If God gave you a responsibility, what would you do with it? What is the best way to honor God with the power He gave you? As we look in Genesis 42, we see the right way to use authority as Joseph faces his brothers for the first time since they sold him to slavery.
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 . . .
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 the 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?
Just as our bodies hunger and thirst for physical food and water, our souls hunger and thirst for spiritual food and water.
One of my favorite Bible stories is Jesus talking to the woman at the well (John 4:1-26). No respectable Jewish man would be caught talking to one like her. For she was a despised Samaritan woman, a member of the mixed race that the Jews hated. She was also known to be living in sin.
In the heat of the day, Jesus stopped by the well where she was drawing water. He said to her:
Will you give me a drink?” – John 4:7
Surprised, the Samaritan woman said:
You are Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” – v. 9
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water . . . whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – vs. 10, 13-14
What did Jesus mean by “living water”? Several Old Testament verses speak about thirsting for God as one thirsts for water (Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1).
God is called the fountain of life (Psalm 36:9) and the spring of water (Jeremiah 17:13). Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah by forever quenching a person’s thirst for God (John 4:25-26). Only the Messiah can give this gift that satisfies the soul’s desire.
Are you spiritually thirsty? There is only One who can forever quench your thirst. His name is Jesus.
School is out and for the summer. My kids are electrified.
Wish I felt the same. Actually, I am excited to go biking and camping with Eric and the kids, and visit relatives. With baseball season extending through June, then swim lessons and basketball camp, summer will come and go all too soon. I began planning my next posts, afraid my writing will become jumbled with my kids being home. (My desk is the kitchen table. Sigh.) So please be patient if I become more scattered—makes for a good excuse anyway! 🙂
Since I haven’t written much about “Service,” I thought I would explore there. And I am, but not sharing what I envisioned in terms of hands-on ministry ideas and examples, at least not yet. The Lord keeps reminding me of the following passage:
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” – John 6:28-29
In this passage, pisteuō is the Greek word for believe. It means not just to credit as real: “Even the demons believe (in one God)—and shudder,” James 2:19. But this term also means to trust; be persuaded of; place confidence in. It implies reliance upon.
God’s satisfaction with us is based on our trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, not on the works we do.
Yes, “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26), but our service, obedience, and following God are not substitutions for salvation or earning God’s favor. Rather, our service to God verifies our faith in Christ.
My next few posts will center on God’s saving faith through Jesus, the eternal God.
I have been blessed and challenged in sharing God’s truths here, as well as encouraged by reading several others’ posts. THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged me in this pursuit. The Lord laid this blogging thing on my heart when my husband was sick in the hospital last winter. After some prayer, He made it clear what I should write—which I’m thankful. (Trust me, you don’t want to read about my daily tasks or what we ate for dinner.) 🙂 Anyway, I enjoy digging into God’s Word. I love how the Holy Spirit speaks personally to the sincere seeker.
Is there a topic you are interested in? What are your summer plans? Anyone planning a vacation? Camping? New job? New hobby? Old hobby? Any prayer requests? I would love to hear from you!
Heavy load coming through.
Proceed with caution.
Jesus didn’t mince words when He spoke about the cost of discipleship.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:25-35
Jesus wasn’t encouraging family conflict, disobedience to parents, or neglecting family responsibilities. But He often gave commands in light of His listeners’ real motives. Love of family is one of God’s laws, but even this can become an excuse not to serve God or do His work. Jesus challenged the crowds to evaluate their enthusiasm for Him and encouraged the superficial either to go deeper or turn back.
In Luke 14:28-30, Jesus compares the factors that go into building a tower to the cost of discipleship.
If a builder doesn’t calculate the cost correctly, his building may be left half completed.
Likewise, if we don’t count the cost of following Christ we may be tempted to turn back when trials and persecution come.
To take up our cross and follow Jesus means being willing to publicly identify with Him. Commitment may separate us from loved ones and friends because of conflicting values, goals, and purposes. As Christians, we will most likely experience opposition and face suffering–possibly even death–for Jesus’ sake.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” – Luke 9:24-25
Christ calls us to a higher mission than settling into the comforts of this life. Earthly status, riches, and comforts can not repay for loss of eternal life. Following Christ is hard work and costly now, but compared to eternity, our time here is like a blink of an eye. In the long run, following Christ is well worth any sacrifice.
- The Present and Future Disciple – Part 2 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)
- Discipleship Pondering (tbolto.wordpress.com)
- Convenience Store Christianity (Pt 2) (eddieknight.us)
- Reconciling the Costs of Discipleship (ltg4dailywalk.wordpress.com)
- How to Survive a Cultural Crisis: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/05/28/how-to-survive-a-cultural-crisis/?utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer700c4
- Message #3: What Is The Cost of Discipleship? (Notes from the “Living The Invested Life Conference) (flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com)