The Most-Read Spiritual Life Articles of 2007
- 2008 3 Jan
Why can't I stop worrying about things and trust God? Is God even there? Does He answer my prayers? Am I praying wrong? Why does it always feel like Satan is attacking me? And for goodness sakes, how can I get my head around the increasing arguments over homosexuality?
Pick a year, and chances are these themes and questions are going to be among the ones generating the most page views on Crosswalk.com's Spiritual Life channel. 2007 was no exception. You, our beloved readers, clicked on, read, responded to, and forwarded around several hot topics related to spiritual growth and the Christian walk each month of last year. Listed here are the ones that had you the most charged up. This list isn't necessarily based on quality, or even on making folks happy, as some of these articles prompted negative feedback or debate.
But that's all part of the process as we as a body strive for truth, while trying to trust God and love each other. It can be a tricky balance, one we, your editorial team at Crosswalk, try to strike every day between content that will inspire you, challenge you, encourage you, eat at you, uplift you, and engage you.
Never be afraid to let us know how we're doing. After every article you have a chance to respond, whether to the writer, other readers/commentors, and Crosswalk itself regarding your thoughts, concerns, or related testimonies. Some examples of your feedback are shown in this article. In turn, we'll keep praying and striving to locate content from quality respected sources like those that follow for years to come.
Have a blessed 2008, and enjoy this look back at our most-read Spiritual Life content of 2007.
Hear the Silent Message in Unanswered Prayer, by Whitney Hopler, based on Pete Greig's book, God On Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer, Regal Books, 2007.
Abstract: Do unanswered prayers mean that God doesn't care, or worse, that He's not even there? Here's how to interpret God on Mute.
Key Quote: "Be willing to accept 'no' as an answer. Consider carefully whether God has truly not answered your prayer, or whether He has answered it, but chosen to deny your request. Ask God to give you the strength to accept His will, even if it’s contrary to your wishes. Realize that your power to choose God’s will over your own preference is a significant opportunity to grow in faith and maturity. Remember that God’s wisdom is often beyond human understanding, but He is always working out the best for you from His eternal perspective. Ask God to help you learn the valuable lessons He wants to teach you through your suffering, so that suffering will ultimately lead you to greater joy."
User Comment: none available
You also read during January: A Challenge for the New Year: Be Guided by the Bible
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living!, by Warren R. Olson, Senior Living Ministries
Abstract: There's plenty in life to worry about. But you know what? Scripture doesn’t give believers the option to worry.
Key Quote: "As you know, worrying involves your thought life. So I want you to think about your thought life as a corral. Everything within that corral is what you know to be true. But as we go through life, it’s easy to let our thoughts wander out of the corral and into the territory of worry and anxiety. That’s why you and I have to build strong fences around the corral of our thought life! And how do we do build these fences? With the truth of the Word of God."
User Comment: none available
You also read during February: On Eagle's Wings: Can Troubles Really Teach You to Fly?
Eight Reasons Why I Believe That Jesus Rose from the Dead, by John Piper, Desiring God
Abstract: People are finding what they want to find in "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" and other not-so-new arguments. No thinking person wants to believe a lie. Thankfully, there's so much evidence that supports faith in Christ.
Key Quote: "A saving knowledge of Christ crucified and risen is not the mere result of right reasoning about historical facts. It is the result of spiritual illumination to see those facts for what they really are: a revelation of the truth and glory of God in the face of Christ — who is the same yesterday today and forever."
User Comment: none available
You also read during March: Silly Prayers
Responding to a "Gay Christian", by Michael Craven, Center for Christ & Culture
Abstract: How do you respond to the person who on the one hand says they are gay and on the other says they are a follower of Christ?
Key Quote: "My dear brother, I am not in any way 'threatened' by your homosexual behavior; I grieve for my own sin as well as the sin of others. But, I am particularly grieved by efforts to legitimize that which God calls sin, and as followers of Christ we are called to speak the truth in order that our ‘brother may be saved,’ in the same way that Nathan confronted David. This is love! Secondly, I am grieved because sin inevitably and always hurts people, including you. I do not judge you, judgment is the Lord’s, but His word is clear on this matter, and therefore I exhort you to turn from your sin and stop deceiving yourself into believing that the Lord is unconcerned with your sin. He loves you, yes, but He died to atone for your sins and mine. It is our sin that we must turn from if we want to truly follow Christ."
User Comment: "I believe Mr. Craven has covered the topic with his Biblically accurate response. We as Christians need to respond with love and tolerance, as would Jesus, while being careful not to condone sin for fear of being 'politically [in]correct.' Repentance is not just feeling sorry for your sins, but standing up and walking the other way with all your heart and soul. My prayers are now with these gay Christians and with us all to handle these situations as Jesus would."
You also read during April: What to Pray For
'MythBusters': Christianity Edition, by Eric Hogue
Abstract: For many who have been raised inside of the church, we have adopted certain beliefs that are simply not true...
Key Quote: "While watching Myth Busters via TiVo this weekend (I love technology), I stumbled upon a simple thought; As Christians, how many 'myths' do we hold as 'truths' in Graceland?"
User Comment: "If we can with an open mind and an open heart read God's word and ask for understanding with it, we'll find our awnsers. After all, isn't that why we're supposed to learn His word and seek His kingdom, so when confronted with reports or statements like above, we won't have to question what one feels or is inspired to write, we'll know."
You also read during May: The 'Son of so Many Tears': A Christian Mother's Story
Divine Delays, by Greg Laurie, A New Beginning
Abstract: Your disappointment can be God's appointment. So don't give up.
Key Quote: "What do we learn from [the] story [of the Syro-Phoenician woman]? Jesus was not putting up barriers to keep her away, but to draw her closer — barriers that genuine, persistent faith could hurdle. Her faith was so great that even a tiny leftover of Jesus’ power, in her estimation, would be enough to deliver her daughter. Jesus urges us to be persistent in our prayers."
User Comment: "I am so happy to find this site. Every day I look forward to my encouragements, but today I was moved by the article "Divine Delays." I have been praying to God for so many years and at times it seems like He's not near me at all. But today, I have been encouraged by this. I'm praying for you."
You also read during June: Might the Evil of Abortion Destroy Itself?
When Satan Comes Knocking, by Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pathway to Victory
Abstract: When Satan comes against your mind with wrong thoughts, you don’t have to concede defeat. Use these practical actions to confront loose thoughts.
Key Quote: "Yet during those 40 days, Jesus was tempted with thoughts of discontent, greed, and pride... Where did these thoughts originate? 'The devil said to Him' (Luke 4:3) — nowhere in the biblical account of Jesus' temptation does Luke record that the devil appeared to Jesus. Possibly, Satan spoke to the Lord the same way he often communicates with us: through the mind. Yet did these ungodly thoughts make Jesus a sinner? Of course not!"
User Comment: none available
You also read during July: Hold Lightly What You Value Greatly
Gay and Christian?, by Regis Nicoll, BreakPoint
Abstract: Is it a gift to embrace, or a temptation to overcome?
Key Quote: "Does that mean that a committed Christian can’t be gay? That depends. Setting aside the cause of sexual orientation, a homosexual bent is not, of itself, a sin. Same-sex attraction is no different from other desires that run counter to the created order—all are products of the Fall propagated by an unsettled combination of nature and nurture. The bad news is that the effects of the Fall are universal, such that we all have a sinful bent, whether to anger, violence, gossip, homosexuality, or “fill in the blank.” The good news is that our desires are just that, and nothing more, until acted upon; and even then, they are forgivable for a repentant sinner. So the issue is not whether we have a sinful orientation, it is what we do with the orientation we have."
User Comment: "It is better to obey than to know. Maybe too late after you know, because much learning earns you much trouble. The more you know, the more you hurt. Man should have never eaten that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because we would not be ignorantly knowledgable about very simple straightforward matters like this. Sin is such a deception. How many believers follow the Lord today on a day and night basis?"
You also read during August: Winning Your Unseen Battles
How to Embrace Jesus without Religion, by Whitney Hopler, based on Rick James' book, Jesus without Religion: What Did He Say? What Did He Do? What’s the Point?, InterVarsity Press, 2007.
Abstract: What can we learn about Jesus when we strip away the veneer and look at the unvarnished truth about Him?
Key Quote: "Jesus didn't speak in sound bites. Rather than simplifying Jesus' messages as religion sometimes tries to do, realize that there's a purpose behind the fact that Jesus' messages aren't always easy to understand. By speaking in parables, Jesus allowed people who are truly seeking God to unlock the meaning while keeping it hidden from those who aren't yet ready to hear it."
User Comment: "At the Last Supper, Jesus gave himself in order to create a new community--a community united in communion with Himself. This act may be thought of as the formation of the Church. The 12 Apostles then, are the most evident sign of Jesus' will regarding the existence and mission of His Church, the guarantee that between Christ and His Church there is no opposition: despite the sins of the people who make up His Church, they are inseparable. Therefore the idea of following Jesus without His Church is totally inconceivable with the intention of Christ. This individualistically chosen Jesus is an imaginary Jesus."
You also read during September: What Story is God Writing for You?
Experiencing God When You Get a Raw Deal, by Chip Ingram, Living on the Edge
Abstract: As I walked across campus, I was rethinking whether this God I had come to know was worth following...
Key Quote: "The first two psalms I read did nothing for me. But giving God His 'third chance,' I turned to Psalms 73 and had an encounter that has forever marked my life. I had no idea that the God of the universe could interact through His Word in such a personal and powerful way with a mere human being. As I read the psalm aloud, the Spirit of God brought thoughts and pictures to my mind of what had occurred that night and the words I'd said while walking across campus. Then He answered in His Word the very questions I had so angrily asked Him. Reading Psalm 73 was like reading my biography. The psalmist had my same problem."
User Comment: "Wow! Great article! Thanks for your uplifting testimony!"
You also read during October: Is Halloween Really that Significant?
How to Witness to a Jehovah's Witness, by Ray Comfort, The Way of the Master
Abstract: There were no disagreements about the deity of Christ because I made sure the conversation didn't go in that direction. And I avoided doing what the Bible says not to do -- to argue.
Key Quote: "All religions have their roots in idolatry. They have a wrong understanding of the nature of God and His righteous requirements. When you look closely at their beliefs, it becomes evident they are made up of the fruitless branches of self-righteousness. They think that they can bribe God with their works."
User Comment: "Who are Jehovah's Witnesses?... The Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult because they try to cut you off from others who do not have the same beliefs, including family. .. It's amazing they are still around after 100 years of 100 percent failed prophecies. Truly amazing that they can prompt their followers to actually go door to door with a 100 percent bogus message."
You also read during November: What Does the Bible Tell us about Heaven?
Does God Want You to Leave Your Church?, by Whitney Hopler, based on Brian Sanders' book, Life After Church: God's Call to Disillusioned Christians, InterVarsity Press, 2007.
Abstract: You love God. And He must want you to stay at your church, right? Maybe not...
Key Quote: "Differentiate between leaving church and leaving God. Understand that it’s one thing to abandon your relationship with God, and an entirely different thing to leave a particular church. Know that leaving a church for the right reasons should strengthen your faith instead of weakening it. Make sure you’re dealing with issues of how well your current church is or isn’t functioning as it should, rather than a personal crisis of faith. Consider leaving only when doing so will free you to find a better way to grow spiritually."
User Comment: "I believe the church is for equipping the believers to do ministry and missions. Sure there are dead churches and at times it is necessary to leave. But God calls us to a church and God will call us to leave a church. This idea of not getting fed is wrong. This is where the church has gone wrong."
You also read during December: Round-Table Discussion on The Golden Compass