This post is adapted from Faith That Engages the Culture by Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa.
Faith is something Christians hold onto tightly. It is part of what makes us who we are, and it is a gift from God that makes our daily lives matter. Through our faith in Him, we are able to live a life that stands out no matter what culture we are born into. Read an excerpt about a Christian’s holy vocations within the culture from Faith That Sees through the Culture written by Alfonso Espinosa.
It’s the time of year that I love and loathe. I love the new and the fresh and the possible. But I’m not great at making plans or evaluating what happened over the last twelve months. I’m not great at setting goals or working out how to achieve those goals. Yet planning and evaluating are natural things to do at the end of a year, and although I’m looking forward to 2021, I feel pressure to plan the work I will do. I am much better at flying by the seat of my pants than establishing a plan for my work.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:1–2
I find myself fighting with a tangled ball of lights year after year as we decorate the Christmas tree. Since we have had children, this has gotten extraordinarily difficult.
The Law of God can be intimidating as it shows our sin and our disobedience to Him.Blessedly, we have the Gospel, which shows us God’s love and how He has saved us in Jesus. The Gospel is just one of God’s many gifts to us as it reassures us of His never-ending forgiveness and love.Read below a section from Grace, Faith, Scripture: Portrait of a Lutheran by Daniel E. Paavola about the Gospel and God’s forgiveness for us.
You may ask, what is the “wilderness”? A wilderness is usually an experience that follows a season of highs. When Jesus was baptized (which was more accurately a coronation), He took His rightful place as the final and greatest king of Israel.
But as soon as the event was over, He was immediately thrown into a wilderness experience where He fasted for forty days while being tempted by Satan. (See Mark 1:9–13.) Wilderness experiences usually happen when you are at the end of your spiritual rope. They are times of seeking God’s will and direction for your life.
Advent is upon us! In this season, we look back on all Christ did when He came veiled in flesh. We also look forward to when He will come again in His resurrected body with nail-pierced hands. In this year of social-distancing and social unrest, we remember that regardless of circumstance we are connected because of Christ and the life He freely gave for us.
As I prepare to serve as a host for a Thanksgiving celebration, I cannot help but stop and realize that this holiday season is going to be entirely different than any other. I don my mask as I enter the grocery store, staying at least six feet from my shopping counterparts. Inside, I see a little girl in a shield drop her doll in the aisle; I smile at her through my mask (you know, the eye smile) and pick up her doll. Her face lights up behind the shield as I move toward her with her toy.
This post is adapted from Flowing from the Cross: Six Facets of God’s Forgiveness by Dan Paavola.