When Faith Fails

We all have faith in something or someone. It is a natural human tendency to believe, even if we just believe in our self. Humans are usually optimistic and hopeful.

We believe that the sun will come up tomorrow, our job and bank account are secure, our car will start, the chair will hold us when we sit down, our children will grow up to be successful and happy, and a myriad of other concepts using faith.

Yet, when we let our self down, or the object of our faith fails us, what happens to us? Our hope is shredded, we get discouraged and we vow never to trust again.

At best, it takes weeks and sometimes years to have the courage to believe in anything once again. We may start to believe and then give up, feeling the pain of our former disappointment.

There is only one secure object of our faith and devotion: Jesus Christ. He is exceptionally dependable and perpetually faithful (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19).

We see His hand in His creation (Romans 1:20), in a kind word, a child’s delight, a friend’s smile, a flower growing in the crack of the sidewalk and in normal, everyday life.

Jesus gives us His joy and peace in exchange for our misery and defeat. He provides all of our needs according to His glorious riches. He deeply cares about us individually.

Yet, to believe in Christ for salvation takes humility. We humble our pride, surrender to God’s hand on our life and pledge to have faith in His faithfulness.

Prayer:

Father God, until we experience Your sovereignty and blessings in our life, we find it impossible to have faith in Your faithfulness. We cannot see or hear You; yet we feel your presence, order and power all around us.

Increase our faith in You and help us to cling to You when everything else in our life fails us. Bring peace to our soul even in the midst of the worst trials and tribulation, so that we can live as an example of your faithfulness to Your children.

Thought for the Day:

We can trust in God’s faithfulness, even when we do not see a solution to our problems.

Unreached People Groups

In this modern world, it seems impossible that there are still people who have never heard the gospel of Christ (Acts 4:12). They have had little to no opportunity for outreach and evangelism (Revelation 15:4).

An unreached people group is one that has less than 2% of Believers in their country and has no church planting capabilities or Bibles in a language, which they can understand.

Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the world and to preach the gospel to every nation (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20). Christians in every succeeding century have followed suit.

Of course, America and England sent out the most missionaries so far. However, in today’s spiritual climate, other countries are now sending missionaries to England and America, due to our lack of faithful, committed Believers. Churches are continually closing here.

We are afraid to speak to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors about the difference that Christ makes in our life, and how God’s unconditional love provides us with so many benefits both now and in eternity (Romans 15:21; Psalm 67:1-3).

The Apostle Paul is a great example to us, since he took several missionary journeys covering large land areas and started over 50 churches to carry on the ministry of spreading God’s Word to the masses (Romans 1:5).

God calls all Believers, even today, to reach as many people in our area of influence and to plant as many churches as there is a need, in order to take as many people to Heaven with us as we possibly can (Revelation 5:9, 7:9-10; Mark 13:10; Acts 13:45-47).

Prayer:
Father God, as we go about our day, remind us to preach, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and then to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and cleanse the lepers (Luke 24:45-47; Matthew 10:8).

Help us to be strong and courageous, because wherever we go, You are there with us and in us (Joshua 1:9). Move by Your Holy Spirit in the lives of people we know and those unreached people groups all over the world, so that the soil of their lives will be ready to receive the seeds of the gospel, which we commit to spread as sowers of Your Word (Matthew 13:18-23).

Thought for the Day:
All the ends of the earth shall remember what Jesus did and turn to Him, and all the families of the nations of the world shall worship before Him. – Psalm 2:8, 22:27, 67:5-7, 98:2-3

Hope in God – Part 1

During trials and setbacks, Satan discourages us and makes us doubt God’s love. We lose our hope, until we totally surrender our human confidence, dreams and goals to God (Proverbs 3:5-6).

No matter how long or dreadful we suffer in this world, we never lose our hope in God (Psalm 39:7). His Saints love Him, because the Lord faithfully preserves those who are faithful to Him.

We can strengthen our heart and have strong courage, because our hope is in God, not in our self or what we want out of life (Psalm 31:23-24). God never abandons our soul or brings us to ruin.

He leads us in His path of life. We find fullness of joy in His presence; and as we serve Him, we are delighted all the days of our life (Psalm 16:10-11).

Even when we suffer with negative emotions like discouragement and stress, we can still hope in God. As we praise Him, He puts a smile on our lips, a twinkle in our eyes and a jaunt in our steps (Psalm 42:5-6).

He encourages us and our soul rejoices as we remember His goodness and provision (Psalm 42:11). As we hope in God we hear His voice and recognize Him as our Lord and Savior (Psalm 38:15).

As we remember all that God does for us and the words He speaks to us, we set our hope in Him. He comforts us in our trials and His Son and His Word give us life (Psalm 78:7, 119:49-50).

Prayer:
Father God, You are our hiding place in times of insecurity and our shield when life frightens us (Psalm 119:114). Our soul waits for You, more than the night watchmen eagerly wait for the morning, and we put all of our hope in Your Word (Psalm 130:5-6).

Those who do not have a personal relationship with You are sick at heart, but our desire is for You. You bless us with Your life within us (Proverbs 13:12; John 14:6). As we walk in Your righteous ways, we have peace and joy (Proverbs 10:28).

Thought for the Day:
We continually hope in God and praise Him more and more every day. – Psalm 71:14

School of Hard Knocks

Life often sends us through a crash course at the School of Hard Knocks. We feel overwhelmed and hopeless, because of the weight of disappointment smothering the life right out of us.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we have Father God, Brother Jesus and their Spirit – who defend, protect, advise, guide, provide for and love us, so much that Jesus laid down His own life for us (1 John 2:1; John 14:16, 15:13).

We can have faith in God’s faithfulness, because He proves His love for us each moment of every day. He provides a miracle to accompany every trial, such as: spiritual growth, lessons learned, or blessings, which come in spite of our suffering.

In our trials, God surrounds us with His ministering angels, provides for our needs, builds our faith, gives us wisdom to share with others, and uses us as an example of one who maintains faith in God (Hebrews 1:14; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:7; Luke 22:32).

God’s Spirit uses trials to shape in us the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, faith, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:3).

God also teaches us contentment, which fills our heart regardless of the severity of the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). God continually abides in us through everything we ever experience (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

At times, Satan tempts us to blame God for our losses and to feel anger towards Him for what we perceive as Him letting us down. However, God sees the big picture and He allows trials for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, as we live through the school of hard knocks, remind us to adopt an attitude of joyful acceptance and thanksgiving. Help us to focus on Your sovereign purpose in everything we experience (Romans 8:28). Remind us to trust in Your foreknowledge and grace (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 4:16).

Your infinite ways exceed our finite human understanding; therefore, we can always trust that You have our good at heart.
We trust in Your faithfulness to fulfill all of Your promises, even when the circumstances appear hopeless.

Thought for the Day:
Praising God in and through trials helps us to feel contentment in spite of them and gratitude for His presence in us through each one of them. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18; John 17:23

New Creation – Part 2

God started a good work in me and continues to make me a new creation (Philippians 1:6). Introspection was an affliction, which contributed to my low self-esteem and introverted tendencies. God’s Holy Spirit healed this burden by ending my negative self-talk and filling me with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

I tended to be one-track minded and had no skill for multi-tasking, until my children were born – what mother does not learn to multi-task?

Fighting depressive thoughts and looking at the glass as half-empty were two other melancholic traits, from which God delivered me. He taught me to focus on the eternal rather than the earthly; eventually worldly cares and concerns stopped bothering me so much.

Feeling like a victim or a savior were two other traits, which God freed me from by reminding me that I am more than a conqueror and Jesus is the only Savior the world needs (Romans 8:37; 1 John 4:14).

Holding grudges caused me problems until God taught me about forgiveness – not only about forgiving others, but about forgiving myself as well (Matthew 6:14-15). Mercy and grace became my guide stones.

Worry is another weakness, which plagued my life until God taught me to have faith in His faithfulness and that He would eventually work out everything, even the most negative situation, for my good (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, these negative natural tendencies crippled my life and gave me a pessimistic outlook. I could not see the joy You created all around me. As you transform me to have the mind of Christ, all of nature, each person I encounter and every detail of my day become an adventure and a blessing in my life. I look forward to each new day in Your presence. Thank You for making me a new creation.

Thought for the Day:
Transformation is a voyage of discovery of who we are in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Connected to the Vine

In our first months and years after Salvation, we attempt to please God. I made a list of all the commandments in the Bible. No really, I did! I posted the list so I could read them and keep these laws every day. I wanted to earn God’s love. About ten years later, a Christian brother shared the truth with me that we do not need to earn God’s love, because it is a free gift (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).

He explained that God did not want an army of robots, but a Body of Believers who trusted in Him explicitly with every area of their life. About this same time, a saying became very popular, “Let go and let God.” This mantra encourages us to relinquish control of our life and to turn everything over to God (Proverbs 3:5-6).

When we stop molding our self, we give Christ room to shape us into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). This allows Him to reach everyone in our sphere of influence. He gives us His heart and He loves and serves others through us. We no longer live for our self, but Christ lives in and through us by His Spirit (Galatians 2:20). He is the Vine and we are the branches.

Branches do not produce any fruit; the Vine produces the fruit through each branch (John 15:4-5). In the same way, we do not accomplish great feats for God; He accomplishes His will through us (Ephesians 2:10). God fills us with His Spirit and we go where He wants us to go and do what He calls us to do. Our only effort is to surrender to the leading of God’s Spirit.

Prayer:
Father God, through our connection to the Vine of Christ, You fill us with the fruit of Your Spirit. You justify us by our faith in Your faithfulness, and You flood our heart and mind with Your peace (Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7). When this world frightens and discourages us, You flood our heart with Your peace, as we keep our focus on You, rather than on what occurs around us (Isaiah 26:3; John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
In this modern day of technology, we can easily blog and use social media opportunities to share the gospel of Christ throughout the entire world. – Mark 16:15

Create your own blog and spread God’s Word:
https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/1623800?hl=en

Trusting in the Almighty

The Lord preserves our life and inspires our devotion to Him (Psalm 97:10). He is our God and saves everyone who trusts in Him (Psalm 86:2). Our eyes are on the Lord, and we take refuge in Him. He will never leave our soul – our mind, will and emotions – destitute (Psalm 141:8). He is our constant help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Even if the earth erupts in multiple tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes, which level the mountains, surge the roaring waves from the sea and level the earth with quakes, we have no need to be afraid (Psalm 46:2-3). We simply cry out to Him, who is our provision for as long as we live on this earth (Psalm 142:5).

God listens to our prayers and pays attention to our requests. He faithfully answers us with His righteous choices (Psalm 143:1). He allows those who trust in Him to experience His unfailing love with each new morning. As we lift up our thoughts, choices and feelings to Him, He reveals His direction for our day (Psalm 143:8).

God’s hand deals out blessings and trials as we need them for our perfection. He allows defeat to mold us into His divine nature. He uses adversity to prove His faithfulness and to increase our faith in Him. Our weakness proves our need for His strength. Our independence melts in the furnace of affliction and we depend on Him more each day.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to listen to Your Spirit so that we may decrease as You increase in our life (John 3:30). Give us a hunger for Your life-giving Word of Truth, which nourishes and satisfies the longing of our soul (Psalm 107:9). Replace our hardened heart with one of flesh that is pliable under the nurturing of Your Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 11:19).

Thought for the Day:
We will not harden our heart to the Truth of God’s Word, but respond to every phrase, and trust in the Almighty as we follow the direction of His voice. – John 10:27; Hebrews 3:15