Tag Archives: faith

My Response (Hebrews 10)

Mom would have been 96 today. I would have enjoyed celebrating with her. But since she’s in heaven, she has no age, no birthday, no need for candles or cake. She’s in glory!

Reading her Bible today gave me a special connection with her. I love that woman! I was touched my some verses that touched her. Chapter 10 talks about the amazing work Jesus did on the cross, His sacrifice and what it means for my life and my eternity. Here is what she underlined:

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (22-25)

I want my response to Jesus to be exactly that! A sincere heart, full of the assurance of my faith in Him, a guiltless conscience because of the decisions I make as His representative. I want to hold unswervingly to the hope I have, even when my hope is not politically correct or “woke.” I want to encourage you even more as we see the very real possibility that the end of life as we know it may be coming to an end. Let’s stand together in the Truth that is Jesus!

I hope you’ll read Hebrews today. It always makes me love Jesus more every time I read it. He did it all. The old is gone, the new is come. I want my response to His sacrifice, to bring Him joy.

Immediate (Mark 8)

I find it interesting, and personal, that it took Jesus two tries to heal the blind man in Mark 8. Or did it?

Some people had brought the man to Jesus for healing, and Jesus took him by the hand and led him to a private spot. This was not going to be a public display of God’s power. This was personal.

Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and laid hands on him. But the man was only partially healed. He confessed he saw, but not clearly. Jesus touched him again, and he was healed.

Now I know Jesus could have absolutely healed him immediately – with a word. (He’d healed people immediately many times before.) So why was this healing a two-parter?

I think it’s something to consider in our day of instant gratification, impatience, entitlement, and self-absorption. We pray and, knowing Jesus is able to answer, we expect immediate results. We don’t want to wait, and we certainly don’t want our request answered in stages.

Then, what if the end result isn’t exactly what we’d prayed? What happens to our faith? What if, when the man in Mark 8 realized his sight wasn’t fully restored the first time, he left in a huff, if his faith was only as good as the immediate? He would have missed the complete healing.

I think of a fellow-blogger who was diagnosed with ALS 24 years ago, is confined to a wheel chair with a mind that is sharp, and a body that will not move. I didn’t know him back then. But I imagine he and those around him prayed for healing. I imagine those prayers are still being brought to God. Those prayers were met in other ways, besides a physical healing. If you want to know more about his journey, check out Unshakable Hope.

Our Good News club is looking at the life of Joni Eareckson Tada. She’s another example of a believer whose physical body was not healed, although there were a lot of prayers to that end. The answers to those prayers came in stages, and the end result looked much different than those praying imagined. But both of these people have ministries today they would not have had if they had been healed of their physical challenges.

As I think about these people, the man in Mark 8, others I’ve prayed for without seeing the results I wanted, I have to ask myself if I really trust God even when my requests aren’t fulfilled in my timing or in the exact way I’ve prayed?

I find it’s not about the outcome of my prayers, but the faith I have along the way. of course I believe God can do anything. He could remove Covid from the world right this minute. That’s not what God wants me to see today, though. God wants me to see Him, to trust Him, to have a faith that is not shattered if answers to my prayers aren’t immediate.

If God answers my prayers in stages, I pray that I will have the patience to see Him working in my life and in the lives of others in the situation with me while we wait. I pray that if the outcome isn’t what I demanded, I will trust Him enough to know and do what’s best for eternity.

I think God is reminding me today to pray, to trust, to have faith that He does all things well, and to rejoice in every step of the way.

God’s Power In Me (Joshua 1-4)

Rahab’s testimony spoke to me today. She was a prostitute living in Jericho. She most likely had never met a Jewish person before. But when Joshua’s two spies came to her house, she welcomed them based on Israel’s reputation. Hear what she said to them:

I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts sank and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. (2:8-11)

Rahab went on to save the lives of the two spies, and later we’ll find out her faith and obedience saved her own. But what spoke to me today is what she said about God.

She told the spies that she and everyone around her trembled in fear because of the great things God had done for Israel. They had heard about Israel’s great victories, the crossing of the Red Sea. Israel’s reputation as the children of God made them realize how weak and helpless they were against Him.

In fact, in the case of Rahab, she put her faith in the God of Israel in response to the power she heard about in the lives of the Jews. Which got me to thinking.

Is God’s power seen in me? Is God recognizable in my life to people who are lost without Him? I don’t want people to see me and think what a religious, good person I am. I want people to see what a great God I serve.

The world is experiencing something in this virus outbreak that I don’t think has ever brought us together before on common ground in such a way. It’s not just the US who are practicing social distancing. Countries all around the world share the same restrictions, face the same challenges, and are searching for that last roll of toilet paper. For the first time in my lifetime, I feel we are one in something.

And that puts a responsibility on the shoulders of we who know the Lord. And believe me, people all over the world are watching how Christians handle this pandemic. Let me ask you, what are your family members, neighbors, friends, coworkers learning about God as they watch how you act and react to what is going on? Do they see a powerful God, the God of hope, the God who saves? Or do they see a God who can’t be trusted because you are in a panic, wringing your hands, and hoarding the TP?

Rahab came to faith in God by watching Him demonstrate His power through the people of Israel. Let’s pray that people will come to faith in God by watching Him demonstrate His power through each of us.

December 24; Faith in Action

Hebrews 10:19-12:29

Do you know what I noticed about the people listed in Chapter 11, the “Hall of Faith?” Each one put their faith in God, but none of them sat on that faith. It wasn’t enough to simply believe. They all did something as a result of their faith.

They warned, went, obeyed, blessed, spoke, refused, left, passed through the Red Sea…. All of these people were commended for their faith yet none of them actually saw the One in whom they’d placed their faith. None of them knew the Messiah Jesus whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow. But that didn’t stop them from having faith in Him anyway.

Everybody has faith of some kind. I have loved ones who have faith their belief there is no God won’t usher them into hell. Some people have faith in false gods, in religion, in goodness and kindness, in the stars, or in themselves. We all have faith that what we believe is true.

The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (12:2)

So who has authored your faith? I pray you will place your faith in the author of creation, in life itself, in love, and in eternity. I pray you’ll place your faith in the One who went to the cross for the joy of forgiving your sins.

Then, with the saints listed in Chapter 11, let’s do something with that faith. Let’s warn, and go, and obey, and bless… because the truth of the matter is, people need to know there is only One who is worthy of our faith.

December 20; Everything You Need

Jude 1:17-25; 2 Peter 1-3; 2 Timothy 1

Do you realize that, if Jesus is your Savior, you have everything you need to make it through this life? Peter tells us the divine power of God Himself gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

Don’t miss the word, “everything.” And don’t underestimate God’s power.

But then Peter says; For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith…

I recently read an article about a woman in our town whose name is Shawn, One day Shawn noticed a very tired woman walking along the street. She stopped to check on her and found out the lady walked to work every day. And it took her three hours one way to walk to her job at McDonald’s. Shawn decided to help, and for some time picked her up every day and gave her a ride. When Shawn wasn’t able, her sister or her son made the trip so that tired woman wouldn’t have to walk to or from work.

Then Shawn did something else extraordinary. She bought a car, put it in the woman’s name, paid for insurance for two months, and filled the gas tank. She handed the woman the keys to the car.

That woman now owned a car. No strings attached. I ask you, wouldn’t it have been a waste if she never put the key into the ignition? Wouldn’t you wonder about anyone with such an amazing gift who DIDN’T use it? What if the woman insisted on continuing to walk to work, a car in her drive, gas in the tank, and keys in hand? You’d think something was wrong with that picture.

At least I would. Here’s the thing. That car belongs to the woman. But in order to take advantage of  that gift, she has to use it.

In 2 Peter 1: 5-6 Peter tells us to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. Then verses 10-11 the apostle says:

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes, God has given us everything we need, but Peter reminds us if we want to make our election sure we need to use what is given, and to grow it. What a waste it is to have everything we need for life and godliness, and not use it.

 

November 22; With Words and By Example

Acts 17:1-18:17; I Thessalonians 1:1-2:16

We know that Paul went from town to town sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that many people were saved as a result of his ministry. But we also know there were certain people determined to stop Paul in any way they could.

That’s why, when Paul was in Berea where the people receive the message with “great eagerness,” some men from Thessalonica showed up to stir things up. The Bible tells us they agitated the people to the point that the believers in Berea felt they needed to send Paul to the coast to get him out of harm’s way.

When Paul had been in Thessalonica, many people believed and were saved. A church was started in that town. But there was also a contingent of people from there whose goal it was to make life miserable for anyone who believed in Jesus. And they weren’t just satisfied with opposing the Gospel at home, they tried to stop Paul’s ministry in Berea, too.

That’s the context as my chronological reading plan has me reading Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica today. Paul talks about the suffering the Thessalonian Christians endured from their own countrymen, the strong opposition they faced.

But Paul also speaks about their work produced by faith, their labour prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in the Lord (from I Thessalonians 1:2). I think that is awesome.

If you are discouraged in your witness for Jesus because you are faced with opposition, or even apathy, let me encourage you to read Paul’s letter to a people who knew exactly what that was like. Let the words God breathed into Paul strengthen you as you continue to share the Lord’s message.

Who knows? You may become a model to all believers in your town; the Lord’s message may ring out from you as your faith in God becomes known. (see I Thessalonians 1:7-8)

It’s not only words God uses to speak the Truth, although people need to hear the words in order to be saved. Your life, your faith, your example can also be used by God to point people to their need of the Savior.

So let’s keep speaking the Truth, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And let our actions speak as loudly, our faith ring out the message that Jesus saves.

November 19; Faith

Galatians 1:1-4:7

Does reading Paul’s letter to the Galatians thrill you as much as it does me? Salvation comes from placing my faith in Jesus.

I can’t be good enough, generous enough, even religious enough to earn what Jesus freely gives to those who come to Him. He bought the right to forgive all who believe. That in itself thrills my soul.

Receiving forgiveness is the same for you as it is for me, as it is for that murderer on death row or that sweet little old lady down the street. We all must be born again by placing our faith in Jesus, the One who loves us and gave Himself for us.

Consider Abraham; “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then that those who believe are children of Abraham. (3:6-7)

Abraham believed. Do you?

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised (righteousness), being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (verse 22)

Isn’t that thrilling? Believe, and receive. Then this:

So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (4:7)

Oh, dear one, I pray that you have placed your faith in Jesus. There is no joy greater than having your sins forgiven, no blessing better than being a child of God, nothing more thrilling than knowing you are going to heaven.

I am praying for you.

November 10: Ask Me

Matthew 28:11-20; Luke 24:13-53; John 20:19-22:25

I get that some people have trouble believing Jesus was raised from the dead. I mean, His disciples had trouble believing it, and Jesus was standing right in front of them with nail-pierced hands. The truth is, however, Jesus is alive.

There’s an old hymn we used to sing. “He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along the narrow way. He lives salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!”

I love that old hymn. But as I read this part of Scripture today I realize it’s not just knowing Jesus lives in my heart. I believe He lives because the Bible tells me He lives.

He’s not just a spirit in my heart (although that is pretty awesome in itself). He’s a living person with a real body who actually lives in heaven. He’s as real as you and me.

You ask me how I know that? Because I know Him personally; first through the pages of God’s Word, then through the precious blood of Jesus. He does walk with me, and He speaks to me from Scripture, He is my ever present help in time of need, and the One I want to share my day with.

Ask me about Jesus. I serve a risen Savior.

October 29; To Love God

Mark 12:18-40; Matthew 22:23-23:36; Luke 20:27-47, 10:25-28

I don’t think I can skim over what Jesus says is the greatest commandment. So I’ve sat here for a bit and pondered what it means to love God. Is it the kind of love we see on “The Bachelor?” Is it the kind of love we express when someone gets a new haircut? Is it a love that gets more than it gives, is is dependent on circumstances?

What does it mean to love God the way He deserves?

First of all, Jesus tells us we need to love Him with our whole heart, that part of us that is our hopes and dreams, our life and our emotions. It’s that which makes me me and you you. The question is, do I love God with all of me?

Jesus says we should love God with all our soul; the eternal, spiritual part of us. Does my love of God translate into complete trust, obedience, worship and praise? Is my love of God that which drives my faith? God is spirit, and we who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Does that define my love of God?

And Jesus says we should love God with all our mind. Love of God is not a mindless emotion. Can I honestly say I love God with good sense and thoughtful choice? Is my love for God simply a reaction toward His love for me, or is it a conscious decision to love Him because He first loved me?

The Ten Commandments would be so much easier to obey if we loved God like He deserves. Jesus said loving Him is the greatest commandment.

It’s that important.

October 25; How Far Am I Willing To Go?

Mark 10:23-31; Matthew 19:23-20:16; Luke 18:24-30; John 10:22-11:16

Lazarus was dead. But several days before he died, his sisters sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When Jesus got the news, he didn’t jump up and run to his friend’s side. He stayed put.

He could have high-tailed it to be with Lazarus.. He could have healed Lazarus from right where He was. He could have teleported Himself to Lazarus’ sickroom. But Jesus did none of those things. And Lazarus died.

Then, three days later, He told His disciples He was going to Judea, to where Lazarus, Mary, and Martha made their home. But His disciples remembered that the last time Jesus was in Judea, the people tried to stone Him. “Let’s think about this,” they urged Him. But Jesus insisted He was going, no matter what, so that they would believe.

Now here is what spoke to me today. Those disciples were very aware that Jesus could be walking right into the hands of His enemies. The Judeans wanted Jesus dead. Yet Jesus was determined to go.

Then Thomas, of all people, said to the other disciples, “Let’s us also go, that we may die with him.”

Sometimes I think old Thomas gets a bad rap. We label him “The Doubting Disciple” because he had trouble believing Jesus had really raised from the dead. But I think Thomas was more than that.

This is a man who was willing to die with Jesus. He sounds like a man of great faith to me, a man who was willing to go the distance with his Lord.

So today, God is asking me how far I am willing to go with Him. I’m not in danger of walking into a crowd of people who want to kill me for my relationship with Jesus. But what if Jesus wants me to go with Him to speak to my neighbor, or confront a sister in Christ of a sin, or to speak up when God is being misrepresented, and His Word is being twisted?

How far am I willing to go?