Sunday, July 14, 2019

Faith is a Journey


Faith is a journey! Faith is an adventure! Faith is a gift that can only be given by God.  When we embark on a faith journey, God will take us to places we never dreamed of, he will introduce us to people that are way outside our current circles, and he will give us a heart to love those we would otherwise detest.  My prayer this morning is that I would trust in God to grant me the faith to walk out the path he has set before me, and that I would be open to the ever present whisper of God calling me to follow him.



Hebrews 11 New International Version (NIV)

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And 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.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a cityfor them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak,Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in cavesand in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I am the vine; you are the branches

 

 Our connection to Jesus is tangible, He is the sustaining source of our strength and gives us the ability to bear fruit.   Without him we simply dry up, wither, and blow away.  John 15 illustrates just how important our connection to Jesus is.  My prayer today is that I would continue to grow strong in my knowledge and connection to Jesus. 

 

John 15 English Standard Version (ESV)

I Am the True Vine

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Overflow

 A subtle nudge to provide aid, recognition of, and action to help those in need, an inkling to reach out to a friend.  God is quietly whispering, prompting us to move with him and for him.  The question is, are we listening?  It it so easy to become distracted, preoccupied, or simply keep ourselves so busy that we don't hear the quiet whispers of God.  John 4 tells the story of Jesus meeting a woman with a sorted past at a well.  In this story he says, whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.   I am reminded when I read this passage, that if I want to serve God and pour out to others, I must first be filled up.  I must first accept the water that only God can provide.   My prayer today is that I would take the opportunity to stop and hear the whispering voice of God.   


John 4:14

14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Friday, January 25, 2019

Use your gifts to serve other

 1 Peter 4:10 has been a fav for 25 years.  It reminds me that we have each received gifts from God, and if we want to serve Him, we must use our gifts to serve others.  I have talked to many people who say, I don't have a gift.  Whenever I hear that, I ask them what is it that they do that just comes naturally?  Often the things we find easy, or take for granted are the very things that God has gifted us with.   It could be compassion, teaching, acts of service, a gift for math, organization, singing, sports, etc...  If we head into our day looking for ways to use our gifts and talents to server others, amazing things will happen. 



1 Peter 4:10-11 
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Shower, O Heavens, from above

This drawing was a bit of a play on words, see verse below.  I do like the idea of God pouring his love down on us, and if I close my eyes, I can almost imagine walking into that downpour, soaking it in.....  anticipating the fruit that only God can stir up..... 

 Isaiah 45:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
    let the earth cause them both to sprout;
    I the Lord have created it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

You are not alone

The beauty of the Holy Spirit is that you will never have to fly solo.  God sees you and knows exactly what you need.  He loves you jealously and will never let go.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

How God sees you


We often only see our flaws, we focus on the things we don't like, or the areas we would like to change.  God sees our full potential, He sees us as his work of Art.  He knows that if we would only trust in him, he could do great things in us and through us. 


2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Wake up

This morning I read Ephesians 5 and the following verse hit me.

But when anything is exposed by the light,
 it becomes visible, 
for anything that becomes visible is light.  
Therefore it says, 
Awake, O sleeper and arise from the dead 
and Christ will shine on you.

The things of this world have a way of dragging us down.  They can become a prison, and feel as if they strip us of choice and forcing our movements, decisions, and speech.  When the darkness closes in, fear, loneliness and depression become a constant companion.  Ephesians 5 lets us know there is a better way.  We are called to wake up and walk into the light, shaking free from the bonds that bind us.  My prayer today is that I would continue to draw closer to God's light and that he would use me to shine on others.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Stepping out in Faith

At time God asks us to step out in faith.  Many times this includes putting ourselves in a vulnerable position, a position that has the potential of costing us something.  From experience, I have grown to understand that ignoring Gods prompting and missing an opportunity to allow him to work through me, cost much much more.  When I ignore his prompt, I am essentially saying,  I am afraid, I don't trust the direction you are taking me, or I don't care that you want to reach that individual.
When I choose to trust in God and step out in faith, I get to see his glory shine through my weakness (

2 Corinthians 12:9) and experience just how much God cares for us.

God may be taping you on the shoulder today to step out and allow him to shine through you.  He may be asking you to be vulnerable, take a chance, step up and step out in faith.   Lord provide us the courage, desire, and strength to love those you place in our path.

Isaiah 40:31 English Standard Version (ESV) 

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Wonder

As children, we walk through our day in constant wonder.  Discovery and exploration is around every corner.  Play is built into our DNA and we are constantly asking the question why.  As we become adults it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life,  forgetting about the wonder, no longer questioning, or exploring.  In Mathew 18 Jesus encourages us to become like children.  My prayer today is that I would slow down and rediscover the wonder that God planted inside me.  I pray that I would be humble and know that God still has much to teach me.


Mathew 18:2-6 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Out of the overflow



Ephesians:3:14-21

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Discovering new trails

I love to explore new trails.  There is something magical about discovering what is around the next corner, or over the next hill.  My family has labeled me the sandbagger because I always tend to extend the ride or hike further than originally advertised.  If I say a mountain bike ride will be 5 miles, my wife and boys will look at each other with a knowing glances and say 10 at least.  There is always something to be discovered.  Just this morning while walking the dog I came across a fawn lying down under a tree.  The mama was near by and gave us a warning glace.  We headed off trail a bit to give them plenty of room and discovered a new trail that we had not yet explored.  Our 2 mile morning walk quickly turned into a 5 mile hike.  We explored a section of the Deschuetes river that I had not hiked along before. 
I find myself in constant wonder of God's creation.  There is such diversity and attention to detail.   I believe that God planted the love of adventure into my very soul, and have found him to be the best guide.   He has taken me places that I never dreamed I would go and mapped out adventures far better than those I could plan on my own.  I encourage you to seek God in your adventures and search out the path that he has marked for you.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Strength

Samson lived a roller coaster of a life.  In the end he called on the Lord to allow him to use his strength one last time, knowing that his fate would be the same as those who were torturing and abusing him.  He literally brought the house down.  We can learn much from Samson's story, probably the point that sticks out the most is that worldly desires can distract us from our purpose, and zap our ability to use the strengths and gifts that God has provided us.   I pray that I would keep my eyes on the prize and quickly recognize and avoid the temptations that seek to pull me away from God.

 Judges 16:28-30

28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Overflow

I spent a little time drawing on a piece of slate that I have on our back deck.  We are in between seasons in Bend.  One day is sunny and 60 and the next brings cold and snow.  I enjoy this time of year, often a light snow is falling in the morning which quickly melts, giving way to the warming rays of the afternoon sun.  The weather reminded me of Isaiah 55: 10-12, which illustrates God's provision of rain and snow to water the earth and bring forth new life.  Similarly his word waters our heart, mind and soul, causing new growth, fruit, and eventually overflow.  It is through that overflow that we are able to love others.   My prayer today is that I would plant God's word deep into my being, and that I would use the overflow of the fruit produced to serve others.


Isaiah 55: 10-12
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy

    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...