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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

I trust you but I am not sure I believe you

July 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Personal picture, taken in Mindanao

Earlier in the week, I had to make a choice—to trust someone’s directions or go with my instinct—that told me to NOT to turn.  As we were headed up the road, with no visual indication that they were correct, I said, “I trust you but I am not sure I believe you.”  I said that I was trusting because I took action based upon their knowledge even if my head told me otherwise.  Is not the essence of faith, action based upon knowledge?  Knowledge that the person we are trusting knows what they are doing or a belief that the person upon whom we are relying is trustworthy.

If we know or have a guarantee how things are going to work out, we have no need of faith. Is that correct? Yet, my (preferred?) default is to live life without the need for faith.  I think this is because I must admit an absence of control when I choose to live by faith. And maintaining control, even an illusion of control somehow brings comfort. Not really but I think I have more security when I am in control.  In actuality, when I acknowledge my lack of control to someone I can trust to be in control and who genuinely cares about my well-being, I can relax.  The pressure is off. Now, I am back to Psalm 24:8-10.

Who is this king of Glory? The LORD strong and mighty.
Who is this king of Glory? The LORD mighty in battle.

Who is this king of Glory? The LORD of Hosts
He is the King of Glory.

So, why not . . .
Open up your gates (Surrender control)
Let this King of Glory come in!

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Does God really care?

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Imagine the scene in Mark 4:35-41

The disciples are in the boat trying not to lose their boat and avoid drowning and Jesus is asleep in the back. When they wake him up, they ask, “Don’t you care that we are perishing”?

Jesus response is not what I would expect. “Why are you acting so cowardly? Where is your faith?”

Is it cowardly to be afraid you are about to die?

I think of being a coward as running away from something; not doing something out of  fear of the consequences.

What the disciples (and I) don’t get is that when Jesus is in our boat, when he is with us, we are safe and there is no need to fear the consequences. Big waves, fierce wind, feeling unproductive, unfulfilled, frustrated, angry–trust me says Jesus.

I find it interesting that after Jesus stops the storm, the disciples became fearful–actually, they were caused to fear (passive) with a great fear.

Why? Because of the awesome display of the power of God.

I love what comes next, “Who is this guy?” Even the wind and waves obey him!

Seems like there are two kinds of fear here–a self-centered fear and a God-centered fear. In the storm they were afraid to die, afraid they were being left alone to make it with out any help. Faced with self-centered   fear, they might have done anything to get out of the situation–including insulting their teacher, “don’t you care?”

But the other kind of fear is a God-centered fear, the kind that causes you to fall down and say, “ok God, I surrender, I give up.” A fear that produces reverence and awe. A safe yet holy fear. I want to have a God-centered fear but tend to have a self-centered fear.

Does a self-centered fear lead us to doubt that God really cares?

What do you fear today?

More spiritual than religious

April 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Yet another study on the beliefs of today’s generations.  Believing More than Belonging is the title of the article, based on a study by the Pew Forum “exploring the behaviors, values and opinions of the teens and 20-somethings that make up the Millennial Generation.”  Here are a couple of charts from the full study

In a related article, here is a quote on what we need to do to get the younger generations into our churches.

“To attract these young adults, religious leaders have to rethink the taken-for-granted package of ministries they offer, de-center support for family formation as their primary area of ministry for those under 35, adopt less hierarchical styles of organization, and listen more. This is more difficult than railing against ‘those young people’ and their supposed lack of a moral center, but it is more likely to achieve the desired result.”

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God is eager to bless

March 10, 2010 1 comment

Lars Klotrrup Picture

You might expect the above statement to come from a health and wealth proponent but it comes from a man who is soon to die; who has lived with severe chronic pain and cancer the last few years.  Following are excerpts from an interview Timothy Dalrymple had with William Stuntz. One of the most compelling pieces I have ever read.  Thanks to my dear wife. Headings are mine but the rest is excerpted from an interview with Stuntz.

God is eager to bless

My experience of cancer especially is that God is just so eager to bless.  I find blessing all over the place, not in the cancer itself but all around it.  It would almost be easier to answer what blessings I have not found.

Since my cancer diagnosis, I have experienced more friendship from more people than at any other time in my life.  I’ve experienced not just a quality of medical care but a kind of medical care, humane medical care delivered by humane and decent people, that seems Christ-like to me.  I don’t know the religious convictions of all the people who have treated me, but I certainly believe that they are used by God in ways that are really quite extraordinary to bring blessing to people who are in circumstances that lead them to hunger for blessing.  I do hunger for blessing in the midst of these medical conditions, but I regularly find that hunger satisfied.

Life has become more concrete

Chronic pain and cancer both make life more concrete.  In times of good health, when our bodies are doing everything we want and expect them to do, there is a tendency to think of spiritual life as something that is anything but concrete.  That’s not possible, I find, in my present circumstances.  My medical conditions, independently and together, are inescapable.  Perhaps that’s the key feature.  They are there all the time.  There is no time when I am not aware of them.  I hurt all the time.  I’m exhausted all the time.  There is no escaping either of those states of affairs.  I simply never feel like I used to feel virtually all the time.

I am more than but not less than a cancer patient

I want to be more than a cancer patient and chronic pain patient.  But I cannot be less than a cancer patient and a chronic pain patient.  Those are large parts of my life.  They are part of who I am.  Although I would love to have my pain and my cancer removed tomorrow, that would not be an easy thing.  I would have to learn how to be somebody else.

NOT Believing in the God of Disappointment

What I am displeased with is my own living of life.  I feel an acute sense that I ought to have done better with the circumstances I was given.  This is one of the reasons why it cut me so deeply when people suggested that suffering is God’s discipline — because I find it so very, very easy to believe in a God who is profoundly disappointed in me.

It seems utterly natural to believe in the Disappointed God, because I myself am disappointed.  He must be even more disappointed, I think, because his standards are so much higher than mine.  How could he not be disappointed?  That makes complete sense to me.

It’s the other God, the God who does not experience that kind of disappointment, the God who sees me the way that Prodigal Son’s father saw him — that is the harder God for me to believe in.  It takes work for me to believe in that God.

God longing for me is unspeakably sweet

“You will call and I will answer.  You will long for the creature your hands have made” (Job 14:15).

I find those lines very powerful.  The concept that God longs for the likes of me is so unspeakably sweet.  I almost cannot bear to say them aloud.  They are achingly sweet for me to hear.

There are many passages I love, but that one in particular has grabbed hold of me.  Job’s hope, it turns out, is more realistic than his despair.

Please Be My Strength

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Sad morning.  A young MK from our mission and a long-time friend of ours (another missionary) died in the night.  John wrote, “We’re numb, shattered hearts and yet our soul is anchored by the firm foundation of Jesus, the author and completor of our faith.  I remember Lynn and celebrate a life well lived. With hearts surrrendered to His eternal purposes”

Found this song by Gungor last night.  Beautifully expresses what I am sure both families have experienced in recent days.  May these two families continue to know God being their strength.

Please Be My Strength
I’ve tried to stand my ground
I’ve tried to understand
but I can’t seem to find my faith again

like water on the sand
or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short

please be my strength
please be my strength
I don’t have anymore
I don’t have anymore

I’m looking for a place
where I can plant my faith
one thing I know for sure

I cannot create it
I cannot sustain it
It’s Your love that’s keeping (captured) me

Please be my strength…

at my final breath
I hope that I can say
I’ve fought the good fight of faith

I pray your glory shines
in this doubting heart of mine
and all would know that You

You are my strength
You and You alone
Keep bringin me back home

You are my strength

You are my strength

You and You alone
Keep bringin me back home

Here is the Gungor myspace and their own website Unfortunately, I could not find the song above so you will need to go to itunes or another similar site. I did download it and the melody fits well with the words.

Why receiving forgiveness is hard

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Usually, I read about why we should offer or give forgiveness but this post from the Henri Nouwen society on Jan 25, 2010, is on receiving forgiveness.

There are two sides to forgiveness: giving and receiving. Although at first sight giving seems to be harder, it often appears that we are not able to offer forgiveness to others because we have not been able fully to receive it. Only as people who have accepted forgiveness can we find the inner freedom to give it. Why is receiving forgiveness so difficult? It is very hard to say, “Without your forgiveness I am still bound to what happened between us. Only you can set me free.” That requires not only a confession that we have hurt somebody but also the humility to acknowledge our dependency on others. Only when we can receive forgiveness can we give it.

Why your best days are ahead of you

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I think I missed making a re-post of Michael Hyatts Why You Aren’t Dead Yet.  I have slightly reworded the title of the post here since the title might be a bit discouraging.  The contents are anything but!  Thought of this after talking to a couple of friends.  Hyatt did the post in response to the following question of an old yet wise friend, “Do I have anything left to contribute? Are my best days over?”  Needless to say, Hyatt’s response to his friend and to all of us was, you better believe it.  Hyatt’s conclusion,

You may be old. You may be sick. You may be divorced. Your kids may not be speaking to you. You may be out of work. You may be broke. You may be discouraged.

But you’re not dead yet.

And that’s proof that you still have not completed what you were put on earth to do.

Aftermy recent post on  paradoxical commandments, the song, “I do it anyway” and 2 cor 4:16, me thinks there is an ongoing theme here.

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