from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the category “faith”

Waiting Can End Quickly

No doubt we all wait from time to time. Maybe a lot of the time. I find myself waiting on God…waiting…waiting. It’s easy to lose heart and have our faith challenged. And while many times God is actually waiting on us, there are situations where other things simply haven’t fallen in to place yet. The time is not right for God to act.

Isaiah chapter 60 is about Christ’s return and the very last sentence is the kicker. Verse 22b says, “I will accomplish it quickly in its time.” Even though it may seem like something is taking forever and the waiting endless, and you simply can’t see how things will ever come together, remember this verse. When it’s time, God can make things happen so quickly it may make your head spin.

 

I Have a Confession

I received some good news yesterday morning. A change in a situation that I had not expected. A situation I didn’t feel the powers that be would even consider a problem much less make a change. My confession is that I failed to realize God is really the Power that be.

While my prayers focused on dealing with and living with the situation, obviously others whom my family had shared the issue with prayed for a change. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t consider God stepping in at the last-minute and removing the problem.

I’m thankful for those who prayed bigger than I did. Nothing is too hard for the Power that be.

Weekly Link-Up

A few things that caught my eye this week:

100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design

27 of History’s Strangest Inventions

Ray-Ban Legends Collection

American households purchased boomboxes faster than any other gadget in past 50 years

Is fear of failure holding you back?

Trials, Waiting, and Faith

We wish the good times would last forever and trials to never come, but if they do, they would pass quickly. We know real life doesn’t work that way, yet it is one of the hardest things to deal with. These words from another era still ring true.

It is well when our troubles drive us to our knees. But does it not reprove our unbelief? How unwilling are we to rest on the declaration of Jehovah! How desirous to know in what way he will save us! How impatient when relief is delayed! But we must wait for the fulfilling of his word. Lord, help our unbelief. – Matthew Henry

God Even Cares About a Lost Axe

Axe

Image by coconinoco via Flickr

There are several stories throughout the Bible that make one wonder, why in the world did “they” include that? The stories seem off the wall and nothing to do with redemption. One such story came up in my Bible reading this morning. In 2 Kings 6:5 amidst the recorded adventures of the prophet Elisha is the incident of the lost axe.

While Elisha’s servants are cutting down trees by the Jordan River, one accidentally drops his axe in the water and it sinks. He cries out in despair because the axe was borrowed, so Elisha makes the iron tool float to the top to be retrieved. The purpose of this story isn’t to demonstrate a magic trick or to take up space. It is an every day life snippet that shows us God is concerned with every part of our lives, even losing a borrowed tool.

Many times we neglect to pray about little issues that may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but God cares about them too.  When people are starving and suffering from disease, we may feel reluctant to pray for a sore throat or lost keys. Once when I was guilty of this, God asked me, “Do you not think I have enough power to take of your small stuff on top of healing people of cancer?”

I Don’t Trust Numbers

Numbers

Image by Koen Vereeken via Flickr

I believe in absolute truth, and I believe one plus one equals two, but I don’t trust numbers when they come from the church.  I’m not accusing churches of lying.  I just think we read too much into our numbers more often than not.

While churches exuberantly announce how many they’ve baptized or how many salvation decisions have made through them, I usually respond with skepticism, and that bothers me a little.  I don’t like feeling that way.  I don’t like being negative.

Churches with large attendances are not necessarily great churches in God’s eye (neither are small ones, by the way).  Paul warned of people flocking to speakers who tell them what they want to hear.

I’ve been active in church all my life, and trust me, that’s been a while.  More times than I care to remember I’ve seen people over the years come to Jesus one week and then back to their old ways a few weeks or months later.  Salvation is more than praying a prayer.  Repentance is more than feeling bad about the kind of person you are.

Receiving the gift of Jesus is simple, but understanding and explaining the salvation process isn’t easy.  My pastor explains it well, but don’t ask me to.  But I firmly believe Matthew 7:14 – “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Certainly we shouldn’t ignore or disregard a person’s decision to follow Christ.  It is a happy occasion, but maybe we should spend more time praying for them to endure to the end than celebrating a victory.

 

 

You Have to be Humble First

Key

Image via Wikipedia

Wondering why you may not be getting direction or making progress in a particular area of difficulty or uncertainty in your life?  Psalm 25:9 says, “He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”  For us self-sufficient people, humbling can take a while, and sometimes I think God waits a little longer to make sure it sticks.

The best thing for us to do is learn and wait.  Waiting on him means not fretting when things don’t go they way we think they should.  Waiting on him means not trying to figure out how to makes things happen on your own or even how to “get God to make things happen.”

Max Lucado states in his book God’s Story, Your Story, “God owns the key to every door.”  If we do our part (learn and wait), he’ll do his.

One Day at a Time

Mesure 62

Image by vincen-t via Flickr

While God is always wanting to teach us, there are times when he seems to have set us aside with plans to leave us there until we learn.  I sense it is one of those times for me.  I hope I am learning.  I am getting better at going with the flow of life, not an easy thing for a planner like me.

My mom used to sing a song in church called “One Day at a Time”.  The chorus goes like this, “One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking of you.”  (I can hear the Southern Gospel twangs in my head just reading it.)  That is rarely all we ask of him, though.  We want all our plans to fall into place with, at best, minimal suffering and pain.

I am trying to get up every day with an agenda of what must be done, then what needs to be done, then what else I have time to do.  I am trying not to worry about what I think I should be doing, or what others think I should be doing.  I am trying not to think about what tomorrow holds, or what I’m going to do when this gig is up.

There’s a peaceful understanding of planning and preparing for the future in this concept.  I know we need to invest for retirement and continue to plan for whatever time we have left here.  None of us knows how long or short that will be.  But no investment is a sure thing either, so today I will save what I can and do what I can.  Tomorrow I will save what I can and do what I can, whether the scenario is the same as today or drastically different.

Perhaps living by faith and not by sight is about living one day at a time.

We Must Fail to Succeed

I saw an old Nike commercial featuring Michael Jordan the other day.  It really speaks volumes.  Watch it for yourself.

In Seth Godin’s book Poke the Box, one of the sections is titled “The person who fails the most usually wins.”  He goes on later in the book to say, “If you can’t fail, it doesn’t count.”

Why are we so afraid to fail?

Caleb’s Faith

Joshua 14:12 – We first saw Caleb’s faith in Numbers when only he and Joshua believed enough to bring back a positive report from their spying mission.  Forty plus years later he still believes and is willing to fight for what God has promised him.

Caleb wasn’t afraid to “take” what God had promised him.  Are you?  How far should we go in “taking” what God says is ours?  Have you had a situation where you had to work hard or fight for something God gave you?

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