Wednesday, January 27, 2010
It's all Yours, anyway.
It's a statement like "heal us" or "give us this day ..." They're asking for a miracle, and act of God, a gift. Yet Jesus didn't touch them with a magic wand & grant greater faith. In fact He told them a story. The story was about what they needed to to do increase their own faith.
Oh, I know about Romans 12:4 - "metron pisteos" that God gives each a measure of faith, and Ephesians 2:8, that faith is a gift of God. There must be a way to reconcile that with Jesus' statement.
Maybe these verses refer to a starting point - kind of like whether we start with 1 talent, 5 talents, or 10 talents. Or maybe it refers to the type of faith.
Here, in Luke, Jesus answers the request not with a gift or a miracle, but with a parable.
The parable isn't about positive thinking, or positive confessions, or about controlling your thoughts so that you can transplant Mulberry trees. No, the parable is about a servant faithfully serving his master, just doing what he ought to do.
I think what Jesus was saying with this parable is that our desire should not focus on increasing our faith but rather increasing our faithfulness. Increased faith will be the byproduct.
So, Lord, help me today to be faithful. Help me believe than when I am faithful in small things, like being honest and holy in private, that you will reward that honesty and holiness just because you said you would.
Help my attitude be "I've only done what I ought to have done."
Lord, increase my faithfulness. Help me be faithful in what I do, in what I think, in what I say, in what I watch, in what I read, in my relationships, in prayer, in worship, in honesty, in giving, in sharing, in paying my taxes, in showing hospitality, in loving unlovables, in humility, in public in private. Only doing what I ought to do.
Psalm 15 ... my Bible entitles "Description of a Citizen of Zion." It really should say "Description of a Faithful Life."
It's all yours, anyway, Lord.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Life swallowing up death
Last week I was thinking of my friend, Gigi, who is now looking down on us from Glory.
This week I'm thinking of my friend, Norman, who went to Glory about the same time.
As I sat beside Norm and watched him struggle for each breath I remember thinking to myself - his cancer is slowly eating up his life, breath by breath.
Then I read I Cor 15:53 and God opened my eyes to see that, once again, I had it backwards. Cancer was not swallowing up his life. Life was swallowing up his death. Immortality was swallowing up his mortality. Slowly he was being pulled into the presence of God; pulled away from this mortal life, where death seems to have final say, and drawn into immorality where true life reigns forever.
It reminds me of my 90 year old father-in-law. When I told him "I'm praying that you will be strong to the very end" he said, "you mean, the very beginning."
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Faith as a child
Faith is the title deed to things not seen.
I've been thinking about my friend, Gigi, as I read through my journal. Gigi died of a tumor in her brain. She fought it for years before it took her life away from her. After we had laid hands on her and prayed for her one of the Elders remarked about how brave and strong she has been.
Her response is an amazing definition of faith.
She said "Brave and strong? I'm just a scared little girl holding on very tightly to a strong and wonderful God"
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
New wine demands new skin
I can change. I can become something I am not.
But, I cannot become something I am not without changing what makes me what I am. To try and do otherwise is destined for failure - bursting the skins, tearing the cloth. That's it! It tears the fabric of who I am.
I want change, but not enough to change me. Most of us want both. I think that's what James means by a "double-minded man." We want to be thin without changing how we eat. We want to be wealthy without having to change how we work & spend. We want to be victorious without giving up the things that drag us into defeat. We want to be something we are not without stopping the things that make us what we are.
I want to be more joyful. Joyful? Psalm 51:13 - Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.
I want to be more joyful, Lord. I cannot without a willing spirit - without the willingness to give up the things, thoughts, and actions that take my joy away. Sometimes I'm not sure I know what those are. Once again, Lord, I can't do it without your help. So, Psalm 51:13 is my prayer today.
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