Acts of Simple Faith


untitledEach morning most of us have faith that our alarm clock will wake us for the day.  We also trust our car will start so we can go to work.

Each day we practice, without even thinking, many acts of simple faith.  We turn on the water for a shower, toast our bread, rely on the dishwasher, have faith the school bus will deliver our children at school!  The list is endless!!

The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20 that “…. If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, “Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you!”

Peter caught a fish to pay the tax for his Master and himself (Matt. 17:27).

Naaman dipped in the Jordon seven times to remove his disease (II Kings 5:10-14).

The walls of Jericho fell at the shout of God’s people as they (God’s people) were commanded (Josh. 6:20).

The thief on the cross had faith in Christ and went to Paradise (Luke 23:41-43).

How about it, Christian?  We serve the very same God that these listed did.  Trust Him …. In all things.  Have faith and move that mountain!

   

Showing Our Trust


38c0Proverbs 3:1-6; “My son, forget not my law; But let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

In verses 1-4, we see a father telling his son to pay attention, and in verses 5-6 we see verses about trusting the Lord.

As Christians we need to not only say we trust God but do it.  Are we truly trusting the Lord today in and with all we have and letting him have full control of our lives?  Think about these four examples below and how they trusted God even through difficult times.

– Joseph: Years of doing right and seemingly punished for it, but God rewarded in His                                    time.

–  Samuel: Given to God without being asked and became a great man of God.

– Naman’s handmaid: Witness for the man of God as a slave and helped save her master                                   through her testimony.

– Daniel: Just like Joseph but never seemed unhappy where God had him and never                                        stopped being a witness.

If we are to truly trust God, we can see from this passage that we have to confide in Him completely, commit to Him without reservation, and confess to Him – He is the one!

I. Confide (v5)

A.  Tell Him all and then trust Him with it.

B.  Trust: Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something; one                    in which confidence is placed

– With confidence comes contentment, and we will be happy in Christ

– Who or what do we really trust in?

– If we trust in Him we have complete faith in Him (Ps 37:1-9)

C.  It is hard not to have a backup plan but God needs to be the only plan

– use common since too at the same time

– We have to get to the point where it is not us, and we realize it; but it is God, and we                             realize it (Jer. 9:23-24)

II.  Commit (v5)

A.  We have to totally give ourselves to Him and His will and look for Him in every step

– We get leading through His word (Ps 119:105)

– We get leading through preaching (Ps 43:3)

– We get leading through situations in life – Obvious open or closed door, death,                                                      person’s attitude

B.  Our emotions can get in the way so we need to be in constant prayer for direction – (Ps 139:23-24)

III. Confess (v6)

A.  We must confess and convey to him that we know it is Him and Him alone that we need to guide                  us (Ps. 31:1-5)

B.   We need to make sure that the confess is not a concede in the fact that we do it reluctantly.

– Our lives and everything in it need to be given to Him and trust him to do right because after all…He is God and if we are saved, all we have is Him anyway.

The author Abraham Kuyper stated; “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ who alone is sovereign does not declare …That is mine.”  Why do we not trust God sometimes and why do we put ourselves through so much self inflicted trouble when He is right there waiting to take care of things and keep us safe.  Confiding in Him completely, committing to Him without reservation, and confessing to Him – He is the one. Let Him know and show Him we truly trust Him.

 

 

A Preface and a Proof


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The Early Christians would sooner die than lie, and their confidence was contagious (Acts 4-5).  Luke was an Early Christian.  Luke was a man of integrity.

Luke was “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14), a master of the Greek language, and a careful historian.  Luke was a man of ability.

The question of questions can be answered by a simple question. “Is the Christian religion the true religion?”  is the question of questions.  “Is Luke trustworthy?” is the simple question.

In his Preface (Lk. 1:1-4, cf. Acts 1:1) Luke assures us that his account is accurate.  If it is – and it is – that means that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament, was born of a virgin, made the lame to leap for joy, and rose from the dead.  That means Jesus is the Christ and Christianity is true.

Keeping Relationships Right


king-james-bibleMost believers have a challenge in keeping relationships right, as one of our primary concerns every day.  We must keep our relationships right with the Lord in order to begin to keep our relationships right with others.  Proverbs 4:23 challenges us to keep our hearts with all diligence for out of the heart are the issues of life.  The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind.  Our Lord deserves every bit of our heart’s devotion.

We are also to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves, and that is very hard on two accounts.  First, God knows how much we love ourselves.  The real challenge is to deny ourselves so that we might obey the Lord’s commands.  The second account is that our neighbors may not always deserve, want, or accept our love.  We still have the responsibility to love them as God requires.

Just how do we go about this activity?  This is the place where we often fail.  We often do not have a Biblical Plan to follow.   An imperative in the Biblical Plan is that it must be a daily activity (Luke 9:23).  Every day we must not be wrapped up in ourselves and ignore the maintenance of our personal responsibility in loving and enjoying God’s presence and following through with activities He requires above our old nature desires.  God requires denying these old nature desires and giving Christ the preeminence in our lives (Colossians 1:18), in our fellowship with Him, and in our actions which should follow.

What about relationships with family, friends, and neighbors as God points out our responsibilities in meeting their needs?  We are naturally selfish, and so God states that we should love them as much as we love ourselves.  God requires that our needs be met in His Plan so that we will be able to reach out and meet the needs of others.  Maintaining our personal lives spiritually, physically, and materially, and then reaching out to meet others needs as much is really a daily challenge.

It takes a daily personal check before the Lord in our communication with Him in order to keep all of these areas in our relationships within the perspective of the Scriptures.  God’s Word gives particular responsibilities which must be fulfilled and the order in which we should follow them.  Depending upon the daily opportunities God gives us, helps determine particular needs that must be addressed.  Only He can direct us in each one.  Setting a daily personal check time is extremely beneficial in accomplishing this goal.

We need wisdom, insight, understanding, and discernment which only He can give in answer to our requests.  He is able and we are responsible to Him in all of these matters.  It is a daily challenge and we must accept that challenge.   He is willing and able to help us in all of these responsibilities He sets before us for His glory (Philippians 4:13).

 

A God at Hand!


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As I sat down to contemplate what to write for this devotional my attention was drawn to my computer screen. For the last several days, I have had a live cam of an eagle nest playing as my screen saver. The creative genius of God is so evident as you watch nature. I had watched as the parent eagles had brought food, cleaned the nest, perched on the perimeter of the nest guarding the young eaglets, but as I watched this time the scene was different. The parent eagle was crouched in the nest, snuggled up to the eaglets. As I watched for a while, I realized that the wind had picked up and was swaying the treetop. The parent looked as if its wings were cocked and ready to secure the eaglets in the nest. I had also remembered seeing earlier the parent birds adding branches to the perimeter of the nest, almost as if they knew a storm was coming, and they were fortifying the nest. I began thinking – what a depiction this is of our loving Father. As I continued my musings, verses began to come to mind. God is a God who is near and a God that is our safety in a storm. God is always at hand like that parent eagle perching at the perimeter of the nest but is the place of safety and refuge during the storm when the parent eagle fluttereth over her young and spreadeth abroad her wings. A God at hand!

*Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off (Jeremiah 23:23)?

*For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, (Isaiah 25:4a).

*And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain (Isaiah 4:6).

*As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (Deuteronomy 32:11).

 

How Important is Your Obedience?


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Most of you are probably familiar with the story of Joshua and the children of Israel’s amazing defeat of the city of Jericho.  They obeyed the instructions the Lord gave them and marched around the city for seven days until the Lord caused the walls to fall in on the city.  The people were able to utterly destroy this stronghold in Canaan when they obeyed the Lord’s instructions.  However, there was one man who disobeyed the instruction to leave all the spoils of Jericho for the Lord.  Achan took of the accursed things in Jericho and hid them in his tent.  His disobedience seemed insignificant until a couple thousand men went up to defeat the small city of Ai and met unexpected defeat.  The Lord revealed to Joshua that there was sin in the camp that had to be eradicated before Israel would be victorious against the enemies in the Promised Land.

 The thing that struck me was how many people were affected by Achan’s disobedience – thirty-six people died in the Israelites defeat at Ai, Israel was put at risk for other nations to come against them, Achan and his whole family were stoned to death and all his belongings were burned in the valley of Achor.  Achan’s coveting the Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold caused great distress for the whole nation of Israel.  I believe God uses stories like this one to illuminate an important truth – Obedience is a non-negotiable matter in the eyes of a holy God.  What are you trying to negotiate when it comes to matters of obedience in your life today?

Resting in Him


globe_demoSaturday was our Annual Ladies’ Day at our church.  We plan and prepare for a year, and there are a lot of details that are taken care of that those who come do not even realize and never see.  And yet so it is.  The ladies in our church carry on and do it every year.  We had a speaker; we had decorations; we had food; we had door prizes; we had special music; we had stories about missions (since our theme was “Around the World”); we had a housekeeping tip; we had prayed for many months.  And so it came.

I look forward to seeing the ladies from neighboring churches and enjoying the fellowship with them. I look forward to watching our ladies working hard to make everything go well and make everyone welcome and comfortable.  And they did—but this year I only got to see it in pictures.

Last Monday I broke out with what I thought was an allergic reaction to something.  My husband and I were traveling.  So upon my return home, I saw the doctor on Thursday and was diagnosed with shingles.  The left side of my face has blisters—in my scalp, on my forehead, in my eyebrow, on my eyelid, beside my nose, above my lip, and below my lip.  On top of all that terribleness—I got a cluster of three fever blisters on my left side of my lip.

And so, I did not get to enjoy the day as the years before; but I am thankful that I have an assistant (our youth pastor’s wife), a missionary daughter, and a host of faithful church ladies who took the mantle and carried on.  The day was wonderful and came off without a hitch.

I, in my sad condition, learned some things.  The Lord is in control and though things do not always happen according to plan, He does still bless.  I learned to be still and trust the Lord. Yes, I shed some tears over missing the day, but I trust His sovereign plan to be best.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

I am thankful for all the sweet ladies and our youth pastor who texted me and sent me pictures throughout the day.  I was there is spirit!

True Wisdom


950-1_971836zRead: I Kings 3:3-14.

When Solomon began his reign as king of Israel, the Lord asked him what he would like to have. Solomon asked the Lord for an understanding heart – wisdom to rule his people and to make correct decisions. As a result, the Lord granted him wisdom, riches, and honor, and he is remembered as the wisest man who ever lived.

We too need an understanding heart to make the right decisions and to have lives that are pleasing to our Lord! How we need wisdom in this world of uncertainty and chaos!

First of all, there is no true understanding, no true wisdom, apart from God’s Word and a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalms 119:130). The Bible tells us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). Have you received Him in your life as your personal Savior? If not, there is no way you can be truly wise!

There is a true story that illustrates the power of God’s Word to save and transform lives! Many years ago a missionary traveled by horse and buggy through a small mountain town in Brazil and sold Bibles to the inhabitants of that place. Many families bought Bibles and began reading them.  The village priest found out and went around town confiscating the Bibles from the homes of the people. Two of the families in that place hid their Bibles, refused to give them to the priest when he came by, and continued reading God’s Word. As a result, one of those families got saved, and today, three generations later, some of their loved ones are pastors, missionaries, and servants of the Lord! Two of those are our son-in-law and daughter-in-law. Their grandfather would go to the train station in that small town and give out tracts to the people traveling through, and many were saved as a result of his life. God’s Word is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword! God’s Word is dynamite! Truly, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Once we are saved, we continue to need God’s Word for wisdom day by day! We need the Bible to help us live our lives in complete consecration to Him! We need the Bible so that we may shine in this dark world and be a testimony for God’s glory. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).

We need to walk in wisdom, and the only way to do so is to spend time each day reading the Bible, meditating upon it, and obeying it! Some people may even read God’s Word but fail to obey His commands and fail to serve Him faithfully. They do not walk in wisdom! “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). May we walk with the Lord every day, obeying His Word, giving our all to Him, and living for Him!

Thought: Oh, that the Lord would help us truly value the great treasure that we have in the Bible!

Witten by Mrs. Lydabelle B. Barrett (One of our Missionaries in Brazil; and she is also Mrs. Dorothy Bieber’s sister. Mrs. Bieber is a staff and church member of Tabernacle).

I Need to Obey


Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus               Recently reading in the book of Acts, it struck me how Paul never stopped talking about his conversion.  It really didn’t matter to whom he was speaking, he always seemed to tell about what had happened to him the day God spoke to him and changed his life.  To him the message never got old.

               I noticed that he didn’t add to what happened to him.  He just told the same thing over and over.  And God used it.  In some instances, many were saved.  Other times, people left undecided.  Yet other times, it angered people.  But Paul didn’t worry about people’s reaction to his message.  He was just faithful in giving it.

               Oh that I would be that faithful.  That I would be “his witness unto all men of what (thou) hast seen and heard” (Acts. 22:15).  God will give me the power to do it, but I need to be faithful in giving that witness.  Nothing fancy, just testifying of how God changed me from an unforgiven sinner to someone who has been saved by His grace.

               But I need to obey.

 

Family Unity


images21D5DZSIThe family that prays together stays together is more than a cliché!  Looking to the Word of God and praying with a spouse can bring unity and great blessing.  Why is this so?  The couple is inviting a third Person into the relationship Who can bring about godliness.  Giving God the opportunity to be in control by daily getting direction from His Word and agreeing to follow His Plan has immediate as well as eternal benefits.  The daily activity of coming together before God’s Word and sharing common concerns by bringing them to God gives the couple the opportunity to keep short accounts and ask God for help to bless daily activities.  Giving God first place in the home is imperative to harmonious living because the couple is submitting to a plan that God promises will bring peace and harmony between two sinners who are naturally antagonistic toward each other.  The couple learns to think like God does and will then do what He says.   This can be the ingredient to bring about unified goals and plans for God’s glory in the home which He has established.

Praying together and being willing to submit to God in every area of the relationship gives the greatest structure for harmonious living.  Recognizing the preeminence of Christ and allowing His Word to govern responsibilities in all the daily activities bring security and blessing that a couple who ignores God’s presence cannot have from the old nature preoccupations.   Can two walk together unless they be agreed?  (Amos 3:3)   This Truth can only be experienced if spouses are daily willing to submit to God’s plan.