Tag Archive - faith

Yeah, right.

 

Above, you see the beautiful window of York Minster; a style typical of many Christian churches. This particular window is over 500 years old. Who can deny the talent of the craftsman who created this work of art, especially with the tools available in his time! Continue Reading…

On Faith and Things Hoped For

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Heb. 11:1 (NIV)

This is one way I hear this verse recited. And it’s entirely true. I have a problem with the context people apply it to though. Usually, I hear people invoking this verse when they want something to happen. They have faith that they will get a job, faith that God will heal a family member, faith that something good is around the corner. The only problem with it is that is not what the passage is about!

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Jesus and his fan base of 12

I love this cartoon!

Jesus did not call us to subscribe to his Twitter feed so that we could keep up with what he’s thinking and where he’s active.

He also did not ask us to like his fan page on Facebook so we could show that Jesus is our brand preference when it comes to religion.

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Get to Work!

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” – Ps. 127:1

Notice the beginning.  “Unless the Lord…”  Ultimately, isn’t everything meaningless if we don’t have our priorities right?  If the Lord orders our life, everything will fall into place.  It’s when we go off on our own that we really louse it up.

But that should be a given.  If we are truly Christians, our days, our lives, our calendars, our checkbooks will all be ordered according to God’s will.  For as we go on, we should become more and more like him.

But that’s not what struck me when I saw this verse recently.  What struck me was the second half.  Or more specifically, the inverse of it.  If we take the opposite position that the verse implies, we get “if the Lord builds the house, the workers do not labor in vain.”

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What’s Your Temperature?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23)

Have you ever noticed?  “The fruit”…  “is”…  This is singular language, not plural.  These are not fruits of the Spirit, they are fruit of the Spirit. “Fruits” come from different trees. “Fruit” speaks of one tree. There is one source of all these characteristics, and they are a package deal.  These are the true manifestations of the Spirit, and you don’t need to follow the latest “move of the Spirit” to find them.

Thinking in terms of “fruits” is like looking at the above verse as a list of superpowers.  “I have the fruit of love”, or “My fruit is self-control”.  That’s nonsense.  These are not individualized gifts. They are descriptors that will be placed on the person who lives by the Spirit.

If you are wholeheartedly following the Spirit’s leading, these characteristics will all be true of you.  If they are not, that means you are not truly entrusting your life to Christ.  That is because “the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit” (vs 17), and “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (vs 24)

These are not spiritual gifts or abilities we should seek.  These are indicators of our condition.  If we notice a lack in any of these, it is an indication that we have fallen back into old patterns, or perhaps never fully trusted Christ in the first place.  Either way, the remedy is simple: “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (vs 16)

Christ-followers are marked by this evidence:   love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If you don’t see the fruit in your life, it’s an easy fix.  But don’t seek the fruit – seek the source.

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