Growing in Faith

We find God to be the One on whom we can depend to bring us to our destined goal, and One who already in Christ gives us rest for our souls.”

God doesn’t call us to a neurotic dependency on Christ, but rather a simple childlike trust. Rather than automated fulfillment of rules and rituals, He desires that we develop a fulfilling relationship with Him, rooted and ignited in faith (Romans 1:17).

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  – Hebrews 11:1

These two qualities—sure and certain—have a secure beginning and ending point.

Beginning Point of Faith

Receiving Christ as Lord is the seed that contains life with Christ. Our faith and salvation are not drummed up by self-determination. They are gifts from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary . . .
(Napa Valley Vineyard by Jim G., Flickr)

(Napa Valley Vineyard by Jim G., Flickr)

How does your faith grow?

Faith blossoms through the following:

  • Believe in Christ’s Perfect Character: Jesus doesn’t just save us the moment of our salvation, but continues saving us . . . freeing us from captivity to sin, ourselves, and Satan’s deception. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority,”  Colossians 2:6-9.
  • Meet Together: “Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching,” (Hebrews 10:25). We all struggle and falter at times. An infant doesn’t start out running . . . . Neither do we spiritually. When one falls down, let’s help each other up.
  • Abide in Christ: John 15:1-10 depicts a vineyard with Jesus as the true vine, God the Father as the gardener, and us as 7ced8b92bf7312392af52a495b28b9d8the branches. Jesus said, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (vs. 5). We remain in Christ by submitting to him through prayer and obedience. Our faithfulness to the will of God in this life will be examined in the next life (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 20:12).
  • Hear God’s Word: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ,” (Romans 10:17).

End Point of Faith

Lastly, believing in God’s promises anchors our hope in Him, resulting in life and peace.

Which promises of God have helped you lately?

Faith Factor

Faith: (noun) Strong belief or trust in someone or something.”  – Merriam Webster Dictionary

We exercise this kind of faith daily. When we sit on a chair, we trust it will hold us without collapsing. When we pour a cup of coffee, we trust our mug will not leak. When we fill our vehicle’s gas tank, we trust our car will drive.

But our faith is only as good as the object we place it in. Eventually chairs break, mugs crack, and vehicles break down.

God’s Take on Faith

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

This is the kind of faith God commended the ancients for (Hebrews 11).

How Important is Faith to God?


A Strong Case for Faith in Jesus Christ

The New Testament book of Hebrews presents a strong case for placing our faith in Christ.

  • Christ is Superior: Jesus—greater than any angel, religion, priest, or leader—is the ultimate authority and complete revelation of God. He alone forgives sins: past, present, and future. Through His death on the cross, He has secured our forgiveness and salvation.
  • Jesus is High Priest: In the Old Testament, the high priest represented the Jews before God. But now—under the New Covenant—Jesus connects us to God. Jesus not only guarantees our access to God the Father, but He also intercedes for us so we can come boldly before the Father with our needs and seek forgiveness.
  • Jesus Sacrifice: Because Jesus lived a sinless life, He is the perfect substitute to die for our sin.

God not only wants us to be reassured of salvation, but also wants to grow our faith. This process takes time, daily commitment, and service. When we mature in our faith, we will be able to face trials with endurance and be unshaken by concerns or temptations. (Disclaimer: I’m in process.) 🙂

Peace with God and real meaning for life are found when trusting Christ. When we completely trust Him, He will completely transform us (Philippians 1:6). Our faith and obedience please God.

My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” – Hebrews 10:38

Are you completely trusting in Christ?

Peace Through Christ

Whether we’re shopping for insurance, cars, clothes, or a house, we want the best bang for the the buck . . . the complete package.

The Apostle Paul wrote the New Testament book of Colossians not only to combat errors in the church, but also to show believers that everything we need is found in Jesus Christ.

One of the strongest statements about Christ is found in the following reference:


Jesus—the express image of the invisible God—is equal with the Father. He is pre-existent, omnipotent, and eternal. He not only desires a relationship with us, but also deserves to be our highest priority. Jesus Christ, the fullness of God, is the power source for living the Christian life. He is our leader and the head of the church.

Jesus is the most comprehensive, perfect, and complete package “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

Unlike the most expensive car, clothing, or house, He offers us eternal life free of charge. Christ’s gift of salvation and forgiveness covers us now and throughout eternity. We don’t even have to meet a deductible to receive these benefits. This is by far the greatest, most gracious offer ever given.

Salvation by trusting in Christ’s work on the cross sounds too easy for many. But self-effort only leads to disappointment or pride, and then eventually eternal death. I love that Christ’s simple way can be understood by children. His provision is the only way that leads to abundant, eternal life.

Are you connected to Jesus Christ? Have you placed your trust in the One who lacks nothing? I believe this is the greatest decision a person will ever make . . . to accept and follow Jesus Christ, or reject His offer. Eternal life is at stake and the consequences are serious (John 3:15-18, 36).

If you haven’t seen Billy Graham’s second video in My Hope America series, I encourage you to watch the following 30 minute presentation. If you have questions about receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior, or about Christianity, please ask in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer. 🙂 Have a great week!

Training—Our Goal as Believers

“No pain, no gain!” This familiar motto echoes from many coaches’ lips. As the discipline of training is required to excel in athletics, so we must also discipline ourselves in the Christian life. Such training takes time, vision, dedication, effort, and persistence.


Training for the Christian Life

The Bible lists three metaphors to describe believers spiritual training:

1. A race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:7-8)

  • We are told to go into strict training in order to get the prize by focusing all of our energy toward winning the race. Our focal point—Jesus Christ. We can forget the past by confessing our sins to Jesus, our High Priest and advocate (Hebrews 4:14), and repent (turn away from sin, turn toward Christ). Like an athlete pressing toward the finish line, we too can persevere because we know our outcome at the finish line is worth any discomfort: spending eternity with God—sin free, pain free.

2. Exercise (1 Timothy 4:7-10)

  • Repeated exercise tones the body. Repeated spiritual exercise also tones our spiritual muscles, shaping our faith and character. The results? We will live according to God’s will and attract others to Christ. This benefits us now and for eternity.

3. A fight (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

  • That’s right, a fight! We’re called to be soldiers—fighting against real evil forces from without (Ephesians 6:10-18) and temptation from within (1 Corinthians 10:13).

As commitment is needed to succeed in athletics, the same holds true in the Christian arena. As an athlete must learn the rules to compete, believers also must learn God’s rules in His Word (2 Timothy 2:5).

Bible Reading Plans 3765fcc6f0a2d02b1b119d198bd27653

I’ve found Bible reading plans helpful to keep me on track. If you don’t currently have a plan, the following links provide a variety:        Ligonier Ministries
Bible Gateway

I hope you had a wonderful New Year! Let’s train to win this year!

Related Article: Training or Trying?

Greetings 2014!

New beginnings and fresh starts are like . . . . mint on the tongue—refreshing!

A recent study suggested the following 10 New Year resolutions as most common:

  1. Eat healthy and exercise regularlyChristmas lights
  2. Better work/life balance
  3. Learn something new & read more
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Drink less &/or quit
  6. Get organized
  7. Get out of debt & save money
  8. Spend more time with family and friends
  9. Help others
  10. Finish those around the house “to-do” lists

These are noble goals. I’m committing to several. But where is the mention of God?

When I’ve resolved to seek, honor, and follow Him, He has always helped me in the big and small challenges.

Proverbs 28:14 says: Blessed is the [one] who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

To fear the Lord means to honor and revere Him.

Jesus, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:6). He spent His life for us so we might live fully now and for eternity. “[Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Vs. 8) Why? Through His sacrifice, He is bringing many people to glory—into His family—through His atoning sacrifice and forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 2:10-18).

We’ve celebrated Jesus’ birth as a baby during Christmas, but Revelation 19:11-16 portrays Jesus returning as the mighty King of Kings and Lord of Lords, “dressed in a robe dipped in blood,” bearing the name: Word of God.


One day, every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, (Philippians 2:10-11). Why not do it now, under His favor?

Prayer: Jesus, you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Help us resolve—and desire—to keep you first and center. May we continually seek you, “work[ing] out [our] salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) through daily Bible reading, prayer, and following your lead. You are more than worthy! In you alone, Lord, is an unending reservoir of life, strength, peace, and hope. Give us “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so [we] may know you better” (Ephesians1:17). Amen.

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