Faith

A Faith that Saves – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

A Faith that Saves – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Jesus says that it is this faith which made him well. The word used here comes from the word sozo, which can also mean ‘to save’. There can be no doubt that this is what is implied here, for he had already been healed. The physical healing he received from Jesus was an immense grace and a foretaste of the complete wholeness and salvation Jesus came to bring him and the other lepers. But it was only a foretaste. Only through faith—a constant living into that healing through obedience, trust and gratitude expressed in worship—could he be made completely well, could he be saved.

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Transforming Prayer – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Transforming Prayer – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” I would add that it also changes our experience of who God is. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The same God who did not fail us on the cross will not fail us in the whole of our lives. But this does not mean that he will always answer us when and how we expect him to. Often times he does not—not because he is failing us, but because he is forming us and even healing us.

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Abundant Fruit – Meditation of the Studies in Luke

Abundant Fruit – Meditation of the Studies in Luke

We all know that underlying the parable is the message that the soil which represents our heart must be healthy in order for the Word of God to take root in our lives…but this small detail given by Luke challenges us to consider our own role it making it healthy. It is not sufficient we not have the scorching sun beating down on us—that is that we take away the trials and tribulations we face—nor even that we rid ourselves of the weeds of unnecessary concerns and attachments in this world. We must create space … through worship, study and prayer so that we can not only receive God’s word, but also allow it to take root and be nourished so that it can withstand these external challenges and bear abundant fruit in our lives.

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Fullness of Faith – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Fullness of Faith – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

…faith is not about being certain that God will act in certain ways, though it may sometimes entail this. Nor is it primarily about the determination to persevere in hope in the face of trials, though this is how we are called to express our faith. Rather, faith is fundamentally about surrendering the whole of our lives in humility and awe at who God is, and in gratitude and adoration for all that he has done to reveal to us his unfailing love—at the cross, but also specifically in our lives. True faith is not just a determination of the mind, but also an attitude of the heart that orients itself in worship of the One from whose love we can never be separated (Rom 8:38-39), who works all things for the good of those who love him (Rom 8:28) and who is, indeed, just.

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Have No Anxiety – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Have No Anxiety – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

So where do we find the gift of living without debilitating anxiety? Many say the answer is right here in these few verses from Philippians: it is taking everything to the Lord in prayer. But that is only so if something far more fundamental has happened first: we have come to trust the Lord and his love for us and are confident that when we pray he always hears and always answers. This is the assurance of Peter who says “cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” Anxiety diminishes as faith increases.

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Put Out Into the Deep! – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Put Out Into the Deep! – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

This is what he wants for all of his disciples, to draw us into complete reliance on and trust in him. He wants for us to put out into the deep, to leave everything behind and surrender our whole lives to him—our hopes, our dreams, our wounds and weariness, all of it—in order that give all of himself to us. And in order to do that, he very often has to poke and prod at precisely those areas where we are most wounded, most weary. But he does not do so out of callousness; he does so out of love, so that he might pour his unfailing love into those areas of our lives and we might experience his abundant life.

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Testing or Trusting? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Testing or Trusting? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

…it is important to note that this type of testing is not at all the same thing as struggling to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst of darkness or difficulty. The Bible (particularly the psalms) is full of examples of faithful people crying out to the Lord as they try to reconcile their pain or suffering with what they’ve been told about God’s character…The difference is that, in doing so, they do not judge him a liar or unfaithful, though they may struggle with fears that this is true at times; rather they struggle to hold on, reminding themselves of his promises and calling to mind his past acts of faithfulness in their lives so that these might be a buoy of hope in the midst of the storm. Far from a lack of faith or testing to God, they ultimately witness to a depth of faith that is both exemplary and beautiful.

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Unwavering Trust – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Unwavering Trust – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

One of the most fundamental steps of living into our sonship and daughtership in Christ is to demonstrate the same unwavering trust we see in Jesus in the wilderness by, likewise, determining not to fulfill our own desires (however right or needful) in our own way or in our own time (however easily we might be able to do so), but rather to surrender our lives to his Kingdom, trusting in his provision and timing, and above all His unfailing love.

For He that promised is faithful (Heb 10:23).

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Transformed by the Word – Fifth Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Transformed by the Word – Fifth Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

“The followers of Jesus seem to have discovered, as early as the day of Pentecost, that when they spoke to people about Jesus something happened. It wasn’t just that people were interested, or that they decided either to go along with the message or reject it. It was that the ‘word’ seemed to carry an energy, a power, beyond the mere ‘words’, remarkable though they were in themselves. It was as though when the ‘word’ was spoken, something like a blood transfusion was taking place in some at least of the hearers. They found themselves gripped by it, transformed by it, rinsed out by it, given a new sense of the presence of God. (NT Wright, Early Christian Letters)

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The Power of Yes – First Reading in Preparation to the Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Power of Yes – First Reading in Preparation to the Fourth Sunday in Advent

So it is that the Birth of Jesus in the city of David has not one hint of accident about it. It was fully planned by God, the way paved by God, and consummated by Mary and Joseph whose desire was to cooperate fully with God. Once again, Mary (and Joseph) said yes. Yes to a long, difficult, and harrowing journey while far along in her pregnancy. Yes to separation from family and friends who could help and support at the birth. Yes to uncertain and rugged lodging both on the way and on their arrival. And yes to many, many other things as well, all because God had asked it of her. The Messiah must be born in Bethlehem and so she must go to Bethlehem with Joseph.

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