Firestarters // The hottest posts from Scriply bloggers.
I haven't written on this blog since the first post. An awful lot has happened since then...
In July 2013, my brother Sean died at the age of 40, as a result of diabetes complications. It was an awful shock, and to be frank, I had already begun having doubts about my faith. After Sean died, I basically gave up on faith. I was convinced that atheism was the only sensible worldview. And I stayed like that for several months. Meanwhile, I still carried on in my church job (I'm Director of Music at a small Methodist church). I abandoned my faith in God, and just went through the motions. As far as I know, no one was the wiser.
Then, just a couple days ago, I was going through my Bible collection: the collection had reached over 250 volumes awhile back, and I needed to get rid of some of them. As I sorted through those Bibles, I began to feel...a longing, a wistfulness, for the faith I had left behind. Within a few hours, I felt inside myself the faintest spark of faith. I realized once more that God had never abandoned me. I suspect he was waiting for me to rediscover him.
And so here I am, thinking about God and the words of Psalm 139...
Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology 1996
The Book of Psalms describes truth as a fundamental characteristic of God, a characteristic that the psalmist desires to share. The wicked do not speak truth (Psalms 5:9), whereas the blameless one speaks truth from the heart (15:2). The psalmists often depict truth as a quality separate from God, and which God serves by virtue of his nature. In many instances, truth appears to be personified. The psalmist tells God to “guide me in your truth” (25:5); the psalmist asks God to “send forth your light and your truth” to lead him (43:3); the psalmist asks the Lord to “ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth” (45:4). The psalmist desires to walk in God’s truth (86:11). Indeed, the sum of God’s word is truth.
Proverbs seldom speaks of truth, but when it does it defines it as a virtue that the person of God should practice. Truth is to proceed from one’s mouth, and wickedness is an abomination to the lips (Proverbs 8:7); the one who speaks the truth gives honest evidence (12:17); truth is described as a commodity that one should purchase, along with wisdom, instruction, and understanding (23:23).
Elwell, Walter A., and Walter A. Elwell. Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology 1996 : n. pag. Print. Baker Reference Library; Logos Library System.
I was looking for a good Word of God theme for my Google Chrome App Page, and there were none, so here we go.
The Sabbath teaches us that man can be obsessed with following rules that overlook the human needs. Jesus showed that the needs of someone out way the rules or traditions. Jesus Meets Human Needs on the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-4)How can we meet human needs in our daily lives? Are there any “rules” that keep us form meeting others’ meeds and showing them justice and mercy?
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath (v. 5)The phrase “Jesus is Lord” what does that mean to you?
Jesus Shows Justice and Mercy on the Sabbath (vv. 6-10)The man received healing because it is right to do good and to save life no matter what day it is.
Jesus Shows the True Meaning of the Sabbath (v. 11)Sabbath was not designed to oppress people but to liberate them and set them free.
Think About ItWhat rules do you think we have in place that overlooks the human needs?The Sabbath was a means to attain the end of doing good and showing justice and mercy.
How to be SavedAll have sinned: Read Romans 3:23, then Romans 6:23But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8 - NASBthe result of sin is death, the result of accepting jesus is everlasting life - Read Romans 10:9-10
Refer to the following scriptures below.
If you are like me, a Christian you may ask yourself am I giving it my all. In this lesson we see two people Simeon and Anna who showed how devout they were to the coming of Christ well into there senior years. As Christians our task at hand is can we remain faithful, devout, steadfast till our death which for most of us can be for a very long time.
If you were asked, “So do you believe in God?” What would you say?
Simeon’s Hope (Luke 2:25-32)We see Simeon being faithful for a very long time. He was rewarded for is faithfulness to get a chance to meet the child Jesus.Do you remain faithful to God’s promises? And how has your faith been rewarded?
Simeon’s Prophecy (vv. 33-35)Simeon’s words foretold Jesus crucifixion. What would of happened if Jesus never was crucified? What was the purpose of the Crucifixion?
Anna’s Devotion (vv. 36-38)Anna was over 84 years old when the baby Jesus was presented in the temple. Is it true we are never to old to server God.
On a scale of 1-10 with 1 as “very poor” and 10 as "very devout" rate yourself.10 (very devout)987654321 (very poor)Challenge Question: How can you show your devoutness towards Jesus?
After a fairly eventful debate with some friends I said I would write a post relating to how faith cannot be an action, i.e. something we do. The passage given against my argument comes from the book of James, using the ESV translation:
Scrupulosity in the form I am discussing here is the form of OCD that relates to intrusive thoughts about religion, commonly taking the form of having blasphemous thoughts towards the Holy Spirit, Jesus or the Father and fear of committing the unforgivable sin. Other possibilities are a hyper sensitivity towards whether something is or isn't a sin and a need to confess endlessly. My purpose here is not to discuss in great deal these but to discuss something quite differently, that is myexperience with OCD and despite it being perhaps the most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with (and still do have to deal with) how God has used it in the most beautiful of ways.
Scrupulosity is the most difficult form of OCD I have ever had to deal with. My thoughts began with me beginning to obsess over whether particular things were sinful, now this was not ordinary healthy concern over not wanting to offend God. This was not is it sinful to have sex outside marriage or more sensible concerns like those, this was concerns over whether ANYTHING that wasn't directly Christian was sinful. That is, was watching TV sinful, how about doing my degree? Seeing my girlfriend (at the time)? Listening to music that wasn't directly christian, talking about things that weren't directly Christian and playing sports and many other things I did enjoy were also up for extreme scrutiny. Obviously the questioning made those enjoyable things of life considerably less enjoyable and also gave me a view of God that He simply wanted me to be miserable all the time. Doing actual Christian activities would be a forced ritual done out of terror rather than love. Done in my own strength rather than thanks to God and the Holy Spirit, it was about what I did and do and not about what Jesus had done for me. Suicide at times seemed like a nice way out, but then again that would be a sin and force me into eternal damnation. I was trapped.
Thanks to some brilliant support people and medication I have managed to learn to understand these thoughts and the problems with them. I have had other forms of Scrupulosity such as the need to confess things to people when it is unneccesary but the purpose of this post isn't for that and the information here should suffice.
If you've read up to this point you may be wondering how I can call the most painful experience of my life, one in which suicide seemed like a nice option a blessing. The famous phrase 'The Lord works in mysterious ways' comes to mind. So why do I call it a blessing? I would firstly say this, I thank God for my Scrupulosity, not because I feel like some sort of special person for being a Christian and having it or because I have a difficulty that I manage to deal with reasonably well. No, I thank God because my Scrupulosity corrected my views and opinions of God, it corrected many misconceptions I had, through the pain came Jesus. Through the pain came the cross.
So what exactly did I learn, well thanks to God primarily through the teaching of Pastor Bob Waters and others over at The Scrupe Group I was first directed to: This passage immediately showed me that I could still have fun, that I could go out and do things, that God didn't want me to be miserable. This was a vital first step but was only the beginning, this gave me a foothold against the OCD and some valuable insight but only put me in the position I was before these concerns had crossed my mind.
The most valuable lessons I have ever learnt would be the very core of Christian belief, predominantly to have a view outside of myself a view that looks towards Jesus and not to myself. A view that puts all the emphasis on Jesus and what he does and does not put the emphasis on me and what I do. I was directed to the following passage: