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Monday, March 27, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 289 - False Doctrine and Faith

This is going to be short. It's been another horrible day, and I am not sure how long I can keep this up.

Being pretty immobile, I got to see a lot of church TV, and while the vast majority of it is really solid teaching, there's some that absolutely makes my blood boil.

For someone in bad shape (and I don't count myself in really bad shape), it can lead to a loss of faith. I've been down that road.

First is the idea that God never gives one more than one can endure. There's something a bit passive-aggressive about this, because it makes you feel that if you can't stand it - if you break, as many people do - you're somehow unworthy, that your faith is inferior to that shown by others who shine through their trials.

There are things out there that can break us, and no, I don't agree with Ernest Hemingway that we become stronger in the broken places. We're just broken.

And this is where God comes in. When we face the unendurable, He can offer the only lasting comfort there is, the comfort of Hope...th Hope that came to life three days after Calvary.

We may be crushed, and never become stronger, but if that tiny spark still flickers, we can at least go from one moment to the next.

The second is the idea that when God takes something from you, it's because He has something better waiting, and your hands have to be empty to receive it.

I would not have dared to try that out on a couple I knew, who lost their only child in Viet Nam.

If God took Paul (his real name) away, all He left the parents was a hole blasted through their lives, an empty place that could never be filled.

But God did not kill Paul. A Viet Cong sapper did, when he activated a command-detonated mine. God's hand was not on the firing circuit.

What God could do, and did do, was provide a context for loss, and the ability for two totally torn-up people to go on, living their best for the memory of their boy.

It wasn't something better.

It was something they felt they had to try to do, and that they knew they could only dowith divine help.

 bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.

If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.


  1. Oh Andrew - I SO agree with you. Sometimes those phrases make my blood boil. But I remain strong in my belief that God gets us through those things that we've been given that are, indeed, more than I can handle! Prayers continue for you, Andrew.

    1. Carol, thanks so much! My blood sometimes boils, too. Though I don't throw things at the TV any more.

      And thank you for the prayers; they are very, very appreciated.

  2. TV church can be a godsend, a lifesaver for those who don't have the ability to get out the door. My mom watches several on Sundays and they are a great encouragement to her spirit.

    But you bring up good points, Andrew ... to be wise with what we're selecting to view, to see if they match up with Scripture or are simply feel-good entertainment or money making operations.

    Appreciate your review ...

    1. Linda, I really value church TV; it's generally all I watch, and there's a tremendous amount of uplifting content. But yeah, some of the feel-good or blatantly commercial examples should really be avoided. They can do a lot of damage.

      Thanks so much for being here!

  3. Ditto for me, too. It's so easy to turn scriptures inside out to say all kinds of things. I don't claim to know the correct interpretations for them all either, but I know that horrible things happen that could break any of us. God is with us regardless of how we respond; that's what I hold on to.

    1. Lisa, I love the way you put this - God is with us regardless of how we respond. That's one to put up on the refrigerator!

      Thanks so much for being here today!

  4. I certainly agree with you. Years ago there was something called the health and wealth gospel. Those jerks said if you were really a Christian God would give you health and wealth and if He didn't, you weren't really a Christian. I doubt that Paul in jail or any of the early Christians in the arena with hungry lions would have agreed with them.

    1. Jan, I remember the health and wealth gospel quite well...it was really awful, and though the name's changed it's still alive and, unfortunately, well.

      And yeah, neither Paul nor the early (or modern!) martyrs would agree with those people.

      Thanks for being here!

  5. Andrew, this is an amazing, depth-filled post. Your words are truth, and I suspect, the wisdom in them is gleaned as you walk your own road of suffering. Thank you for challenging the "easy-life" Christian platitudes. Your words made me think, and they resonated with me.

    This: "When we face the unendurable, He can offer the only lasting comfort there is, the comfort of Hope...th Hope that came to life three days after Calvary." This is the foundation, isn't it? Our hope comes from Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Hope doesn't necessarily take away the hard times, the pain, the unchanging situations, but it does offer the promise of so much more. His presence with us in those unendurable times, and that we will see Him face-to-face. The unendurable isn't forever. God is.

    Well spoken, my friend.

    1. Jeanne, I truly appreciate your kind thoughts and grace-filled words here.

      And you're right. Hope doesn't take away the hard times, but seeing something wonderful ahead makes endurance so much easier, and, ultimately, meaningful.

      And I love the way you put this - "The unendurable isn't forever. God is." Perfect!

  6. Those are two things that drive me bonkers as well. In the past few years as I have grown in my faith I have realized sometimes people twist the Bible to make it work for their life or their purpose, but it truly wasn't created for our purpose but His and His alone.

    Thank you for you insight and your wisdom.

    1. Amanda, YES! The Bible was created for our purpose, but His. That sums it up perfectly.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this.

  7. I think this could be my favorite post of yours. Yes, I think it is. I would light up one of those big cigars with you for this post. xo