Advent Faith

advent candlesIn the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph,of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. –Luke 1:26-38 ESV 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

   “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. –Matthew 1:18-25

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Believing and Doing

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  -Matthew 7:24

Jesus says that everyone who hears his words and does them is like that wise man.  Verse 26 describes the man that hears those same words but does not do them.  (Read the full story here.)  There is a obviously a difference between hearing and doing.  There is even a difference between believing and doing.  Faith is belief in action, and it is the action of the believer that makes all the difference. Continue reading

The Sinner’s Prayer Debate

One side of the debate says that the sinner’s prayer is not found in scripture.  Okay, I’ll give you that.  But you loose me on the premise that nowhere is such a prayer commanded nor implied anywhere in the New Testament.  The Apostle’s Creed is not found in scripture, but that is the statement of faith regularly made by many believers.  Each claim is based on scriptural truth.  Below is the sinner’s prayer text, followed by several statements quoted directly from scripture. Continue reading

Is Anything Too Hard for the LORD?

God had first spoken to Abram when he was about 70 years old, promising him many descendants and lots of land.  Abram didn’t hear from God again for about 15 years, but when God reminded him that he would have his very own son, Abram believed him.  God counted his faith as rightousness, making Abram the first person made righteous by faith.  God explains that although his descendents will be innumerable like the stars in the sky, they will not be given the land for 400 years.  God’s schedule is not our schedule; he will speak to Abram again in another 15 years. Continue reading

Bible Survey: Abraham, Man of Faith

The Bible Survey project took something of a hiatus when my daughter Johannah was born.  The few posts that exist continue to attract page views, presumably through search engine results for the key words.  Ridden with guilt about never getting past Gen 11, I am ready to pick up the torch.

Abraham is the first man of faith we encounter in the Bible.  At Gen 15, a significant event takes place in the relationship between God and man.  It is neither obedience nor sacrifice that makes Abraham right with God; it is what he believes about God that counts as righteousness.  Join me at Bible Survey to continue the journey.

The God We Wouldn’t Make Up

God made man in his own image.  And man, in his infinite wisdom, returned the favor.    -Mark Twain

In my last post, I argued that if Christianity were a lie, we would have told a better lie.  A similar line of thinking applies to God.  Many gods have been invented by people.  The God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, isn’t one of them.  Here’s why no one would make up such a god:

God requires perfection.  We would make up a god that settles for good enough.  Our imaginary god would be happy with 70%.  That’s good enough to pass.  The best you can do is the best you can do.  Who would ask for more than that?  The God we wouldn’t make up, that’s who. Continue reading

Christianity, Truth or Fiction

jesus_crossThere is an old saying that is Christianity were a lie, they would have made up a better lie.

Think about it. The basic tenants of the Christian faith are that a carpenter from a small town in Israel was crucified by the Roman Empire, buried, rose again from the dead, and that faith in these events is what gets one into heaven. These are just the basics. We could make a long list. To be a faithful Christian, one must believe: Continue reading