Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Faith Stories

Psalms 102:18 (NASB) 18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
Passing on stories from generation to generation is an important thing. It is how family history is preserved. It is how future generations learn. Sometimes the stories get passed on or the learning gets passed on without the explanation. Then it becomes a pointless ritual. Like the girl who was watching her mom fix lunch one day and she cut off the end of the roast before she cooked it. The girl asked "mommy. Why do you cut off the end of the roast?" The mom replied, "Because that's the way your grandma taught me to do it." Curious, the little girl took it upon herself to ask her grandma why she cut the end off the roast. She replied, "Because that's the way my mom taught me to do it." Not willing to settle for this answer, the little girl asked her great-grandmother why she cut the end off the roast. She replied, "Because my pan was too small and the roast wouldn't fit. So I cut the end off of it." A tradition had been passed on but perhaps not the right kind of tradition or for the right reasons.

We need to pass along the stories of our faith and the stories of God's working in our lives so our children will have a reference to draw from in their own lives. If they know that God provided for mom and dad in their time of need, they are better equipped to believe and depend on Him to provide in their time of need.

Make it your priority to pass along those faith stories to your kids and grandkids so that people yet to be created may praise the Lord.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Why The Desert?

Galatians 1:15-17 (NASB) 15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.
Yesterday I was on the phone with a good friend who had been spending their quiet time contemplating the subject of "the desert". The question they asked was "What is the purpose of the desert in my life?" I've been thinking about that question ever since.

The bible is filled with stories of the desert. The best known story is the exodus. As Israel quickly approached the "promised land" one reason for the desert became known: In the desert we learn to depend on and listen to God rather than our friends, family or advisors. Because the Israelites hadn't learned to believe God's advice over their own common sense, they listened to the 10 spies and spent 40 years learning to be totally dependant upon God. The desert delayed their entrance, but it taught them the most important lesson in life.

Prior to this event, Moses had taken matters into his own hands and had killed a man. Because of his sin, he was forced to retreat to the backside of the desert for 40 years. Here we see another reason for the desert: The reality of my sin and the fear of the consequences cause me to retreat to a place where I can cry out for God's forgiveness. Moses knew what he had done was wrong, but he didn't feel remorse until he "got caught". That fact forced him into the desert where he obviously "dealt" with his sin with the only person who mattered: God.

Paul went to the desert after his Damascus Road experience to sort out what he had learned all his life about God and the law and his new experience with a very real Son of God. He didn't want to hear other men's opinions about the claims of Christ to be the Son of God. He wanted God to show him everything their was to know about Christ from the same Old Testament writings that Paul had used to condemn Christianity. It was in the desert that Paul received divine truth: divine truth that would form the basis for all his arguments in defense of Christ as the Son of God.

You may be going through your own personal desert. I can relate. The past six months of my own life have been a real "desert experience". I am learning that the real blessing, the real victory comes when we embrace the desert as an opportunity for God to deepen and broaden us. Praise God for the desert in your life. Let him teach you in ways on He can.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Faith in the name of Jesus

Acts 4:10-12 (NASB)
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.
12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

Faith. We all have it, at least according the bible, but admittedly some people have more than others. It's of great importance to have faith, but even greater to have it in the right place. I have faith that the computer is going to work till I finish this devotion. I have faith that my wife and daughter will come home at the end of the day. I have faith that the brakes on my car will work when I need them. I have faith in a lot of things, but that faith is minor compared to the kind of faith that is being spoken of in this passage.

Faith in the name, authority and reputation of Jesus Christ is the kind of faith that changes circumstances. It is the belief that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God and that He died for our sins because He loves us and He presently intercedes on our behalf with the same love. If I were to go the Capitol building in Jefferson City and ask to speak to the governor, I would most likely be denied. Even if I told the receptionist that it was a matter of extreme urgency she would politely take my name and number and have someone get back with me. That's if I'm just "Scott". But if I came as an ambassador for the President of the United States and was carrying papers granting me the full authority of his office, I would not only get in to see the Governor, I would get the royal treatment. On my own authority, I'm not very impressive. But when I come on the authority of the Son of God, I gain great authority. If I can learn to accept that position and walk in it with quiet confidence, doors will open that had previously remained shut. Opportunities will avail themselves that before weren't even a dream.

Jesus said, "you believe in God. Believe also in me". Place yourself in the position of the subordinate to Christ instead of expecting Him to be yours. See if God doesn't do amazing things in your life.