Friday, June 10, 2016

Perseverance

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               “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

                Once, I was in a Bible study where I was asked to define perseverance. My respond was simply, "Keep on, keeping on." Now, I believe it to mean something deeper. We can only go through the deep waters of life with God by our side.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines perseverance as the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness.
               When we pray for God to take away a difficult circumstance from either our lives or the lives of others, we do a disservice to those for whom we pray. When we ask God to remove an issue from our lives, we negate the lesson God want us to learn.

               Paul tells us we are to rejoice in our sufferings. I believe he means that we should take the bad things that happen in our stride.

Jesus tells us to rest in Him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28 NIV) “Solomon teaches us to ‘trust in the Lord and not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
              
               All difficult times one goes through in life, if we deal with them calmly and peaceably, strengthen us emotionally as well as spiritually. When we trust God to guide us through these issues, we will come away with newfound strength, greater resolve, a deeper understanding about things of this life.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Faith

keithburnettministries.com

               “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

            In baking, we have ingredients that are essential to each recipe. There is a quantity of flour, sugar, eggs, spices, and some type of liquid. Because I have an intolerance to gluten—a protein present in wheat, barley, and rye, I have had to forego the pleasure of eating baked goods, until recently.

            Because our son brought me back some preserves, jelly, and apple butter from his recent vacation, I was in need of what I call “my” bread. While I was shopping for the gluten-free bread, I found all sorts of new products available. They even had gluten-free flour.

            What does my wonderful discovery have to do with a discussion about faith? Faith is a basic ingredient to our Christian belief. The writer of Hebrews says it in plain language; “without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

            As I understand this verse, it is necessary for us to believe that God is real and that He gives us comfort and sustains us when we have issues, health or interpersonal, in our lives.

            The writer of Hebrews tells his readers and us of the importance of faith in our Christian walk. He tells us we have to believe that God is real.

            We have God’s Word to tell us He is near to us. If our hearts cannot grasp this, we have to exercise our faith and trust that He is who He says He is. I have had some personal concerns and some about some of my friends recently. However, I have tried to remain close to God and He has been very comforting to me during my times of prayer and devotional readings.

            In my reading a devotional book by T. D. Jakes, I found the following; “When we believe God, we are counted as righteous. Righteousness cannot be earned or merited. It comes only through faith” 1


1.      WOMAN thou are Healed and WHOLE, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg PA © 2016, page 133

Monday, June 6, 2016

Child-like Faith

gingerharrington.com

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.'” Matthew 18:1-6

            In a recent discussion at mid-week Bible Study, we put together a list of qualities of a child that speak of faith. Children of God should strive for these qualities.

Trusting “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

            When I was a child, I used to hear my dad say, “I don’t understand” a lot. One day, when I was responsible for his affairs, I found myself saying the same thing. Immediately, God checked me by reminding me of this Bible verse.

            Obedient- “To obey is better than sacrifice. To heed is better than the fat of the lamb.” 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)

            When we learn about life, we learn all actions have consequences. When we obeyed our parents, things were better. The times I messed up, I knew I had to do all my chores quickly By doing this I tried to get in my mother’s good graces. Had I not gotten into trouble, my motive should have been more in line with doing the right thing rather than trying to get out of the ‘dog house.’
        
            Loving- “And now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”         1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

            As God’s children, we are to love everybody, even those who are unlovely. If left to our own strength, this can be hard to do. Have you ever tried to befriend someone who most people seemed to shy away from? Did the others make their thoughts about the person known to you? Were you able to love both the one you befriended and the ones who did not show any love?
            I met a lady at church who told a group of us; “Jesus commands we love one another, however, we do not always like another person’s behavior.” I have thought of this idea many times over the years.

            Forgiving- “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the LORD has forgiven you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

            I ran across this verse several years ago. When I read it, I had to re-read it. I later learned we need to forgive others for our own sakes. A few years later, I had to choose to forgive a relative through Jesus. I could never discuss with her how I could forgive and not want to be around her.

            Dependent- “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock and my refuge.” Ps. 62:7 (NIV)
           
            As we grow in the Lord, we become more aware of our inability to be self-reliant. We learn through reading His Word that God tells us to forgive one another from our hearts. We have to learn to rely on Jesus. God guides us through each issue we face in our lives.

            Humble- “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)


            As we mature in Christ we become less and He becomes more (John 3:30, NIV.) We look at ourselves with God’s eyes. In a word, we surrender. We give up the things we know about ourselves and turn them over to God.

Interview with a Roman Soldier

ubdavid.com Quiet Spirit: Today, we have with us Servius Antonius Balduinus, a Roman soldier who was garrisoned at Jerusalem during th...