Few young Christians are prepared in a rigorous, individual way, to continue to choose Christianity for themselves beyond the walls of their church or an "inherited" faith. Not many have the tools to, as the Bible puts it, "work out" their salvation - to go beyond the commitment of a moment to the commitment of a lifetime. [Click title to read more.]
If believers lose the desire among themselves for consistent, individual, and independent Bible study, we've lost the core of our entire Christian walk: the foundation of our understanding of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, and of what He expects and desires of us. [Click title to read more.]
It's interesting to me that we never equate God's victory with loss. That we never equate God with the less-than-happy-end, or with what happens when things don't turn out right. The team that slumps into the locker room doesn't say, "Well, He's the reason we're here." After a fumble or a turnover, the football player doesn't crouch and quietly thank God.
Faith is not the blind belief that everything will be fine. Faith is not a self-hypnosis that magically transforms the bad things in our life into good ones, or automatically makes us content to struggle forward without answers. No. Faith is an effort of will. It is the resolution of heart and mind. [To read more, click title.]
God's economy seems antithetical to the modern age we live in. I and most people I know would run back to get the sheaf of forgotten wheat, would linger to make sure we hadn't left anything behind. And if we found any scraps on the ground we'd ask Pinterest how to use them to make centerpieces. To us, this sort of act seems sensible, and yet it runs directly opposite the commands of God. Leave the leftovers, He commands. They're not for you to use. [Read more...]
The danger in this is that - if we're not careful - the loving and serving that the church is supposed to be doing can get submerged beneath a corporate outlook. The Message becomes a logo. Outreach becomes a business wherein believers supply love in exchange for attendance, salvations, and baptisms, and are tempted to move on when they see no signs of a harvest.
Humility is not a contrived performance or a degrading of the self, but rather the attitude natural to those who act with empathy, compassion, and selflessness.
This verse reminds me that the temptation is always there - that there will always be a chance I might use God's words to lend myself credibility, rather than use my life and my words to lend God credibility.
Let yourself dwell on the richness of the truth that, miles and miles and years and years removed from the bodily incarnation of Christ, we who believe without having witnessed these signs in person have had a special blessing spoken upon us.