This morning we received an anonymous prayer request on our website. “I have lost my faith. Please pray that if I am to regain it, that God, and Jesus, choose to make himself clear to me. I need to see some miracles, because I have simply seen too much heartache to believe that Jesus is real and brings comfort. I appreciate your prayers on my behalf, because I don’t feel that my prayers have been heard.” My heart goes out to you dear sister/brother. It sounds like your faith has been gradually eroded through some very difficult life circumstances. You are absolutely right in asking for God’s help, which shows that your faith still has a spark of life. The Bible says that faith is a gift given to us by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8). It is not ours to gain or lose because it is a gift and as far I understand the Scripture, it can never be taken away. It unites us to Christ and straps us to his love so that nothing in this universe (neither death nor life… Romans 8:37-39) can separate us. Yet, many of us have experienced being overwhelmed by life to such an extent that our faith is smacked around and battered. Continue reading “For Those Who Have Lost Their Faith”
Month: September 2012
Only For the Broken and the Weak
Jesus was in the synagogue at Capernaum on the Sabbath and saw a man with a withered hand (Mark 3:16; Luke 6:6-11). Tradition says that the man was not born that way, but had been injured as a stone mason. The religious leaders were watching Jesus carefully. Jewish oral tradition had interpreted the Sabbath law in such a convoluted way to consider healing as unlawful because it entailed work. Sure enough, Jesus intentionally called the man out. Luke’s version says that Jesus knew their thoughts so he asked a question of the Jews which got to the heart of the Sabbath. “Is the Sabbath a time to do good or evil; to save life or to kill?” When you put it like that it was a no-brainer. The religious leaders were on the horns of a dilemma. Continue reading “Only For the Broken and the Weak”
The Wrath of Jesus
We evangelicals have tended to take a passage like Mark 11:15-19 and teach it as an example of the proper use of anger, while overlooking the whole issue of exploitation that drove Jesus to anger in the first place. Could it be because we continue to be uncomfortable with what the gospel has to do with social issues? Certainly there were strong prophetic overtones to Jesus’ action (Isa. 56:7; Jer. 7:11; Malachi 3:1, 2) as he headed toward the destiny of the cross. However, we cannot side-step the issue of injustice that Jesus was addressing. Every Jew had to pay a temple tax of one half-shekel every year which was equivalent to a little less than two days wages (lets say about $70). However, the religious leaders who ran the temple mandated that it be paid in Jewish currency; not Roman, Greek, Syrian, and so forth. Thus if you came to Jerusalem for Passover from another country, you had to exchange your currency for the shekel which would cost you another 30% on top of the tax. Continue reading “The Wrath of Jesus”
To Choose or Not to Choose, That is the Choice!
At a Men’s Advance (some call it a Retreat) a couple of years ago, we examined the life of the biblical Joseph and saw four main characteristics of his life that we would like to emulate, by God’s grace. One characteristic was “to humbly and faithfully serve the Lord no matter what my circumstances.” Such a characteristic demands that we make a CHOICE (like Joseph) to see ourselves not as victims of our past or present circumstance, but as men who trust that God is in control and has a plan for our lives no matter how blurry things are to us at the moment. Thus we can choose to serve Him wherever we are with whatever we have because we know He sees things clearly. C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity speaks of the importance of choices. Continue reading “To Choose or Not to Choose, That is the Choice!”