritual disciplines, then the go-get-’em types would leave all the rest of us in the dust. But spiritual growth is not just a matter of setting goals and observing disciplines. We are in the hands of God.

Yeah, yeah, we gotta be willing, but it really isn’t about us, folks. It’s about Him. It’s all about what a great Father God is. Am I lazy or proud or stubborn or rebellious? If I am, these things are secondary to something that is far more important: God is at work in me.

And God is at work in you.


Remember, you were designed to make a difference!


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God’s gift to us

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This book is about the things God showed Jesus so He could tell His followers what will soon happen. Revelation 1:1 The Easy Bible

How do we wrap our minds around the enormity of God’s plan? How do we find room in our hearts to contain the majesty, the wrath, the love and the holiness of God? I’m not sure that we can.

Yet God chooses to share His plans with us.

I remember sitting in my brother-in-law’s hot tub on a cold December night looking up into a clear starry sky trying to comprehend the magnitude of what I saw.

The book of Revelation is a gift to God’s servants. It is a gift to know that God has seen everything, and now He responds. It is a gift to know that that the full power of evil has no more ability to stop God’s plans than a blade of grass has the power to stop a lawnmower.

It is a gift to know that our prayers matter, that our suffering counts, that our deeds are measured. And it is a gift to know that we are—all of us—children before the One who towers over the earth like the stars on a clear December night.

Photo credit: Adapted from photo by Jeff Turner, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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What I Believe About You – Free pdf

what i believe about you frontHi!

I just wanted to make you aware that What I Believe About You is now available as a free pdf preview. This is a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental, encouraging and informative look at getting started with the Christian faith. In addition, it takes on questions like these:

  • Why am I suffering?
  • Prove to me that God exists.
  • How do I forgive people I don’t feel like forgiving?
  • What about Christian leaders who fail?
  • With all those religions out there, why choose Jesus?
  • How can I make sense of the Bible?

The entire book is included. No sign up, no email, no cost. It’s right here:

What I Believe About You

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They see it all

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Each of these four beings had six wings, and each was covered with eyes all over, even under his wings. Night and day, without stopping, they say, “Holy, holy, holy is God, the all-powerful ruler of the universe, who was, who is, and who is to come.” Revelation 4:8 The Easy Bible

This is the center of the book of Revelation. An unchanging God, fully in charge of the church, the pagans, the spirits, the devils, the angels, the dead and the living—takes His place as King of the universe, under the constant inspection of these super intelligent and powerful creatures.

And they are in awe.

“Why all the eyes?” I ask our Father. “Is it so they can see You, or so You can look them in the eye, and see inside their spirits?”

And then I realize they see it all. They see thousands of years of rebellion. Billions of evil men and women, legions of demons, inflicting horror on those God loves. They see the church with all its beauty and all its flaws. And they see God.

Though they’ve seen the depths of evil, they are overwhelmed, not with what’s wrong with us or with unbelievers or with demons, but rather with what’s right with God. Triumphant, holy, unchanging, sovereign God.

It’s a ray of light in our dark world. If we could see enough, we too would be overwhelmed.

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by US Geological Survey, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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