When Faith Offers Less Than Best

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

When Faith Offers Less Than Best

This Sunday’s Amusing

Screenshot (39)Hebrews 11:4

Screenshot (41)FROM THE MIND OF WEBSTER

Better – more attractive, favorable, or commendable.
Sacrifice – destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.
Offering – something offered as an act of worship or devotion.

BACKSTORY

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor (Genesis 4:2-5).

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Life’s Illusions

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Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.   (1 John 2:15–17, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Craving and lusting and boasting – oh my!  Desires such as these will pass away.  And when they are gone, what will be left?  We have to let these things go in order “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [us].” (Philippians 3:12, NIV 1984).  We cannot have it both ways.  “No one can serve two masters. Either [we] will hate the one and love the other, or [we] will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24, NIV 1984).  We may fool ourselves into thinking we can but “[He] know[s] [our] deeds, that [we] are neither cold nor hot. [He wishes we] were either one or the other! So, if [we] are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold— [He will] spit [us] out of [His] mouth. [We] say, ‘[we are] rich; [we] have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But [we] do not realize that [we] are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (Revelation 3:15–17, NIV 1984).  Rich? Acquired wealth? Do not need a thing?  Sounds an awful lot like craving, lusting and boasting.   Pitiful? Poor? Blind and naked?  Sounds an awful lot like the world and its desires passing away.

Both Sides Now

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all.

Joni Mitchell

My Advice – “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if [the world and its desires are] God, follow [them].”  (1 Kings 18:21, NIV 1984). Craving and lusting and boasting?  They are illusions. Let them go!

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Given From Above

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The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”  When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”  (John 19:7–11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”  The power given is not from Rome.  It is not from the Sanhedrin.  It is not from the High Priest.  Not even from the crowd that would later yell “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”  The power over Jesus was given by God.  Without it, no one could touch Him.  And since Jesus and the Father are one, the power in essence is coming from Jesus.  He is willingly granting it.  “I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:17–18, NIV 1984).  But why?  Because the good work of redemption could not be accomplished in any other way.

So what does this mean to us as followers of Christ?  When we encounter persecution or suffering, we have the tendency to cry out “why me?!”  Rather we should be crying out “why not me?!”  Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33a, NIV 1984).  And why not?  Are we any better than Him?  Certainly not!  But I think, that the power of persecution over us is also granted from above.  Nothing touches us, without the permissive will of the Father.  I am convinced, that when this is the case, it is because something good is being accomplished in us or through us that could not be accomplished in any other way.  Because,  “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  If it could be accomplished in any other way I am convinced that the “cup” would pass from us.

My Advice – Going through a tough patch?  Hang in there.  “Take heart! I [Jesus] have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33b, NIV 1984).  It’s okay to pray “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”  (Matthew 26:39a, NIV 1984).  But also be prepared to pray “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39a, NIV 1984).  Because, if it is possible, the cup will pass.  If there is no other way to accomplish what is necessary and good “do not lose heart. Though outwardly [you may be] wasting away, yet inwardly [you] are being renewed day by day. For [your] light and momentary troubles are achieving for [you] an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So fix [your] eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18, NIV 1984).  Take heart!  You too are an overcomer.

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Lavished On Us

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In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7–8, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “The riches of God.”  Riches. Plentiful amount. Abundantly supplied.  How plentiful and abundant do you suppose it could be coming from the Creator of all there is? How about His only begotten Son? “God’s grace.” Grace. The free and unmerited favor of God. “The riches of God’s grace” are free to all who would receive them, even though it is not merited.  Could never possibly be merited. “He lavished on us.”  Lavished. Bestowed in generous or extravagant quantities. Exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate.  It is neither reasonable or appropriate that we should receive God’s favor, apart from His mercy and grace.  “With all wisdom and understanding.”  God understood what the cost of His grace would be.  It doesn’t seem all that wise to give so great a cost to those so unworthy.  But He was wise enough to understand it was the only possible way to lovingly satisfy His own Holy and Righteous character.

My Advice – Be thankful that you either have it or that it is within your grasp.

Whatever Happened to the Wages of Sin?

From the archives.

The Brew Is A Musing

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Introduction – Setting The Stage

Romans 3:23 – [A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (NIV 1984).

Romans 6:23[T]he wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (NIV 1984).

Wages – A payment in return (www.the free dictionary.com).

Gift – Something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation (www.merriam-webster.com).

Hebrews 9:27[M]an is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away [save from] the sins of many people (NIV 1984).

Save – To deliver from sin.

Savior – A person [Jesus Christ] who helps people achieve salvation, or saves them from something [Hell] (https://en.wikipedia.org).

Jesus Christ – The only name that has the power to save (www.urbandictionary.com).

Acts 4:12It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…

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