Tag Archives: faith

Generosity of the Poor

generosity of the poor

24th Sunday after Pentecost: Mark 12:38-44

God doesn’t need us to be God’s venture capitalist. Maybe that’s so obvious as to be comical. On the other hand, some may see their acts of charity as crucial in the grand scheme of things. The rich might go so far as to publicly deride the generosity of the poor for their inability to do much financial good with their meager donations. That contrast is the point of this lesson.

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Rules Much?

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14th Sun after Pentecost: James 1:17-27

This letter sounds a little harsher and rules oriented than many of the other letters found in the New Testament. Sure, the other letters have rules, but they’re also relational and include encouragements. Before jumping into this text, it would be good to zoom out a bit and look at the style of the writing. James is categorized as wisdom literature, the same style found in the book of Proverbs. So, instead of having the tone of explaining the faith, James is urging this community to examine their ethics and to take action. Wisdom literature speaks in extremes, comparing good and bad, right and wrong. Continue reading

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God With Us

Worship

There is something exciting about traveling to significant places.  When I saw the Statue of Liberty in person I was amazed at how huge it was. (I wasn’t thrilled with climbing the narrow staircase inside, but everything can’t be impressive, right?)  Someday I would like to visit the town that one of my ancestors founded.  He was a pioneer for the US government and settled in Texas.  I don’t know why exactly, but it feels like I would be connecting with something bigger, a meaningful part of my history.  This seems like a common desire—traveling to see historical locations, visiting wonders of the world, or even places that just mean a lot to us personally.   Continue reading

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Faithfulness

faithfulness

You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.  Galatians 5:4-6

By faith we wait for the hope of righteousness.  When I think of faithfulness I usually think of the ways I’m not faithful.  For some reason the word immediately draws my attention away from the concept of grace to the opposite concept–my failures.  This reveals that I have a faulty idea of what faithfulness is, because these verses are saying we do not become justified by works, but the only thing that matters is faith working itself out in love. Continue reading

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For the Joy

joy

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and the people of Israel, Rahab, Gideon,  Samson, David, Samuel and the prophets…

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 11:39 – 12:1-2, NIV

This list of notable Bible characters comes at the end of a chapter in Hebrews describing how these people lived and died for their faith.  The writer then says we are surrounded by this “cloud of witnesses” and because of that we should also follow God faithfully. Continue reading

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