Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘maturity’

Faith and Questioning


From Simple to Complex

I take notes as I listen to the sermon each Sunday. Reverend Jean Johnson at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church never fails to give me food for thought. Here are my sermon notes from Sunday, October 14, 2012. Perhaps they will cause you to pause and think – and question, too. She started with the scripture in Mark 10: 17-31. She titled her sermon, “Big Questions and Unexpected Answers.”

Are faith and questioning oxymorons?
The truly faithful live by faith;
they don’t question.
Right?
Wrong!

The questions of faith and of life change.
They become more complicated
as we become older.
They range from simple to complex.
The answers to our questions
can be found in the Bible –
– according to some people’s thinking.
But the Bible contains
some of the most daunting questions!

“What must I do to obtain eternal life?”
the questioning man asked Jesus.
Jesus’ answer was filled with imperatives
such as, “Go, Sell, Give, Follow.”
Is that it?

It’s part of the mystery of life.
Life has many mysteries.
That’s why faith and questioning are partners.
The joy of following is that it requires
Faith, not complete comprehension.
Questioning leads to  more faithful following
and a life worth living.

Jesus didn’t scoff at the man who asked.
God expects us to be drawn deeper –
– deeper into following and faithfulness.
Thinking, questioning, pursuing
the living, dynamic, expansive God
Is a sign of an active, living faith.

The questions of life change.
The answers become more complicated
as we become older.
They mature as we do.
Keep asking.
Keep listening.

Jesus – simple yet complex

The Color of Faith


“Under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” James 1:3 (The Message)

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I have a small, leather-bound book titled, “Daily Inspiration for our Purpose Driven Life.” Have you read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren? I have read it several times – and I highly recommend it. This little book I have now is an extension of Warren’s original book. It is a chance to reflect on the five purposes Warren defines – to reflect and internalize. Today the reading is related to topic three: Created to Become Like Christ. The challenge is to continue to grow more Christ-like even in the midst of trouble. The question is, how do I respond when I am under pressure? James 1:3 says that’s when my “true colors” show. What are my true colors? What is the color of my faith?

When I asked my prayer partner who comes to my house each week so we can have time in Bible Study, fellowship, prayer, and reflection together, she told me she thinks my faith is green. Interesting – not red and glowing, or yellow and shining, not blue and crystal clear. No, green –  –  –  green and growing. Before she came I had asked myself that same question – and my answer was the same as hers. Green! That’s reassuring.

What color is YOUR faith? Has it been truly tested recently? Have you been thrown into the fires of trouble, temptation and pain? Did you emerge with greater spiritual muscle and moral fiber which produces greater character?

Romans 5:3-4 says “We know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character.” 

However, Rick Warren wrote this cautionary statement, “Problems don’t automatically produce what God intends. Many people become bitter rather than better, and never grow up. You have to respond the way Jesus would.”

What color was Jesus’ faith? Fully mature, full blown, fully bloomed, a kaleidoscope of colors! Will I ever get there?

To deal with life as Jesus did, I must keep on growing! Keep on studying His Word, praying for His discernment, learning His Will for my life. James 1:3-4 says, “Let the process go on until your endurance is fully developed, and you will find that you have become a person of mature character… with no weak spots.”

No weak spots. No brown on my green leaves. No insect holes in my petals! Wouldn’t that be grand? But, life is not a bed of perfect roses, all sweet and beautiful. Look carefully! There are insects. There are thorns. Those represent the trials, temptations, pains of life. We are promised thorns! Trouble is part of living. It’s not the suffering that defines us, though; it’s our response to the suffering, our attitude toward the pain, how we deal with the bugs! 

Isaiah 38:17 “It was for my own good that I had such hard times.”

What color is your faith?

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