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Showing posts from June, 2020

Boast in the Lord

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What are you proud of in your life? What do you identify with? Do you think your behavior will excuse or vindicate you? The people of Judah thought that their exterior religiosity insured them against punishment for their inward vileness. Can’t we be guilty of the same?  Through the prophetJeremiah, God laid forth his future punishment of Judah’s sins very clearly as a warning for the people to turn away from their sins. Chiefly they had abandoned God and had turned to worshipping the false gods of Ba’al, as if they had chosen water from a dirty and leaky cistern over a pure, fresh and clean water from a spring (Jeremiah 2). In addition, the Jews had been treating each other harshly with no concern for the needy, instead trusting in political alliances and their own inflated sense of righteousness to advance “goodness” in their country.

Little Faith or Mustard Seed Faith?

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The healing of the demoniac boy offers much enlightenment regarding the nature of faith. In the previous post I explored how faith (an action), though genuine, may come with a sense of doubt or unbelief (a verb). In this post we are going to explore the bewildering reason why the Apostles could not cast it out. To be very clear I have done a post before dedicated to exploring why the Apostles could not drive out the demon- while my previous study was right, I largely missed the point and neglected the more specific lessons on faith.
After the Apostles could not cast the demon out from the boy, they asked Jesus why they could not cast it out. Jesus gave two responses: “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (see Jesus Heals the Demon)  and  “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you”  This answer presen…

Unending Comfort: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

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I was working on an article about Grace and came across this passage in Paul's second letter to the believers at Thessalonica.  It is about halfway through the letter. Here is my literal translation of the passage

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

So may Our Master Jesus the Messiah, Himself, and our God and Father, Who loved us and gave an everlasting comfort and a good hope with grace, comfort your hearts and strengthen you in every word and good work.

We all go through tough times. It was also true with the first generations of church members  when Roman tyrants ruled with an iron hand. It wasn't the government that threatened the believers in those days, but rather those teachers who didn't understand how God was working things out. Otherwise, things were going well. The letters to the Thessalonians were friendly reminders that God had not judged the church in secret. Bad times were yet to come (though Paul didn't know when). Before going on with these exhortations, the Apo…

Faith Amid Unbelief

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Can unbelief and faith coexist? At first glance, one would be inclined to say “Absolutely not!”. Afterall verses such as John 3:18 say,  “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” How then do we explain the remarkable proclamation of a man with a demon-possessed son in Mark 9,  “I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24b Jesus had been on a mountain with three disciples, “transfiguring” himself to display his full glory. While this happened, Jesus left the remaining Apostles in Caesarea Philippi. During this time, a man approached the Apostles asking them to heal his son who had been possessed by a demon. The Apostles were unable to perform this healing, and this stirred up arguments within the crowd. When Jesus returned and asked about all the commotion the father approached him and explained how the Apostles were unable to heal his son. So Jesus called out their lack of fa…