Tuesday, February 4, 2014
A CASE FOR LIVING BY FAITH
Yesterday didn’t go as planned. I was supposed to speak at a luncheon in Del City, but it was rescheduled due to the winter weather. I’d been really looking forward to the time and felt kind of low for the rest of the day.
I love to share about all God is doing. I told somebody the other day that if I don’t get those opportunities to share I feel like I might explode! I think I may have scared the poor woman because she took a step back. What I meant was, that everyday Chad and I feel like we have front row seats to watch as God unfolds his plan for our lives and the life of the ministry at Truth.
We are amazed by God, but also have our share of disappointments. The best way I know to deal with the hard times is to remember the faithfulness of God. Writing and speaking is a great outlet for that. So yesterday, instead, I worked at home, kept to myself and started to throw a little “pity party”. Until . . . Jesus invited Himself to my party of one.
Never forget that we have a Savior who loves us and out of His perfect love pursues us. Yesterday, He started guiding me through all of my time with Him, reminding me of who I am in Him. His Word encouraged me to continue to walk in faith by reminding me of the great plans He holds for our life.
So here is the sermon I preached to myself . . . it is a case for living by faith.
THE GREATNESS OF GOD COMPELS ME TO LIVE BY FAITH
I still get excited when I read Genesis 1:2 “The earth was without form and void. And the Spirit of God hovered over the deep.” WOW! I just want to be in that moment where it’s all about to go down and the Spirit of God is hovering over the vast formless void. That suspenseful moment before he speaks light into the darkness, fixes the moon and stars into the sky, rends the firmament and constrains the oceans. All of the world we continue to attempt to discover and understand, He created from nothing.
Whenever our lives get down to nothing, I just picture the Spirit of God in the midst of that nothing. Think of the endless possibilities when God puts His power behind our nothing! I truly believe God can do anything, and I don’t want to miss out on being a part of His grand plan because of fear or doubt.
Again, in Luke 1:35 the angel was explaining to an ordinary young girl named Mary how it would be possible that she would give birth to the son of God. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of The Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.”
There truly is no end to what God can do which leads me to my next point,
TO LIVE BY FAITH I MUST LET GO OF MY WEAKNESSES AND PRIDE
It is true that God can do anything, but God’s plan and purposes are higher than my own. What God has called me to do is much greater than my own abilities and resources. It would actually not take me very long to rise to my own incompetence, drop one level lower then live out my life in complacency.
On the other hand, my pride warns me all along the way of the possibility of failure and embarrassment. “Think of what they might say . . ." says pride. What if I step out in faith and fall flat on my face? What if walking by faith causes me to be misunderstood, counted out or even shunned! What would that do to my ego?!?
The correct response to self-doubt and pride is to truly humble myself before God. True humility takes my eyes off of self and directs my focus to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
God calls us to big things! In our culture today it is a huge challenge just to set Christ-like examples for our children, lead with integrity in our workplace and treat others with respect. Of course we will lose heart! Failure and disappointment will cause us to want to give up, but the disturbing truth is we never stop worshipping. It is our human nature to idolize and strive. The enemy knows this. He would love for us to lower our standards, turn away and waste our attention, adoration and affections on the things of this world. He knows these things are passing away. At best, we will end up wasting our lives, at worst the worldly things we choose will never satisfy and ultimately they will destroy us.
Hebrews 3:12-13 warns us, “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Jesus promises us throughout His Word that if we will humble ourselves He will lift us up. If we seek His Kingdom first He will provide. If we lose our life in Him He will give us a life of meaning and purpose that we would never have dreamed possible. A life that is not possible, outside of Christ.
Obedience follows humility. Unshakeable faith comes through humilty. As the Hymn says, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word. Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know thus sayeth the Lord.”
I challenge you to humble yourself before Jesus, take Him at His word and follow Him into the lost world around you.
I LIVE BY FAITH BECAUSE THE LOSTNESS OF OUR WORLD CONFRONTS ME DAILY
Thursday nights are kid’s nights at Truth. It’s also “Daddy night” at home because Chad stays home with our kids. It’s become a habit that when I walk in Chad just automatically turns off the T.V. or stops what he’s doing to listen. Even though I’ve only spent a couple of hours with the kids in our ministry, I have to process the things they say. The things they say give me a glimpse into what is going on in their lives and what’s going on in their lives breaks my heart.
It’s not just in poverty areas either. Our city, our world needs Jesus! So much ground has been lost to the enemy, so many families and lives of children influenced and destroyed by sin. At times it just seems hopeless!
It is not hopeless! If you know Christ, if you are a follower of Christ, if you are living by faith then you are a dangerous weapon against darkness! Jesus calls us to be salt and light. We always assume that our lost friends, neighbors, co-workers don’t want to hear us witness to them. Guess what? That’s true! They want to know why you have patience with difficult people, how you have joy when things aren’t going your way. Living by faith will produce genuine fruit in your life and the power of Christ at work in you will become your testimony.
When Chad and I were living in the apartment complex I spent just about every evening sitting on the steps in breeze ways, counseling with young mom and sharing Bible stories with kids while they played with David, Sean and Ruby. If you were judging by our circumstances, there wasn’t much difference financially. I didn’t have anything of any material value to offer. What I had to share was the hope of Jesus Christ. I had and still have the hope that His Holy Spirit is at work in my life making me new, giving me boldness, power, strength and joy. I pray that through living by faith He will give me the endurance to run the race He has laid out for me as a wife, mother, missionary, daughter and friend.
“So, you see, without faith it is impossible to please God.
Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God
and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6 NLT