Why We Should Remember the Holocaust Today

Today always amazes me. At ten o’clock on this holiday each April, sirens ring loud in Israel. People stop—wherever they are, whatever they are doing—and stand at attention for 120 seconds of silence.

Imagine that for a moment. Two minutes. Silence. Everywhere.

Memorial

(Photo: Janusz Korczak Memorial at Yad Vashem honors one who sheltered Jewish children during the holocaust)

Then the sirens rang again, and life resumed—full-speed. This annual pause allows the nation to remember the six million Jews who were murdered simply because they were Jews.

Today’s date marks Yom Hashoah, known as Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, the Jewish holiday that remembers those who perished in the Holocaust.

Many times I have visited Jerusalem’s Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem.

It changes you.

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

Have you noticed how often we tend to interpret our faith as we want it to be, rather than as God reveals it to be? We have adopted the lifestyle of a tourist who only wants to see the highlights of the city.

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

(Photo: courtesy of Oomph)

Forget all the back alleys of New York. Show me Times Square. Let’s just jump to the Empire State Building. We focus on how the Christian life “ought” to be. (As if the tough parts are electives.)

A broad chasm stretches between the God we want and the God who is. Between the life we want and the life God wants for us.

As tough as it sounds, the only way to bridge this gap is the cross.

How to Follow When God’s Plan is Strange

God’s leading is often strange. That’s because He doesn’t share the plan. He keeps it a secret.

We want God’s plan so we can trust the plan. God hides the plan so we will trust Him.

How to Follow When God's Plan is Strange

(Photo by Tom Butler, courtesy of oomf.com)

Genesis began with God blessing all He created. But the fall of man, Abel’s murder, the rebellion at Babel, and the global flood gave cause to doubt that there would be any recovery of that blessing. Genesis 3–11 sketches more than 4,000 years of suffering that people experienced under the curse of sin.

But God’s plan chose one man through whom He would resurrect His blessing for all mankind.

Your life may seem in chaos as well. But God has a plan He is hiding.

How to Stop Staring at Your Marbles

Close one eye and look closely at a marble. It seems massive. In fact, the marble is all you see. It dwarfs everything else. But its size is an illusion.

A basketball is bigger. The planet earth is even bigger. Come to think of it, God is infinitely bigger than your marble. Your problems are like that.

How to Stop Staring at Your Marbles

(Photo by Sarah Charlesworth, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Life is filled with marbles. When you fixate on your marbles, you can’t see the reality that they are small in comparison to God’s power.

Sure, they’re real. Of course they hurt. But your life is more than your problems, just as the world is more than your marbles. Or it can be. You can stop staring at your marbles. You only need to sit up, blink a few times, and look around.

God is much bigger than your marbles.

God May Want to Give You More than Relief

Sometimes it seems no one understands what we’re going through. When people fail us, or forget us, or occasionally even forsake us, we’re left alone in the ashes of a reality we never expected—and we certainly never wanted.

In those intense moments of loneliness, confusion, and pain, we ask God for one thing more than anything else. Relief.

God May Want to Give You More than Relief

(Photo by Alexander Shustov via ooomf)

But when relief is denied, we begin the difficult journey of resisting the notion that God is a cruel sovereign who toys with our lives. After all, He could stop it all in moment.

After everything else but God gets stripped away from our lives, we begin realize that the Lord may want to give us something more—and much greater—than relief.

In those moments, God becomes more real to us than we ever would have known any other way.

I sat in the audience as Joni Eareckson Tada gave this talk to the 2013 National Religious Broadcasters.

Her words completely changed my perspective and mood that night. I walked in grumbling the hard week I experienced . . . and I left filled with gratitude for God.

Watch her video and you’ll understand why. Incredible.

God permits what He hates to accomplish that which He loves.

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's SovereigntyJust this week I finished reading Joni’s book, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty.

Believe me, if you’d like some encouragement in the midst of your pain, this book will show you how to view your struggles with the joy only God provides.

Question: What has your suffering taught you that you would have learned no other way? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

How God Helps You with Impossible Situations

Often God puts us in impossible situations. We find it frustrating, sure—but it’s never meant to be.

In fact, those unreasonable and often unbearable circumstances are meant to do just the opposite. They’re meant to encourage us.

How God Helps You with Impossible Situations

(Painting by Rembrandt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

With the Sea of Galilee in view on the Plain of Bethsaida, Jesus pointed to thousands of people and said to His twelve disciples: “You give them something to eat!” (Mark 6:37).

You can hear the frustration in the disciples’ reply: “Should we spend half a year’s wages to feed them?”

Forget for a moment you’ve heard this story before. Think instead of your current problem.

  • Your financial picture is unmanageable.
  • A close relationship has been strained for years.
  • You’ve been unemployed for much longer than you imagined.

Whatever it is you’re facing today, you face one of many impossible situations.

Now go back to Jesus’ crazy command to His disciples. His solution for them is also His solution for you.

Let me show you why.

Pain in the Body—A Lesson for Your Soul

Not long ago, my body gave me a little gift.

I awoke suddenly one night with a smarting pain in the body. No matter how I fidgeted and adjusted, the hurt in my lower back only intensified.

Pain in the Body—A Lesson for Your Soul

(Photo by Photodune)

The best way I can describe the discomfort compares to having a doctor insert a three-inch hypodermic needle just to the left of the spine, exactly where the kidney sits. Occasionally, just for fun, the doc then twists the needle in a slow, clockwise motion.

The pain literally nauseated me.

Never before had I experienced such an inescapable ache.

The most frightful part was I had no idea what was happening.

When God Asks Impossible Things of You

We tend to expect God to act in ways we can understand. We work, and so God provides money. We pray, and so God answers prayer. We do this, and so God does that.

In other words, we see God as the effect and ourselves as the cause.

When God Asks of You Impossible Things

(Photo by Photodune)

Life is all about God responding, it seems, and if we do nothing, neither will God.

This isn’t true, obviously. But it’s how we feel.

So what if we’re in a situation where we can do nothing? What happens when we can no longer be the cause?

When God asks impossible things of you?