10 Nonconventional Ideas About Faith

Belief involves a thinking process but faith never happens in your head.

You Can’t
Stereotype Faith

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…]

Christmas Story: Comparing The Supporting Characters

Knowledge is important. Discernment is essential.

Zacharias And Simeon
Are Similar Yet Different
Both Add Richness
To The Story

There are many supporting characters in the Christmas Story. Some have very short roles but they all add richness to the plot. Because they are diverse, they symbolize different types of believers.

More on that later.

Two characters that illustrate this are Zacharias (Luke 1:5-25) and Simeon (Luke 2:21-35). They were alike in many ways but very different also. Neither could be called an unbeliever but each expressed their belief in different ways as the following comparison shows: [Read more…]

Finding God In Life – But Which Life?

Life's Measurement Is Meaninng Not Time

Two Questions:
How Much of a Life Do You Have?
And
Which One Are You Living?

God is a part of our lives constantly. He is present and aware everyday, every moment of everyday . Nothing goes unseen by Him. Nothing catches Him by surprise.

We, however, sometimes scratch our heads in wonderment thinking,

“where are You now God, when I need You most?”

The answer is He’s right where He’s always been. He hasn’t moved or changed. He operates by the same principles for everyone.

Deep down we know this is true but still question Him anyway not because He isn’t present but because He isn’t doing exactly what we asked – resolve some horribly embarrassing dilemma immediately – and instead of questioning our request or motive or approach we assume He didn’t hear or can’t answer or is being passive aggressive.

Saying nothing or doing nothing, however, is a response.

When He doesn’t give us what we ask for, the correct assumption is to think He wants us to change our perspective. He isn’t the talisman that helps us solve life’s problems. He provides the wisdom to solve these problems and then expects us to do something with it.

If we are going to find Him in life, we are the ones who must change.

The problem is most of us don’t really know what “Life” is. What does that term really mean? And defining “Life” isn’t the only problem. According to Jesus we can adopt one of two possible life’s so after we define the term we need to figure out which one we’re living. [Read more…]

Spend Sabbaths – Save Money – Live Longer

There are several events in the Bible that critics love to focus on, one of which is the stoning of a Sabbath breaker (Numbers 15:32-36). The event occurred about a year and half after the Exodus and within a few months of leaving Mt. Sinai. Unfortunately, it is one story that is easily construed to impugn God’s benevolence. Following are the facts:

A man was found picking up “sticks” on the Sabbath and immediately taken to Moses. This was a no-no. Work on the Sabbath was not allowed. It was declared a day of rest in perpetuity and the penalty for breaking this law was death (Exodus 31:13-17). Sounds a bit severe. Even the Israelites hesitated. Before acting on what the law clearly stated they put the man in hold while Moses consulted with God.

And the answer?

Execute the man publicly. All Israel was to stone him to death which means everyone, young and old alike, were aware of this stoning, and the reason for it, in real time. They not only witnessed it they participated. Seems gruesome! Glad I wasn’t there. [Read more…]

OT Law – Restrictive Not Prescriptive

Prominent use of the death penalty reflects poorly on society.

Commands And Laws
Never Change
Statures Always Do

Exodus through Deuteronomy are the four books of the Old Testament that contain what is called the Law of Moses and these laws are the topic of many discussions.

Some people misguidedly attempt to super impose these laws on today’s cultures, a hopeless and useless endeavor.  Refrigeration and modern farming methods have made the dietary restrictions obsolete.  We eat pork today with no nutritive repercussions.  Even in Jesus’ day improved food handling had overcome the obvious dangers of eating “unclean” animals.

Of course, Old Testament laws are not all given an equal hearing. Some people attempt to uphold certain laws while completely ignoring others.  We love the laws relating to monogamous marriage but are a bit embarrassed to admit polygamy was regulated rather than run out of town.

Moralists today are adamant about the one and embarrassed by the other. It’s difficult to argue loudly for one without getting tripped up by the other. It raises many questions also: Why wasn’t polyandry regulated? And a question like that implies chauvinism. [Read more…]