Here are the answers to last week's Open Season questions. Enter your new question in the linky list at the bottom of this blog post:
Is Abby’s Wish about adoption? Are you adopting again?
• Yes it's about adoption. Yes, we want to adopt at least once more. All three kids (Hannah, Landis and Abby) have always wanted another baby brother or sister and after everything Abby has endured we began to refer to it as “Abby’s Wish”. Then our friend, Amy Block, decided to start raising money for Abby’s Wish and it kind of became an official campaign at that point. We don’t get on our blog and ask money for ourselves contrary to a lot of misinformation out there by people we don’t even know saying we are getting rich off of our blog. What joke... Abby’s Wish is the closest we’ve gotten to asking for donations and if you read our blog much, you know we rarely even mention it much less be aggressive about it. If it was not to rescue another orphan from poverty, we wouldn’t even consider having an official donation campaign.
What books or writing projects do you have planned? I know you haven't been writing as much while building Linky Tools...
• My book about Kenny McClinton is currently being prepared for national publication and distribution. I’m writing the first volume of a planned series called “The Mind of Brent” that will be a compilation of writing that I think will make a good book.
• I’m compiling a book solely composed of my mentoring and spiritual advice I put out on Twitter. So that’s 140 character entries with spiritual and life advice.
• The magazine (www.seriouslifemagazine.com) continues to grow and a new issue will come out next week. I have some great stories lined up for the next few issues.
• I have a few novels planned that will teach Christian doctrines or lessons about life by telling them in story form. I’m really excited about doing those. And I’m wanting to write a novel with my daughter Jordan who actually has more creativity and imagination than I do. She is artistic and loves to write, so it’s exciting to me to see her interested in the things I love so much. I’ve got a long, long list of things I want to write and my prayer some day is to be able to write full time and really churn out the projects.
I see you have some books and other blogs. Can you give a list of your other things and what they are?
• Quickly… brentriggs.com is my professional site that has my services and portfolio. It’s kind a portal for all my stuff and I’m about to redesign the whole thing.
• SeriousFaith.com is strictly my Bible teaching and Bible answers.
• BrentRiggsBlog.com is where I write about life, family, marriage, answer questions, personal finance, etc
• LinkyTools.com is a free suite of blog linky list tools and contents
• LinkyToolsBlog.com is where I teach and write about how to blog.
• And RiggsFamilyBlog is obviously our family blog.
As a Christian how do you deal with knowing God can heal, but knowing that He chooses not to very quite often?
• This is a touchy question because of what is commonly taught today about healing and the many celebrity faith healers we have running around teaching MUCH that is false about the topic. I don’t want to turn this into a Bible lesson so let me just state my personal stances on a few things and leave it at that…
• Can God miraculously heal if he wants to? Of course. To believe otherwise would be to limit God say something the Bible simply doesn’t say. If God wanted to instantly heal Abby, or Chrissie, He need merely think the thought, and it would be done.
• If you listen to stations like TBN, and many of the popular faith teachers like Benny Hinn, you would think God is doing miraculous healing thousands of times a day to millions of people all across America, but reality clearly dispels this notion with little effort. The Bible does not support the idea of “faith healers” like Hinn and raw fact proves that most his “healing” is temporary, incomplete, psychosomatic, or pure entertainment and showmanship. But again, more important, the celebrity faith healers BUTCHER Scripture to support their teachings… as a whole, they are AWFUL Bible teachers using Scripture to support what they want to market rather than letting the Bible speak for itself.
• Because of this, a pervasive misuse of Scripture is very common. Take Isaiah 53:3 for example “by his stripes we are healed”… hardly a day goes by that some very well meaning and loving Christian brother or sister doesn’t repeat that verse to me making reference to Abby’s cancer. No matter what your belief is about miraculous healing, this verse IS NOT about physical healing and is a plain example of how false teaching is enforced by misuse of Bible passages. (read my message on this here)
• It is obvious from simple observation that God does not choose instant and miraculous healing very often (if compared to how much sickness, disease and injury there is). It’s a plainly observable fact. Why? That’s God’s business. He could snap his fingers and the whole world would be instantly healed but obviously that is not his perfect plan. The Bible has much to say about the benefits of trials, suffering and turning to God when this sin-cursed world comes knocking on the door of our health. Here is a list of benefits we get from enduring sickness and suffering… a list straight from Scripture:
1. To produce the fruit of patience Rom. 5:3; James 1:3-4; Heb. 10:36
Through adversity Christians learn the blessing of long-suffering and delayed gratification.
2. To produce the fruit of joy Ps. 30:5; 126:5-6
It is easy to be joyful when times are good but you have authentic rejoicing when you experience it through suffering.
3. To produce the fruit of maturity Eccles. 7:3; 1 Pet. 5:10
Through affliction we discover the true reality of living in a sin cursed world. When we endure suffering with the attitude of Jesus Christ we are perfected, established and strengthened.
4. To produce the fruit of righteousness Heb. 12:11
Adversity, when responded to according to God's word, will train us to be righteous and holy.
5. To silence the devil Job 1:9, 10, 20-22
God permits suffering and when we respond to it in a Christlike manner the accusations of Satan against us will be in vain.
6. To teach us Ps. 119:67, 71
The more we suffer the more God's word becomes real to us and the less we will stray from obeying the Lord. It then becomes a good thing that we have suffered because it has resulted in increased Godliness.
7. To purify our lives Job 23:10; Ps. 66:10-12; Isa. 1:25; 48:10; Prov. 17:3; 1 Pet. 1:7
God tests, strengthens and purifies us through affliction. Our faith is much more precious than anything the world can offer and like pure gold it is refined in the fires of suffering.
8. To make us like Christ Heb. 12:9, 10; 1 Pet. 4:12-13; Phil. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:7-10
As we suffer, we come to understand and better relate to the suffering that Jesus endured on our behalf. Through persecution and affliction we are conformed into the image of Christ manifesting through our bodies a living example of Christ's sacrifice for us.
9. To glorify God Ps. 50:15; John 9:1-3; 11:1-4; 21:18-19; Phil. 1:19-20
Every time we respond to suffering with a Godly attitude, we bring glory to God in such an unselfish manner that it directs attention solely to God, and not to us.
10. To prevent us from sinning 2 Cor. 12:7, 9-10
God may permit us to suffer in order to keep us humble and to keep us from the sin of self-exaltation.
11. To make us confess when we do sin Judg. 10:6-7, 15-16; Ps. 32:3-5; Hos. 5:15; 6:1; 2 Chron. 15:3-4
There will be times when God uses suffering to force us to confront our sin and confess it. Enduring the effects of a sin cursed world heightens our awareness of sin and deepens our understanding of just how truly awful sin really is.
12. To chasten us for our sin 1 Pet. 4:17
Suffering may often times be a direct result of our own personal sin and God may be chastising us for it. Adversity motivates us to carefully examine our lives for holiness and devotion.
13. To prove our sonship Heb. 12:5-6
Adversity is like an identification badge for the Christian. Scripture clearly says, "that whom the Lord loves He chastens". So any time that you suffer you can be sure of two things: that you belong to the Lord, and that He loves you.
14. To reveal ourselves to ourselves Job 42:6; Luke 15:18
When the pressure is on you can be sure that what is deep down inside of a person will come boiling to the top. When you squeeze a lemon, you get lemon juice. There is no way to fake what you are truly all about when you are under great stress or enduring significant adversity. You can be sure that what you are genuinely made of will surface not only for you to see but also for everyone around you to see.
15. To help our prayer life Isa. 26:16
There is no doubt that affliction helps our prayer life. For most people greater suffering equals greater prayer.
16. To become an example to others 2 Cor. 6:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:6-7
When we respond to adversity in a Godly manner it provides a living example for all those who observe us.
17. To qualify us as counselors Rom. 12:15; Gal. 6:2; 2 Cor. 1:3-5
There is nothing like real-life experience to qualify you as a teacher. It is an academic exercise at best to proclaim truths that you have not lived and experienced.
18. To further the gospel witness Acts 8:1-5; 16:25-34; Phil. 1:12-13; 2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16-17
By enduring suffering with a Godly attitude we participate in validating the power of the Gospel. When another person sees you rejoicing in the midst of affliction they can't help but wonder where you derive the power for such a response.
19. To make us more than conquerors 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:35, 37
As God proves faithful to see us through adversity we become more and more confident about the things of God. We become increasingly victorious over sin and "more than conquerors".
20. To give us insight into God's nature Job 42:5; Rom. 8:14-15, 18
Through suffering we know more about God and His purposes. We better understand His attributes, His nature and His sovereignty.
21. To drive us closer to God 1 Pet. 4:14; 2 Cor. 12:10
Whether we have actively strayed from God or are just in the sanctifying process of growing closer to him, suffering is an important means to push us and turn us towards God.
22. To prepare us for a greater ministry 1 Kings 17-18; John 12:24
Like the potter's clay that is worked and reworked, or the lump of dough that is kneaded until soft and blended, affliction breaks us down, makes us soft and prepares us to be used by the Lord.
23. To provide for us a reward Matt. 5:10-12; 19:27-29; Rom. 8:16-17; 2 Cor. 4:17
It is a wondrous truth that God permits us to suffer for His glory and yet it turns out to be an incredible blessing for us, not only in this lifetime, but also through the eternal reward we will receive in Heaven.
24. To prepare us for the kingdom 2 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:12
Suffering prepares us for our eternal life with God. It conditions us, trains us and equips us to reign with Christ forever and ever.
25. To show God's sovereignty Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 10:13; Ps. 66:10-12; Gen. 45:5-8; 50:20
The suffering Christian is a tangible demonstration of God's sovereignty, who in His infinite wisdom can take all things (good and bad) and work them together for His ultimate glory and eternal purpose.
We hear alot about Abby for obvious reasons; can you give us an update on the other kids?
• Dane is about to graduate college and is going to Italy for the summer to study
• Jordan is living in Florida and is getting interested in graphic design and writing
• Christian is about to graduate high school.
• Garrett is about to get his eagle scout badge and will be a Senior
• Hannah is home schooling and playing soccer/basketball
• Landis is playing soccer and growing like a weed.
You seem to be VERY opinionated about religion. Why are you so blunt and black and white about religion?
• Well, let’s do the short version: if you REALLY believe something to be the truth, why would NOT be steadfast and very direct about it? If I truly believe that God is the Creator, that He wrote the Bible, that Jesus was His Son, and that the plain Truths in the Bible about heaven, hell and salvation are actually true… why would I be wishy-washy or even “inclusive” of other beliefs? To incorporate all beliefs is to have no belief.
• The idea of “tolerance” has been shoveled on us by people who don’t believe in truth and think there is no source of truth. Being “intolerant” of other beliefs doesn’t mean you hate the person or wish them ill; it simply means you reject their beliefs as Truth.
• The Truth presented in the Bible is intolerant by default. It says there is ONE God, ONE way to be saved, and ONE Truth FOUND in the only the Bible. So if you believe that, you need to be bold about it, and with love and gentleness “intolerant” (non-accepting) of other beliefs that are contrary to the Bible.
• This is not hateful or close minded. It’s being committed. It’s having a backbone in a world where no one is allowed to say anymore that God is the source of absolute truth.
• Also, I’m only black and white where the Bible, my source of Truth, is black and white. The Bible is black and white about the essentials of salvation and many of the moral directives about life: murder, theft, adultery… “ten commandment” stuff. Where the Bible gives LIBERTY and does not make declarative or definitive commands, we must allow people the liberty of differing opinion and the freedom to follow their conscience before God. To go beyond that is to become what is called legalistic: binding Scripture on others where the Bible does not bind it. Examples might be the issue of homeschooling, music, dress, Bible versions, different expressions of worship, etc.
• We would all be much better off being more steadfast and committed to our beliefs than this current trend that states there is no truth, and to declare otherwise is to be judgmental, hateful, bigoted, close minded…
• Truth by its very nature is intolerant. Truth is true, all other is false by definition. The question is whether or not we believe Truth can be known… I believe it can.
I see this Linky Tools thing; what is it?
• It is a set of blog tools that allows your readers to leave links to their blog on your blog. It’s great.... check it out here: www.linkytools.com
How is Abby doing? I'm on pins & needles waiting for an update.
We've posted several updates... check the recent posts.
You posted your kids sizes before so we could send them gently-used things. Please do it again! I had fun finding things.
I'll have to get Michelle to do that in a future post soon.
How do you add a share tab at the bottom of a blog post (for Facebook and such)?
Facebook has it's own tools you need to look in the help for or ask other Facebook users. You can use tools like "shareit.com" to get widgets for the same use on your blog. Does anyone know if Blogger has added a widget for social sharing?
Does Abby have either a Caringbridge or CarePages site, meant to be a journal of just her updates & prayer needs?
No. We update about her on our blog. A question for you guys: there is a lot a I don't like about "caring" sites that are out there. I created Linky Tools when I didn't see a good offering for linky lists. Do you think there is much interest for a new, easier to use, less commercial site for "caring pages"?
How do you handle a loved one that consistently "tears" you down no matter what?
• Well that’s a tough one. It’s sad that the people we should love the most and are around the most are often the source of our greatest pain. Sometimes that can be a spouse, a parent or a sibling. It’s never easy.
• First, they need to know you feel this way. That doesn’t mean they will change but often people feel hurt or mistreated and the other person has no clue you even have that opinion. So with a true motive of wanting to heal the situation, not punish them, let them know how you feel
• Most likely, they may have some legitimate issues or complaints to respond back to you with. So be prepared to have an open mind that there could be some things you need to work on to
• If they are open and want to work on the relationship, it’s hard for me to give you specific advice because I don’t know the situation. I would suggest you find a spiritually mature couple or individual to help you talk through things and give you advice.
• If the other person is not interested changing or admitting anything is wrong, then sadly it becomes an exercise in forgiveness and patience on your part.
• Remember, God tells us to bless those who curse us, pray for our enemies and forgive those who wrong us. He never said it would be easy or fun, but God does promise to bless us if we are faithful to obey Him in this way.
When Abby is In-patient does Michelle get her meals off the cart like Abby would or does she have to go to the cafeteria?
Mostly they bring her the parent tray which can be a real adventure. Occasionally she gets to go down and pick something out.
What sort of things does Abby enjoy? What size does she wear? How about the other children's interests?
I'll let Michelle put this in a future post with the answer about clothes above.
Do you plan to have Tuesday themed blog hops again?
• Yes, I started them back up again after being off for a week or two getting Linky Tools up and running. If you have any suggestions for themes, be sure to let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org
I, too, would like to know how Abby is doing. Where could we send a care package to her at?
We are so thankful for the kindness people have shown Abby. If you would like to send her something, contact me directly. We get a lot of less than honest people contacting us, so we have to be careful who we respond to. Email me: email@example.com
How do you add the subscribe button to your blog so people can be notified by email when you update?
Look at services like Feedburner.com or for more features, www.aweber.com
After a question is asked, and you decide it is one that you will answer, when & where do you post or send the answer?
• Now that the radio show is going, I’ll answer some of them there, and I’ll post all the answers regardless on our blogs.
Enter your new questions here.
Anything you want... family, online business, faith, advice, professional... it's OPEN SEASON!