Carl Carey UNC

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Welcome Back to our new series of lessons called Bible Questions? Bible Answers…  We hope that we can answer some of the questions that you and others have about God, religion, suffering, sin, salvation and other topics.  Now is the perfect time to send an email to a friend and invite them to our bible study.  Simply go to the Get Connected link on our home page and input your friend’s email address and we’ll send them an invitation.

Thank you to all who have written an inquired about when we were getting started with our bible lessons again.  Your emails tell me that you are keeping up with our studies and that’s great!  After each series of lessons, I take a 4 to 5 week break to regroup, rest and select the next series of lessons to put on the site.  Again, thank you for your mail and your encouragement.  I hope you enjoy this new series as we delve into some of the Bible questions you have and seek the answers the Bible gives us.  Invite someone to study with us today…  God Bless.

Carl

Bible Questions? Bible Answers… Starts May 24th.

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Our new bible series, Bible Questions? Bible Answers… starts on May 24th.  During this series, I will be focusing on some of the questions that people have asked and some of the questions I’ve had myself about God, the Bible, and the World we live in.  My hope is to find scriptures and passages in the Bible that will help to give us answers to some of life’s most difficult things to understand. 

For some time now, I must admit that one of the greatest questions that I’ve had has been regarding injustice in this World.  You look around you and there are good people who suffer and it seems unfair and there are ungodly people who seem to get ahead and live prosperous, carefree lives.  We are all sinners…but the Word of God does differentiate between those who live for God and those who do not.  It is difficult to see those who try to be faithful to the Lord go through so much pain.  I’ve wondered and pondered why this happens.  The Word tells us about suffering and injustice…and you can see through its instructions and advice that the Lord knew it would be this way and perhaps, it is part of His perfect plan.  This is just one example of the types of questions we’ll be dealing with in this series of lessons.  I hope you join us.

I need your help.  Do you have a question that you’re looking for an answer to?  If so, simply reply with your Bible Question and I’ll try to address it during our series of lessons.  Thanks for studying with us.

Carl

Embrace Your Journey

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Recently, I was thinking about the detours my life has taken.  I, certainly, had a plan for what the next 5, 10, 20 years of my life would look like.  Some of my plan has come to pass, some of it has not.  In some cases, I actually got better than what I imagined, in other cases, things are not as rosy as I would have hoped.  That’s life…you don’t always get what you want when you want it. 

I believe that what we must do if we are to be content in our lives is to embrace life as a journey.  During a journey, we encounter twists, turns, curve balls, highs, lows, rain, sun, times of feast and times of famine.  It is just a journey.  What if you knew for a fact that at the end of your journey you would reach a great destination filled with happiness and joy?  It probably wouldn’t matter much how you got there…just the fact that you get there one day is all that would really matter.  In our journey to heaven, we all will take different routes, but each route will flow through Christ Jesus.  Your particular route will take you to places that are different from the next person’s.  Don’t lament and complain about where your journey takes you.  Even in the sadness and the difficulty, just say to yourself, “This is my journey…but it will end in a place where I find God.”  Where you can, take the more positive routes…the routes of less pain and frustration.  But if you accidently end up on the wrong road, know that God will help you get back on track if you allow him to.  Embrace your journey…it’s yours…it’s unique…it is different than you planned for it to be and that’s okay as long as it ends in the way you want it to—which is at a place called Heaven.

A Helping Hand

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It has been much too long since I have written a blog for the site.  Sometimes, life gets so consuming and you look around and there are things that you know you need to do and things you want to do, but they don’t get done.  Maybe you can relate?  I’ll try to do better.

This past week, I spent time with my young cousin who is in high school.  I took her and her mother (my aunt) to visit several colleges.  My goal was to give them both a look at what is coming next for my cousin and I hoped that our trip would be inspirational and educational.  I believe that it was both.  My cousin now knows what she needs to do during her last 2 years of high school to get into a good college and my aunt understands how much its going to cost and now has 2 years to get ready.  It is my hope that my intervention will set my cousin on her way to a lifetime of success.

Being with them this week helped me understand how we all have the power to influence another person.  Just offering a helping hand to someone could really change the course of their life.  In the Book of Matthew, Jesus’ life was spent preaching the gospel and giving a helping hand to those in need.  Is there really anything better that we can do in terms of how we use our lives?  I believe Jesus was giving us an example.  Help people by giving them the word of God and when they are in need, give them a helping hand.  There are tons of ways that you can help somebody else.  For me, last week, it was exposing my cousin to college so that she can go on and prepare herself for life success.  For you, it might be something else.  I don’t know who I will help next, but I will help someone, and it will be soon.  I just believe that God wants it that way.  I would like to encourage you to do the same thing.  Give someone the Word of God or a shoulder to lean on or some great, Godly advice or volunteer your time…we all can do something to help someone else.  I know that’s what God expects of His children.

Carl

God Forgives

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During the time that I have been talking with people about God, I have noticed that when people are engaged in a life of sin that they tend to distance themselves from the Church.  I have known people who have been committed to trying to live for God and then when they start to lose their battle with sin, they aren’t seen or heard from for awhile.  My theory is that when sin takes over one’s life, the person starts to feel unworthy of being in God’s prescence.  Most of us have been in that place before.  Distancing oneself from God is one of the worst things you can do.  Yes, you get to continue in sin without feeling uncomfortable, but meanwhile, your sin is festering and growing.  Stay with God…even when you are in a bad place in your life.  Just continuing to have Him in your life will hopefully eventually lead you back to living your life for Him and inspire you to leave that sin behind.  God forgives.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  We should never feel as though what we have done can’t be forgiven, because throughout His Word, he clearly shows us that it can…  Study and obey His Word.  Pray for forgiveness.  Grow closer to others who are trying to live right.  That’s what the Lord would have His children to do.

Your Breakthrough

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The first lesson in our new series has to do with finding peace with whatever has been troubling you or holding you back.  All of us in some form or fashion need a personal breakthrough.  We need to overcome or at least more effectively deal with a situation or circumstance in our life.  Often times, we just don’t have the courage to leave our comfort zone.  We’re comfortable staying where we are, we’re comfortable not putting forth the effort and energy required to make the progress we desire.  If you want something bad enough, you’ll do the work it takes to get there.

This year, I made a promise to myself that I would address one of the issues of my life.  I’ve been dealing with this circumstance for a few years and I have just decided that this is the last year I’m going to deal with it.  Making progress in this area will require some prayer and some work; and I’m willing to do what it takes.  I simply refuse to go another year having not addressed this in some meaningful way.  You, too, probably have something going on in your life that needs to be dealt with.  When you have effectively found peace in that area, you have had your breakthough!  A breakthrough might just mean that you view the situation differently and thus achieve your peace with it.

We shouldn’t put limitations on what we can achieve through the power of God.  He is willing and able to assist us with our every need.  While we have God on our side, we have to remember that we must do the work it takes to make progress in our lives.  Choose the area of your life where you really need a breakthrough and begin the process of finally changing your circumstance or your perspective for the better.

Carl

Searching for the Perfect Life?

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This morning, a powerful thought hit me.  I have been talking to a number of people who are searching for something “more” in their lives.  I read the prayer requests on this site and my heart goes out to those who are hurting.  Today, I realized that whenever you fill one void or solve one problem that it may actually create something else for you to deal with…  Here are a few examples:

Are you lonely because you are single and praying that God will send you a spouse?  Realize that there are married people who are in turmoil and hurting in their relationship with their husband or wife.

Are you unemployed and searching for a job?  Realize that we all need money to survive, but you had the opportunity to sleep in late today and you are free of on the job stress.  Many people who are working wish they could have sometime off from work and time away from their co-workers and supervisors!

Do you like the city you live in?  Your blessings, your happiness could actually be awaiting you in another place…but if you go, there will be things you miss about where you live now…

Are you hurting financially?  Do you know that people with money have alot of headaches too?  They are losing money in the stock market and they constantly have people asking them for money or worse…they have people in their lives who are more concerned about their money than them.

Looking for a higher paying job?  Realize that there are people with high paying jobs that have work piled up because more money alot of times means more responsibility.

These are just a few examples.  My point is that we all seem to be searching for something else, for something more, for something different…and we must remember that those things we seek come with baggage too.  Just look at the people who have what you want…they have problems too!  We must learn to be content with where we are…that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to improve our lives (of course, we should)…but never think that your life would be perfect “only if you had…”  Life is just not designed that way.  Change the things you can, but realize that life still will have its challenges.  Ask God to help you find contentment and happiness despite the things that could be better in your life.

Are you at peace?

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Our Bible lesson for this week focuses on the principle of peace.  When I think of peace, I think of something that is more valuable than any material thing on Earth.  Throughout my life, I have encountered so many people who are not at peace within themselves.  Whether it is a temporary problem they are faced with or a long-term issue in their life, people are searching for relief from that which causes them feelings of worry, fear, shame, discontentment, frustration or unrest.  Life is too short for us to spend it in a state of inner chaos and confusion.  Achieving personal peace will take work and prayer.  If you are one of the many people who seek peace, the first step is to acknowledge that there are emotions going on inside of you that are causing you problems.  After acknowledging the problem, start trying to figure out why those emotions exist and what you can do to feel better.  Often times, our life situations don’t change quickly so we have to change the way we view what’s going on in our lives.  That change in perception can often give us some of the relief we need.  In the Serenity Prayer which is so popular, one of the lines says, “…to accept the things I cannot change”.  Many of us are not at peace about things we have no power to change!  We must accept those things, pray about them and find peace in the fact that God is in control of the things we have no control over.  In 2009, let us all work to be at peace within ourselves…

The Process of Forgiving

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Our Bible lesson this week focuses on forgiveness.  Writing this lesson has been good for me because I have been able to see that while we all know that we must forgive, that for some people forgiveness is a process.  It doesn’t take a long time to do something that causes pain in another person’s life.  An offense can happen in an instant, but it could take years to recover from it.  Being able to forgive, especially when the offense is a major one, usually doesn’t happen overnight.  Rather, it requires much thought, contemplation, prayer, patience and it might require time.  It might be awhile before you reach a point where you can fully release the person who has offended you from the debt they owe you…but you must adhere to the Word of God and do the work that is necessary to reach that place of forgiveness.

The major thing that I gained from this study was that we all need forgiveness.  If you live long enough, there will be a time when you will be hurt and there will be a time when you hurt someone.  When we extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, then we can be hopeful that forgiveness will be extended to us when we hurt someone else.  More importantly, when we forgive those who hurt us, God forgives us when we hurt Him.  When we violate His Word, we disappoint Him.  In the Book of Genesis, the Bible says that the Lord was grieved when he saw the sinful state of man.  He was in pain.  He was disappointed then, and I imagine that He is disappointed now when we veer off-course in our lives as it relates to our walk with Him.  We all need grace and mercy.  If you’ve been hurt, realize that sin and a need for self-gratification causes many people to temporarily lose their mind and do things they might not otherwise do.  This is no excuse for bad behavior, but it kind of explains why people make some of the horrendous decisions they do and end up hurting us.  We have to give people room to be human and forgive them when they make mistakes.  Forgiveness is tough.  In many cases, it takes time and effort to fully release feelings of hurt, disappointment and anger.  Decide today to work on forgiving that person who has offended you.  You will feel much better when you let go of the pinned up negative emotions that have prevented you from having peace in your life.

Carl

The Secret of Being Content

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In Philippians 4: 12-13, the Apostle Paul says that he knows what it is to be in need and he knows what it is to have plenty…and that he has learned the secret of being content whatever his circumstances.  To me, that is such a profound statement.  Paul is saying that no matter what is going on in his life, good or bad, that he is okay.   As I have heard this scripture over the years, I always wondered, what the “secret” was.  Can you imagine, that if we all could be content despite the circumstances of our life…that would be amazing.  Paul endured hunger, suffering, imprisonment—and yet, he says that he was content even in those situations.  If we only knew what the secret was then we too could be okay even in the midst of all the issues and problems that we confront.  I have wondered for years what the secret was and not long ago, I realized that the answer to the secret is in the following verse where Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.  Paul’s great secret to contentment is that he KNEW that no matter what his life circumstances were that the Lord would give him the strength he needed to make it through.  Because he had such great confidence and faith that the Lord would be with him, Paul was then okay no matter what situation he found himself in.  The more faith we have in God and His willingness and ability to minister to our every need, the more content we will be too.  Even in this economy, we can say to ourselves, “God will make sure that I’m okay”.  In the midst of relationship difficulties and family problems, we can say, “God will help me through this”.  During the curve balls that life throws to us, we’ll know… ”With God, I’m strong enough to deal with this”.  Because of our faith, we can then be content.   Through his life, Paul has taught us something very valuable.  Life will not be perfect.  Paul was a great servant for God and even his life was filled with hardship.  If life was hard for Paul, a man of God, surely it will be hard for us too.   During those hard times, we must be content…knowing that God will give us the strength we need to make it through.

Carl

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