Mar 29, 2009

Tiny Faith; Big God

Faith is not believing that God exists--even the demons believe that--but it is believing that God is good toward us (James 2:19). "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Did you skip over the last phrase? That is to believe that God is good is an absolute requirement of faith.

If I said to my friend, "I believe in you." It wouldn't mean that I believe she exists but that I trust her and know I can rely on her. It is the same with God. We can rely on Him. By His own blood He has made you acceptable, lovable, and forgivable--He will never let you down. Knowing that at the deepest level of your being is faith. And you don't need much of it. God says that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can say to the mountains in our lives, "Move from here to there," and they will will move (Matthew 17:20).

A mustard seed is about the size of a sesame seed.
Mountains are BIG.

I realize I'm stating the obvious here. I tried to find a picture that conveyed the majesty of a mountain but no pictures can do it. Imagine trying to move a mountain with a shovel. How long would it take? Could you do it in a lifetime? Doubtful, that is, unless you count "Pinnacle Mountain" here in Arkansas. I have included a picture of Pinnacle in all it's "grandeur." Yep, that's it, the little bump way in the back. Now I love Arkansas with all my heart, but folks, I'm from Colorado and this is not a mountain. But I digress.

All we need is a tiny seed of faith in God's goodness and His desire to see our mountain (big or small) moved on our behalf. Doesn't that take a load off your shoulders? A mustard seed. We can speak to that obstacle and move it out of our lives.
A mustard seed breathes the power of God into your life!

The last few blogs have been about the futility of our
own power and the reliability of God's. We bring that power (the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead) into time and space with faith. And faith comes by hearing the Word of God. So put the Word around you. I'm suggesting you even get PostIt notes and put them in the places you see each day: the bathroom mirror; the refrigerator; the back door; your wallet. And begin the process of building your faith. Find Scriptures like:

Goodness and mercy are following me today! (Psalm 23:6)
I am more than a conqueror! (Romans 8:37)

I can do all things through Christ! (Philippians 4:13)

When I am weak, He is strong! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God's favor is surrounding me like a shield! (Psalm 5:12)

and say them aloud. Allow these verses to breathe greater faith in God's good intentions into your soul, one tiny seed at a time, and begin moving the mountains in your life.

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Mar 26, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am extremely honored to have received the Kreativ Blogger Award from Jenny of "Passionate Pursuit of God" (formerly "Captured by God"). When I write, I only pray that the Holy Spirit will have a message for each and every heart above and beyond anything that I say so that God may heal the hurting and draw each one into deeper relationship with Himself. If He has answered that, God gets the credit.

If she hadn't already given the award to me, I would return it to her because "Passionate Pursuit of God" is my favorite blog. It is rare to find a soul who plunges into the depths of passion with our precious Lord, but Jenny is one. Please visit her blog, I believe you will find it very meaningful.

I am passing the award onto the following blogs:

Praise and Coffee
Sue Cramer writes this top-notch blog with spiritual and practical insights about relationships, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Grab a cup of java and curl up with her blog.

Las Adventuras de Brownie
Possibly the most creative blog I have seen. Written in Spanish (no worries; there's a Google Translator on the site) by an extremely intelligent and amusing Argentinian hamster ;) it is a delightful peek into the heart of a young girl that loves animals like I do. This blog is full of pictures that diary Brownie's colorful life with his other animal friends.

The Mental Emotional Health Blog
Devin Hakala gives insight, encouragement, and brief essays about mental health and overall wellness. Perhaps I like this blog because it is encouraging (I'm into that) and empowering.

Wayne John - Blogger Help and Assistance
I have come to know and genuinely like Wayne through BlogCatalog. His well-written, practical blog seems to have all the answers to blogging and Web development. Somehow he makes that stuff fun to read, thus the award.

Thank you, Jenny, and God bless each one of you.

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Mar 17, 2009

Checklist Christianity

"No need for Christ to die"?! Surely we don't mean to dismiss the cross and the grace of God when we succumb to rule-keeping and following our shoulds and oughts rather than the Spirit of God. But this is what it says:

No one will ever be made right with God by obeying [rules]. ... Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of [rules] I already tore down. For when I tried to [follow all the rules, I felt condemned]. So ... I stopped trying to [do everything I should do] so that I might live for God ... by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ... If keeping [rules] could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:16-21)

A law, a rule, or a should is anything burdensome that comes from without. By that I mean it feels like a heavy weight pressing on the shoulders. An obligation. But God's commands are not burdensome because they come from within. (1 John 5:3; 2 Corinthians 3:3) God's direction is like a pressure coming from the inside out. It is something God wants to do through us.

Do not think you can gain more of God's favor or love by fulfilling more obligations. You already have both in fullness through Christ. The only purpose of the law is to convince us of our inadequacy and need for God. (Galatians 3:23-25) Once we know Christ intimately, we are free to throw out our checklists and live by the Spirit. (Colossians 2:14; Romans 7:6) Let's cast off the training wheels of the law and dare to live for God!


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Mar 10, 2009

Good, Pleasing and Perfect

Do you ever get a sinking feeling when you think about God's will? Do you assume it will be contrary to your own?

The Bible says God's will is "good, pleasing and perfect"? (Romans 12:2 b) That means good, pleasing and perfect not just to God, but to us.

Clearly, there are times when things don't go our way, that is, in our human understanding. But if we could be where God is, and see what He sees, I truly believe that we would choose for ourselves even the worst trials that come into our lives. That's because their purpose is big ... huge ... grander than we could imagine! (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Yet it is more important to realize God's tender heart. Everything that He wants us to do, everything that comes our way, has first gone through his filter of love. He absolutely desires what is good, pleasing and perfect to come about in our lives. (Psalm 27:13-14) There is nothing to fear about God's will.


Mar 6, 2009

Cease Striving

As a first-born overachiever, I constantly fight the temptation to rely on myself rather than God. I think I've got it beat, and somehow that old self-sufficiency sneaks in the back door and there I am again, back at Galatians 3:3: "Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" Sigh.

Often it is as subtle as the
subconscious idea that (fill in the blank) is up to me.

This morning, God brought to light a Scripture that I had overlooked (Hebrews 13:21). It says that by Christ's power, God Himself "works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight" (emphasis mine)." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy" (Romans 9:16). For the righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17). Even that is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).

result of that faith is fruit: the good things that God wants us to do (John 15:5). For "apart from Me you can do nothing" (emphasis mine again). Nothing ... not even breathe.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Relax in the Lord.
"For for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work" (Hebrews 4:10).


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