How to Know God's Plan

Questions: How do we make sure, for the most part we know what God’s plan is? by Jason Miller Many Christians wonder what God’s plan for their life is. It would be great if we heard an audible voice telling us to “do this” or “do that”. But the truth is, we actually don’t need God’s audible voice to tell us His plan for our lives because the Bible gives us God’s guidelines for his purpose and plans. Here are a just a few quotes from the Bible to help us understand God’s plan. Matthew 22:37-40 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” God wants us to love Him and love others. This is first and foremost is plan for your life. If what you’re doing doesn’t show love to God or to other people, it’s not God’s plan. Philippians 4:4-9 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. These verses tell us a lot about God’s plan for our lives.

  1. 1. (v.4) Rejoice in the Lord always… Even when life doesn’t go our way, when things are hard or seemingly impossible, God wants us to give thanks to Him.
  2. 2. (v.5) Be gentle and kind to one another. Christian’s should be the gentlest people in the world.
  3. 3. (v.6-7) It’s not “Don’t worry. Be happy!” Instead it’s don’t worry and pray to God because He loves you and wants to be there for and with you.
  4. 4. (v.8) God’s plan will always be true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. If what you are wanting to do does not look like this than it is not God’s plan.
  5. 5. (v.9) Just do it. Put God’s commands into practice.
Rarely, does God tell a person specifically what to do in life. Most of the time, God wants us to make daily decisions using our head, heart and hands to love, serve and follow Him. The best part is God did not leave us in the dark. He gave us His written word, the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Finally, some decisions are neither right or wrong. They are just decisions. And in those instances, we can still pray, but if there is no answer it is okay. We call these decisions “right or right-er.” Make a decision and whatever happens, it’s all good.]]>

Why is the Bible so hard to read?

Why is the Bible so hard to read? by Jason Miller I have heard many people, both believers and unbelievers, talk about how difficult the Bible is to read. The truth is the Bible, while looking like a single book, is actually 66 books, written by many authors, across different genres (such as story telling, poetry, self-help, historical), in different languages (Hebrew, Koine Greek and some Aramaic), over a span of 1500 years, under different kings, kingdoms, cultures and circumstances. Why is knowing this so important? Let’s say 2,000 years from now someone discovers a bunch of emails you have written to a friend. The world they live in is much different than the world we live in. For instance, the United States might not exist and the language most people speak is not English but something else totally different. To make matters more interesting, the discoverers of your emails only have your side of the conversation. Have you ever gotten a text message meant for someone else? It’s not hard to imagine that as they read through your emails some of the things you write may not make sense to them. Even if they know English, phrases common to us today in the 21st century, may not mean anything to them. Take the word “sick,” for instance. Today if someone says “that’s sick” you know it means they like something. But fifty years ago if you were to say something is sick, they would think you are referring to a person’s health. When we read the Bible, a lot of our misunderstandings is because we live in a different time in history, speak a different language, in a different culture. There’s a vast canyon between the world we live in now and the world of the Bible. So how do we cross that canyon? How do we understand the then and there in the here and now? Here are a few simple steps that can help you understand the Bible better.

  1. 1. Ask the right questions.
  • When was the book written? Is it Old or New Testament?
  • Who is the author? Who is the author writing to?
  • What type of book am I reading? Psalms is poetry, while Genesis is history. The Gospels are stories about the life of Jesus, while the epistles are letters to churches or people in the church.
  • Why are they writing?
  1.     2. Find a good website or commentary to help you in your reading.
  2.     3. Ask questions. Talk to a pastor or a more mature person about your questions.
  3.     4. Know it’s okay to not have answers or acknowledge the Bible can be weird and even    confusing at times.
  4.     5. Don’t make it harder than it is. Sometimes what the Bible says is exactly what it says. When John 3:16 says “God loved the world so much he gave his one and only Son…” It means exactly what it says.
Feel free to send any questions about the Bible or spirituality to the Quarky Crew (jason@quarkyapp.com) and we will do our best to respond both to you and here in the app.]]>

The Important Things Life Teaches You… 5

The Important Things Life Teaches You…    LESSON 5 of 5:  Giving Blood           Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was  suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of  recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save Liz.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right  away?” Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood.

  • :”And all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one…”
    :-U2 in “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for”
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The Important Things Life Teaches You… 4

The Important Things Life Teaches You…    LESSON 4 of 5:  The Obstacle in Our Path In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way.  Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

  • Character + Conduct = Influence
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The Important Things Life Teaches You… 3

The Important Things Life Teaches You…   LESSON 3 of 5: Always remember those who serve In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.  A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. “How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient.   “Thirty-five cents,” she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away.   The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what  she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies – her tip.

  • : Different beat, different drummer, different instrument altogether.  Keep marching to your own.
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The Important Things Life Teaches You… 2

The Important Things Life Teaches You…  LESSON 2 of 5: Pickup in the Rain One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.  Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her – generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits.  Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away.  God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”     Sincerely,  Mrs. Nat King Cole

  • :Work like you don’t need the money.    
  • :Love like you’ve never been hurt.    
  • :Dance like nobody’s watching
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The Important Things Life Teaches You… 1

The Important Things Life Teaches You…   LESSON 1 of 5: Most Important Question During my second month of night school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Obviously, this was some kind of joke… I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?  I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class  ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your lives, in  your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

  • : Great minds discuss ideas. 
  • : Average minds discuss events.
  • : Small minds discuss people.
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Elevate Your Spirit Intro

Intro to Elevate Your Spirit “Spirituality is a way of being and experiencing that comes about through awareness of a transcendent dimension that is characterized by certain identifiable values in regard to self, others, nature, life, and whatever one considers to be the ultimate” (David Elkins, 1990).  In addition to a transcendental dimension, these values are defined by Elkins as meaning in life, mission in life, sacredness of life, ultimate satisfaction, altruism, idealism, realism, and consideration of the fruits of spirituality:

  1. 1. A transcendent dimension.  This value may range from a belief in a personal god to a belief in a “greater self” or higher self.  In either case, the spiritual person believes in “something more” and draws personal power from this realm.
  2. 2. Meaning is life.  The spiritual person values a quest for meaning and is confident that his or her life has purpose.  While the content of that “purpose” may vary, each spiritual individual has filled the “existential vacuum” with an authentic sense of meaning.
  3. 3. Mission in life.  The spiritual person has a sense of purpose and vocation.  It may be a “call” to answer, a “mission” to accomplish, or a “destiny” to fulfill.
  4. 4. Sacredness of life.  The spiritual person does not divide living into the sacred and the secular; he or she is able to sacralize all personal experience, social experience and experience with nature, filling his or her days with awe and reverence.
  5. 5. Ultimate satisfaction.  Spiritual individuals can appreciate material possessions and objects but do not seek fundamental satisfaction from them.  They know that ultimate fulfillment is found in spiritual values, and that all else is illusory.
  6. 6. Altruism.  Spiritual people are moved to respond to the needs of others.  They know that “no person is an island” and that everyone partakes of a common humanity.
  7. 7. Idealism.  Spiritual people are committed to the betterment of the world through prayer, meditation, acts of charity and/or social activism.  They see the potential of people, of societies, and of the planet.
  8. 8. Realism.  Spiritual individuals are aware of such tragic realities of human existence as suffering, pain, and death.  This knowledge deepens their appreciation of life and stiffens their commitment to “make a difference” in the world.
  9. 9. Fruits of spirituality. Spiritual persons are those whose spiritual attitudes, beliefs, and activities have borne fruit.  Their compassion, courage, joy, and devotion have a positive effect upon their relationships with other people, with nature, with themselves, and with whatever they consider to be the ultimate and transcendent reality. (Elkins, 1990)
Elevate Your Spirit will help you examine and determine your own spirituality as outline above.  Articles will direct your attention to some of the most basic existential issues:  to the meaning and purpose of life and to creating a reality that is supportive of the best interests and highest good of the soul, both of you as an individual and of the world.  Articles will also very practical ways to grow as a spiritual person and the option to get a better understanding of Christianity (articles labeled “Contains Graphic Christianity”).]]>

A Spiritual Perspective on Health and Healing

A Spiritual Perspective on Health and Healing by Dorothy S. Beevar, Ph.D

  1. 1. There is a continuous interplay between our thoughts, emotions, and our physical and emotional state of health and well-being.
  2. 2. Each of us has primary responsibility for our lives and thus for our health.
  3. 3. Since the mind and the emotions play a large part in the creation of dis-ease, they also can be employed in the healing process.
  4. 4. The body/mind has an intelligence of its own.  Each cell has the wisdom and inclination to carry out its particular function, which may be negatively or positively influenced consistent with the messages received.
  5. 5. The body/mind speaks to us and can be our teacher if we are willing to learn.  Pain, discomfort, and disease provide information about conflict and disharmony.
  6. 6. It is important to consider the symptoms of illness at a variety of levels, including the mental, the physical, the emotional and the spiritual/soul level.
  7. 7. The inner self, or the self at the spiritual/soul level is always seeking to grow.
  8. 8. Harmony and the reduction or elimination of conflict are facilitated by desire, willingness, and self-awareness.
  9. 9. What appears to be an illness may actually be the necessary by-product of a deeper level of healing.  As we heal holistically, we go through periods of detoxification which may be experienced as temporary discomfort.
  10. 10. We know our body/mind better than anyone else.  By learning to listen within, we also become our own greatest healer.
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Creation or Evolution?

Which is True, Creation or Evolution? Taken from Ten Questions Every Teenager Asks in the Student Leadership University Guide What are the major options?

  1. 1. Atheistic Evolution: everything that exists came into being over time as a result of natural processes unaided by any supernatural power.
  2. 2. Theistic Evolution: everything that exists came into being as a result of natural processes guided by a supernatural reality (maybe the God of the Bible, maybe not).
  3. 3. Progressive Creationism: (also called the Day-Age Theory or the Framework Hypothesis) -God created the world directly and deliberately, without leaving anything to chance, but He did it over long periods of time that correspond roughly to the geological ages accepted by most scientists.
  4. 4. Six-Day Creationism: Genesis 1 describes how God created all that exists in 6 consecutive 24-hour periods of time. Some hold this occurred not more than 6,000 – 20,000 years ago (Young Earth Creationism). Some hold to an older earth, others leave the age of the earth (and universe) open.
What’s at stake in the debate?
Creation The universe and the solar system were directly created by God.
Evolution The universe and the solar system emerged by naturalistic process with no God involved.
 
Creation  
  • Life was suddenly created
  • II ex nihilo II (out of nothing) by God.
Evolution Life emerged from non-life by naturalistic processes.
 
Creation   All present living kinds of animals and plants have remained fixed since creation, other than extinctions. Genetic variation in originally created kinds has only occurred within the limits of that species (microevolution).
Evolution   All present kinds emerged from simpler earlier kinds, so that single celled organisms evolved into invertebrates, then vertebrates, then amphibians, then reptiles, then mammals, then primates, including man (macroevolution).
 
Creation   Random mutation and natural selection are insufficient to have brought about the emergence of present living kinds from simple primordial organisms.
Evolution   Random mutation and natural selection have brought about the emergence of present complex kinds from simple primordial organisms.
 
Creation Man and apes have a separate ancestry.
Evolution Man and apes emerged from a common ancestor.
 
Creation The earth’s geologic features appear to have been fashioned largely by rapid, catastrophic processes that affected the earth on a global and regional scale, such as the Genesis Flood (catastrophism).
Evolution The earth’s geologic features were fashioned largely by slow, gradual processes, with infrequent catastrophic events restricted to a local sale (uniformitarianism).
 
Creation The inception of the earth and of living kinds may have been relatively recent.
Evolution The inception of the earth and then of life must have occurred several billion years ago.
 What are some issues I need to consider?
  1. 1. Evolution, as a word, is used in many different ways. Work at clarifying how the term is being used.
  2. 2. Either God is eternal and made everything or matter is eternal and organized itself into the universe we have. Neither position can be proved. Both are essentially faith positions.
  3. 3. The fossil record is a problem for evolution. Transitional forms are lacking.
  4. 4. The issue of “irreducible complexity” of living organisms is a problem for evolution. The evidence screams for an “intelligent designer.”
  5. 5. Alleged “ape-man” discoveries like Piltdown man, Nebraska man, Peking man, Java man, Lucy Ramapithecus and Neanderthal man have all been proven to be either a hoax (Piltdown man) or a case of mistaken identification.
  6. 6. The age of the Earth/universe is not the best place or even a necessary place to wage the war of evolution/creation. Leave it open.
  7. 7. A historical Adam and Eve is a must and not negotiable for a Christian. The issue is both Christological and soteriological (related to salvation).
  8. 8. Evolution is in trouble. The theory continually changes form. It is reasonable to believe that early in the next millennium it will cease to be viable, at least in its present models.
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