I answered all these questions at once because Abby's hospital stay put me behind. My normal routine is going to be to spread out my answers during the week, putting them on the appropriate blog.
Do you ever get tired of praying and they are not answered? Our Emily is inpatient for the 8th time during maintenance, missing our yearly beach trip. She is devastated, as are we. We had so many prayer groups asking for her healing and yet now at this point I am not sure she is going to make it to the beach after all. Why do prayers sometimes not work? We are sad......
First, I'm very sorry for your difficulties. Believe me, I really feel for you.
I think getting tired is a very subjective term. We can get weary, but then are reminded by God that we are not to grow weary, but to keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him. The real objective is not to become fixated on what WE want (although we keep asking God for what we want, ie. healing), but instead, we are focused on God, knowing that whatever He allows, whatever He chooses is exactly perfect, though we may not see it or understand it.
I just finished a series on "Having a Joy — Filled Life in Troubled Times" that you may find helpful. Below is the summary of points I make. You could also replace the word "joy" in the list with contentment, peace, security or faith. Try it... I think you'll find it encouraging:
• A key to having joy in troubled times is a focus on Jesus and not our circumstances.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is to focus on grace.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is to choose to focus on others, praying and blessing them rather than focusing on your own circumstances.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is when we look for how God is using our circumstances to further the gospel and glorify Christ.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is when we remember "to live is Christ".
• A key to having joy in troubled times is to remember that we are not alone.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is to remember that we have already won the battle.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is to remember is a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is unity through humility.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is humbling yourself like Christ for the sake of others.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is pouring yourself out for others so that you may be a light in a dark world.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is to consider the example of other godly persons.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is having a spiritual mind and not an earthly mind.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is faith in Christ not faith in our religious works.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is putting the past behind and pressing on toward the ultimate prize.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is reminding ourselves of our future destination.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is thinking about our future glorified existence in heaven.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is acknowledging Christ's presence and being secure in it.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is choosing to think about the right things which replace worry.
• A key to having joy in troubled times is knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
• I can have joy in the midst of troubled times because Christ strengthens me.
• I will have joy in troubling times because Christ gives me strength.
I've never thought that it is a case of "prayers that don't work"... it is always a case of our limited understanding and vision. We are not promised the answer WE want all the time, no matter how convinced we are it is the "right" answer. In fact, we could very well consider our answer "wrong" if it does not come to pass because if it was definitively "right", God would have done it.
It's very, very, very, very hard to grasp the suffering and death of children. I don't propose to be able to answer that terrible reality for anyone, seeing as I cannot even answer for myself. Some day, God will help us to understand it, and see His higher purposes.
My question is, on top of praying frequently, what can we do for YOU? Are there things you need/want? My heart just aches for you guys and I think of you daily. I feel so blessed and want to help but don't know how.
Hmmm... that's a tough question because some of the answers are hard to make public. There's always the difficulty of finances, but that seems to affect everyone these days, cancer or not. Time, strength, good health... all needed to juggle doctors and clinics and drugs. It would be nice to be able to get away with Michelle for a few hours more than once every few weeks.
We don't really think much about "want" because we are thoroughly blessed by all the prayers, kind encouragement and concern of our blog friends. We believe the Bible when it says to be content in whatever situation you are in, and to be joyful in all circumstances. So it's hard to really make a specific list of things we feel we lack or want since every day God gives us exactly what we need for that day.
You are so kind to ask, and to think of us. What a blessing you are...
What is your view on Rushdoony and his Chalcedon group? Thank you for your time. God Bless you and your precious family.
I think they have funny names. Seriously, I don't know much about the subject, so I'll refrain from offhand comments that have not been well researched. I get in enough trouble talking about things I think I DO KNOW ABOUT, much less things I KNOW I don't know about.
At what age were you saved? Please share your testimony with us...
Easter Sunday, 10 years old, although I remember it had nothing to do with Easter (wasn't motivated by Easter). I didn't even remember it was Easter. I had decided that week that I was going to "talk to the Preacher" about being saved, which was how my young mind thought to respond back then.
I was young, but I had a clear understanding of salvation and no doubt it was an authentic experience, though like many, I haven't always lived up to that profession. Thank goodness God's mercies are new every day, and we are allowed to forget the past and press on towards the prize without looking back.
Your Sunday morning ministries are no longer also in written form and I was wondering why. I used to always read them at work first thing Monday morning, but now I cant. And I miss doing so.
By doing the audio only, I have more freedom to expand on points and go different directions, although I do typically use a SeriousFaith.com message as an outline. You can find hundreds of my teachings and Bible answers at www.seriousfaith.com
Whats your opinion on the door-to-door religions? Every Saturday morning a group comes to my neighborhood trying to spread their version of the Good News.
I love to have people show up at my door. If they knew what was in store for them, they would pass me up! :) (No, I'm not mean, sarcastic or pushy; I just answer all their talking points with Biblical truth)
Unfortunately, the quasi-Christian religions out there have done a GREAT job at training their folks on how to completely confound and confuse the average Christian. On the other hand, SADLY, we have done a POOR job at equipping ourselves not only to defend our faith, but to defend it against false teaching. The result? Confusion, anger, silly shallow arguments, "go talk to my Pastor, he can tell you"....
We spend years and years learning our job, learning sports, learning a skill, learning a hobby, learning a topic, learning a profession... but on average, almost no time (or little) learning the foundational truths of saving faith and Biblical doctrine which is ETERNALLY more valuable. We think someone has to be a "Bible teacher", "theologian", "Pastor" to be able to define the BASICS of Christian faith:
Salvation - the Gospel
God's omniscience, omnipresent, omnipotence and eternality
Deity of Christ
Duality of Christ (100% man, 100% God)
Authenticity of Scripture
Origins (the literalness of Genesis upon which the entire Bible is based)
Here's a starter list of Christian basics. How many of these do you know:
• Repentance —turning from sin; Matt. 9:13; Acts 17:30; 26:20
• Faith —turning to the Savior; Acts 20:21; Eph. 2:8–9; Heb. 11:6
• Substitution —Christ dying on the cross in our stead; 1 Pet. 3:18; John 10:11
• Reconciliation —bringing together through a third party two opposing parties; 2 Cor. 5:18–20
• Propitiation Christ satisfying the holiness of God on the cross; Rom. 3:25; Eph. 2:13; Col. 1:20; 1 John 2:2; 4:10
• Remission —putting away or carrying away our sins — also synonymous with forgiveness; Lev. 16:21–22; Heb. 9:26; 13:12–13; Rom. 3:25; Eph. 4:32; Col. 2:13
• Regeneration —receiving a new nature through the second birth; John 1:12–13; 3:3; 1 John 5:1
• Redemption —obtaining by paying a ransom price; Luke 1:68; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:12
• Imputation —God adding the righteousness of Christ to the believing sinner; Isa. 53:5, 11; Rom. 4:3–8; Phil. 3:7–8
• Adoption —wherein the believing sinner enjoys all the privileges and responsibilities of adult sonhood; Gal. 4:4–5; Rom. 8:15–23; Eph. 1:5
• Supplication (prayer) —communicating with God; Luke 18:13; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13; Jude 20
• Justification —God declaring a repentant sinner righteous; Rom. 5:1; 8:33
• Sanctification —God setting us apart for growth and service; John 17:17; Eph. 5:26; 1 Thess. 4:3–4; 5:23
• Glorification —the ultimate, eternal, and absolute physical, mental, and spiritual perfection of all believers; Rom. 8:18, 23, 30; 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:43; Col. 3:4; 1 Pet. 5:1
• Election —being chosen by God; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9
• Foreknowledge —that attribute of God which provided him in advance with all the facts concerning the elect; Acts 15:18; Rom. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1:2
• Predestination —God’s eternal plan whereby all believing sinners are conformed to the image of Christ; Rom. 8:29–30; Eph. 1:9–12
HOLY COW!!!! That's too much!!! Right? Are you telling me that learning 25 or so definitions about the only thing that really matters eternally in this life is too much? Only for scholars? Do you know 25 pop culture facts or definitions? How about sports? How about 25 facts concerning ONE sport, TV show or hobby? How about 25 definitions related to your job or your favorite interest?
It's not really a lot.. it's just a matter of what is important.
These are the BASIC PRINCIPLES of Christianity. The Bible tells us that we are to study diligently, to show ourselves approved and ready to give an answer, a defense, of our faith.
It's a soul searching question for every Christian to honestly ask "do I really know the faith I claim has saved me?"
In what order should I read the Bible? Is there any particular order that you find helpful, or is beginning to finish the best?
There is no SET order that is required or can be said to be THE way to read the Bible. Reading from cover to cover is always profitable, as this is how God delivered His Word to us.
In addition, for new Believers, or those who don't know the Bible well yet, I find this to be helpful each day:
- Verses from Psalms, where you will find about every situation in life addressed
- Verses from Proverbs for practical wisdom
- Verses from one of the Gospels (Matthew - John) to learn about Jesus life
- Verses from a book like James or 1st John which give the basics of Christian living, joy and faith
As you mature, you should study the Old Testament as well as books that contain doctrine and history like Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians and Thessalonians. I hate to leave ANY book out of a list because there is NO PART of the Bible that is "less" important to read and learn. But that is a good start for those of you looking for direction.
Hows life in America?
Still probably the free-est country in the world, full of opportunity and blessing... but that is slipping away rapidly as we give up freedom for "State Care" at an alarming rate. Because we no longer teach our heritage and founding principles, people confuse security with government dependence, freedom with lifestyle choices, and God-given unalienable rights with "leave me alone I can do whatever I darn well please" selfishness.
Don't get me started. I promised to keep politics off this blog. I’m not sure it does any good anyway.
What was the song you and Michelle danced to at your wedding?
We didn't. We had the wedding, mingled at a small get together just talking and greeting, then commenced to "honeymooning"... the details of which will go unpublished. :)
What are all your family members fave colors. :)
Brent - royal blue; Michelle - greens; Dane - yes; Jordan - depends on the day; Garrett - don't ask him, he'll talk and talk and talk about it; Christian - doesn't care; Sami - pink; Abby - green; Landis - Spidey red and blue.
Can you tell which kids are teenagers?
How do you support each other as a married couple during difficult times?
Talk a lot. Say I'm sorry even more. Always support the other. Care about the others feelings and needs. Stay on the same team, common goals, common convictions. Never waiver in commitment, or give the other any reason to think our commitment is less than 100%.
What program do you use to let others post their *Pray for me, Pray for others* and *Open Season! Friday* Question Entry? How do you put it in a post? I would like to use the same or similar program on my blog. Thank you :)
I use my own private "MckLinky" for that, but I'm in the process of creating a public version you'll soon find at www.mcklinky.com
That goes for Prayers Requests and Questions as well as several other really cool MckLinky tools.
Photographer in the making asked:
Which Nikon is comparable to a Canon 30D? Also... what entry level DSLR (Canon) do you recommend?
I'm not familiar with Nikons. Entry level? The Rebels are great entry level cameras. All the real lenses fit them, and you can upgrade the body down the road.
Hey! Im interested in buying a digital slr camera and I was looking at the Canon Rebel XS camera because it is in my price range. Im not interested in going professional or anything Im just interested in taking better pictures. I have a canon point and shoot really nice camera I love. Is the canon Rebel XS a good camera do you know?
Yep, great cameras. Professional or not, you'll want to invest in at least one good lens that can shoot in low light. They can be pricey, but well worth it. Look for lens with a low f/stop. Learn the basics about f/stop, shutter speed, exposure and focus if you want to take excellent shots. It's not hard, you just have to spend a little time educating yourself. Do a Google search for "DSLR photography basics" and you'll find a lot of good information.
How do you know when you should help someone,and when your help has become enabling and you should stop? My dad is jobless,and now homeless. He has ALWAYS tried get rich quick schemes, and NEVER held down a real job. He has *borrowed* large sums of money from MANY people, and is very deceptive. I find myself discrediting much of what he says. But, he is my father, and if he is unable to help himself, I feel responsible. At the same time, I want him to help himself.
If your help enables a person to continue doing that same old destructive things, then you should abstain. If your help will enable them to truly break free from the past, and change habits, then you should help. The trick is being mature enough to discern which is which.
From just what you have said in your question, it does not sound like helping your Dad further is the right choice. Short of giving him food, water and maybe a corner of the garage to sleep in, you should be very very cautious given his past. You don't indicate any real change in attitude or practice, so I would be extremely hesitant and slow to give money or things that allow him to spend what money he does get on his "schemes".
Several posts ago it was mentioned that Abby was hoping to get to go to a ballet camp. Is she going to get to do that? I pray every day that this prayer is answered for her along with many others that you have mentioned.
No. Her latest hospital stayed ended her change at ballet camp for now.
No name asked:
I'm seeing Hannah Samrawit in your blog header... is Sami's new name Hannah?
Sami is her nickname, short for Samrawit. Hannah is her chosen American name, and she has chosen to go by that.
What songs make you smile every time you hear it?
Hmmm... wow, I really don't know. Some songs definitely make me sad, but for the most part, the songs I like and listen to regularly usually are "good mood" songs.
"If I Stand" by Rich Mullins definitely makes me smile because it reminds me of my wife. It was a song I had never heard until I met her, so it reminds me of her which makes me smile.
Now, Your Questions...
Every Friday, I do "Open Season" where I take all your questions. Here are the blogs, and which types of answers will go on that blog:
- Riggs Family Blog (www.riggsfamilyblog.com) - our family, personal stuff
- Brent Riggs Blog (www.brentriggs.com/blog/) - professional topics (graphics, web development, writing), family, marriage, mentoring, ethics, teens, parenting, etc.
- SeriousFaith.com (www.seriousfaith.com) - Christian and Bible related
- MckLinky Blog (www.mcklinkyblog.com) - blogging, search engines, online business, blog improvement, blog graphic, blog photography, blog traffic, etc.
I will spread out the answers on the appropriate blog throughout the week, so make sure you are subscribed to any blog you want to see answers from.
Ask your question using the form below. Ask us anything you want. Here's some suggested topics:
- our family, our life, adoption, cancer, parenting, marriage, marriage, family
- blogging, building traffic, growing your blog... anything about making your blog better
- photography, technology, graphic design
- writing, communication, brainstorming topics, how to improve your writing
- marketing, personal finance
- the Bible
- business, marketing, online business
- ask for advice, counsel or wisdom for a personal or professional situation
- WHATEVER.... hey, it's OPEN SEASON!!