but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.
Recently, I was sitting in church, just going through the motions. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and I was finding it hard to focus on the reason I was in church to begin with. Then, God spoke to my heart and gently reminded me why I was there.
Jesus is the reason. He is the One who gave His life for me and He deserves my awe! There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Name Above All Names. He is the only One who is worthy of His title. The Father has exalted Him above all else, and I must do the same in my life!
Sometimes it’s easy to forget and get caught up in the mundane things in life and lose focus. So, today I ask myself, has Jesus become common place in my life? Am I giving credit where credit is due? Am I in awe of the One who died to save me? Am I living my life in a way that brings glory to Him?
Jesus knew what he was facing when He came to earth. He knew that He would be separated from the Father as He never had been before and He knew that He would die a brutal death that was reserved for only the worst of criminals.
He could have saved Himself from such a painful death. He could have said I’m not the Son of God, I’m just the son of a carpenter and they would have let Him go. Likewise, He could have called upon all the angels in heaven to come down and defend Him and they could have easily destroyed the entire earth.
But Jesus didn’t do either of those things. Instead, He did as the Father asked. He left behind the glory of heaven, humbled Himself and became a servant. He did it for you and for me, so that we could live together with Him forever. He did it because of His great love for us! And for that sacrifice, God has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above all names. He alone is worthy of our praise!
Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If so, are you living your life for His glory? Today, my prayer for you, is that you will know the love of Jesus and make Him the focus of your life. May His love and peace fill your heart.
Together let’s celebrate Jesus, Name Above All Names!
Please leave a comment below and share the great things Jesus has done in your life.
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You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
About a month ago, there was a commercial on TV for Bring Your Bible to School Day. It showed a group of teenagers wearing a basket on their heads as they went about their day. It was funny and a little bit silly too, but it conveyed the message clearly that our light cannot shine when it is hidden under a bushel.
Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads. Maybe we’re afraid of what people will think of us if we share our faith with them. Or we mistakenly assume that everyone has already heard the good news of Jesus. Satan would like for us to believe these lies and keep our faith to ourselves.
But Jesus has called Christians to be the light of world and to put our light up on a lampstand for everyone to see. It is our job to reflect the glowing light of Jesus and to be bold enough to take the basket off of our heads and let our light shine bright. When we do, these three things will happen…
#1 Opportunities to share our faith will open up.
How can someone ask us about our faith if they don’t know we have it to begin with? When people see us, they can tell that there is something different about our lives. And they want to know what that difference is. With each person we meet and with every question they ask, God opens up a new opportunity for us to share our faith. A seemingly chance encounter in the grocery store checkout line, or a random meeting at the DMV just might be the perfect time for us to share our faith with someone who needs the light of Christ in their lives. My pastor likes to call these “chance” encounters divine appointments. God loves to give them to us, especially when we least expect them. So, let’s be on the lookout for our next divine appointment and take every opportunity God gives us to let our light so shine before men.
#2 We will show the path to Jesus.
A lighthouse points the way to safety. It stands tall and shines brightly to keep a ship from crashing into the shore. And just like a lighthouse, we point the way to safety. Our light stands tall above the darkness of this world and shows the path to Jesus. It is a shining beacon of hope that keeps the unsaved of the world from crashing and burning into the despair of Satan’s lies and guides them into the loving arms of the Savior.
#3 We give God the glory!
Most importantly our light gives God the glory for what He has done, for us and for everyone else. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and be raised again to save us! And our lives have forever been changed because of it. We no longer have to live in guilt and shame because we have been forgiven. By letting our light shine, we are showing the world what Jesus has done for us and for them. And we give God the glory that rightfully belongs to Him.
Christians are the light of the world! The city on the hill and a shining beacon of hope. We point the way to Jesus by reflecting His radiant light for everyone to see. His light cannot be overshadowed or hidden from view. So, today I pray that we will be the light of the world and give glory to God for what He has done. May God bless you!
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Last week we asked the question “Where is God when bad things happen?” and I shared with you some of the Bible verses that have helped me when life takes a turn for the worst. If you missed it, you can read it here…
Today I would like to continue our discussion by sharing with you the stories of the two hardest days of my life and the answer to prayer I received as a result.
Each and every one of us will be affected by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. When it happens, as it surely will, the pain can be devastating. I hope that by sharing my story, in some small way, it will help you to understand how much God truly loves you and wants to give you comfort when bad things happen.
My Granny was one of the most influential people in my life. Her immense joy and strength were always a source of encouragement for me. Most people saw Granny as a fun loving lady who lived life to the max. And a handful of people probably would’ve said she was a little intimidating. That always makes me laugh. Because even though Granny was fiercely independent and would always tell it like it was, she was also a big hearted woman who loved her family and friends and would do anything in the world for us.
Growing up, I wanted to be just like Granny in every way. And I think I got my wish, because the older I get, the more I act like her. Some would say that is a good thing and probably others might say I should rethink my life strategy. But either way you looked at it, Granny was a force to be reckoned with because she lived life on her terms.
When we heard the news that she was in the ICU on life support my world stopped turning. It’s as simple as that. It’s the one time in my life when I completely lost it. I fell to the floor crying and screaming. I’ve never been one for hysterics and usually I’m in control of my emotions. But that moment was different. The pain came from so deep down inside, bubbly up and spilling out of me. All I can say is that I felt like life would never be the same again. And to some degree it isn’t.
I remember the drive to Tulsa from our home in Arkansas very well. There had been a huge ice storm the day before. That two hour drive turned into three because the icy roads were so difficult to pass. The time ticked by so slowly and all I wanted was to be by her side. I prayed, for her, for us and I asked God, “Why?” Why did this have to happen and why did it have to happen now?
For a year and a half, my mom had been going through chemo treatments. We wondered if each day would be her last, never really having a grasp of what the future would hold. Our world was already extremely hard. The everyday had become unbearable, and now this. You see, Granny had been fine. It was my mom that we had been worried about. One day Granny was the picture of health, living vibrantly and fully. The next, she was in the hospital dying. It just wasn’t fair. But in the car on the way to see her, knowing it would be the last time, I prayed that prayer. “Why?” And God answered. His words were short and to the point but they have never left me. “I am still on My throne and all is right in the world”. That may not sound like the answer I was looking for but God’s words are always true. And there is comfort in knowing that.
Another year and a half after Granny passed away, my mom passed from the cancer that she so bravely fought for three years. Watching her suffer and die the way she did was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Every day of those three years I prayed that God would heal her. On that final day sitting next to her bed, holding her hand and watching her struggle, my prayer changed. And I begin to pray, “Please God don’t let her suffer anymore. Take her home to be with You.” God heard my prayer, as He always does, and about an hour later she was in the presence of Jesus.
Those two days were the hardest of my life. Losing the two women I was closest too almost killed me. But each time God pulled me out of the pit of my despair. He didn’t leave there to sink all alone. He heard my prayers and answered them.
I will always love and miss these beautiful women who shaped my life in unexplainable ways. They meant more to me than I can ever tell. And my life will never be the same now that they are not in it. But I am so grateful that God let me have them for a little while.
So the question remains, “Where is God when bad things happen?” Simply put, God is still on His throne and all is right in the world.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
God is not a faraway being in a gilded cage. He is a loving Father who knows the pain we feel and sees every tear we shed. When our world falls apart and the pain is too deep to comprehend, this is our invitation to bring all of our brokenness directly to Him. It’s an open ended invitation to seek Him in every situation we face. Nothing is too big for Him to fix and nothing is too small for His attention. God wants us to confidently come to Him and lay our burdens at His feet so that we can receive mercy and grace to help us in our need.
My dear friend, if you have lost a loved one and are reeling from the pain it has caused, I pray that you will understand that God is still on His throne and He has you in the palm of His hand. He will not leave you to face this hurt alone. Take your burden to Him and be healed by His mercy and grace. May God bless you always!
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Every time we turn on the TV there is another terrible tragedy unfolding right before our eyes. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires and terrorist have suddenly become common news stories. But these things aren’t just stories, they are earth shattering events in someone’s life.
We truly feel for the people touched by these tragedies and we want to help any way we can, so we give to charities out of the goodness of our hearts. Yet, somehow the tragedy seems far away and removed from our own lives. And we always think these same things won’t happen to us.
But the truth is, all of us will be affected by a serious tragedy at some point in our lives. Our turn to experience hardship will surely come, whether it’s the death of a loved one, our home destroyed by a natural disaster or another unseen event so bad that we never could have imagined it in our worst nightmare.
When a tragic event strikes, it wreaks havoc on our already chaotic lives, turning everything we know upside down. The little bit of security we’ve worked so hard to create for ourselves is pulled out from underneath us. And the peace of mind that we strive for becomes a distant memory. As the pain wells up in our chest leaving us breathless, we realize just how fragile life really is. Then, we’re left to wonder “Where is God when bad things happen?”
My dear friend, I have felt your pain. I have experienced the torment of watching a loved one suffer and die an agonizing death. I have seen everything I once thought important taken from me. And in my despair, I have searched for an answer to this question. But I want you to know that waiting for you on the other side of the pain is hope. Hope that the situation you’re in won’t last forever and hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I would like to share with you some of the Bible verses that have helped me to get through the pain and see that hope of better days to come.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
It stands out in my mind that Jesus didn’t say trouble might come our way, or its possible bad things might happen to us. He said unequivocally you WILL have tribulation. I know that’s not a very comforting thought, but stick with me, I promise it gets better. Jesus backed that up by saying He has overcome the world! That’s a pretty amazing statement when you think about it. Jesus has overcome the pain and suffering we are currently facing. He has overcome every sin that separates us from Him and keeps us from the peace He offers. And He did it by dying in our place so that someday we will be with Him in heaven. Then, instead of sorrow and hardship we will have the unlimited joy and peace that only comes from knowing Jesus as our Savior.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
When we are grief stricken, words fail us. Nothing anyone can say will ever be enough to set things right again. In this moment, what we need most is to be in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. And that is exactly where we are. God has promised that in the midst of our pain, He is close to us. He understands our pain and all of the reasons we have a broken heart. And He wants to comfort us and give us a safe place to rest within His care.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
The pain we have today may feel like it goes on and on with no end in sight. But God promises that tomorrow will come and with it, hope for a brighter future. So, whatever you do, don’t give up, because morning is coming.
As you read this verses, I hope they will provide you with the same source of strength and courage to keep going that they have given me over the years. But if you are still wondering “Where is God when bad things happen?” the simple answer is this…He is exactly where He has always been. He hasn’t left and He hasn’t changed. He is still right next to you, ready to lift you up and see you through this tragedy you are facing. So, I pray that you will feel the closeness with God that you are longing for. And that you will know, your hope for a better tomorrow is waiting just around the corner. May God bless you greatly!
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Autumn is a time of change. The carefree days of Summer have passed and we look forward to a new season. Here in the Ozark Mountains, the temperature is falling and soon the Master’s paint brush will turn the leaves from green to brilliant red, orange and yellow. The colors are so vibrant and there’s a sense of excitement for the change ahead. Since moving to Arkansas, Fall has become my favorite time of year. I revel in this brief moment of beauty that God gives to us.
But Autumn is also a time for new obligations. The beginning of school for the kids, Sunday school and Bible study classes, football practice, the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and so much more. We keep the wheels turning by taking care of our families, volunteering at church and witnessing to those around us who are not saved. And as much as we love doing all of it, these new commitments can leave us feeling stressed out and just plain tired. Sometimes, it can feel a little bit overwhelming.
So, during this busy time of year, let’s seek a little inspiration from the words of Paul to the Galatians.
And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
As women of faith, we endeavor to do what is right in God’s eyes. We want to do it all and be everything to everyone. But the challenge for us is, to do good and to not grow weary. When life becomes hectic and we start to feel like we’re being pulled in a lot of different directions, the truth of this verse is a source of encouragement for us. It has so much to say about how to get through these busy moments we all experience.
Let us not grow weary…
We all have times when we feel overwhelmed, discouraged, tired and downright unappreciated. In these moments, it’s easy to think that no one sees the good work that we do. But God does see the effort we put in and He doesn’t want us to give up and throw in the towel.
In due season we shall reap…
Sometimes it feels like that “due season” is just out of reach or will never come. But the seeds we sow today will determine what we reap in the future. God has a plan and He promises to reward us for all that we do in His name. His timing is different than our own and if we keep looking forward our season to reap that reward will come.
Do not lose heart…
We may feel like we’re drowning in a sea of endless things to do. And we may feel down and out, but all is not lost. God is on our side and ready to offer our heart the encouraging boost we need. But we have to be willing to take hold of that encouragement and use it in a way that will cause us to not lose heart.
Just as God creates the beauty of the autumn leaves, He also wants to create beauty in our lives. He knows that we’re only human and that we get tired and discouraged. When we’re down, He wants to encourage us to forge ahead and to not grow weary. And He promises us that when we do, we will reap the reward of a life well lived. So, during this time of great change in nature, I pray that we will revel in all the beauty God has put in our lives and in the beauty of Autumn leaves!
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Does it seem like no matter how hard you work nothing ever changes? Are you worn out from the demands of daily life? Believe me, I feel your pain. We’ve all been there and sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get through it.
No matter how weary or exhausted you feel right now, God doesn’t want you to remain there. He wants you to be energized and ready to take on the world. So, He gave us some much needed inspiration for a time such as this. Here’s His promise for a worn out, down-right tired heart.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58
My beloved brethren…
Like many of the promises within the Bible this one is meant for us, the body of Christ and not the whole world. God has so much that He wants to give us, but we must be a believer first in order to be partakers of His promises.
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4
We are to be focused on Jesus, and to continue focusing on Him even when life throws us a curveball. At times, it can seem to be a hard task, but if we remain steadfast we will see a real change happening. Instead of the daily chaos of life, that steadfast attitude will turn into a peace that stays with us.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Many people have called me stubborn over the years and I’m sure they didn’t mean it as a compliment. ;) While being stubborn about silly things that don’t matter is not the right way to be, stubbornness in Godly things is always good. The Apostle Paul is calling on us to not be wishy washy, but instead to stand our ground and keep the faith when it really does matter. We know that God does not change, His ways are always the same. Likewise, we are to be, stubborn, single-minded and immovable in the ways of Christ.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.
As I read this verse, the catchphrase, “under promise and over deliver comes to mind”. It’s about an abundance of love for our fellow man that flows out of us and covers them with the love of Christ. And it’s about going that extra mile even when we’re tired and exhausted because we want them to understand exactly who Jesus is and what He means in their life.
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Work of the Lord…
The work of the Lord is wide and varied. It can mean different things to each one of us. So the question becomes, what has God asked of you specifically? At home? At work? At church? And in any other area of your life? If you are unsure of God’s plan for you, simply ask Him. He will tell you. Then when you have the answer, you can put it into practice in a way that is pleasing to Him.
equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.
Not in vain…
Whatever we do for the kingdom of God, it will not be in vain. God has promised to reward us for our efforts. That reward may come in this life, and wouldn’t that be great? But if not in this life, our reward will definitely be waiting for us in the next.
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
When we labor for the Lord we lose nothing and gain everything. He has promised to equip us with what we need for the work He has given us. And He has promised to repay us a hundredfold for our sacrifice. So, my dear friend and fellow laborer, my prayer for you today is that you will not lose heart when fatigue sets in and that God will energize you for the work ahead. May God bless you and give you rest!
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Do you ever ask yourself “how did my life turn out this way”?
When we graduate from high school or college we’re just fresh faced kids ready to conquer the world. We decide on the path we want our lives to take and start down it thinking only good things will come our way. Then, somewhere along that path, life takes an unexpected turn. The next thing we know, we’ve ended up in no man’s land and we’re left wondering what the heck happened. All of those plans we made for ourselves seem so far away and that fresh faced kid is just a distant memory. We’ve veered off the path.
David had one of these “how did my life turn out this way?” moments too.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
When this psalm was written, David found himself in a precarious situation. His life had taken an unexpected turn for the worst. The young kid who started out as a meek shepherd and then became a celebrated hero when he defeated Goliath was on the run. David was hiding out in the wilderness because King Saul and his army were looking to kill him. They had caught up with David and had encircled around him. Death seemed imminent.
Many of David’s psalms talk about the feeling of enemies surrounding him and he must have been scared knowing that they were surrounding him. But instead of sitting around being scared and wondering what happened, David trusted God to show him the path of life. He had experienced both the highs and lows of living a life for God. And he believed that God would take care of him at this critical time. Even at his lowest David could still praise God and experience the joy of being in His presence because he understood that joy, real joy comes from knowing God.
But David’s psalm is more than just a lament about his own circumstances, he was pointing the way for us to the coming Messiah, the true path of life.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
It doesn’t matter what our previous plans were, or the disappointment we felt when they didn’t work out. That path we chose for ourselves when we were young was about this life and what we would become in it. But God is more concerned with what will become of us in the next life. So He gave us a path of life. Jesus is that path, a path to eternal life. And this verse is our roadmap to Him.
You may have noticed that Jesus only gave us two choices on the path. We’ve reached that critical point in the journey where the road forks off and only goes in two directions. We must turn one way or the other to continue on and it’s an important decision worthy of serious consideration. We can either, turn left and enter through the wide and easy path. This is the worldly path that offers pleasure in this life but ultimately leads to hell and eternal destruction. Or, we can turn right and enter through the narrow and difficult path that leads to eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
Jesus said that most people will choose the wide and easy path. These people are just going through life and don’t give this decision much thought. Or they think that the choice can be put off for another time. But tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us and death may come when you least expect it. By then the choice has already been made and it’s too late.
That’s why Jesus urges us to choose the narrow gate. He loves every one of us and He died to save us. And He wants each one of us to be the few who find the narrow gate. Yes, the narrow gate is a harder, more difficult path to take and Jesus said that we will be persecuted for our faith. But our reward is in knowing our Savior and spending eternity with Him.
Most people don’t want to hear this hard truth. Because when they do, they are forced to choose which path they will take. And just to be clear, not choosing is a choice in itself, and not a pleasant one.
The decision to follow Jesus is life changing. And sometimes change is hard. So, if this life changing decision is hard to make, Jesus put it another way…
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
This is a bold and clear statement. Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only eternal life. If we want to see the Father and end up in heaven when we die, then Jesus is the one and only way to get there. And we don’t do ourselves or anyone else any favors by saying otherwise. This is our God given promise, if we believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, then we will have eternal life with Him.
For most of us, we made the choice a long time ago to follow Jesus and enter through the narrow gate. But sometimes it’s good to look back on where we’ve been and how we got here. The path behind us, reminds us of everything Jesus has done for us and how far we’ve come. And the path stretched out in front of us leading the way to the Savior gives us something to look forward to.
Like David, we can experience the joy of being in God’s presence. And we can see the joy waiting for us up ahead when we’ve reached the end. This is the joy we can only find in knowing Jesus. It is a joy that fills us completely and gives us confidence in our faith. The path of life may be long and winding but with Jesus we will get there.
Is there an event in your life that has brought you to where you are right now? Are you asking yourself “How did my life turn out this way”? If you’ve veered off the path a little bit, it’s okay. The roadmap hasn’t changed and you can still get back on the path. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms. Today, I pray that you will remember all of the reasons you gave your life to Christ and be strengthened by that decision. And I pray that you will stay firmly on the path of life and see the joy waiting for you up ahead.
If you have not made the decision to take the narrow path, then I pray that you will understand the love Jesus has for you and choose to follow Him. To find out more about making this crucial decision please read “Accepting Jesus” by clicking on the link or go to the tab at the top of the page.
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O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
Doubt is a dirty word in Christian circles. It’s something we don’t talk about just in case the pastor is listening. And we pretend that we don’t feel it because we think our friends will look down on us if we admit it. But the truth is, we all have doubt. Every single one of us. I have doubt, and I bet you do too. Having doubt doesn’t mean we are bad or that we don’t love Jesus. It just means that we’re human. Because it’s human nature to doubt what we can’t see. We think if we can’t touch it or hold it in our hand, then maybe it’s not real. Sometimes doubt is just a fleeting thought. It comes to us in an instant and leaves just as quickly. But other times doubt lingers. It plays tricks with our mind, tears us apart on the inside and robs us of our joy.
Before we go into how to overcome doubt, let’s look at where it comes from. If we can understand the source of our doubt, we can easily quiet it when it comes calling.
All Christians have an enemy in Satan. He seeks to destroy us and doubt is one of the many tactics he uses against us. He will search for a way into our lives to achieve his goal of utterly demolishing us. Once he has found a way in, He is relentless in his attack. He will slink in, like the snake he is, and put doubt in our minds leaving us feeling hopeless. Then slink off again to look for some other poor soul to terrorize. But we don’t need to fear Satan or listen to his lies. Jesus has already defeated him. However, we need to be mindful of his plan to place doubt in our hearts and minds and learn to recognize his devious actions.
#2 Outside Sources
We are called to live in the world but not of it. But sometimes living in the world leaves us vulnerable to doubt. These outside sources are the things of this world that distract us. They could be the people we surround ourselves with, the things we read or watch on TV, social media, etc. Anything we put into our minds can cause doubt to form if we allow it to influence our thoughts.
Sometimes our doubt is much closer to home than we would like it to be. At times, we can be our own worst enemy. Our view of ourselves can leave us feeling like we’re not good enough or that we’re a failure. These negative thoughts can cause doubt to creep into our minds if we allow them to take hold.
God, in His infinite wisdom, knows the innermost workings of our minds. He knows we have doubt and He knows that we wonder where He is when everything goes wrong in our lives. He understands our hearts and He has not left us alone to face doubt on our own. We can recognize what causes doubt and quickly overcome it with one simple God given tool…our Faith!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In Matthew 14:31, Jesus said to the disciples, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” The disciples had been with Jesus and they saw Him perform miracle after miracle. They had the unique opportunity of being an eye witness to the ministry of the Savior and they still had doubt!
At some point each of us made the decision to give our lives to Christ because the Holy Spirit showed us the truth of who Jesus is. Unlike the disciples, we have not physically witnessed the miracles of Jesus. But we know for a fact that God is real and that Jesus is the Son of God because of our faith. We may not be able to reach out and touch God or witness the miracles of Jesus with our own eyes, but we can see what He has done in our lives, around us and for us. We have seen the hand of God at work. This is the evidence of our faith. When doubt enters our minds, we can remember those times when we were so close to God it did feel like we could touch Him. If we look around we will see His goodness surrounding us.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We have the most powerful weapon on earth at our disposal, God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and understanding the truth within it. We can grow our faith by reading the Bible and storing it in our heart. When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. Instead of allowing doubt to destroy us, we can simply turn to the Scriptures and lean on the promises of God to get us through. Because God’s word is real!
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
This is a prayer of a man who had doubt in his heart but still wanted to believe. It’s an honest and heartbreaking cry to the only One who could help him in his suffering. We all know how he felt because we’ve been there, on our knees begging God to help us in our pain and unbelief. When doubt creeps in, we have a direct line to God. We can shoot up a prayer to Him in a second and ask Him for strength and guidance.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Our prayers are not effective because we have great faith or because we are faithful to God. They are effective only because we are righteous through our belief in Jesus. This is our promise from God… He is always faithful to us and He will hear our prayers when we call out to Him.
Yes, we all have doubt, but doubt doesn’t have to keep us from experiencing the loving touch of God’s hand in our lives. It’s okay to have questions. And it’s okay to ask God to help us when we doubt. But we cannot afford to let doubt penetrate our minds and our souls. We must recognize it for what it is and stop it in its tracks. Our faith is the tool that helps us to overcome our doubt and seek God’s face in times of need. So today, I pray that each one of us will turn away from doubt, seek the Father and grow our faith in Jesus. God bless!
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It’s easy to be a Christian on Sunday. We go to church and we are around other people who believe as we do. We sing and worship together, and we listen to the sermon to find inspiration for the week ahead. The challenge comes when we leave that church building. Waiting for us outside those doors is a world filled with people who oppose our beliefs and want us to be silent. In their eyes, it’s okay if we believe our silly little thoughts as long as we don’t talk about them or try to persuade anyone else to believe them. Have you ever had someone tell you that you shouldn’t talk about your faith? I know I have! And it always takes me by surprise. Yes, they want us to be silent. But our faith is bigger than them and it’s bigger than us too. Jesus said “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32. We have the truth because we have Jesus. We know who we serve and we know what has been done for us. So it’s our job and our privilege to share our faith with the people around us. To stand up and tell them the good news so that they can have the same assurance and freedom in Jesus Christ that we have.
Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about this challenge that every Christian faces.
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NKJV)
Within these two verses there are five distinct commands for us to follow. Let’s explore each one together.
As women we are taught to watch what is going on around us when we’re in a public place. Our parents teach us when we are young girls not to talk to strangers. When we get a little older, we’re told not to park our car in a dark parking structure or next to a van. They say don’t go on long walks alone in a neighborhood park or on a blind date with someone we just met online. We are taught all of this in order to keep us safe from someone who may want to harm us physically. But this command, “Watch” is directed at our spiritual wellbeing. There are people out there who are against our faith. And they would like nothing more than to cause us to doubt our beliefs. So, we should take this warning seriously. Be on alert and be aware of who we surround ourselves with and what their agenda may be.
#2 Stand fast in the faith
As we just talked about there are unsaved people out there who would like to put doubt in our minds. But there are also many false teachers and so much confusion, not only in other religions, but within our own. These false teachers have a watered down view of Christianity or what I like to call the “rose colored glasses” version of the Bible. They are not doing us any favors by misleading us about what the Bibles says! It is up to us to know what the Bible teaches and to stand fast in our faith, or as the NIV translation puts it, stand firm in the faith. I love that word, “firm”. It makes me think about Jesus being my firm foundation and the rock that I can stand on no matter what circumstance I face. I hope that when you hear the word firm, you will have a similar image in your mind. Because our faith is built on the firm foundation and truth of Jesus Christ. But it is our job to stand fast in the faith. We are responsible for knowing the truth of God’s word for ourselves, to understand what is in it and to not allow false teachers to lead us astray.
#3 Be brave
It’s never fun to be called out and have to defend yourself. I get it, and I feel the same way. I don’t like confrontation either, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. But we live in a world where our faith will be tested. We will be challenged and we will be asked questions. So when this happens, we have to be brave enough to face the challenge head on. We can be ready with an answer and be willing to share our faith with an unbelieving world because we know the truth of God’s word.
#4 Be strong
Our society tells us that we are supposed to be politically correct. We shouldn’t say anything that might offend someone else. If we don’t agree, then we should just be polite and keep our mouth shut. But God has not called Christians to be silent, He has called us to be strong. Instead of silence, we should speak openly and plainly about our faith with those people who hold different beliefs and have questions about ours. And we should be mindful that our words are always grounded in biblical truth. If they are, then we should be strong enough to speak these truths with confidence knowing that God’s word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:11)
#5 With Love
The four previous commands are forceful, maybe more forceful than we feel we should be sometimes. But our Christian love for other people is the most important part of this equation. Love is what binds us together and our love for the unsaved should be what motivates us to share our faith. God doesn’t ask us to be judgmental or to beat people over the head with a Bible. Our kindness and love for our fellow man will go a lot farther than browbeating them ever could. God wants us to show His love to an unbelieving world so that when they look at us they can see Him. Together we can show the love of Christ to those who need Him the most. With our love, we can be the beacon of light that shines the way to Jesus.
Sundays are a great day for us get fired up for Jesus, and to connect with other Christians. But our challenge is to live our life for Jesus every day of the week. It’s true that actions speak louder than words. And our actions are important because the world is watching us. What will they see? Will they see someone who loves them with the love of Christ? Will they see someone who is living out their faith every day? Or are we just casual Christians going to church on Sunday and living our lives as we see fit the rest of the week? I hope that I am not, that I will have the courage to live for Jesus every day. So, my prayer today, is that I will be able to stand firm in the faith. And that I will have love for those people that God puts in my life in order to share Jesus with them.
How about you? Will you stand firm in the faith? Will you shine the way to Jesus today? I pray that you will join me in taking up this challenge to live for Jesus today and every day! As always, May God bless you!
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About the Artist
Connie Rowland is the Artist and Blogger behind Master's Hand Collection, a series of Christian artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Check out the About page for more info on Master's Hand Collection and Connie.
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