Posts

Let Go and Let God

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We have all heard the words, “Let go and let God”. Though oft-repeated phrases can sometimes lose their impact over time and become cliche, the truth resonates.

I have struggled with anxiety most of my life. I have also had debilitating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Because of these, unproductive striving is a great issue for me. Full of agitation, I hold problems to my chest, worrying, fretting, and expending stressful energy. In an effort at control I obsess over details, preoccupied with doing. I find myself caught up with ever more strenuous intensity. This turmoil feeds itself. There is rumination over the future, with what-ifs, fearful of the lack of requirements I perceive are not happening in the present. The unknown brings a nervous fear. I try to pray these moments through, yet often had the experience of prayer itself being an act of flustered stress instead of a meaningful appeal. Thankfully, God is wonderfully patient.

It makes little sense to our frayed nerves we must …

A Moment of Transparency

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Social media, the internet, and casual personal acquaintance can paint a picture of someone that is not the full reality. We all put our best foot forward. As an artist and writer, this is especially true with a "public persona" (for whatever that is worth in the first place). While that person is certainly genuine, it can paint a one dimensional image.

In my past I had grave, willful sins and great weaknesses. There is no responsibility for these but my own. To dwell on them would do no good here, suffice it to say they were wrong and not on a small scale. It was a long period with nothing but regret as the fruit of it. In addition, today I am certainly not perfect. Just ask my wife, she lives with me everyday. You can not hide who you are in a viscerally close relationship like marriage.

These things, including a downward spiral with mental and emotional problems, paint a more realistic picture of who a man is. In my life now I can look behind at many things. Yet, this to…

Discovering Hope for Anxiety Disorders and Fear

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The behavioral exertion of anxiety is performed as a kind of work. Having a cow, freaking out, or going crazy are terms we use to define reacting to events around us. We view this as a legitimate way of dealing with life. Our logical mind may see it as harmful, but part of us is trying to affect an outcome by fretting. This attempt at control is not only ineffective, it bites back by increasing emotional problems all the more. It is a vicious cycle.

It is a given most people experience worry and stress. Anxiety may be so deep-seated that we know no other way of coping. Fear haunts the human heart. It never seems far away no matter how together we may assume we are. Many struggle with acute forms such as panic attacks. Counseling, medication, and therapy may help, but if we are to have a lasting change, we need help that will reach the most visceral levels. Unlearning deeply rooted lies and renewing the mind with Scriptural truth is key. It is one thing to understand what is not worki…

Introducing a New Blog Feature

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Introducing a new blog feature: Prayer requests. Send your prayer requests to Living in the Light of Grace. Visit the Share Your Prayer Requests page.

There is power in prayer. When we pray, great obstacles are overcome. Trials are encouraged with inspiration. However, the capacity is not in our words or in the one who offers them. The power is in the God to whom we appeal.

Until we hit rock bottom or feel out of control, we think we can handle most anything. Prayer is a formal act to be religious, a last resort, or a “just in case” bailout. How often do we pray knowing we are heard, having faith that praying to God is a dynamic and profound privilege?

The power of God in the glorious and wonderful name of Christ is far beyond our comprehension. His supreme might made the world, shapes history, redeems our soul, and is with us daily. In Christ, God is in control of every detail of our lives. He does not need our help, nor does He need our input to solve problems. He knows what we will…

Art as Praise to God

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The gift of creativity is fascinating. That mere man can create works of art is a wonder to enjoy and ponder. The true delight, however, is not with mankind, but something more sublime. While art is edifying itself, it stands as a praise to God. It does this in two ways.

Creation attests as a witness to the glory and invisible attributes of a powerful, personal God. The earth we inhabit displays this grandeur. In the same way, art and creativity testifies. It need not be spiritual in content, or even made by a believer. Beautiful art cannot help but point to the Almighty and what He has wrought in life around us and the human experience. The crafted object or image echoes as another affirmation to being, just as the scene or facet of creation we observe. We miss this witness only when becoming dulled and jaded with the wonderment of existence. We are here, the world and all it amazingly contains is here. This is the first praise.

The second is the ability and talents themselves which…

God Enabling in Self-Disabling

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In faith circles there are two popular sayings. “The Lord helps those who help themselves” and “God will never give you more than you can handle”. Both focus on self and our abilities. There is a vast difference between religious cliches and a living Savior, between our own supposed merits and the undeserved favor of God. While these statements make us feel good to quote, they reach as far as superficial difficulties and no more. The rock bottom of the darkest valleys and our own brokenness prove them wrong.

Rather than the Lord helping those who help themselves, He helps those who are helpless. We build entire systems of thought to avoid facing the reality of helplessness, it is the universal human experience. The remedy is not wishful thinking to an abstract symbol or vague Higher Power. A personal God reaches out in grace, through Jesus Christ, to those at an end of themselves. Freedom comes in surrender and giving up the illusion of our own performance. In addition, there are tim…

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

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What I am exploring today may at first strike the reader as cold and unfeeling. If you bear with me, you will see the direction I am going.

Why do bad things happen to good people? It is debated in every generation. The question, and the manifold experiences evoked, is a heavy topic. Some who ask are deeply suffering, with genuine confusion. Others find it a ready argument to dismiss any consideration of faith. When I hear the question, I have a counterintuitive response. Through the challenges God has allowed in my life, my answer has become another question. I ask myself, why not? I do not mean this as a cynical attitude. It is quite the opposite. The why not can be a door into the deeper meaning of our existence and profound purpose in our difficulties. Rather than thrusting the why not as a weapon toward others, it is something I must first ask myself.

Living in a fallen world full of sin, evil, imperfection, and consequences to so many circumstances, hardship is inevitable. The …