02 May 2016

Faith to Respond

Many times we say that we are Woman of Faith or Men of Faith.  However is our faith actually applicable to our everyday life or do we just pull it out during an emergency? Is your faith a lifestyle or just something you use to identify yourself with others.  

Amazingly enough, the opposite of faith is when we place ourselves in a place where faith is not required. When we secure our future, and we leave no room for God to work in our lives that is not faith.  When we want to take control over our timelines and plans, we have no faith that functions.  Having doubt does not mean you have no faith. However, the lack of faith it wants the certainty that you so much desire.

Faith is not an emotion; it knows that God is in every detail of your life regardless of your circumstances.  It means that your faith works in the middle of your doubts and the middle of your fears.  It is about actually having faith that is applicable in the small decisions of our lives as it shall apply in the big ones too.

Any occasion requires faith.  During these occasions, God will convict our dysfunction.  God utilizes these opportunities to heal deep issues of the heart.  Which is why we should reach out for a faith we can access all the time.  Our faith should work even when our body does not work.  Our faith should work even when we are facing our fears.  Our faith should work even in the middle of depression.  Our faith should work even when our children are misbehaving.  That is unshakable faith, a faith not based on the outcome of the occasion. Our faith is to change our outlook during the season.  

In Mark 3:5 we see that "...he looked around at them (the Pharisees) with anger, grieved at their hardness heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."  He stretched it out, and his hand was restored."

What is interesting about this story is that Jesus required the man first to RESPOND to his faith.  He asked the man first to stretch out his hand.  He required the man first to take action in faith before seeing the outcome of the situation.  Many times we want restoration before responding.  But, we know that Jesus is commanding something different.  He requires us to take effort first by responding in faith.  By responding without knowing if it is going to all work out at the end.

 As the man stretched out his hand, Jesus restored and healed Him.  Is it only when we respond in faith that we can see the plan in our life.  It is only when we walk in faith blindly and trusting the Lord that we see the goodness of Him.

God first stretches us out in a particular occasion because He is waiting for us to RESPOND. God will always require us to do something that we have not been able to do. Faith will require us to do the impossible. 

What is your faith calling you out to respond today?

18 April 2016

Under Pressure

I was driving down to Los Angeles to meet with a friend, and once more God amazes me on how He speaks to us in different ways.  I was listening to the radio; perhaps it was the fish or air one.  Can't quite remember at this time.  For those of you who reside somewhere besides California, know it was a hot ninety-degree weather down in LA this weekend.  Some of us might have woken up thinking it was summer already.  Like usual the freeways were crowded, so I had plenty of time to reflect on what I am about to share with you.  

I was still processing a message I had heard over the weekend at youth group based on the Potter and Clay (But now, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. -Isaiah 64:8).  We only heard the first part of the message, but it was enough to get my mind going in many different directions.  Reflecting on how God continues to move us out of our comfort zone and many times that can be quite, well, discomforting!

I was thinking that in the process of molding us we are placed into the furnace.  I think that is when we begin to feel the pressure.  So where am I getting at, you may ask?

I believe that when we are under pressure, the things we continue dealing with in our character come out.  If you are someone who deals with anger, when you are under pressure you are most likely to have an anger outburst.  If you are someone who deals with pride or self-righteousness, then you will begin to justify your actions.  If you are someone who deals with worry and fear, then you will most likely lose some sleep anticipating the worse outcome. If you are someone who deals with self-doubt or low self-esteem, then you are most likely to hear lies about yourself and believe them.  

But, this is necessary for God to refine us.  It is a good sign that you are all in for Jesus, and you are allowing Him to mold you.  If we aren't placed under pressure and into the furnace, we will never be able to grow.  The process might be quite exhausting, after all, it is quite humbling to go to the throne and admit to God how weak we are without Him.

May our prayer be that there is more of Him within us and less of us!

17 April 2016

Core Christianity: Finding Yourself In God's Story

In Core Christianity: Finding Yourself In God's Story by Michael Horton you will find the basic doctrine and theology of what being a Christian is about it. Horton does an exceptional job in describing the vital roots of the Christian doctrine by providing well explained and applicable definitions.  He hits the right points from believing Jesus is the son of God to focus on the biblical promises over our lives.

Horton provides historical background on Christianity, and it is a book to be kept around to refer to later.  This book will be ideal for a leader who is currently disciplining a new believer.  The books provide historical background, theological knowledge and the core beliefs of Christianity.

Horton style of writing in this book is simple enough for a new believer to understand what Horton is explaining.  It will take some time to sit and reflect on the points he makes.  I like how to hit the basic core beliefs of Christianity with a simple yet clear explanation of how we are part of God's story.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this by the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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