Category Archives: Faith Matters

why I believe faith in a personal God matters

Friday “Walks”–Bringing Order

Photo Credit: P. Booher

I had looked at the unkempt grass under the peony bush and around the flower beds long enough, so I grabbed a pair of grass shears, brought the garden cart, rake, and pitchfork out to the yard, and went to work.

As I trimmed the grass and weeds, the thought occurred to me that I was bringing order back to those spaces. On a much, much smaller scale I was reflecting what God did when He created the world and set it in order. 

When I pray for people, organizations, countries, or whatever the situation, in a sense I am asking God to bring order to those situations. His order may involve providing needs, resolving problems, bringing healing to fractured relationships, or peace to upheaval. Jesus brought order as He calmed storms, healed people, and illustrated God’s Kingdom in these and many other ways.

I am thankful God still works today to bring order, and I can participate in His work, albeit in a small way!

Some Scriptures: Genesis 1:1-31, Matthew 8:23-27, Matthew 15:29-31, Matthew 15:32-38, Luke 8:26-39

©P. Booher

 

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Friday “Walks”–Cutting Anxiety–The Power of Praising God

Photo Credit: P. Booher

For awhile now I’ve been experiencing bouts of anxiety. This evening I felt an urge to praise God. As I did so, I could almost feel the anxiety melt away, and peace flow in.

“Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. (Psalm 113:1, NIV)

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3, NIV)

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” (Psalm 95:6,7, NIV)

“For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise…” (Psalm 96: 4a, NIV)

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 115:1, NIV)

“Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8, NIV)

“O LORD God Almighty, who is like You? You are mighty, O LORD, and Your faithfulness surrounds You.” (Psalm 89:8, NIV)

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” (Psalm 150:6, NIV)

“You are worthy, our LORD and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11, NIV)

Note: This is just a few of the verses in the Bible which praise God. The Book of Psalms, particularly Psalms 107–150, is full of praises to God. For me, praising God breaks through dark moods and anxious moments, and I want to praise Him more often.

P. Booher

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Monday Reflection

God is Love.

He is not rude.

He is patient and kind.

He is not irritable.

He keeps no record of being wronged.

He does not boast of himself.

He does not grow tired or weary.

He renews the strength of those who hope in the Lord.

He does not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the streets.

He will not break a bruised reed.

Neither will he snuff out a smoldering wick.

Scriptures: I John 4:16, I Corinthians 13:4,5, Isaiah 40:28, Isaiah 42:2-4

P. Booher

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

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Words have such power! As creative as words can be (see The Power of Words, Part I, here,) they can be equally destructive. I think we often underestimate that destructive power. We repeat the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That saying is so untrue; it goes against the reality of the power of words.

Consider that words are important players in relationships. Think of it: a husband puts his wife’s family down; a wife belittles her husband’s ability to provide for the family; a father tells his son he will never amount to anything. The words used and the tone in which they are said, are like an invisible nuclear blast detonated in a person’s spirit. The fallout can last a long time.

What are my words like? Are they untrue, rude, thoughtless, insulting put-downs? Are they filled with the venom of gossip? Do they carry the hot coals of destruction?

Some Scriptures: Matthew 5:22, Ephesians 4:25, 29, 31, Ephesians 5:4, Philippians 2:14, Colossians 3:19, 21, and James 3:5,6

©P. Booher

 

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Memorial Day

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Memorial Day–a day to remember sacrifices made by so many men and women who went off to fight wars, not knowing if they would come back or not. Many did not come back. Of the veterans who did come back, some have lasting wounds from their experiences. Some of those are physical; some are mental; some are both.

I think of my father, who was diagnosed with PTSD years after his service in WWII. In his memory, and by extension, for all those veterans who suffer from PTSD, here is a prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank you for those who fought and served. They left their homes, families and lives to travel thousands of miles away. I ask especially for those who have PTSD. Every day, they live with it. Help them cry out to You, Lord, and help them know You love them so much, and You see what they are going through. Lift them out of the miry clay, and set them on solid ground, in places of stability. Let them know Your love, peace, comfort, and joy . In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Some Scriptures: Psalm 40:1-3, Psalm 142, Psalm 143, Psalm 139: 1-18, John 3:16, Romans 5:8.9

P.Booher

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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