Category Archives: Matters of Faith

About Imaginary People

Mankind has always been, at least in part, an imaginary people. Modern man: more so.  The proliferation of social media makes this easy.

imaginary peopleTo the degree that each of us manages an image, we are imaginary people.  If you have a gazillion “friends” or “followers” on social media but those people follow because of a persona you made up and maintain; you are (mostly) an imaginary person.  If no one knows what you are really like, then they don’t like you, they like a persona you created.

Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it easy for us to build up a particular image.  We can forward or re-post funny, encouraging, upbeat things even if we are not funny, encouraging, or up-beat people.  On social media we can be what others expect us to be or what we wish we were.  But when we put on that mask, we become imaginary people, for we are not representing who we really are inside. Continue reading About Imaginary People

Praying For Our Leaders

Jesus is king, leader, leaders, rulersIt seems our nation is becoming more and more divided as large groups of people focus on and become vocal about their own personal desires.  Divisions are forming as social groups form up on one side or the other of many issues.  A large part of this divisiveness involves media and pundits attacking our leaders.  At city, county, state, and national levels, leadership is under attack.

We as Christians need to refrain from bad-mouthing our leaders.  The Bible calls this murmuring, and condemns it.  The word translated as murmur is also used as “complain” or “grumble” and refers to the grousing of people to one another rather than addressing the issue directly. Continue reading Praying For Our Leaders

Instruction for the Persecuted Church

The Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica was primarily to assure them that believers who died before Jesus returned would be taken up, and to answer some questions.  This was needed because when the Jewish leaders learned that Paul was teaching in this city, they incited the gentile population, persecuted the church, and drove Paul and his traveling companions out before they could teach the Thessalonians much about living as a believer.

persecutedThey left behind a fledgling church.  It was not uncommon for Paul to spend 2 or 3 years teaching a newly planted church how to live as followers of The Way (Christians) but he didn’t get that chance this time.  Before fleeing, Paul appointed the men with the strongest faith to be leaders over the new congregation and promised to return as soon as was possible.

Outsiders were attempting to infiltrate the young church and turn them from the Gospel, so Paul wrote to them to answer the allegations being made and to encourage the church to stand strong in faith: to test new teaching against the scripture, to trust their leaders.

In chapter 5:14-15 Paul says, Continue reading Instruction for the Persecuted Church

What Manner of Ministry?

Ministry is an often misunderstood word. To some it is synonymous with “preaching”, and is little else. While sharing the good news of the Gospel with those in need of it is part of a life of ministry, it goes beyond that. The Biblical meaning of “ministry” is “service”.

ministry, service, lifeIn most cases the New Testament word translated as “ministry” is “diakonia” (Strongs 1248), which refers to “domestic duties” not religious teaching or ceremony which is the word “leitourgia” (3009). The exact meaning depends on the context of its use but in general it means the rendering of aid to another, the way a waiter/waitress serves a customer, an aid serves an officer or administrator, or a soldier serves his or her country. Continue reading What Manner of Ministry?

Carnality in Christ

This week we’re looking at the passage found in Colossians 3:1-17 which deals with Christians living a carnal life:

carnality, spitit. flesh, war, struggleIf then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Continue reading Carnality in Christ

Unity Through Humility

In Philippians 2 the apostle Paul writes to the group of believers  at Philippi and encourages them to remain unified in the gospel, saying:

humility, CS Lewis fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.   . . . 

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life,

Continue reading Unity Through Humility

Avoiding Regret and Repentance

regret sorrow misgivingsWe all experience regret over things we’ve said and done – or didn’t say or do when we should have. The Bible says that if we repent of our wrong-doings, God is swift to forgive us. People may not be so swift to forgive, so it is best to avoid doing things that cause anguish in the first place.

Regret vs. Repentance

Regret is a feeling of sorrow over something we’ve done.  Our regret may be over the knowledge that we have inadvertently hurt someone, or it may be over the fact that we got caught doing something we thought we’d get away with.  Either way regret is sorrow, but not necessarily knowing that we were wrong in doing something.  In fact we may feel regret now, but if the opportunity arises again, we may well do it again because we still feel we had the “right” to do whatever we did … we’ll just be more careful not to get caught. Continue reading Avoiding Regret and Repentance

Why Retain the Knowledge of God

Yesterday I came across a discussion thread in a group I belong to on Facebook. The poster asked if we thought mankind was becoming more peaceful as our technological knowledge increased and we gain an abundance of material wealth. I do not believe this to be the case and said so. I do not believe this to be the case because human society as a whole is bent on replacing God with technology. I am reminded of Romans 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things that are not fitting:”

Rejecting knowledge of God, retainSo-called “modern society” does not want to retain a knowledge of God. It actively seeks to push God out of any and all public venues and to silence those of us who desire to speak of Him. At least, to speak truth of Him. Those who are willing to promote a god that will save everyone regardless of their deeds; they may speak. But their god is not the God of the Bible. Not the creator of the universe, not the God who will sit with Jesus in judgment of mankind. Their god is an idol they have created to serve their needs and desires, because they do not want to retain the knowledge of the true God.

Lets take a closer look at Romans 1, starting with the remainder of the passage begun above: Continue reading Why Retain the Knowledge of God

For the Good of the Gospel

obedience, gospel
Elijah vs Priests of Baal

Believers are sometimes asked by God to do things that are uncomfortable.  A few have been asked to do things that are mind-numbingly dangerous for the good of the gospel.  Old testament prophets have gone toe-to-toe with hundreds of prophets of Baal in a contest of “my God is bigger than your god” (and won decisively, by the way), been swallowed alive by a great fish (and sustained inside it for days) before deciding to comply with the directive to preach repentance to a huge and hostile city/state, strode, uninvited, into the chambers of a king (that alone, earning them an instant death penalty) then proceeding to tell the King what God has ordered the King to do.  The list goes on.

The most striking example of this in the New Testament is the Apostle Paul.  He sets out on three missionary journeys, traveling all around the Mediterranean rim, telling the inhabitants of Jesus and the salvation He offers.  To the Jewish leaders, this was an unpopular message and they tried several time to kill Paul.  They chased him out of cities, they even charged him with sedition before the Roman governor in hopes of having Paul put to death. Continue reading For the Good of the Gospel

The Window

Originally written February 20, 2016, this article has been lounging around in a folder while I gathered the courage to publish it. I guess it’s time.

Imagine a room: it’s a comfortable room with big windows that allow in light. But because the windows are tinted to keep out the summer heat, opening the windows makes the room brighter. And the fresh air invigorates the room with the scent of flowers and pine trees.

About three weeks ago a window opened up in my being and allowed the full sunshine and scented air to come in, and I became exceptionally happy. Not that I’m grumpy, but now I was feeling an extra something that caused me to be humming or whistling a lot: which annoyed the dogs but gave me a brighter outlook on everything.

Three days into this improved outlook I was fixing breakfast and preparing the little cups for our daily pills. I picked up a bottle that I’ve picked up every morning for over 20 years, and as I reached to unscrew the cap, the Holy Spirit within me said, “You don’t need that; put it away.” Continue reading The Window