Thursday, September 17, 2020

 1. How does the thought of “faith” being confidence in God’s character impact me?

The truth that my hope is founded on God's character, God's faithfulness, God's Sovereignty steels my soul.  Without it I would despair.  It has carried me through any and every situation which may have otherwise caused me to give up.  It is the ONLY source of confidence I hold.

2. How might it impact my time and life here and now?

As I consider the next step, whether or not to reengage in active ministry in a congregational setting or to simply participate as a member of the local community, I need the confidence that I am able to discern the Lord's wishes, His direction, His will.  I am confident that He will speak. My concern is whether or not I will be able to discern His voice above my own fears, dreams, or wishes.

3. If hope is the “sweet anticipation of desirable things promised but not yet realized” what are my hopes for this year?

My hope is for clarity of discernment in a world of noise.  The cacophony of voices, the clamoring of the self-seeking, the fears seem to keep me from experiencing the sweet anticipation of anything but eternal life. My hope, my longing is for His promise of deliverance from the PC(USA) long arm to a place of welcome, a place of faith, a place of hope.

4. If hope is the “sweet anticipation of desirable things promised but not yet realized” what are my hopes for the future as a result of my time in quarantine?

For a spirit of renewal and refreshment, a hope that I will not have wasted this precious gift of time.

5. What is God saying to me about this? 

Be still and wait upon the Lord...



An Apology...


Please accept my most sincere apology for having missed the posting of last week's questions.  Carol and I were traveling and it simply slipped my heavily preoccupied mind... I suggest that we go back and review the reading (chapter 20) one more time and then consider these questions.  This will put us one week behind, but selfishly, I need that.  Here are the questions then for week 20.

 

 1. How does the thought of “faith” being confidence in God’s character impact me?


2. How might it impact my time and life here and now?


3. If hope is the “sweet anticipation of desirable things promised but not yet realized” what are my hopes for this season of life?


4. If hope is the “sweet anticipation of desirable things promised but not yet realized” what are my hopes for the future as a result of my time in quarantine?


5. What is God saying to me about this?


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Standing on the Rock!

“It is not too much to say that if all hope were destroyed within the human breast, the race of mankind would die out altogether within a few years. Even the procreative drive and the instinct for self-preservation would hardly be strong enough to save from extinction a race from which all hope had fled.” (Tozer)

Faith is, the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” [Hebrews 11:1].

 In Christ our hope is so secure that Christians do not lose hope. It was the hope of a coming Redeemer, the Messiah, the Christ, that kept the remnant Israelites faithful through the struggles of captivity and the constant drain of worldly temptations to be like those around them. It is what secured the faith of those who were martyred and enabled them to perish yet praising God.

As I look at the political spectrum about us, I’m looking for those who still have a dream, who have a hope, who are confident that the Lord will establish His plans for His people – those who are less worried about who might win the election and more concerned with instilling confidence in those around them, that irrespective of who wins and who loses, our future is secure in Jesus Christ. I WILL NOT be robbed of that joy. God will have His way. That is more certain than anything else.


 How often do we see fear, anxiety, and anger rear their ugly heads when we face temptations, or trials, or illness, or evil, or oppression, when the only appropriate response is joy and gratitude. The Christian CAN rejoice in all circumstances, the illness and death of a loved one, the abandonment of the faith by a child, personal rejection by friends or family, the persecution of a government out of control… We dare to stand up and proclaim loudly:

My hope is built on nothing less 
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. 

When darkness veils His lovely face, 
I rest on His unchanging grace; 
In every high and stormy gale 
My anchor holds within the veil. 

His oath, His covenant, and blood 
Support me in the whelming flood; 
When every earthly prop gives way, 
He then is all my Hope and Stay. 

When He shall come with trumpet sound, 
Oh, may I then in Him be found, 
Clothed in His righteousness alone, 
Faultless to stand before the throne! 

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; 
All other ground is sinking sand. 
All other ground is sinking sand. 


More than anything else, as Tozer points out, “faith is confidence IN THE CHARACTER OF GOD, and hope is the sweet anticipation of desirable things promised but not yet realized...the Christian’s hope is sound because it is founded on the character of God and the redeeming work of his Son Jesus Christ."

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope 
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and 
into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith 
are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation 
that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 
In all this you greatly rejoice...
[1Peter 1:3-6] 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Truth is in order to goodness!

 

We live in a world today in which truth has been called into question. In some cases we hear terms like “my truth” thrown around as if it was something negotiable, or private, or malleable.

In other cases truth trumps everything and whether or not we accept the truth, believe the truth, know the truth, is all that truly matters.

This week’s reading delves into the matter of truth's necessity for godly behavior. 

I am struck by the fact that scripture admonishes us that we will not be judged by what we believe (i.e. truth) but by what we do. Right belief isn’t the criteria on which we are to be judged. And yet, as Tozer reminds us what we do is a direct reflection of what we believe. Belief should lead to action and right action is dependent upon right belief. Right doctrine, right belief leads to right behavior. It is the means by which right behavior is developed. Acceptance of Christ's work on the cross, faith, is the means for our salvation. But our heavenly rewards seem to be based on our performance (Matthew 25:20-23; Luke 14:1214; 1 Corinthians 3:8). And yet we must never devolve this concept into "works righteousness." We aren't saved by our good works but our good works are dependent upon our being saved (Ephesians 2:10)

The Greeks of the New Testament age loved to talk about ideas and concepts. Their term philosophia literally means “the study of knowledge." But neither the study of knowledge, nor that knowledge, in an of itself alone, are sufficient for believers.

Knowledge about something, an understanding of the way in which something works isn’t necessary to enjoy the result. We can enjoy air conditioning, the internet, gravity, and the weather without completely understanding all the intricacies of them. So too, we do not need to understand all the connections between right belief and right behavior and eternal rewards, to recognize the benefits, right belief will bring to our behavior and our right behavior to pleasing God..

"Personal holiness", "righteousness", "purity", "piety", "piousness" - all these terms seem to be viewed negatively i our cultural settings and yet they are the direct result of right belief.They are the kinds of things that drove men of old to establish great kingdoms, institutions, cultures.

Failure to see this intimate connection is what Tozer claims to be the raison d'ĂȘtre for immorality in congregations today.

The whole purpose for this Tozer study has been to increase our understanding of the principles of revival. Revival comes through the “reviving” of our faith, of our practice, of our commitment to holiness. And this is dependent upon our understanding of the connection between faith and practice. We don’t need to fully comprehend how the Lord works to bring revival to know that right belief and right behavior are a part of discerning God’s most perfect will. We simply need to accept it and to seek it.


So as we continue, let us recommit to maintaining space for this study, for making the time in our schedules, for saying no to some things so that we may say yes to the things that matter. Like any diet, exercise, educational, or professional endeavor, consistency and commitment are key. If we want to revive our faith we need to pursue it with gusto.

Paul said it best when, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, he wrote:

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things [Philippians 3:10-15]


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Chapter 19

1. In what ways does my need for comfort and assurance of safety interfere with opportunities to trust God? 

 

2. In what ways do my words act as substitutes for action?

 

3. How can I grow in my faith through my actions? 

 

4. How does my faith hold me back from trusting God?

 

5. What is God saying to me about this? 

 1. How does the thought of “faith” being confidence in God’s character impact me? The truth that my hope is founded on God's charact...