Faith Fridays: The Silent Voice of God

I figured since Short Story Saturdays is making a comeback, why not bring back Faith Fridays? So here we are. This subject has been very personal in my life recently. It’s also the thing that I spoke my first message on. (Yes, I have lead a devotional occasionally. Being an introvert, I was terrified every time I went up. But the people liked it, so I did it every time I was asked.)

The question is this. What do I do when the voice of God seems silent in my life? The fact is that, as a Christian, you will eventually go through a patch where God either seems to be far less active in your life or completely inactive. Your prayers go up and nothing comes back down. It’s depressing.

So what can you do? Well, there are a few things you need to do.

1. Unplug your ears.

It’s very plausible that God is completely willing to speak to you. But you might not be willing to listen. That seems very strange to the frustrated person. The frustrated person thinks: “I’ve tried everything, of course I’m willing to listen!” But what are you keeping from Him?

Obviously, God is God. You can’t physically keep any secret from Him. But you can consistently decide to not confess a certain sin and turn away from it. If you’re doing that, you’re actually ignoring God while claiming to be seeking Him. Make sure you’re blocking out every distraction from your Heavenly Father.

2. Open the Word.

We have a giant book of answers at our fingertips most of the time. If you have a Bible, open it. It’s still very possible still that He is trying to give you an answer. But if you are not opening the Bible and reading it, you won’t find it for a while probably. You have the questions and the Bible has the answers.

3. Keep praying anyway.

Just because you’re not getting what you asked for is no reason to stop asking for it. It’s extremely easy to give up when you have a bit of an obstacle. We’ll find every excuse in the book. If it isn’t that God is being silent, then it’s that it isn’t the answer you want. If it isn’t that you didn’t get the answer you wanted, it’s that He isn’t doing it quickly enough. But none of these reasons are legitimate reasons to stop praying.

There’s a set of verses on this that comes to mind instantly. Those would be the parable from Luke 18.

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

4. Recognize who God is.

This seems a bit odd. I mean, we all know who God is. Perhaps not completely, but we have a basic idea. God is loving, compassionate, just, avenging… and sovereign. I’m not about to say that God does not care about what you’re praying for. He loves His children, but He’s also not a genie. There’s nothing that forces Him to answer your prayer request. That is not how God works. Like Aslan, He is not tame. He will do it when He wants to, not just whenever you ask Him. Realizing that you cannot force God to do things changes your prayer life drastically. It will make you a far more patient person. I know it made me one. Even if you already know this, a reminder is good. And finally, the wrap-up.

5. Realize that you might not be doing anything wrong at all.

Silence can actually be a sign of intimacy. I know friends who I can hang out with, say nothing at all, and it will be completely fine. You don’t have to say anything to say something, if that makes any sense at all. It’s a sign of trust. It’s a sign that you and God are going to the next level in the relationship. And that, my friend, is pretty awesome.

So if you’re experiencing a silent God, then I say kudos to you friend. So keep praying, keep reading, and keep on seeking the LORD. Cool things are about to happen, because He isn’t going to be silent forever.

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Faith Fridays: Regarding Modern Revelations

I’m back, and I’m here with an especially controversial topic. But I don’t think it should be causing quite as much controversy as it does.

We know that God revealed certain divine things to people back in Biblical times. If He didn’t, we wouldn’t have the Bible. It is also noted that prophecy is one of the spiritual gifts. But past this point, it gets a little muddy. The question is this: does God reveal extrabiblical truths to people today?

Continue reading “Faith Fridays: Regarding Modern Revelations”

Reaching The End

I finally rewrote the end of the novel for the second draft. In the end, it’s far closer to what I wanted than what I had originally. It actually feels like the end of a book this time. Is it emotional? Oh yes. Does it leave room for a second book? Definitely. Am I asking too many questions? Most certainly. Should I stop asking them? Ok, ok, fine.

Anyway, I’m much happier with the end product than I was before. I still have tons of stuff to edit. About 50-100 pages, to be precise. It’s actually far less than I’m making it out to be, but it’s a decent sum. 

In case y’all want a real emotional trip, here’s link to the song I listened to while writing the end. 

It’s a trip to Sad-Mart, where your greeters are Melancholy and Dismay.

It’s pretty sad.

In good news, I have recently arrived at school for my senior year at good old Liberty University! I have an excellent year in front of me, mainly because I never have to wake up before 9:30 for any reason whatsoever. I mean, I still do because they give me bacon if I come to breakfast, but I don’t have to. Technically.

This is the life of a Fine Arts student. 

In the meantime, I plan to raise awareness of the awesome Dark Veil Saga by creating the life size version of “Leviathan Killer” in some media besides metal. I don’t want to kill anyone by fake-stabbing them, which is the ultimate purpose of this endeavor.

I also now have an Instagram (sirgabrielpenn) so you should all follow me for cool book/writing/reading stuff! I’m super sorry about those awards and challenges I’ve missed recently, so now that I have so much time I’m going to try to get to some of them. “Try” is the key word. There’s a lot of them.

Expect a revamping of short stories and Faith Friday soon!!

Faith Fridays: Regarding Free Will

Today I have decided not to use my own words, but the words of an old church father, to talk about a big discussion in the church: free will. That church father I mentioned is none other than St. Augustine! Here is the question: Can God’s sovereignty and free will coexist? So here is a small piece from the piece “Augustine’s Retractions”. He nails it excellently. Prepare yourselves; it’s a bit wordy and it is quite formal, but it does explain it all quite well.

It’s about to get deep, y’all.

Continue reading “Faith Fridays: Regarding Free Will”

Faith Fridays Double Feature: Concerning Going Home (Part 2)

Today it’s going to get a little darker in tone than the last Faith Friday. It’s because I want to talk to you about a very, very serious subject.

The fact is that not everyone will get to call Heaven home.

I want to warn you about a lie that is going around amongst us young people. There is a lie that we must use up our younger years to satisfy ourselves. We must be selfish with our time, they say, because we won’t have it again. But let me tell you something, and I’m going to speak as clearly as I can.

That. Is. Crap.

It is. It really is. And here’s why.

There is a thing known as the butterfly effect. It says that every decision you make has a profound implication later in the future. Say I crack my knuckles once. Well, that would make it easier for me to do it again. If I keep on doing it on a regular basis, I’m probably going to have arthritis when I get older. What that would mean for an artist like me is that I would have only a small area of time to do artwork like I love to do.

I’m telling you that we have a very small area of time to make big decisions here on Earth.

“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)

I’m telling you that when the Bible says a vapor, it means that our life is freakishly short. We have around eighty years, and that’s supposing we don’t get into an accident first. You literally don’t know if you’ll be living tomorrow.

I’m not sure whether I’m intentionally scaring anyone or not. I put this up because I’m thinking about it a lot myself. I don’t want to be living my life with any regrets. And I have to ask – if I’m trying to not live it with regrets – what the point of it all is? Really, I only know one thing for sure, one mission:

 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthe 28:16-20)

And what am I to teach them, except that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, and that by believing in Him we can have ETERNAL LIFE? Should I not say that I know the way to eternal happiness? Why am I standing on the side of the road as I watch the rest of the human race about to be hit by a mac truck? And what makes it worse? That I haven’t done a thing about it. Even now I’m telling myself that I can’t do it, I can’t save everyone. And that’s right, I can’t. But why am I just sitting by while the seconds tick away? It’s kinda freaky to think about.

So I’m not saying to turn into a psychopath. But what I am saying is to think, honestly, about those who can’t say that Heaven is their real home. We don’t have forever, we just have a set of years.

Faith Fridays Double Feature: Concerning Going Home (Part 1)

I realize that I missed a week somewhere along the road. So to make up for that, we’re making a double feature of Faith Fridays, the second portion coming Sunday. Today’s one is an odd one, but I still feel like I should do it. It is concerning this wonderful gift of Heaven that we as Christians have.

It is perhaps an odd thing to say that my home here on Earth is not my home. But since I came to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, many things have changed. Now it does not feel so odd as when I heard others say it. I look forward to it in a way that I can’t describe. I love that Christ has given me the chance to do it, because it was completely unnecessary. It was unnecessary to save me from Hell because I did not deserve it. And yet he went even further and gave me a place in a perfect eternity. He could have erased me from existence after I died, which is a far better deal than eternal damnation. (There are some who hold to the theory that He actually does this, but we will come to that at a later time.) Yet, instead, he chose to not only save me, but adopt me as His own. What a wonderful opportunity.

Continue reading “Faith Fridays Double Feature: Concerning Going Home (Part 1)”

Faith Fridays: The Slough of Despair

Today’s Faith Friday is about something rarely talked about in the church. What part does depression have in the life of a Christian? And furthermore, is it a sin to be depressed?

The short answer? No.

The long answer? It really depends on the situation, but for the most part it is not a sin to be depressed. I want to encourage those who struggle with depression – even Christ was distressed with the situation of the world. Take Luke 19: 41 – 44 for example. He is actually crying because they aren’t seeing what’s right in front of them – a Savior. He weeped over his dead friend. It is not a bad thing to be sad or depressed. The world is in a sinful state. Bad things are happening. People are dying and in pain and suffering. It is not wrong to be distressed about the state of the world around us. It is not wrong to want a perfect world, as that is what we were made for. Continue reading “Faith Fridays: The Slough of Despair”

Faith Fridays: The Importance (Not Necessity) of Works with Faith

After a discussion on some confusion in one of my earlier posts, I feel like I should devote a whole post to this today. How necessary are works to your faith? Let’s start from the top.

First of all, let’s clear the stage with a statement that not everyone’s going to enjoy. You can do nothing, and I mean nothing to earn salvation. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says,

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The verse is pretty clear. That means that it is Christ completely, 100%, who gets salvation to sinners like us. Anyone wanting to get to heaven just by being good most of the time is in a bit of trouble. And by a bit, I mean a lot of trouble. Like, on the road to the place with weeping and gnashing of teeth kind of trouble. Not offended yet? Alright then, let’s keep going.

So, if we believe that, then how much leeway do we Christians have with sinning? Does that mean we can just basically confess our sins, ask Christ to be our Saviour and then have nothing to do with Him anymore?

Absolutely.

Those who hold to Lordship Salvation may have just had a heart attack in their seat. Someone help those guys out, would you please? Thanks. Now to clarify.

This does not in any way mean that we should do what I just said we technically can do. There’s an entire book of the bible devoted to answering the question I just posed. That would be James, one of my favourites. It’s what I’m going to base most of this next part of the post on.

The full answer: salvation can exist without works, but if you’re not doing anything… well, what’s the point? Now, obviously, you still get to Heaven, but you’re not going to bring anyone else there by you acting the exact same as you did before! James sums this thought up very well, so here’s a whole lot of text.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:14-19)

So, in closing, yes, we can still go to Heaven even if we don’t act like a Christian. Sadly, this whole “saved sinner” shtick has taken a lot of root in our modern culture. Everybody seems to want to be a saved sinner rather than a sanctified** saint. They prefer to embrace the holes in their ship rather than embrace God’s holiness. Get the idea? If we’re saying that we’re saved, we should constantly be trying to emulate Christ with our actions. God plans to sanctify you, so let Him do it! Is it that journey towards holiness that saves us? Heck no! We are saved only by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross; no if, ands, or buts. But that journey does help us as a follower of Christ. So don’t just have your faith. Live it, too!

Gabriel, out.

**For those who aren’t familiar with the term, sanctification simply is the process of becoming more Christlike as we continue our walk with Christ. For more information on sanctification, please see all of Romans 6:1-23, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20, and Matthew 7:15-17.