How can I be grateful when I’m grumpy?

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Most Christians know that they’re expected to give thanks in all circumstances. But that command begs the question: How can I be grateful when I’m grumpy? When the challenges of life seem overwhelming, it can be difficult to be thankful. Yet, being grateful at those times might be just what we need the most. The question is, how can we do it?

grateful when I'm grumpy

grateful when I’m grumpy

Here’s a verse that tells us to “be grateful when I’m grumpy”:

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)

Ephesians 5:20 says the same thing:

“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NLT)

As you can see, both these passages instruct Christ’s followers to do something difficult: To be grateful when I’m grumpy.

How can we?

That’s the question I address in this podcast. So, give a listen and learn how I’ve learned to be grateful when I’m grumpy, and how you can also.

For additional help in being thankful see these resources on this website:

The Christian and Recreational Marijuana

Now that it’s legal, can Christians use pot?

The Bible doesn’t directly address the issue of recreational marijuana. In fact, the word marijuana doesn’t appear in Scripture. Thus, we must draw our conclusions about it from the general moral teachings of God’s Word. Christians must use prayer, discernment, godly teachers and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

recreational marijuana

Image by Chuck Grimmett via flicker

I live in California, a state which has voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Several other states have done the same (despite that federal law prohibits it so far). So, if this is not an issue in your location, it might become one soon.

So how should Christians respond?

Here are 4 biblical issues to consider regarding recreational marijuana:

What’s so important about being thankful?

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Being thankful merits a Thanksgiving holiday in the USA and Canada. But how often is thanksgiving actually practiced by Americans on Thanksgiving and otherwise? Most Americans I know will stuff themselves with turkey dinner, spend time with family, watch football, and so on. But will they spend 5 minutes thanking God for His blessings? Maybe not.

being thankful

This is my CQA podcast icon

I’m convinced that most Christians don’t think gratitude is all that important. How do I know this? Because I’ve been to hundreds of prayer gatherings and seen now much focus is on prayers of request as opposed to prayers of praise and gratitude. Often thankfulness is totally overlooked.

Yet being thankful is commanded over and over in the Bible. For example, Psalm 50:22-23 says:

“Repent, all of you who forget me,  or I will tear you apart and no one will help you. But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path,  I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” (NLT)

Being thankful is so important that pastor M. Craig Barnes wrote in The Pastor as Minor Poet, “I doubt that there is such a thing as a measure of spirituality, but if there is, gratitude would be it. Only the grateful are paying attention. They are grateful because they pay attention, and they pay attention because they are so grateful.”

In this podcast I explain why being thankful is so important, and how to express gratitude.

For additional help in being thankful see these resources on this website:

5 Reasons a Little Porn Will NOT Help Your Marriage

Be careful of this subtle trap.

A little porn will NOT help your marriage. Recently I was talking with a pastor of a church plant. He said that one of the issues people in his church are struggling with is porn. That’s no surprise. But what’s surprising is that one of their major excuses is it enhances their marital sex life.

Porn Will NOT Help Your Marriage

Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing. Maybe you’ve given it a try and it seemed to spice things up a bit. If you think so, be careful, the thrill won’t last long. You’ve bought into a false bill of goods.

Here are 5 reasons porn will NOT help your marriage:

What do Christians believe about creation and evolution?

"Christianity Questions and Answers" podcast 063

Creation and evolution are huge topics for Christians. Why? Because strict evolutionists deny the existence of a Creator. They seek an explanation for the universe that doesn’t include the Supernatural God of the Universe.

creation and evolution

Podcast recorded live at New Song Community Church in Oceanside, California

On the other hand, Christians seek to understand adaption (evolution) from a Christian and Biblical perspective. They wonder, “Is there any truth to evolution?”

This podcast will help to answer some of your questions about creation and evolution from a biblical, Christian perspective. Specifically, we address:

  • Were dinosaurs in existence before or after the creation of Adam and Eve?
  • What about Neanderthals. Did they exist and have souls like human beings?
  • What is the age of the earth vs. the Biblical time frame?
  • Do science and Christianity conflict?

These are some of the questions about creation and evolution that we address in this podcast.

Who is “we?”

My Heart Stopping Experience (Literally!)

Jesus’ Journey to the Cross Gives Us Eternal Life

Several years ago I had a literal heart stopping experience. My heart had begun beating irregularly (technically called atrial fibrillation). So to get it back into normal rhythm, the doctors decided to do a “cardioversion.” That’s a defibrillation through electric shock to the chest. Thankfully, they put me under for a few minutes while they did it.

Heart Stopping Experience

 

The doctor explained that while I was asleep, they’d first stop my heart for a few moments. Then they’d (hopefully!) start it again with the shock, and then (hopefully) it would beat properly. They had me sign all the papers saying that if I died during the procedure, it wasn’t their fault and I couldn’t sue them!

The anesthesiologist put a mask over my nose and said to count backwards from 10. I only got to about 8. The next thing I experienced was really awesome. I felt the most wonderful feeling of peace and joy. I was in a place that I didn’t ever want to leave. Never before or since have I felt like that. It was incredible.

Carolyn and I have two different theories of what happened:

  1. I think I had a near death experience and got halfway to heaven. Many have had similar experiences. For a great book on the topic see the book Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You by John Burke.
  2. My wife Carolyn, an RN, thinks it was just a drug induced stupor!

But here’s what’s wonderful: the Bible promises that heaven will be something like that blissful experience I had. While I only had it for a fleeting moment, in heaven it will last for eternity. And we can know we’re headed for heaven!

How do we know that we will have that feeling and eternity forever? Because of Jesus’ journey to the cross.

Here are 4 facts that give us hope for our final heart stopping experience:

What will the afterlife be like?

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The afterlife is something most everyone thinks about. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has also set eternity in the human heart.” (NIV) We humans have an inborn sense that there is something after this life. God put that in our hearts.

afterlife

Podcast recorded live at New Song Community Church in Oceanside, California

So people have a lot of questions about what the afterlife will be like such as:

  • What is paradise and the 3rd heaven?
  • Will we meet aliens from other planets?
  • What’s the difference between the Judgment Seat and the Bema Seat of Christ?
  • What happens to our spirit at our death?
  • What will heaven and hell be like?

We answer all these questions on the afterlife in this podcast.

Who is “we?”

Why Christians Can Be Confident in Crushing Circumstances

Are you facing crushing circumstances? Carolyn and I have. In 2008 we suffered major financial setbacks due to the mortgage crisis, my stepmother was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, a close family member was threatening suicide and so on. The problems seemed overwhelming.

crushing circumstances

I became emotionally exhausted and discouraged. It felt like God had reneged on His promises of blessing. It was like He had abandoned me. I lost much of my confidence in God, in myself, and in the future.

Since then I’ve discovered that I made mistakes by adding my own emotional meltdown to the crushing circumstances. My crisis of faith and confidence only added to the difficulties. I should have been confident despite the crushing circumstances.

Because of the wonderful promises of God, we can be like the Apostle Paul who wrote: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)

How can we find confidence and determination in crushing circumstances? The following verse gives us two reasons: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)

Here are 2 reasons you can be confident despite crushing circumstances:

Since hell is real, what is a Christian’s mission?

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The Bible makes it quite clear that hell is real. In fact, Jesus spoke clearly about hell in passages such as Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus said, “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46 NLT)

hell is real

Dr. Chris Gnanakan

So since hell is real according to God’s Word, what is a Christian’s mission? We address that question in this podcast.

My guest is well-equipped to tackle this. In fact, Dr. Chris Gnanakan has been a frequent guest on this podcast and has spoken other times on similar subjects such as:

Who is Chris?

How to Know if You’re a Powerful, Fruitful Christian

Sometimes fruitfulness is not what you think it is.

Are you a fruitful Christian? I live in California, where “fruits, nuts and flakes ripen in the sun.” There’s some truth to that barb. But there’s also great truth to the idea that as Christians, we’re called to be fruitful. In John 15:1-17 Jesus gave an entire teaching about fruitfulness. He said, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:8 NLT)

fruitful

But this presents a problem when we look around and see the successes of other Christians. Who do we often compare ourselves to? Answer: to those with more. More fruit, more numbers, more finances, more Facebook and Twitter followers, more “likes,” more awards, and so on.

Compared to great Christian leaders, I’m a complete and utter failure IF I look at fruitfulness in the wrong way.

So how should we look at fruitfulness?

Here are 4 ways to know that you are a powerful, fruitful Christian: