Saturday, October 18, 2008

God’s Focus/Our Focus

There are times in our lives where we experience events that don’t turn out as we believe they should. When these happen, we can be devastated. We didn’t get the promotion or the job we thought we deserved. We wanted something nicer than what we received for our birthday.

We tell someone about the bad feeling we have. “I should have gotten that. . . because. . . .” What we don’t always realize is that God may have other plans for us. Maybe that promotion could bring more stress into our lives. That job you want might not be what He has in mind for you.

We might even argue with God. “But, God. . . I would be perfect for that position.” “God. . . I could do that job better than the one who’s doing it now.” When we debate with God we show selfish pride. We also disrespect God.

Those around us suffer physical or emotional hurts and we react. We say things purely from our point of view. Like the friends of Job, we open more wounds for the victims. They become more confused due to our misguiding them. There again, we are operating from what we want to say.

But when we follow the Lord, we belong to Him. We view all events and happenings through His eyes. He becomes our guide in how to think. We learn to react to stimulus as He desires.

The process of changing our focus is a part of sanctification. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, sets us apart from our past habits and points of view to allow us to reflect Him. It is our job to yield to the workings of the Holy Spirit. It is His to change us into who we are to become.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Preparing to Walk the Walk

As we grow in the Lord, we are to emulate Him. All we learn and all we hear about the Christian life are to be incorporated into who we become. This growth is a process. It rarely happens overnight. During this growth period, we discover new aspects of who we are.

Our Bible reading and study figure into this new formation of our inner being. Prayer adds to the change we undergo. Service also makes us more like Jesus. When we begin this walk we don’t realize to what degree we can change.

When we turn our lives over to God, we actually give Him control of who we are and who we become. We are no longer in control. This surrendering of self can be scary to one who doesn’t realize the necessity for doing it. The more we give up of ourselves, the closer we resemble Jesus.

One essential reason for relinquishing control of our lives is to get to know Jesus better and to be able to serve Him better in expanding His Kingdom. Some believers feel the need for accountability partners to help them when they feel inadequate. Others rely on the prayers of the faith community to aid in their spiritual growth.

A former pastor told it very well, “As Christians, we are either progressing in the faith or we are falling back. We never stand still.” We need to remember this.

Our preparation for walking the walk is vital. We need to be knowledgeable of the Word and able to apply it to our hearts. Also we need to spend quantity time in prayer with Him. Finding an accountability partner or a prayer partner could help us all stay on track.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Faith-based Ministries

Yesterday at church, our Missions Committee had a Missions Emphasis Sunday. The committee invited several faith-based ministry groups to attend, setting up information tables in our foyer. The second Tuesday of each month the church has focused on one ministry effort as a part of missions.

Sixteen faith-based ministries had displays for the congregation to study. Those in attendance were asked to consider signing a Faith-Promise pledge for 2009 for missions giving. The rationale behind this new plan is some of these groups have needs all year long and the wait until we have them scheduled can be very difficult.

With the economic picture as bleak as it is, this seems to be the best way to help those who are spreading the word of Christ. As a volunteer in a faith-based ministry, I am aware of the need of being able to address the issues of the focus group with some amount of ease.

This is a faith promise pledge. I have never done one. I am told it works like this: I make a promise based on faith, not really knowing how God will supply the funds for the pledge.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...