Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

A Time for Faith, A Time for Us

June 4th, 2009

“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”

(Isaiah 7:9)

When my wife and I were married, the music by Kusic and Snyder was played.  It is the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet. One of the phrases of this piece articulates-“A Time for Us, Someday Will Be…” This music was beyond my 21 years.  It was beautiful as haunting, but I could not fathom the emotional depths of this piece.  Now, 29 years later, I know that it was well chosen, and its depth has been felt as lived.

Today, there is a deep need among the Lord’s people in the churches of Christ to rededicate their lives.  Faith is not a mobile made in a Bible class, nor a Mobius Strip made at the university.

1.       Faith is an unseen reality of God with his people (2 Cor. 5:7).

2.       This faith has a primary focus in the Christ who always leads in triumphal procession (2 Cor. 2:14)

3.       This Christian faith results in good courage (2 Cor. 5:6,8; 1:24).

This is truly a time for faith, and a time for us! The present is indeed directed by the future.  The Lord is there (Ezek. 48:35)!

-Robert M. Housby

The Pillar of “Tell”in the Judeo-Christian Faith

March 5th, 2009

“You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt'”

(Exodus 13:8)

The commandment (mitzvah) to make sure to tell your people’s narrative (Haggadah, recital) to their children is expressed in Exodus 13:8.  The specific expression in Hebrew is vehigadeta labincha, translated “…tell your son…” Reflecting on this command, one can readily assess its importance in communication and transmission of the facts to the formation of faith for each generation. This telling, as commanded by the LORD, is prompted by repeatable questions, which each generation is encouraged to make (see Exodus 12:26,27).  What do you mean is the right attitude toward divine religion.  It is cognitive, factual, and understandable.  The obligation of  arents to transmit the gospel message, today, is a priority with a powerful design.  Of course, the Christian’s Red Sea-Exodus experience is from the  bondage of sin, not Egypt (Rom. 6:15-23).

The New Testament, too, carries on this same communication-transmission of facts, which leads to faith formation.  Several New Testament passages which convey vehigadeta  labincha (the telling) include, Ephesians 6:4 and 2 Tim. 3:14,15.   “O will you not tell it today?  Will you not tell it today?  If the light of his presence has brightened your way, O will you not tell it today? (Jesse Brown Pounds, 1887).  Let the pillar stand.  When we sing it-we tell it; when we pray it-we tell it;  when we read it-we tell it; and, when we preach it we tell it. Will you not tell it today?

-Robert M. Housby

Not Practicing the Faith?

October 17th, 2008

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion…Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!”

(Amos 6:1,4-6)

We often assume that the faithful are the Lord’s people, while the faithless are not God’s people. However, throughout the pages of sacred history, we are reminded that even the Lord’s people are at times found not practicing the faith. The story of Amos 6 is such a sad chronicle in the history of the Lord’s people. Notice the characteristics that led to their downfall:

1. 6:1 They felt secure.

2. 6:1b They belonged to a first class nation.

3. 6:3 Personal disaster was a distant notion.

4. 6:4 They were very relaxed.

5. 6:4b They were eating well.

6. 6:5 They were creative and entertainment based.

7. 6:6 Their beverage of choice was abundant.

8. 6:8b Their economy allowed for the best.

Who would have thought that from this luxurious pinnacle they would have fallen (6:7-8)? Yet, they did fall. Think about your own faith. Are you practicing, or, are you at ease in Zion?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Amos, Bible, faith, Old Testament, practicing Tags:

Secondhand Faith

April 6th, 2008

“If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac,
had not been on my side…”

(Genesis 31:42)

E. Stanley Jones sees in Genesis 31:42 a generational progression away from God. “The thing that has happened to this generation has happened to the three generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob could say, “my father’s God, the God of Abraham, the Awe of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42, Moffatt). God was God to Abraham; he had ventured forth with him, his “Friend”; He was intimate firsthand and real. But in the next generation God was not “the God of Isaac,” but only the Awe of Isaac.” He had faded and become secondhand. Still Isaac stood in “Awe” of his father’s God. In the third generation—in Jacob—the result of this gradual fading of God began to shown in the decaying morals of Jacob; moral rottenness appeared. He stole his brother’s birthright. He was ready to take the main chance without regard to God.

Jones goes on to say that we also, like Jacob, often involve ourselves in a secondhand type of faith. “We have lost God…[but] Jacob met God on Jabbok’s banks in his midnight wrestle and emerged a new man. Unless we, like Jacob, find a moral renewal in finding God [afresh, RMH], we are done for” (“God Fading Out,” Abundant Living (New York: Abingdon Press, 1952), p. 3).

Still, God was on Jacob’s side. But, things were scary for a time. Will you yourself find God afresh in your own life? Can you say this is “the Lord my God”?

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, faith, Genesis, Old Testament Tags:

Faith Without Works? (Low Information–Action Ratio)

May 13th, 2007

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone”

(James 2:24)

Neil Postman, in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, uses the expression—“Low Information to Action Ratio,” to denote questionable Christian commitment. In other words, L.I.A.R. occurs when our knowledge of Christianity is greater than our follow-through.

James puts this in perspective in James 2:14-26. Notice how James arranges his theological material into 5 questions:

2:14 “What good is it…?”

2:14 b “Can that faith save…?”

2:15-16 “What good is that [failure to respond to needs]…?”

2:20 “Do you want to be shown…that faith apart from works is useless?”

2:21 “Was not Abraham… justified by works?”

Abraham and James have played their part on the stage of the drama of the most holy faith. Now, it’s your chance. If not now, when?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, faith, James, New Testament Tags:

Hold On

December 17th, 2006

(Hebrews Chapter 1: Regarding Jesus Christ)

“…let us hold fast our confession”

(Hebrews 3:6, 14; 4:14; 10:23)

A number of years ago, I was in a public library when I overheard a gentleman going on and on about the first chapter of Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick. He bestowed on this particular chapter the ranking of— “best chapter in all of literature.” As I listened, I determined to go read this chapter from Melville. Although, we need not prefer one chapter in the Bible over any other, the first chapter of Hebrews does call our attention to Jesus in a classical style that is absolutely riveting. The Hebrew writer urges his readers to hold on to their faith in the face of difficulties (3:1;4:14). Then, he tells with certain and superior pride in his Lord just exactly who it is that occupies the substance of the Christian confession—

1. God’s prophet son (1:1,2)
2. the heir of all things (1:2)
3. the co-creator of the world (1:2)
4. the radiance of the glory of God (1:3)
5. the exact imprint of his nature (1:3)
6. [who] upholds the universe by the word of his power (1:3)
7. [who] making purification for sins, sat down (1:3)
8. [who] is greater than angels

What a dynamic foundation for Christians! The Hebrew writer opens in he most powerful way possible— clarification of Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

– Robert M. Housby

Why You Should Revisit the Tomb

September 24th, 2006

“Come see the place where the Lord lay”

(Matt.28: 6)

The term, “tomb” (mnemeion, Matt. 27:60) can be appreciated by the Christian on several levels. Although the concepts of the Lord’s death and resurrection are not new to us, when these two fundamental themes of the gospel are viewed in relation to the tomb of Christ, we find that both are represented. In other words, the tomb goes both ways, as Paul’s speech at Antioch of Pisidia indicates – “…they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13: 29, 30). The tomb (mnemion) embraces Christ’s death and resurrection—it is a virtual sanctuary for the great themes of the Gospel.

But, is a return to the tomb really necessary? We think that it is a warranted action on the part of all Christians, novices and veterans alike. We say this in lieu of the sporadic hijacking of many Judeo-Christian concepts today: success through the Proverbs of Solomon; stable family values; money-matters; and relationships in general. But, to take all of these valuable Biblical concepts and sell them without regard to the power of the Gospel is certainly a terrible blunder of omission.

So, why should you return to the tomb?

1. It is the central sanctuary of Christian faith (2Cor. 5:15; 1Thess. 4:14; etc.).
2. It points out the futility of trying to achieve the good-life, without the good news (1Cor. 15: 1-4).
3. It asserts the historical-factual nature of the Gospel (Acts 13: 29-31).
4. It reaffirms how baptism is the watery-grave—and, such it is (Rom. 6:3-5).

– Robert M. Housby

The Problem with Second Generation Faith

April 9th, 2006

“And I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord”

(Zechariah 4:4-5)

There is something to be said for second generation faith. Paul said, “I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors… I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Tim. 1:3,5). But, for members of the Lord’s church who have assumed the posture that faith is transferable by mere association, it may come as a surprise that such a notion is problematic nonsense (Heb. 8:10-11). Grandpa and Grandma may have been faithful in their church attendance; gospel meetings; service to others; teaching of children; hospitality; students of the word; and being disciples of Christ— BUT, THEIR FAITH IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY TRANSFERABLE! Each soul must choose whether heaven or hell will be their final home. There will be no piggy-back rides into eternity. Paul would write, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13).
We are planning to deliver a series of lessons from the book of Zechariah this fall. Basic concepts from Zechariah teach personal faith. The Menorah of Zechariah 4:1-14 is one such concept about light. May our brethren learn to get their own faith. The problem with second generation faith is that the individual has not developed a personal faith of their own.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, faith, Old Testament, Zechariah Tags: