January 18, 2011
“The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present. God . . . gives faith to the obedient heart only.” —A.W. Tozer
Tozer’s remark is reminiscent of James 2: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
I have wondered about what I will call “nominal Christians,” who claim to believe in and trust God yet live like any other man or woman who has no profession of faith. Studies have shown that as a whole, Christians don’t live their lives any differently than nonbelievers. The divorce rate is the same among Christian marriages as the nation as a whole. Unethical business practices abound in Christian-owned businesses. Porn is prolific in Christian homes. The list goes on.
Doesn’t this pattern of professing one thing but living another give God’s name a bad rap? And what does it say about the church as a whole? Tozer was right. Faith is given to the faithful in heart and deed, not in word alone. If we love God, we will obey His statutes. Out of devotion, not compulsion.
“Epiphany: A sudden realization of great truth.” I celebrated Epiphany (Jan. 6) by baking a special strudel to commemorate the Magi (Matthew 2) who, astutely recognizing from the change in the night sky that a king had been born, journeyed from the East in search of the Christ child. Simeon and Anna (Luke 2) also experienced an epiphany when they saw Mary and Joseph carrying newborn Jesus into the temple, and recognized that this babe was the long-awaited Messiah. Epiphanies come to prepared hearts…God help us to watch and listen, and be prepared for His invasion into our lives!
It’s been written throughout the centuries that Advent is a season of hopes fulfilled (albeit misunderstood), and expectant waiting for the ultimate outcome to be manifested. It’s an appropriate time of year to see the fulfillment of my dream to start a website and the beginning of a learning curve as I learn how to maintain its pages.
I am a writer, freelance journalist and author, so one might assume my website will be used as a marketing tool for book sales. While I plan to offer my books here (signed copies, cheaper than retail), my goal for this site is that it become a place to ask questions of cosmic significance and explore nondenominational, Biblical answers. I hope to accomplish this through regular blog posts, devotionals and essays. I do not purport to be an expert on any subject relating to Christianity. I am a pilgrim, a sojourner on life’s journey, just like everyone else. But I feel strongly that the Bible holds the answers we seek. It teaches us about God’s character as well as His actions throughout history, so where direct answers might not be available, what we learn about God’s character can help us navigate the dark places along life’s path with peace and joy. Through my writing, I hope to open up dialogs of conversation that lead to personal growth and enrichment.
It will probably take a few weeks for me to feel comfortable with the process of updating these pages, so bear with me, and please, come back soon.
December 20, 2010
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
Hope for the Christian is anchored in the Christmas promise, foretold by angels who visited shepherds keeping watch in their fields by night. The result of this heavenly proclamation was that the shepherds went in search of the proclaimed Christ Child on whom peace depends. They went gladly, even though it probably involved inconvenience and hardship. The message sounds passé and antiquated by today’s standards. What relevance does it have in an era when half the world lives in fear of annihilation from the other half, and personal peace is like a mirage? While the Christ Child’s birth did not bring world peace, the message is contemporary because it strikes at the heart of what everyone desires: peace and joy unaffected by circumstance. Those who take it to heart inherit a fountainhead of grace from life’s Creator. May we all learn to listen to the flutter of angel wings this Christmas season!
Denise’s Favorite Charities
Looking for ways to help the suffering and struggling across the globe, as well as in your own backyard? Take a look at these organizations!