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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

JesusCalsmsStormMatthew 8:23-26

The story is brief, Jesus enters a “ship”, the disciples follow, and the going gets rough.

Storms happened all the time, ships sank all the time; the danger was real and the disciple thought they were going to die; others had died in just such circumstances and Jesus was asleep, letting it all happen.

Frantically they wake Jesus, but his response is to rebuke them for being fearful. Then he rebukes the wind and sea and all becomes calm, inside and out.

Jesus expected his disciples to realize with him there’s no going under but over.

I chose to follow Jesus, like his disciples. The storms of life threaten like they did his disciples. I am fearful like his disciples and, like his disciples, I have Jesus present though sometimes he appears to be sleeping.

Jesus expects me to not be fearful but trust God will see me through, storms are no match for him and me together.

– fritz

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Faith Is Not Enough!

stream

Simon Peter … to them that have obtained like precious faith with us … Add to your faith … virtue…knowledge …temperance … patience … godliness … brotherly kindness … charity. For if these things be in you … ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful … but he that lacketh these things is blind…” — 2nd Peter 5:1-10

Faith in Christ, alone, makes us his but it isn’t all he wants to accomplish. God’s intent is not to just take us to heaven, he wants to do something with us here.

There are several additives listed but one that gets easily overlooked is “Brotherly Kindness”. It can’t be done when alone. Being kind to brothers, sisters, neighbors, or anyone can’t be done from the prayer closet.

Isolation is the goal of our culture and time in history — living in our own world the way we want, content to be left alone, perturbed when others try to enter. That’s the flow of the river we swim in and the current carries us along without us realizing…its not spiritual it’s cultural, just going with today’s flow.

We must choose to come out and interact with people, especially people of faith.

If regular church attendance, mingling and interacting with people who are different, is not on the agenda; if letting people we don’t know well in is not our style then it will blind us to God’s purposes and stunt our growth!

Don’t let the stream of our culture prevent the embracing of God’s desires and blessing. Reach out and show brotherly kindness.

— fritz.

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Where’s Waldo?

waldo

“…he [the Lord] be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” — Acts 17:27b-28a

There are times God feels distant. But the Bible tells us we live and move in him like a fish lives and moves in water.

John Ortbert in his little book God is Closer Than You Think says God sometimes plays a spiritual version of “Where’s Waldo”. Waldo is on every page but as those books progress he becomes more difficult to find. Why? The author, Martin Handford, never says but when Waldo is found there is joy and a sense of discovery. The experience teaches children to pay attention to detail and to keep seeking because they know his is there somewhere, the author promises that he is!

God never says why he is sometimes hard to feel, either, but I think it is to produce a similar response in his children.

Have you found Waldo on today’s page, yet?

–fritz

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mendedheart

“Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite. Abraham and his wife Sarah, Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried there; I also buried Leah there.” – Jacob (Genesis 49:29-31)

I always felt sorry for Leah — the wife not chosen, always losing in a rivalry with her sister over the affections of her husband.

Then there’s this verse.

The cave where Jacob wanted to be buried was significant because it was the first place in “promised land” his people actually owned — a stake in the ground, so to speak, of things to come. There the faithful were buried as a statement that they belonged and as a place of honor.

We notice it wasn’t Rachel but Leah so honored by Jacob. It points to a loving relationship prior to her passing. There, beside his first wife, Jacob chose to await the change.

Relationships heal and just because they go through rocky times, faith, forgiveness, perseverance make a difference.

– fritz

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StaringEyes

The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you” — Galatians 3:11b (The Message)

I sought God for 30 years, requesting a vision or direction concerning some task I could do for him, something I could say, “Here, God, I have done this for you!”, when all along there was (and is) nothing I can do for God but worship him.

It was staring me in the face all along! Life can’t be lived by trying to do something for him but by accepting what he has done and continues to do for us and being grateful. He’s not looking for those who want to do great things, he is looking for those who will choose to love the greatest thing in the universe (Him), letting him express his love in and through us.

I think God doesn’t so much want us to do great things but, instead, do the right thing — to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with him.

— fritz
John 4:23
Micah 6:8

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Recently and close more than 140 cars piled up in an accident. Fog was so thick one could see no more than ten (10) feet ahead but they were traveling at highway speed anyway.

In a sense we are all like that. None of us can see what is in front of us in time yet we can not stop. Like it or not we are careening forward in that fog making decisions only guessing what will happen next and hoping for the best.

But while we have no eyes to see the future we were made to hear. Jesus said,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)

We have the capacity to hear God. When we give ourselves to Christ we begin to “hear” his peace in our inner being.

Christ’s sacrifice not only saves us into eternity, it removes the figurative “wax from our ears”. We start learning to “listen” to his peaceful urging how to live, when to act, when to wait, what to do.

As we learn to listen we crash less and discover God sees, he cares, and he speaks.

Prayer: Jesus, like your apostle John leaned on your chest at the last supper to hear your heartbeat, so I desire to “hear” you moment by moment.

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“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me … To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3 / Luke 4:81)

When they are put into the hands of Jesus, God replaces our ashes (burnt up dreams and missed opportunities), mourning (sadness), and spirit of heaviness (depression) with a beauty that’s enticing, a joyfulness that splashes onto everything, and an attitude of praise covering our struggles.

The phrase, “to appoint”, here literally means “to call” and the term, “Zion”, refers specifically to God’s people. The meaning is clear: followers of Christ going through sadness, grief, and depression are the specific candidates for renewal.

Expect it

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