One question people often ask is, “Where Is Jesus?”
It’s a good question that deserves attention but I need to expand on the idea a bit.
To do that I’ll ask a few more questions:
- How is it that people make a connection with Jesus? What are they thinking and feeling?
- What exactly is happening to make the connection? Is something special being said or done?
- Where are these connections usually made? Is geography a part of the formula?
- When are these connections likely to occur? Young, old, before, after – what?
These are even better questions but the most common answers don’t agree with the facts.
Let me clarify. Read more
This Is Intended
To Promote Thinking
A friend recently posted a question on Facebook about infant baptism.
It seemed like he was genuinely asking, not saying, or baiting. He addressed his question to “scholar” types.
The essence of the question was:
When the Bible mentions baptizing an entire family (household) when the head of the house is baptized, does this imply infant baptism?
It’s a good question. The Book of Acts does record two incidents when one person – the head of a household – believed and was baptized. Lydia was one and the other was the superintendent of the city jail.
The interesting thing is, in both cases, all the family members were baptized at the same time.
It doesn’t specifically say each family member confessed or believed but the idea that faith comes before baptism is so well established in Scripture it doesn’t need to be repeated ad nauseam.
Both incidents occurred in Philippi and you find the details in Acts 16.
The question naturally arises:
Does this imply infant baptism?
The short answer is “no it doesn’t” but that isn’t much of an argument. There are many churches that baptize infants – I was sprinkled as an infant in a Presbyterian Church – so the question can’t be easily dismissed. It is an established practice.
Here are my reasons for thinking infants were not involved: Read more
In Luke 18 Jesus shared an interesting story about a widow.
The widow had been cheated and was attempting to get justice through the legal system, but things weren’t working out so well. Her appeals were being ignored by a judge whom Jesus referred to as unjust.
We aren’t given any more details. We don’t know who cheated her or how severe the offense was, but as it turns out that information isn’t important.
The point was, as a widow, she had about as much clout as a dead tree. Widows were on society’s bottom wrung, and the judge, who didn’t care about God or people, wasn’t interested in her problem. She was an inconvenience, a gnat to be swatted away.
But she never gave up. She knew the law and she knew her cause was just, so she did the only thing she could. She hounded the judge repeatedly.
And it worked.
He finally realized that processing her legal matter, though inconvenient, was far less bothersome than repeatedly listening to her complaint.
In spite of being marginalized by the system, she found a way to assert her cause.
And Jesus used her as an example. He shared her experience to teach the disciples persistence in prayer. But that explanation leaves us a bit curious. The parable never mentions this woman praying.
In the end of the parable Jesus referred to her as an example of faith and He wondered aloud if that kind of faith would still exist when He returns.
Since prayer and persistence and actions can all be expressions of faith, and that was at least a strong sub point of the parable, we can make several observations about faith. Several of these of these points don’t square with convention.
For example: Read more
In Abraham’s Case
Strong Means Persistent
Please note that I didn’t say faith is formed in spite of wobbles but rather it is formed through wobbles.
Wobbles are the exercises that faith goes through to grow and Abraham exemplifies this truth.
The Bible says of Abraham that he was strong in faith, and yet it records his many foibles. It makes you wonder.
You could almost define Abraham by his wobbles so we need to qualify what strong in faith really means. But first, what it doesn’t mean or what the Bible doesn’t say.
It doesn’t say he had enough faith, as if faith is something to keep pumped up. Abraham didn’t go through hyping exercises each morning trying to achieve a faith-state mentally.
It doesn’t say his faith was big, as if it comes in sizes, the implication being faith only works when it is big. If faith was measured by size, we would have to say his was often just as small as it was big. Size wasn’t an issue.
It doesn’t even say that his faith was strong. It says he, Abraham, was strong in faith. That is a significant distinction. Faith is just faith. It’s a tool. We use it – or not – as much as we will.
Many people have handyman tools they rarely use and are dangerous on the odd occasions when they do. Maybe faith works in a similar fashion.
Not only is Abraham credited as being strong where faith is concerned, he is also referred to as the example for all those who follow. That is, he is the father of faith. This is very interesting because, as I said: Read more
Faith Can Be
Strong Or Weak
But Never Big Or Small
We usually associate faith with qualities that many people don’t have: confidence, focus, boldness and assertiveness.
High profile types have faith. Low profile folks just watch.
That’s how we see it anyway, so the general assumption is faith must be big, like the people who express it.
Can that be true? Were great examples of faith outspoken and obvious or did they carry their faith a little more quietly? One example doesn’t fit the big faith mold.
Jochebed, The Mother of Moses
You probably know Jochebed’s story. She lived under the oppressive rule of Pharaoh. He had enslaved the Israelites to reduce their numbers. He was afraid they were getting a little to numerous to manage. When enslavement didn’t reduce their numbers, he took a more drastic step. He decreed the destruction of all male born children.
Fortunately, that plan didn’t work either. The midwives who managed the birth of these children disobeyed, allowing the males to live. But Moses’ mother went a step further.
She devised a plan not only to save Moses but to insure he got the benefits not afforded any other Israelite child. The outcome was he was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as one of Pharaoh’s own.
Maybe it was a mother’s sixth sense, I don’t know, but she saw Moses as a potentially great leader. That was important because God had promised to delivered Israel from bondage. She believed that promise and knew God would need someone to lead the charge.
I won’t go through all the details but her plan worked. Moses was raised in the wisdom of Egypt and, if tradition is accurate, he learned the art of military leadership also.
But what about Jochebed’s faith? This is where the story becomes most interesting.
Her faith wasn’t loud or boisterous. She carried no placards. She made no public declarations. She expected great things from God but she didn’t publish it in the Goshan Gazette.
Everything she did was below the radar. As far as we know, she kept the whole thing very quiet. The Bible doesn’t even tell us what she prayed. She acted quietly and secretly.
And she probably acted alone. I don’t doubt her husband supported what she did, if he was even aware of it, but he was a slave. Slaves don’t work 9-to-5 and who knows whether they got home at night very often. I doubt he had much energy to contribute.
One last observation.
This faith was directly related to parenting. This had nothing to do with political action. Meaning, of course, you don’t have to change the government to protect your children. There is a lot a parent can do for their kids, by faith, in spite of the political environment.
Conclusion: The effect of her faith was big, bigger than she would ever know. But her faith, though decisive, active and strategic, was quiet and almost off the record.
Faith doesn’t have to be loud.