Two weeks ago we talked about Elijah and the incredible courage he had toward accomplishing God’s will. We saw him prophesy, take responsibility, wait, perform miracles, wait some more, appear before his greatest enemy and overwhelmingly conquer in a challenge to prove that God is in fact God over all. The next thing we knew, Elijah was running for his life – afraid and feeling alone. Turns out that all his heroics got him was more threats on his life. So, what happens to that courageous prophet of God now? He still must fight but in a different way for in this next stage of his life God is going to teach him submission. Submission – it does not sound like a characteristic that belongs with courage, but as we will see courage will burn you without submission and submission will burden you without courage.
Courage is perhaps the most underrated, under-appreciated and invisible virtue of our time. We are so busy complying with the status quo, with watching our words and with following what others say and do on social media that we seem to have forgotten the simple yet powerful virtue of courage. Courage is stepping up, stepping out and standing against the tide of darkness. Courage is being what you know you should be when it is unpopular with others. Courage is having the guts to listen when others only want to argue; it is reaching out to give when others are focused on taking and courage is leading by example when following in anonymity would be so much easier. Courage, when observed, incites others to stand, it provokes others to act and it plants hope where there is none. Yes, we need courage, but how do we find it and how do we learn to truly be courageous?
What would you think of a powerful leader who sanctions rape, pillaging, the destruction of thousands of lives for the wrong doings of one, racism and genocide? No matter who we are, if we have a conscience in any way tuned to the sanctity of human life, we would have to label them a monster – a maniacal psychopathic egotist. Sadly, there are many who read certain parts of the Bible and handily conclude that the God of the Bible – the Creator of all things - is such a being. They call Him out for the horrible and harsh things written in the Old Testament and boldly claim that a God who presides over those things is no god at all – He is instead a monster. Now look – there are terrible things written in the Old Testament, but do they point to a heartless dictator or is there another explanation?
For many religions, prayer is a mainstay and a staple of ritual and lifestyle. Whatever the religion, prayer is a lifeline to a higher power, a calming factor in individual experiences and a connector to others who share the same faith. Prayer can and should permeate the life of a Christian. So, if this is the case, then the question is, do we know how we should be praying, why we should be praying and for what we should be praying? Stay with us as we explore some of the many teachings on prayer from Jesus!
Several weeks ago we looked into the life and times of Noah, the righteous man of God who built the Ark upon dry ground in obedience to the will and direction of God. The flood came and destroyed a world that had not only become a society without God, it had become a society that destroyed God. Spirit and human being alike took the goodness of God’s creation, mixed it into a forbidden hybrid formula of intelligence and form that may have resembled God’s intentions on the outside, but on the inside was a force that rebelled against all that God stood for. The Bible tells us that the resulting destruction was a preview of future destruction to come…has the full length feature of that preview arrived?
There are many accounts in the Bible that really run along the edge of reality for many of us here today. Think about it – Balaam’s donkey talks, the sun stands still for Joshua in a battle, Jesus rises from the dead and goes to heaven… These are fantastic and unbelievable to many. And then there is the story of Noah. Here is a man around 500 years old who builds a boat to save his family and the animals from a devastating flood! Now THAT is amazing! So, what is there about this story of Noah that rings true for us today? Is his experience a warning for us here and now?
Love God. It is a simple enough commandment - easy to say, repeat and remember. But what does it really mean? Are there different ways of expressing love for God and does God look for different results depending on what age of humanity we live in? Most of all, is loving God - no matter when and where we live - enough?
There is so much that comes to mind when you think of the life Jesus lived here on earth for 33½ years. The Old Testament had an amazing amount to say about his life – much of it written hundreds and thousands of years before he came. This brings up the question – could Jesus have done the things he did and said the things he said simply because he knew the prophecies and wanted to fulfill them, or was it all of his own free will? Stay with us – this is fascinating!
When you begin to grasp the life and times of Daniel the Prophet, what you find in your hands is pure inspiration, integrity, faith and courage. Here is a man who lived out his entire life far from his home in Israel and who, by God’s grace, turned captivity to a pagan nation into an opportunity to reveal the greatness of the One God and eventually win over the King who made him captive. When we grow up, we should all want to be like Daniel! Stay with us as we continue his story!
A few weeks ago we began looking at the life of Daniel the Prophet, beginning at the time he was about 17 years old and taken prisoner by the Babylonian Empire. What we saw was a boy who displayed solid integrity, faith and focus as he navigated his way through the muddy waters of captivity and idolatry to shine out as a light of God in a very dark place. Stay with us as we observe him grow up and grow into a man, a leader of uncompromising strength and passion for his God.