The Odd Thing About Being A Christian

It can be an odd thing to be a Christian. We worship the Lion of Judah and yet also revere the lamb. We are a people who always respected the courage of David to slay Goliath, yet equally, applaud Daniel’s willingness to be slain by lions.
 
Christianity’s strength is making room for two seemingly opposing virtues to run wild without contradiction. It is good to be brave as a lion yet gentle as a lamb. It is good to love God in strength and worship Him in weakness. It is noble to be both conquering king and suffering servant. This is, for me, the mystery and beauty of God and the Gospel. We sit with martyrs and mighty men at the same table of grace.
 
Written by: Bill Crawford
April 2022


True Religion

True Religion

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
 
True Religion is comprised of two parts:
 
1. True religion takes care to seek out and minister to those who cannot help themselves. The orphan, the widow, at that time was the MOST vulnerable class of people to exist in the society James is writing to. Note what they have in common! The widow lacks a husband, and the son lacks a father, so they have no provider. True religion in the literal sense is providing for those less fortunate than yourself, but in a more allegorical sense, it is to become like Christ and show his love to those in affliction. The role of the Husband is to be paralleled to Christ directly, the head of the Church. The role of the Father is to be paralleled with our own Heavenly Father, who has provided for our needs so that even the sparrows are looked after. As we are more valuable than many sparrows, (Matthew 10:31) let this also apply to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Just as God looks after they, so we also should look after our widows and orphans. True religion is Biblical love embodied in Biblical roles for manhood. To provide, protect, lead, and be a relief to those in oppressive affliction.
 
2. Apart from the class we then have a second part, to keep oneself unstained from the world. This is the portion often overlooked. Man must love and provide but he cannot do this by the standards of the world. He is to be apart from it. This also calls us to be like God, but in the sense of being Holy. Set apart. Unstained and untainted by the world and its passions and deceptions. The latter part is looked over because while it is the more crucial of the two commands, it is also the more difficult to carry out. It is not enough to love your neighbor; you must love them as God loved them. It is not enough to provide for their needs in the body, you must also set and provide an example for the soul. The Christian cannot do charity and be corrupt, else he would be a hypocrite. Any good work done will be canceled out for rather than being done on the laurels of grace, it will be set on an altar of self-righteousness. Good works done in an unholy and worldly state are no defense against a holy God.
 

True Religion is to love the world, yes, but the second and more crucial bit is to not be worldly. We must adopt the widows and the orphans without becoming like the world that put them in that state.

Written by: Bill Crawford
April 2022


Misplaced Faith

Misplaced Faith

Genesis 12:10-20

Genesis 20

In Genesis Chapter 12 and 20 we see the same theme play out. Abraham places his faith in worldly institutions over the divine God. Abraham convinced himself that it was safer to oblige the world with his own family, his own wife, rather than trust God to protect him.We see that nevertheless God does watch over and protect Abraham and Sarah, but not due to their actions but rather because of God’s grace. In both cases God spares the innocent (Pharaoh and Abimelech) and Abraham is rebuked.
 
There are times where we make compromises with the world and it’s institutions thinking that will keep us secure, but in reality this is an allusion. Security, comes from a continual faith in God to keep his promises. We see in the very next Chapter God blesses Abraham, first in Chapter 13 with a promise and then in chapter 21 with the fulfillment of that promise through a son.
 
This shows us God fulfills His covenants absent of obligation, that His grace is sufficient when our works are not. God may still take evil and use it for our good. Keep faith in God and by His works the promise will be fulfilled.
 

Reflection:

  • Have you ever placed your faith in the wrong person or thing?  What happened?
  • Has God made you a promise, but you feel you have failed Him too many times? Consider the promise of God to Abraham. His promises are based on who He is and not who we are!
Written by: Bill Crawford
September 2020


Godless Prayer Equals Powerless Prayer

Godless Prayer Equals Powerless Prayer

John 15:7

When we approach God we should remember this verse: John 15:7 “ If you abide in Me and, my word abides in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you”
 
Prayer presupposes abiding in God. The prayer of a man who will not abide in God is a prayer unheard, because without first being brought to life in God a man cannot know God and therefore cannot ask anything of God. When praying we must abide in God and He must abide in us.
 
Prayer is powerless if prayer is godless. Therefore, abide in God and you will surely be answered because you live in his house and just as a father will not overlook the pleas of their child, our Heavenly Father will not overlook His children.

Reflection:

  • What does abiding in God mean to you?
  • Do you only seek God when you need something?
  • How would your prayer life change if you strived to abide in God?
Written by: Bill Crawford
September 2020


We Preach Christ Crucified – Day 1

We Preach Christ Crucified – Day 1

Day 1: Man’s Wisdom

 
We see in these verses a killing blow to that which mankind holds dearest: His intellectual prowess. Where is he who is wise? Where is the man learned in his letters? Where is the man eloquent and full of argument? The answer is quite simple: He does not exist.

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