Posts by Category : faith

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Teach Us to Number Our Days 0

The New Testament reading for April 9 fit perfectly with our chapel guest, Bailey Heard. Bailey’s husband Andrew passed away last year from lung cancer at the age of 30.  Bailey shared an inspirational story of Andrew’s determination to make the most of every moment that he had left on this earth.  Following his diagnosis of cancer he went on to write two books.  A Gray FaithWalking Through the Dark Parts of This Life, is about walking in faith during difficult and challenging trials.  The second book was an Alphabet picture book of animals for his daughter Ellie.  He drew an animal for each letter and included an inspirational quote on each page as well.

Andrew’s determination to complete those books after his diagnosis is such an inspiration to me.  He could have easily decided to spend his time focusing on himself and doing all the things that he enjoyed doing.  Instead he felt compelled to finish the book because he wanted it to be a lasting testimony of his faith that would serve as an encouragement to others.

Luke 13:1-9 is an interesting parable that is only found in Luke’s gospel.  The crowd asked Jesus if a group of Gentiles that were murdered by Pilate deserved to die in such a horrific manner.  Jesus responded to say that there is no equation at work that justifies or explains why bad things happen to people.  Human nature wants an explanation for things and we often jump to a similar conclusion when something bad happens to someone as we wonder “what did they do to deserve that?”  The answer that Jesus provides, “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” is a great reminder for us.  Notice Jesus rejected the notion that they deserved to be murdered but emphasized that all of us will die and it is most important that we be prepared no matter when or why the death occurs.  Of course we want answers and explanations but Jesus reminds us that the most important element is that we acknowledge our need for him and recognize Him as the Son of God while we have the opportunity.

In the same way, Andrew Heard reminds us to live our lives with meaning and purpose as we don’t know when our lives will end.  We have not been promised long and healthy lives but we must be faithful with the life we are given, no matter how long that life may be. In the words of the Psalmist: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

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Childlike faith 2

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:1-4

This reading from Monday, January 27, really hit home for me.  Jesus is communicating a core element of what it means to be a follower of God and that is our dependence on Him.  As babies enter the world they are dependent upon Mom and Dad for literally everything.  Even as the babies grow and mature into children they continue to rely on Mom and Dad for most everything including food, shelter, and clothing.  I recognize that children eventually begin to complain about the food and want specific clothing but I like to focus on the more innocent days of youth.  Most parents strive to provide for their children so that the children do not have to worry about basic necessities including what clothes they are going to wear or what food they are going to eat.  Most children I encounter do not contribute financially to the the family and simply are provided for by the work of their parents.  They also freely accept the provision that Mom and Dad offer without complaint.  (Again I am thinking of pre-teens).

When it comes to my relationship with God do I maintain a childlike faith that recognizes my dependence upon God or do I act as if I can contribute something such as my own acts of righteousness in order to gain God’s favor?  This passage reminds us that we need to maintain an attitude of utter dependence upon God, who has made a way for us to be in a relationship with Him.  We often try to earn the favor and praise of others through our actions and accomplishments and yet God wants us to come to Him in utter dependence contributing nothing but our pure and sincere faith that God loves us and accepts us and has made a way for us.

Salvation at its core is the recognition that as human beings we need God.  Because of our sin we are unable to take steps toward God and yet, graciously God has taken a giant step toward us.  God, the creator of the universe (including humanity), has made a way for us to be in an eternal relationship with Him through Jesus.  What a gift for us.  Let us all remember to approach God as innocent faith-filled children who simply accept what is offered.