A Time to Grow

I spent some time visiting with a person the other day who is over 90 years old.  They were sharing about their life and all of the blessings they have received from God.  They spoke of family, friends and faith.  They even spoke about being blessed through difficult times.  They shared how these times caused them to grow in their faith and in their empathy, love and appreciation for others who are struggling in the midst of difficult times.  I was blessed by our conversation and appreciated the wisdom that was being shared.  Counting difficult times as a blessing reminded me of the perspective about trials spoken of in 1 Peter 1:6 – 7:

1 Peter 1:6   In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 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;

It is true; our faith can grow during difficult times.  Difficult times can teach us to depend on God and to walk closer with the Lord than we ever have before.  Our faith can grow.  We can even grow in our ability to show compassion and empathy to others when they are in the midst of difficult times.  And certainly being kind, tenderhearted and compassionate toward others always results in praise and glory and honor to the Lord.

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Posted in 1 Peter 1:6 - 7, Being Thankful, Christianity, Church, faith, Faith during hard times, God's Love, God's Strength, growing in faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Together

I have seen a lot of huge ant hills in our neighborhood lately when we go walking.  I guess that after all the rain in the last month their former homes have been washed out.  This no doubt sends them scurrying and hurrying to rebuild a new home as soon as the rain stops while the soil is still damp and easy to move.  When I saw another new ant hill the other day I was reminded of the passage from Proverbs 6:6

“Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise…”   Prov 6:6

It is true.  We can learn a lot of about work from the ant.  Teamwork and timing are important factors in getting things done.  We can certainly get more done when we work together and when we make the most of our opportunities to solve problems that affect everyone.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, God's Standards, Proverbs 6:6, religion, Work Together | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walk by Faith

One of our lessons in church this week deals with the exhortation from 2 Corinthians 5:7 “…for we walk by faith, not by sight…”  In this passage one of Paul’s goals is to encourage the Church to live a life that demonstrates that we are seeking after the things of God and the things of our faith rather than the self-centered things of our flesh.  I had a conversation one time with someone who asked me how to do a better job of living by faith rather than by sight.  I told them of the story of a 7th grade science teacher who presented her class with a plastic glass which was half full of water and she asked the class to devise a way to get the air out of the glass.  A discussion ensued and the class came up with several ideas.  One suggested using some sort of vacuum pump to pull the air out of the plastic glass.  Others thought that perhaps the plastic glass should be shrunk or squeezed so that it could only accommodate the water that was presently in the glass.  When they ran out of ideas the science teacher walked over to the glass and she simply poured in more water until the glass overflowed.

And such it is with us.  Christians we have some heavenly things in our hearts, our minds and our lives.  And yet there are still some earthly things which remain.  How do we remove the earthly things?  We must pour in more heavenly things.  We must pour in more of the truth of God, the worship of God, and the love of God so that it will push out the earthly things and spill over and permeate all of our behaviors and relationships.  We are to walk by faith.  I know it may not always be easy.  But I also know that anything God asks us to do, He will help us to do.

I pray that you will have a blessed week.  I pray that you will experience God’s peace and God’s presence.  And I pray that you will walk by faith.

Posted in 2 Corinthians 5:7, Christianity, Church, doing the right thing, faith, God, God will help you, Trust in God | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How and Where are You Building

We have had a lot of flooding this week and the news is full of pictures of people who have lost their homes and their belongings to storms and rising water.  It is a great opportunity for us to respond in love and charity and help those who have needs.  As I watched some of the news clips about the flooding of the lakes in our area, I was reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 when He is speaking about proper foundations for living.

Matt 7:24  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.”

We will all face storms in this life.  We will all have times when the flood waters seem to quickly rise up and threaten to overwhelm us.  Because that is a certainty, it is important that our foundation is sure and steadfast.  It’s important how we build, where we build and upon Whom we build.

I pray that you are building on the Rock.  I pray that you and your families are safe.  I pray for those impacted by recent storms.  And I pray that the Lord will help us to put our prayers into action.

Posted in Be Prepared, Build Upon the Rock, Christianity, Church, Don't give up, Firmly rooted, God, God will lead you, Matthew 7:24, religion, who is the Rock | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Pace

I was writing an email to a friend and I wanted to sign off wishing them “God’s peace.” I may have been trying to type too quickly because I left out a letter and wrote “God’s pace.” I quickly recognized my mistake and changed it. But then as I thought about it, maybe it wasn’t a mistake. The truth is, sometimes we are driven by our own timelines and our own agendas. We want everything in our time and on our pace. When that doesn’t happen it can led to frustration, stress and anxiety. It can lead to a lack of peace. If we want to know God’s peace, we must be willing to accept God’s pace. God’s word tells us in Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
 
I pray that you will know God’s pace. I pray that you will accept and follow His lead, His timing and His agenda. And as you do, I pray that you will know His peace.
Posted in Christianity, Church, God will lead you, God's Grace, inspirational, Isaiah 40:31, ministry work, patience | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just a Slingshot?

I was trimming tree limbs the other day and cutting them into small pieces for disposal when I noticed one that looked like a slingshot.  It reminded me of when a young shepherd named David defeated a giant named Goliath.  David wasn’t afraid to take on the bigger, stronger and heavily armed opponent with only a slingshot.  As he went into battle, David testified he trusted that God who delivered him from lions and bears would deliver him from this enemy as well.  God did just that and David was victorious over the enemy.

I love the faith and assurance declared and demonstrated by David.  We can have the same faith and assurance that David had.  We can trust that no matter what giants the enemy sends against us, no matter how big they seem, we can be victorious.  Our testimony can be that we know that God will empower us and equip us to be successful, even if all we have is a little slingshot.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Do Your Best, Don't give up, God, God is with Me, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remember to Not Forget

I was watching a cartoon with the girls the other day that explored the question, “Where does night come from?”  As the characters began to discuss the possibilities and search out the answer, I asked the girls if they knew the answer.  Avery responded that night and day come because the earth is spinning around the sun.  When a side turns away from the sun it becomes night.  Haley said, “Oh yeah.  I remember that now.  I forgot because it has been a long time since we talked about it.”  My conversation with the girls and Haley’s comments about forgetting something she learned reminded of a passage in Proverbs 3 that I was reading the other day.

Prov 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

It can be easy to forget things and I must confess it is getting easier and easier for me every year.   I find that I have to be intentional about learning new things and remembering and acting on things I have learned in the past.  Our Lord desires that we never forget His teachings and His commandments.  We are to bind them around our neck, keeping them close, applying them on a daily basis.  His ways are to become a way of life for us.  He desires that we never forget to demonstrate His kindness and truth.  It will be a blessing to us and to others around us.

Posted in Church, encouraging others, God Speaks Through His Word, God's Word, prayer, Proverbs 3:1 - 3 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment