I appreciate this explanation of biblical faith from Pete Briscoe: “Faith is an action of the will based on the beliefs of the mind.” From Telling the Truth……………..
Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World by Mike Cosper (IVP Books; 2017)
Recapturing the Wonder by Mike Cosper tackles the very real difficulties that Christians in the West face to try to connect with and commune with a transcendent God, while all the world around us screams that there is no God or no better place other than the broken and disenchanted world all around us. Cooper makes a point of discussing the “disenchantment” of society in the West in anything outside our sense experiences, and that there is no absolute truth, and nothing to hope for after one dies. While fully and honestly admitting that life is very hard —- even for Christians (no “name it and claim it”) —- still, God’s grace can be easy at times to appropriate. This is the aim of Cosper’s book.
After a brief review of our post-modern and materialistic society and its impact on all people, including Christians, the author quickly launches into what he calls “pathways” to regaining our enchantment for the world around us, as well as the spiritual realm which is actually more real than what we can see and experience with our five senses.
The pathways that Cosper fleshes out are: One —- Re-enchanting Our World; Two —- Experiencing Grace; Three —- Bringing Scripture to Life; Four —- Withdrawing With God; Five —- Practicing Abundance; Six —- Throwing a Feast; and Seven —- Writing a Rule of Life. Cosper writes not as an expert in mastering these pathways, but rather as a fellow struggler who is learning how to live a transcendent life through wrestling with God, like Jacob did in the Old Testament. I believe a vast majority of believers struggle mightily in this area of living as God being the most real Person and true reality, and would greatly benefit from a book like this one. Highly recommended!
Hospitality is such an important practice for every believer, but especially in terms of being a missionary or a minister of the gospel, as well as for those who wish to serve those who minister the gospel to others. From Place for Truth……………….
This devotion from pastor and author Mark Batterson is about open ears, ears open to God, and whose voice one listens to…………….
This article gleans the teachings on having a relationship with God from Chapter Two of the book Hearing God by Dallas Willard. That chapter discusses some general guidelines on hearing from God.
Willard says the first guideline in hearing from God is to know that God intends to develop a relationship with us as two persons who freely love each other with genuine agape love. This means we should not just want to hear God speaking to us but becoming someone engaged in a mature and loving relationship with Him. To have any meaningful conversation with God, we must be in communion with Him.
Willard then states that the second general guideline for hearing God is to believe that the people in the Bible were basically like us. If God could choose to communicate with those people, we have to believe that the Lord can speak to us today.
Finally, the third truth to keep in mind when considering receiving a word from God is that it does not necessarily mean we are righteous or what we believe He said is correct when He speaks to us. So, we must always be humble and curtail the temptation to announce, “God told me.”
Our next article in this series will focus on the fact that God is always with us and attentive to us.
Only for the Christian is this possible, and only because of the indwelling of Jesus! From the Mental Health Grace Alliance…………………
I have suffered all of my life with severe anxiety and depression. And this includes my 35+ years as a Christian. I know that many other believers struggle as I do, and maybe even get to feeling “faithless” and “unworthy” before God for feeling that way. But God is neither surprised nor angry or frustrated with our struggles.
I am a voracious reader and student of the Bible and have tried numerous methods suggested by the thousands of books and sermons one can find these days on how better to handle stress. But I have discovered something — or rather realized — a solution that has stared at me in the face from the pages of Scripture. And it begins with one word: Remember.
Of course, anxiety and depression (like mine) often have some physical/chemical reasons, along with childhood trauma and emotional makeup that contribute to it. And I take medications and do most of the other things I can to reduce those feelings. But there is one beneficial thing that God Himself pointed out to us in His Word, and it starts with that little word “remember.”
In fact, if one were to do a word study on “remember,” that word appears over 230 times in the NIV, for instance. But here is the thing I discovered: I have to make a choice to remember what God has done for me in the past, and the character He displays all throughout Scripture. In other words, when I am stressed and anxious or doubting, I have to remember to remember.
This was apparently a problem for a large number of both individuals and tribes and nations to put into practice, too. Here are some examples of those who did not remember or forgot to remember:
- Moses and the Israelites: Nu. 15:39-40 — “You will have these tassels to look at, and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord…Then you will remember all my commands and be consecrated to your God.”
- Joshua: Jos. 1:13 — “Remember the command that Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave you….”
- David: 1 Chron. 16:12 — “Remember the wonders he [God] has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced….”
- Solomon: 2 Chron. 6:42 — “Lord God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David, your servant.”
- Psalm 63:6 — On my bed, I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”
- Jeremiah: Jer.15:15 — Lord, you understand; remember me and care for me.
- The women at the Empty Tomb: Luke 24:6 — “He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you while you were still in Galilee….”
- Hebrews 10:32 — Remember those earlier days after you had received the light when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.
- Jesus to all believers: Rev.3:3 — “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard: hold it fast, and repent.”
So, I am slowly learning that when I am anxious or doubting to stop and remember — not only all the hundreds and thousands of times that God never let me down. I also remember that folks in the Bible (even the so-called heroes), had to pause, stop, and remember on God and His love and faithfulness. So, REMEMBER to REMEMBER!
Those without Christ will always be basically discontented and restless. But this can also happen with those of us who follow Jesus. This article helps if we feel a lack of the peace that should characterize believers. From Two Journeys…………
By Nicholas Vafiades
The phrase, “getting the lay of the land,” originally referred to geographically understanding how the land is laid out with its various features before plotting a course or plan of action. But that phrase for map-making and traversing the landscape has now become an expression in common usage that refers to scoping out the current circumstances and situations. And especially doing so before beginning an endeavor or plan of action. So, while this phrase may not appear in the Bible, the concept is actually quite common in Scripture. And it is a place where I have found myself for the past few months.
In my time in both the for-profit and non-profit work worlds, I have spent most of my time communicating with others both inside and outside the organizations through written and spoken forms of communicating. But the Lord has now brought me to a new place where I am finally able to use my gifts, skills, and experiences to bless others and possibly help further God’s kingdom. But how best to do that? That is why I am getting the lay of the land before me.
The Bible often speaks about coming to a place of decision and the processes a person of God should go through as they think about the best course of action. Most often, the word you will find in most translations for this is “consider,” which means to plan, devise, think on, etc. I think about the contrasts between Saul and David in the OT, where they both had to look at the “lay of the land” before deciding on their next step, but where Saul went on his own best ideas, David consistently sought out the Lord and His wisdom as part of his decision of what to do next. And the saints in the NT always sought direction from the Spirit before proceeding — even if it meant going against where and when they originally wanted to go.
As I look at the lay of the land before me right now in terms of how best to use my writing and editing to minister to and assist others, you also may be in a place where you have a particular plot of land to figure how it lays for you. Perhaps you will join me in a prayer:
Father God, I stand in a place of decision, and I want to make the decision that is in accordance with your will and your plans for me. I don’t want to be either impatient and move ahead of you or impertinent in the belief that my plans are better for me than your plans. Please help me to wait on you, to hear your voice when you speak to me, and then to have the faith and courage to follow where you direct. In the excellent and holy Name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.
By Lori Vafiades
One of my greatest joys is encountering the creatives that are drawn to our co-op. My business partners and I represent over 20 Colorado Springs artists in our gift shop, Sanctuary Inspired Goods. We have never turned an artist away.
Charlotte and her busker fiancé dropped in one late afternoon. Her red hair was topped with an emerald green bowler hat, and her black tulle skirt adorned with silver moons and stars. Everything screamed “Artist.” She was pulled in by our energetic art community, how we love and support one another. “I love the vibes,” she said, then asked how she could join us. Charlotte grabbed her phone to swipe through photos of her art. I’ve done this with dozens of artists now, and it always reminds me of a grandma displaying pictures of her grandbabies or a cat mom sharing her kitty photo parade. I moved up next to Charlotte so I could have a better look at her art; both artist and art are precious to me.
“I’m a green witch,” she told me, looking closely at my face. I think she was looking for a reaction. In my years as an art coach, I have taught my facial muscles to remain still while looking at art and hearing the life stories of others. I nodded and said “uh-huh” a lot. But, if she had been able to read my mind, she would have heard, “gotta Google that one.”
Green Witch, according to Urban Dictionary: noun. A witch specializing in the earthen world. A green witch is typically female, practices solitarily, and is a Pagan. Green witches know much about the identities, myths, care, etc., of plant life and seek to preserve it. They attempt to connect with the earthen world with New Age methods such as meditating. They acknowledge magic and use it in tune with natural forces to accomplish a goal, aka using witchcraft. These goals may include but are not limited to: healings, protectings, blessings. Green witches are usually knowledgeable in herbalism.
Truth is, whatever she calls herself, God calls her beloved daughter, precious child, beautiful one.
And that is why we are here to look for organic opportunities; to remind daughters and sons of their name; to share with these creative ones their true destiny; to gently lead them to the Great Creator who is madly in love with them.
In my next blog post, I will talk about the encounter with the busker and why volume matters.