Trustworthy

Why we trust

Solid Ground for Faith

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Not certainty, but trust

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When we get our spiritual house in order, we’ll be dead. This goes on. You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear up things for you. It is trust, not certainty.

–Flannery O’Connor

Published in: on 11/08/2015 at 11:38  Leave a Comment  
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To have faith in Christ

sitting on shore 3[To have faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

―C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Published in: on 09/09/2015 at 9:15  Leave a Comment  
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Living in the Gospel

120847__autumn-sun-trail-trees-leaves-green-yellow-grass-branches-forest-nature_p copyThe “power” for life that so many clamor for, and in some cases perform charismatic gymnastics to try to “receive the download,” is as simple as being reoriented to the gospel on a moment by moment basis. Every second of life, and every challenge life brings, is an opportunity to be reoriented to the truth that is in Jesus Christ in the gospel. Thanks be to God who has given us (note: past tense) the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t have to sing, shout, dance or engage in other diluted pagan practices to condition God to “release the victory” to me. I just have to believe and receive. It really works, and it is really that simple, and will always be that simple.

–Stephen R. Crosby

Soak in God’s love

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The great work of our lives
is to rest in the great work of God.
The great work of our lives is to learn to soak
in the love of God, which was finished for you
on a cross . . . 2,000 years ago and which
pours out with new supply
every morning.

–Justin Buzzard

Too good to believe

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Indeed the mystery
of Christ runs the risk
of being disbelieved
precisely because
it is so incredibly
wonderful.

–Cyril of Alexandria
(412—444)

Following a Person or a Belief?

Christ 9C2We must call men, not to loyalty to a belief but loyalty to a Person. We may be loyal to a belief and dead spiritually, but we cannot be loyal to this Person and be other than alive spiritually. He creates belief. He is the great Believer himself, and in the light of his radiant faith we cannot but believe. We do not get Jesus from our beliefs, we get our beliefs from Jesus. And they must of necessity be under constant correction by his mind and spirit.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Christ of the Indian Road

Living in the Gospel

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Someone says, “Listen, God doesn’t have time for your little problems. He is busy in the Middle East right now. He has bigger fish to fry. If you want something for yourself, you better get is the best way you can: buy this product and you will be important; wear these clothes and everyone will realize how distinguished you are; read this book and the knowledge will set you a cut about the crowd. Take care of yourself.”

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That sounds good, we begin to respond. And then we hear Paul’s indignant, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ.” Instinctively, immediately, we know that he is right. The only good news that will make a difference is that the living God personally addresses and mercifully forgives us. He sets things right at the center.

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This is what we need, what we want. We determine and we will not abandon the free life of the gospel and live in the fantasy dreams that others paint for us and then sell to us for a fee. We will live forgiven and in faith, not as a parasite on others, but creatively for others. We will not mope or cringe or whine. We will praise and venture and make.

–Eugene H. Peterson
Living the Message

Too Much Religion

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It seems odd to have to say so, but too much religion is a bad thing. We can’t get too much of God, we can’t get too much faith and obedience, can’t get too much love and worship. But religion—the well intentioned efforts we make to “get it all together” for God—can very well get in the way of what God is doing for us. The main and central action is everywhere and always what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. Jesus is the revelation of that action. Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to God’s action revealed in Jesus. Our part in the action is the act of faith.

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But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents worth. We add on, we supplement, we embellish. But instead of improving on the purity and simplicity of Jesus, we dilute the purity, clutter the simplicity. We become fussily religious, or anxiously religious. We get in the way.

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That’s when it’s time to read and pray our way through the letter to the Hebrews again, written for “too religious” Christians, for “Jesus-and” Christians. In the letter, it is Jesus-and-angels, or Jesus-and-Moses, or Jesus-and-priesthood. In our time it is more likely to be Jesus-and-politics, or Jesus-and-education, or even Jesus-and-Buddha. This letter deletes the hyphens, the add-ons. the focus becomes clear and sharp again: God’s action in Jesus. And we are free once more for the act of faith, the one human action in which we don’t get in the way but on the Way.

–Eugene Peterson
Living the Message

A vital reminder

empty-tombEaster is a reminder
that God is not hostage
to one’s lack of faith.
Nobody was believing or looking
for it when it happened.

–Chris Seidman

New life breaking through

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The whole of the Sermon [Matt 5-7] is framed within Jesus’s announcement that what his fellow Jews had longed for over many generations was now at last coming to pass – but that new kingdom didn’t look like they had thought it would. Indeed, in some ways it went in exactly the other direction. No violence, no hatred of enemies, no anxious protection of land and property against the pagan hordes. In short, no frantic intensification of the ancestral codes of life.

Rather, a glad and unworried trust in the creator God, whose kingdom is now at last starting to arrive, leading to a glad and generous heart toward other people, even those who are technically “enemies.” Faith, hope, and love: here they are again. They are the language of life, the sign in the present of green shoots growing through the concrete of this sad old world, the indication that the creator God is on the move, and that Jesus’s hearers and followers can be part of what he’s now doing.

― N. T. Wright

Not alone

424926_Tree-Lined-AvenueI know:
there is someone
waiting for me,
who will not
give up on me,
who goes ahead of me,
who lifts me up,
someone to whom
I am important.

–Jürgen Moltmann

Hope, faith and love

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Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime;
Therefore, we are saved by HOPE.

Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense
in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by FAITH.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by LOVE.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint
of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love
which is forgiveness.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Published in: on 01/02/2015 at 3:02  Leave a Comment  
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Sin is Relational

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Divine goodness is not just perfect, it is more than perfect. It spills out beyond itself like sunlight. It is agape, generosity, altruism, self-giving, self-sacrificial love. God seeks intimacy with Man . . . “Your creator shall become your Husband,” says Isaiah (54:5). To that end, He makes covenants, to prepare for the fundamental covenant, marriage.

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No pagan ever suspected the possibility of such intimacy, even with their finite, anthropomorphic gods: that is, the relationship scripture calls “faith,” or fidelity. And therefore no pagan ever understood the deeper meaning and terror of “sin” either, for sin is the breaking of that relationship. Sin is to faith what infidelity is to marriage. Only one who knows the wonder of marriage can know the horror of infidelity.

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That is why Jesus . . . took sin much more seriously than any pagan possibly could, and why He paid the ultimate price—His own life—to save us from it.

–Peter Kreeft
The Philosophy of Jesus

Art: Benjamin West

Misguided requests

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We are forever asking God to do things that He either has already done or cannot do because of our unbelief. We plead for Him to speak when He has already spoken and is at that very moment speaking. We ask Him to come when He is already present and waiting for us to recognize Him. We beg the Holy Spirit to fill us while all the time we are preventing Him by our doubts.

–A. W. Tozer

Artwork: Leonid Afremov

Published in: on 11/03/2014 at 4:57  Leave a Comment  
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Gift of righteousness

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At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.

–Martin Luther
(1483-1546)

Bridge of grace

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The bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. Some have been the chief of sinners and some have come at the very last of their days but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support. It will bear me over as it has for them.

– C. H. Spurgeon
(1834-1892)

Published in: on 10/13/2014 at 13:37  Leave a Comment  
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When grace slips away

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Whenever faith
seems an entitlement,
or a measuring rod,
we cast our lots with
the Pharisees and grace
softly slips away.

–Philip Yancey
Soul Survivor

Image: Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

Published in: on 06/22/2014 at 21:12  Leave a Comment  
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Trust the engineer

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When a train goes through
a tunnel and it gets dark,
you don’t throw away
the ticket and jump off.
You sit still and trust
the engineer.

–Corrie Ten Boom

Published in: on 06/20/2014 at 9:18  Leave a Comment  
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Reasons of the heart

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The heart has its reasons
of which the reason knows nothing….
It is the heart which perceives God
and not the reason.
That is what faith is:
God perceived by the heart,
not by the reason.

–Blaise Pascal
(1623 – 1662)

Published in: on 06/12/2014 at 7:23  Leave a Comment  
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The gift of joy

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Yes, joy is God’s gift, but we must stretch out our hands to split the kindling of prayer, carry the logs of good deeds, lay the fire of faith, and strike the match of the Spirit. If we do our part, the Lord will not fail to build a cheerful roaring fire in our hearts.

–Mike Mason
Champagne for the Soul

Published in: on 06/10/2014 at 8:39  Leave a Comment  
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Fantasy and faith

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Someone says, “Listen, God doesn’t have time for your little problems. He is busy in the Middle East right now. He has bigger fish to fry. If you want something for yourself, you better get is the best way you can: buy this product and you will be important; wear these clothes and everyone will realize how distinguished you are; read this book and the knowledge will set you a cut about the crowd. Take care of yourself.”

less5divider2That sounds good, we begin to respond. And then we hear Paul’s indignant, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ.” Instinctively, immediately, we know that he is right. The only good news that will make a difference is that the living God personally addresses and mercifully forgives us. He sets things right at the center. This is what we need, what we want. We determine and we will not abandon the free life of the gospel and live in the fantasy dreams that others paint for us and then sell to us for a fee. We will live forgiven and in faith, not as a parasite on others, but creatively for others. We will not mope or cringe or whine. We will praise and venture and make.

–Eugene H. Peterson
Living the Message

Losing your faith—finding Jesus

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Sometimes you have to lose your faith to find Jesus.

Two travellers on their way to Emmaus had a collection of beliefs. They were confident about their doctrinal positions, secure in their theological convictions. It was all so Scriptural.

Everything looked so promising.

When suddenly the whole thing collapsed.

Their convictions fell apart at the seams when their Messiah didn’t set up his kingdom as expected. He got himself crucified.

Not exactly a Grand Finale.

It all ended in disaster.

And now with hopes dashed, they were going back home. Faith was gone and despair had taken its place. It was all over.

And that’s when they met Jesus.

The Jesus who breaks out of sealed tombs and overcomes invincible enemies. The Jesus who surprises, shocks and astounds. The Jesus who overthrows our preconceived ideas. The Jesus whose ways are bigger, deeper and richer than ours. The Jesus who shows up where we least expect him.

The Jesus who brings hope to troubled hearts.

The Jesus who still meets bewildered people on Emmaus roads.

–Jurgen Schulz

The goal of faith

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The goal of faith
is not to create a set
of immutable, rationalized,
precisely defined and 
defendable beliefs
to preserve forever.
It is to recover
a relationship
with God.

–Daniel Taylor

Going out on a limb

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The cautious faith,
that never saws off a limb
on which it is sitting,
never learns that
unattached limbs
may find strange,
unaccountable ways
of not falling.

―Dallas Willard

 

Published in: on 03/31/2014 at 13:24  Leave a Comment  
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He does the holding

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Don’t try to hold God’s hand,
let Him hold yours.
Let Him do the holding
and you do the trusting.

–H. William Webb-Peploe

Published in: on 03/29/2014 at 14:41  Leave a Comment  
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A pilgrimage of the heart

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Faith is not the clinging to a shrine,
but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.
Audacious longing, burning songs,
daring thoughts, an impulse
overwhelming the heart,
usurping the mind —
these are all a drive towards
serving Him who rings
our hearts like a bell.

–Abraham Joshua Heschel

Trusting in the dark

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If we insist on visible proofs from God, we may well prepare the way for a permanent state of disappointment.

True faith does not so much
attempt to manipulate God
to do our will as it does to position us
to do his will.

 As I searched through the Bible for models of great faith, I was struck by how few saints experienced anything like Job’s dramatic encounter with God. The rest responded to the hiddenness not by demanding that he show himself, but by going ahead and believing him though he stayed hidden.

–Philip Yancey
Disappointment with God

The beginning and the end

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I don’t know the end
from the beginning,
but I know the One
who has already written the end
and the beginning,
and I know he is
trustworthy.

―Stephen Altrogge
Untamable God

Published in: on 03/21/2014 at 16:07  Leave a Comment  
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