Living Out the Faith

Good morning. It is Wednesday, Hump Day, September 18, 2013. (This doesn’t bode well. I’ve had to backspace four times already, to correct typing errors.)

Today is “National Cheeseburger Day!!” Now, there’s a holiday I can fully support!! Sonic should be running a special today.


We had our Huddle group last night, which went well. We spent at least half of the time getting caught up on each other’s lives, as it seems that it has been well over a month since we have sat down together. Then we talked about what God seems to be teaching, or at least trying to teach, each one of us.

The Texas Rangers won a game last night. Quite decisively, too. They got ahead early and stayed ahead the entire game to beat the Rays, 7-1, and regain a tie in the Wild Card race. Unfortunately, the Athletics won, as well, so no ground was gained in the division race, which, although still statistically alive, is virtually decided. The Red Sox dropped one to the Orioles, but since Tampa lost, their number to clinch the division went down to three. It’s an exciting, nail-biter of a September, folks! I have to confess that one the most fun pieces is that the Evil Empire is in fourth place.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in AD 96, the Emperor Domitian was done in “at the hands of his own wife and servants, to the contentment of the Senate and the joy of dozens of his subjects who feared for their lives.” Ah, those wacky Roman Emperors. Domitian was the son of Vespasian, who was actually a great emperor, and the brother of Titus, who was also a good emperor. But Domitian plotted against Titus during Titus’s two year reign. When Titus fell ill, Domitian ordered his servants “to leave him for dead even while he was still alive, thus accomplishing passive fratricide.” When he became emperor, Domitian was, at first competent. “But he soon showed his inherent sadism by frequently sequestering himself in his office to catch flies and stab them to death with his pen.” As he grew older, and became “paunch and bald,” he became “increasingly autocratic, insisting on being addressed as dominus et dens (master and god).” He also took for a mistress his niece (the daughter of Titus) Julia. The historian Suetonius wrote that Domitian’s “lack of funds made him greedy, and fear of assassination made him cruel.” He would condemn people to death for the most trivial reasons and was convinced that everyone was plotting against him.


Today’s birthday is Kerry Livgren, born on this date in 1949, in Topeka, Kansas. Livgren was one of the founding members of the rock group Kansas. Later in his career, after exploring many cultic religions, Kerry became a Christian. He did a couple of solo albums, after which he formed the group, AD. Here is a clip from their album, Time Line, called “Tonight.”

Honorable mentions go to Frankie Avalon, 74, Greta Garbo, 1905-1990, James Marsden, 40, Ryne Sandberg, 54, June Foray, 96, Holly Robinson, 49, Leon Foucault, 1819-1868, and Fred Willard, 74.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared. . . Psalm 76:11
Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!
Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
Psalm 119:169-170
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. Psalm 54:6
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

Father, your words truly are sweet to me, “sweeter than honey to my mouth.” I pray that, as I read them, that I might “digest” them, fully understanding whatever you have to show me today, and every day.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Be Chaste and Self-Controlled.” The scripture reading is Titus 2:1-8.

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Paul’s directions to the younger women tell them to love their husbands and to be chaste (the ESV renders that word “pure”). Obviously, he is not referring to abstaining from sexual activity. There are specific moral demands being made on the Christians that Titus leads. Our faith is not simply something we believe in, but something we do. We act on our faith. The world should be able to look at our lives and see a difference. This is what Paul’s goal is in these instructions. Purity of life, being self-controlled, “integrity, dignity, and sound speech. . .” All of these things combine to give the Christian a different appearance on the outside that validate the faith that is possessed on the inside.

How can we embody this concept of purity in our lives? We probably all need to ask God to help us love him, our neighbors, and ourselves more completely. We need to live our faith.


Pray Without Ceasing: A Thirty-One-Day Course, by Andrew Murray

DAY NINETEEN
What to Pray: For the Descent of the Holy Spirit on All Christendom

. . .having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:5
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”‘” Revelation 3:1

“There are millions of so-called nominal Christians–Christians
in name only. They say they are Christians, but they deny
the power of God. Their lives are dull and without spiritual vitality.
Formality, ritual, performance, worldliness, ungodliness,
rejection of service for Christ, ignorance, and indifference all
describe this group. We pray for the lost, but do we also pray for
those bearing Christ’s name who are in worse shape than some
who do not claim the name of Christ in any form?
“If we think much about it, we would say it is a severe problem
and an issue that needs a great amount of work and prayer.”

How to Pray: In Deep Stillness of Soul

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1

“Prayer has its power in God alone. The nearer a man comes
to God, the deeper he enters into God’s will. The more he takes
hold of God, the more power he has in prayer.
“God must reveal himself. We as mere men must take time to
receive this revelation. If it please Him to make himself known,
He can make the heart and mind very conscious of His presence.
Our posture must be that of reverence, of quiet waiting and
adoration.
“As you intercede for all those for whom Christianity is a social
pastime, be still before God and know His mind and heart. You
will receive the power and understanding that is needed to pray
with passion for these who are as lost as the pagan.”


Father, I lift up the ones who are described in this reading. May your power fall on all who claim the name of Christ, but do not take it seriously. I would rather seem them become serious than to completely fall away, indicating that they never completely latched onto the faith in the first place. I have friends who fit into this category. Unfortunately, I am out of contact with them, and hope that perhaps they have been drawn back into your heart by your Spirit. I plead with you, that your Spirit might fall on these people, drawing them into closer fellowship with you.

I also pray that we would all look deeply into our own lives and seek your power to live the faith that we claim to believe. We have been discussing, lately, why we don’t look very different from the world in our modern culture. We need your Spirit to exhibit power in our lives. We need to live what we believe. We need the life of Christ to be strong within us. Fill us, Lord! Fill us!

I pray for this day, that Christi and I will have a good work day. Please protect her from anxiety at work. I’m not asking you to make her day easy, but just to cause her to hold onto you during times that would cause anxiety. Give her your strength as she works. I pray the same for me, that I might have the strength of your Spirit during the work day, being able to do all things that are asked of me with efficiency and excellence. I pray that you draw Stephanie closer to you today, and show her your grace and steadfast love.

Your grace is sufficient.


May we seek to be steadfast in living out our faith, loving others as ourselves, and may we consistently lift up those for whom Christianity is just a name, a “social club.”

Grace and peace, friends.

2 thoughts on “Living Out the Faith

  1. but Domitian was adamant in his love for Domitia Longina , going so far as to persuade her husband, Lucius Aelius Lamia , to divorce her so that Domitian could marry her himself.

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