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that you aren't even sure you really believe. I just love comments.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 105 (Why Believe?)

[reaction to OYB's Nov. 25-29]

Today's readings conclude the letters from Peter and include what I believe to be the non-apocalyptic portions of Daniel. The first portion of Daniel is a major departure from the prophets I have been reading. Rather than a book of prophesy, it begins with an extended Narrative. Like Esther and Joseph, Daniel finds himself a servant to a foreign monarch. And like his Hebrew predecessors he finds favor with the Monarch. The Book provides one very compelling reason to believe in, and by that I mean to be loyal to and to honor the relationship with, God. That reason is, he works miracles. For example, Daniel and his companions grew strong despite being vegetarians, perhaps more miraculously, he saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the flames of the furnance and, as we all know, Daniel himself from the lion's den. As a little cultural intersection, we get the expression "the writing is on the wall" from this story of Daniel letting Belshazzar know that he had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. I actually prefer the Johnny Cash version, here.

Peter offers more subtle reasons. First, they "did not follow cleverly invented stories when [they] told you about the power and ocming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses o fhis majesty." 2 Peter 1:16. Also, the Second Coming will happen, and "[t]he Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9. So, God wants you to repent, and also, such repentance will/may bring about the Second Coming. Also, faith is the first step in a process that can permanently deliver you from sin as follows:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
This last one is the closest to why I believe. But, I think there are others who believe for other reasons listed, and probably some not listed.

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