Category Archives: Faith Matters

why I believe faith in a personal God matters

Friday “Walks”–The Reason for Hope

Photo Credit: P. Booher

May is National Mental Health Month here in the US, and a big part of mental health is hope. If a person has hope, he or she can keep going, despite what life throws at them. Recently I heard of a person who lost the battle for life because the person lost hope.

I need to remember that even when I don’t feel hopeful, the fact is Hope still lives. Despite my feelings or tragic events around the world, there is Hope. How can I write that? Consider Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. Christmas is a day observed as the day Jesus Christ, the Savior, stepped into human flesh. Good Friday is observed as the day Christ gave His life to act as the Savior for us. Easter is celebrated as the day of Christ’s resurrection, and the day of the empty tomb. Because there was a resurrection and there is an empty tomb, there is still Hope. There are possibilities to overcome problems–possibilities I am not yet aware of, because Hope lives.

You see, ultimately Hope doesn’t depend on my feelings; Hope is found in Jesus, because He lives and cares.

If you have lost hope in your life, I urge you to see someone who can give you an objective perspective, because if you have lost hope you are seeing only one side, the darker side filled with problems. Do NOT stay alone behind the walls of problems. Better yet, I urge you to see a pastor, counselor, or friend who can encourage you and point you to Jesus Christ. He is definitely NOT an impersonal, far away, unreachable Being who does not care whether you live or die; you have tremendous value to Him. He is as close as your cry for help and mercy. Crying out to God opens up possibilities you don’t know are there.

Some Scriptures: Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 15:13, John 3:16, Titus 3:4,5, Psalm 34:4, Psalm 33:20-22, Psalm 61:1,2, Psalm 103:13, Psalm 139:7-16, Psalm 142, Deuteronomy 30:15

I also want to list some other resources:

1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (in the U.S.): 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting: Talk 741741. Website: suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Note: the 3-digit dialing code 988 which routes callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be available to everyone in the U.S. July 16, 2022. Currently it is available in some areas. Starting July 16, 2022 it will be available to everyone in the U.S.

2. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website: afsp.org

3. In Australia: www.beyondblue.org.au

4. In the United Kingdom: www.nhs.uk

5. In South Africa: www.sadag.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith Matters, Life Issues

Needed: Showing, Not Just Telling

Years ago, a person I know worked at a small business in a small town. The owner and employee had attended the same Sunday school and church decades before. The owner professed Christianity and was active in a Christian businessmen’s association. He had also gone on short-term mission trips.

One night, it was the employee’s turn to close the store. Besides turning out the lights and locking up, her duties in closing the store meant taking the deposit over to the bank across the street, and putting the deposit in the night deposit box.

The next morning, the employee was shocked when the owner called, demanding to know where his money was. The employee said she had put the money in the chute. The owner said the bank couldn’t find the money. The employee was hurt that the owner would think she had stolen his money, particularly since the owner had known her for years. It turned out that there was a new teller at the bank, and she had not reached far enough down the chute to get the bag. The owner never apologized to the employee.

While the owner talked about Christ in his activities outside the business, he didn’t show Christ in his business, at least, not on that occasion. What an impact it would have had on that employee if the business owner had refrained from  jumping to conclusions, or, if he had at least apologized to the employee. As it was, the employee was unjustly accused, and she couldn’t take the owner’s Christian witness seriously. The owner didn’t realize the place his Christianity was most on display was not on the mission trips, but right there in his store, among employees, customers, sales representatives, and delivery people. They were the people most affected by the way his Christianity was lived out.

Perhaps you think I am being a little harsh on the business owner. Consider this: the work environment is where most people spend a good portion of their day. Work is also the source of a lot of stress. People working for a business owner who brings Jesus to work won’t even experience some of that stress, because Jesus is the Source of peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control… (see the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22). The business owner acts with those qualities, because Jesus is working inside of him or her.

For more information on faith at work, check out the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics site: tifwe.org

©P. Booher

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

Friday “Walks”–The Power of Words, Part I

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Words have such power! By simply uttering words, God created the universe, as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. By words, Jesus healed, calmed storms, cast out demons, and fed thousands of people. Words have the power to encourage and give hope to someone who’s about to give up; words extend forgiveness and mercy; words express kindness, grace, patience, love, and truth.

Am I speaking those kinds of words?

Some Scriptures: Genesis 1 and 2, Matthew 8:3, Matthew 8:13, Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 1:23-25, Luke 9:14-16, Luke 23:40-43, John 8: 11, Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 14:5a, Proverbs 15:4a

P. Booher

3 Comments

Filed under Faith Matters

Friday “Walks”–Living by the Wrong Standards–AKA–I Owe an Apology to People

When I was in school, most learning took place via memorization and what’s now known as the visual learning style. If you were blessed with a good memory (as I was), had a mostly visual learning style (as I did), and liked to learn new facts (as I did), you generally got good grades. Note that I can’t take credit for any of these. They were part of my “package” when I arrived in the world.

A problem developed when I did start taking credit for these. Since I wasn’t popular socially, wasn’t pretty, and lacked self-confidence, I bolstered my self-esteem by tying it to the only thing I had–my academic achievements. I thought I was better than other people because I got good grades and they didn’t. (I cringe as I type that now; it is so way off-base, so foolish and arrogant.)

I didn’t understand that a person is born with certain aptitudes and skills not to lord it over people, not to think she is better than others but to develop and use those aptitudes and skills in the service of other people. A person highly-motivated to learn could become a teacher, for instance, putting his enthusiasm into the hearts and minds of others.

I apologize to people I looked down on. I was wrong and I know people were hurt by my attitude. 

A few Scriptures: “…knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” I Corinthians 8:1 (NIV), “…(God’s) love does not boast, it is not proud…it is not self-seeking…” I Corinthians 13:4, 5

©P. Booher

 

7 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters

Friday “Walks”–The Father’s Heart

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Last Sunday morning I stayed in bed too long and got up late to go to church. I was beating myself up for it, and I thought, “God must be angry with me for getting up late again, when I know that makes me late for church.” Then another thought came to mind, “No, but He is saddened that you are making it harder for yourself than it needs to be.”

It occurred to me that God, like any caring father, does not want to see His child make life any harder than it already is. 

Some Scripture suggestions: Psalm 103:13, I John 4:14-16, I Corinthians 13:4-7, Matthew 6:26, Matthew 7:9-11, James 1:17

©P. Booher

4 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters

Friday “Walks”–Believing A Lie

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Years ago I was facing a health problem. My pastor visited me at the hospital. He prayed for me, and after he left, I sensed God’s Presence in the room. In my mind, the Lord asked, “Do you want Me to heal you?” There was no doubt in my mind that He could. However, in the next instant the thought came that, “Oh, I can take care of this myself. I’m helping God because then He will have more power for other needs.” So I told the Lord, “No, I can do it myself”.

I still have the problem, and I regret not letting God take care of it there and then. If I had told Him “Yes”, I believe it would have resulted in a much bigger blessing than just a physical healing. 

I’m not sure how I got the thought that if God helped me, He would have less power at His disposal. That was a lie. Consider this: God is BIG. He created the heavens and the earth. I thought that by healing me, His power would be diminished??? REALLY???

God has no limits, except those He puts on Himself. 

Moral of the story? When God offers you a blessing, take it!

Some Scriptures for you (and me) to consider: Genesis 1, Job 38, 39, 40, Ps.8:3, Isaiah 40:12-29.

©P. Booher

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

Friday “Walks”–Showing Honor or Dishonor to God by the Way I Treat My Body

Photo Credit: P. Booher

One night I was writing a post for this blog. I wanted to get it done, so I could post it that night, and meet my self-imposed deadline. The piece took longer to write than I figured it would. To add to that, I thought of some reference material to add. Weariness was settling in my bones and my eyes were feeling the effects of time on the computer, despite the blue-light filters in place. Finally I did the only sane thing to do—shut down the computer and go to bed.

It occurred to me that I honor God when I take care of my body, even in details like calling it quits for the night, instead of pushing through to completion. I honor God when I respect the body He gave me and use wisdom in how I do my activities.

I dishonor God with my body when I take foolish chances—like the day I crossed the road to retrieve a garbage can lid which blew half-way down the road. Coming back, instead of walking up the road farther to see oncoming traffic better before I crossed, I stepped out at a point where I had trouble seeing traffic—and faced a car coming up the hill. Thankfully, God chose to keep me from the consequences of my behavior. When I got into my yard, the Lord spoke in my mind, “I love you. You are worthy to Me. Don’t do that again.”

Every day, I have a choice whether to honor or dishonor God in the way I treat my body. Will I use wisdom, or will I act in foolish ways??

A few Scriptures to consider: Psalm 139:13, Psalm 103:13, I Corinthians 6:18-20

©P. Booher

4 Comments

Filed under Faith Matters, Life Lessons

Friday “Walks”–“Let Me Take Care Of It”

Photo credit: P. Booher

One day my mother was fussing as she struggled to fasten her seat belt. Hearing her sigh of frustration as I sat in the driver’s seat, I said, “Let me take care of it”. I slipped the latch for the belt into its place and she relaxed.

Afterwards I thought of how often God must want to say to us as we fuss and fret over a situation, “Let Me take care of it”. While we figuratively bang our heads against the wall, trying this way or that to solve the problem, God waits for us to ask Him for help. He wants to say, “Let Me take care of it”.

Scriptures to Consider: Ps. 103:13, Luke 11:9, 10, I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6,7

©P. Booher

6 Comments

Filed under Faith Matters

What Didn’t Happen–A Different Kind of Blessing

I usually think of blessings as the kind I can see—the kind that happened. Recently I experienced the kind of blessings which are in the “what could have happened, but didn’t” category. This was during a stretch of time in which my mother went to the emergency room twice in a week, and my car went to the garage.

One day while driving up a long hill, the car started to jerk underneath. I thought, Is that the transmission or the gas feed? The only way it didn’t jerk was if I really gave it the gas or if it shifted. I didn’t drive it often until I could get the vehicle looked at, but one time I did drive it was to take my mother to the ER—then drive it home at night when the hospital kept my mother for observation, a round trip of about thirty miles, which included many hills. After taking it to a mechanic, I found out the car needed the transmission flushed.

The blessings contained in my “car drama” include:

  1. the car didn’t break down on the road (very important, especially when taking my mother of advanced age to the hospital, and when driving at night)
  2. no prolonged damage to the transmission
  3. no damage to the engine (what affects the transmission can easily affect the engine)
  4. people—a neighbor and then a relative—who when needed, were willing to help me out by taking me to the hospital to pick my mother up and by taking me to the service shop to pick up the car
  5. at first, the service shop couldn’t get the transmission lines to hold the fluid. Believe it or not, I emailed friends and requested prayer for that specific situation. Later on, believe it or not, the shop called and said the pressure was holding; the car was ready for pick up. I choose to believe prayer made the difference—why else would the situation change??

Other blessings were that my mother did not have any strokes. Instead, she had what is called “vasovagal episodes”, which were scary enough to me, but were not strokes. Another blessing is the caring and thoughtfulness shown by the nurses and staff at the hospital to both my mother and me. A visiting nurse came the other day and gave me tips on how to help my mother. She told me that if my mother has another episode like that, I can call any time and a visiting nurse will come, check my mother, do blood work, take it to the lab, and contact my mother’s doctor. We wouldn’t have to go to the ER. Finally, while sitting at home waiting for the call to pick up my car, I started counting the number of family and friends who would be willing to help me out with a ride. The number was higher than I thought; I have more support than first realized.  When I told that to my pastor’s wife, she remarked that was evidence God was standing by me in my troubles. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

While I didn’t want these troubles to happen, I found out when they do, blessings show up right there in the midst of them. It isn’t all bad news. That’s important for me to remember.

©P. Booher

8 Comments

Filed under Faith Matters, Life Lessons

Friday “Walks”–Walking a Different Way

Photo Credit: P. Booher

It occurred to me that any time I act in a way I’m supposed to in order to please God (choosing humility over envy, for instance) and I don’t act in a way I am used to acting, I am taking a step forward in faith. To me it’s in faith because it’s choosing a different attitude than I’ve done before. I’m “walking on different ground”, so to speak. For me, it takes a bit of courage because attitudes and thought patterns can become so engrained in your heart and mind that it seems those old patterns are what you are to do. But those old patterns don’t lead to happiness, joy, and peace. The new patterns do, and that’s refreshing and calming.

Scriptures to consider: Romans 12:1,2,9-21, Romans 15:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, James 1:19, 20, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm 34:4, Psalm 37:1,2,7

©P. Booher

6 Comments

Filed under Faith Matters