Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jan 1 - Eighth Day of Christmas

Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The Eighth Day of Christmas

Eight Maids a Milking


The eight maids a milking are said to represent the eight beatitudes.


In the greatest teaching unit of Jesus recorded in Scripture – Matthew 5-7 – Jesus ascended a mountain and outlined, among other things, a godly ethic. And he started with these words …

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:


1.   “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

2.   “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

3.   “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

4.   “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

5.   “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

6.   “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

7.   “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

8.   “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Indeed, as a continuation of beatitude eight:] Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:1-12


What do the beatitudes tell us?


The world has an upside-down way of viewing what’s important. The world rewards riches, power, conquering, shrewdness, and selfish gain. In the end, however, those pursuits are not what God will reward!


God values peacemaking and mercy. Righteousness and integrity. Gentleness and generosity. Courage and steadfastness.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who thinks he’ll like

heaven and its gentle principles

more than life and it’s corruption


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dec 31 - Seventh Day of Christmas

Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The Seventh Day of Christmas

Seven Swans a Swimming


The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.


Appropriate for our Christmas season, these seven gifts are first enumerated in Scripture in a famous messianic prophecy, Isaiah 11:1=3. Jesus the Messiah is from the line of David, and David’s father Jesse is the “root” or “stump” from which the promised king will come …


A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of (1) wisdom and (2) understanding, the spirit of (3) counsel and (4) might, the spirit of (5) knowledge and (6) the fear of the Lord. 3 His (7) delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.


1.    Wisdom – The Spirit helps us recognize and live by truth.

2.    Understanding – The Spirit helps us comprehend Scripture and the doctrines of the faith.

3.    Counsel – The Spirit helps us discern between good and evil, between right and wrong.

4.    Might / Strength / Fortitude – The Spirit helps us stand up for God and truth, and do it without fear, even in the face of persecution and evil.

5.    Knowledge – This is different than the “understanding” of scripture and doctrine. This is the “knowledge” of self. The Spirit helps us comprehend how God is calling us personally to fulfill our unique destiny in the kingdom.

6.    Fear of the Lord – The Spirit helps us bow in wonder and reverence before the awesomeness of God.

7.    Piety – This is the hardest to see in the list, but “delight[ing] in the fear of the Lord” is piety. It is following God’s ways with joy and integrity. The Spirit gives us this ability and delight too.


How is the Spirit acting in these ways in your life?


We said earlier that this is a Messianic prophecy. Jesus was the first to have the Spirit fully alight upon him. Therefore, he was the first-fruits of those who could aspire to life of true wisdom, understanding, counsel, and might. Yet we have the same Spirit too.


As you prayerfully examine how thoroughly you exhibit these seven characteristics, discovering more is not a matter of working harder; it’s a matter of yielding more and more of your heart to the leading of the Holy Spirit.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who likes the way

that our old Lutheran hymnal

wrote these seven gifts

in our baptismal prayers;

the seventh gift was translated:

“and the spirit of joy in your presence.”

May Spirit of Joy fill your New Year!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dec 30 - Sixth Day of Christmas

Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Six Geese a Laying


Laying an egg is a creative act. It’s designed to produce life.


The six-geese-a-laying represent history’s most creative active. As their highest goal, the six days of creation were designed, indeed, to produce life.


As a Christmas telling of creation, listen today to John 1.


To make sense, first however, of the opening lines and imagery, we need to know that John theologically describes Jesus as “the Word,” the logos, who “became flesh and lived among us … as of a father’s only son.”


What does that mean?


In simple terms, we use our words to explain our mind, our thoughts, our desires, our will. The Father sent the Son to reveal in words and actions the Father’s heart, will, hopes, and actions. Indeed, as verse 18 in this chapter says, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.”


With that explanation of Jesus-the-Wprd, listen today to the Christmas telling of Creation story from John 1. And according to the image of six-geese-a-laying, listen for both Jesus’ coming and the six days of creation as history’s most creative act, designed to produce life.


1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.


6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.


14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who gives thanks

that you listen occasionally

to my logos – my heart.

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 28, 2015

Dec 29 - Fifth Day of Christmas

Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The Fifth Day of Christmas

Five Golden Rings


The first five books of the Bible are known as The Torah.


The Jews call it “the Law.”


Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy reveal three main things: 1) the condition of the world (the creation and the Fall), 2) the calling of a people, Israel, and 3) rules for how to fashion a society.


These five books are the heart of Jewish theology. Most revere these five books like Christians know and love the Gospels. It tells them their identity. It continually binds them together as an ordered society.


Christians treasure these five books as well. Why? Because it’s part one of our story too. The coming of Jesus doesn’t make sense until we understand the creation and the fall. We don’t understand God’s love for his people, until we understand God’s continued care for Israel. Yes, these five books – also called the Penteteuch – are still an indispensable foundation for faith.


So … here’s the question: Why five golden rings to represent these books?


The Bible wasn’t originally written on pages in a book, but on long scrolls. The scrolls were obviously rolled up. In formal synagogues, what held these five scrolls together? You guessed it: five golden rings.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who would choose

Genesis and Exodus as two

of his five indispensible books,

(If I was only allowed

to read only five for

the rest of my life.)

P.S. the other three are:

Mark (or one of the Gospels),

Romans (or maybe Ephesians)

and Psalms.

(Those would be my five golden rings)


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dec 28 - Fourth Day of Christmas

Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Four Calling Birds


The four calling birds are the four Gospels. The Word of God calls to us in faith. The life of Jesus calls to us and stirs our hearts.


The four Gospel writers are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. What do you know about them?


Two of them were disciples. Two were not.




Matthew was a disciple. Also known as Levi, Matthew was once a tax collector. He knew a life of betrayal – he’d sided with the Romans, repeatedly stabbing his own people in the back. He might have been rich, but he was a hated outcast. Jesus’ love and forgiveness saved him. It saved him eternally, of course, but it also saved him from a life of loneliness and purposelessness.


Matthew’s Gospel is the most Jewish of the Gospels and it includes the greatest collections of Jesus’ teachings, like the Sermon of Mount.




John was the other of the four who were original discipleships. He was one of the first four to be called, all fishermen – Peter and Andrew, first; then James and his brother John. John was also in Jesus’ inner circle. Jesus had increasingly closer circles of influence. He ministered to crowds (5000 and more), groups (70ish), small groups (12), and an inner circle of three (Peter, James, and John).


He was known as the Beloved Disciple, enjoying perhaps the favor of a little brother; John was, indeed, the youngest of the twelve. Most of the Gospels are episodic – a collection of quick short episodes for Jesus’ life. John’s a story teller, telling fewer but deeper stories. They’re also more theological in character.




Luke was not one of the twelve. He was, rather, a companion of Paul on many the Apostle’s evangelistic journeys. As Paul was a missionary to the Gentiles, Luke’s Gospel is less Jewish and has more of a Gentile character, explaining the life of Jesus to peoples less familiar with the Lord’s Jewish roots.


Not having known Jesus personally, Luke, a physician, reveals in the first pages of his Gospel that he was the scientist and historian who researched the events of Jesus’ life thoroughly before recording them. The Gospel of Luke contains Scripture’s greatest abundance of parables.




Mark was also not one of the original twelve. Mark was known as a partner of Peter’s. Mark’s Gospel was the first written of the four; in fact, it was probably copied in large part by Matthew and Luke. No, plagiarism wasn’t a crime. Rather Matthew and Luke took Mark’s pattern, adapted it to their more Jewish or more Gentile audiences (respectively) and added more teaching and parables (respectively again).


Some view Mark – which is short – as simple, even simplistic. Personally, it is my favorite of the four. I see nuances that are subtle and sophisticated. Doing more than just telling a story, Mark draws the reader on a journey of faith.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who was saved, in part,

by four calling birds


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Dec 27 - Third Day of Christmas

A repeat series from last year …

because computer problems didn’t

allow them to go out on schedule.

Merry Christmas … Season!!


Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The Third Day of Christmas

Three French Hens


One of the most beautiful passages of scriptures is 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient and kind; never jealous or boastful; never arrogant or rude.”


We read it all the time at weddings as one of life’s highest ideals.


This wonderful chapter ends with these gracious principles: “faith, hope, and love.” “And the greatest of these,” says Scripture, “is love.”


These are the three French hens, that the song sings about.


These are the Three Great Theological Virtues.


Indeed, our lives will be most sure and most blessed when our foundation is these three principles.


When we come to Christ, we are transferred into a new kingdom, a new reality. But this new kingdom is not simply a destination; it’s a journey. Faith is trust – growing trust. Hope is desire – an increasingly holy desire. And both help us step further and further into the blessings of eternal life.


Faith and hope are indeed beautiful blessings. And yet love far surpasses these two majestic companions. Why? Because love is the character of God! And as we grow in faith and journey forward in hope, we discover that we love because Christ first loved us.


Yes, some forms of love are natural. We tend to love those who love us. But a kingdom version of love is greater. It is patient with annoyance and it forgives even enemies. Kingdom love forsakes self as the highest goal of life and causes one to lay down their lives on behalf of others.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who once had three red hens,

but I think I prefer Faith, Hope, and Love

to Iris, Rose, and Daisy


Friday, December 25, 2015

Dec 26 - Second Day of Christmas

A repeat series from last year …

because computer problems didn’t

allow them to go out on schedule.

Merry Christmas … Season!!


Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The Second Day of Christmas

Two Turtledoves


The two turtledoves are said to represent the two Testaments – Old and New. Thus, the two turtledoves are God and His Word calling beautifully to us.


Now, we could spend all day talking about what these two Testaments are and mean to us today … but let me ask a simple question instead: Did you know that scripture actually talks about “two turtledoves”?


Let’s start the story behind a Leviticus 5 reference to “two turtledoves” with a quick explanation of the two Testaments of Holy Scripture:


·         The Old Testament tells us about the reason for our separation from God – our sin and our rebellion.

·         The New Testament tells about God’s solution to our sin – he gives his only begotten Son so that we might be forgiven.

·         Yes, there’s a more to these massive Testaments than just this! But problem and solution is a pretty good and simple explanation. The problem is sin. The solution is Son.

·         Let me say that more technically: Our problem is sin. And our only solution is finding a covering for sin, which is the Son and the covering of his blood.


Okay … now the “two turtledoves” …


Leviticus is a book of the Law. As Israel as a nation was preparing to going into the Promised Land and live as God’s Covenant People, God was instructing them on how to live successfully in relationship to Him and to one another. His primary advice was …


·         Sin separates us from God and one another.

·         Therefore, there must be a cost to sin – a cost steep enough to keep us from continually repeating it.

·         And there must also be a covering for sin – a way to make things right again and keep moving forward.


So in God’s Old Testament law, what was the cost to cover a sin?


·         The cost for a sin was a sheep. (Indeed, at a couple hundred dollars a sin, don’t you think that’d help you cut down on your transgressions?) Leviticus 5:6 reveals the cost in this way: “You shall bring to the Lord, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed, a female from the flock, a sheep or a goat, as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement on your behalf or your sin.”

·         But what if you were poor? In the next verse – and here come our turtledoves — God made a provision for you too: “But if you cannot afford a sheep, you shall bring to the Lord, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed, two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.”


What do the two turtledoves of the two Testaments tell us? Our problem is sin (Old Testament). And our only solution is finding a covering for sin (New Testament).


What do the two turtledoves of the two Levitical turtledoves tell us? Our problem is sin. And our only solution is finding a covering for sin (some blood sheep or some bloody bird).


In the Levitical law, the covering for sin was two bloody birds. In the light of Christ’s bloody cross, the two Testaments call to us that the covering for sin is Jesus. Indeed, when John the Baptist first met Jesus, he called him “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” A fulfillment of the Leviticus 5:6 call to sacrifice a sheep, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the cost for covering our sin.

Therefore, do you trust in these two turtledoves – the Old and New Testaments? In olden days, trusting in two literal birds brought forgiveness, hope, and life. Today, when we entrust our lives to two figurative birds (two great Testaments), we discover through faith that through the cost of Jesus’ sacrifice, our sins are covered and we are made right with God.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who is not rich

enough in sheep or doves

to pay for all his sins

(but is rich because

the Lamb of God

paid them for me)



Dec 25 - First Day of Christmas

A repeat series from last year …

because computer problems didn’t

allow them to go out on schedule.

Merry Christmas … Season!!


Legend tells us that The Twelve Days of Christmas

was a secret catechism during times of persecution.

For these twelve days let’s focus on twelve teachings:

The First Day of Christmas

A Partridge in a Pear Tree


The partridge is Jesus.


The pear tree is the cross.


And the first day of Christmas – indeed, Christmas Day – focuses us on the first and most important truth of the Christian Faith: The baby who came to us at Christmas was bound to die.


Think about it: His swaddling clothes as an infant prefigured the grave clothes of his death. Indeed, little baby Jesus came for one and only one reason: to die. Why? Because only his sacrificial death would ever cover our sin.


So, while partridges and pears are poetic … and sheep and mangers are picturesque … the cross is ugly and violent and bloody.


It is also beautiful.


As C. S. Lewis once said, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who is singing today:

I wonder as I wander

Out under the sky

How Jesus the savior

Did come to die

To save lowly people

Like you and like I

I wonder as I wander

Out under the sky


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dec 24 - Matthew 7:28-29

Now when Jesus had finished

saying these things, the crowds

were astounded at his teaching,

for he taught them as one having

authority, and not as their scribes.

Matthew 7:28-29

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount -- the end of Matthew chapters 5-7 -- what we see is wonder and awe. 

In Jesus, the people saw authority. There was a truth in this teacher that transcended any other human teacher. 

We know the answer as to "Why?" Jesus was (and is eternally) God. And when the crowds heard the insights that transcended the earthly, their hearts thrilled ... and they followed more closely. 

Many of you have probably heard the teachings of Jesus all of your life. You know they're occasionally counter-cultural ... sure. But they seem normal to you. You've heard them all your life. And so the average American Christian mostly wonders: how can I stay (basically) true to Jesus and yet live comfortably within my everyday culture. And so we compromise. Jesus' words don't shock or thrill or transform. 

It's time to end that. And Christmas is a good week to do that. My prayer for you for Christmas and for the New Year is that you don't settle for mediocrity. That you capture instead the wonder. That you hunger for God's truth, rather than the world's compromise. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who asked Santa

for truth this Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dec 23 - Matthew 7:27-28

Jesus said,

“And everyone who hears

these words of mine and

does not act on them will be like a

foolish man who built his house on sand.

The rain fell, and the floods came, and

the winds blew and beat against that house,

and it fell—and great was its fall!”

Matthew 7:27-28

These are the final words of the
Sermon on the Mount.

This three-chapter passage is viewed by many as the most powerful, positive part of scripture. It talks of love and forgiveness. Of turning the other cheek. It teaches us how to pray. And warns us against the pitiable disgrace of hypocrisy. 

It is said that Ghandi shaped his peaceful transformation of India on Jesus' principles in the Sermon on the Mount. (And may have converted if he could have found even one Christian living by Jesus' principles that were outlined here.)

The Sermon on the Mount ends simple wisdom. Jesus says, "This is how you stand and this is how you fall":

·       The secret to standing strong throughout your days is to build your house -- your life -- on a solid foundation. 

·       The secret to falling in life is building your house on a foundation as shaky as sand. 

That's obvious. That's wisdom. Anyone -- believer or not -- could say, "Wisdom = Solid Foundation = Standing rather than Falling = Better Life." Got it. 

But could Jesus have one more message for those willing to look deeper?

He specifically calls us to build our house on the rock. The Rock is a consistent Jewish image for God. God is called "the Rock of Israel" (2 Sam 23:3) and "the Rock of one's salvation" (Deut 32:15). Habakuk (1:12) speaks to God as if "Mr. Rock" was his name, and David speaks to God, using this as (one of) his most defining titles or characteristics (Ps 42:9). 

The verse I want you most to hear is Psalm 78:35 -- "and they remembered that God was their rock."

Did you remember this when you were reading Jesus' final teaching in the Sermon on the Mount?!

This is not just simple wisdom advice. This is an eternal call. When we remember that God is our Rock and build our house on Him will stand firm ... eternally. But when we reject the chief cornerstone (the Ps 118 prophecy that Jesus said was being violently fulfilled as he was being led to his crucifixion), then "great will be its fall."

Yes, the Sermon on the Mount is sweet, and it can be used generically by people seeking to live a better life ... even non-believers. 

But ... it doesn't stray far from the fullness of Jesus' message. There is only one way, one truth, and one life. And the alternatives are standing strong eternally ... or great is its fall. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who talks to a rock

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dec 19-20 - Matthew 7:24-25

Jesus said,

Everyone then who hears these

words of mine and acts on them

will be like a wise man who

built his house on rock.

The rain fell, the floods came,

and the winds blew and

beat on that house,

but it did not fall, because

it had been founded on rock.

Matthew 7:24-25

Do you know what the most important concept is in this passage? "The rains will fall."

In this broken world, trials and trouble will come. Floods and fierce winds too. And the beatings of this world -- of water, wind, illness, disappointment, and tragedy -- will fall just as surely on the wise as on the unwise.

That's the constant message of insurance companies. Allstate tells you that Mayhem is lurking everywhere. State Farm tells you that help is just flash away -- popping in and out. Prudential tells you to trust them because their logo is the Rock of Gibraltar.

All of those are biblical messages.

·       Wisdom is realizing that mayhem is lurking everywhere and wisdom is being prepared. Indeed, wisdom is plainly and simply being wise. (Being wise is really what this passage is all about. By being wise, you can prepare for life's storms.)

·       Help -- like in the State Farm commercials -- is just a flash away. God is real. God answers prayer. (But wisdom tells us that if you want physical guarantees of protection, prepare wisely! Don't build on sand and think a flash prayer will change your house to rock. Though we may get to witness a handful of physical miracles in our lives, the Lord usually, usually, usually "pops in" with spiritual help to help us weather the storms. Jesus clearly says, therefore, that wisdom and help is following God's wisdom and preparing physically for the storms in advance.)

·       And finally, like the logo of Gibraltar, we need to build wisely. We need to build on rock – the Rock! Jesus clearly says, therefore, that the secret to life is following God's wisdom (and if you want to see a miracle, watch the peace of lives that have prepared in advance for the inevitable storms.)

In Christ's Love,

a guy who, you will notice,

didn't quote Geico or Progressive.

While it's wise to save money,

I want the Good Hands and the Rock

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dec 18 - Matthew 7:21-23

Jesus said,

Not everyone who says

to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will

enter the kingdom of heaven,

but only the one who does

the will of my Father in heaven.

On that day many will say to me,

'Lord, Lord, did we not

prophesy in your name, and

cast out demons in your name, and

do many deeds of power in your name?’

Then I will declare to them,

'I never knew you; go away

from me, you evildoers.’

Matthew 7:21-23

I preached on this passage recently.

And I scared a lot of people!

It's not that I didn't preach God's love and his forgiving grace. It's that humans -- even good Christians -- tend to worry. We all have a little insecurity that’s easy to exploit … especially if we have a little guilt. We think, "What if God says to me, 'I never knew you'? ... What if he says, 'You never really knew me'? ... What if God measures me, saying, 'You didn't do enough'? ... What if God says, 'Even though you proclaimed in my name, I still didn’t know you'? "

Yes, this verse scares even a lot of very fine Christians. (And truth be told, every once in a while, it’s scared even me … especially when I compare myself to others.)

So let's make sense of this … and restore our confidence!

First, what's the formula for salvation? In Romans 3, after admitting that we all sin and fall far short of God's glorious standard, we are told that ...

·       "we are justified": forgiven and declared just ...

·       "by God's grace": His love, His action, His initiative

·       "effective through faith": accepting Jesus in our heart as His Son and our Savior

·       "apart from works prescribed by the law": since we all fall short of God's glorious standard, it can't be our works that save us! It must totally be God's grace -- His love, His action, His initiative

Now apply this to these verses for today. On what grounds are the people in this passage approaching Jesus and expecting access to heaven? On the basis of the works.

·       Lord, didn't we do this ... ? (Some good thing like "prophesy in your name.")

·       And didn't we do that ... ? (Another good thing like "cast out demons in your name.")

·       And didn't we do this other good thing ...? (Like "do many deeds of power in your name.")

Think about it, you and I can do plenty of good things in Jesus' name.

I can eat steak in Jesus' name. (I pray before meals.)

I can start wars in Jesus' name. (My righteous – or self-righteous – crusade.)

I can gossip in Jesus' name. ("Bless her heart").

But none of that means I know Jesus!

·       Some may simply use God’s name as a way curry the Lord’s favor … not to truly worship. (Know of any instances of people treating God like a genie?)

·       Others may pridefully be convinced that more people will follow their agenda if they proclaim an allegiance to God. (Know of any politicians who’ve ever done this?)

·       Others ignore the teachings, commands, and wisdom of God, and attribute to God their own personal agenda. (Can you say blasphemy … even when well-intentioned?)

Clearly, just adding Jesus' name to the end of one’s own motives doesn't mean that we have faith!

·       Others may simply want to use God's name to justify actions that are otherwise questionable. But clearly saying that an action is godly doesn't make it godly ... and it doesn't mean that we have faith.

Faith is not in doing. (Works? No!)

·       Faith is submitting … even when our heart is screaming, “Me! Me!”

·       Faith is humbly obeying … even when our culture has a different logic than God’s revealed Word.

·       Faith is believing … even when we don’t yet have full sight.

·       Faith is following … even when we can’t discern yet where we are going.

·       Faith is trusting … even when we don’t understand everything that God has laid out in his calls and commands.

·       Faith is not looking for earthly results (though with God's blessing, those results often come). Faith is simply giving our lives to heaven’s agenda.

And no ... you won't do everything on this journey perfectly!!!! But don’t worry: It's not about doing!

      But here's a hint if this passage still worries you: If you're worried about passages like this, then it’s probably care what God thinks. Which means you believe he’s real – otherwise you wouldn’t care. Indeed, you’re probably reading God's word because you want to know God (and perhaps his ways) more fully … and more wonderfully! And, yes, that's faith!

      Indeed, it’s that seeking and wanting that saves you! (Not the actions related to seeking, but the heart that prompts it!)

      So here's the irony: Because you're worrying (almost certainly) means that you don’t have to worry any longer!

In Christ's Love,

a guy who says, "Lord, Lord"

... with his whole heart