Tag Archives: Faith

Faith vs. Certainty

We all have our ways of making sense of the world. We look around at the way things are: the beauty of the creation, the goodness and love in some people, the evil and violence in others. The fact that goodness, evil, love and violence exist simultaneously in every one of us. We see how death is right there with us every day we live, just a heartbeat away. We look at all that and more, and we develop a worldview. Maybe you have spent serious effort thinking it through.  Maybe, for you, it gradually crept up on you as lived your life.

Either way, you have a world view. Something that explains most of what you see, experience, and know to be true about life.

Most, but not all.

I’m sure this is true. You have unanswered questions. There are things that still don’t really make sense.

I’ve committed my life to the belief that the Bible is true. That we humans were created in God’s image. That we have blurred that image by our own selfish rebellion from our Maker. And that, through Jesus, our Creator has lovingly offered a way of redemption. These simple but profound statements, and the rest of scripture, make sense of the way the world is. It explains most of what I see, experience, and know to be true about life.

However, I still have questions that I can’t answer.

But I’m learning to be more comfortable with uncertainty.

Certainty is ridiculously arrogant, isn’t it?

Don’t misunderstand me. I have faith. Deep faith. I trust that there is an explanation, even though I may not know what it is, or even understand it if I did know.

This has been on my mind since I read the following passage of scripture last week for my #GodQuestions devotional:

Luke 20:27-40
27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man[f] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second 31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons[g] of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” 39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

The Sadducees have a world view. We’re told they don’t believe in the resurrection. In other words, they think this life is all there is. (Consequently, they are “sad, you see.”) Their argument here seems to be something like, “If there were a resurrection and people lived again after death there would be all kinds of problems that don’t make any sense to us. For example, there were seven brothers…etc.”

I find it fascinating that on this one occasion Jesus simply gives them a straight answer.  No riddles. No stories.

Jesus does two things: first, he tells them something about the next life that they didn’t know. New information not included in their scriptures. Then he passes by their specific spoken question and addresses the heart of their issue by explaining something to them that they thought they already knew. But apparently, not well enough.

So, what are your questions?

Maybe you don’t believe scripture at all. You think it’s all just some kind of fairy tale. You might think the same thing of any religion.  People ask questions about all kinds of stuff in the Bible. Stuff they think simply can’t be true. Because, like the Sadducees, if it were true it would raise all kinds of issues for them that don’t make any sense.

But, is it possible that Jesus would answer you the same way he answered the Sadducees? Is it possible that Jesus has access to some information you do not? Information that would radically alter your world view? Is it possible that Jesus could see right past your spoken objection into your heart? Is it possible that there is an explanation for your objections that is beyond you?

Maybe you do believe scripture and do your best to follow Jesus, but can’t quite swallow everything the bible teaches about some things. Things like morality, for example. You read what scripture says, but figure it must mean something else. Because if it were really all completely true it would raise all kinds of issues for you that just don’t make any sense.

Maybe you love Jesus but you can’t seem to make sense of the challenges this life has brought your way. You wonder how God, who has promised to meet your every need, has somehow allowed you to suffer in ways you had never imagined.

I have no answer for you. Certainty eludes me.

But, isn’t it possible that Jesus would answer you much like he answered the Sadducees? Is it possible that Jesus has access to some information you do not? Information that would radically alter your world view? Is it possible that Jesus could see right past your spoken questions into your heart? Is it possible that there is an explanation for your objections and situation that is simply beyond you?

Yes, I believe it’s possible.

In fact, I believe it is so.

Lloyd

 

Thursday Picks ~ 6-8-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well..

In addition to this article by Joe Carter you should read what David French and Samuel James wrote about this. Also, Russell Moore has a comment in a press release from the ERLC. All are worth your time. This is important…

Two U.S. Senators Apply an Anti-Christian Religious Test for Government OfficialsJoe Carter
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/sanders-vanhollen.jpgWithin the span of six minutes, two U.S. Senators—Sanders and Van Hollen—shamed the people of Vermont, Maryland, and the rest of the United States by establishing a new religious test for government officials…

We should not be suprised when such anti-Christian bias is expressed by groups like the ACLU. That organization has spent decades undermining the liberties of religious Americans. But it’s unacceptable to have our own representatives in the Senate claim that Christians “violate the public trust” when we make the true claim that in rejecting Jesus “those of other faiths stand condemned.”

This display of anti-Christian bias for partisan political purposes has the potential to set a dangerous precedent and must not be allowed to stand. The remarks made by Sanders and Van Hollen should be repudiated by every American who values religious freedom and opposes religious tests for government office.


Listening To God Without Getting All Weird About It
David Appelt
http://theblazingcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/pexels-photo-220197-1700x1133.jpegWhen Christians talk about listening to God, we often rely on cliches instead of really drilling down to the truth. Scripture gets pulled out of context; we end up saying (or doing) really weird things in the hopes of “hearing from God.”

To be honest, most of what Christians say in this category isn’t overly useful or biblical. As a disclaimer, everything in this article is written by me, a man who struggled to answer this question for years.

It kept me living in uncertainty and passivity as a result. Hopefully, I can help us get to an answer that is more faithful and helpful…

You don’t need magic tricks, fleeces, perfect faith, or supernatural hearing. When it comes to listening to God, you have everything you need already.


Seth has a way of saying a lot with only a few words…

No Way OutSeth Godin
That’s why we burn the boats when we land on the beach.

Because the only way out is through.

It’s pretty easy to bail out of a course (especially a free online course that no one even knows you signed up for). Easy to quit your job, fire a client or give up on a relationship.

In the moment, walking out is precisely the best short-term strategy. Sometimes this place is too hard, too unpleasant, too much…

The thing is, though, that the long-term strategy might be the opposite. The best long-term approach might be to learn something, to tough it out, to engage with the challenge. Because once you get through this, you’ll be different. Better.

We always have a choice, but often, it’s a good idea to act as if we don’t.


We Need Revelation, Not SpeculationMichael Kelley
Here we find the great irony all around us. That though revelation is at our fingertips, we still choose to live in speculation. Or, to return to the metaphor, though the object has been uncovered, we put our hands over our eyes so that we cannot see. And why might we do this?

Perhaps it’s because we are infatuated with mystery. Or maybe it’s because we are so prideful to think that we have to find something for ourselves. But I believe it’s far more base and selfish than either of those reasons – we opt for speculation when there is revelation because we know that revelation brings accountability.


https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDYvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNjA4XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Thursday Picks ~ 2-16-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I admit that I have the tendency to do this…

Stop Making Yourself the Hero of Bible StoriesAaron Earls
Hero Villain Storm Trooper BibleWe want to read the stories of the Bible and see ourselves as the heroes of the faith, the brave ones standing up in the face of persecution. But more often than not, we are the cowardly ones caving to temptation…

We are the failures, the rejects, the idolaters, the sinful, the prideful, the villains. But that’s the most wonderful part. God hasn’t called us to be the hero, only to follow the One who actually is….

The good news of the gospel is that you aren’t the hero of the story and you don’t have to be.


I haven’t decided if I agree with everything Tim says here, but he makes a compelling point…

Why I Won’t Be Seeing (or Reviewing) The Shack Movie
Tim Challies
God is not a human being. God is not like a human being in any way that can be explained by presenting him in an embodied form. God is so other that any visual representation harms instead of helps our understanding. Even as The Shack uses human beings in an attempt to lead people closer to God, it will actually lead them farther away. It must. J.I. Packer says, … “To make an image of God is to take one’s thoughts of him from a human source rather than from God himself; and this is precisely what is wrong with image-making.”

The Shack presents God in human flesh. It makes the infinite finite, the invisible visible, the omnipotent impotent, the all-present local, the spiritual material. In its visual portrayal of God it diminishes, it obfuscates, it blasphemes, it lies.


I absolutely love this story! Take the time to watch the 5 and half minute video. This is one way that the concept of “missionary” is changing…

Redeemed to Go:
A Rescued Refugee Returns to Africa with the Gospel
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C4oLPbqWcAA7FSE.jpg
The world has watched in horror over the last several years as millions of people have been displaced from their homes in South Sudan as a result of civil war. It’s easy to wonder what good can come from children and families being forced from their homes, torn from any sense of safety and security.

But in God’s amazing grace, he is redeeming the stories of these lives, one by one,  calling refugees to himself, and sending them back out to share the gospel with the nations. Abuk, a disciple of Christ and an IMB missionary, is one of them…

Abuk has now embarked on a journey to obediently answer God’s call to return to Africa to make disciples. Through her obedient response to the call to the nations, Abuk is subtly redefining what many people believe missionaries to be. Her humble spirit and inspiring story shows how they are ordinary followers of Jesus, each with his or her own story of redemption. And each with his or her own part to play in God’s mission.


Turns out, the incarnation was a pretty smart idea…

I’m Surprised That I Think There Is No GodTim Fall
andromeda-spiralThe fact that Jesus lived never leaves me. I believe in his life and that he died a criminal’s death on a Roman cross. I believe in his resurrection from the dead too. I believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be: God.

Then why do I doubt God’s existence at times?

Why do I look around me and wonder if there really is a God? This isn’t a philosophical type of wondering. I’m not thinking on problems such as how evil can exist if God is good and loving.

I’m thinking at times that maybe God doesn’t exist at all.

Yet I never doubt Jesus’ existence: his life, death and resurrection. How do these two mindsets square with each other: assurance of Jesus’ existence and occasional doubt of God’s existence?

I have no idea.

This is where the wisdom of the Incarnation comes in…


Mating Dance…
http://picayune.uclick.com/comics/ch/2017/ch170213.gif
Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.

Life Is Like Beer – What I Learned from Estate Planning

https://www.julesbrickerlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/estate-planning-lawyer-in-santa-monica-los-angeles.png

Responsible adults that we are, Kathie and I finally, at the age of 63, met with an attorney this week to do our estate planning. This was something we have had on our to-do list for a while…like a couple decades.

I always knew I was going to get old someday, I just thought would take quite a bit longer.

Honestly, it would probably have been another couple decades if we hadn’t attended a benefit for a family we know. There was a silent auction, and one of the items up for bid was an estate planning package donated by an attorney who also knows the same family. I was playing in the band for this event and Kathie approached me between tunes and said, “I’m gonna bid on this, ok?”

It wasn’t really a question. She was just making sure we had enough in the checking account to pay for it. I assured her that we did, and off she went to submit our bid.

Then I thought maybe I’d better check our balance, just to be sure. I pulled up the banking app on my phone. (There’s a sentence that would’ve made absolutely no sense 25 years ago. Back when we should’ve done our estate planning.) After I transferred some funds from the savings account, I wasn’t a liar.

So, we had our meeting with the attorney on Tuesday evening.

I asked lots of stupid questions, because I don’t really understand anything at all about money, or law.

Here’s what I learned:

You don’t get to keep anything when you die.

Seriously.

Not one thing.

Every single thing you’ve saved for, built, or earned and grown to love will either be sold, given to someone else, or go to a landfill.

My high definition TV, my comfortable furniture, my 2004 Hyundai, my lawnmower….all gone.

Every stitch of clothing. Every mismatched piece of silverware. My tools. All this will end up in the hands of someone else. Probably someone I don’t even know.

A stranger will one day live in my house and have cookouts on my deck!

Turns out, all this stuff we think we own? It’s like beer. You don’t really buy it, you only rent it!

Did you realize this?

I suppose I was told, but I’m not sure I completely understood.

It sort of became clear to me Tuesday evening.

Here’s the good news: We’re not going to need it. None of it.

We won’t even miss it.

All this stuff that so much of our limited time and energy is spent collecting, is useful to us for only the briefest of moments.

In a very short time, much shorter than any of us imagine, it will all be worthless.

Oh, I plan to enjoy it and appreciate it while I can, but I think I need to be less attached to it.

How about you?

 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”

–Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 The Message

Lloyd

My Picks for Tuesday 4-5-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Why don’t we “freak out” about the important stuff?…

The Great Parental Freak OutKevin DeYoung
“But if we are going to work hard, let’s make sure we are working hard at the right things. The average Christian parent in the West is probably more involved in the day to day demands of parenting than almost any other parents in the history of the world. And yet, these same parents are likely more worried about being terrible parents than were their parents or grandparents, let alone their great- or great-great-great-grandparents.

We are all about to freak out. And it may not be over any of the right things…Here are four things parents should stop freaking out about…

…So does that mean parenting is a laissez-faire experiment in letting children do whatever they want? Of course, not. There are things every Christian parent should work hard to have in place. They just don’t have to do with how much ice cream the kids eat and whether you can breastfeed on roller skates. Work hard for the things that matter…”


The right kind of ‘code’ for men to live byBarnabas Piper
Nick Young, right, and Iggy Azalea at a college basketball game in January 2015.“As a man, this story infuriates me. The cheating infuriates me. The treatment of women infuriates me. But accelerant on the fire is the collective acceptance and concealing of both under the guise of friendship and the “bro code.”

This incident reveals the twistedness of society’s standards and the lengths people will go to hide sin. We have created codes to protect our right to hurt others, to cheat, to lie. Breaking the code is the new sin.

A real man—a brother, not a “bro”—wouldn’t air someone else’s dirty laundry, especially not through the tabloids. But a friend would say, “Tell her, or I will.” A friend would risk the friendship for the sake of what is right and out of respect to the woman. A friend would be willing to go face the uncomfortable and push for things to be made right, to uphold the real code to which all men should hold themselves.”


I gotta admit, this one convicted me a little bit…

5 Ways To Wound Immature BelieversMike Leake
“Yes, it’s frustrating that some believers feel the need to like and share a photo of an American looking Jesus in order to show their devotion. Yes, when compared to the believers being slaughtered for their faith it seems like a pretty paltry form of devotion. But what if it truly is a mark of grace that somebody who once would have never identified with Christ found the courage to hit that “like” button and identify themselves with Jesus—even if a crude representation of the Son of God?

Christopher Love had a great word for what wells up in my heart in these moments—oversuperliciousness. That isn’t a fancy word for holiness. It’s a fancy word for being filled with abominable pride and strutting around like a foolish peacock. It isn’t a mark of holiness to mock the weak.”


Why Porn Kills SexRussell Moore
Untitled
“God designed human sexuality not to isolate but to connect. Sexuality is intended to bond a wife and a husband and, where conditions are met, to result in newness of life, thus connecting generations. Pornography disrupts this connection, turning what is meant for intimacy and incarnational love into masturbatory aloneness. Pornography offers the psychic thrill and biological release meant for communion in the context of freedom from connection with another. It cannot keep that promise.”


Depth of FieldSeth Godin
“The focus that comes automatically, our instinctual or cultural choice, that focus isn’t the only one that’s available. Of course it’s difficult to change it, which is why so few people manage to do so. But there’s no work that pays off better in the long run.”


Bryan Price and Billy Hamilton…

https://thebaseballattic.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/baseball-humor-1.gif?w=590

 

My Weekend Picks for 4-1-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I’m pretty sure Trump never knows what will come out of his mouth until he sees the video afterward…

Does the Pro-Life Movement Want to Punish Women?
Russell Moore
abortion
“This week Donald Trump caused another stir in national news, and this time, it was for his comments on abortion….

…One of the worst misconceptions about pro-life Americans is that we are pro-baby and anti-women. Unfortunately, the pro-life movement hasn’t always done a good job of defeating this notion. It’s true that some rhetoric on our side has lacked compassion and holistic concern for the well-being of mothers, especially unwed moms. But despite our imperfections, the pro-life movement has indeed been remarkably consistent about our desire not only to tear down abortion culture but to build a culture of life and human flourishing in its stead. This is the conviction that has built thousands of crisis pregnancy centers, funded hundreds of adoptions., and come alongside countless numbers of women, and men, with practical acts of mercy and love.”


One more on the same topic…

4 Reasons Donald Trump’s Abortion Answer Was A Betrayal Of Pro-LifersMollie Hemingway
4 Reasons Donald Trump’s Abortion Answer Was A Betrayal Of Pro-Lifers
If Trump knew anything at all whatsoever about the pro-life movement, he would know what the movement thinks about abortion and whether mothers should be punished.

March for Life leader Jeanne Mancini was one of the many pro-life leaders who rushed out statements aghast at Trump’s comments:

“Mr. Trump’s comment today is completely out of touch with the pro-life movement and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion,” said Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “Being pro-life means wanting what is best for the mother and the baby. Women who choose abortion often do so in desperation and then deeply regret such a decision. No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about. We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.”


These kinds of shows are always interesting to me, while being a little frustrating at the same time…

‘The Story of God’ shares Morgan Freeman’s questions of faith Emily McFarlan Miller
Morgan Freeman from "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman" airing on the National Geographic Channel.

 Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channels/Miller Mobley
Bishop Wayne Miller of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pointed out that not only is there a great diversity of beliefs among world religions, but also within each religion.

“I’ve always found that one of the great values of a piece like this is not that it answers all the questions but that it invites us to open the questions and continue the conversation,” Miller said.

James Younger, who produced the series with Freeman and Lori McCreary, said “The Story of God” isn’t meant to be a theological treatise, but a reflection of Freeman’s “personal journey” and a response to “this apparent discord and disconnect between different faith traditions around the world and even within the U.S.”

That includes atheists and agnostics, as well — both people of faith and no faith are asking these big questions, the producer said.

“We have a lot more in common than we think we do,” he said.”


Actually, the same could be said of these kinds of shows…

5 Ways “God’s Not Dead” fails ChristiansChris Williams
godsnotdead1
“In March 2014, “God’s Not Dead” brought in $60 million at the box office, proving that movies for evangelicals can turn a profit. It was quickly followed by “Son of God,” “Heaven is for Real” and this year’s flood of Jesus movies.

I initially ignored it, citing my usual allergy to “Christian” cinema.  But as “God’s Not Dead 2” hits theaters this weekend, I decided to finally give the movie a shot.

And here’s my review: “God’s Not Dead” is an offensive and harmful movie — and I say that as a Christian.

Now, the film isn’t poorly made. The acting is capable. Harold Cronk is a competent director. From a technical standpoint, “God’s Not Dead” is fine at what it does — but what it does is extremely problematic. “God’s Not Dead” sets out to be an encouragement for young Christians encountering challenges to their faith. But in the end, it actually fails its key audience and becomes the thing it’s preaching against. Here’s how…”


I can’t help but visualize these guys in today’s candidate debates…

What Early-20th Century American Presidents Sounded LikeStacy Conradt
“Everyone knows JFK’s Boston accent and, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, is more than familiar with the voices of recent presidents like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama (who, according to some, sounds more than a little bit like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). But what did President Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge sound like when he deigned to speak? Or how about 23rd President Benjamin Harrison, the first president to be captured on audio? Wonder no more—here’s what nine presidents sounded like.”


Seth reminds us of something basic…

Actually, the truth isn’t up to themSeth Godin
“This relentless reframing of the truth into something else causes us to not ask the right questions, it prevents us from understanding our options, and from making smart choices. As soon as we say the truth is relative, and shiftable, and a matter of opinion, we lose the power that comes from knowing.

Just because a leader can gain power or influence by denying a truth isn’t sufficient reason for you to follow him…

…In a culture where con men, hucksters and others desperately seeking power and influence have decided that they can profit by making truth seem relative, we’re in danger of every day becoming the first of April.

Gravity’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. ”


Couples Therapy…
Source: Bizarro

 

 

 

 

What’s Next?

There are times, when I read scripture, that I have a really hard time putting myself in the place of the disciples. I wonder how they could see all that they saw and still be such dunderheads. How could they not get it? He was right there! He calmed the storm. He healed the sick. He even raised the dead, for crying out loud!

How could they not believe him when he said he would rise from the dead?

Then he died.

Ok, this definitely feels different.

Yeah, we saw him raise a couple of dead people back to life, but now he’s dead. Who’s gonna raise him?

Then, the tomb was empty! What happened?!? Where did he go?!?

Then he shows up at dinner!! He’s here eating fish and chips with us!

Then he disappears

What we call “Holy Week” is over. Life goes on. This has to be a weird time for the disciples. This period of time after Easter and before Jesus’ ascension to heaven intrigues me.

He died, but he’s not dead. No, he wasn’t “undead”…a zombie…he was alive, really alive. But he died, they saw it! But he’s not dead, they saw that too. This was what they had to grasp.

He gave them forty days.

After that, he promised he’d come back, but he didn’t say when.

But, oddly, when I ask myself what they may have been thinking and feeling during that six week period, I think I know. I think I can put myself in their place during this time.

Because it’s where we live, isn’t it?

We’ve seen some evidence of Jesus in our lives. If we’ve ever met him at all, he’s changed us. Or maybe we’ve seen him change someone we know. I remember, very clearly, some specific times when I know he was right here. It was him, without a doubt. It’s the only explanation. Haven’t you experienced that? I know I was dead in my sins, but I’m not anymore. He’s conquered death…hasn’t he? But where is he? What’s he doing right now? When will he show up again? That was really him, right?

That’s right where we live.

He died, but he’s not dead.

He promised he’d come back, but he didn’t say when.

Do you have more questions than answers? Do you want to believe but sometimes you’re just not sure? Are you wondering when, or even if, Jesus is going to show up again? So did these guys, and look what happened with them.

I say we hang in there and see what comes next.

Lloyd

 

 

My Picks for Tuesday 3-29-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The Church Helps Us Take Off the Grave Clothes
Michael Kelley
520114756_22c40b5eba_o
We, like Lazarus, were dead in our transgressions and sins. But as with Lazarus, Jesus loved us deeply, and made us alive together with Him when we were born again. But as we come into this new life, we are still bound by the marks of our old ones. We are still covered in the habits, patterns of thinking, vengeful motives, bitter attitudes, and everything else that comprise the walking around clothes of all those who are dead in sin.

But Jesus has not given us new life alone, but rather birthed us into a community of faith. In this community, we are responsible for one another. As we live, move, talk, pray, and love together, we help each other take off the clothes that once defined us. We are, daily, helping one another take hold of the new life that’s in us and yet not on us.”


Homophobia Has No Place in the ChurchNick Roen
Homophobia Has No Place in the Church
Biblical exegesis is a wonderful underpinning for belief, and love is a worthy motive for action. Fear is a horrible reason for both.

It would do us well to humbly examine our hearts to reveal the motives and fears behind our attitudes toward people who identify as “gay.” Happily upholding Christian sexual ethics is not the same as harboring animosity toward an entire group of people simply because you find them yucky…

…The truth is that sin is sin, temptation is temptation, and “men who have sex with men” is listed right alongside greed, drunkenness, deception, and slander as worthy of exclusion from the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). All equally damnable. Who among us is innocent?

So let us examine our hearts, identify attitudes of fear and the roots of pride, wherever they exist, and put to death ungodly prejudices that ultimately hinder the truth. In our quest for biblical fidelity, we must not only uphold the truth, but do so in love (Ephesians 4:15).”


Love and EntitlementMelissa Edgington
tumblr_ntjo7i8MMF1tb555zo1_1280
“I read through the never-ending wishes for someone to attend to the girl’s every want and feeling, and I wondered how the definition of true love became a demand for pampering. I wondered when we decided that love is about entitlement. About looking out for number one. About making sure that our relationships are about US getting what WE want, and if the other person can’t deliver on our list of demands, then they just aren’t worthy of us.

But, you’re getting it all wrong, girls. Love isn’t a laundry list of behavior requirements. It isn’t an attempt to grab as much attention as you can, setting up ultimatums to try and control your loved one’s thoughts and actions. There’s a word to describe that type of attitude: abusive.”


Faithlessness Shrinks You Down To a Grasshopper
Trevin Wax
grasshopper
“When your God is small, your obstacles seem big. But when your view of God is small and your view of your obstacles is big, your view of yourself shrinks.

That’s the insight that rocked me. I’d always thought that “trusting in myself” was the sign that I was failing to trust in God. As if faith in God and faith in myself is a zero-sum game…

…Failure to see the grandeur of God squashes our hope in what He can accomplish through us. A distorted vision of God leads to a diminished view of ourselves. In the end, we no longer think we are capable of doing what God has called us to do.

Reading the narrative in Numbers, I want to step into the scene, shake the Israelites by the shoulders and say, “God sees you as His children! He has called and equipped you. Take the mountain! You are not lowly insects cowering under the feet of your enemies – you’re the children of the King whose footstool is the entire cosmos!”


1cd1df50d1eb01334b39005056a9545d
Source: Off the Mark

 

 

 

What I Learned This Easter

“Learned” might be too strong. It’s probably more accurate to say that I’m learning these things. But the truth is, I already knew them. I mean, if the questions were on a test I would get the right answer.

But I’m beginning to sense the truth of these things in a new way…deep in my soul.

This Easter has been an interesting one. First of all, my mom went into the hospital on Thursday morning. There were some problems with her most recent blood work which indicated a kidney problem. The good news is that it was an infection that was treatable with antibiotics. She came home Saturday and was able to attend the Easter service at church and our family gathering at my house on Sunday afternoon.

I mention her hospitalization because it gave a little more urgency to the discussion we’ve been having with my parents about selling their home and moving into some sort of “assisted living” arrangement. You see, my mom is really pretty healthy and active. She’s 81 years old and takes care of my 84 year old father. I don’t want to go into great detail here, but suffice it to say that he has great difficulty doing much of anything anymore. He requires assistance for the most mundane and intimate of tasks. This is frustrating to him and he becomes depressed because he senses this need increasing on an almost daily basis. My mother willingly and devotedly provides the care he needs, but she is also beginning to sense her limitations. When she went to the hospital for a couple of days, and my sisters and I attempted to fill in for her, it served to highlight the need for other assistance.

What I’m learning is that we all need “assisted living.”

There’s no such thing as unassisted living.

I’ve always known this to be true, and would’ve gotten the right answer on the test. But I’m beginning to know it in ways that I still have trouble describing.

You may think of yourself as independent.

You’re not.

Neither am I.

The other thing that is happening in me is that death is becoming more of a reality. This is happening for a couple of reasons. One is that I’m getting to the point in my life where, even if I live several years longer than the average lifespan for an American male (which I have every intention of doing), the number of years remaining represent a time span which I have no trouble comprehending. When you’re 20 years old the idea of living another 60-70 years seems like all the time in the world. You simply can’t grasp it. However, at age 62 the idea of living another 20-30 years is very “grasp-able.” My parents are 81 & 84. We’ve been discussing the needs they will have in the coming years. The time seems downright immediate.

The other reason death is becoming more of a reality is that I have acquaintances who are dealing right now with the thing that, in all likelihood, will cause their death. They know it and they can see it coming. They are younger than me. Much younger, in fact. One is a good friend of my daughter’s. You can talk about average lifespans all you want, but the averages don’t really mean anything. The fact is that death does not discriminate. Young or old, believer or unbeliever, black or white. It’s the one thing we all hold in common. We can all unite around this one fact: death is our common enemy. (1 Corinthians 15:25-26)

But here’s where Easter comes in. Death may be the enemy, but he is beaten. This is the assurance Christ gives. I’ve known this to be true since my earliest days growing up in church. To be honest, my faith in this has swung wildly over the years from strong, to non-existent, to shaky. But I would’ve always gotten the right answer on the test.

This Easter, it’s finally starting to become a truth deep in my soul.

I still hate death. It ruins everybody’s life. It sucks. (I never use that term, but I use it now. That’s how much I hate death!)

Death is the enemy, but its days are numbered.

That’s what this Easter is teaching me.

Lloyd