Tag Archives: faith

Build your faith

Romans 10:17 KJV — So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

How do we build our faith?

Through God’s Word.

Jesus told a parable which helps us understand this truth of building one’s faith.

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Luke 8:4‭-‬8 NKJV

The disciples were unsure of the meaning and asked Jesus for the interruption.

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’ “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Luke 8:4‭, ‬9‭-‬15 NKJV

How the seed, Word of God, is accepted and allowed to grow is different per the individual.

God’s Word guides us in how to live for Him.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 14:6 NKJV

It warms us of the snares of the enemy.

1 Peter 5:8 KJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1 Peter 5:9 NKJV — Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Scripture instructs us how to cut down the thorns of the sinful nature, which wants to crowd out room in our lives for God and His Word.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:15‭-‬21 NKJV

The Bible gives us clear direction in how to live fruitful lives.

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
John 15:3‭-‬8 NKJV

May we purpose to build our faith through time in God’s Word applying it continually to our thoughts, our actions, and our attitudes.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your scriptures! Please help each one of us to walk daily abiding in You and applying Your Word to our lives. Lord, please open our understanding of Your Word, continue to instruct us through Your Holy Spirit, washing our hearts daily with scripture. Lord, unto You alone do I want to live. Unto Your precepts do I want to be faithful. Lord, please build my faith today that I might bear a life of fruitfulness for You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Worry

Like these weeds disrupting the beauty of the landscape, worry often clutters my perspective.

I wrestled with it throughout the month of August.

Then, when I least expected it, God rolled in.

He is always faithful and on time.

And I was ashamed of my struggle, because I know how to walk in trust, I just hadn’t.

Yet, the Lord brought this recent lesson to mind as I was worrying about a different circumstance, two weeks ago.

He followed up the memory with a question:

Didn’t I supply your need then?

“Yes, Lord! You did. I’m so sorry for falling prey to worry. Please forgive me.”

And the peace flowed into my heart displacing worry and removing it completely.

-sigh-

“Lord, thank You. I’m so blessed to have Your patient guidance and direction. I know You will supply all our needs.”

“I trust You, Jesus.”

Anne noticed the change in my demeanor.

“What is it, Mom?”

“Oh, I’ve been worrying about something and the Lord reminded me: He is our provision.”

She smiled.

“Yeah.”

This began a discussion about things she’d been struggling with and we were both encouraged in the Lord.

I am humbled by God and His patient, faithful, teaching.

I’m amazed at how He allows me to admit my faults and brings good out of my errors.

To willingly speak of His lessons and His blessings from my experiences, both good and bad, is a testimony of His power to change the hearts of those who are called by His name.

My prayer is to never chose what I know is wrong, nor to neglect what I know is right, but when I do transgress, that God would correct me quickly and I would be able to grow through the experience.

I can say that He is answering that prayer and teaching me the beauty of humility.

Then, days after this, He blessed my heart with a solution to the thing I’d been struggling with.

And I hadn’t done a thing to solve the problem, He did it.

God is faithful.

God is good.

His ways are perfect.

That doesn’t mean everything is always comfortable and easy.

Rather, it means I am learning daily to rest more and more in His ways, trusting that I can find good in every circumstance, for He is with me.

Praise the Lord!

1 Corinthians 1:9 KJV — God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your faithfulness! Thank You for Your patient lessons, teaching me each day. Lord, it would be easy to beat myself up for my lack of faith in You, but I’d rather spend the time praising You for Your faithfulness! For You have used these things to build monuments in my heart, that I can look at and chose to walk in faith today. Lord, thank You for using these things to grow and strengthen me. I know You are working. I know You are trustworthy. I know You are God and I need not always understand what You are doing, but I can always trust that it is good, because You are good. May my life bring glory to Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Sheep and goats

My recent encounters with our goat (this morning she broke into the rabbit feed again) has caused me to ponder scripture.

The Bible says a good deal about sheep and goats, but the words of Jesus have stood out as I’ve been praying.

All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:32‭-‬33 NKJV

Jesus is talking about His return to earth and what will occur.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:34‭-‬40 KJV

Those who are “sheep” are commended by the way they served others.

He doesn’t conclude there, but next turns to the “goats”.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Matthew 25:41‭-‬45 KJV

Talk about heavy.

These people are condemned by their lack of service.

Yet, we know it’s not by works which we are saved.

Jesus tells us that to be saved we simply need to believe in Him.

John 3:16 NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

So, how is it that the “sheep” believe and yet it’s their works Jesus points to as the proof of their belief?

Because true faith is evident in the daily lives of those who believe.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14‭-‬17 NKJV

Jesus, Himself referred to this.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV — “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Belief in Jesus Christ is a faith which changes our hearts and lives completely.

John 15:8 KJV — Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

I want to be a “sheep”, content with following my Master, bringing glory to God the Father through my daily obedience.

John 10:27 KJV — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for using my sheep and goat to remind me of Your truths. You change my heart and through that my attitudes and actions. Lord, I thank You for saving me and making me Your sheep. I thank You for continuing to teach me through Your Word. Lord, please help me to listen intently for Your voice and walk faithfully in Your paths. Thank You for Your love and salvation. Amen.

Perseverance

Sometimes, I need a lesson in perseverance.

Recently, God used one of our furniture projects to teach me more about persevering.

It started off really well.

I was excited at how quickly I was able to update this table.

The chairs were another story.

It seemed everything was troublesome.

The table sat waiting for me to get the chairs finished.

Unfortunately, while waiting it was blocking a portion of the garage.

So, things got placed on it when we were trying to access the storage beyond it.

Which eventually led to a large scratch across the top of the table.

The person who accidentally caused the mark was really upset with themselves.

I wasn’t too thrilled either, but upon hearing how it happened it was understandable.

We went out together to look it over.

God allowed that scratch to show me the polyurethane had gone bad.

It was peeling back off the table from both sides of the scratch, definitely not a good thing.

So, we hauled the table back to the shop for it to be sanded down again.

Afterwards, I repainted it with a “weathered” appearance, liking it better than before.

I was excited when I put the polyurethane on, until it began to dry.

The hated yellow of bleed-through began to show.

All the extra sanding had allowed the stained wood to seep through into the whitewashed top.

I can’t express how terrible it looked, and I didn’t take a picture.

“Well, the polyurethane will have to be sanded off again,” I stated through my disappointment.

Our son grimaced, since that is his job, and it would be the third time he’d have to sand the same project.

I didn’t blame him, I was frowning, and on the inside, I felt like crying.

“I need to walk away,” I stated as gently as possible to our son. “I’m really sorry this has been so tough.”

(I love how God uses our children in our lives.)

He shrugged it off and smiled at me.

“It’ll be okay, Mom”

I needed that and walked over to give him a hug.

Not only did he sand it off, but he also put the primer on, because Shellac is the only thing that deals with bleed-through and I can’t handle the odor.

We carried it back to the garage and I painted it with multiple coats of paint and then polyurethane from a brand new can.

I’d finished painting the chairs, but hadn’t been able to get the seats recovered.

Handsome, (my husband’s nickname) pulled all the staples, but I had to wait to get the fabric cut.

Jase and I tackled the project the next day and since we were recovering those two chairs, I figured we’d do a third for a different dining set.

I cut the fabric and got the chair seats recovered.

We walked these to the garage to place them on the chairs.

We both stared at the gray chairs with the new gray and white fabric.

It looked terrible.

Somehow, the shade on the fabric made the shade on the chair look old and dingy.

I grabbed the other seat we had done in a different fabric for another dining set and placed it on the chair.

“Yeah, Mom, that works.”

I smiled a little ruefully, since I knew switching the fabrics meant undoing all the work we’d just done.

But, it was for the best, because when looking for backing fabric, I found another upholstery fabric which looked better on than the gray and white on the second dining set.

And after some prayer, I realized why God allowed it all.

Four of our own dining room chairs needed to be recovered and the gray and white fabric looks great!

My heart is full of gratitude, for the Lord’s patient lessons, especially when I’m struggling with understanding.

In circumstances like these, when I don’t understand, is where my faith grows the most.

Praise God!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your patience. Thank You for this lesson in Persephone. Lord, I know there are people throughout history who have endured far greater trials and walked with perseverance. Thank You for them and their testimonies. Thank You for how You use the little things as well as the big ones in my life. Lord, as I step into today, I humbly request Your guidance. Lord, I’m struggling with fear and I know that’s not Your will for me. Thank You for all You are doing and for calming my anxiety. Thank You for teaching me to rest in You while being diligent, preserving through thick and thin. How I love You, Lord! Thank You for first loving me. Amen.

Seeing myself

This is my great great grandmother.

Thanks to my mom and my grandfather’s cousin we know a good deal about grandmother and grandfather.

Cousin Emily was the family historian and made sure to write down a bunch of information about her grandparents.

Recently, I was reading through her letter, copied by hand by my mother, and read something that I could relate to.

Upon my rereading it to our daughter her comment was, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!”.

This is what the letter said:

I saw myself in my great great grandmother and felt the truth of grandfather’s words.

Because I too like fine china and I have the tendency to want leave some things unused, rather than enjoy them daily.

These words reminded me of what is important.

Like grandfather said to grandmother, my family is my best company and far more valuable than something man made.

This world is temporary, but the human soul is not.

God has given me stewardship over many things and I want to be honorable before Him with how I handle them, including my relationships.

I believe Grandmother understood this truth as well, because Grandfather died when my great grandpa was only a child (the youngest of six) and Grandmother ran the family on her own.

The stories passed down about her include her clever and resourceful use of money and the property Grandpa left to educate and provide for her family.

I don’t know what happened to Grandmother’s best china, but it’s of little importance.

Her devotion to her family is a legacy I want to continue.

I’m inspired by the words of 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 3:11 NLT — In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your blessings. Lord, thank You that You have reminded me through my own ancestors the priorities of life, not to get caught up in the material things, but rather to serve You and love others. Lord, I will never be able to walk in Your love without Your help and guidance. Thank You for Your Word which instructions and Your Holy Spirit which comforts and guides. Please continue to help me leave a legacy for my family of faith, love, perseverance, patience, integrity, and truth. Lord, I believe Your Word is truth and all I need for each day. Thank You for Your blessings. Thank You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful works! Amen.

Proximity doesn’t guarantee relationship

1 Samuel 3:1 NKJV — Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.

1 Samuel 3:6-7 NKJV — Then the LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.)

Samuel literally lived at the Tabernacle, the place made for God to abide with His people, but it didn’t mean the boy had a relationship with Him.

Proximity didn’t guarantee the relationship.

The relationship began when Samuel heard the Lord calling him, and answered.

1 Samuel 3:8-10 NKJV — And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

The relationship began here.

This close relationship with God lasted throughout Samuel’s lifetime,.

All because Samuel didn’t just do the things which were part of worshiping God, he didn’t just live at the place of worship.

Samuel spoke with God, listened to God, and obeyed Him.

1 Samuel 3:19-20NKJV — So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD.

It’s not enough to just attend services or give offerings or to occasionally see what God’s Word says, if one is to have a relationship with God Almighty.

A relationship with Christ Jesus begins with accepting Him, and who the Bible says He is.

Then it grows through time in the Word, prayer, sound Biblical teaching, and fellowship with those who also are growing in their relationship with Jesus.

Faith is a beautiful thing, but it can be fragile.

Not unlike a beautiful potted plant, which requires time, sunshine, and care for it to grow, spread, and blossom, our faith needs care, our relationship with God needs to be a priority.

Being near the plant, but never tending it means it will shrivel and die, and the same thing can happen to our faith if we neglect our walk with Christ.

Even the disciples understood just being near Jesus wasn’t enough, after all it was one of His own who eventually betrayed Him.

Luke 17:5-6 NKJV — And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You long to have a relationship with each one of us and You died to make the way open for us. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach us about faith and building our relationship in You. Please continue to show us how to walk with integrity and truth, that we might not fall prey to the enemy. Lord Jesus, there is sacrifice in serving You, there is a cost to relationship, because You paid so much more than we could ever pay, I humbly request that You help each one of us to willing lay down anything which is hindering our relationship with You. Lord, if there is sin, reveal it. If there is pride uncover it. If there is bitterness, envy, or selfish ambition let it be seen, that we may repent and return to You and righteousness. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Thank You for Your everlasting love. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Understanding greed

It started with the garden.

Long before we had the fence up my husband called me on his way to work.

“Honey, there’s a pile of chips on the side of the road, some trucker was over weight. Can you and the kids get in the truck and load some up?”

Not being as familiar with that road, I questioned him where it was and then we loaded the truck with shovels, a couple moving blankets, and ourselves.

The pile was easy to find and huge.

We worked together to get a load of wood chips and by the time we were finished I was exhausted.

As I drove towards home I began to pray for energy, fully intending to get a second load, as one wouldn’t be enough.

Don’t be greedy.

The Lord’s words to my heart surprised me.

“Lord, we need more than one load for the garden, what am I supposed to do?”

Trust Me.

This wasn’t an easy thing to hear, because I had never thought of greed as being applied to this type of circumstance.

Yet, I knew the Lord had spoken clearly to my heart that I wasn’t to return and get more chips.

I often pondered this circumstance, trying to find a better understanding of the sin of greed, because obviously my definition was wrong.

I’d always thought of greed as wanting more and more when one has plenty, like King Solomon.

But I began to realize the Lord was showing me that greed is taking what God hasn’t given me.

Just because it’s available, doesn’t mean God is giving it to me.

He brought to mind something I saw many years ago.

I’d been praying for something I needed and couldn’t afford.

My heart felt certain that God would provide.

Then, I was sitting in church and the announcements included a donation of several boxes of the item I’d been praying for. They were sitting by the front doors for anyone who needed them.

I praised God!

He’d supplied my need and I waited for the break to be announced, so I could go look at the donation.

As I walked toward the area, my eyes were enjoying the beautiful weather outside when I suddenly noticed a person from our fellowship.

Their arms were full of boxes as they crossed the parking lot and when I reached the front door it was bare.

Although, I was disappointed at the time, God supplied the need a different way.

Just recently, our church announced that two boxes of bare root strawberries had been donated.

My husband was going to get us some, as we had the place for them, but hadn’t had a chance to buy any yet, I had been given seeds, but not in time to start them in doors.

When he went to where the strawberry plants were he saw that both boxes had been taken by one person.

God worked through these two circumstances to speak directly to my heart about greed.

God has a plan to supply what is lacking in my life, but He wants me to look to Him for those things, not to try to “protect myself”, to fix the problem on my own through hording or robbing someone else of a blessing through taking more than He’s telling me to.

“Lord, I still don’t understand, because we need more chips in the garden.”

Then it hit me, I don’t need wood chips in the garden, I want them.

I want to keep it tidy and not to have to deal with weeds, but it’s not a need.

The Lord has shown me, I often misunderstand what a need is and label wants incorrectly.

Because God supplies all my needs, I can wait upon Him to both show me the difference between the two and I can trust Him to provide as He chooses when He chooses.

This is where my faith is grown, by waiting upon the Lord.

He supplies in ways which often surprise me, like the strawberry patch.

My husband had heard our pastor’s wife was cleaning out her strawberry patch and made a call offering to buy the plants she no longer has space for.

Since he’d only left a message I was surprised to see our pastor at our house the next day with a box of bare root strawberries, which he refused payment for.

Not only that, he carried them to the garden, said he could supply more if this wasn’t enough, and chatted while I planted.

Yesterday, I was blessed by this:

Although our garden still has bare dirt for part of the path, I’m waiting upon the Lord for His plan and thanking Him for what He’s given.

The wood chips have been a double blessing, because the lesson I’m learning about greed is far more valuable then a tidy garden.

I praise God for His Sovereignty in knowing I actually needed less so I would learn more.

Philippians 4:19 KJV — But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Lord Jesus, I praise You, for You have used so much in my life to teach me about You and about me. Lord, I am humbled and thankful to You for using something so insignificant as wood chips to show me an area I’m liable to fall into sin. Lord, thank You for protecting me from the sin of greed, by showing me my false thinking about what greed really is. Lord, please continue to help me to understand how to wait upon You, how to know the difference between a want and a need, how to be generous and think of others, not just myself. Lord, please continue to teach me how to guard against greed and covetousness. Please bring my heart to attend to Your Word, that I might not sin against You. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

How patient are you?

It has occurred more than once.

I’ll be praying and…

feeling sorry for myself, to be bluntly honest.

I’m telling God about a circumstance and how long I’ve waited for His answer and Abraham comes to mind.

Genesis 12:7 KJV — And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Genesis 13:14-16KJV — And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

It’s unclear how much time passed between these two promises, but Abram had become very wealthy in that time despite a famine and his trip to Egypt and back.

Genesis 16:3 NKJV — Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan.

Genesis 16:16 NKJV — Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

Abraham waited till he was in his eighties and then he took the suggestion of his wife on how to “help God” and had a son the his wife’s servant, but Ishmael was not the son of God’s promise.

Genesis 18:10 KJV — And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

God’s promised son was outside any human plan or ability.

Genesis 21:5 NKJV — Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Abraham didn’t know the Lord’s plan and He didn’t realize Isaac would be a foreshadowing of Jesus.

And although Abraham did try to “help” God’s promise, the inspiring part of the story is Abraham’s faith.

Genesis 15:6 NKJV — And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Abraham waited a long time for God’s promise to be fulfilled and God used him mightily.

And then God’s whisper to my heart:

How patient are you?

God’s way of reminding me to wait upon Him with joy, peace, and patience.

He was faithful in His promises to Abraham, I know He will be faithful with me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word and for Your servant Abraham. Lord, thank You for taking me back to this story time and again when I’m feeling sorry for myself or thinking I’ve waited long enough. Lord, my patience is supplied by Your Holy Spirit and I thank You for that. Lord, please continue to help me to not quench Your Holy Spirit, but to allow Your fruit to be plentiful in my life. Please help me to be humble, teachable, and patient. Thank You. I know You are worthy of all my trust and Your ways are perfect. Thank You for Your love and salvation. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

The hands of a child

Matthew 18:1-5NKJV — At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”

To fully grasp the point of these words one needs to understand children, little children specifically.

Watching a young child speaks volumes.

A child’s hands is how they explore their world and how they express themselves.

Those hands can say: cherished.

They will clutch tightly to a favorite toy with one hand while busy about life with the other.

Those hands can say: ignorant.

Because of their very limited understanding, they often grasp things which are dangerous to them, not realizing what hurt truly is.

Those hands can say: emotion.

A child might softly stroke another, showing their love, or strike out, showing their frustration.

Those hands can say: learning.

When they’ve industriously unrolled a new round to t.p. or filled the CD slot with coins.

Those hands can say: joy.

While splashing and scooping and pouring bath water from one receptacle to another, everything about them tells of their enjoyment.

Those hands can say: secure.

By willingly throwing aside whatever to reach both up to their father.

Before their pink lips can form the words, “hold me!” their hands speak.

It’s not a half-hearted request, but an earnest plea.

Those fingers and arms are at their fullest extent, the longing of the heart is so evident in those wee hands.

For there is such innocence and trust in a little child who is loved and cherished.

Their small countenance is completely altered when the plea is heard and they snuggle safely into the neck and shoulder of their adored father.

That is how we should love our Heavenly Father.

The faith, trust, and security of a little child in their earthly father is what our hearts need to learn to find in God.

Jesus showed us what that looked like.

He spoke of it clearly and then lived it out daily.

We have so much to learn from a little child.

Matthew 18:10 NKJV — “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

Let us, each one, find inspiration in the faith of a little child.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your showing us what love and trust in God looks like. Thank You that we have Your Word to learn from and Your example to follow. Lord, thank You that no matter what kind of earthly father we have, You show us what we have in our Heavenly Father. Lord, please continue to help me to have child-like faith. To throw aside everythingy, that I might cling to You alone. Lord, especially when I’m struggling, remind me of the security I have in Your salvation and the love of my Heavenly Father. Thank You so much for all You have done on my behalf. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

“Now faith…”

Hebrews 11:1-2 NKJV — Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Thus begins the list of Heroes of the faith.

Their lives are used as an example of these two verses lived out.

Faith is placing confident explanation in the LORD and living in such a way as to obtain a good testimony.

Because faith isn’t about understanding how things are going to happen,

It’s understanding Who is working through all things.

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV — But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

People of faith are far more focused upon the Lord, than any other thing.

Yes, these lives listed have moments of sin, error, but they return to the Lord.

Yes, these people experienced pain and tragedy.

The very first name, Able, was the first person to ever be murdered, yet his faith in God is not overshadowed by the sins of another.

Enoch, the next name on the list, lived a shorter life on Earth than any in his generation, but it wasn’t because of his sin, rather it was because of his faith.

Hebrews 11:5 NKJV — By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Thus from the very beginning, we can see that the life of faith isn’t immune from the pain of sin.

But those who put their faith in God, not wavering from their trust in Him find comfort throughout life and an imperishable reward in their forever home.

Hebrews 11:8-10 NKJV — By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

The application is rich and the encouragement deep.

We too can be people of faith, focusing on God rather than our circumstances.

He alone can see the full picture of our lives and the fabric of generations.

Not only that, but He sacrificed Himself to save us from sin and death.

What more reason do we need to put our trust in Him?

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. How great a blessing it is. How wonderous are Your works. Your truth, Your love, Your goodness are all beyond our comprehension, but just a taste of You is enough to prove Your goodness. Lord Jesus, there are so many who are hurting. So many who are struggling. Lord, my heart hurts for the helpless, the persecuted, the orphan, the abused. I know You are not pleased by wickedness. Your Word makes it clear, You are just and righteous. Please shine Your light of truth into the darkness. Let those who know You be steadfast and walk in Your ways. Please help us to put off anything which would hinder our walk with You and be people of faith, people who please You. Thank You, Jesus, for all You are doing, each day. May Your name be glorified throughout the whole Earth.