We see that business is not heartless, but rather the ribcage which holds the heart

I read this interesting, and thought-provoking post on American Thinker. I am inclined to agree. What do you think?

Uh…this one is tough. I’m going with a hymn again.

There is Power in the Blood of the Lamb, Lewis Jones

When I think of guilt, I think of the guilt I have standing before a perfect God. Even the slightest imperfection on my part is like a horrendous stain in His sight. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ, because he was perfect for my sake. Despite being guilty before our Lord, I am free because of what Jesus did on the cross. Therefore, even though I chose this for a song about guilt, it really is a song about redemption from the guilt.

This is a version by Fernando Ortega. I just discovered it. I’m not sold on it, but I like his ability to make it sound reflective.

I prefer a more peppy arrangement like this one:

 

Salvation is Created, Pavel Chesnokov

My first experience with this work was with a band arrangement of this work and it was very moving. Not even knowing the text of the song, the title says enough: salvation is created. What better way to enter into eternal life than knowing that you have been saved.

I found a mixed choir performing it here:

Not even knowing the text of the song, the title says enough. Salvation is created.

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Who among you didn’t want to be a Jedi when you grew up? Of course, most of us didn’t wait until we grew up to become Jedi, we immediately launched our Jedi careers upon our first discovery of the magical entity called The Force. So what if you were only 10 years old and master Jedi Yoda was over several hundred years old, we thought we could grasp all of the intricate details of being a Jedi master, too.

Well, I grew up (for the most part) and never did discover the ability to move objects with my mind. What I did discover was the real Force behind the universe that not only binds things together but also created all of those things in the first place (and it happens to also start with J): Jesus Christ

Read what John says at the opening I’d his testimony to the life and power of Jesus, the Son of God. John 1:1-18 ESV:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

If you’ve never learned about Jesus, may I implore you to meet Him and get to know Him. It may not be as cool as becoming a Jedi, but it will be infinitely more important.

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I am wading in to waters that have already been stirred countless times over the ages by men and women far more knowledgeable than me, but permit me to share my thoughts (or just quietly ignore me…all two and a half of you). This is certainly not an exhaustive, or comprehensive, musing on the matter of faith and good works. Rather, it is just one morning’s worth of meditation on the subject.

A lot of energy seems to go into this debate, particularly among various groups that profess to be Christian. My casual observation is that Christians are split into two generic camps (with obviously a lot more distinctions as you look closer): the Good Works Christians and the Faith Alone Christians.

The Good Works group claims that faith means little if you don’t have good works, or you aren’t doing good deeds. The Faith Alone group asserts that your good works amount to nothing if you don’t have faith as the impetus for your good works.

On the surface neither group has it wrong, so to speak, but as philosophy gets put into practice both of these groups seem to miss out on what really matters: glorifying God.

The Good Works group looks with contempt at the navel-gazing Faith Alone folks because they aren’t doing as much as they are to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The Faith Alone group scoffs at the Good Works group because their theology is a convoluted mess of feel-good self-help manuals that miss the establishment of a proper attitude toward God. (The best part of all of this is, in America, we take it out on each other on the battlefield of politics.)

Maybe that’s all an over simplification, but that’s basically my observation.

Why not be both? Well, that sounds nice but then we start to argue over which should be first, which is more important, etc. Again, it strikes me all as moot unless you keep one thing in mind: glorify God!

If the purpose of your good works is to bring glory to God, amen. If the purpose of your faith is to give glory to God, amen.

Let me have Paul speak for a moment:

Titus 2:11-14 ESV

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

In that passage he starts with people who have faith (the grace of God bringing salvation) and ends with people who are motivated to do good works. Not to mention all the good stuff in between.

In the next passage, he starts the same way, but takes care to exhort believers to live out their faith in a measurable way by doing good works.

Titus 3:4-8 ESV

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

So, have both. Do both. Or have one and do the other. Either way, faith and good works are not mutually exclusive and both are critical in order to call yourself a Christian. And keep in mind that we are Christ’s not because of our righteousness but because of God’s unsurpassable goodness and His unfathomable love for you.

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Jesus tells us that even a little faith in Him can move mountains:

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 ESV)

This terrifying earthquake has moved an entire island:

The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.

And Paul reiterates the power of faith in Jesus:

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.(1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV)

If moving an island isn’t enough, how about moving the entire planet:

Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).

I’m not suggesting that a group of faithful Christians caused this earthquake or that the people of Japan somehow deserved this terrible force of nature, but I do think it would be wise to tremble at the power of our God and praise Him for His mercy, especially the mercy found in His grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

News report from CNN

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http://odb.org/2011/03/09/are-we-there-yet/

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t ask this question.

I recently reread Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Dueteronomy and I was struck again by how much the Israelites complained and how much they ‘missed’ out on what God had in store for them. I kept wanting to yell at them and say, “just be quiet and wait! It will be good!” Then I thought, oh wait…they are me. I’ve done a lot of complaining in the last 3 years. I’ve asked countless times, “Are we there yet?” Oh boy…

I know that there is none righteous and that even Moses disobeyed God, but I do know that I will some day see the promised land because of Jesus Christ. As for the journey, I need practice eliminating the whine from my diet.

(On a related score, listening to my own children whine and correcting their behavior has done a lot to highlight my own, adult version of the whining voice.)

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