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Tag Archives | Houston

Is God Still Good in Loss?

God is goodFor the last week, I’ve been glued to the news and “praying without ceasing.” Since we just moved to the Dallas area from Houston in June, the area and the people are near to our hearts. We have been worried about neighbors, friends, and church family. Some have suffered loss of property, while others’ homes have escaped the flood waters. Some may be thinking God is good. Others, not so much.

Where is God in all of this? Has He been good to some but withheld His help from others? We are so quick to say “God is good” when things go the way we want. When we get the job. When the sick child is healed. When the water recedes. But do we still praise Him, do we still believe God is good when the flood waters rise?

The Bible teaches us that our circumstances do not dictate or define God’s goodness. God’s character dictates His goodness. God is good all the time. No matter the circumstances. God’s goodness does not depend on a dry house. A flooded home does not mean God has not been good to us. In fact, a flooded home could be an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power and grace in your life in a dramatic way.

Truths about the Goodness of God

So what? Let’s start with a correct understanding of God’s goodness. Here are a few truths from Scripture to help us:

  • God’s will for our lives is always good (Romans 12:2). Sometimes – in fact, often – His will includes trials and difficulty that He uses for our spiritual refinement.
  • In all things, in all circumstances, our good God is working for our good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
  • The assurance of God’s goodness enables us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and to declare in easy times and hard times, “God is good!”

God is Good Even if Our Circumstances Aren’t

Whether our physical circumstances are easy or difficult, how should these truths impact our daily lives? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Remember that God is good all the time. Not just when things are going the way we think they should.
  • Thank Him for His goodness and provision in every life situation.
  • Be sensitive to those around you who are facing difficult and painful circumstances. Don’t flaunt your “better” circumstances.
  • Declare His goodness in every circumstance, particularly in the hard times. Watch for His provision.
  • Lean on His strength and grace in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. His power working in you will testify of His greatness to others.
  • Remember that He can work in your pain and loss to bring glory to Himself.

God is indeed good all the time. He sees your every need and He cares. Lean on Him in every circumstance – good or bad. If you are able, be God’s tool to help someone else.

If your circumstances are “bad” right now, how have you seen God working in the midst of them?

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Specific Prayers for Texas Flooding

Prayers

Photo courtesy of Karen Jordan

I’m glued to the news and weather, watching as flood waters ravage parts of Texas. I’m also texting with friends in the Houston area to confirm their safety. I can’t help today in any physical ways with the Texas flooding, but I can pray. And that’s a powerful tool.

Maybe you are also watching from a distance and want to pray specifically, but you aren’t sure how. I’ve been brainstorming specific ways we can pray for the current flooding in Houston, south Texas, and beyond. These specific needs/items can be lifted to God in the wake of a wide range of natural events and disasters. And, this list is a work in progress. Please add ideas for specific prayers in the comment section. Let’s keep praying!

Download a printable PDF list of the following list.

Ways to Pray in Wake of Natural Disasters

 Pray for People in the Flooded Areas

  • Protection of all life, including family pets
  • Safe transportation to safe areas
  • Dry, comfortable lodging, safe drinking water, and nutritious food
  • Quick reunion for any separated families
  • Long-term housing for those who have lost homes
  • Ability to communicate with extended family and friends

Pray for Rescue Efforts by First Responders/Emergency Personnel

  • Reliable cell and phone service so citizens can summon help
  • Good, reliable communication between agencies
  • Safety for police officers, firemen, and emergency medical personnel
  • Strength, stamina and wisdom as they respond to the overwhelming need
  • Additional manpower from outside the area to meet the need

Pray for Ongoing Relief Efforts

  • Plenty of volunteer teams and government groups to respond to the need
  • Physical strength and stamina for the disaster relief teams
  • Coordination of all volunteer efforts so there will be no gaps and all needs will be met
  • Enough resources – money, supplies, equipment, food, and water – to meet the needs
  • Protect the resources from theft, fraud, and accident

Pray for Physical Conditions

  • Protection from additional rain and tornadoes
  • Open passages for built up/backed up water to safely drain away
  • Plenty of sources for clean drinking water
  • Clear roadways for emergency personnel
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Christian Persecution Right Here in Houston

Houston persecutionThe City of Houston recently subpoenaed five local pastors in an ongoing legal battle over a controversial city ordinance. The subpoenas demand the pastors turn over any sermons, speeches, and church correspondence related to homosexuality, gender identity, the city’s new equal rights ordinance, or Houston’s first openly gay mayor Annise Parker. If they refuse to comply, they could be held in contempt.

This battle began months ago when the city passed HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.) The stated purpose of the ordinance is to stop discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. But the ramifications of the regulations – such as transgendered individuals using opposite-sex restrooms – started a firestorm in the city.

Here’s a quick rundown of the battle moves to date:

  • A local pastors’ coalition started a petition to force the ordinance to a public vote. The city attorney threw out the petition saying thousands of the signatures were not valid.
  • Opponents of the ordinance filed a lawsuit in August challenging the city attorney’s ruling on the petition.
  • The city issued subpoenas to five pastors who are not even parties in the lawsuit, but simply belong to the coalition who oppose parts of the ordinance.

On the surface, the players in this fight include the Houston city council, Mayor Parker, Houston-area ministers, and a bunch of lawyers. But in reality this battle is a spiritual one. Satan is fighting to squelch God’s Word.

Specifically, it appears the City of Houston wants to silence pastors on the issue of homosexuality. But generally, it seems the city would keep them from declaring any of God’s truth that conflicts with the city agenda. Essentially, they seek to force Christians to accept the world’s standards over God’s standards.

The specific issue is relatively insignificant. The real issue is much deeper, the clash far greater. When government attempts to sensor and silence those who would speak God’s truth religious liberty is at stake.

Christian Persecution in Houston, Texas

So let’s just call this thing what it is. Christian persecution. Right here in the good ‘ole USA. Right here in the Lone Star State.

It’s happening all over the world. We just aren’t used to dealing with it in our own backyards. But the tide has turned. I have no doubt it is only going to get worse.

And maybe that’s a good thing. (See previous post, “My Changing Perspective on Christian Persecution.”)

The American church has become complacent. We are spiritual couch potatoes. Our faith is flabby from the easy life. While our brothers and sisters across the world boldly declare the name of Christ no matter the cost, we are afraid to invite our neighbor to church.

Are you ready for a faith workout?

How will we respond when persecution comes to our neighborhood? Will we keep quiet about Jesus and hope no one knows we are Christians? Or will we boldly declare His name and stand uncompromisingly on His truth?

Today, I pray for those Houston pastors and their congregations who suffer for the name of Jesus. (See previous post “10 Things to Pray for Christians in Iraq.) May God use their persecution to strengthen their faith and bring glory to the name of Jesus. I also pray for myself. May I be counted with those who stood firm to the end no matter the cost.

Feel free to share a prayer for the pastors, their families, and the fight for religious liberty here in Houston.

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