It is currently the first week of Ramadan, in the Muslim faith. This is a time that is marked by fasting. Fasting during Ramadan, in fact, is the fourth pillar of Islam. This month is one where believers abstain from food, and other desires, in obedience for the hope of atonement of their sins. As a Christian, this month has always been a cause of deep reflection. I thought that this year would be as good as any; to share some of my thoughts about this self-sacrifice in hopes to be cleansed for sins. The hadith, a collection of teachings and reports of their prophet Muhammad’s life, gives us a quick glimpse of the importance of Ramadan within Islam. Continue reading
You probably have heard the term “locus of control”. It is a concept that comes up in my own conversation quite often, as a mental health therapist. If you are unfamiliar, or need a reminder, the locus of control determines the extent a person believes they have control of their lives. Typically, an internal locus of control would imply an individual believes they have control of their fate, that their future is determined by their own actions. Conversely, an external locus of control would be individuals who view life’s events and their own behaviors to be controlled by a force other then themselves.
I wanted to write this blog post to address this topic, very briefly, from a Christian point of view. As Christians, naturally, we would fall under the external locus of control. The Bible extensively speaks about God’s sovereign control over our lives.
Here’s a quick reminder:
Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted”.
Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,”
So what’s the point?
Having an external locus of control is often frowned upon. That is, along with an external locus of control, individuals can develop sloth mindsets. “If I’m not ultimately in control, what’s the point?” This can be the mindset of, dare I say it, us Christians as well. This is often the objection to reformed theology’s high view of God’s sovereignty. “If God is in control, why bother with things like evangelism?”
I’ll save that discussion for another post. However, my purpose in this post is to make believers aware of a term i coined, Christ-centered locus of control.
This concept is, that not only is the control external, but the control is personal. What’s more, the control is Christ himself. Not only is our destiny controlled by a god, but it is our God. We know who this is, and what His purpose is for our lives.
The apostle Paul explains to us what is true for all those who have a Christ-centered locus: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
So what’s this mean for YOU? Well, knowing that your control is external means that you don’t have to do anything, in a sense. It also means that you didn’t necessarily cause your situation. For instance, say a close loved one suddenly dies. Your flesh wants to be racked with anxiety and perhaps depression. “Why did this happen!?” Well, knowing that your held securely in Christ’s hand, it happened ultimately for your good. I pray that this realization causes you to stop fighting against your circumstances. Stop trying to think of a better situation that you should be in, and trust the one who brought you here.
Self-denial is called to be the center of the Christian life. Everyone knows that, right? I mean how many times do we read Christ clearly instructing others that this is the only way that we can follow him? Remember His words:
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23).
I would assume that if a poll went out to churches, the large majority of participants would confirm that they are “denying themselves”. However, self-deception is a very real thing. I think a little self-reflection is a good habit we should all develop. Continue reading
I have been looking for a church for some time now. I am writing you because I am very interested in attending your service! I must admit, I haven’t been to church in sometime. I use to go to a church, but honestly, it was quite boring. I mean truthfully, who wants to sit through an outdated hour long preaching, straight from an outdated book! Every Sunday we would sing hymns about the crucifixion or God’s wrath, you know those depressing hymns like “Amazing Grace”. The entire service was completely focused on Jesus. The pastor there would pray at least two very long, dragged out prayers. Anyway, as I am sure you can imagine, I didn’t stay there very long. Continue reading
Since the beginning of time, there have been immediate objections to the true faith. We all know how the story of the Garden of Eden unfolded, with Satan’s open and direction opposition to God’s word. However, not all of the enemy’s tactics are the same. We are warned in Matthew 7: 15 that “”Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (NASB). This warning isn’t talking about when snakes come and openly oppose the truth of God, as identifiable as that may be. Rather, these false teachers have the appearance of truth. This is what makes the overwhelming population explosion of false teaching in the world so dangerous: It appears to be genuine truth. Continue reading
5 Things to Consider for the Depressed Christian
As I began blogging, I thought to myself, “Self, I want to stay away from those catch phrase titles such as: 5 things, 20 things, etc.” However, as I began writing today’s blog, I found it inevitable. Depression is something that most of us have dealt with, even as Christians. This is not something that we are exempt from facing, simply because we have turned to Christ for salvation. Continue reading
Married. Buy a female dog, Missy. Have our first child…it’s a…GIRL! Olivia, you’re going to be a big sister! Congrats, another girl! June 5th, have to think of another girl name because daughter number 3 is arriving soon.
Phew. If I didn’t think entering the field of mental health counseling was a challenge, emotionally, for a “mainly man” (or so I like to think), being married with all daughters was. Continue reading
“No matter what I do, I feel alone. My family, they always need something. They are around…but…. they drain me. Nothing I do gives me fulfillment. Come to think about it, I barely do anything. I just don’t have the energy or desire any more. Honestly, what’s the purpose anyway? Nothing I do is that important. It’s not like I’m doing anything that no one else could do. Prayer isn’t helping. If I’m being honest, it just feels like a waste of time, most of the time. I just want to disappear.”
Does this sound familiar? Continue reading
I realized today that my wife is not the woman I married. I mean, I have been married to my wife for 6 and a half years now. She has changed so much! So many of the things that she use to do when we dated or were newlyweds, she has long stopped doing. As I sat down today and reminisced through old photos of our lives I started to realize how different she has become.
And I am thankful for that. Continue reading
This entry is a bit vague, but it will lay a foundation of thought that I will continue as a series that discusses our own killing of our privacy, and its effects.
I began this thought on Valentine ’s Day. Yes, nearly a month ago. The amount of social media flooding that I observed on this day brought to mind an idea that I think needs constant reevaluating in our lives. This is, exposing ourselves to public view, at all times. You know, like trying your hardest to capture every moment of a family vacation, but you end up losing out on many ACTUAL precious moments with them. Here is how the original blog began: Continue reading