Christianity 201

August 21, 2022

Seeing God’s Work in the World

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

Sorting through devotions online, today I discovered a source which, in one of their writings made a statement about the main purpose of scripture, or what they called “the primary theme and promise of the Bible;” and that statement was completely erroneous. And with that I knew I couldn’t share anything they had written. Presenting devotions from a variety of sources is a responsibility taken seriously, and even though there is a disclaimer, sometimes including someone here implies endorsement. Hopefully we get it right most days.


It’s a year later, and we’re back at Life Talk, the devotional page of Methodist Life. The writer today is John Grimm.

The Greatness of God

NRSVUE*.Luke.9.37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. 39 Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he[a] shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. 40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41 Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was being brought forward, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.

Wow.  That is what can be said about Jesus casting out a demon from a boy.  We should be astounded at the greatness of God.  For the man to see his son free from the demon would have been spectacular!

When is the last time we were astounded by the greatness of God?

Did this astonishment happen when a confirmand** felt the Holy Spirit present in her?

Did this astonishment happen when a loved one quietly died after battling a terrible disease?

Did this astonishment happen in a worship service as Jesus healed a broken relationship?

Maybe we are like the generation who watched Jesus cast the demon out of the boy.  Maybe we are faithless and perverse.  It might be that Jesus needs to rebuke us so that we can see the greatness of God.

God, we want to see your greatness.  However, our lack of faith and our perverse ways keep us from noticing your power at work in this world.  Heal our lack of faith and drive out our perverse ways.  We want to see you work in our world.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.


Footnotes

  1. 9.39 Or it

Editor’s notes

*The citation, NRSVUE, stands for New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition, releasing in September.

**A confirmand is a person completing the process of preparation to enter into the sacrament of confirmation. In your tradition, think about someone preparing for adult baptism, or confession of faith, or even someone anticipating a missions trip.

November 15, 2012

Show Your Power, Lord

Today we flash back to a C201 post from exactly two years ago…

What do you do if the Passover has already passed over, the Red Sea has already parted, and the son has already stood still? Habakkuk no doubt felt like he’d missed Israel’s “glory days.”

Habakkuk 3:2(NIV) LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

We do the same thing. It’s easy to wish that we could see the miracles. Maybe you missed the “third wave” of the charismatic movement in the 1970s; or missed the ocean baptisms of the Jesus movement, also in the ’70s. Maybe you missed the moment at a Creation Festival; or couldn’t attend a particular year of Promise Keepers. Perhaps you weren’t there when that church doubled its attendance in six months; or when that individual was dramatically healed, or another delivered from a particular addiction.

Or maybe you didn’t miss a thing, but feel like nothing compares to Old Testament signs and wonders or first century miracles. Like Habakkuk you say:

Habakkuk 3:2(NIV) LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

But always remember how he ends this particular chapter. Even if life appears to be the opposite of all that you’d like to see, even if, as the Brits say, it’s all gone pear shaped; our faith is not shaken. It doesn’t negate the prayer of verse 2, but in 17-19 the prophet puts things in a larger perspective:

Habakkuk 3:17-19a (NLT) Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!

 

– = – = – = –

My reading of chapter 3 of Habakkuk was inspired by listening to a great sermon by Darren Whitehead, a teaching pastor at Willow Creek.

November 18, 2010

Lord, Show Your Power

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What do you do if the Passover has already passed over, the Red Sea has already parted, and the son has already stood still?  Habakkuk no doubt felt like he’d missed Israel’s “glory days.”

Habakkuk 3:2(NIV) LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

We do the same thing.   It’s easy to wish that we could see the miracles.   Maybe you missed the “third wave” of the charismatic movement in the 1970s; or missed the ocean baptisms of the Jesus movement, also in the ’70s.   Maybe you missed the moment at a Creation Festival; or couldn’t attend a particular year of Promise Keepers.   Perhaps you weren’t there when that church doubled its attendance in six months; or when that individual was dramatically healed, or another delivered from a particular addiction.

Or maybe you didn’t miss a thing, but feel like nothing compares to Old Testament signs and wonders or first century miracles.   Like Habakkuk you say:

Habakkuk 3:2(NIV) LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

But always remember how he ends this particular chapter.   Even if life appears to be the opposite of all that you’d like to see, even if, as the Brits say, it’s all gone pear shaped; our faith is not shaken.   It doesn’t negate the prayer of verse 2, but in 17-19 the prophet puts things in a larger perspective:

Habakkuk 3:17-19a (NLT) Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!

– = – = – = –

My reading of chapter 3 of Habakkuk was inspired today by listening to a great sermon by Darren Whitehead, teaching pastor at Willow Creek. Click this link, select the recent Troublemakers series, and then select his message on Esther from October 16/17.