Archive for the ‘Faith’ category

When Sin Crouches At the Door

May 20, 2017

depositphotos Image ID: 39910063 Copyright: ectorass

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7

We know the story of Cain & Abel. They were the sons of Adam & Eve. They both offered sacrifices to God. Cain gave an offering from “the fruit of the ground”, and Abel of the “fat portions”[1] from the “firstlings”[2] of his flock. (Genesis 4:3-4) All was good, right?

Well, no. God “regarded” Abel’s offering, but didn’t “regard” Cain’s offering, and that is when the problem started. Cain became angry[3], and his “countenance fell”. (Genesis 4:4-5) We know the rest of the story: Cain ends up killing Abel.

Lest we be tempted to think that we don’t need to pay attention to the details of this story because we aren’t like Cain – we would never kill anyone – consider these words of Jesus:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court….” (Matthew 5:21-22)

Anyone who has ever been angry with another person, might do well to consider the details of the story of Cain and Abel.

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To Be Immortal by Mitch Teemley

May 20, 2017

High School graduation was a big deal. We were adults, and underclassmen suddenly seemed so young. En route to prom, my lacey-gowned girlfriend and I were asked if we were married. Married? That’s what grown-ups do! A few days later, I threw an all-night party, something my parents had never let me do before. Why […]

via To be Immortal — Mitch Teemley

Before (or maybe after) reading Mitch’s great piece, To Be Immortal, consider that the greatest writers in history have returned again and again to that well of desire for immortality (or is it posterity? or maybe just fame?).

Shakespeare in his famous Sonnet XVIII rued that “summer’s lease hath all too short a date” while clinging to the consolation that his “eternal lines” would live “so long as men can breathe, or eyes see” and give some sense of life to Shakespeare, the poet, longing to live on in his poetry.

And Keats, in his Ode to a Grecian Urn, sought some “immortality” by his lines immortalizing the Grecian urn. But what immortality did he earn? Some fleeting fame in his own time? Some lingering posterity lasting so long as men breath?

William Wordsworth, in Ode on Imitations of Immortality, wondered, “Whither is fled the visionary dream? Where is it now, the glory and the dream?” While “heaven lies about us in our infancy” the “shades of the prison-house begin to close” even “upon the growing boy”; and the light and joy and vision the boy beholds, the man see “die away and fade into the light of the common day.”

Emily Dickinson and many others waxed on about death and dying, mortality and posterity, and the longing for immortality has lurked in those themes since the beginning of human time.

But, God it is who made everything beautiful in its time and put eternity into our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Like the Grecian urn will someday return to dust, the lines by which the greatest writers among human kind sought their own version of immortality will cease to be known. Time will take them. Men will breath no more. The science by which we gain vantage into the wonders of the universe as certainly show us that our end is inevitable.

Our immortality does not lie in the art that men can mold with their hands or the lines they can pen. Immortality lies in something more transcendent than crafted artifacts of dust that to dust will return or lines fading from the finite consciousness of men.

 

On the Proposition of Looking for God

May 20, 2017

depositphotos Image ID: 6393928 Copyright: hilipus

If I can’t find something I am looking for, does that mean it doesn’t exist?

In the context of searching for God, if I can’t “find Him”, does that mean He doesn’t exist?

My inability to find something I’m looking for is not proof that the thing I am looking for doesn’t exist. Ask my wife. She will often describe an object to me and asked me to go retrieve it for her. I am reluctant to say how many times I have come back without what she sent me to retrieve. I might even be embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve wanted to tell her that the object doesn’t exist

How many times have we said to ourselves when looking for something, “It isn’t anywhere!”? Do we mean, literally, that the object isn’t anywhere? Not usually. Intellectually we know that it is somewhere, but we just can’t find it.

Maybe I am looking in the wrong place. If I’m looking for an object I’ve never seen before, maybe I have the wrong picture of the object in my mind and I am not looking for the right thing. Maybe the object isn’t where I thought it was. Maybe the object is hidden and needs to be uncovered.

These examples are allegorical when it comes to the idea of searching for God.

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Jumping from the Precipice

May 17, 2017

depositphotos Image ID: 72688071 Copyright: nanka-photo

If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. (John 7:17)

Jesus spoke these words after his own brothers expressed their skepticism about who Jesus appeared to be suggesting he was, the long awaited Messiah from God. (John 7:2-5) He spoke these words to a crowd that was also largely skeptical, wondering who he really was. Some were saying he was a good man, but others were claiming that he was leading people astray. (John 7:12)

I keep coming back to this verse (John 7:17) since I heard Dr. Rosaria Butterfield give her testimony of her journey from liberal, lesbian professor who was highly critical of Christians and Christianity to becoming a believer and later a pastor’s wife and having a ministry of her own.

In her world of academia, she was used to doing research and coming to conclusions before being willing to put her faith in a proposition. That is the academic process.

As she was listening to a sermon after having spent many months becoming friends with a pastor and his wife, reading the Bible, and considering the evidence for Christianity, she made a life changing realization. She was approaching Christianity academically. She was not willing to believe until all of the facts were lined up and could be reduced to a certain answer.

When she heard this sermon in which the preacher read John 7:17, she realized that she had it all backward. (more…)

Would I Be Different Than They?

May 11, 2017


Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him…. John 12:37

Imagine being there when Jesus lived to hear Him speak, watch Him interact with people and maybe even perform a miracle – right in front of you! How could you not believe?!

It’s easy to think these things. But, what would it really be like? Though Jesus performed many signs in front of people, still they didn’t believe Him. People still believed what they were disposed to believe. People saw what they expected to see.

Would we be any different?

Some people heard Him speak and saw the miracles and believed. But more people heard Him speak, saw the miracles and did not believe. In the 1st Century, they accused Him of performing black magic. Today, we might accuse Him of performing ordinary magic, planting people in the audience and doing sleight of hand.

He would most certainly rock our notions of right and wrong, proper and improper, sense and insensitivity. He would challenge our sacred ideas about ourselves and our freedoms, our causes and our individual rights.

He would be too politically incorrect for the left. He would be too progressive for the right.

Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:1-3)

The Evolution of C.S. Lewis

May 10, 2017

Source: The Evolution of C.S. Lewis

The Right to Happiness and Gratitude

May 9, 2017

Source: The Right to Happiness and Gratitude


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