Friday, January 1, 2010

Saved through Faith

“For it is through grace you have been saved,

through faith and this not from yourselves,

it is a gift of Godso that no one can boast.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ

Jesus to do good works, which God prepared

in advance for us to do” Eph 2:8-10 NIV

When we come to Christ. He accepts us and forgives us our sins. Prior to this, He uses prevenient grace to work in our hearts. God knows what will cause us to surrender to Him. He wants all his created children to become his spiritual children.

The passage in Ephesians 2:8 says something that caught my eye, “For it is by grace you have been saved ,through faithand this not from yourselves. . . .”

The faith that Paul discusses here is a gift from God Himself.

During Advent, one of my fellow bloggers wrote about the gifts God gave her throughout the season. I decided to keep a list of what God had made me aware of during the time leading to Christmas. I found it interesting that I became aware of small things in my life: A hug from a wait staff person at a restaurant. I have known her for several years but I didn’t think it was her way. A phone call from a church friend who needed to tell me she might have to work that night rather than be at drama practice. A personal invitation to eat with the family after a friend’s husband’s funeral.

God loves us so much He gives us gifts in order to help us grow in Him.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mustard Seeds and Faith

“ . . . I tell you the truth, if you have faith as

small as a mustard seed, you can say

to this mountain, Move from here

to there, and it will move. Nothing will

be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 NIV

How much faith does it take to live on this earth? Can our faith grow and become stronger?

Jesus says our faith, even as small as a mustard seed, will allow us to overcome issues no matter the size.

The mustard seed is very tiny. But, given the proper nourishment and care, one seed will mature into a plant (The NIV says tree.) large enough to house birds. (Matthew 13:31-32) I wonder how long it takes to grow a mustard “tree”.

When I was a child, a lot of women had mustard seed charms dangling from their wrist watches. Since I became an adult, I notice no one has them anymore. A friend gave me one a few years ago. I put it on a necklace chain with a cross my husband gave me. Over time, I misplaced the mustard seed.

What is the proper nourishment needed to grow our faith. A plant or tree needs roots, Christian believers also need roots. We need to be grounded in God’s Word. A growing organism requires food and water, God’s children require fellowship of like- minded people to foster their growth in the faith. Members of the plant kingdom attain growth with the right amount of sunshine. Followers of God benefit from spending time in His presence through prayer.

When we fellowship with other believers, study God’s Word, and prayerfully lay our requests at His feet, our faith will grow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sure and Confident

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for

and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

What can we be sure of in this world? Can we be sure of having tomorrow? Can we be positive all things will be the same for us in the future? Can we rely on our resources and wit to get us through this life?

Can we be certain we or our family members will escape having a serious or debilitating illness? Can we be certain our children will be healthy and have successful lives?

The answer to all the above answers is the same, “No.” There is an old adage that goes, “There’s nothing certain in this world, except death and taxes.”

How often does one hear of a friend’s demise and say, “I saw him just yesterday.” An online friend of mine lost her husband right before Thanksgiving. The day before he died, he played ping pong with friends. Years ago, a high school girl went to a basketball game and succumbed to a heart attack at a sock hop in the gym after the game. We can never be sure of what is going to happen in this world. But, we have to have faith in Jesus Christ to get us through the personal, and the societal, difficult times. The issue believers deal with is what faith is.

We know the sun will shine tomorrow, but the clouds might keep it from view. We take the first part of the last sentence on faith. We are sure of it, we believe it.

We trust that every time we flick a light switch, we will have lights. This is a type of faith. We rely on our vehicles to start when we turn the keys. Also, a type of faith But we well know that light bulbs burn out and cars don’t always start. Car batteries lose their charges. We had trouble with ignition systems over the years.

But faith in God is something unique. The writer of Hebrews tells us it is the certainty of what we don’t see. We believe Jesus is with us each day. We feel His presence when we pray, as we worship, when we need Him.

I once heard a man relate an acrostic for faith: Forsaking All In Trusting Him. Can we be confident about events in our lives that look bad for us? Can we be sure God will be with us every day? Do we know He IS with us when we face difficult times? When our faith is strong, we can say, “Yes.”

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 ...