Tag Archives: faith

Power of Faith

I Peter 1:8-9 – 8Though you have not seen him [Jesus], you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with and inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

What amazes me here is that this whole process is accomplished purely on the power and strength of faith. This might explain why, though I have never completely lost my faith (only faltered), I have not grown as much spiritually over the last year or two as I would have liked. I have not had the sort of faith that draws me to my Saviour, that instills within me the joy of my salvation and a renewal of my spirit, let alone an inexpressible and glorious joy.

And something else that stands out to me is that salvation seems to carry with it two separate processes — one that is carried out once with eternal implications, and one that is continually being carried out. The one-time action is the initial acceptance of God’s gift of salvation. The continual process is the working of my faith to constantly reshape me into a child of God, the throwing off of the ‘old man’. So, salvation is both a one-time act and a continual process of transformation.

Problem of Evil

The problem of evil in the world has always been one that has tested men’s faith. And not just their faith in God. We’re also talking faith in people, faith in institutions, faith in the power of good to overcome evil, and so on and so forth. Yes, there is a LOT of evil in this world, a lot of it. But on the other side of the formula, there is also a lot of good. It is just that evil tends to be louder, more flamboyant. People notice it much more quickly than they do the good things, and they make a bigger deal out of it. Our media is partly to blame for this, of course, but so are we. I mean, how often do you find yourself gossiping with someone else about some big story you heard? You know, the one about the woman who left her husband because she was sleeping with an artist and decided she loved him more than her husband. Or the one about the husband who ran down his wife in their front yard with the family minivan. With their 9-year-old daughter in the passenger seat. Isn’t it so easy to talk about these things? Don’t they inspire a lot of conversation? Don’t they incite some of your baser passions? Don’t they excite you in some horrifying manner of disbelief and shock? And isn’t it so easy to become cynical about people, to question how a supposedly loving God can allow such horrendous things to happen to such (seemingly) good people? Isn’t it so easy to let such horror and pain and suffering — and yes, evil — quench our faith just a little? And then, one day, you find that you have become so hardened in your heart that you wonder why you had any faith to begin with. We have forgotten the good things. We have forgotten that there really is a God who loves and cares and who hurts to watch these things happen to the creatures made in his likeness. It was never meant to be like this. It was meant to be a perfect world. But God in His sovereignty did not want a mechanical love from His creation. So, He gave us free will, and we chose to forsake Him, accepting the consequences of that decision. And now sin and evil exist, for a season, and we must bear that. Soon, though, all will be made perfect again, and sin and death will be no more. Pain and suffering and sadness will be wiped away, and it will be like they never were. Until that day, we must walk strong and keep the faith and look ahead, as Paul said, on those things which are before us, forsaking those things which are behind us, plodding on to the goal which He has set before us, therein to be made into the image of the Son. So, keep the faith, my friends, and be encouraged. These hardships we face cannot last much longer, and then we shall enjoy a bliss unlike any other we have ever known.

Amen

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What can I say…. I was inspired….

His Suffering

It’s funny…. I just received an email from my younger brother. In it, he included a journal entry that I had shared with a bunch of people a little over four years ago. I had been think meditating on Christ’s death and what He went through. And in light of Mel Gibson’s recent release of The Passion of Christ and the upcoming Easter season, my brother felt challenged by those words from the past and felt let to share them again with a number of people, myself included. And again, I was challenged with the thought contained within those few lines. And so I share them with you….. God bless….

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Friday, Februrary 18, 2000

We weep and sorrow with the pain and loss that others experience, particularly those we love and care about most. We sympathize when they are injured or undergo surgery, and we cry when they lose someone they love. We feel the frustration of a friend’s lay-off from their job, we share the burden of depression when things don;t go well, and we share the plethora of other emotions and burdens of those we cherish. But when was teh last time I wept for the pain and loss that God felt when His Son came to the earth? When was the last time I wept because God gave up Heaven to become a helpless baby? When was the last time I shed tears over the wounds that my Savior suffered in his hands, his feet, his side, his head, and his back? When was the last time I cried because God the Father could not look down on God the Son for a time because of the burden of my sins that he bore on His back? When was the last time I genuinely wept because of the ultimate sacrifice that anyone can give? WHen was the last time that I loved my God that much? I can’t help but shed tears of joy and rejoice right down to the very core of my heart and the deepest recesses of my soul when I think of the love that flowed upon my head through that act of total selflessness. I can’t help but weep with gladness that I will see my Lord on the throne of Daivd, seated in the highest of the heavens, to reign forever and ever with righteousness, turth , and love. I can’t help but cry when I think that my God will one day be declared the victor and will forever destroy sin and evil. My entire being rejoices and my soul loudly proclaims worship and praise to the One who loves me so much that He sacrifices so much for me, an imperfect creature that does not know how to return that love, so that I may spend an eternity with Him, to love Him and to praise Him and to know Him. Glory be to the Lamb that was slain. Honor and praise be to the Father, who gave His son to be the propitiation for my sins. Mere words cannot adequately proclaim the honor you deserve, Lord, nor can my actions, which are flawed, make up for the lack. Oh God, cleanse my heart and purify my wicked ways. Make me into a servant fit to bear your likeness. Amen, amen, and amen.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid upon him the inquity of us all.
Is. 53:5-6

To Know Christ

My life passage….

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the POWER of his resurrection and teh fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~Phil. 3:7-14 (emphases mine)

I’m crushed by this again today, even though I’ve read over it many times. I’ve spent too much time recently trying to be comfortable. I say, “Enough!” Time to get down to the business of walking again. I’ve spent too much time sitting still…

Days of Elijah

Days Of Elijah

by Robin Mark

These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord:
And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
And though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord!’

Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it’s the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.

These are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh;
And these are the days of Your servant David,
Rebuilding a temple of praise.
These are the days of the harvest,
The fields are as white in Your world,
And we are the labourers in Your vineyard,
Declaring the word of the Lord!

Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it’s the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.

There’s no God like Jehovah.
There’s no God like Jehovah!

Copyright © 1997 Daybreak Music Ltd.

Self-perpetuating Philosophical Lifestyle Cycles

I have a wondering, something I have thought about recently and frequently. I am interested in any feedback that anyone has on this topic. It’s called “self-perpetuating philosophical lifestyle cycles.”

Which came first: the chicken, or the egg? Or put another way, which came first: the philosophy, or the lifestyle?

I know a number of Christians who see one of their ‘fellows’ living a particular lifestyle. Let’s choose Goth, just for a developmental example (and for those of you who consider yourselves to be Goth, please take no offense; I am neither condemning nor picking on you; I just need something to develop this thought, so please bear with me). And let’s pick a person to be our Goth — Trudy, for instance.

So, Trudy is a Goth and has been for a couple of years now. She’s just in her first year of college. She is a Christian, been saved since she was seven years old. In fact, her dad is a pastor. Trudy is also very strong in her faith. But she prefers the dark look of the Goth, with the clothing, the makeup, the piercings, the works. Now, I repeat my former question: which came first? The thoughts and philosophies, or the lifestyle?

Put it in more general terms now. Does a person begin thinking a particular way and then ‘discover’ a lifestyle that fits that way of thinking? Or do they find a lifestyle that attracts them (for any variety of reasons) and fall into that lifestyle, with the lifestyle gradually (or not so gradually) changing the way that person thinks? Is it different for different poeple? (BTW – you can insert pretty much any lifestyle into this example — punk, hippy, drug addict, alcoholic, child abuser, pastor, businessman, etc.). Does the person choose the lifestyle, or does the lifestyle choose the person (in a manner of speaking)?

And then, once in the lifestyle, does it become a cycle? Does the thought encourage the lifestyle, which encourages the thought, which encourages the lifestyle, and so on and so forth? When, where, and how is ita good thing? A bad thing? How does one break the cycle if they decide it is a bad thing?

I have a theory on this, but before I choose to post it, I’m interested in hearing some feedback, if any cares to contribute…..

Misconceptions

There is a common misconception that just because a person is religious, they are a Christian and going to heaven. The trouble is this: the Pharisees were religious, and Jesus condemned them many times. He called them ‘white-washed sepulchres’ (pretty on the outside, smelly on the inside), and Paul described them as having ‘throats like open graves’ (spiritual halitosis). So, just because someone is religious does not mean that they are ‘alright’. It only means that they know how to build a facade. So, beware of someone who is religious (especially those who are proud of it). Beware the sweet talker. If the walk doesn’t match what God says is the behavior that pleases him, chances are good that that particular ‘religious’ person isn’t worth your time. True Christians are humble servants, willing to speak the truth in love, willing to suffer abuse, trials, pain, and hardship, and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that God is magnified above all else.

Relief

This will very likely be a shorter post than I would like, since it is late, my stomach is empty, and I have a good-sized headache — but I will see what I can do to stimulate some thinking.

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Tim Wilkins, former homosexual and founder of Cross Ministry, frequently points out that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, but rather holiness. It follows in my mind that this can be said of everything, that the opposite of is not its logical opposite, but holiness.

I Peter 1:13 – 16 (NIV) — Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (emphasis added). Ephesians lays out further specifics of this principle.

I think we should be relieved. This, in some ways, makes it easier for us to live Christly. Instead of focusing on a list of do’s and don’ts, we can focus on what it means to be holy, what it means to be like Christ, our example of the Almighty. In the process, if we are striving to meet that goal of holiness, the do’s and don’ts have a way of taking care of themselves, via the work of the Holy Spirit.

Moral Attack

So how does one live a holy and moral life when our society is so absolutely immersed in the immorality that the media so blatantly promotes? It’s tough being a Christian in the midst of this, let alone a Christian married man, when every other TV commercial or show is all about half-naked (or even mostly naked) women (and latetly, even guys). It’s on the TV, on the radio, on the Internet, and even in our email. The message is being sent this is all ok, and since truth is such a relative or non-existent thing in our society, there’s really no base for a stance. And it is our youth who are so vulnerable to this. They are being brainwashed right out from under us. It’s no wonder that they think so much differently than we do.

Now, we can fight against this at every avenue, and it is our Christian responsibility to do so and to promote biblical morals (old-fashioned as they may sound sometimes), but with all honesty, we probably are not going to do a whole lot to change things. We are woefully outnumbered by the moderns and postmoderns who are submerged in their own despair. As unrewarding and unsatisfying as it feels, the main area where we can find success in waging war against relativity and immorality is by training up the younger generation to think differently than the majority of their peers. I thank God for His grace and my parents for their training that I think “old school,” with a sense of absolutes. I can’t imagine just how confused I would be right now if the only truth I knew was the one I made for myself. It would be so fluid and changing. And so it is up to us to mold and train the younger generation to continue the battle with us and after us.