Category: Faith

When God Is Silent

The Silence of God

It is one of the harder things to experience, having to wait on God when He is silent. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately, the silence of God. In those silent seasons we often face doubts and confusion, mixed with plenty of questions. Did I do something wrong? Have I sinned? Did I hear God wrong the last time?

There are seasons when my these questions keep popping up in my inbox. I am comforted by this, for clearly I am not the only one experiencing those silent seasons. At the same time, my heart hurts with these people, wearied down by questions and unanswered prayers. Why is God silent? What can I do to make Him speak to me again?

Though I have thought about this lately, I have no answers to these questions. Yet I have started thinking, have started to understand — that maybe what I need is not answers. Maybe what I need, is a change of perspective.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

It seems like life truly happens in seasons, just like the preacher in Ecclesiastes put so beautifully. It also seems like every fall, I am aware of how life thrums on inevitably in seasons, one season blending into the next and suddenly, you realize you are in the midst of a new season. This change and the realization of it, can come with joy — or with great sorrow. Just as painful are the relentless seasons that seem to go on. What is true of seasons, though, is that they will eventually end and a new one will come.

It is our human nature, that always craves for more. I see it in my own life, in my own heart. I also see it in the lives of others. God performs a miracle, with a beautiful answer to those prayers that have worn our knees and wrenched our hearts dry of tears. Yet, a season later, be it months or years — we ask for more. When we are again in the season of waiting on God, it seems to break our hearts. Murmuring echoes loud in the hollows of our heart, with grief unexplainable.

How often we pray for something, for a miracle even. We endure the long seasons of heartbreak, as we wait on God. We know God is teaching us patience; yet we feel weary down to the bone. Then, the answer comes. The miracle comes — and we are surprised by joy. We fall on our knees, thanking God and praising Him — until one day, we do not anymore.

It seems like the praise and thanksgiving, like everything else, tend to come in seasons in our lives.

“A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:3-4)

As I am in a season of learning to change my perspective, I see that this is something that I can, maybe, view differently. What if the silence of God is not something to break our hearts over? What if the silence of God — is actually a beautiful thing, this season of growth that happens secretly, naturally, miraculously in our hearts.

Oswald Chambers wrote about this in the most beautiful way: “Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation.”

What if the silence of God — is not a deafening silence, the type that comes and destroys? What if this silence, is there with the purpose of creating something new, something beautiful?

“A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that the contagion of His stillness gets into you and you become perfectly confident — “I know God has heard me.” His silence is the proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of silence.” (Oswald Chambers)

Knowing myself, I think there will be confusion, possibly even doubt, the next time God falls silent. But then, I will choose to see it as the beginning of something great. It will be the beginning of God creating something greater in me.

Linking up: #UNITE Link Up#MomentsofHope Link-UpModest Monday

What I Have Learned From Leading a Bible Study

What I learned from leading a Bible study

This Friday, our girls’ Bible study will start up again. This is the second time that I am leading a Bible study. I still have a lot to learn, a lot to grow in, many ways to challenge myself. In all honesty, this is a (very) small group of girls. Yet I treasure these times. I grow so much during these times, even though I am a more mature believer in our group. This time we are studying through the book of Philippians, and I am sure there will be many questions. I don’t know if I will have answers. But I do know that in the previous times, God has equipped me with the right words and wisdom.

Maybe you have found yourself in the same position as I did in the spring. You are starting a new Bible study, leading the study through a book you maybe haven’t even studied through yourself before. So what do you need to know? What should you prepare yourself for?

Know why you are leading a Bible study

Honestly? Just wanting to lead a Bible study is not enough. Thinking that you have a lot to teach to others is not the best reason either.

I have been praying for what the Lord has for the girls and for me in this Bible study this fall. I keep thinking about these words from Oswald Chambers: “God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence, and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices.”

We study God’s Word because we need the Truth in our lives. We need to know what is good and right. But knowledge is not enough. We have to make the choice to apply these things into our lives constantly. We have to be intentional about the choices we make, and that they are right and good ones. It will not be easy. We will fail. You will fail. And that’s okay. What I forget sometimes, is that the fields of my heart are like walking on a holy ground. This is a heart molded and formed by God, the Almighty, All-Powerful God. Every choice, from the least of them, makes up more than what we can in that moment imagine.

We should do a heart check before we start leading a Bible study. We also need to do a heart check before every meeting. How is your heart today? What is your attitude towards God, towards His Word, towards the people in your study?

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans‬ ‭12:2)

Make sure that you step up to this position because God has put the calling on your heart. Not because someone else suggests that you should lead a study. Not because you think you can do it. A good Bible study gets its beginning always from God.

Put effort into building a sense of community within the group

Ice breakers are often needed for this, to get to the point where everyone is willing to share about their lives and their hearts. I found it good to take a time for introductions within the group. There were easy questions and difficult ones. I asked about likes, preferences, hardships, struggles, and joys.

Be ready to be the first one to share. Let it be a natural conversation. So yes, think about questions you want to ask. But do not think what you will answer yourself. Let it come in the moment, just like it does for the rest of your group.

Be ready to welcome questions

This spring and over the summer, we studied through the book of Ruth. Understandably, there were questions about relationships, dating, and marriage. (Even ones I challenged the girls to think about.) There were nights when we went through the chapter we had been studying for that time very quickly, yet there were many questions relating to topics we had discussed about. Important questions; ones that had been taking up space in the corner of someone’s mind. Thankfully, God guided me to the right Scriptures to give some answers to these questions. But they would not happen if there was no space for questions.

Along the same lines, be ready to welcome conversation on topics outside the topics of the day’s Bible study. Yes, allow them. But also be sure to be quick to confess when you don’t know the answer to something. You can always answer questions the next time you meet.

Be ready to be flexible with your schedule

It is easy to think that you can schedule a Bible study every week or every two weeks at the same time. But this will not happen. Something will come up, more often than not. (Once there was a terrorist attack in our city and so we had to move the meeting to the next week!) So be flexible with your time — from changing the Bible study times to communicating back and forth with your people. It is not always easy or nice, I know. But that’s life.

These are a few things I have learned about leading a Bible study. Have you ever led a Bible study? What did you learn? Let me know in the comments below!

Linking up: Modest MondayGlimpses Link Up#MomentsofHope Link-Up

How Do You Know God Is Real?

It was a Monday morning when those words popped up on my screen, demanding my attention because suddenly there was a question that seemed bigger than life — and I found myself wondering, unprepared to be the one to answer a question like this.

“How do you know that God is real?”

I sat there for a while, a cup of coffee warm in my hands and the Bible steady in my lap; but these words were heavy and demanding. How do you know? And I knew this question required something more than what my heart had to say: that I just do. I kept thinking about this that day because really. How do you know God is real?

My heart answered: I believe it because it is the Truth. I believe because God reveals Himself everywhere, in every situation. But I know, having grown up in a family of non-believers, that this is not always so easy to believe. And I know this is a question that is found in the hearts of many. I know because there was a time when that question took a lot of space in my heart.

So if you are in that place, wondering if it’s true that God exists. This is for you. If there are any questions, you can always e-mail me at adashoffaith[at]gmail.com.

How Do You Know God Is Real

God created the world

I know that God exists because it is so obvious in His creation, in the nature, animals, and us humans. Friend, just think about our bodies and the way everything is connected and works just right — how could that have happened by accident? I find us too complicated to be created by an accident. For example, think about our brains and the two hemispheres of our brains that look exactly alike. Yet the two hemispheres carry out entirely different functions, in a way that it is all connected. And to some extent, one hemisphere — carrying out different functions than the other — can make up for the other one if there is damage.

I find this quite miraculous. And I see God’s design there clearly.

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20 NLT)

Universal moral standards

This is the one that has always proved to my heart that there is God. There are moral standards and things that are considered immoral pretty much by most people and cultures – say, murder or rape. How is it that there are these universal moral standards if morality has always been determined by us? How could we think the same if truly we all were the ones to decide what is right and what is wrong?

I see God’s hand in there too, creating us and giving us these moral standards that most of us hold.

It is a relationship, not religion

More than anything, I know God is real because I have a relationship with Him. God has answered my prayers. He has provided for me miraculously. He has delivered me from darkness, depression, and illness. I have seen His work in other people’s lives very clearly, too. It is not religion but a relationship with God. A relationship is a connection based on communication: the sharing of one’s heart with the other. I know God’s heart because He has given me His Word. And I know He knows my heart, as He has walked with me through this journey of life and all the pain.

That is how I know God is real: because I get to talk to Him and He answers. He is a living God who loves His creation — enough to come down from heaven and bend down to the lowest, just so that He can spend eternity with us. And He took the punishment of death so that we wouldn’t have to. He loved us bigger than life — and still does.

Friend, if you are interested in reading more about this topic, I found this good read from Answers in Genesis.

Why We Choose Grace – For Ourselves And For Others

Why We Choose Grace

When Life Is Hard

It is not a new thing for us Christians, that we have to face the storms of life. We Christians tend to go from one storm to another one because that is where our faith is tested. When a great storm rises, we surrender and fall on our knees quicker. And we are reminded of God’s faithfulness when He delivers us from the storm or through the storm.

Some seasons of life, the storm is in trying to make it through the week. Life has a tendency of working like a whirlwind, growing greater as the gloom sets over us. It is in those unexpected circumstances, unexpected battles — those ones that catch us off guard and throw us off our balance. Those are the ones that rattle our weary bones, the weight of this fight a heavy on our shoulders. It is in the words spoken to us, those that cut deep or reopen wounds — especially when they are untrue and unjustified.

I am only learning this, telling people when I’m not doing good. There is still much more work to be done in this area. At the same time, I seem to have this gift of looking like my life is all together and everything is just fine. Honestly, these days I don’t even try to look like this. It comes naturally, somehow.

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 5:15-16)

Your Honesty Matters

Your honesty gives others the freedom to be honest as well. Honest about their brokenness. Honest about their struggles. Maybe even honest about their victories and milestones. Just the same, your example of extending grace to yourself gives others the freedom to extend grace to themselves.

We all mess up. Some days I wonder how we make it through, us messy people who really have no idea how anything works here. We fall short, for a hundred times and then a thousand times. We stumble, we hurt, we hurt others — and this seems to be the circle of life, really.

“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” (Proverbs 24:16a NLT)

Choosing grace for yourself is not wrong, friend. Choosing grace for others, is what we should do. Because love believes the best of the other. Love endures through the hard times and hopes in them. Love covers a multitude of sins. And that, my friend, is how our God loves us, as well. Choosing grace for others can require a miracle of God on some days. In some circumstances, choosing grace goes against everything we know. And so it can be with choosing grace for ourselves. We know our sins, how great they are. We know the pain and the heavy weight of it all.

You Don’t Need To Do It All

Sometimes — quite often, really, I forget this one important thing. I do not need to do it all. Honestly, I forget this so often. I think I need to do it all, that I need to be able to do it all. I need to be strong enough to handle this all by myself. The storms, the difficulties, the unexpected blows and wounds, the sadness and sorrow. But that is not true. God brings this to our lives so that we would turn to Him. And in turning to Him, we witness His faithfulness to carry us through every season and circumstance. God is our help and our shield. He is our strength. He knows our hearts, and He will be there for every hour of every day.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
(Psalm 37:23-24)

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