Truly meaningful

I recently visited a beautiful early 1900 mansion in a small southern Texas city. The spacious grounds filled with nut bearing trees and the winding driveway that leads up to a still elegant country house overlooking the Guadalupe River instills a pastoral restfulness upon its visitors. And yet, lying nearly within the shadow of this tranquil elegance is a stark reminder – at least it was for me.

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Indestructible lives

It probably sounds too good to be true. Yet, through his actions and teachings, Jesus revealed he wants to help us build indestructible lives. What Jesus is offering should not be confused with that message of prosperity some pander in his name.

What Jesus promises leaves no room for such self-centered motives. Yet, he hopes all of us will embrace his offer to live lives capable of weathering not only the trials on earth but also possessing eternal life with God. Continue reading “Indestructible lives”

Baptizing babies

When people express a desire to baptize their babies, they might do so for many reasons. The motivation might be to fit in with their family’s religious or cultural traditions. Familial acceptance can provide a powerful force. Or perhaps a priest or preacher might have told them it is necessary. There can also be a concern that their baby is spiritually lost until this is accomplished.

If we are going to allow the Bible to shape our understanding regarding whether babies should be baptized, here is what we discover: Continue reading “Baptizing babies”

Six times and still nothing? Faith presses on

Ever feel like Habakkuk when he cried out, “How long, LORD, must I cry for help?” Sometimes it might feel like we are pressing forward with faith and obedience, and yet we do not see God’s intervention.

What can two stories about faith, obedience and God’s power teach us about living for our God? After all, we are neither the first nor the last to strive to live for God in a world filled with injustice and trials.

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Our God inspires hope

Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals God wants us to live with hope. Scripture reveals God promising a variety of things for those who belong to Christ.

Yet, perhaps a doubt lingers. Can I really trust in the hope God’s word would inspire? Let me suggest God has never called for a blind faith, an unwarranted obedience nor a groundless hope. God always gives us reason to believe, obey and hope before asking anything of us. Check me out on this claim.

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Moving beyond “why?”

We have all said it when confronted by disappointment. What elicited our question? Was it just an unexpected event or something much more significant? What is certain is we did not like it and we asked, “Why?”

When shallow platitudes are insufficient, “why” can consume massive amounts of our time and energy. Yet resolving it can remain as elusive as ever. Job can help us move beyond asking why to something more productive. Continue reading “Moving beyond “why?””

Squashing doubt and fear

Doubt can creep into our lives through many different avenues. Will this plan succeed? Will I be OK? Doubt spawns fear which erodes faith.

Spiritual doubt can arise when different voices spew forth conflicting messages about God and accessing eternal life. Even in the first century some Christians were wondering about questions similar to: What is my actual relationship with God? Have I chosen a sufficient spiritual path?

John provided a handbook so that God’s people could navigate such doubts. Anchoring his message upon a firm foundation, he offered evidence to squash doubt and fear. Here are some of his confidence builders. His letter provides a slam dunk. Continue reading “Squashing doubt and fear”

Remedies for going the distance

“What’s the point?” “Is this worth the effort?” We have all heard such comments and perhaps even asked such questions in certain situations.

When such thoughts reveal a floundering faith in Christ a physician’s care may be required. Just as athletes might need some athletic tape or analgesic spay to press on, Hebrews offers remedies for going the distance in moments of doubt and discouragement.  Continue reading “Remedies for going the distance”

The journey continues (5): the weakest link?

The previous article in this series is The Data Depot

Whenever people wish to dismiss an idea, they gravitate toward their perception of the weakest link. Discredit that link. Feel justified in rejecting the idea.

While such a decisive response could neither be justified nor wise, what might each perspective in the “faith of Christ” discussion regard as the opposing viewpoint’s weakest link? Ironically, both sides might point to whether or not this phrase should be rendered with “in.”

For those favoring “faith in Christ,” they might perceive the opposing opinion as fighting an uphill battle against the combined testimony of classic Greek grammars and commentaries. However, for those supporting “faith of Christ,” they might view “in” as being unwarranted by the text.

In my journey, two important questions surfaced: 1) How appropriate is it to translate a genitive with “in”? 2) Should “faith of Christ” be identified as an objective or subjective genitive?  Here are some milestones influencing my path. Continue reading “The journey continues (5): the weakest link?”