Living different lives

One of the struggles Christians must face is our relationship with our society and the life that it offers us. Because people do not like anyone to be different or do anything other than what they do, there is always the pressure to conform to the standards of ‘everyone else’. How often have we heard as an explanation as to why someone chose to do something, “But everyone is doing it!” As Paul was writing to the Christians in Corinth, he had to deal with this very problem.

“Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, ‘I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NET) Continue reading “Living different lives”

Joining obedience and faith

Some modern Bibles render part of Romans 1:5 as “believe and obey” thus making faith and obedience two separate entities. This would seem to reflect more of the editors’ theological outlook than Paul’s mindset. Yet, we should not be surprised. How many people separate faith from obedient actions?

Paul joined faith and obedience into one unified idea. Yet, do we expect this?

Continue reading “Joining obedience and faith”

From why to what now

When disaster strikes, when sorrow overwhelms, when hardship envelops our lives, the first question we often ask is, “Why?”

We wonder why we or the ones we love have to endure pain. We question if God loves us or if we deserve it. We might even demand an answer from God.

Wanting to know why is understandable. Knowing why promises us satisfaction. But does God always tell us why? Continue reading “From why to what now”

Let your light shine

Life is different here today than it was one week ago. I suspect that it is for you as well. Tomorrow, life will be different than today. Trying to imagine what life will be like in a month seems a fool’s errand.

When life moves so swiftly it is easy to become insecure. As the unknown advances, darkness fills people’s hearts. Jesus told his disciples to let their light shine before men. What does that mean during a time like this? How can we shine the light of Jesus into this world of dread? Continue reading “Let your light shine”

Obedient faith or disobedience

There are some bizarre definitions of faith in the world. One of the most prevalent seems to be that one only believes in Jesus, and that automatically confers salvation on that person.

Not even John the Baptist, however, agreed with that prevalent idea. In John 3, in a discussion by John with his disciples, the cousin of Jesus said, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him,” (John 3:36 NASB). Continue reading “Obedient faith or disobedience”

Convenience or conviction

What would you do if you were alone in what you believed? The question is not, “What would you do while in the minority?” We all find ourselves there. Rather, what would you do if you were isolated, abandoned by others, alone? Would you give in? Or would you stand up? Perhaps it is this exercise that shows us whether ours is a stance of conviction or convenience.

Jeremiah offers an example of one who stood almost completely alone. He took a stand for God and it resulted in rejection, loneliness, and persecution. Continue reading “Convenience or conviction”

The power of faith

As the United States fought the Axis powers in World War II, scientists discovered splitting one of the tiniest particles of matter, an atom of Uranium, would yield enormous power. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was the most powerful explosion known.

Who could have realized splitting something as small as an atom would create such a terrible result? The explosion over Hiroshima killed thousands of people. Another bomb dropped on Nagasaki had the same effect.

There is power in small things. Continue reading “The power of faith”

Believing what one reads

“How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us?’ But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them?” (Jeremiah 8:8-9, ESV).

How often have we heard or said, “You cannot believe everything you read?” Human writers make mistakes. They also are always influenced by their own preconceptions, experience, education, and abilities, to say nothing of pressure from outside to conform to the demands of others. Sometimes, sadly, they just plain lie.

Even when it comes to sacred Scripture, which is from God and therefore is true (2 Timothy 3:16-17), we today are dependent upon other humans to preserve, translate, and explain it to us (as in Nehemiah 8:5-8). God’s word is absolutely dependable. Human teachers, not so much so. Continue reading “Believing what one reads”