Saturday, October 9, 2010

Step Out in Faith

"He who watches the wind will not sow 
and he who looks at the clouds will not reap." 
Ecclesiastes 11:4

If the farmer waits until there is no wind when he sows, nor storm clouds gathering when he reaps, he may never work the fields. In the same way, if we wait for the perfect circumstances before responding to God's call to serve Him, it's likely we never will. Instead of holding back when obstacles appear, we must step out in faith, trusting that the God who has called us to a task will remove anything in our way. When we do this, He gets the glory for the accomplished work and we have the joy of obedient living.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Trials Strengthen Our Faith

"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;" 
1 Peter 1:6-7

There is a certain strength of faith that comes to the Christian who has withstood the trials of life. It cannot be obtained any other way. Suffering comes our way, and what we profess to believe about Christ is put to the test. This is not so that God can know how deep and real our faith is. He is omniscient and knows all. No, this testing is for our own knowledge, so that when we have endured such affliction and have found our faith to be stronger than ever, we will have inexpressible joy. Present joy in understanding the power of the Holy Spirit to preserve our faith in times of trouble, and future joy when we at last see our Lord Jesus Christ and here Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Authentic Sacrifice

"For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills."
Psalm 50:10

God is in need of nothing. Everything in the earth belongs to Him. Everything we lay claim to originated from Him. If we are blessed with much, it is because the Lord graciously has given to us from His storehouse. So if we offer up to God are valuables, what is that? For after all, they already belong to Him. But if we offer up to God our hearts, fully surrendered and devoted to Him, how much more of a true sacrifice that is. What we do with our hearts is our decision. That is the free will that God has allowed us to have. This is not to say we should not tithe, or be charitable with our money. But authentic sacrifice to God begins with a heart that is in love with Him. If we do not love Him, then our sacrifice is meaningless.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fruit Production

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25

A healthy fruit-bearing tree, bush or vine will produce luscious fruit in season. Jesus said the person who follows Him will be recognized by the spiritual fruit he or she produces. The Holy Spirit of God resides in the Christian, and as that Christian yields to the Holy Spirit, more and more of the Spirit's fruit is revealed. It's good to do a self-check every so often to see how our fruit production is coming along. Is our love for others increasing? Are we more joyful? Does peace rule in our hearts? Do we demonstrate more patience? Is kindness evident in our lives? How about goodness? Can we say our faithfulness has grown?  Do we have a gentle spirit? Are we exhibiting self-control? If an honest self-examination reveals that some fruit is lacking, we can call on the Holy Spirit to work in us to increase production. This requires submitting to Him. That is how we "walk by the Spirit". 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lasting Peace

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

This morning my husband and I walked through Endo Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park, taking photos of the beauty we surveyed. It was so peaceful there. Except for the occasional bull elk bugling in the distance or bird twittering nearby, the only sound came from water rippling through the stream. It's easy for me to feel at peace out there, in the midst of God's pristine creation. But what about when I get back home to the dusty reality of life? Terrorism, a bad economy, friends who are ill or out of work, family members with financial needs. All these things threaten my peace. But the Lord says not to be anxious about such things. Instead, take all these problems to Him in prayer, and with a thankful heart (realizing the many blessings I do have and thanking Him for them) ask Him for help with these problems. Then God's peace, which is greater than the peace I felt this morning in the Park, will quiet my heart and mind. Thank you, Father, for this reminder.

Monday, October 4, 2010

In the Valley of Weeping

"Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
       who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
       they make it a place of springs;
       the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 
 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion."   

Psalm 84:5-7
When my first husband of 37 years was suddenly called home to the Lord, I thought my broken heart would never mend. Many nights I would come home from work and collapse on the living room floor, the tears flowing down my cheeks and dampening the carpet under me. I was in the "Valley of Baca", what Bible scholars refer to as the "Valley of Weeping". If it were not for the strength I received from God, I surely would have stayed right there on the floor. But I had set my heart on walking with Him through my journey of grief and He was faithful to cover my barren soul with pools of living water. He gave me grace upon grace to rise up in the midst of deep sorrow and find joy. God will continue to take me from strength to strength until one day I appear before Him in Heaven. He will do the same for you.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Worship the Creator

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." 
Romans 1:25

In the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, he dealt with the idolatrous practice of worshiping birds, reptiles and other created things; "serving the creature rather than the Creator".  We live in a time when it is not popular to ascribe to Creationism. Many people reject the truth of scripture, which teaches that the earth and its inhabitants were created by God. Furthermore, there are those who reject the Creator Himself and choose, instead, to worship the environment. It is good to be concerned about what God has created, to care for it as good stewards. But we must never allow creation to take the place of our relationship with the Creator. Such misplaced allegiance is idolatry. All praise forever belongs to the one true God and Savior, Yahweh. 
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