God's plan for Israel was to bring the nations to God and to a place of blessing, as promised already to Abraham. And it is in the works. Do people know you're a Christian? Even more, do they know you live differently than they do? If you're watching the same media. As we consider texts that speak more specifically of God's will, Not because the Old Testament is not relevant, but because our study space is limited. SUREBET247 BETTING ODDS
He never even promised to spare your life. You could definitely be killed in the battle. Unlike my saint-like friends, I'm a wimp. And I hate pain and discomfort. What puts things in perspective for me, is the reminder that I follow someone who was beaten, mocked and ultimately executed. And then invited me to take up MY cross. As Paul demonstrates, there is a cost in following Jesus Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.
I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. I'm so glad I have a robust Theology of Suffering! We've allowed a healthy doctrine of self-care to negate a theology of suffering. Self care is meant to sustain us in the battle, not become an excuse to avoid the battle.
You deserve perfect health. You deserve this and that. What lies and distortions. Are those words you would say to a soldier in battle? Would you say them to a political prisoner? Or a sailor in the midst of a vicious storm? When the focus is on ourselves, this pursuit of what WE deserve makes sense. But when you step back and look at the wider battle - the cause - the journey - the vision - the Kingdom of God on earth!
Only the bigger picture gives meaning to our suffering. Without that vision, we've no reason to pay the cost. Like the metaphorical ship in a harbour - yes there is safety to be found in calm waters. But our ships were never built to float idle in a harbour.
These ships were built to sail the wild seas. And at times, our vessels will be battered by relentless storms. Along the way, a few of us will probably be lost overboard. That's the hard truth. So what does God promise through these trials? His promise is simply this: He will never leave us or stop loving us.
That's all. But it's enough. He is with you in the storm. Because He loves you. And He will never stop loving you. This week a husband has been robbed of his wife. Three daughters mourn their mother. And fully three-in-ten religiously affiliated adults now say they participate in prayer groups or scripture study groups on a weekly basis, also up 3 points since Not only have the unaffiliated grown in size, they also have become less religious over time. Fully one-third of religiously unaffiliated adults now say they do not believe in God, up 11 points since As a result of these two trends — growth and secularization among the religiously unaffiliated — the share of Americans who exhibit high religious commitment is declining.
There has been a modest decline in the share of adults who say they pray at least monthly, while the share of people who say they seldom or never pray has increased by nearly 5 points. And about half of adults now say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year, up almost 5 points since In other words, the United States is growing less religious in percentage terms not because there are fewer highly religious people but rather because, as the overall U.
In , for instance, there were In , By , the religiously unaffiliated share of the population had grown to The data show similar patterns in questions about prayer and attendance at religious worship services. The number of religiously unaffiliated adults who say they seldom or never pray and the number who say they seldom or never attend services have grown rapidly. Meanwhile, the numbers of religiously affiliated adults who say they pray daily and attend services regularly have been comparatively stable.
The result is that the percentages of Americans who pray daily and attend religious services regularly have declined modestly. Generational Differences Who are the largely nonreligious adults whose ranks are growing, thus reducing the percentage of Americans who exhibit strong religious commitment? They are mainly young people just entering adulthood. Older Americans — those in the Silent generation, Baby Boomers and even Generation Xers — are, by and large, about as religious today as when the Religious Landscape Study was first conducted in But these three generational cohorts constitute a shrinking share of the total U.
By comparison with older adults, Millennials exhibit far lower rates of involvement with religion. Fewer than half of older Millennials adults now in their late 20s and early 30s and roughly four-in-ten younger Millennials adults now in their late teens and early 20s say religion is very important to them and that they pray daily.
And a majority of Millennials say they attend religious services a few times a year at most. For more details on how the beliefs and practices of younger religiously affiliated adults compare with those of older religiously affiliated adults, see Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
It is possible, of course, that younger adults will become more religious with age. Analysis of the General Social Survey GSS , for instance, shows that over the long term, people pray more regularly and report attending religious services a bit more often as they get older.
And Gallup surveys conducted over several decades indicate that as people age, they become more likely to say religion is an important part of their lives. For example, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers and those in the Silent generation all have become somewhat more inclined in recent years to say they rely mainly on their religious beliefs when thinking about questions of right and wrong; they also are more likely to say they read scripture regularly and participate in prayer groups or scripture study groups on a frequent basis.
Indeed, older Millennials — adults who were between the ages of 18 and 26 when the first Religious Landscape Study was conducted in and who today are in their late 20s and early 30s — are, if anything, less religiously observant today than they were in in these important ways. The share of older Millennials who say they seldom or never attend religious services has risen by 9 percentage points. As the share of religiously unaffiliated Americans has risen rapidly in recent years, some observers have suggested that this is merely a change in labels.
There always have been people who identify with a religion but are not particularly devout or active — self-identified Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Jews, etc. The results of the Religious Landscape Study suggest that relabeling is part of what has taken place, but it is not the whole story.
The religious beliefs and practices of the U. Declining Religiosity. At the same time, the share of the population with low levels of observance e. And the percentage of American adults who are highly observant — at least as measured by traditional indicators, such as their certainty of belief in God, frequency of prayer, self-reported rates of attendance at worship services and self-assessments of the importance of religion in their lives — has declined.
Generational Replacement. To understand what is driving religious change, it is important to recognize trends in American society as a whole, not just how individuals change over their lifetimes. Of course, some individuals grow more religious over time, while others grow less religious.
Older generations of American adults who were overwhelmingly Christian by affiliation and comparatively devout in belief and behavior are gradually passing away. They are being replaced by a new generation of young people who are, on the whole, less inclined to identify with any branch of Christianity and more religiously unaffiliated than older cohorts ever were, even when they were young.
And so far, members of the Millennial generation do not seem to be growing more religiously observant as they get older, at least by traditional measures. On the contrary, the oldest Millennials, now in their late 20s and early 30s, are generally less observant than they were seven years ago.
If these trends continue, American society is likely to grow less religious even if those who are adults today maintain their current levels of religious commitment. Less Religious, but More Spiritual? While several key indicators of traditional forms of religious observance are declining, the Religious Landscape Study shows that the U. Roughly six-in-ten adults now say they feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least once a week, up 7 percentage points since Groups that exhibit the highest levels of traditional forms of religious observance also are most likely to say they regularly experience a sense of spiritual peace and well-being.
To explore other aspects of spirituality, the survey included two new questions that were not asked in the Religious Landscape Study. The first question asked respondents how often they feel a strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness. The study finds that regularly feeling a strong sense of gratitude is most common among those who are highly religiously observant. But gratitude also is experienced regularly by many people who are not very religiously observant.
In addition to asking about feelings of gratitude, the new study also asked respondents how often they think about the meaning and purpose of life. Views of Religious Institutions The new study shows that most Americans continue to view organized religion as a force for good in American society. Nearly nine-in-ten adults say churches and other religious institutions bring people together and strengthen community bonds and that they play an important role in helping the poor and needy. And three-quarters say churches and other religious institutions help protect and strengthen morality in society.
Attitudes on these questions are little changed from , when they were first asked in a Pew Research Center survey. In addition to saying that churches and other religious institutions perform good works, large numbers of the unaffiliated also say religious institutions are too concerned with money and power, too involved in politics and too focused on rules.
Half of the public expresses mixed views. For more details on American views of religious institutions, see Chapter 3. But the changing religious composition of the U. Fewer than two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults now identify with any branch of Christianity, down 11 percentage points since Meanwhile, nearly three-in-ten Democrats say they have no religion, up 9 points in recent years. As recently as , mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants and Catholics were each about as numerous as — or more numerous than — the religiously unaffiliated among Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults.
More than eight-in-ten Republicans continue to identify with Christianity, including nearly four-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning adults who identify with evangelical Protestant denominations. Views on Homosexuality and Abortion The new survey also asked respondents about their views on a number of social issues, including homosexuality. The survey finds that acceptance of homosexuality is growing rapidly even among religious groups that have traditionally been strongly opposed to it.
For instance, more than a third of evangelical Protestants now say homosexuality should be accepted by American society, up 10 points since And acceptance of homosexuality has jumped by 12 points among Mormons. Views on abortion have changed little across most major religious groups, although those who are unaffiliated and those who belong to historically black Protestant churches are somewhat more likely to support legal abortion than in the recent past.
The shifts in attitudes toward homosexuality among the largest religious groups are being driven partly by young adults, who are much more accepting of homosexuality than older Americans. Similar patterns are seen among mainline Protestants, in the historically black Protestant tradition and among Catholics. The survey also finds generation gaps within many religious groups in attitudes about a variety of other social and political issues.
Young adults generally express more politically liberal opinions than older people when asked about the environment, the proper size and scope of government, and immigration. One exception to this pattern is abortion; here, generational differences within religious groups are less consistent. And while Catholics in the Silent generation are more opposed to legal abortion than other Catholics, there is little difference in the views of Catholic Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials. For more details on the social and political views of religious groups, see Chapter 4.
Other key findings include: Like the growth of the religiously unaffiliated, the growing share of people who exhibit low levels of traditional forms of religious observance is demographically broad-based. As was the case in , there are important differences in the ways members of various religious traditions conceive of God. Muslims say they do not believe in God or a universal spirit.
For more details on how Americans conceive of God, see Chapter 1. Six-in-ten adults — and three-quarters of Christians — believe the Bible or other holy scripture is the word of God. These results are very similar to those from the Religious Landscape Study. For more details, see Chapter 1. Among most other religious groups, however, fewer than half of adherents say they attend religious services weekly. Nearly two-thirds of U.
By comparison, fewer than half of U.
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We hear it all the time: You deserve comfort. You deserve perfect health. You deserve this and that. These statements are simply not true. Nor are they helpful. Would anyone dare say these words to a soldier in battle? Would you say them to a political prisoner? Or a sailor in the midst of a vicious storm? When the focus is on ourselves, this pursuit of what we deserve makes sense.
But when we step back and look at the wider battle, then this grasping after safety and comfort seems ridiculous. Only the bigger picture gives meaning to our suffering. Like the metaphorical ship in a harbor—yes there is safety to be found in calm waters. But our ships were never built to float idle in a harbor. These ships were built to sail the wild seas. And at times, our vessels will be battered by relentless storms.
Along the way, a few of us will probably be lost overboard. So what does God promise through these trials? His promise is simply this: He will never leave us or stop loving us. He is with you in the storm because He loves you. And He will never stop loving you. By following God's lead, she has seen and experienced His power, His mercy, and His protection.
As she told her story, she stated with great confidence that "The safest place in the world is to be in the center of God's will. Throughout the pages of the Bible, we read of men and women who lived through difficult times, survived seemingly impossible situations, left the familiar for the unknown, endured life-threatening conditions, and some lost their lives for their mission and their faithfulness.
But they honored and pleased God! They lived and rested in His promises. They were in the center of God's will. For this seventy-five year old woman, there is no doubt the safest place in the world is to be in the center of God's will. Scripture confirms it as true. What about you? Do you believe that the safest place in the world is to be in the center of God's will?
Do you agree that the safest place in the world is to be in the center of God's will? To reverse the thought: if the safest place in the world is to be in the center of God's will, then the most dangerous place in the world is to be out of God's will. It's a serous matter which leads to a very serious question: How do I know if I am at the center of God's will? A similar question was posed to Jesus by the religious leaders of His day.
They asked it in a different way, and their motives were not so pure, but their desire to know and be in God's will was just as real as ours: Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. We can live that kind of life.
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