Keep the Faith

Keep the Faith

Faith can seem like a strange thing. One day you are on top of the world. You are facing huge obstacles, yet you are trusting God and you know way down deep in that place that’s hard to describe, that you are going to come through this OK.

In fact, you are quite sure that the obstacles are crumbling before you.

Then there are other days. (You know, one of “those” days).

Just getting out of bed in the morning seems like a huge feat – and one that you might not be able to pull off!

So what happened? How can that be?

One day you’re up; one day you’re down. One day you see yourself right up there with David …and Paul! The next day, you’re more like Demas, the loser.

Will you ever be consistent and not wavering? You begin to doubt your ability to walk with God in a reputable way. Can you truly be His person?

Yes, you can. You just have to understand the nature of faith and why it may seem elusive.

One way to grasp the right perspective would be to compare your spiritual strength to your natural strength.

Life is fluid. Health is fluid. Strength is fluid. Strength of any kind is not like an object which you acquire and proudly display. It is part of your living being, and as in any part of life, there are efforts which are essential to maintain it.

Consider an athlete – such as an NFL player. Can you imagine what would happen if he took his strength for granted? He wouldn’t be around very long.

Even when he looks and acts like he has arrived at the zenith of physical perfection, he continues to work out and to practice. And, if he suffers an injury and has to sit out for awhile, his training increases to a new level upon his return. The athlete knows that his strength, endurance, and physical expertise are totally dependent on practice and training. He would never expect to maintain his desired level of achievement while in a total rest mode.

We need to take a lesson from the athletes. We need to honor the precious thing we call faith – our belief in God – our trust in His Word – and our zealous appropriation of all that He has for us. We must realize that our fath is a living thing. It grows or it diminishes. And a lot of the current status of this precious faith is dependent upon our current mindset.

The Bible says that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The nutrition which feeds our faith is God’s Word, and if we aren’t nourishing our spirits with his rich food, our faith will be diminishing. Even if yesterday we considered ourselves spiritual giants, yesterday’s food will not keep us full of faith. It’s like the manna in the wilderness which became rancid on the next day. We need fresh food everyday.

Let’s go a little deeper.

“Word” in Romans 10:17 is the Greek word “rhema.” It means the spoken word. The revealed word.

As you read the Bible, verses will seem to leap off the page and “speak” to you. You will sense that God is speaking those verses to you personally, and your faith will be built up by them.

As you meditate on those words, they will become planted in your heart and your mind. They will become yours to believe and to act upon.

Then in Jude 20, we see that faith is built up by praying in the spirit. So how is your daily prayer life? Do you check in with your spiritual headquarters every day, listening for direction, heeding His nudge, and listening for His voice of encouragement and affirmation?

Do you speak His Word into the atmosphere around you, changing the fog of delusion into the clarity of His vision?

Remember, yesterday’s manna is rancid. (Exodus 16: 15-20). Every day we start with a new need for our Father and His Word. Every day we have an opportunity to build on our strength of the past, or to allow that strength to recede.

Staying the same is never an option.

As a pastor, my husband led those in our church to say often, “I believe God.”

That seems so simple, you might think, well of course we do. But as you say those simple words, you will find your spirit leaping within you. A resounding, “yes!” You do indeed believe God and not man.

All of society around us needs us to be true believers, strong in our understanding and faith.

So let me encourage you. Believe God and strengthen your faith continually.

Read His Word. Pray. Do those things which build up your faith, and those things which cause it to continue.

When you find discouragement creeping into your thoughts, run to Gods Word. Ask Him for guidance in what to read. Then read and meditate. Allow that Word to become part of you.

If you do these things, you will keep the faith!

Do You Hear God’s Call?

Do You Hear God’s Call?

God is calling many people today… Do you hear His call?

You might have to listen closely because there is so much other noise – loud noise.

God’s call is more subtle, but if you hear it, it will be the most powerful sound you’ll ever hear.

Some call it a “still, small voice.”

Others identify it as a dream or vision.

Many more may even think of it as an inner “knowing.”

However it comes, it heralds the same message.

God is calling many to wake up to Him, to their place in the earth, and to a life of tremendous purpose. (more…)

Times: They Are A-Changin’

Times: They Are A-Changin’

“Times: they are a-changin.” Bob Dylan made that phrase popular during the 60’s. It may have been true in that season, but it has never been truer than today.

When I say that, you might think that I am talking about the negative changes in our society, with its lawlessness and its rebellion against God and His Word. But that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about some good changes. In fact I believe the changes I’m talking about are gifts from God . Changes to help us navigate the waters of our current society, throwing out life boats to all who will pay attention.

So what are these gifts? Let’s take a little trek back through history, and I think that we will see God’s new gifts with more perspective. Throughout the centuries, God has inspired creativity to flow through the minds of men so that inventions could elevate their lives – bringing comfort and opportunity.

1450 was one of those significant moments for western civilization. Prior to that date, messages were hard to deliver – whether those messages were political, religious, or of newsworthy events. Every message had to be written by hand and even carried by a courier to reach its appointed destination.

In 1450, Johannes Gutenburg revolutionized the world with his invention of the printing press. No longer was the sending of messages so time-consuming. Now books and other writings could be mass produced and distributed with greater ease. Yet the sending of these written materials was still difficult – with couriers on foot, horseback, or in wagons doing the job. The manuscripts could be written, but they were still expensive and hard to come by. Only the elite and educated could benefit from this revolution.

Fast forward a few hundred years, and we see a century which brought more dramatic changes than ever in history. As the nineteenth century turned over to the twentieth, transportation began to come of age. Trains, automobiles, and airplanes introduced incredible opportunities for people to get from one place to another quite quickly – and for the written materials to get from one place to another, as well. Books, magazines, and newspapers gained in popularity.

People could read the messages, but couldn’t hear them. So the inventions which surrounded the ability to transmit sound came on the scene. The telephone, phonographs, and the radio again changed the way people lived. Most of us have seen pictures of a family gathered around a huge radio as they heard  President Roosevelt tell the nation that we were at war. Or as they listened to Orson Wells deliver his drama. So the message could now be heard.

Soon to come was the introduction of seeing the speakers as well. Motion pictures, and then television, transformed society. Even to this day these two inventions are significant in molding the thoughts of people throughout the world. Sometimes influencing for good – and sometimes influencing for evil.

Well, the last of the twentieth century introduced the most amazing discovery of all times. The computer. At first, it was cumbersome and slow – as businesses (and only the largest, at that) had equipment rooms the size of small houses in order to hold the necessary machinery. Yet, as we all know, that too has changed.

Today we are still in the middle of a technological revolution. With the introduction of the internet , the cell phone, and much smaller computer devices, we have access to information from around the world at our fingertips. The most remote parts of the world are available to us in a moment any time, day or night.

When you stop for a moment and think about it, this is truly amazing!

We can clearly see that God Himself has been behind this revolution and  it is so important for us to “get this right.” God has given us an opportunity to reach mankind in an unprecedented way. I want to be a part of His great plan, and I realize that it’s up to me to take that opportunity.

Now all of these inventions throughout the generations have been conveniences which were neither good nor bad in themselves. At every juncture of advancement, there have been some who used the new means of reaching people in a godly way and others in an ungodly way. The same presses which could print tawdry novels, could also print the Bible. The television, which could send pornography to your home, could also allow you to participate in a world-wide revival event.

I remember years ago hearing some Christian leaders lament the fact that Christian groups had not embraced the television soon enough. When TV first came out, many Christians thought that it was a tool for evil, and shunned it altogether. Years later, some leaders thought how different society could have been if the leaders had embraced the technology immediately – bringing God’s message and good Christian programming to the world from the start.

Today, something similar is here. There are those who sit back and see the newer technologies as only evil. They just want their people to stay away from the devices.

I see something different.

I believe that we have an unprecedented opportunity – given to us by God – to deliver His message of hope to all the world.

Not even radio or television had the ability to go into all the world. The internet does. Even the most remote villages around the world are being targeted for some form of internet service.

The internet is more effective than any invention in history when we use it well. And not only is it effective, it’s surprisingly inexpensive.

Publishing books the old fashioned way can be expensive. Running radio or television programs can go into the millions.

The cost of getting your message online can be almost nothing.

What a powerful blessing we have at our fingertips!

So let’s do it! Join me in a mission to impact the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the good life which goes with it.

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The Power of Hope

The Power of Hope

There is power in hope. Regardless of the way things may look, when you have hope, you can count on a brighter future.

For 25 years we lived in a house which had been built in 1877. While there, one of my delights was being surprised by many outbursts of color as shrubs bloomed or bulbs suddenly created a splash on the scene.

And there were trees galore – of all sizes and shapes.

One of my favorites was an oddity. There was a tree which had been cut down, but which had refused to quit! It had a stump dwindling away, but right in the middle of the stump, was a tree. Standing tall and proud, this tree had grown right up out of the center of that stump.

Defiant.

Determined.

I loved that tree. It wasn’t really the prettiest one around, but it spoke volumes to me.

Then I ran across these verses.

For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again. And its shoots will not fail.

Though its roots grow old in the ground, and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant. (Job 14:7-9)

That tree became a picture of hope for me.

Is there something in your life which seems dead? Your career? Your marriage? Your relationship with a child?

If so, pray and ask God to show you how to proceed. He is a God of Hope, and He will begin to impress upon you pictures which are different from what you see with your eyes.

Ask Him to guide you to verses in the Bible which uphold your vision of hope, and start speaking those verses to yourself and to the world around you.

As you do this, you will be developing your very own arsenal of weapons against fear, doubt, and depression. You will find yourself seeing with spiritual eyes more than the natural.

Then do what He says.

That’s how you fight the good fight of faith. And it’s how you turn things around.

Now be persistent and be patient.

Be like that Tree of Hope in my yard.

When that tree first got cut down, I’m certain that it looked completely dead. There was no evidence that any life remained.

But at the scent of water (in your case the scent of the Holy Spirit speaking life to you), the green in the tree began to grow. It had to fight its way to become a tree again. It had to be persistent and patient.

Eventually the shoot overcame the obstacles and won its right to be a tree again.

That’s like you and like me. We are determined not to be cut down and destroyed.

We are coming back. We will make the changes we need to make, and we will come back. Stronger. Taller.

That’s the way it is when we follow our God’s direction. We always have hope for a better day.

Our God is faithful to guide us to that victory.

May your Christmas season be filled with God’s hope!

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Christian Roots of the USA

Christian Roots of the USA

The elections are on everyone’s mind now. And there are so many varying opinions.

I happened to run across a bunch of quotes today which i had compiled several years ago. These are quotes from the founders of our great nation. It brings tears to your eyes when you realize what great duress people went through in the early years of establishing the nation. Yet they were dedicated because of a great purpose.

They paid a great price for the freedoms we enjoy – and even take for granted.

I know that they got lots of things wrong. But when you look at our history, you can see God’s hand bringing repentance and clarity again and again.  He’s not through with us. But for us to get this right, we have to run toward God and not away from Him. He will continue to change hearts and lives.

When searching the historical papers of the founding fathers, the Christian theme comes up again and again. Here are a few of the quotes which bring inspiration to believers. The importance of every believer voting for righteous men is truly revealed in these quotes.

Be inspired by them – and then vote for righteous people. 

 John Adams

We electors have an important constitutional power placed in our hands; we have a check upon two branches of the legislature . . . the power I mean of electing at stated periods [each] branch. . . . It becomes necessary to every [citizen] then, to be in some degree a statesman, and to examine and judge for himself of the tendency of political principles and measures. Let us examine, then, with a sober, a manly . . . and a Christian spirit; let us neglect all party [loyalty] and advert to facts; let us believe no man to be infallible or impeccable in government any more than in religion; take no man’s word against evidence, nor implicitly adopt the sentiments of others who may be deceived themselves, or may be interested in deceiving us.

[John Adams, The Papers of John Adams, Robert J. Taylor, ed. (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1977), Vol. 1, p. 81, from “‘U’ to the Boston Gazette” written on August 29, 1763.]

Samuel Adams

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.]

Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.]

Matthias Burnett

Consider well the important trust . . . which God . . . [has] put into your hands. . . . To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]. . . . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you. . . . [L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. . . . Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutely oppose the torrent of iniquity. . . . Watch over your liberties and privileges – civil and religious – with a careful eye.

[Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803 (Hartford: Printed by Hudson & Goodwin, 1803), pp. 27-28.]

Frederick Douglass

I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]. This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.

[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]

Charles Finney

[T]he time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them. . . . Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently. . . . Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you He does see it – and He will bless or curse this nation according to the course they [Christians] take [in politics].

[Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1868), Lecture XV, pp. 281-282.]

Thanks to www.wallbuilders.com for providing these documents.

Isn’t it amazing to see how unashamed our forefathers were of proclaiming for righteousness and truth. They were clear in their attitude toward the slack minded, and they were totally committed to Godly character.

Be inspired as you meditate on these quotes.