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a. Holman defines FAITH: Trusting commitment of one person to another, particularly of a person to God. Faith is the central concept of Christianity. One may be called a Christian only if one has faith.
i. Holman adds: Our English word “faith” comes from the Latin fides, as developed through the Old French words fei and feid. In Middle English (1150-1475) “faith” replaced a word that eventually evolved into “belief.” “Faith” came to mean “loyalty to a person to whom one is bound by promise or duty.” Faith was fidelity. “Belief” came to be distinguished from faith as an intellectual process having to do with the acceptance of a proposition. The verb form of “faith” dropped out of English usage toward the end of the sixteenth century.
The Prodigal Son in the Key of F
Feeling footloose and frisky, a feather-brained fellow forced his father
to fork over his farthings. Fast he flew to foreign fields and
frittered his family’s fortune, feasting fabulously with floozies and
faithless friends. Flooded with flattery he financed a full-fledged
fling of "funny foam" and fast food.
Fleeced by his fellows in folly, facing famine, and feeling faintly
fuzzy, he found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy foreign farmyard.
Feeling frail and fairly famished, he fain would have filled his frame
with foraged food from the fodder fragments.
"Fooey," he figured, "my father’s flunkies fare far fancier," the
frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, facing the facts. Finally,
frustrated from failure and filled with foreboding (but following his
feelings) he fled from the filthy foreign farmyard.
Faraway, the father focused on the fretful familiar form in the field
and flew to him and fondly flung his forearms around the fatigued
fugitive. Falling at his father’s feet, the fugitive floundered
forlornly, "Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family
Finally, the faithful Father, forbidding and forestalling further
flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch forth the finest
fatling and fix a feast.
Faithfully, the father’s first-born was in a fertile field fixing fences
while father and fugitive were feeling festive. The foreman felt
fantastic as he flashed the fortunate news of a familiar family face
that had forsaken fatal foolishness. Forty-four feet from the farmhouse
the first-born found a farmhand fixing a fatling.
Frowning and finding fault, he found father and fumed, "Floozies and
foam from frittered family funds and you fix a feast following the
fugitive’s folderol"? The first-born’s fury flashed, but fussing was
futile. The frugal first-born felt it was fitting to feel "favored" for
his faithfulness and fidelity to family, father, and farm. In foolhardy
fashion, he faulted the father for failing to furnish a fatling and
feast for his friends. His folly was not in feeling fit for feast and
fatling for friends; rather his flaw was in his feeling about the
fairness of the
festival for the found fugitive.
His fundamental fallacy was a fixation on favoritism, not forgiveness.
Any focus on feeling "favored" will fester and friction will force the
frayed facade to fall. Frankly, the father felt the frigid first-born’s
frugality of forgiveness was formidable and frightful. But the father’s
former faithful fortitude and fearless forbearance to forgive both
The farsighted father figured, "Such fidelity is fine, but what forbids
fervent festivity for the fugitive that is found? Unfurl the flags and
finery, let fun and frolic freely flow. Former failure is forgotten,
folly is forsaken. Forgiveness forms the foundation for future
Four facets of the father’s fathomless fondness for faltering fugitives
2) Forever faithful friendship
3) Fadeless love, and
4) A facility for forgetting flaws
by Timothy E. Fulop
Timothy E. Fulop is Assistant Dean of Faculty, Columbia Theological Seminary
“No Rusty Promises in Heaven!” Leviticus 26: 40-45 Key verse(s): 45:“But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.”
If you are interested in learning about hope, take a walk sometime through an old auto recycling yard especially during the long, dark and cold days of winter. These places are fast disappearing now. Once an icon of a time when young men and dads used to fix their own cars by removing parts from others “less fortunate,” these days you have to do some real searching to find a yard that still has an inventory of pre-1970 automobiles.
I have always seen old junk yards as more than just a place of rust and salvage. When I walk a junk yard as I did recently, I am always struck by the fact that old cars and trucks have a story to tell. Take that old Plymouth station wagon reposing at the end of a row of pre-1960 classics. Rusted, old shards of rubber still clinging to rims that haven’t turned in over thirty years, it’s more than just a heap of metal destined for the crusher. Despite its sagging roof and toothless grill; despite the elements of wind, rain, snow and sun that have long enjoyed repose inside of its once plush interior, that old Plymouth has a story to tell, a story about someone’s hopes and dreams.
There was a time back in 1953 when a brand-new Plymouth station wagon was proudly parked in front of a local dealership. It was one of those Mom and Pop dealerships that only sold maybe a dozen or so cars a year. There were probably only spots for three or four cars in front of the little store and room for a customer to park a car. The showroom had a desk and a chair and a large glass display area where each new car took its turn for a week or so, displaying its chrome for all to see. That little station wagon had taken its turn in the display. That’s when a young couple with a couple of kids had seen her just a few weeks back. Now they had returned to take a test drive. With overdrive transmission, dual spotlights, a high-fidelity radio, a sturdy luggage rack and a cargo department to boot, the station wagon had a lot to offer. As they stood there peering at their future, they envisioned trips out west to see the Grand Canyon and leisurely drives to see Grandma and Grandpa up at the lake. Mom and Dad in the front seat and the three kids sacked-out in the back. There was room for them and even future growth. Even though they had a mortgage to pay and on $75.00 a week life was difficult, that little Plymouth station wagon would give them something they really needed--hope that the future would be somehow bigger, brighter and better. They bought into the hope at $30.00 a month with a down payment of $350.
Now, over fifty years later, what had once been a symbol of hope is but a symbol of how time, the environment and our own changing lives are ever-working to change the things we hope in into things we had hoped for. That little Plymouth station wagon was but a testimony to a time of hope and dreams that had moved on to something better, newer, more stylish and useful. Perhaps they had made it to the Grand Canyon and perhaps not. Perhaps their little station wagon had proved much more plebian in purpose and use. Maybe it never hauled anything more romantic than a Christmas tree on its rack. From the looks of the passenger side spotlight, rusted tight to the door panel, no hand had even touched the handle to move its beam. The dreams that had been cast upon it that sunny afternoon so long ago had proved but temporary and fleeting. It wasn’t long before a dead battery, flat tire or frozen radiator had brought the owners back down to earth. That seems to be the way of hope in this life any way. With the things of this life we tend to plant our hopes, resting them securely almost abandoning them to chance. Then, as time grinds away at them, we loose our grip and eventually let them slip away altogether. An auto graveyards is more a graveyard of hopes than it is a place of rust and salvage.
A man sentenced to death obtained a reprieve by assuring the king he would teach his majesty’s horse to fly within the year--on the condition that if he didn’t succeed, he would be put to death at the end of the year. “Within a year,” the man explained later, “the king may die, or I may die, or the horse may die. Furthermore, in a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly.” (Bernard M. Baruch) Isn’t hope in this life often like this? We tend to rest our hope in things that are doomed to fail yet we are comfortable with the time we have in reprieve. Even though that reprieve has its limits we would rather not think about it just now. God has a different plan for hope in our lives. His hope is something that grows stronger and more secure day by day. And this hope will never end up in a junk yard. It’s a hope built on a promise that He will always “remember” His promises. There are no rusty promises in heaven.
Listen to this news clipping. “Gambling, robbery, sexual immorality, and violence is prevalent. Half of all children are born out of wedlock; purity and fidelity to the marriage vow are sneered out of fashion. Corruption in politics is rampant. The world is broken.” This clipping is from 1694.
It was in this time that John Wesley began preaching to the poor, a message of new life through the free grace of Christ. His message was one of assurance and the power of the Spirit. He taught that while sin remained it could not reign. In addition to a great preacher Wesley was an organizer, and those who accepted Jesus as Lord where put into bands. In these bands people strived to put scripture into practice and they called it holiness. Wesley had a great deal of observers, but his goal was to bring them to obedience of Christ<...
"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down."
"Fidelity to the public requires that the laws be as plain and explicit as possible, that the less knowing may understand, and not be ensnared by them, while the artful evade their force."
Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.
A FATHER'S ROLE
James Dobson and Gary Bauer in their book Children at Risk articulate the importance of the father’s leadership and his role in the children’s emotional development and moral education: “Fathers must be there to tame adolescent boys, to give a young son a sense of what I means to be a man, and to explain why honor and loyalty and fidelity are important. For daughters, a father is a source of love and comfort that can help her avoid surrendering her virtue in a fruitless search...
"Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is simple fidelity to what each day brings."
"The condition of our hearts, the openness of our attitudes, the quality of our competence, the fidelity of our experience these give vitality to the work experience and meaning of life."