Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By faith...

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

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

By faith Noah...
By faith Abraham...
By faith Isaac...
By faith Jacob...
By faith Joseph...
By faith Moses...
By faith the people [Israelites] passes through the Red Sea..
By faith the walls of Jericho fell...
By faith the prostitute Rahab...
(Hebrews 11:7, 8, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31)

Faith is a challenging word.  It's an action word.  It requires something from a person.  Not only was the Old Testament filled with people of faith, but the New Testament as well.  From numerous healings, to raising Lazarus from the dead, feeding thousands with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, Peter walking on water, and many others. 

Just take the ten men healed from leprosy in Luke 17:11-19...specifically verse 14:
When he saw them, he said, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went they were cleansed.

Did you catch that?  AS THEY WENT.  Not right then and there with Jesus.  But as they left, in faith, to go to the priests.  They had to believe Jesus at His Word and obey before the healing came.  It was out of their obedient faith that they were healed. 

How many times does God require us to step out in obedient faith before He reveals what is going on?

Noah built an ark...and it had never even rained before.  Did he really know what an ark was or its purpose?

Abraham was called to where?  He didn't know.  God hadn't revealed that to him yet.  But he obeyed.  And he obeyed even when God told him to sacrifice Isaac.  Didn't make sense, but out of faith he obeyed.

The Israelites walked through the sea.  Out of faith they walked between two massive walls of water that could have swallowed them at any moment!

And really... who knew that simply marching around the walls of Jericho would send them crashing down?!  I wonder what went through the Israelites minds as they continually walked around and around the walls each day.  Did some think it was crazy?  Cause I know I would most definitely might be prone to think that!

No matter where you look in the Bible, faith is not an idle word.  It requires action.  It demands an abandonment to what may seem normal, and to trust in the unseen.  It demands that we break out of our comfortable little control box and step out into the unknown.  Scary.  Frightening.  Terrifying.  Makes me want to throw up.  But at the same time there is something electrifying in stepping out into the unknown.

When we step out in faith, our eyes are off of ourselves and upon God.  And that is when He loves to move - when all that can be said is "God did it".  He wants the glory.  He wants the praise.  He wants our trust, our hearts, our faith.

Want your name in the Hall of Faith...step out.  Jump.  Abandon it all for God and you will not be disappointed.  Through your faith in Him you will tell the world of His greatness.  Let your obedient faith be a testimony to the world of a life-saving God.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Even if...

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands...Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:4, 7-8

Even in the pain, I will lift my hands to You.
Even in the darkness, I will reach out to You.
Even when I cannot see the next step before me, I will cling to Your steady hands.
Even if everything around me crashes, I will hold tight to Your truth.

You are God.
You created the heavens in all their splendor.
You breathed the galaxies into existence.
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
You hold me together with laminin - Your glorious cross.
And You chose me, as Your daughter.
You are everlasting; Creator of all.

So even if life falls apart, I can still be found in the shadow of Your wings... the shadow of Your cross.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Comfortable in the Uncomfortable?

This past Christmas I flew back to California to soak up some glorious sunshine and of course to see my family.  After an exciting trip and wonderful memories with everyone, I headed to the airport to anxiously await the plane that would bring me back to the Winter Wonderland of Montana.  And since I always have to find some sort of excitement to entertain me as I await a flight, I was pleasantly surprised to have a little sparrow fly past my head and land a few feet from where I sat.  This little guy and I locked eyes and possibly pondered one another's existence...ok...maybe I simply pondered why a bird was inside an airport and how he snuck past TSA.  But then as I watched this bird, I recalled a few years ago when in the same airport, that a little bird flew past me. 

Could it be? 

No...a sparrow wouldn't just hang out for a couple of years in an airport.  And certainly the airport staff wouldn't let him stay for so long.  And why do flashbacks of the movie "The Terminal" flood my mind?  It's like Tom Hanks and this bird had to simply experience living life inside of an airport!

And of course, once these silly thoughts subsided, God had to give me a lesson for my heart.  Really God?  Why can't we just leave it at the funny thoughts...the lightheartedness?  Why must we dig down deep into the heart and uproot something that I tried to hide, tried to ignore?  Oh...that's right...because You want me to be refined for Your glory.  I suppose....if I what was this heart lesson that He revealed?

"Don't become comfortable in the uncomfortable."

Really?  Back to words spoken to me from a friend awhile ago?  Oi vey!

The sparrow was making his home in the airport flitting to the water fountain for nourishment and soaring around like he owned the place, visiting people along the way...he didn't realize that the airport is not his home.  There's a great big world out there where he can feel the wind beneath his little wings and drink from fresh spring water.  But he would rather remain in the comfortable than venture out into the unknown.

I tend to be like the sparrow, so comfortable in my surroundings.  I allow the comforts of this world to seep in and I adapt and find ways to plug along without desiring any change.  I continue each day to do what I want to do that will make me happy and make life easy.  I enjoy the scenery, friendships and life before me, but all for selfish purposes....because they simply make me happy.  Granted the world and all it holds - the beauty of the mountains, the crashing sound of the ocean waves, the vibrant sunsets and sunrises - are God given and amazing...but they are temporary.  Even my friendships are temporary.  I have been given an opportunity to experience it all, but if I live only for these things, then I am becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable. 

God placed me here, called me His own, and asks that I make the most of my time here on earth for Him.  I have the privilege of enjoying the things He created...but ultimately it's not about my comfort, my desires, or even me.  It's about Him.  It's about living each moment for Him. 

My life on earth is short.  This is not my eternal home.  My eternal home is with Him.  So I need to stop being comfortable in the temporary things and begin to step out in faith into the things He places before me, so that His name and glory can be proclaimed.  Sure I can enjoy the sunsets, the mountains, the friendships, my job...but my focus in all of it needs to be upon Him. 

There are things that He wants me to do that will take me out of my comfort zone.  If I keep trying to control my little world, I'm like the sparrow and making myself comfortable in a world that I don't belong in.  I need to find the courage, in Christ, to step out into the great unknown and trust Him.  Freedom is there...waiting for me to leave my life of what I deem is comfortable and safe...and choose a life lived for Him.  My eternal home with Christ is where true comfort will be found.  My eyes must remain on Him and my heart tuned to Him as I jump out of this "comfortable" world and into a life of obedient faith...

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:17