Friday, August 13, 2010

How Does Faith Grow?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers,

whenever we face trials of many kinds,

because, you know that the testing

of your faith develops perseverance.

Perseverance must finish its work so you may

be complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:24).

When we ask Jesus into our hearts, we are instructed we can trust Him for our every need. As time passes, events take place that cause anxiety and strain our hearts and minds. If we remain with God and let Him guide us through them, we find our faith deepens.

In the book of James (James 1:2), the writer makes a statement that used to alarm me, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever we face trials of many kinds.” For many years, I stumbled over these words. I couldn’t find joy in my trials. While I have had my share of trials, most of the time, I either made myself sick or wore myself out trying to please everyone. I had to learn to work with the elements of each situation and wait for the outcome. God always brought me through.

One Sunday in church, we heard that passage again, but, that time, my mind honed in on the next verses, “because, you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so you may be complete, not lacking anything.” (:34). I realized what James was saying. We have to have these trials in order to grow stronger in our faith. It is through a strong faith we gain the ability to stay the course. As we learn to persevere our faith grows. Yes, as I see it, this process follows a circle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


“Remember Jesus Christ,

raised from the dead,

descended from David.

This is my gospel,”

2 Timothy 2:8

I had a bad week last week, people in the world controlled our days. In the process of going through preoperative procedures for my husband’s upcoming surgery, we had problems at every turn. Things I believe should not have happened. In the days this week we continue to be at risk of having other people (medicals) in control of our life.

The scripture I found Saturday morning, spoke to me, My Life Application notes in my Bible told me that Paul stated that Jesus was fully God and fully man.

These phrases set me to thinking. If Jesus was fully man, wouldn’t he experience all the emotions we do? Did our Lord ever have a bad day?

We read of Him clearing the temple. (anger?) He saw followers walk away. (frustration?) His response to the woman who was caught in adultery showed His Father’s love.

The last day Jesus lived constituted a bad day for Him, judged, flogged, beaten, humiliated, and mocked. He took upon himself all the sins of the world in order that we wouldn’t die because of ours. He did this with a willing heart, He did it for us. Put another way, He chose to. We should take Paul’s advice and remember who Jesus is. Everybody ought to know Him.

In Sunday School this past weekend, my teacher touched on the ‘fully God, fully man’ thought based on a passage written by Paul to the Philippians. I guess, I needed to ponder these thoughts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Thoughts on Worship

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:

be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4 (KJV)

Looking back, I remember a time when worship seemed bland. I could take it or leave it. Then, then church I belonged to held a special weekend of spiritual emphasis.

Those who came to minister to us asked others of their group to pray for them as they spoke. They talked about prayer partners. These ideas, while not foreign to me, were ones I hadn’t applied to my heart.

As the weekend came to a close, one of our ladies spoke of something I had truly never thought about. She said we need to prepare to worship as we would for company or for a time away from home. We need to search our hearts and clear up anything that stands between the Lord and us.

Another thing she reminded us was we need to ask the Holy Spirit into our house of worship-to be present at each service. These preparations allow our hearts to be lighter and more receptive to God’s leading in worship.

The process-simple as it sounds makes a difference in what I receive from the worship service.

In the Christmas carol, JOY TO THE WORLD, the writer inserts the phrase- “Let every heart prepare Him room.” As God’s children, we need to follow these words on at least a daily basis. While I don’t always practice these habits, I know when I do I will gain what I need from the worship hour. I intend to apply these customs daily.

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 ...