Trusting God: feelings or faith?

Trusting God can be a struggle for the godliest people. As when Peter walked on water until he noticed the waves, the struggle comes from looking at circumstances and feelings. Even David had trouble maintaining his trust. Allow me to offer my own paraphrase of Psalm 30:6-12:

When I felt secure. When I felt secure. Was I secure, or did I just feel secure? Whatever it was, it seemed, it felt like it would last forever. But it didn’t. When life took a downturn and I didn’t feel secure any more. It felt like God had decided to hide from me.

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Trusting Jesus when it makes no sense: healing the blind man of Bethsaida

Christ Healing the Blind Man of Bethsaida (14th. c.) 

Mark’s gospel records a very odd healing. Some people in Bethsaida brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. Usually in Scripture we see Jesus instantly
moved to compassion, but these people had to beg him. Then, instead of laying his hands on the man, he led him out of town, where the story becomes odder still. Implicitly Jesus had challenging questions for the blind man, his disciples, and all of us: Do you believe me? Is trusting me still an option for you?

In Luke 10:13, Jesus pronounced woe to Bethsaida fir its unbelief at the miracles performed there.… Read the rest

Mountain-moving faith

Before I write about mountain-moving faith, I owe my regular readers an explanation of what has been happening on all my blogs lately. It has been my intention to update Musicology for Everyone on Mondays and Thursdays, Grace and Judgment on Tuesdays and Fridays, All-Purpose Guru (the blog) on Wednesdays (and Saturdays maybe), and All-Purrpose Guru (Home) every couple of weeks.

I have been up to my elbows in other things that I have put off too long. I will have to cut back on writing till I get caught up. I hope to get back to a regular schedule in January if not before.… Read the rest

Righteousness apart from the law

David made some strong claims for himself in 2 Samuel 22:21-25:

21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not done evil by turning from my God.
23 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
24 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
25 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight. (NIV)

All of us who have ever read it know our own hearts and question whether we could make such a claim.… Read the rest

Thoughts on the imitation of Paul

In recent decades, it seems a lot of people don’t like Paul or his epistles very well. Even in the church, there are those who think they see a dichotomy between Paul’s words and Jesus’. The closer anyone looks, the harder it is to find any of the supposed contradictions between Paul and any other New Testament writer, but too many Christians today content themselves with an occasional glance. In 1 Corinthians 4:16, Paul urged that church to imitate him. That sends the critics into an uproar, excoriating him for his arrogance.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 gives a somewhat different view of the same concept, except instead of urging a church to imitate him, Paul commends a church for the way they imitated  him.… Read the rest

When I am afraid. . . I will not be afraid

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” — Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV)

“Fear not.” That’s the message of lots of angels in the Bible, and some times the Lord himself when he appeared. John’s first epistle reminds us that perfect love casts out fear. And yet we all fear.

Some of us fear many things. All of us fear sometimes. Unemployed? Sick with a catastrophic disease? Seriously injured? Recently widowed? These only scratch the surface of major, long-term uncertainties that can cause the hardiest of us to fear.… Read the rest

Speaking what’s right of God: thoughts from Job on pride and humility

The Book of Job presents tremendous difficulties to anyone who really wants to understand it. In the prologue, we learn that Job was perfect in God’s sight, but to teach a lesson to Satan, God stripped Job of his wealth, his health, and his children. Three friends come to comfort him, but get into a nasty argument instead. Through it all, we see human pride at its worst.

All of them say things that sound very religious. Without careful study it is hard to pick out the rightness and wrongness of anyone’s comments. Then God shows up. What he says appears to have nothing to do with anything anyone said earlier.… Read the rest

Love of money, or contentment?

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5–NIV

We need to trust God with all our heart, mind, and body. That, alas, means to trust him with our money. That’s what the tithe and savings accounts are for. We should all live on 80% of our income. 10% belongs to God, payable to a local church congregation or some other ministry that is doing his work. 10% belongs in savings or investments so that when hard times come (and they will to everyone at one time or another) we have resources to see us through.… Read the rest