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Day 14

Faith

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I was reading through a You Version Bible devotional and encountered this entry on Faith. May reading this impact yours.

“The Lord expects his people to trust in him at all times. How clearly this is seen in the record of his earthly life. Faith to him was “natural” and he marveled at unbelief. He expects the royal official to trust his word as he walks the lonely road back to Capernaum (John 4:50). Even in the face of death he looks for faith. So he says to Martha, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?“ (John 11:25,26). The burden of his prayer for Peter is that his “faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32).

The nature of faith makes trust in the Lord a possibility at all times. For faith is not feeling, or sight, or mere human understanding. Faith is the helpless cast upon the Mighty, the weak leaning upon the Strong (S of S. 8:5). It is the obedience of those “called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:5-6), the confession of “Jesus as Lord” (Ps. 10:9).

Trusting the Lord at all times is not a cold, indifferent exercise but the pouring out of the heart before him.”

The Book That Transforms

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I’ve recently started reading “The Book That Transforms Nations” by Loren Cunningham.  Just a few pages in, the author challenges us with some serious food for thought. Quoting economist / author Dr. Michael Schluter, Cunningham states that perhaps God judges a nation not by its income but by how well it obeys Scripture. He then cites several areas of society where America leads the way – one of the highest divorce rates in the world, millions of inmates in prison, and addictions to everything from drugs to gambling to pornography. And, what guides our moral decisions? What do we rely on to make life’s choices? Well, according to a Barna Group poll, most Americans make their decisions based on “feelings” or “beneficial outcomes” for themselves. That might not be a huge surprise to you, but here’s the rub. How can this be true when over 84% of Americans identify themselves as Christians? Obviously, we are not living our lives and making decisions according to God’s Word. Seems like that needs to change. Do you agree, or do you have a better explanation? Think it over, and then pray as God leads you.

Healthy Competition?

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I recently read a devotional by Os Hillman that made me rethink some parts of my competitive nature.  Here’s some of what Os said:

“There is absolutely no place for competitiveness in ministry or marketplace activity if you understand God’s view of receiving. The Scripture tells us that we are not only to bless our competition, but we are also called to bless our enemies.”

“The reason we can do this is because our security and provision is not based on posturing ourselves against another, but fulfilling what God has called us to do. When we take a proactive step to bless another, we actually apply a Kingdom principle that results in greater blessing to others, the Kingdom of God and even to ourselves.  Some would say that we are in danger of losing “market share”. This is the worldly model of competition. Those who cannot bless others are insecure in their own calling and insecure in God’s ability to provide for their own enterprise.”

 

“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Ps 16:5-6).

Your thoughts?

Spiritual Economy

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Not long ago a friend shared with me about the “spiritual economy”.  He phrased it this way: “There’s a kind of spiritual or heavenly economy involved in this. It’s like we are breathing in, from God, receiving from Him and then obeying, internalizing what He has given us, making sure we embrace it. We make it part of who we are, then we exhale to the world around us, sharing what we have received.  The idea is — receive, obey, then share, which is very tied to the dual accountability of obedience and teaching others to obey which help us know it even better, as it goes from head to heart and hands. Whatever we get, we give away. It’s just the opposite of the world — which tries to keep what they get and charge others to give it to them.

So — We are blessed so we can bless. The question is — who, then, should we bless ?

First and foremost, God has placed us in relationship with many people.
We are responsible to steward these relationships.
He will hold us accountable for these relationships.

How can we be a blessing to them?

What can we do to empower them to take the next step in their faith journey with God?”

He summed it up very well, and I agree.  Check out the video below, where Curtis Sergeant shares some similar thinking.

Serious and Deliberate ?

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A friend recently shared with me about how he had engaged in spiritual conversations with college students back when he was working for a public university.  God set up the opportunities, and he took advantage of them. But as fruitful as many of those talks were, my friend felt that making disciples was something different.  He said, “Since then, I have concluded discipling is serious and deliberate.  It seems to be distinct from sharing in a moment. Both we must do. But, discipling seems to be more intimate, local and longer term.”  This speaks of intentionality, or purposeful investment, of life-on-life transformation. The opportunities are many, but so are the obstacles we place in the way. Are you ready to be “serious and deliberate” about making disciples among those around you?