Works God Requires

School is out and for the summer. My kids are electrified.

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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!

Bread, Anyone?

When God calls His children to follow and serve, He often tests and stretches our faith.

(This post article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/123dYn7.)

Evaristo Baschenis - Boy with a Basket of Brea...

Evaristo Baschenis – Boy with a Basket of Bread – WGA1404 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, a great crowd followed Him because of His miraculous signs.

“Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with His disciples. . . .When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward Him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do.”                                                                             – John 6:3, 5-6 (NIV)

Knowing there was no human solution, Jesus highlighted the miraculous act He was about to perform.

Philip answered Him, ‘Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”   – vs.7

Enter Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother:

Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”            – vs. 9

Can’t you see, Jesus? We don’t have enough!

Wait. . . . . Rewind. Didn’t the disciples just witness Jesus’ miracles, healing sick people? (John 6:1-2)

Incredible!

And yet, how many times does my faith waver, as I take stock of my own limited resources when facing seemingly impossible circumstances?

Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ . . . . The men sat down, about 5,000 of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.”  – vs. 10-11

After they were stuffed, Jesus told his disciples to gather the left overs—twelve full baskets!

Jesus wanted to teach Philip that financial resources are not the most important ones. The disciples most likely had more resources than the boy, but their reasoning probably kept them from giving. In contrast, God used what little the boy gave, and turned it into something spectacular.

I love that God not only abundantly gives, but also uses what we offer Him—resources, time, ability—and multiplies its effectiveness beyond our wildest dreams. Age is also no barrier to Christ.

Is there some impossible task you believe God wants you to do? Don’t let your analysis keep you from taking it. If you take the first step in making yourself available to God, He will not only meet you, but also greatly use you to further His kingdom.

Where God guides, He provides.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  – Proverbs 3:5-6