Dare to Trust in Grace

31 05 2009

baby

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther

The one foundational piece that spans every Christian denomination in the world is faith. Beyond faith everyone goes in about a hundred different directions. So, being rooted and grounded in faith is the most important thing a Christian can strive for. Without faith it is impossible to please God. No grey area there.

True faith goes much deeper than how we define simply believing. I believe an asprin can take away pain but unless I get the asprin inside of me it will not do any good. So our faith must go deeper than the modern meaning of believe. To get a biblical definition we will look to the Hebrew language.

The Hebrew word for “to believe” is aman. This word relates to our word Amen. In one way the word aman is used for people who are caretakers of children. People who support and susstain them by literally carrying them or by financial support. A gaurdian, nurse, nanny, or foster father is someone on whom an infant utterly depends. He or she is reliable, trustworthy, dependable, firm, and supportive.

There are two sides to this. In one way something or someone is being dependable, trustworthy, or reliable. The other way is to consider someone or something dependable, trustworthy, or reliable. When we consider someone else to have these characteristics we are trusting  them, depending upon them,  and relying on them. This is the basic meaning to Hebrew ideas of faith.

True belief in God is a trusting confidence in Him that says “God I trust my life in your hands.” And to have the Grace of God upon your life simply means to have God’s favor on your life. In other words He likes you, better yet He Loves you and if God loves you then who can be against you.

Oh how sweet those words:

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”

Go ahead, take the dare today. Dare to trust in God’s grace. Trust in it with all your heart. Lean upon the fact that God approves of you and He even favors you. He is reliable, dependable, trustworthy, firm, supportive, and is crazy in love with you.

– – – The End – – –

If you would like to use this article on your website, blog, or in another form you may do so as long as you include the text below:

Dare to Trust in Grace
By: Raymond Brady
Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org

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Microburst: Foolish is Not Wise and Wise is Not Foolish

28 05 2009

This is the first Microburst from www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.com

Many Proverbs will show a contrast between two thoughts or two principles. For example they will describe to you black and then tell you what the opposite is, i.e. white. From looking at these contrasts we can begin to define certain terms or principles in greater detail. For my studies in Proverbs I want to gain a clearer definition of what a fool looks like and what a wise person looks like. Not physically but spiritually. I can see from Proverbs 28:26 that a person who trusts in their own heart or their own understanding is a fool. So from this I can also add another definition to my dictionary of wisdom. A wise person is someone who puts no trust in their own understanding. This person would know that their own understanding can fail them or even be wrong at times. Therefore a person who strives to be wise must not lean on their understanding rather they should trust in God for He is the Author of Life.

– – – The End – – –

WHAT IS A MICROBURST?
I am adding a new category to Build Your House on The Rock. I am calling it Microburst. There are times when I read something and get a simple thought that I want to remember. I usually write these down but I have also lost thoughts by doing this. So, I am going to try something new with Build Your House on The Rock. I will call this Microbursting for lack of a better word. These will not replace regular articles, they will be in addition to them. They will be quick short thoughts. My intentions with these are not to always be accurate or even eloquent. Just to put thoughts down in writing. Please comment or even expand on these posts. Feel free to even correct me if I am flat out wrong about something because this is how we all learn. I also cannot promise that all of these will make sense to you. Some of these thoughts may only make real sense to me.

If you would like to use this article on your website, blog, or in another form you may do so as long as you include the text below:

Microburst: Foolish is Not Wise and Wise is Not Foolish
By: Raymond Brady

Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org





A Calling Away From Self-Criticism

23 05 2009

monkI was reading some C.S. Lewis the other night and stumbled upon an amazing concept that I had not realized was in the bible. I don’t guess I have ever heard it taught about so I thought it would be good to write about. So what is this great amazing concept? It is simply how to deal with your own self-criticism. All of us deal with a certain amount of self-criticism but some people deal with an unhealthy amount of the stuff. Well, today I am going to tell you how to get rid of it, or at least bring it to a healthy level.

Martin Luther is known as a great leader and the father of the Protestant Reformation. He single handedly took on the Catholic Church and changed history forever. But if you study his life you will learn that he dealt with a great deal psychologically. His guilt before God drove him to become a monk after the Augustinian Order and his devotions as a monk nearly took his life. Living a life of Monasticism and constant confessions seemed to never be enough for Luther.

In 1511 Luther was assigned to the University of Wittenberg in Germany under a wise monk named Johann van Staupitz who understood how to help Luther. Staupitz was determined to release this younger monk from his cycle of despair and made Luther the Professor of Bible Studies at the university. Luther would be assigned to teach the bible to other young monks, thus taking his mind off of himself. If Luther was going to teach the Bible to others then Luther himself realized he must understand what he was teaching. 

Luther was simply doing what was taught in 1 John chapter three by practicing real love. By loving and serving others we are released from self-criticism. Not by just saying you love them but by showing, or proving, your love for them. First John 3:18-20 explains that by showing love through practicing real love we actually shut down self-criticism. 

1 John 3:18-20 (The Message)
My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

This period of study and teaching in Martin Luther’s life released him from self-criticism and led him to understand that salvation can only be achieved by faith in Jesus Christ. No amount of monkery or dedication would ever be enough to save a person. Luther’s teachings would ultimately undo generations of Catholic teaching and change our world forever.

Another beautiful thing about the teaching in 1 John 3:18-20 is that it works even when you deserve the self-criticism. Wow, what a thought. Self-criticism which we rightfully deserve can even be removed by simply practicing real love toward others.

If you deal with a load of self-criticism and struggle with how to get out from under all of it, simply start loving others around you. Not with words but with deeds. Do something nice for your neighbor. Give a friend of yours some financial help by paying their utility bill this month. Love those around you with all your heart, even your enemies, and the load of self-criticism will suddenly be shut down.

– – – The End – – –

If you would like to use this article on your website, blog, or in another form you may do so as long as you include the text below:

A Calling Away From Self-Criticism
By: Raymond Brady
Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org





Build Your House on The Rock Changes

22 05 2009

I have made a few changes to the Build Your House on The Rock website by moving things around a bit. I wanted to consolidate some pages to prepare for some future additions.

You will find the testimony link under the “About the Author” page. This page has been updated with some new information so you might want to check it out.

Be sure to keep an eye out in the next few days. I will be adding some new stuff.

God Bless,
Raymond Brady
http://www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org





Just a Branch?

18 05 2009

John 15:4 – Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (NIV)

grapevineHave you ever noticed braches on a fruit tree? The braches are where the fruit is produced. You will not find a fruit tree that grows fruit on it’s trunk. The branches must first grow and become mature enough to produce fruit. This maturity process involves nutrients being fed to the branch from the trunk. In fact a branch is created by the trunk.

As the branch is fed by the trunk it grows stronger each day. Once it has grown enough to support fruit it will begin to produce fruit in the right season. Jesus said we are the branches and if we want to bear fruit we must remain in Him.

The branch has an interesting job. It has a unique ability to create fruit for people to eat yet it cannot create this fruit on it’s own. It has to stay connected to the trunk in order for it to fulfil it’s purpose. If it becomes disconnected from the trunk it cannot create fruit.

The branch also does not have to work to be part of the trunk because it is already connected. The branch also does not have to strive to produce the fruit. What this means is that the branch does not do any real work at all in producing the fruit. It simply acts as a conduit to take the nutrients given by the truck  and transfer them out of itself. As these nutrients are pressed out an amazing transformation takes place and fruit is created.

Our job is simply to remain in Him. This simply means to rest in Him. He is everything we need and He will supply all that we need. How do we remain in Him? Simply by keeping our faith in Him. Verse 5 tells us that if we remain connected to Him we will produce alot of fruit and Jesus also reminds us that we cannot do anything on our own.

We have a purpose and we can produce an amazing amout of fruit as long as we stay connected to Christ. It is Him that does the work through us and not ourselves therefore we must remain in Him. We remain in Christ simply the same way we came to Him, by trusting Him and placing our faith in Him alone.

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.





Seeing God in 3D

14 05 2009

eyeMy wife and I were at a zoo several years ago and we were watching an ape play around in his cage. Well, he was actually eating his own feces but I won’t get into that too much.

While we watched the ape an older couple standing next to us started to talk about how amazing our ancestors were and how much we had evolved. My wife and I chuckled toward each other after hearing them talk. We don’t believe that humans evolved from monkeys so we thought it was kind of humorous as we all watched the feces eating ape play around in his cage.

A while back I wrote about how two are better than one. I referenced a study where it was proven that having two nostrils allow your sense of smell to perform some amazing things. It is also true of your eyesight and I want to relate all this to how we should be studying the scriptures.

YOUR PHYSICAL EYESIGHT

Each of your eyes are like a mini super-high resolution video camera. Each eye takes full motion video footage in sync with the other eye and feeds it into your computer, a.k.a. your brain. Each eye has a unique angle that it takes in footage. In your brain the images from each camera/eye are meshed together to create stunning 3D “real-time” video footage. Using this footage your brain can judge height, width, depth, and a host of other attributes about the objects that you are looking at.

Now take away one of your eyes by covering it up. You lose the 3D image and your senses are affected by the lack of information from the closed eye. Try to walk around with only one eye or better yet try to drive your car with only one eye. It suddenly becomes hard to operate without the complete 3D images being fed to your brain.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 says that “Two are better than one”. We can see this principle everywhere we look. Two eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc. Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs of two as well. So, we can come to the conclusion that our eyesight is extremely enhanced when both eyes are fully operational and functioning in sync with one another.

YOUR SPIRITUAL EYESIGHT

When we study the scriptures we need to remember this principle as well. It is easy to read one scripture and form an opinion about what it is telling us. But we cannot see the object in full “3D” unless we look at it from all sides. So, we have to look at other scriptures that deal with the same subject/object.

When we put each of these “views” of the scripture together we will begin to see a 3D object take shape. We will begin to understand the depth, width, and height of the Word of God. As all these scriptures begin to mesh together we will begin to see a beautiful vivid picture and behold the beauty of God through His Word.

It’s easy to ignore scriptures that we do not understand or that do not fit into our “image” of what we think God should look like. I believe this could fall into a form of idolatry if we are not careful. God is who He is and we cannot form or fashion Him into what we think He should look like. Rather we should carefully examine all the scripture making sure that harmony is achieved in all things.

My wife played the flute in the High School band. I think the flute is a pretty sounding instrument even when played all by itself. However, there are some instruments that when played alone create nothing but irritating noises. When these instruments are joined with the entire orchestra beautiful music is created. So are some scriptures. If you proclaim them alone they will not be of any use to anyone except for irritation. We must strive to harmonize all the scriptures together. After all we as Christians believe that there are no contradictions in the Bible, right?

CONCLUSION

If we understand a scripture to mean one thing and our “view” contradicts with other scriptures then WE have created the contradiction and must change our “view” in order to see properly what God wants us to see. We have one eye covered and cannot/will not see completely.

Pride tends to distort our vision since we as people do not like to be wrong. Because of this we will hold to a contradicting opinion as if it were truth. The whole while God is trying to bring us to see the beautiful 3D image of His Word. We only do this by using both of our eyes.

Make it a point when you study the scripture to abandon all your own pre-conceived ideas. Open both eyes widely and allow all the scriptures to present you with a beautiful 3D image of the Word of God.





God’s Master Craftsman

8 05 2009

woodworking-toolsThis morning I was studying Proverbs chapter 8. This chapter brings out some amazing imagery about wisdom. In verse 22 Solomon tells us that wisdom was one of Gods first creations, even before the very creation of the earth.

Then verses 30-31 tell how wisdom was like a craftsman at Gods side during creation. Using this ‘wisdom’ that God created He created all things as we know it. Wow, what a thought. I am thinking about Isaiah 55:9.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Our age has seen a tremendous increase in knowledge and wisdom yet this type of wisdom (earthly) is only a word out of the mouth of God. We can’t even begin to imagine the true wisdom of God.

Through reading this chapter we can conclude that the principles of wisdom are built into the very structure of the creation. Solomon had a unique way of teaching wisdom. One way he did this was using animals that God created like the ant. He looked at creation as being full of wisdom.

In high school I took wood shop for a few years and learned to make furniture. To this day when I am looking at furniture I always look at how it was made. I can understand a lot about the craftsmen that made a particular piece of furniture just by looking at his/her work. I am only a novice at woodworking but I can still understand things about the craftsman.

We can also learn about wisdom simply by looking at Gods creation, because it was made using a craftsman created by God called wisdom.