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Faith

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Believe It Or Not ~ John C Calkins

Posted: December 2nd, 2016 | Category: belief, Faith | Comments

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Let’s take a few minutes to talk about the differences and subtle qualities of belief and faith. Understanding this is a matter of great importance to God and there are several very good reasons why it should be equally important to us. Belief is our level of commitment to someone or something while faith is a (usually)  silent demonstration of our love and trust in someone. Given that, what’s the difference between a 99% commitment to something and a 100% commitment? The quick thinkers out there will answer just 1%, but if that is allowed any further application in thought, that 1% can easily become the stark reality between life and death. Can a recovering addict be committed to not relapsing for just 99 out of 100 days? If so, what happens on day 100? If there is no temptation, maybe nothing. Temptation however, is the enemy’s greatest weapon of individual destruction and the enemy is ever vigilant, waiting for just the right opportunity to strike, to deceive and break the uncommitted. We don’t teach our pets to stay off the road only when a car is passing. Most pets don’t associate cars with death so that level of commitment is dangerously inadequate. We teach them to stay off the road without a safety harness or a guardian present. The same is true for everything we do. We avoid poisonous mushrooms all the time. We remove the ammunition or set the safety on a handgun whenever it’s holstered, stored or pending some authorized use. We don’t break our vows, rob banks or mug people ever, because we know there are dire consequences to pay if we do. Believing in God 99% of the time will leave us exposed to destruction the rest of the time. It only takes a second for bad choices to destroy our world and too often, the world’s of those around us. God has used every proactive, positive way to try and make this 100% clear to us but it hasn’t worked well enough. Belief in and of God is not a measurable, it’s an all or nothing choice. We can’t earn a letter grade in BELIEF 101, we will either pass or fail. Here’s the thing, we can’t pass without His tutoring, grace and sacrifices. 99% is just the percentage for those with other priorities. For every branch of God’s family tree, it’s 100% once grafted or nothing at all. “It’s certainly possible to say, “Other branches were pruned so that I could be grafted in!” Well and good. But they were pruned because they were deadwood, no longer connected by belief and commitment to the root. The only reason you’re on the tree is because your graft “took” when you believed, and because you’re connected to that belief-nurturing root. So don’t get cocky and strut your branch. Be humbly mindful of the root that keeps you lithe and green.” Romans 11:19-20 MSG. That one percent exercised by so many is a vote of too little confidence in God.

Faith on the other hand is the flint, kindling and wind which ultimately fuels the flames of our belief toward sufficiently consuming all of our doubts and unbeliefs. Faith is rewarded by God with relationship. Relationship is the freeway to answered prayers, wisdom, forgiveness and patience. Relationship holds both the key to the gates and invitation of the ruler of Heaven. It begins with faith but it survives with belief. “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Matthew 17:20 MSG. Jesus relied on the principles of faith and belief to guide, teach and save those in the world who would eventually listen and learn. “There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Those are big words from an even bigger man who now sits at the right hand of God the Father and rules over all of heaven and earth. Belief is huge and the commitment to accept the enormity of it and of God is staggering, but worth it. Believe it or not, it’s that important. Don’t just say “I believe” and expect the words to carry any weight with God. Live “I believe” every minute of your days. That’s what the man who carried the cross for each of us needs to know before the end of the story.

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Am I Significant? ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: August 19th, 2016 | Category: Christ Follower, Faith, Hope, Inspirational, Love | Comments

Everybody wants to feel significant. In some way, by some measure. Without God, we will simply press ourselves into a chosen or defaulted life. A life of our choices. If, given our choices, we think we are failing in one arena, we’ll usually step up our game in some other arena(s). Work, play, learning, competitions, relationships, they all offer us the opportunity to achieve some desired level of earthly significance. We want our lives to somehow matter, to others. Here’s… read more

Relationship With God? ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: July 28th, 2016 | Category: belief, Church, Faith, Inspirational, Love | Comments

Why would it be important for us to have or to be in relationship with God? If just believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He came (here) and died in our place, for our sins, then what would be the further point of any relationship? It was a done deal 2,000 years ago. Wasn’t it? That may be the most misunderstood concept of faith and belief today and such misunderstandings carry the worst of long term… read more

Becoming Transparent ~ John C Calkins

Posted: May 26th, 2016 | Category: belief, Christ Follower, Deception, Faith, Inspirational, Spirituality, Truth | Comments

“The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’” The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good… read more

Love Without Faith? ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: March 2nd, 2016 | Category: Common Sense, Faith, Love | Comments

How can love and faith not be brothers or sisters of the same blood? Can we have faith without love? Of course not, that’s part of the package. Can we offer (Agape) love without faith? If we understand the meaning we can’t. Isn’t saying I love you the same proffer as saying I have faith in you? That is after all, how love begins. For those who have not invested in the Greek language, Agape love is usually defined as:… read more

The Harvest Of Perfection ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: February 2nd, 2016 | Category: belief, Christ Follower, Faith, Inspirational, Jesus Follower, Love, Understanding | Comments

Why does God want or need so many people in heaven? The answer seems clear if every person around us brings us joy. More joy with each person. More joy is better. Yet that somehow seems too simplistic. A bit below the genius and work of God. It is also unrealistic? Would joy even be special if we’d never known sorrow? We shouldn’t be looking at this from our point of view, we should just be looking at it from… read more

Never Underestimated Again ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: January 25th, 2016 | Category: belief, Faith, Jesus Follower, Truth, Understanding | Comments

Does anybody really know who you are? Yes you, that floating vessel moored some where in mystery. We might believe that someone close to us knows everything about us, yet in reality, that’s nearly impossible. It certainly would make life simpler, but that’s not how we’ve learned to live our lives. It’s not how our minds-eye works. We have fears, hopes, dreams, thoughts and secrets that we’ve consciously chosen not to share with certain people or in some cases with anyone at… read more

Matchbox Soul ~ John C Calkins

Posted: December 16th, 2015 | Category: Christ Follower, Christmas, Faith, Hope, Inspirational, Love, miracles, Promises, Truth | Comments

What is the value of the soul? This elusive, invisible, romantic unknown is perceived by many as a sort of eternal chamber of secrets, longing for it’s mate, yet which opens up fully, only for God. I was listening to the classic holiday song, “Oh Holy Night” this morning, when two lines of it’s lyrics suddenly lit up for me. “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth.” What enables… read more

Good and Evil ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: December 7th, 2015 | Category: Christ Follower, Conflict, Deception, demons, disciple, Faith, Jesus Follower, miracles, Truth | Comments

Most people, including spiritual people with Biblical training, have trouble with the idea of a spiritual source of good and evil. We’ve struggled (at times) with accepting various aspects of the Word of God, particularly from those parts of the Bible which deal with what we have come to call, the supernatural. Most of the miracles mentioned in the New Testament, would fall clearly into the category of supernatural. Yet these are very much Biblical truths, then and now. If… read more

Set In Our Ways ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: December 6th, 2015 | Category: Common Sense, Conflict, Disappointment, Faith, Inspirational | Comments

  For a select few, being set in our ways might be a good thing. For most of the rest of us however, it’s not. I’ve written about change before, about how uncomfortable it makes most people feel. I’m not writing about convenient change, like walking the dog someplace different, rather about the unsolicited wholesale change we need but casually avoid. Most who have established some modicum of relative comfort in life, even if they are otherwise miserable in it,… read more