Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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The Journey

Our journey of faith draws us ever closer to God.  We are, however, not constantly growing each and every day.  Our growth is sometimes like that second cousin that you only see at the occassional reunion, wedding, or funeral.  You see him and marvel at how he has changed since you last saw him, but his growth has been gradual.

This journey of faith has its valleys and moutain tops as well as its wrong turns. There are moments when we connect powefully to God or the Holy Spirit and feel a growth spurt.  There are also times when we turn aside and stumble in our sin.  As we walk through the times of sin and repentance, looking back we can also see signs of overall growth.  Things we once did not see as sin are things we now wrestle with and our cycles of repeating the same sin has greater intervals in between.  We can see God and the Holy Spirit at work within us.

Our journey will also have seasons like the one described in Psalm 80.  We will have times when we cry out to God followed by what feels like silence.  We will have times when it feels like we are subsisting on the ‘bread of tears.’  In these times we long for His presence, for the touch or the whisper of the Holy Spirit.  The Good Shepherd is always near.  He never is far from His sheep.  So in these seasons we must continue to pray, to read His word, to seek His face.  In response to our faithfulness, suddenly He will be there.  It will seem like God never left.  All will be well.

Scripture reference: Psalm 80: 1-7

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Better and Better

In our daily walk of faith I think God is seeking effort not perfection.  There will be days when we struggle to focus in our daily prayer time.  Every now and then our lives are so harried we cannot even remember the scripture we just read, nevermind meditating and reflecting on it.  God does not expect perfect children.

God does expect effort though.  If it is our desire to know God, we must invest in the relationship.  In life we get to know someone by spending time with them, by observing them, by listening to their stories.  If it our desire to know God and to hear His voice, this will require time and effort on our part.

The Good Shepherd cares for each of us.  Jesus laid down His life for each and every one of us.  He wants to guide and protect us, to teach and give discernment, and to offer rest and peace.  Jesus knows each of us by name and He knows all of our needs.  His desire is that we would know Him intimately as well.  Jesus wants us to be so close to Him that hearing His voice becomes second nature to us.

It is through prayer, study of the Bible, meditation, worship, and reflection that we come to know Jesus.  In these, prayer is of particular importance.  It is within these moments of personal silence before our Savior that He can best speak to us.   We must provide time, space, and attention to hear His voice.  We can also hear His voice in the practice of these other disciplines as well.  For some this is especially true in worship.  As we consistently spend time with our Good Shepherd, we draw closer and closer.  This day and each day, may our hearing become better and better.

Scripture reference: John 10: 11-15ap

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The New “To Do” List

Jesus offers a new way of faith.  Instead of the long list of do’s and don’ts, Jesus offers relationship.  The Law was and is the way of Israel.  Even today it is too easy for a church or individual to make faith almost a checklist: went to church, gave my offering, prayed each day.  These items are important but our faith must be much more than this type of a “to do” list.

Jesus offers us relational faith.  Instead of being judge and punisher, Jesus offers us a relationship with Him and with each other.  He offers us a constant presence through the Holy Spirit.  The Good Shepherd watches over us, leads and guides us, protects us, and provides for us.  And our response?  To in turn help others to come to know this loving Shepherd.

What if our “to do” list looked a bit different?  What if we began the list with the above items but added a few things?  Offer an extraordinary act of generosity or compassion to a friend or stranger.  Bring someone to church who does not know Jesus.  Give something away to a person in need.  Imagine the impact if each of us accomplished this new “to do” list each week?

We may not be able to heal a man like Peter and John did yet, but we certainly can make a difference the same way: one life at a time.  The sharing of Jesus and our faith is what we are each called to do.  May we each live into our new “to do” list this week, one life at a time.

Scripture reference: Acts 4: 5-12