The Perfect Gift, Faith That Functions
We all like surprises, really. When someone's spent a lot of time thinking about what would really make us happy and springs it on us. Yes, these we call, 'very thoughtful'; they are 'pleasant surprises'. Just so, He Who first revealed Himself as but a man, masked in the flesh, also reveals Himself as the Son of God and gives us the most thoughtful, pleasant surprise of all.
The Just and Justifier, Faith That Functions
What makes a true saint? One who makes themselves appear just? No, rather one who trusts in the only Just One, our Lord and Saviour, Who alone can justify us sinners, from death and hell. Saints, then, are justified sinners, declared so by Christ, the Lamb of God, now our Eternal Justifier.
He's Got the Joy, Faith That Functions
Taking into consideration what it took for God to save us, it is truly a mystery how He is able to maintain His joy in us. Of course one can imagine, having gone to such great lengths, any moment in which we may show any kind of recognition for His grace would be as great a point to relish as any. Yes, in this, that we are reconciled with God, He delights in His children.
Vision of Love, Faith That Functions
If you were to draw a picture of love, how would you do it? A mother comforting her child perhaps over a scraped knee? There is no greater show of love than the Good Shepherd gently leading His sheep to good pasture, all because He also became the Lamb of God Who sacrificed Himself so that His sheep might live.
People who pray, Faith That Functions
Prayer forms us as God's people. Prayer teaches us to accept responsibility for our sin. Prayer flows from our faith, knowing that God is listening. Prayer helps us to unload our burdens upon Christ, Who has already taken everything to the cross and freed us to live again for Him. Through prayer God moulds us.
Headed from Easter, Faith That Functions
The Day of Judgment is, for believers, the Day of Resurrection. Just as we know Jesus was already judged for our sin, and is now risen from the dead, we know that the Day of Judgment will but mirror this event. Essentially, because this sentence has already been bestowed upon Jesus on our behalf, we know that the consequence of death being conquered by Him is also ours, now and forever.
The Lord's Great Day, Faith That Functions
Is the 'Day of the Lord' a day of wrath or life? Well... yes. If you don't know, well yes, the Day of the Lord is not good news. And if you do know, well yes, the Day of the Lord is salvation and so life. For those who believe, there is no need to ever be afraid; we look forward to the Great Day with copious expectation!
Those ready come in, Faith That Functions
We are, again, invited to come to be with Jesus; to join those who are the body of Christ, to congregate as brothers and sisters and not neglect our gathering. Weddings take a lot of work to prepare. Just so, God has been preparing our Salvation from the beginning. Dare we take our Bridegroom for granted?
Blessed Are You, Faith That Functions
When God blesses us, it is not with a conditional, lest we somehow claim that we deserve our blessings. Rather we are to see that we are blessed despite all the untoward aspects of our lives. God continues to grace us, especially when we least expect it. In this the Spirit gives us both a heart of humility and hope.
Things fall apart, Faith That Functions
As we commemorate the Reformation, we meditate on the one thing we know is always sure and certain in a world which will always seem like it may fall apart at any moment or take away the rug from under our feet; God's Word, a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.
Well-Integrated faith, Faith That Functions
Though it is we who have faith, we are to understand that the most important point to faith is the object, not the subject. In other words, in what or in Whom do we put out faith, our trust, to live out each day?
Ready for the Wedding, Faith That Functions
The Bridegroom of the Church, our Lord, Jesus Christ, is preparing the ultimate feast. Are we ready? Or will we treat every day life as important as the invitation to join our Saviour when He finally calls us to Him?
God's Last Word, Faith That Functions
Prayer is not a scene from a rom-com or a political debate or a rap dual; it's not a competition in which we try to have the last word; when we finish with supplication, we're not saying God must answer favourably. Essentially the conversation does not end with our words. We are to see that God is still speaking, that He is the Word and we would do well to keep an ear open at all times to His wisdom from the scriptures.
Virtuous Citizenship, Faith That Functions
Citizens of the kingdom of heaven, how are we encouraged to live? To be of one mind as brothers and sisters in Christ. As loyal subjects of Jesus Christ, we follow His example; to not live as if greatness is a thing to be grasped but rather to serve, always thinking others as greater than ourselves. And just know that we are truly loved by God!
Higher yet closer, Faith That Functions
Heaven is not so far from us, not because we will be able to attain it or reach out and touch it but because God, in His divine compassion, comes down to us. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts our thoughts but He deigns to come down and love us from where He is; to embrace us and remind us of what He has done for us, to one day bring us to Him, to paradise.
Forgiving the Hurt, Faith That Functions
You ever hear the cold expression, "I'll forgive you but I'll never forget"? To continue to bear a grudge against someone is really to contradict your word of forgiveness. This is the importance of even God saying, though He obviously claims to be omniscient, He will forget our sin (Isaiah 43:25). If God can forget sin, so can we!
God's ultimate rule, Faith That Functions
Can being holy be as easy as following one rule? We sometimes say there is a golden rule don't we? If only it were that easy; one could as easily say there is one can of worms! Oh, how many rules come out of this Word, once it is opened, read and heard! And how many times we fail to honour God with our whole heart, mind and soul!
Under The Cross, Faith That Functions
Because believers are so aware of God's grace and mercy, they live humbly, not wanting to get away with wrong doing, but asking God for His forgiveness. This relationship then forms a good foundation for every relationship, especially that of marriage. This is not a coward's life; this is the life of a courageous soul, one willing to bear His own cross every day, feeling fulfilled in the peace he receives in Christ.
The Mercy-Given Life, Faith That Functions
A life of mercy is a life lived with blessings from God, to be more specific, one in which we do not receive what we deserve. This too is good news because to not receive punishment for sin is a grace indeed! We know perfectly well when we do wrong and for God to not only not punish us eternally but even at times let us get away with certain things without consequence is mercy upon mercy.
For All People, Faith That Functions
The Good News is for everyone. The only reason this good news can be given for you is because it is given to everyone. It doesn't mean it is any less personal, it means this good news is completely necessary. Like the air we breathe, this good news is open to everyone. Just so, to reject the Gospel would be as silly as rejecting the air we breathe which, sadly, is possible.
Who are you?, Faith That Functions
Who you are is not who you choose to be; it is who God made you to be. This isn't about giving in to your fate. It's about being able to, by the grace of the Spirit, be empowered to make the right choices; to love as you have been loved. You are awesome! Even as you live in but the shadow of the image of God. So don't choose evil!
The Table is set, Faith That Functions
The importance of being invited to the Lord's Table is that we are receiving an invitation to partake of the eternal feast. This means the table is already set. It's waiting for us. The Lord is the host. Jesus has prepared the table and we are His guests. If we reject His robe of righteousness, we have no place at this feast! This wondrous spread is salvation itself! Eternal peace itself is offered at this table.
Comfort food, Faith That Functions
Making the intolerable tolerable; that's what it means to live in a world where we, quite simply, do not belong. We are in the world, not of it. We detest sin and yet we are sinners. So when we are declared to be 'of God', we are being comforted in this; that we are His children, have an inheritance; that Jesus is our brother and His grace truly is ours.
Peace among the weeds, Faith That Functions
As the world around us continues to try to choke out our faith, our confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour, let us encourage one another and build each other up in the faith, clinging to Christ's Word of peace, in faith, knowing that the great and terrible day of the Lord's harvest is coming!
How can anybody hear?, Faith That Functions
With modern technology there's so much information that is constantly bombarding us, it's hard to know what is true. There are so many distractions around us that it's a wonder we can concentrate on anything. May God so seed His Word within us that not only will it be well rooted; it will be so engrained within us as to produce a fruitful tree.
My Yoke is Easy, Faith That Functions
Jesus bore an infinitely great burden upon His shoulders for us. If we follow in His footsteps, can our load really be any lighter? Yes. For the very point is that that which we bear has already been borne. In view of what Christ has undergone for us, we should view 'living in Christ' as the natural fruit of our faith which truly grasps this grace.
Not peace but a sword, Faith That Functions
Whereas God's Word is certainly meant to bring peace between man and God, it does not always bring peace between men. In fact we are told that it is more likely to divide us, not because God's Word is unreasonable but because the majority of us will, more than not, cling to our own version of righteousness in our pursuit of justification.
Nothing to Fear, Faith That Functions
Do you worry about your life? Does everything around you just frighten you? Are you anxious about your work, your family, your health, the judgement of others, what God thinks of you? Through the gift of faith, God shows us that we have nothing to fear. In all humility we know that God is sincere about bestowing His mercy upon all His children.
The Great Co-Mission, Faith That Functions
The Great Co-Mission is the command of Jesus to His disciples to make more disciples. The disciples do this by baptising people. Therefore to baptise someone is to make them a disciple. This is it. It's not some programme whereby we get a certificate and are told we are now trained to be a disciple. It is, quite simply, to be a member of the church. Essentially this happens when we have our children baptised and pass onto them this divine inheritance.
Perfect Communication, Faith That Functions
How amazing it must have been to witness the disciples effortlessly speak to a whole crowd from every corner of the earth and everyone understands them in their own tongue! It is never God's intention to confuse us with His Word but speak to us the clear message of the Gospel. God could not have made His word of salvation to us any simpler.
Fiery Trials, Faith That Functions
We are not to be surprised at the trials we endure as Christians. Just as Christ endured much, so will His followers. It is not God's will for us to suffer, but knowing it is a part of being in the world, we too are to endure. And we know that it was no different for the saints of old. And so, in the knowledge of our inheritance, we may even rejoice in our trials.
Preaching Resurrection, Faith That Functions
Just as St. Paul did, we proclaim the resurrection as if it were the one doctrine upon which our faith stands or falls. Only in raising Jesus to life again does God give us the power to rise, not just for all eternity, but to strengthen us for our daily living, as this very raising is fulfilled, in part, in the sacrament of holy baptism. We are made new in Christ.
As you are, Faith That Functions
Though it is true that God accepts sinners for who they are, this is clearly an incomplete concept. With that alone, someone may still conclude that they are allowed to continue in sin without consequence. Really, God accepts us for who we are as sinners because He accepts us for who we are in Christ! In other words we are forgiven sinners. We're forgiven because we've repented. For truly this is the only way that God will accept us for who we are!
The Door, Faith That Functions
No ordinary door, this living door, Jesus, has voice recognition. We confess His name. The Door is, of course, to paradise. This also makes Jesus the Key. The Key of David is also the Good shepherd. And the Good shepherd hears His sheep. So when His sheep come to the Door, they know they have come home.
Seeing it God's Way, Faith That Functions
It's not shameful to go to the opticians and get the correct prescription glasses to be able to see clearly. Just so, not only does God gives us His Word, but He provides for us the right goggles we need with which to see it correctly. Take a walk with me as we follow the disciples who headed to Emmaus, who received this gift directly from Jesus.
What He has done, Faith That Functions
Revealing to us nothing short of the Lord's ultimate grace and infinite mercy, St. Peter outlines for us the path Jesus took to obtain our salvation; everything necessary in order to attain God's eternal stamp of approval.
Earth-shaking News, Faith That Functions
This isn't just a metaphor. What a profound message Easter is to grasp. The events surrounding the Passover of Jesus death and resurrection are staggering, exciting, bewildering, astonishing but, most of all, true.
The Mind-set of Christ, Faith That Functions
Our ways are not always His ways. So it shouldn't be surprising when we don't always think like Jesus either. This is why we need to be admonished to do so; this is not a heavy burden but a joyful admonition and so ambition.
Living in The Spirit, Faith That Functions
Far from being a statement of bodiless, spiritualistic, modern nonsense, to live in the Spirit is to be meditating on what the Spirit would have us read and hear and apply to our lives from scripture. Again, rather than have some kind of out-of-body-experience, the message of the Spirit is very much down-to-earth and relevant for daily living.
What do you see?, Faith That Functions
There is more than one way to see. The first is obvious; most of us have two eyes with which to see. But there is another way; to see with the eyes of faith. Just as with regular sight we need light to illuminate everything around us, we need the light of the world, Jesus Christ, to illuminate for us both the truth of sin and the benefit of forgiveness.
Are you thirsty?, Faith That Functions
Quenching ones thirst is a no-brainer. It takes a little more thought however when it comes to satisfying our thirst for righteousness. Do we know where to go for this? Find out today how the Samaritan Woman discovers the truth.
The Gospel in a scallop shell, Faith That Functions
Can the Gospel be summarised simply? Yes. It is just this; the bridge between heaven and earth; Jesus' death and resurrection for you and for me. This has already been freely given to us at our baptism. Unless we reject this, the full benefits of eternal life, joy, peace and bliss, are received.
God's cool response, Faith That Functions
Though none of us can resist to rebel against God according to our original nature, God continues to respond as the coolest of parents. He gives us time to repent; He is ever patient, waiting to offer us that Word of forgiveness.
Here I am, Faith That Functions
When your loved one comes in the room and announces their presence, it is always important. Their presence, even if subconsciously, is a fulfilling of your being; together you are whole. When God is present with us, it makes every moment complete. We behold the glory of the Lord, even if it is now but in part/masked, and there is nothing greater.
Holy is as Holy does, Faith That Functions
Holiness speaks about how close we are to God, and also how we are set apart for Him. The good news of holiness is that God chooses to come near to those who believe and the closer God comes to us the more we are sanctified.
Too many choices, Faith That Functions
Stores give us an amazing amount of choice today. But if you have a nut allergy, though shops have lots of products containing nuts, those choices are definitely not for you. Just so, there are plenty of opportunities to sin, but, as Christians, we believe that God's Law is right and so, for us, there are simply some choices we should never make.
A day acceptable to the Lord, Faith That Functions
It's hard enough to think of any one act as acceptable to God. How is it possible to dedicate any one day as not only the Lord's but acceptable to Him? In this respect, should not every day be acceptable? This Word is intense.
A song to remember, Faith That Functions
What makes a song worth remembering? Hymns recall the life of Christ and what He has done for us. We remember that we are sinners and we are reminded that we are saved. The chanted liturgy too gives us a peace which, by being richly filled with God's Word, is incomparable when it comes to anything more virtuous for our own repertoire.
No lid on this light, Faith That Functions
You can't put a lid on the light of Christ. It is natural for us to be afraid of the dark. Light gives us security so that we know what is before us. Just so, only with Christ can we truly know what is coming. Rather than condemnation, we can look forward to eternal life because we are saved; because we have forgiveness, because we have Christ.
The blame game, Faith That Functions
Baptism is the means of grace by which God is giving us a second chance. We are all born sinful with the inherent ability to blame others and so God gives us the gift of re-birth. It's not that God lets us get away with it but that He willingly takes on our blame, taking on the full brunt of what we deserve. Far from being a game, it's why He came.
Safe in the water, Faith That Functions
Jesus went to the waters of the Jordan in order to proclaim the profound purpose of His ministry. This great vision would forever remind us that He truly took our sins upon Himself and that, having been nailed to the cross and raised from the dead, this same fate is promised to all who believe; His death and resurrection is surely ours.
Epiphanied in Baptism, Faith That Functions
Confessing the truth of the divinity of Christ is as easy as remembering our baptism. With the use of God's Whole Triune Name in the institution of the formula of baptism, no one can deny the divinity of any person of the Godhead.