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September 8, 2021

Faith



What is faith? Faith is saying "God, I believe". No matter what comes your way, no matter what life looks like for you, you still trust, you still believe. Even if everything screams that God is not there, that this God thing does not make sense, that there is no God and certainly not one that hears you and cares for you, you still trust and believe God is who he says he is. Faith is always saying "I will not be moved." Faith is saying "Come what may, this is who I am, this is who I was created to be, this is who I will always be. I believe in God." If I fail and fall I will do it still believing. If God is far from me, I will still wait on him and believe in him. My life is God's no matter what! I will live by faith, no matter what!

August 16, 2021

Clean


In John 13 Jesus takes on the role of a servant and starts to wash the feet of the disciples. Peter resists at first as he sees the situation in the natural where it is the student or the disciple who serves the teacher or master and not the other way around. Then Jesus responds to him and explains the situation. Peter's response was then to ask Jesus to wash not only his feet, but his head and his hands as well. 

I know how Peter feels. Too many times I go through my day seeing the natural and responding accordingly. This approach always leads to a general sense of confusion, anxiety, and I think some sense of lostness or un-cleanness. If we continue this way long enough, it becomes our new normal. We start defining life around our own limited self perceptions. Then when Jesus wants to clean some area of our life, we think that's unnecessary because we're fine. I think Peter's heart was tender towards the Lord. His love for Jesus was genuine and sincere. Jesus' explanation of this act of service fanned that love into a flame once again. 

So bring this story into your own life. The Holy Spirit has come as our helper, our comforter. He brings conviction and the opportunity for examination and says we have no part in the life of Jesus Christ if we resist. Will we allow our heart to be open and drawn to Jesus? Will we allow him to create in us a clean heart and a right spirit once again? The Holy Spirit stirs up a desire is us to be clean, to be right before the Lord, to bring our life, our words, thoughts, and actions into order and right alignment with Jesus. Our response should be like Peter's presenting our whole self to be cleaned. Let the Holy Spirit do his work, cleaning whatever area of your life however and whenever he needs to. We don't need to always understand it all, just surrender the what Jesus wants to do.

August 11, 2021

The Way Back

Joshua chapter 5 tells how a new generation was circumcised in Gilgal. The older generation who came out of Egypt and died in the wilderness, had neglected to circumcise their children. In the Old Testament, circumcision symbolized God's covenant with his people. In the New Testament, Paul talks about those in the body of Christ having a circumcision of the heart, a inner commitment to our covenant with God through Christ. Reading this passage I thought about how many times one generation fails to lead the next generation into a deep and lasting relationship with God. We get caught up in life and focus our eyes on the seen instead of the unseen. The generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt lost their way. They saw giants and obstacles to the promises of God and couldn't lead their children into a future they could not see.

The circumstances of this passage are sad, but hopeful because God always makes a way. He give us a pattern to follow that lead to restoration and a renewal of our covenant with him. First we need to listen for God's voice. 5:2 says "...the Lord said to Joshua". God's voice invades our reality and brings light, hope, and creates a opportunity for us to walk in newness. Second, we must obey what God has spoken, act on it, move into it. Third, a pruning must take place. The circumcision cuts away a part of our flesh, who we are in the most intimate way. A circumcision of the heart will require no less. Renewal requires the personal and intimate pruning work of the Holy Spirit to take place. Fourth, there is waiting, rest, and healing. I like how 5:8 tells us that Israel remained in their place until they were healed. We must give ourselves over to the work God desires to do in our lives, wait on him, let the healing come. Fifth, we see them engaging in spiritual disciplines as they participate in the Passover traditions. For us, spiritual disciplines ground us in Christ, they help s grow roots in the new place God had created for us. And sixth, they were able to move on from the old things, the old place where they were living outside a covenant with God. They were now able to move into the new things God had in store for them, they were able to walk into the promises and provision of the Lord. They had to leave the old things behind and walk forward. By definition, the only new path is God's path. He is the creator of all things, he is true existence and life for humanity. 

July 12, 2021

Prayer


How many of us don't like talking about prayer? We ask and ask and it often feels like God doesn't hear us and there are no answers. I know I feel that way. Why still pray then? For me, I chose to focus on the fact that prayer is conversation with God. When I stop worrying so much about answers or the situation before me and just try to get to know God more, then things happen. Time with the Lord will change us, redirect our thoughts and our outlook on things. Focus on who he is, how much he loves you. See his authority and power, his grace and mercy, his never ending love for all of us. See him and know him in the midst of every situation, every moment of every day. He is all in all, our Lord and King who never fails. Is there anything too hard for our God, is there anyone he does not know, see, and care for? This God wants to know us and talk with us. That's what prayer is about.

July 1, 2021

Be Patient


Be patient with people. Too often we get focused on our own lives and deal with other people from our that point of view. Stop, take a breath and try to focus on that person for a moment. Try to see things from their perspective in order to understand them better. Be patient. Set yourself, your own thoughts, and your own desired outcomes aside for a moment while you really listen. Put that person, their needs, cares, and concerns first. Once you do this, then you can add in your own thoughts. Together, you will find the best path forward, but you must put the other first and you must be patient. Getting frustrated because that person doesn't see things your way serves no purpose. Forcing your will on others gets you no where. Rest in the fact that God is sovereign, that his mercies are new every morning, that his grace and forgiveness knows no bounds. Have faith in his Spirit to guide you and sustain you. He makes it possible for us to put others first while our own self and our identity is held securely in Christ.