Sunday, July 15, 2018

Day 1547 By Faith

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for 
and certain of what we do not see." 
Hebrews 11:1 

Day 1547: Jesus says in John 20:29 that those of us who have not seen yet still believe are blessed. That is what faith is all about -- believing. 

Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible." 

Here are some faith actions mentioned in the Bible: 

Noah was warned about the great flood and in holy fear built the ark saving himself, family and the lineage of animals. 

Abraham by faith made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; by faith both Abraham and his wife, Sarah, though barren was able to have a child at an old age.

It was faith that Moses' parents hid him after he was born and when grown up, it was faith that got Moses through saving God's people from the hand of the Pharaoh. 

By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho fell ... "What more shall I say? I do not have time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets." 

So by faith, what's the rest of your story? 

God had planned something better for us 
so that only together with us 
would they be made perfect.
Hebrews 11:40

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Day 1546 Pressing On

Day 1546: "Forget what is behind and strain forward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

What are you living for? That is a big question for a Saturday morning, huh? We all should have some sort of life goals set but what is your ultimate life goal? Paul speaks of a couple of things in this Scripture that I want to dissect and I encourage you to think about:

"Forget what is behind" -- no matter what your past may be or how sinful it was, forget it and do not allow it to stop you from moving forward. God is all about second chances so embrace yours.

"Strain forward what is ahead" -- look forward to all the beautiful opportunities God has in store for you. It is really easy to look at the future with cynical goggles on especially when life is difficult right now but don't fall for that. Look ahead with optimism and hope.

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me" -- if your goal is not lined up with God, good luck finding ultimate peace and happiness. God has created every single person for great purpose, we have to be goal focused on Him to discover the purpose and fulfill it. So pressing on toward the goal is connecting and listening to God. Then ... the prize is amazingly awesome and one you do not want to miss.

So, ask yourself what you are living for and then ask what's stopping you from pressing on toward the prize. God has a purpose and plan for your life, start living it.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Day 1545 Conclusion of the Matter

Day 1545: When you read Solomon's Ecclesiastes, you get a cynical and bitter vibe in his writings. Solomon was wise and that was his blessing and his curse. Because of this wisdom, he could easily get frustrated when others ignored the right path.

Solomon also tried the worldly way of seeking pleasure only to find out it left a void nothing or no one else can fulfill except God. So Solomon goes on and on analyzing life unable to figure out a Why only to realize you cannot have the answer to everything. (You can see why his wisdom was frustrating at times.)

Listen to what the conclusion of the matter Solomon shares:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

There it is -- the summary of life and all it's unanswered questions; respect God and His commandments.The rest of life will just happen and fall into place. The best way to get to know God is through His Word.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Day 1544 No Days Off

Day 1544: Have you ever taken a day off from chores? Things begin to pile up fast. Maybe if you miss a day of work you have to work double time on your return to catch up.

I've taken a day off yesterday from house and it truly looks like an explosion happen -- what a difference one single day makes. What if we took days off being a Christian? Do you think there will be a big noticeable difference?

You may not see the results the next day but there will be an effect. Every lost soul we encounter needs God's willing servant to be on call 24/7, if we're not than we just may have lost an opportunity to show the love of Christ and the message of redemption. Even fellow faith believers need us to be on call -- we all need encouragement and hope restoration.

There is a big difference between being a 24/7 Christian and taking off a day from chores. First off, the mess around the house isn't going anywhere, it's going to be there in the morning. But the opportunity to help someone in need at an exact moment is not always going to be there, listen to this:

Susan was a stay-at-home mother of three, a Sunday School teacher and taught piano lessons. It was Christmas time and while her children were at her mother's, Susan decided to get some gift shopping done. The mall was so crowded, the Christmas spirit has left and Susan was just frustrated and ready to find the last two gifts. Giving her tired legs a break, she sits at the cafe table and sips on her coffee. Two small children a few tables over are screaming and this was like nails on a chalkboard to Susan at this point.

Three tables over in direct line of sight of Susan was a young woman sitting all alone curled over her coffee cup and crying. Susan studied the woman for a moment but the shrill of the children a few tables over frustrated her more and she began to think she much rather be in her quiet home enjoying her own well behaved children.

Susan snatches her bags after tossing a rude look to the mother of the children who is doing her best to calm them and walks right by the crying woman.

Because Susan was caught up in her own frustrations, she was blinded what was right before her eyes:

That mother desperately trying to comfort her children was an abused wife runaway. She just traveled ten hours from her home in the middle of the night with two small children that are tired, confused right now. This mother winces at the pain of her cracked ribs while she does everything she knows to comfort her upset children. She is distracted trying to find a location in the classifieds that will be safe for her children and herself as they hide in the crowded mall.

That young woman crying just lost her husband in the line of duty and a miscarriage three months ago. She didn't have any family or close friends to turn to. The broken heart weighed heavy on her as well as the letter threats of foreclosure folded up in her purse. As she cried into her coffee, she contemplated ending her life desperately trying to find a reason to go on.

What if Susan didn't take a time out from being a Christian to these two particular women? There are so many ways she could have helped the runaway mother: sitting with her and helping keep the children happy, listening to her story, a simple phone call to her church for shelter and housing contact information. And Susan could help the suicidal woman by offering her hope and the reason to keep living. All she had to do was sit down and listen, be a friend.

We've all been Susan choosing to be blinded by our own problems and frustrations in life but by doing that we are missing major opportunities. Christians never have a day off living W.W.J.D.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of work 
we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus said:
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' 
Acts 20:35

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Day 1543 Faith Stretch

Day 1543: Do you ever feel like life is stretching you tight like a rubber band? There are days you may even feel this will be the day you'll snap! The Bible shares many stories of men and women that has been stretched in life which resulted in their faith strengthening.

I am going to share one of Simon's Peter's story of stretching:

Luke 5:1-11
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Peter knew he wanted to follow Jesus however the challenge was trusting through all the challenging life circumstances. Remember when Peter was called out of the boat to walk on water and the time he denied Jesus three times after swearing he would never do such a thing. Just like you and me, Peter failed, he got frustrated and discouraged; these were the times God was stretching and strengthening Peter -- just like He does with you and me. 

When a muscle is stretched regularly, it becomes strong, flexible and grows. If we looked at our faith as a faith muscle, how strong would your faith be? There is going to be times in life we are stretched but think of it as an opportunity of growth and purpose in your faith walk. Think about it in comparison to a rubber band: rubber bands are not much use until it is stretched. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Day 1542 Weeds in the Greener Grass

Day 1542: Covet -- one of the ten commandments: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

At some point in our life we all have been guilty of covet; desiring nicer things a friend or neighbor may have, desiring a love or relationship someone else has, and a big one is desiring a job that someone else has. 

Fact: every single person has their own set of problems; the people we see that have the nice things in their nice lifestyle, happy love and perfect job have problems too. It is easy to hide behind an appearance to prevent others from seeing the truth and difficult to unmask and show the world your life struggles. 

2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us when we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others, we are not using wisdom: "Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding."

Galatians 6:4 says to pay attention to your own lawn per say and you won't have time to peek over to your neighbors. Also, this Scripture reminds us to be appreciative with blessings and our own accomplishments. "But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor."

And Galatians 1:10 reminds us the only One we should be seeking approval from is God -- not man. "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

So when you catch yourself coveting what someone else has remind yourself the grass may be greener but weeds still pop up there too. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Day 1541 Monday Blues

Day 1541: Mondays are rough. Here are a few verses from God that can motivate you to find joy and happiness today. Take time and read through each one and mentally apply it to your Monday.

Feeling weak? God is your strength. 
Isaiah 40:28-29
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 

Desperately seeking peace today? Look no further than Jesus!
Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts, since members of one body you were called to peace.

Losing Hope? Restore it through God.
Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Got some heavy burdens on your shoulders? Jesus asks you let Him help.
Matthew 11:28-29
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

(My favorite.) Looking for direction? God is the ultimate life GPS.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.