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What Is Faith?

 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

Thundercloud

Perhaps you don’t even realize you’ve given up.

Resignation has replaced the faith in God you once had that your prayers would be answered. Or maybe you have a request that seems so audacious you’ve yet to voice it. It  hovers on the outskirts of your mind while you wonder, Is my God really that big?

For this week of Lent, we are going to focus on faith. The Bible tells us that if we have mustard seed faith, we can move mountains. I’d like to take God at his word by growing my faith in Him: trusting Him with my prayers, both big and small; leaning on Him in difficult times; praising Him when all is well — and when it isn’t.

 What Is Faith?

One way to nurture faith is by simply spending time with Jesus. In the little book The Promise of Answered Prayer, Jim Cymbala says,  “Faith is especially nurtured when we just wait in God’s presence, taking the time to love him and listen for his voice. Strength to keep believing often flows into us as we simply worship the Lord. The promise of scripture becomes wonderfully alive as the Spirit applies them to our hearts.”

This year I’ve focused on waiting quietly with God. Several times a week, I pick up my prayer journal, still my heart, and just sit with God, listening for His voice and journaling what I feel the Holy Spirit witnessing to me. It’s been hard to make myself stay still. A million tasks vie for my attention, but as I sit at Jesus’ feet, He brings scriptures to my mind to read, and people to my heart to pray for, and sin to be confessed. He gives me wisdom for situations I’m facing and peace for my soul and pictures to ponder.

These times of quiet add a richness and depth to my devotion time that was absent before.

Now I find that if I don’t have this one-on-one with Him that I miss it. I long for his presence and that still, small voice whispering to my heart, fanning the sparks of faith into flames. And I’ve learned that faith is not the absence of difficulties, but the presence of Jesus in the midst of difficulties.

This week, let’s remember that faith does not rest on our abilities, but on the ability of the One we believe in, as Psalm 130:5-6 reminds us:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,

and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord

more than watchmen wait for the morning,

more than watchmen wait for the morning.

What will you put your faith in God for this week?

Pray on!

 

 




Advent Devotional, Tuesday, Dec. 3

More Than A Baby coverKindleTo read the Advent devotional for today, simply click on the link below to download. Prepare your heart for Christmas with scripture,  pictures, music, a focus of the day, and prayer. Feel free to share any of your thoughts below.

Perhaps your family has a special Advent tradition that you could share with all of us. It would be helpful to make a list of suggestions and resources so that people can incorporate them into their worship. Just add them in the comment section.

Blessings,

Advent Devotional for Tuesday, December 3, 2013




Finish Your Pie!

“That I may proclaim with the voice of Thanksgiving,

And tell of Your wondrous works.

Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,

And the place where your glory dwells.” Psalm 26:7-8

Finish Your Pie!

by

Jane VanOsdol

When my daughter was little, she and I loved to turn on the Christian radio station and sing away as we were in the kitchen getting lunch or cleaning around the house. One day Amber was singing the words to a song with such gusto that I just had to stop and listen to her. Her little face was beaming as she belted out the words to our current favorite song. The chorus went like this:

“Come, Lord Jesus, come and get your bride.”

However, what came out of Amber’s lips was something entirely different:

“Come, Lord Jesus, come and finish your pie!”

I could barely contain my laughter over her 3-year-old version of the lyrics. And you know, I think I could see Jesus laughing and nodding, and I bet He would have loved a piece of that pie too!

What my daughter taught me that day was that we just need to utterly, unashamedly worship God. The joy and thankfulness oozed out of her as she sang her heart out to God. She didn’t care if the words were right or wrong, she just knew she was singing with her mommy to Jesus.

I had to stop and thank God for the blessing of my daughter and the blessing of being able to sing praise songs with her. Though our house was little and certainly nothing in it matched nor was very fashionable, it was a holy house because the Lord’s glory was dwelling there in her song. That moment taught me to look for God’s blessings wherever we are, to be thankful for moments shared with loved ones and our Savior.

As we enter this month of Thanksgiving, I’d like us to go on a blessings hunt. Let’s open our eyes to all the things big and small that we have to be thankful for. Let’s dwell on those things, (add them to our list on our Thanksgiving Blog entry if you have time) and like Amber did, let’s proclaim God’s wondrous works with a voice of Thanksgiving. He’s listening.

Prayer: Lord, we just lift our voices to join the chorus around the world singing Your praises. Thank You for our innumerable blessings. Thank You for your love. May we never stop thanking You. Amen.