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GK Chesterton had some insight about humility that has become more relevant today than he probably ever could’ve anticipated. He explains that humility has “moved from an organ of ambition and settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be.” To explain it further, a person is supposed to be “doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth.” But this is the crazy part, Chesterton says “ We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.”
We are all made in the image and likeness of God. And therefore equal to each other. As Christians, treating our fellow Christians like our brothers and sisters should be a top priority. But too often we see Christians tearing each other down, hurting each other, gossiping and holding onto grudges.
Something I’m constantly being convicted on is perseverance and steadfastness. After having my babies, I struggled through some postpartum depression. Add to that the natural challenges of having multiple children under 4 years of age, and it was a recipe for disaster. If it weren’t for Nick’s perseverance and steadiness, I don’t know how I would’ve endured. But I did! And looking back, I can see how it strengthened me, though in the moment I could have let it destroy me.
Jesus is ushering the Pharisees and Scribes into welcoming what was to come. A new covenant was coming. The Messiah was in their midst. And they wanted nothing to do with him. Jesus sees this and says, “no one who has been drinking old wine desires new,
for he says, 'The old is good.'" The Pharisees were set in their ways and determined to take anyone down that stood against them.
We are called to grow. We are called to be fruitful Christians. The moment we become complacent is the moment we start losing ground. It’s doesn’t say to “Stand in a worthy manner,” it says to “walk in a worthy manner.” Nothing is ever stagnant in this life. Paul refers to life as a race. Timothy takes it a step further and sees it as a fight. We must constantly be vigilant, moving, training ourselves in the knowledge of our faith so that we are effective in a world that needs very real and alive representatives of Christ.
This passage is kind of amusing to me. I mean, I’m sure that there’s some element of things getting lost in the translation here, but it’s just funny to me how Jesus heals her of this severe fever, and then she “waited on them.”
If you can imagine, this was written by David, a great King of the Old Testament. He’s sitting in his tent on the eve of battle. It’s the still before the storm and he knows tomorrow will bring bloodshed and possibly even death for himself. But He turns to God in this moment and reminds himself that God is with Him. Even unto death.
Several years ago while leading worship for a week long summer camp in Georgia, I had the amazing experience of sharing a log cabin with two Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. While I thought I was there to lead teens closer to Christ, God had plans for my own growth through the time I would spend with these two amazing men. What struck me most about them was their complete and peaceful surrender to God’s will and providence. Whatever came their way, they trusted that God was in it and they just peacefully rolled with it. This was a pretty stark contrast to the way I realized I’d been living my life.
This is a really contentious reality among believers today. But the truth of the matter, again, based on this passage and many many other passages like it, is that God doesn’t just want us to believe in him. I mean, even the demons in Hell believe in God. In other words… get ready for it… “faith alone” is not enough. God wants our belief in him to transform us.
This is the body of Christ working well - working out of love and out of selflessness and concern for each other! Paul and the other leaders had planted a church in Thessalonica and they were anxious that perhaps the hardships of persecution had caused them to give up faith. So they sent Timmy to check in on them and hear back that the Thessalonians have actually succeeded in keeping a strong community of faith and love! Paul is clearly overjoyed and relieved by this news. You can feel the deep concern and love in his letter to the people.
Yikes! Jesus is throwing shade at the scribes and pharisees! While Jesus was a wise teacher, a lover of peace, a supernatural healer, and well, God, there are a number of occasions in which he lays the smack-down of truth on people. This is definitely one of them. At face value it might not seem like there is much to be gained here for you and me 2,000 years later. But… there just might be a profoundly important message here for all of us.
If you struggle with self-worth or anxiety (which would probably be most of us to some extent), these are the verses worth hanging up on your bathroom mirror. Put on these truths before facing the world today. Society is telling us constantly that we’re not enough.
It’s taboo to talk about sin for a lot of reasons. Most people (like myself) don’t like to be told what to do. All the more so, nobody likes to be told that something they are actively doing or have done in the past or want to do in the future, is “wrong.” Sin is an uncomfortable topic and sometimes it can feel easier to just pretend there is no such thing as “sin.” In my opinion, this is largely based on a skewed perception of what sin really is.
After I began my relationship with Jesus in college, everything in my life wasn’t magically fixed, however, I knew for once I was not alone. I spent a lot of those nights at the foot of the cross at St. Tom’s, the parish at BGSU, and even though I was struggling, I knew I had someone holding me up.
“Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Where to even start with that! My initial thoughts used to be PANIC whenever I heard these verses. What if I’m not loving Him enough? And how does a lowly mortal like me love him with everything?! It’s hard enough to do the second part of the verse; love people and love myself. What?!
What is the center of our life? What’s the first thing we think about when we wake up. What are we thinking about and focusing on throughout the day? What is our last thought when we go to sleep?
I’m gonna be honest. I used to get a little bit mad at this parable. Mainly because it reminded me of those horrible group projects we’d have to do back in school and everybody shared a grade. It was the worst (and I’m pretty sure that has to be illegal by now). So I, being the overachieving student who was also a slight control freak, tended to take on the better portion of the workload. Granted, that lends itself to all kinds of resentment and frustration and lovely things like that - similar to how the morning workers must’ve felt.
God created us because he loves us. He created YOU, because he loves YOU. You literally exist BECAUSE he loves you. He wants to live in relationship with us; not only now, but for eternity. He wants this so badly that he lowered himself to our level. I mean, imagine, THE Divine Being, infinity itself, the essence and source of all power and existence who set all of creation into motion, became a human being. It is the ultimate example of “meeting someone where they’re at.”
I love how this guy keeps upping the ante. It’s almost like an ego boost at first, because clearly he knows he’s gonna get the first question right. He knows that he follows all 10 commandments. I imagine this guy was ready to hear Jesus say, “Dude, you’re perfect! Here’s your ticket to Paradise. Keep up the good work!” But instead, Jesus pulls a fast one (which I feel like Jesus is really good at doing) and he ups the ante even more