Archives For Faith

Matthew 25:1-13 tells the parable of the ten virgins. The story details how ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were prepared to stick it out until the groom showed up, bringing extra oil to keep their lamps lit throughout the dark night. The other five didn’t come prepared. They brought their lamps, but no oil. When the groom didn’t show as early as they expected, they all fell asleep.

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When the groom arrived at midnight unexpectedly, the ones who were prepared lit their lamps so the groom could see them. These were invited into the wedding banquet, but the unprepared were left outside, alone and in the dark. The moral of the story is to be prepared in case the Lord delays and doesn’t show up until midnight. My friends, midnight is coming.

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If you’ve been around church for awhile, you are probably familiar with the terms “sins of commission” and “sins of omission”. In case you aren’t, sins of commission are those we knowingly commit, things we do on purpose. Sins of omission, on the other hand, are those things we know we should do but don’t. I recently was introduced to a third type, “sins of addition”. The term was coined by Alicia Britt Chole, a new author to me, but one who I am immensely enjoying. Alicia wrote, “We all guard against sins of commission and we are vigilant toward sins of omission.

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But achievements—even in small doses—can make us vulnerable to sins of addition: adding niceties and luxuries to our list of basic needs, adding imaginations onto the strong back of vision, adding self-satisfaction to the purity of peace.”

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Long-time readers know Easter is one of the few times of the year I write something time-specific. My hope has always been the articles on this web site will live for years outside of any context, but be helpful to someone whenever they might come across it. Easter is special. It’s my favorite day of the year. It’s the most important day in history. Christmas may have brought God to earth in the form of a man, but it’s Easter which proved He was indeed God and provided the only way to an eternity of peace and joy in the presence of God.

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As I write this, Easter is almost a month away; when this post first publishes, Easter will have been yesterday. But the feelings I have about Easter are already about to burst from within. Truly it is good to remember at any time Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

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I confess much of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote is so deep it eludes me. I wrestle for hours with some of his instruction. Every now and then I come across something he wrote which is plain, simple, and at-once life-changing. One of those statements I read recently was, “My life is put to shame when what I rely on fails.”

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It prompts one to reflect on their own life and ask, “On what am I relying? On what am I building my life? What is my foundation?” So, I will ask you, “What is your foundation?” One thing I know, Christ is reliable without fail. He is fail-proof. No one and nothing else can make this claim.

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There is much pain and loneliness in the world. Every day people disappoint us. It’s difficult to keep your head up and keep going. It seems so easy to forget how much God loves us; we forget this is the only thing that matters. We love Jesus because He first loved us.

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When we come to understand who He is and what He has done for us, we cannot help but love Him more than we love anyone or anything else. None compare to Jesus. When we live in this truth, the disappointments and discouragements of this world begin to matter less. Only Jesus is worthy of our affection.

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I was recently intrigued by a thought passing through my brain: “The excess I have belongs to those in need.” It’s not the most comfortable thought to consider. I like a little excess. I appreciate the peace and comfort it affords. Yet how can I hold onto more than I need when there are those in the world suffering in abject poverty? One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 30:8 which says, “Give me just enough for today.”

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The author states if he has too much, he will take it all for granted and forget God’s provision in his life. If he has too little, he may be tempted to steal to acquire what he needs. The sweet spot is having just enough for today. Any excess should be shared with others.

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When all else has passed away, faith, hope, and love will remain (1 Corinthians 13:13). Faith, hope, and love are the essence of our belief in God. They are the underpinnings of all Christianity is meant to be. On a personal level, they are the glue holding our lives together. Take any one of the three out of the equation, and things begin to unravel. Together, they are the anchor of our soul.

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Without faith, hope, and love it would be impossible to please God or serve others. Without faith, hope, and love we could never know or understand God. While the apostle Paul singles out love as being the most important of the three, I submit without faith and hope, you could never have love in the first place.

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Spiritual warfare is a real and ever-present occurrence in the life of a disciple of Jesus. We spend most of our days fighting off Satan. Whether it’s in the subtlety of the decisions we make each day or getting smacked in the face with a major challenge to our faith, for as long as we are seeking to follow Christ we’ll be fighting off Satan. On our own, we’ll lose every time. Our sinful, physical beings are no match for the dark spiritual forces swirling about us.

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But Jesus not only can defeat Satan, He already has. Satan is no longer any match for those who are allowing Christ to live through them. Knowing this, why do we so often succumb to the temptations of the devil? Why are we not finding more success standing against him?

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Jeremy Camp has written a song titled, “The Same Power”. It reminds us the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us. How often do we live as if this is true? We spend our days trying to solve problems in our own strength. We never want to be seen as incapable or weak. Our image often seems to be our primary concern. Jesus said He is glorified through our weakness. Indeed, it is only when we humble ourselves enough to say we can’t do it on our own that His power is allowed to manifest itself in our lives.

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He longs to fill and equip us with His strength but gives us the option to accept it or not. He leaves it up to us to decide if we will call upon the power residing within us through His Spirit, or choose to attempt to conquer this world on our own.

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We should all want to be fierce followers of Christ. As a people, it seems Christians have lost a lot of the aggressiveness of those who came before us. For whatever reason, it has become fashionable for Christ followers to cower into passivity, doing whatever necessary to keep from offending anyone. This isn’t the life we saw modeled by Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to step on some toes when necessary. While he was the most gentle, caring, and loving person to ever walk this planet, He also possessed a sharp tongue and an intense passion for the truth.

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He didn’t let those who were perverting the truth slide by unnoticed; He called them out. Jesus pointed out what was wrong with the world and rebuked demonic influences in it. He was as quick to chastise those teaching false standards of living as He was to gently heal a person trapped in a life they did not want to live.

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