Tag Archives: Christianity

Fresh Faith

This life can get to be repetitive, and to be honest, so can our Christian life. It’s easy to settle into a groove and put ourselves on autopilot. We can then fall into danger by allowing our faith the be about rituals more than relationship. Even the disciples were susceptible to this, and they physically walked with Jesus daily. Can you imagine what that must have been like? They heard the greatest teaching daily and were witnesses to countless miracles, yet they were susceptible to letting even that become old hat and ordinary. That’s when someone came up to Jesus and told Him Lazarus was gravely ill and needed healing immediately.

When Jesus didn’t immediately go, I’m sure the disciples started to get shook out of their routine. They thought it was odd that He didn’t immediately go. Instead, He waited two days before beginning the 2 day journey to Him. The disciples objected to Jesus going there because the religious leaders were ready to kill Him. Then, in John 11:14-15 Jesus said, “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him” (MSG).

Jesus knew the disciples needed new grounds for believing. If they needed it, how much more do we? I believe when there are things in our lives that don’t make sense to us, it could be God trying to give us new grounds for believing. Notice how urgently we start seeking Him when things happen out of the ordinary. Notice how much more we rely on Him. I believe God allows things to happen to us so we will break out of our rut and find fresh faith. Relationships on autopilot usually struggle. It’s the ones that keep things fresh and new that survive. God wants to have a fresh relationship with us. Don’t let whatever is going on in your life push you away from God. Let it give you fresh grounds for believing.

Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Protecting Our Relationship With God

I get the opportunity to talk to different people all the time. Inevitably someone wants to ask me relationship questions. I’m not a trained counselor or anything like that, but as I listen to these stories, there’s a constant thread through all of them. The problems they’re experiencing are a result of a lot of little things that have crept in and gone unchecked. Also, they haven’t done things to protect the relationship. When that happens, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back ends up happening and it gets the blame. The truth is it was several small, basic things that added up.

Just like any relationship, we have to make sure that we do the small, basic things in our relationship with Christ. We need to set parameters and protect it. We live in a connected world where everything seems to be vying for your attention. If we allow little things to distract us and keep us from praying or reading our Bible or going to church, it will become difficult to have that relationship that God wants to have with us. We must protect that time. We must make it sacred so that nothing and no one comes between us and God.

I’m reading the Bible book Song of Songs (Solomon) in the Passion translation. They’ve taken it and put in red letters the parts that are allegorically from God. Chapter 2:15 says this to us from God, “You must catch the troubling foxes, those sly little foxes that hinder our relationship. For they raid our budding vineyard of love to ruin what I’ve planted within you. Will you catch them and remove them for me? We will do it together” (TPT). God is asking us to protect our relationship with Him. I also love that just like any other relationship, it’s not just one side’s responsibility. We need to work together with God to remove the obstacles in our relationship so it can grow.

Photo by S Alb on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Loving Others

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

1 John 4:7-12 NLT

If you are having trouble viewing this video, click here.

 

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Critic’s Math

Several years ago I attended a conference for ministers. One of the speakers was Jon Acuff, and he spoke on critic’s math. The way critics math works is 1 insult + 1,000 complements = 1 insult. We can be praised by everyone for our work, but if one person didn’t like it, we allow that one negative comment to erase all the positive feedback we’ve received. It can be like we never even heard the compliments because our mind spends all its time focusing on the one negative comment rather than our feedback as a whole. Critic’s math is a dangerous thing for us to fall into.

An example is in the Book of Esther. Haman was the King’s prime minister. He had been put in such a high position, that the king declared everyone should bow to him as he passed by. Everyone bowed down except one. Mordecai refused. In the fifth chapter, Esther had prepared a banquet for he and the king. When he left, everyone bowed except Mordecai. In verses 12-13, he told his wife and friends, “What is more, Queen Esther gave a banquet for no one but the king and me, and we are invited back tomorrow. But none of this means a thing to me as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the entrance of the palace” (GNT). He allowed critic’s math to cloud his thinking, and it ultimately cost him everything.

You and I need to accept that we can’t please everyone, and that pleasing people is not our goal. Pleasing God is. Ecclesiastes 7:10 warns, “Don’t pay attention to everything people say.” When you receive negative feedback, take it constructively, but don’t give it so much weight that it distracts you from what God has called you to. What He has to say is far more important than what any person has to say. Keep focusing on what God wants to do in your life and through you, and don’t let one person’s negativity keep you from reaching your potential or from finishing your race.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A Lasting Foundation

When I look back on the time in my life where I hit rock bottom and lost just about everything, I see a picture of me laying down in the rain. There is wood and other things thrown about the yard from what used to be the life I had built. As I was talking to God about it one day, I was lamenting on how I had lost everything. That’s when God pointed out what I was laying on. It was the foundation of my life. Everything else may have been stripped away, but I could always rebuild on a firm foundation, especially one that had weathered the storm.

Every one of us build our life out of things and on a foundation. Every one of us will face storms in life. What we’ve built our life out of and on will determine how well we weather those storms. Jesus told us to be wise by building our lives on the rock so that we would have a good foundation for those times. That rock He told us to build on was the truth of God’s Word. All of Heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will remain. Be wise and build your life on what will last.

Here are some verses on having a good foundation.

1. “If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.”

Luke 6:48-49 MSG

2. In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.

Isaiah 33:6 NLT

3. Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation].

PROVERBS 24:3 AMP

4. But the solid foundation that God has laid cannot be shaken; and on it are written these words: “The Lord knows those who are his” and “Those who say that they belong to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing.”

2 Timothy 2:19 GNT

5. When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.

Proverbs 10:25 NLT

Photo by Magnus Lindvall on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fanning The Flame

I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to building campfires. I spent years in a scouting program, and I know to build a fire it requires three things: oxygen, fuel and heat. One of my favorite things to do on a camp out is to restart the fire in the morning from the embers. I move back all the ashes, find a small ember, add some kindling and blow on it. It doesn’t take long before I get a roaring fire and can start cooking breakfast. To me, there’s just something cool about starting that fire from the embers. It reminds me that it doesn’t take much to get a fire going.

When I read 2 Timothy 1:6, I think of starting that fire in the mornings. It says, “That is why I remind you to fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fire–the special endowment]” (AMP). Paul was reminding Timothy, and us, that each of us have God-given gifts inside of us that we have to keep going. They may be embers right now, but they can be fanned into a great flame. Just like a campfire, they need oxygen, fuel and heat in order to keep growing and to stay ablaze.

The heat comes from God. He’s the one who put the gifts in you. It’s up to you to add the fuel. The kindling required to ignite it is spending time in prayer and reading God’s Word. The oxygen needed to keep it going is putting your gifts into practice. When we neglect the gifts in us, we choke out the flame by cutting off its oxygen. God has created you for a purpose and has given you the tools you need to accomplish that which He created you for. It’s up to you to breathe new life into them and fan into flame those gifts.

Photo by Stacey Rozells on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Right Now

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Do you ever find yourself letting your mind wander through all the possible outcomes of a situation? Before you know it, you can lose a couple of hours or even a day. I’ve been known to lose sleep just thinking about all the “what if’s”. When I was at a dead end in life and was forced to file bankruptcy, I couldn’t find any outcome that was positive. I was worried sick over how hard the next seven years were going to be. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the implications of it, not to mention the embarrassment. I got caught up in an endless cycle of thoughts that were detrimental to my well being.

God knows all too well how our minds work. I think that’s why Jesus dealt with those of us who are constantly living in the future of “what if’s” instead of in the present what is. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (MSG)” He was very plain in that verse and His words hit home with someone like me.

When I give my attention to the “what if’s”, I take away from what God is doing in this very moment. I lose sight of the reality that He is creating in my life right now. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I have no clue how my current situation will end, but God does. He knows all too well what tomorrow will bring and what I need to do today in order to prepare for it. When I worry about the possibilities, I miss out on what He’s showing me right now in order to help me tomorrow. That’s why He wants me to give my entire attention to what He’s doing today, not what He’s going to do.

In the second part of that verse, Jesus assures us that God will help us with what comes next. He’s not going to let you walk into a trap and then abandon you. He’s not going to hang you out to dry when times get tough. People may do that, but God never will. Jesus said that He will help you with whatever hard things come up and will be there for you when you need him. Deuteronomy 3:18 says, “The Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” I don’t know what hard thing you’re facing today, but God does and He’ll help you deal with it. Don’t use today’s energy worrying about tomorrow’s problems. God is with you right now, using whatever it is to produce things in your life that won’t grow any other way. Trust His plan and lean on His strength.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized