Posts Tagged With: faith

Don’t be afraid.

Jesus says the greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  I may have a pretty good idea what #3 is*:

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Grace for the Non-Prodigal

I’m pretty good.

I don’t say that as a brag. In a weird way, I mean that to point out something I lack:  true gratitude for the grace and forgiveness I’ve received through Christ. I’d bet your experience is much like mine.  Many of the most passionate Christians I know are those who were some of the worst sinners before they knew Jesus.  The gratitude they have for the forgiveness they’ve received, and the work that Christ has done to bring them from where they used to be is powerful.  I don’t have that.

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No Ifs

Different churches have different forms of wedding ceremony.  In some, the groom repeats lines like these:

I take you to be my wife;
and I promise,
before God and these witnesses,
to be your loving and faithful husband;
in plenty and in want;
in joy and in sorrow;
in sickness and in health;
as long as we both shall live.

In others, the pastor asks a series of questions and the groom answers, “I will.”

Will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in holy matrimony?
Will you love her, comfort her, honor her, and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

Some weddings have the participants write their own vows.

Regardless of the precise wording there is one noticeable absence.  No “if”s.  Continue reading

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What to give up for Lent

tubthumpingWe are in the midst of the Lenten season between Ash Wednesday and Easter.  Coming from a Protestant tradition, that hasn’t meant much to me over the years.  Even if it did, I don’t get drunk, I don’t smoke, I’ve been on a diet since March 2013, so I didn’t have anything to give up for Lent anyway. Or so I thought.  Continue reading

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Inconceivable

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you’ve probably heard or read these two passages of scripture as uplifting and encouraging:

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13 NLT

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

In countless places, these verses are cited as a way to tell Christians that they can “do anything with Jesus’ help” or that “God has good things planned (soon)” for us.  While I firmly believe that God loves us, wants good things for us, and gives us strength, when we look at these verses out of context it leads to all-too-human perspective rather than thinking in terms of God’s eternal plan.  It makes me want to go all Inigo Montoya… Continue reading

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The Secret Ingredient

Thirty-One love secret ingredient Emily Page direct sales work at home work from home wahm sahm income employment direct sales enroll sign upYou probably know the “love” chapter in 1 Corinthians 13.  “Love is patient, love is kind…”  It’s a great definition of all that love aspires to be.  But I was struck today by something else Paul was getting at.

Love is an essential ingredient to EVERYTHING we do.

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Laughing at God

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Really?

It has been said that God laughs at the plans of men. How presumptuous we can be, thinking we know what tomorrow holds. I have had many struggles over the last few years where I have wanted God to reveal a long term plan to me, grown frustrated when he didn’t, made my own plan, and then gotten frustrated when — surprise! — it didn’t work out. While I know He reveals long-term plans for some, He’s finally gotten me to realize He just wants me taking it day by day.

Yet how many of us seeking God’s will aren’t willing to listen when it comes. WHAT?!! That can’t be right. Quit kidding around, God.

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.” Genesis 18:13-15 NL’S

If God has unbelievably big plans for you, are you ready? Have you made a habit of being in His word and in prayer so that you’ll know His voice when He calls? Have you made a habit of acting on the Spirit’s promptings, no matter how small?

Be ready. God has plans to use you in big ways. Perhaps invite that new coworker to church. Spend more time serving others. Practice big acts of charity in secret. Maybe start a new career. Turn over a new leaf with your spouse. Forgive someone. Step out in faith. God gets the last laugh. Join Him.

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Talented

talented God talent Matthew American Idol William Hung I was listening to a CD in the car yesterday I haven’t heard in a while.  I had the sunroof and windows open, the radio cranked, and I was giving ol’ Bono an enthusiastic accompaniment.  I can really sing.  By which, I mean that I enjoy it: in the car, in the shower, in the rows at church…. I’m not saying anybody else enjoys it, mind you, but I have a good time.  As much as I enjoy it, though, singing is definitely NOT one of my talents. I don’t need Simon Cowell to tell me to keep my day job.

I must admit that I have been jealous of the musically talented at points in my life.  The truth is, it’s no good to get caught up in that.  God gives everybody some talent, but not in the same things and not equally.  The real question is:  Are you using what talent God did give you for His glory and His kingdom?  Do you use your talent to serve others or do you only serve yourself? Are you even using the talent God gave you?  Did you know the English word talent comes from a New Testament parable? Continue reading

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I Don’t Wanna!

pouting little girl, curls, cute, petulant child, argue with God, moses, jeremiah, jonah, jesus, protest, Thirty-One, husband, proverbsI must admit that I act like a petulant child sometimes when prompted by my Lord to do things out of my comfort zone like:  invite people to church, forgive the unworthy, show grace to the ungrateful, and be grateful in difficult circumstances.  But.. but, but God — I don’t wanna! Continue reading

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Killing My Self

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The concept of “dying to self and living for Christ” is well-known in the church today, but sounds awfully drastic to those who are not schooled in church jargon.  To be clear, the idea is that we have competing desires within each of us, a sinful nature and a soul that craves God and His will.  A gross over-simplification is the old image of the devil and angel sitting on our shoulders.

I fully accept that we are saved by faith in Christ alone.  That said, I also know that having received that gift that I am called to become more like Him through the aid and grace of the Holy Spirit.  The hard part is stamping out that selfish devil.  I know what to be on the lookout for: Continue reading

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