Reflections on Faith
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
Published on 12/19/2017 @ 8:35 AM CDT
This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)
Lately I have been reading a collection of daily devotions written by theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer does not mince words. With rigorous honesty and clarity of faith, he challenges the reader with the good news of Jesus Christ. One line I read this morning states, “No powerful person dares to approach the manger.” This one line alone is a challenge. To come before the manger, we have to let go of all assumptions of power. To come before the manger, we have to drop any notion of influence. To come before the manger, we have to lay down every ounce of who we think we have become, for the manger sits not with the powerful, but with the lowly.
We have such a hard time in this life letting go of things. We cling to the past. We cling to our stuff. We cling to our responsibilities. Over time they start to weigh heavy on our soul. Even the shepherds in the field that the angel speaks to had to leave what they knew for a time in order to come before the manger. This is what the manger does, it draws us out of the life we have fooled ourselves into living and reminds us of the life of the one who is truly in control.
Bonhoeffer puts it best when he asks, “Who among us will celebrate Christmas correctly? Whoever finally lays down all power, all honor, all reputation, al vanity, all arrogance, all individualism beside the manger; whoever remains lowly and lets God alone be high.” May you come before the manger this year with the spiritual posture of one who has laid it all down.
Published on 12/12/2017 @ 3:46 PM CDT
There is good news for the city of Zion. Shout it as loud as you can from the highest mountain. Don’t be afraid to shout to the towns of Judah, “Your God is here!” (Isaiah 40:9)
A long time ago, Isaiah spoke a word of certainty to a people who were uncertain. He spoke a word of faith to a people who were struggling with theirs. He spoke a word of hope to a people who had run out of things to hope for. Isaiah came to the people of God with a word that comes again to us today. It is a word we need to hear.
In a world where schedules and busyness dominate us with an unrelenting hand, the word we need to hear tells us to not lose heart.
In a world that props up politics over people and rhetoric over relationships, the word we need to hear tells us to not lose faith.
In a world that feels overbearing and heavy and lost and confusing, the word we need to hear tells us to not lose hope.
Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. This is the certainty from which Isaiah preaches. When you're not sure whether you believe or not, believe anyway. When you feel like you don't have the energy to take another step, put your shoes on and take it anyway. When you simply don’t think you can expect anything else from God, expect it anyway. This Advent, expect God to show up. Expect Christ to come. Expect the Holy Spirit to birth a new fire in your heart, for there is good news for you. Your God is here!
Published on 12/04/2017 @ 8:49 PM CDT
Published on 11/21/2017 @ 11:12 AM CDT
Here’s this problem, though. Paul would be the first one to tell you that you cannot earn God’s blessing. That is not how God gives, and it is, therefore, not how we should give. God does not give so that we might have faith. God gives because that is who God is. God gives because God is about the business of blessing others. God gives fully and completely because it is simply part of God’s DNA. Even though I cannot give you a “take these three steps” manual for giving like God, what I can say is that if you’re trying to force it, you’re probably not doing it right. Don’t be a “so that” giver. Give because, more and more, it is simply who you are. When you do, Paul would surely say that "it is God who is at work in you."
Published on 10/31/2017 @ 3:49 PM CDT