Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Despair and Faith

Posted: May 4, 2016 in Faith
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sea2331

The world can seem so dark. Wars, the rumor of wars, etc. Genocide. Religious persecution. Economical and political instability. It would be so easy to despair. I feel it, like a weight, pressing me down. And then God reminds me He is still sovereign, still reigning supreme, and still in control, though I don’t see it.  (more…)

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What the heart desires

Posted: May 3, 2016 in Faith
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“Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, we are desiring God above all. Then our desires will be His desires. He is pleased to give us Himself. And He is pleased and glorified when we are satisfied in Him.

So Long Self

Posted: April 27, 2016 in Faith, Music, Uncategorized
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I think I’ve shared the lyrics to this song before, but this is my song of the day. I’ve loved the lyrics to “So Long Self” by MercyMe from the first moment I heard it, but it seems to resonate particularly strongly with me today. (more…)

God of the small things

Posted: April 6, 2016 in Faith, Life
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Sleepyhead kid

Sometimes we think the Bible only speaks on the big issues. But scripture has very imminently practical instructions and advice in small matters as well. Take Proverbs 27:14 for example:

Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice,
rising early in the morning,
will be counted as cursing.

(more…)

Bible Reading Pro-Tips

Posted: December 14, 2015 in Faith
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biblereading25151

Desiring God has a great article title Three Tips for Better Bible Reading. This article isn’t about why one should read scripture regularly. Most Christians I’ve spoken with on the topic already know it’s important…and feel guilty for failing to do so. Many try but get bogged down for one reason or another. The article mentioned provides some thoughts on ways to do so effectively.

[Spoiler Alert: I’m going to tell you what they are, and my take on them, but I still recommend reading the primary article for yourself.]

1) Listen to audio Bibles

I’m a fan of this myself. That’s part of my regular routine. My mind tends to wander while reading anything. I found that listening while I read really helps me stay focused. The article suggested reading in one translation and listening to another. I’d not considered that before. I have a feeling that I would find it distracting (as I sometimes do in church when scripture is read aloud in a translation different from what I’m reading) but I’ll probably still give it a go and see what happens.

Personally I use YouVersion on my iPad (or bible.com on my laptop) both for my reading plan and listening pleasure, but there are other options out there and the article provides links to a few.

2) Read books of the Bible in one sitting. 

This is really effective at giving one a macro level view of a book. We usually break up readings into small chunks which can sometimes cause us to miss things only noticeable in the big picture.

I’ve done this with some of the shorter books or when studying in preparation of a new sermon series (I preach expositorily through books of the Bible).

3) Read without any chapters or verse references.

Have you ever noticed a paragraph or even a sentence broken up by a chapter mark? It happens. The chapter and verse divisions aren’t part of the original text. While these features help us locate specific places in scripture, they can also cause us to lose the meaning or emphasis of a passage. Just this week I discovered a sentence broken into three verses and discovered the emphasis of a passage completely changed when I ignored the verse divisions and read the sentence as a whole.

Bonus: Just keep reading

This is my own addition. One things which used to bog me down was allowing myself to get sidetracked by interesting things. Something would grab my attention and I’d start chasing it down, doing word studies, historical studies, etc. To combat this I started doing a quick underline or note in the margin and move on. Later that day I’ll come back to the passages I read and start looking more deeply into those things which grabbed my attention during reading time.

Well, there’s my two cents. I recommend reading the main article and finding the tools which work for you.

How can we sing…

Posted: December 4, 2015 in Faith, Music
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christmasmusic

I’m listening to Christmas music. Fitting, given the season. The song “Mary Did You Know” comes on. It’s being sung by a group whose members are not followers of Christ. I find myself asking how they can sing this song with such passion and seeming conviction and not be brought to their knees.

One reason I gave up acting was how much it took out of me. I was a method actor. Each part, each piece was exhausting. I essentially became the character. Parts of these characters continued to live on in me. It became increasingly difficult to play characters which were much divergent from my own personality and values. Either I was dry and unconvincing or their world views became part of my own for a time.

A similar thing occurs in music. Music affects me very deeply. God has used music more than any other thing to convict me of sin, call me to repentance, and encourage me in my faith. I have great trouble singing a song I cannot agree with. This is true even of my own music. Songs I wrote in my past, when I was younger and more foolish, I have a very difficult time playing even on my own in a “blast from the past” rehearsal.

I do not become upset when I hear faith oriented Christmas music sung by unbelievers. I don’t care of a functional atheist, Buddhist, Jew, secular humanist, etc. records a Christmas album and sings about the birth of Jesus. It’s simply that I don’t understand how they can remain unaltered by the message.

Jude

Posted: June 17, 2015 in Faith
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jude2w12

Jude, as a biblical author, impresses me. He impresses me for his humility. Jude was one of Jesus’ brothers…or rather half-brothers seeing as how Jesus father was God the Father and Jude’s father was Joseph. Even so, he was Jesus brother. Yet in his intro, he doesn’t claim brotherhood with Christ. Rather he says, “a servant of Jesu Christ”. That’s something. We know from the gospels that in the early part of Jesus’ ministry his family was concerned that he might be insane (Mark 3:21). Yet two of the epistles in the New Testament were written by Jesus own brother (the other being the book of James incase you missed that one). What caused these men who thought their brother was bonkers to fall as his feet and call him LORD? I really cannot fathom my own sister saying, “A servant of Jason.” Not in a million years.

No, Jude had a major conversion experience of some kind. As Christ said in Mark 6:4, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” Yes this part of Jesus household came to honor him. Not just honor him, but service him. Jude’s conversion was so profound that he doesn’t even use that relationship to put forward his letter. “[A] servant of Jesus…” he says.

Humility is a lost art. In certain circles my grandfather’s name can take me quite far…and I’ve not been above dropping it from time to time in the right ears. Perhaps I should take a note from Jude.