Category Archives: Faith
I was driving in to work this morning when this song came on the radio. I began thinking of a fellow Christian blogger who is going through a very tough time, her faith wearing thin. I then prayed, but something else happened.
It was just after 6 a.m., and just as soon as “Even If” by MercyMe quit playing, it played one more time. Now, who preprogrammed that into the station’s computer, I wonder?
At that moment I began praising God from my own perspective. Tears began to build up in my eyes as I listened once again, only closer now, until gravity turned the pools to streams.
You see, I’ve got burdens, needs, mountains that need moving, and questions needing answers. All the while I’ve got a host of others who need me to help with the very same kinds of things. And what do I say when the prayers don’t get answered? What do I say when the healing doesn’t come? How do I react when everything seems to be overwhelming me, but God seems silent to my cries?
I trust Him.
I mean, Jesus loved me enough to die for me; He promised never to leave me or forsake me; so wouldn’t it stand to reason He cares what situations I face? If He cares for others, shouldn’t he care for me as well? Yes! He does!
And I will trust Him.
Even if nothing turns out the way I hope, my real Hope is Jesus. Notice, my hope is not IN Jesus; it IS Jesus.
I will trust Him.
When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like to see billows roll; whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well with my soul…even if.”
A couple of weeks ago I started reading a new devotional every morning. It is a compilation of writings from A.W. Tozer, and it is meant for the Christian leader.
To be honest, I have been convicted by some of the things that I have read. Today’s entry alone gave me reason to pause and consider my own carnality. In the devotion entitled Faith Dares to Fail, Tozer says:
“The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.” Believe me, there are times when I get down.
But it was yesterday’s devontion that stood out the most out of all the ones I have read recently. In Greatness Has Its Price, Tozer uses painful analogy to point out one reason why most Christians (and churches) are pitifully inadequate and effective, the power of the Holy Spirit aside:
“The amount of loafing practiced by the average Christian in spiritual things would ruin a concert pianist if he allowed himself to do the same thing in the field of music. The idle puttering around that we see in church circles would end the career of a big-league pitcher in one week. No scientist could solve his exacting problem if he took as little interest in it as the rank and file of Christians take in the art of being holy. The nation whose soldiers were as soft and undisciplined as the soldiers of the churches would be conquered by the first enemy that attacked it. Triumphs are not won by men and easy chairs. Success is costly.”
Yet, even though we are told to “be ye holy, even as I am holy,” we treat our faith like a weekend leisure activity, never caring much about the eternal outcome, only the present pleasure of half-hearted activity and even less commitment. Need proof?
- How many verses of scripture have you memorized “that [you] might not sin against God”?
- Is your commitment level to a local sports facility more than your commitment level to a local assembly of believers?
- Do you brag more about your child’s batting average than his boldness to tell others about Jesus?
- When’s the last time you ever voluntarily did any Bible study outside of what was spoonfed to you in church?
Is there any wonder the church, along with most of its members, is weak? We’ve forgotten what it means to “be sober and vigilant.” We’ve become lazy and insubordinate soldiers in the army of our God, yet spend millions in research to determine why we’ve lost ground to the Enemy. We’ve even traded our powerful pulpits for motivational ministries that adjust our “easy chairs.”
Maybe it’s time we take our faith seriously – because the One to whom we will answer to does.
As we both walked into the office this morning to clock in, a fellow bus driver asked me, “How are you doing this morning?”
I replied to my co-worker’s genuine inquiry with the following affirmation: “I’m alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic!”
“What was that?” he asked.
“I said, ‘I’m alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic!’ There’s even a song about it.”
“You know,” my friend said, “I think I’ve heard that song before, now that you mention it. But who would sing a song like that?”
“Somebody trying to convince himself it was so,” I answered.
As a matter of fact, I was on a month-long mission trip to Romania back in August of 1992. Every day was long, and morning always came too early, so the “enthusiastic” song was often sung as we fell out of our beds and stumbled outside looking for some form of coffee (usually the kind boiled in a big pot over an open fire). We would sing the words with a hint of sarcasm, yet the simple act of singing them – while feeling anything other than alert and awake – somehow brought a smile to our mutually tired and grimacing faces, eventually making us exactly what we sang…alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic.
That is one reason we sing Christian songs in church, or in our cars, or even when we are tired, sick, or discouraged. But it is not so that we can convince ourselves of something that might be true, or that we wish to be true; we sing because the Word of God IS true!
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. – Colossians 3:16
I sing “Amazing Grace,” not because I hope He is gracious, but because His grace is new every morning, and there is more than enough for ever need!
I sing “The Solid Rock, ” not because I’m standing on shifting sand, but because my hope is truly built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness! Therefore, despite the teetering foundations of man-made institutions, I don’t have to worry about sinking – He’s got this!
Sometimes the nights are long, and we get weary. At other times we may hate to see the break of day for fear of further struggles which may sap our strength. But in those moments of weakness a song of praise can give access to a Strength outside our own, making the downtrodden and discouraged “alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic!”
Songs of Truth will rebuild your faith, renew your strength, and restore your enthusiasm! So, even though others might ask, “Who would sing a song like that,” sing my brothers and sisters! Sing!
The other morning it was a brisk and refreshing 55 degrees on my school bus. I had not yet turned on the heaters before picking up one group of students, and that’s when one highly-intelligent, highly-literate teenage girl said,
“Damn! Turn on the heat! It’s cold as hell!”
I took no time in responding, “You know, I think hell is a little hotter than this.”
Here’s what I’m going to start doing. Every time someone uses Hell as a descriptive adjective, I’m going to consider it an open invitation to share the gospel. When someone says “cold as hell” or “hot as hell” I’m going to say something like:
“You know, it’s funny that you should say that, because from what I’ve read, specifically from those who’ve actually been there or seen it, Hell is much, much worse than you’re describing…and I’m glad I won’t have to go there! You want to know why?”
There are also those who commonly use the descriptive of “funny as hell.” To those I will reply:
“You know, what’s really funny is that something could be ‘funny as hell,’ because from what I’ve heard Hell isn’t funny at all. Do you actually believe in hell?”
Honestly, if we really want to share the gospel with people, we can find the opportunities.
“When you hit rock bottom, remember this. While you’re struggling, rock bottom can also be a great foundation on which to build and on which to grow.” – Dr. Rick Rigsby
But sometimes God has to bring us down to “rock bottom” in order to remind us of an even greater truth: “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”
This morning, as I preach from the third chapter of Ephesians, my prayer for you (and myself) will be the same as what the apostle Paul prayed…
I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19 CSB
Oh, that we might comprehend the the width, the length, the height, and the depth of God’s love through Jesus Christ! If we could only even slightly comprehend the vast, expansive spread before us, mercy and grace for every need; the never-ending, eternal, infinite promise of his love and care; the heights to which we are raised, far above the lowly, humble truth of our natural condition and state; and the the depths of Christ’s love – humble depths to which the love of God had to reach down in order to pluck us from the pit of sin… If we could only even slightly comprehend them!
Yet, through His strength (v. 16), and being rooted and grounded in His love (v. 17), it is possible! Hallelujah! Because He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according the power that works in us! (v. 20 NKJV)
This morning, and every morning, to God the Father be all glory in the church by Christ Jesus, to all generations, wherever they may be, forever and ever, “world without end” (v. 20).
And all the people said… “AMEN!!”