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DocDevos: Ten-Minute Devotionals in Doctrine! FAITH!

DocDEVOS:
Ten-Minute Devotionals on the Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Friends:  These are devotionals from a book I had published way back in 2002.  DocDEVOS is out of print (although you can pick up a copy of it for a song on Amazon.com).  I plan on reprinting these short articles on this blog.  My dream is to produce a year-long DocDEVOS that covers all ten areas of Christian faith.  And have publishers chase me down, throwing gobs of money at me (just kidding).

Section One: First Things First
“Everybody Lives by Faith!”
The term “faith” may refer to one’s confidence in God or, as we’ll see today, to the content of truth God has given by His grace.

Faith does not deny facts.  It does not turn away from reality.  But faith understands that beyond the realities of this world there is a greater Reality.” (John H. Stevens)

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.  (Miracle on 34th Street)

“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)

The Knowledge Nugget:
The term “faith” may be used to refer to one’s trust in God and His Word (Heb. 11:1).  We encourage people to “have faith” or talk about someone “acting in faith.” Our confidence in life is not to be in ourselves or the things of this world, but in our Creator and Redeemer and in His communication to us through His Word, the Bible.

The term “faith” may also be used to refer to that specific content of truth which He has given to us (the Christian “faith”).  In our verse for today, Jude, the half brother of Jesus, encourages his readers to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).  In our study of the faith, that is, of the doctrines of biblical Christianity, we are to affirm what God has told us in the Bible, then seek to present — and defend — those truths before the world.

Real Life Says . . .
But “real life” suggests the no one finally has the truth, certainly not in eternal matters.  Each person must create his or her own spiritual reality, says our world, and no person has the right to claim that only his (or her) faith is ultimately true.  Others suggest that having any kind of faith is for the weak.  The strong of this world don’t need any religious orientation to live successful lives — or so they think.

A newspaper once had a column entitled “The Answer Man.”  Readers could send in any question they wanted answered.  One question that was sent in read, “How does an elevator work?”  “The Answer Man” responded, “An elevator is essentially a small room dangling over a very deep shaft, help up by thin cables that are maintained by building employees who have tremendous trouble just keeping all the toilets working.”

This shows that everyone, in some sense, lives by what we might call faith.  No one has the FBI do a background check on the young man who serves them a burger and fries at a fast-food restaurant.  We ask total strangers for directions (although me struggle with the concept!) and trust them not to lead us over a cliff.  And we never do a safety inspection on an elevator before we use it — we just step in.

Christian faith, however, is not gullibility, wishful thinking, mass hypnosis or auto-suggestion.  Faith, as presented in the Bible, is only as good as the object in which it is placed.

In Jude’s battle plan for believers, his challenge to us to “contend for the faith” does not refer to our confidence in God, but to the specific doctrines which should guide followers of Christ.  This content of truth, this “faith” that we are to fight for, is described in a unique way.  Jude calls it the “once-for-all-entrusted-to-the-saints” faith, which means that God will never edit His truth, abridge the Word of God or change its content.

But before we can defend it, we must know it.  And that’s what these devotionals are all about.

But Lord . . .
Lord, I don’t know all that I should believe.  Expand my understanding of, and my obedience to, the truths which You have revealed for my good and Your glory.  Help me to live today looking for ways to humbly stand for Your truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

To Ponder . . .
“People are driven from the Church not so much by stern truth the makes them uneasy as by weak nothings that make them contemptuous.” (George Buttrick)

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2017 in doctrine

 

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DocDEVOS: Ten-Minute Devotionals on the Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith #2

Screenshot 2015-11-24 14.56.26

Friends:  These are devotionals from a book I had published way back in 2002.  DocDEVOS is out of print (although you can pick up a copy of it for a song on Amazon.com).  I plan on reprinting these short articles on this blog.  My dream is to produce a year-long DocDEVOS that covers all ten areas of Christian faith.  And have publishers chase me down, throwing gobs of money at me (just kidding).

Section One: First Things First
“A Faith That Forms”

If “faith” refers to the content of truth which God has given us, then Christian growth comes as we learn — and put into practice — what His Word teaches

Faith is not something one “loses”; we merely cease to shape our lives by it. (George Bernanos)

The atheistic German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche made the following surly remark to some Christians one day:  “If you want me to believe in your Redeemer, then you’ve got to look a lot more redeemed.”

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

The Knowledge Nugget:
A pastor ran into a former church member on the street one day. “How are things going, Tom?”, the pastor asked.  “Well, Reverend, things couldn’t be worse!  I lost my job last week, the bank is repossessing my car, and my mother-in-law just moved into our basement.  It’s enough to make a man lose his religion!” “Sorry to hear of your troubles, Tom,” said the pastor.  “But it seems to me that it’s enough to make a man use his religion!”

It’s commonly said that “what you don’t know can’t hurt you — but is that really true?  If we don’t know that God is everywhere, the resulting loneliness could cripple our Christian lives.  If we know little about the doctrine of God’s goodness, then we may struggle for years, afraid to surrender ourselves completely to Him.  The doctrines of the Christian faith should not only inform us of what we need to know, but should also form us into the people we should be.

Ignorance of the truths of biblical Christianity hinders growth in godliness.  While it is quite possible to know the facts of the Christian faith but remain unchanged, the normal Christian life is one in which God uses His truth to transform us. What we believe should affect how we behave.

Real Life Says . . .
“Churches are full of hypocrites!”  How many times have you heard someone say that?  I know one pastor who responds, “I know exactly what you mean.  But our church is big enough for one more!  Why don’t you come join us?”  That may not be the best way to attract seekers to Christ, but it illustrates the fact that all of us probably believe far more than we behave.
Screenshot 2015-11-24 14.59.05My parents came to know Christ through the ministry of evangelist Leighton Ford.  He once stated, “God loves you enough to accept you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.”  The first half of his statement illustrates salvation: We do not clean up our lives to get saved; God takes us as we are.  But the second half of Ford’s statement is talking about growth in the Christian life.  God loves us too much to allow us to stay where we are spiritually.

But how does He shape and remold us into the image of Christ?  Romans 12:2 tells us, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The mind is renewed by truth — and the Word of God, the Bible, is the truth we need if we want to be renewed.  Whether we really believe the truths of God’s Word will be revealed by the Christlike changes that take place in our lives.

The story is told of a band of explorers in Africa who hired some villagers to help them in their journey through the jungle.  The group set out and pushed on without stopping for several days.  Finally the tribesmen sat down, refusing to go any further.  When asked why they were stopping, the eldest among them said, “We’ve been going too fast.  We must pause and wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”  Perhaps we need to pause and wait for our behavior to catch up to our belief.

But Lord . . .
Lord, forgive my arrogance in thinking that I know all I need to know, believe all I need to believe and practice all I ought to practice.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

To Ponder . . .
“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” (Max De Pree)

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2016 in doctrine

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (writing)

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 4.45.36 PM

As many of you know, I enjoy writing. Here are some of the projects I have recently self-published:

“Living for Jesus in an Un-Christian World: A Study of Jude”

“Saved: Rescued from God, by God, and for God”

“Whatever Happened to Heresy?”

“Top Ten Mistakes Students Make on Research Papers — And How to Avoid Them”

“Working Out Your Own . . . Faith” (a series of workbooks in basic Bible doctrine)

Here are some books and articles that I am working on:

“Christianity Is Serious — But Christians Are Downright Hilarious!”

“Jesus Matters . . .”

“Dr. Theophilus Hornby: Theologian and Erstwhile Detective”

“What Did Jesus Believe?”

“Some Lessons from Some Lifers”

“One-Year DocDEVOS”

“All God’s Creatures Got Problems”

Working on anything yourself?  I would love to hear about any of your projects.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2016 in writing

 

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DocDEVOS: Ten-Minute Devotionals on the Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith #1

Screenshot 2015-11-24 14.56.26

Friends:  These are devotionals from a book I had published way back in 2002.  DocDEVOS is out of print (although you can pick up a copy of it for a song on Amazon.com).  I plan on reprinting these short articles on this blog.  My dream is to produce a year-long DocDEVOS that covers all ten areas of Christian faith.  And have publishers chase me down, throwing gobs of money at me (just kidding).

Section One: First Things First
“Everybody Lives by Faith!”

The term “faith” may refer to one’s confidence in God or, as we’ll see today, to the content of truth God has given by His grace.

Faith does not deny facts.  It does not turn away from reality.  But faith understands that beyond the realities of this world there is a greater Reality.” (John H. Stevens)

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.  (Miracle on 34th Street)

“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)

The Knowledge Nugget:
The term “faith” may be used to refer to one’s trust in God and His Word (Heb. 11:1).  We encourage people to “have faith” or talk about someone “acting in faith.” Our confidence in life is not to be in ourselves or the things of this world, but in our Creator and Redeemer and in His communication to us through His Word, the Bible.
The term “faith” may also be used to refer to that specific content of truth which He has given to us (the Christian “faith”).  In our verse for today, Jude, the half brother of Jesus, encourages his readers to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).  In our study of the faith, that is, of the doctrines of biblical Christianity, we are to affirm what God has told us in the Bible, then seek to present — and defend — those truths before the world.

Real Life Says . . .
But “real life” suggests the no one finally has the truth, certainly not in eternal matters.  Each person must create his or her own spiritual reality, says our world, and no person has the right to claim that only his (or her) faith is ultimately true.  Others suggest that having any kind of faith is for the weak.  The strong of this world don’t need any religious orientation to live successful lives — or so they think.
Screenshot 2015-11-24 14.59.05A newspaper once had a column entitled “The Answer Man.”  Readers could send in any question they wanted answered.  One question that was sent in read, “How does an elevator work?”  “The Answer Man” responded, “An elevator is essentially a small room dangling over a very deep shaft, help up by thin cables that are maintained by building employees who have tremendous trouble just keeping all the toilets working.”
This shows that everyone, in some sense, lives by what we might call faith.  No one has the FBI do a background check on the young man who serves them a burger and fries at a fast-food restaurant.  We ask total strangers for directions (although me struggle with the concept!) and trust them not to lead us over a cliff.  And we never do a safety inspection on an elevator before we use it — we just step in.
Christian faith, however, is not gullibility, wishful thinking, mass hypnosis or auto-suggestion.  Faith, as presented in the Bible, is only as good as the object in which it is placed.
In Jude’s battle plan for believers, his challenge to us to “contend for the faith” does not refer to our confidence in God, but to the specific doctrines which should guide followers of Christ.  This content of truth, this “faith” that we are to fight for, is described in a unique way.  Jude calls it the “once-for-all-entrusted-to-the-saints” faith, which means that God will never edit His truth, abridge the Word of God or change its content.
But before we can defend it, we must know it.  And that’s what these devotionals are all about.

But Lord . . .
Lord, I don’t know all that I should believe.  Expand my understanding of, and my obedience to, the truths which You have revealed for my good and Your glory.  Help me to live today looking for ways to humbly stand for Your truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

To Ponder . . .
“People are driven from the Church not so much by stern truth the makes them uneasy as by weak nothings that make them contemptuous.” (George Buttrick)

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2015 in FAITH

 

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Writer’s block!

FirefoxScreenSnapz061UPDATE ON MY WRITING PROJECTS:

As some of you know, I’m on study leave this semester from my teaching duties at Columbia International University Seminary and School of Ministry (we have pretty large bumper stickers).

After serving two weeks on the OM ship Logos Hope in Singapore and Thailand, I have the rest of the semester to pursue a number of writing projects.  Here are a few of them:

1.  “Twelve Atheists Who Have Trusted Christ”:   I’ve been working on the first chapter of this book and it is tentatively entitled “C.S. Lewis: Mere Atheist.”  I’ve got a few contacts to pursue, but if you know of any believers who wandered for a while in atheism before trusting Christ, I’d appreciate contact information.

2.  “Saved!  Rescued from God, by God, and for God.”  This manuscript is with my agent waiting to be pitched to publishers.  I’m really excited about this one which is about 98% finished.  The chapter titles are:  LOST, LOVED, LURED, LEARNING, LABELED, LIBERATED, and LAUNCHED.  The Epilogue is quite challenging and is entitled LOATHED!

3.  “One-Year DocDEVOS”:  Some of you may know that one KeynoteScreenSnapz065of my earlier books is called “DocDEVOS: Ten-Minute Daily Devotionals on the Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith.”  There are ten areas of doctrine in Christian theology, and the original DocDEVOS covered only the first three areas (in yellow).  I want to write devotionals for the other seven areas.  The total number of devotionals would be about 300-325.  A friend of mine refers to my original DocDEVOS as a “kind of Daily Bread with teeth.”

4.  “Working Out Your Own . . . Faith”:  I have already developed five of these theological workbooks.  These are lay-flat, fill in the blank, self-studies of the ten areas of theology.  I’m very enthused for this project.  I believe most Christians would enjoy going through these Workbooks and working out their own understanding of the truths of the Scriptures.  This proposal is also with my agent.

Microsoft PowerPointScreenSnapz0025.  “DocTALK” and “DocWALK” and “Heaven: Thinking Now about Forever”:  I want to check into the possibility of having these earlier books republished, perhaps with some added material (such as study questions).  DocTALK is a survey of all then areas of Christian theology and DocWALK asks the questions, “How do we put these truths into practice.  When Temptation Strikes is a study of both temptation and sin, suggesting a number of strategies in not simply avoiding sin, but of moving on in godliness.

There are other projects that I am working on, but I value any feedback from any of you on these works.  Thanks.  Larry

 
 

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DocDEVOS- “A Faith That Forms”

A FAITH THAT FORMS

Today’s Focus:

If “faith” refers to the content of truth which God has given us, then Christian growth comes as we learn — and put into practice — what His Word teaches.

“Faith is not something one ‘loses’; we merely cease to shape our lives by it.”  (George Bernanos)

The atheistic German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, made the following surly remark to some Christians one day:  “If you want me to believe in your Redeemer, then you’ve got to look a lot more redeemed.”

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

The Knowledge Nugget:

A pastor ran into a former church member on the street one day.  “How are things going, Tom?” the pastor asked.  “Well, Reverend, things couldn’t be worse!  I lost my job last week, the bank is repossessing my car, and my mother-in-law just moved into our basement.  It’s enough to make a man lose his religion!”  “Sorry to hear of your troubles, Tom,” said the pastor.  “But it seems to me that it’s enough to make a man use his religion!”

It’s commonly said that “what you don’t know can’t hurt hou” — but is that really true?  If we don’t know that God is everywhere, the resulting loneliness could cripple our Christian lives.  If we know little about the doctrine of God’s goodness, then we may struggle for years, afraid to surrender ourselves completely to Him.  The doctrines of the Christian faith should not only inform us of what we need to know, but should also form us into the people we should be.

Ignorance of the truths of biblical Christianity hinders growth in godliness.  While it is quite possible to know the facts of the Christian faith but remain unchanged, the normal Christian life is one in which God uses His truth to transform us.  What we believe should affect how we behave.

Real Life Says . . .

“Churches are full of hypocrites!”  How many times have you heard someone say that?  I know one pastor who responds, “I know exactly what you mean.  But our church is big enough for one more!  Why don’t you come join us?”  That may not be the best way to attract seekers to Christ, but it illustrates the fact that all of us probably believe far more than we behave.

My parents came to know Christ through the ministry of evangelist Leighton Ford.  He once stated, “God loves you enough to accept you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.”  The first half of his statement illustrates salvation:  We do not clean up our lives to get saved; God takes us as we are.  But the second half of Ford’s statement is talking about growth in the Christian life.  God loves us too much to allow us to stay where we are spiritually.

But how does He shape and remold us into the image of Christ?  Romans 12:2 tells us, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The mind is renewed by truth — and the Word of God, the Bible, is the truth we need if we want to be renewed.  Whether we really believe the truths of God’s Word will be revealed by the Christlike changes that take place in our lives.

The story is told of a band of explorers in Africa who hired some villagers to help them in their journey through the jungle.  The group set out and pushed on without stopping for several days.  Finally the tribesmen sat down, refusing to go any further.  When asked why they were stopping, the eldest among them said, “We’ve been going too fast.  We must pause and wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”  Perhaps we need to pause and wait for our behavior to catch up to our belief.

But Lord . . .

“Lord, forgive my arrogance in thinking that I know all I need to know, believe all I need to believe and practice all I ought to practice.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

To Ponder . . .

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” (Max De Pree)

 
 

Tags: , ,