Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31 - Mark 8:38

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words
in this adulterous and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of him
when he comes in his Father's glory
with the holy angels.
Mark 8:38
Let's think for a moment about the difference between "shame" and "ashamed."
Shame, it could be said, is a synonym for sin. For example, when Adam and Eve at the apple, they covered up their sin and shame with an inadequate fig leaf.
Ashamed, on the other hand (and at least in this context) is more of a synonym for faith ... or really the lack thereof. For example, is our faith and Christian witness a) bold and vibrant, or b) timid and ashamed?
Now ... use these definitions to ask one of the big question in life: What keeps us out of heaven?
It's not shame. After all, as it says in Romans 3:23, "we've all sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Rather, it's being ashamed. A confident faith testifies. But if we're justified by faith, then what is a non-testifying faith? If Jesus is saying, "if you're ashamed of me, then I'll be ashamed of you," then maybe we need to be a bolder in our witness.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who's often been tempted
to be a boulder (silent as a rock)
than bolder.

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30 - Hebrews 10:35

do not throw away your confidence;
it will be richly rewarded.
Hebrews 10:35

If confidence is the oppositive of pride, and pride is one of the seven deadly sins, then why does Hebrews advise us hang onto our confidence.

Well ... there are two kinds of confidence. One is self-confidence. And it's just a hint, but any phrase that begins with "self-" is not likely to bring a very big blessing. And any confidence that begins and ends with "self-" is only as strong as we are on our worst and most vulnerable days.

The other kind of confidence is in someone or something else. Generally speaking, I have great confidence in my automobile's brakes, in the elevator cables, and in our nation's food supply. But ... brakes can fail, cables can sever, and food can be tainted.

What, therefore, is the one thing that will never fail us?!

God's love, grace, and power is obviously the confidence that Hebrews advises us to not throw away. And yet, how many people throw it away? Setbacks occur, and we blame God. Trials happen, and we blame God. Illness and deaths creep into our families, and we blame God.

The reward that is promised in this verse is not one that we have to wait until eternity to grasp. Hope, light, courage, and joy are the daily fruits of confident faith. Darkness, despair, sandness and fear are the wages of doubt.

May we place our true trust in the creator of heaven and earth.

In Christ's Love,
a guy who likes this paraphrase of Isaiah 31:1
Woe to those ... who rely on horses,
Alas for those ... who trust in chariots
[Trust instead in] the Holy One of Israel.