God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.
1. 8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable [essential reading]
“There’s absolutely no friction between your Christianity and your partisan politics. … There are no paradoxes, tensions, or unresolved questions. … Your friends and coworkers are surprised to learn you’re a churchgoing Christian. … You never think about or even remember the Sunday sermon on Monday. … No one at your church ever annoys you. … You never feel challenged, only affirmed. … You’ve never had to have a ‘truth-in-love’ conversation with a fellow Christian. … No one in your church could comment on any area of growth they’ve seen in you.”
“There is evidence of distress, anxiety, or even PTSD symptoms among people who were not directly exposed to a disaster, but were exposed to the news … Fear, the coming unknown (is there another shooting, are other co-conspirators involved?) and reduced faith in our perceived safety may all play a role in this.”
“Many of the injured (16%) had injuries affecting the face, over a third of which were categorized as ‘severe.’ … Nobody won the … war but the medical services. The increase in knowledge was the sole determinable gain for mankind in a devastating catastrophe.”
“The gospel is not a perverse theological system in which good people are tortured by God for eternity. Christians must stop suggesting anything like that! … Using hell as a means of scaring people into Christianity may also drive them out of Christianity when they become a little more thoughtful.”
“Each stop made the same solemn point: Nationalism kills. It is a message Mr. Macron hopes will not be lost on the dozens of world leaders who will descend on France this weekend to commemorate the 1918 Armistice. But it is not clear anyone is listening.”
Anyone whose sense of well-being depends upon stock market quotations, weather forecasts, or the statistics of a public opinion pollster will be constantly on edge, “afraid of evil tidings.” Those who listen in faith to God’s word and respond in praise, however, have foundations of eternity built into the structure of their soul and thereby acquire a firm heart.
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.
The story of our faith, our very existence, begins and ends with joy. … Joy at the beginning, joy at the end, joy everywhere in between. Joy is God’s creation and gift. No authentic biblical faith is conceivable that is not permeated with it.
1. Sweating Our Faith by Mike Glenn
“Most of us … live mundane lives well within the limits our natural abilities. Most of us rarely, if ever, enter to the realm of living in faith.”
“We must always go back to the teachings of the early church, the New Testament, but the church itself was a mess. Much like today. We are a mess, too, so we go back to the teachings that went to our messy brothers and sisters. We learn from them and the teachings — not to be like them, but to be faithful to our risen Lord.”
3. As You Pass Through the Valley of Weeping by Richard Beck
“You can read the Psalms for years and still you’re interrupted by their poetry.”
4. Ein Harod – How to Move From Fear to Faith by Wayne Stiles
“Some situations today will seem as bleak, hopeless, and full of fear as Gideon’s seemed to him at Ein Harod. Circumstances and emotions will demand we doubt what God has clearly promised. But our confidence and faith must remain fixed on what the Lord has said, not in what we see.”
“… even more deep than willful ignorance is the sign that many have adopted a motive of self-enhancement above what reality is telling us — going for a ‘win’ in the face of a pending larger ‘loss.’ This is where willful ignorance becomes an observable and dangerous spiritual problem — the expression of egocentric and ethnocentric thinking and acting.”