Posts Tagged ‘ Confusion ’

Give Me Five: What Is Faith?

I did not do the silly high five at the end of this video! Am I a horrible person? (Theologically speaking, technically yes … apart from Christ …)

But it is addressing that tantalizing question: What is faith?

Give Me 5: What Is Faith?

Many people do not really understand faith.

In a recent book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists”, philosopher Peter Boghossian defined faith as belief without evidence, pretending to know things you don’t really know.

But is this right?

In a word: no.

How does the Bible explain faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, ESV

Another way of explaining faith is putting your beliefs into action. If you believe something to be true, prove it! Prove you are faithful to those beliefs by acting on them.

The most used example of what faith is is a chair. You can say you believe a chair will hold you up, but faith is proving it by sitting on the chair. Typically, you are acting on evidence. (In this case, you have been told chairs are for sitting on, and you may have seen other people sit in chairs.)

As Christians, we do not have a blind faith. The Bible is our evidence for God and Jesus.

The Bible has several prophecies about the coming Messiah who would take away our sins, and Jesus claimed He was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He made many claims to His deity, as well, and He said that He would prove it all by dying and rising again.

The Apostles and early disciples did not just write about things they heard. They claimed to have heard these things and seen the crucified and risen Jesus with their own eyes.

And the Bible is the most reliable ancient set of documents we have from antiquity, by far. Few experts contest this. (Maybe the actual events, but not that at least the New Testament is reliably from people from the First Century.)

Who lives with and uses faith?

Everyone.

It is not only Christians and the overtly religious. My evidence for this?

How about evolutionary theory: How is it claimed life began? Several chemicals somehow combined in the right amounts at the right time to create the building blocks for RNA and DNA, creating the first living cells.

How do we know it happened this way?

We don’t. No one was there to see it, and no one as recreated it in the lab to test this hypothesis. People simply believe it is true.

This is more like blind faith than Christianity!

As said before, everyone lives by some form of faith in someone or something throughout their days and lives. Faith is putting beliefs into action.

What do you think? Am I way too far off the mark? (I think most others are.)

How about we talk about, either in the comments (on this blog post or on the YouTube channel) or through the e-mail: Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even at the Facebook page: a simple man of God.

Give Me 5: The Five Solas

Yep. I missed last week. We had family in town, and I never had a long enough, quiet enough stretch of time by myself to record a video. Here is a new one, though! Here is the new Give Me 5:

Out of the Reformation of the 1500’s came what we call “The Five Solas or Solae”, but what do they mean?

The Five Solas

The Reformation started as a call to return to a simple faith not dogged down by man-made or superfluous rules and dogmas. (This is not the time for a debate about Catholic versus Protestant and denominational separation.)

It does lead to our first sola: Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. Basically, this means that all of our traditions and understanding about God, Jesus, and humanity should be based on what the Bible says. There is value in traditions, the various councils, and books/teachings, but they must conform with what Scripture – as a whole – teaches.

This includes the matter of salvation, covered in the next solar: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria – By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

This was summarized by Paul in Ephesians chapter two, when he said,

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(vv. 4-9, ESV)

We still need to confess our sins – primarily to God, but also to each other (James 5:16).

We still do works – but as an act of obedience and love for the One who saves us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

But it is only by grace through faith in the work Christ to the the glory of the Father as revealed in Scripture that we are saved.

Now, this is only a brief overview. We can continue to discuss this in the comments or through e-mail at Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even on our Facebook page, a simple man of God. I am sure more videos and articles will be made discussing these.

VerseD: Matthew 11:15

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Matthew 11:15, NASB

God’s truth is difficult for our sinful minds to accept, but seeking His wisdom and righteousness and allowing the Holy Spirit to awaken our minds helps us understand.

VerseD: Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13, NASB

When life gets hard and uncertain, look for God, how He is moving and acting in every situation. He is there. You will find Him if you search in earnest.

Who Am I? Knowing My Identity

“Hello, again!

In the last few weeks, I have been hearing and reading a lot about identity.

Who am I?

In terms of identity, the major theme has been how we identify ourselves. This includes:

  • Identity politics — Being known by political party or with whom you most closely agree.
  • Job-based/Skill-set identity — Being known by what you do or know.
  • Relationship identity — To whom you are connected: husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/son, mother/daughter, friend …

It is this last one that has the most applicability to today’s topic, especially for the Christian.

Losing myself

What happens when the ideology, job, or relationship status changes?

You see, if your identity is dependent on something external, it can lead to major confusion and even crisis-mode inside. You could be screaming, “I don’t know who I am anymore!”

This is where someone may say, “This is why we need strong self-esteem.”

completely disagree.

Yes, I said completely disagree.

Why?

Because self-esteem focuses on the self. This is the antithesis of Christianity and relationship with God, as it says you can find peace within yourself.

Instead, you need something stronger.

So, how then should we live?

Where is your identity? How about starting with the Bible.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me”
Matthew 18:5

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:20

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:13-14

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;”
Mark 16:17

Now, what does Jesus mean by “in my Name”? Does he mean “Lord, please do this for me, in Jesus Name. Amen”?

No.

I think this hearkens back to the 10 Commandments, specifically number 3:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain …”
Exodus 20:7

Is using the Lord’s Name in vain using it as a curse word?

Partially, yes. Mostly, no. It is more like saying you are a Christian (My identity!), doing something wrong, and claiming God either approves or even commanded it. THAT is using the Lord’s Name in vain more than anything else.

But what does Jesus mean?

Literally taking on the identity of Jesus Christ.

Not just living by “What Would Jesus Do?”

It means to think, talk, and act like Christ.

It means you put yourself out of the way, and you let Jesus Christ live through you.

Then it does not matter your skill-set, job title, political affiliation, who you know … well … a little bit who you know … 😉

Whatever happens around you and in your life does not matter that much when you know you have the Lord of the Universe living in and through you!

So, how do you identify? What is your first thought when asked who you are?

  • I’m a Republican/Democrat/Libertarian.
  • I’m this or that.
  • I am a husband/father/wife/mother/sibling.
  • I know so-in-so.

Or is your first thought “I am a Christian. I am a child of the living God. I am a son (or daughter) of the Most High! My heavenly Father adopted me through my Brother, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”

This is why it is important to study and memorize Scripture (I admit to being weak in memorization!), because it helps us better understand the meaning of life.

What is the meaning of life?

To glorify God.

This is why theology is important. (Scary, I know, but that is the big reason I make these blogs/vlogs, to give you a hand in it.)

Theology is simply the study of God: who He is, what He wants from and for us, and how we can live for Him.

We find our identity by living for him. We glorify God the Father by allowing God the Son to live in and through us by the power of God the Holy Spirit in us.

Then we can know that no matter what is going on around us and in our lives, we are good to go. Because we are in Christ.

It is who we are.

He is our identity.

And it is not by our own power. It is through our weakness that He is stronger! (2 Corinthians 11-13, especially in 12:9!)

Be excellent, my friends!

 

Counting On (Daylight Savings) Time

Alrighty, everyone!

If you are not in Hawaii or Arizona (where I am!) – or a few small pockets – then you are waking up to Daylight Savings Time adjusting your clocks back an hour!

Now, if you are grumbling about being an hour early for church, here is some advice:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing …
Philippians 2:14 (ESV)

If there is any silver lining to DST beginning and ending every 6 months-ish, it is that it serves as a reminder to live out another biblical teaching:

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (ESV)

Happy Sunday!

Go worship God in word, deed, and thought!

When We Call, He Is Near

Find how close God is through His wisdom as discussed at Proverbial Thought.

This is a special reminder for all of us who are facing trials, confusion, and difficulties.

I will let God’s Word speak for itself:

“I called on your name, O Lord,
    from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
    your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called on you;
    you said, ‘Do not fear!’

“You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
    you have redeemed my life.”
Lamentations 3:55-58, ESV

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
. . .
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:18-21, 27