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Living Faith is a Christian blog that interacts with a variety of biblical, theological and practical topics written by Grand Canyon University's College of Theology faculty and specially invited guests of the college. Our content provides practical and biblical advice from a Christian worldview for living our faith in the midst of an increasingly secularized world. In addition, our content wrestles with cultural topics and issues that challenge how we live out our faith as believers. For this reason, contributors to our Christian blog strive to write with compassion and apologetic concern to honor Christ and edify the church in every way possible.
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Category: Theology Thursday
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By Todd Forrest
Faculty, College of Theology

Over 44,000 suicides in America every year (afsp.org), reveal that people are afraid of both life and death. Life can be a struggle, life can have pain, but there is also much pleasure, happiness and comfort in our lives. From a Christian perspective, there is an old song that echoes, “Jesus is the joy of living, He’s the dearest friend I know.” This strikes at the core of life’s value, relationships. It is not what we have or achieve in life that gives life light and color, it is the people with whom we live it. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) The Christian life is not a list of rules for the “do’s” and “do nots” of life, it is sharing life with our Creator and living in this relationship daily. It is a source of hope, comfort and purpose no matter what life throws at us.

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By Jason Hiles
Dean, College of Theology

The human heart is prone to long for heroes capable of leading their people out of difficulty and into prosperity. Unfortunately, storybooks aside, heroes are far and few between. By the time Jesus was born, the people of Israel had begun to long for a real-life hero they referred to as the Messiah (or the Christ). Their longing was informed to some degree by their prophets who wrote of a Messiah who would one day proclaim liberty to the oppressed and free people in bondage (e.g. Isaiah 61:1). But their hopes were also fueled by the circumstances of their day, their personal longings and desires and the religious leaders among them who shaped understandings about God and his people. As a result, expectations for the Messiah were deeply skewed by the time of Jesus’ arrival, which meant that Jesus would need to clarify what God expected of this real-life hero.

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By Eric Hernando
Faculty, College of Theology

We all have relatives who embarrass us, people in our family tree whom we are ashamed to admit we are related. Most of us try to hide the skeletons in our family tree. However, a look at the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1 shows Matthew does not hide the imperfect ancestors of Jesus. Rather the Bible deliberately draws attention to them, all for the purpose of making a theological point.

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By Steve Sherman
Faculty, College of Theology

A Christocentric view of work must be Christ-centered, based on the example, teaching and will of the Master craftsman. Jesus models for us (both in word and deed) joyful and obedient response to God’s call to kingdom work – as a carpenter first, then throughout his ministry.

Jesus recognized that the Father was always at work alongside his own labor (John 5:17). Christ likened doing the Father’s will and completing the work he was sent to do to being his very sustenance (John 4:34).

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By Brett Berger
Faculty, College of Theology

Four weeks and two Theology Thursdays ago, Jason Hiles wrote a post on Jesus’ call to love our enemies. In it, he described the costly and almost incomprehensible implications of loving as Jesus has commanded.

Love is a word that rolls easy off the tongue. Very few object to it as an idea or even as a command to follow. In fact, even the secular spheres of our culture repeat with exhortations to love. (As I write, I am sitting in an eatery called Waffle Love with a painting on the wall that reads, “All you need is love.”)

Though “love” is oft repeated, I find very few take the time to consider what it is. It seems like a question too simple to ask. However, simple questions like this often expose just how incomplete our understanding is.

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By Jason Hiles
Dean, College of Theology

History has not always been kind to Jesus, at least in terms of understanding who he actually is and grasping his significance. Many have conceived of Jesus as a great moral teacher which, although true, ignores much of what he said and did. Interestingly, during Jesus’ ministry he was emphatic about the importance of coming to terms with who he truly is.

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By Matt Hampton
Faculty, College of Theology

My two-year-old daughter and I recently had a race. We decided that we would race from the car to the front door of the building. My daughter was so excited and was giggling and smiling as she was out ahead of me and running as fast as her two-year-old legs would let her. She kept looking back to see where I was at and she would look ahead and then back again at me.

I was caught up in the moment and before I realized it she went face first into a tall pillar that was in front of the building. She was so concerned about looking back at me that she did not realize what was right in front of her. I rushed to her rescue and grabbed her into my arms and held her tightly. I felt absolutely terrible but I comforted her and showed her how much daddy loves her.

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By Chip Lamca
Faculty, College of Theology

We are familiar with the concept of being a witness and testifying either from experience with legal issues, academic study or even from exposure to courtroom classics like “A Few Good Men” – You want the truth? Works from the ancient near east, such as the Code of Hammurabi, give us an early idea of law and order, but the Bible has much to say about testifying in particular.

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By Joshua Greever
Faculty, College of Theology

In 1 Timothy 1:12-17 the Apostle Paul recounts his story of conversion from Judaism to Christ Jesus. Before his conversion experience on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9), Paul had been a persecutor of Christians, yet this did not keep Jesus from granting Paul “the grace of our Lord” that saved and transformed Paul into an apostle for Jesus. As a result, Paul could affirm, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). Further, Jesus’ grace toward Paul was not arbitrary or random, but was intended to “display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1:16). Paul’s conversion story was to serve as an illustration to highlight and magnify Jesus’ “perfect patience” toward sinners.

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By Todd Forrest
Faculty, College of Theology

There are times in life when we seem to be unraveling at the edges. Overwhelmed with issues of our day, we feel like the rug of life has just been ripped from beneath us. Well, there is a way we can hold it together. In Colossians 1:17 it states, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. “ (NIV) This makes a clear distinction of the activity of Jesus Christ. Not just on the Earth, but in our daily lives. Jesus not only created the world, but he also sustains every aspect of it and he will guide your purpose, destiny and present struggles. He will help you to hold it together.

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By Jason Hiles
Dean, College of Theology

“Love” is an incredibly flexible term used to describe feelings as different as loyalty to a football team (“I love the Cardinals”), enjoyment of food (“I love pizza”) and affection for others (“I love my spouse”). But the Bible insists that Christian love is a particular sort of love rooted in a deep and absolute commitment to the God who lovingly made us in his image. Moreover, when one truly loves God, he or she will inevitably love their neighbors as well, whether friend, family member or foe.

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By Eric Hernando
Faculty, College of Theology

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

As we leave a tumultuous 2016 and enter into an unknown 2017, it is helpful to remember that God has a plan for our lives and this verse is just such a reminder.

Many Christians know and cling to this verse by itself. But when we understand its historical and literary context, most will find that it takes on a deeper, more relevant and even more powerful meaning for their lives. Understanding the context of a passage of scripture will help us avoid the human tendency of reading into scripture our own desired meaning, and will instead help us draw out of scripture the original meaning intended by God and His prophet.

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