Monday, July 25, 2011


Believing in the Lord means believing in what He says and acting on it, even when we feel fear.

·  It takes courage to let God use you as an 
   influence for Him.

God has a purpose in placing you among those you work with and associate with. God placed Joseph second in command under the Pharaoh, in order that he might save his people during a famine. There was Daniel who served in an influential position in both the Babylonian and the Medo-Persian empires. Esther married the king and became queen and was able to save the people of Israel. There was Nehemiah who served as Cupbearer to King Artaxerxes and was able to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem in spite of threats from enemies.

In each of these situations God placed someone in a key position in order to accomplish His divine plan. Mordecai said to Esther, “Who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NLT)

You can live for Christ where you live, work, recreate, shop, go to school, wherever. God places you among those who haven’t committed their lives to Christ yet for the purpose of having an influence on them. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13. Be salt where you live and work, and influence others towards Christ. Make them thirsty for Him.

God often places individual believers in key positions in a pagan society to accomplish His purposes. Any place where you rub shoulders with those who aren’t followers of Christ is a key place to be used by God. Your influence as a believer in Christ is not just through words but also by what is seen in your life.

·  It takes courage to live a Christ-like life without alienating those who may come to Christ.

You have to live in the culture, but you don’t have to let the culture totally rule you. We’re not of the culture; just living in it.

Jesus in His prayer for all who follow Him said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world … They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:15-16. We are in the world, but not of the world. Sometimes Christians can push the “not of the world” so far that they’re not even “in the world”. And they alienate and push away those who aren’t followers of Jesus instead of attracting them to Him.

Yes, there is a dividing line. At some point with the culture, with those who are a part of the culture – you go a different direction than they do.

·  It takes courage to do your part and let God do His.

God gives the commands. He gives us the instructions. Through His Word He tells us what we are to do. Our responsibility is to follow through. He says, “Go and tell”, “Go and do”. We must “act” on His word.

God will do His responsibility. Be assured and reassured from His Word, from what He says – that He will show up. He will do His part. The more we grow in believing the Lord, the more obedient we become and the more certain we become of His faithfulness.

·  It takes courage to do what God commands.

When we leave off doing what God commands and teaches us through His Word, we will falter. We will become apprehensive and afraid. We will begin to rationalize our unfaithful behavior. We will live in sin.

The barricade we have available to us that can stand up against disobedience is the application of God’s Word to our lives. Take God’s Word and put it into practice and ask the Holy Spirit to be in control. Then we find we can take steps of obedience to the Lord and stay out of sin. Then we find that we have the strength to obey and trust God even when we feel fear.

Monday, July 18, 2011


It was a Wednesday in June. My two sons, Josh and Andrew, and I went to Rainbow Falls and jumped. It was a thrill shared with my sons I would not have missed for the world. It was also an experience that in many ways reminded me of a believer’s journey of faith.

We were vacationing in the mountains in Sapphire, NC. We drove to Gorges State Park and hiked to the falls. At the trailhead, the sign read, “strenuous hike”, and so it was, a three mile round trip strenuous hike up and down, over roots and rocks. Once we got to the falls our adventure became more challenging, dangerous, fun, and thrilling. Just getting down to the river from the trail was a steep slippery journey. Once at the bottom it was a matter of calculated stepping and hopping from boulder to boulder to get to where we could get in the water. The rocky ledge from which we wanted to jump was on the other side of the river. We left our shoes and shirts on a rock and then slowly entered the cold water. The huge rocks beneath the water were so slick we couldn’t stand on them, and we had to crawl over them into deeper water where we could swim.

Once across the river the challenge was climbing up to the ledge. It was not a direct approach. Just pulling ourselves out of the water, trying to get a grip on the rocks was difficult in itself. Once out of the water we began the steep climb up the wooded side next to the huge rock wall from which we would jump.

It was a climb that consisted of fingers gripping small indentions in the rocks, hands holding on to roots, and feet placed strategically for a foothold. It took total concentration. Pulling up, pushing off, using all of our strength, calculating every move, we made it to the place just above and to the side of the ledge.

From there we had to climb down fifteen feet of rock wall holding to the roots that draped over the rock. At this point one slip of the foot, one missed grip of a root could easily mean a fall to our death. As I watched both my sons make the tedious climb down that rock wall, I silently prayed intensely for each of them. Once we got over to the ledge we made our way to the wider part where we could at least take a couple of steps to jump.

Standing on the ledge and looking out and around, the world seemed huge. The power and the noise of the massive falls to the left, the height of the surrounding mountains, the sky with passing clouds and the blue with no ceiling, the huge rocks scattered in the water in no certain pattern as if God had tossed a bucket of boulders into the river, and the water that had pooled below us from the falls – all gave me a sense of wonder, smallness, and mortality.

As each of us stood on the ledge and looked down we felt apprehension… well, I’ll go ahead and say it… we felt fear. It was about thirty feet from the ledge to the river below. We also knew we had to jump out and away from the ledge because the bottom of the rock wall sloped outward under the water. We needed to clear it as we jumped.

The longer we stood on the ledge and thought about jumping the more nervous we became. Not that any of us thought that it would be easier to just walk out onto the ledge and jump. A few moments were necessary to collect one’s thoughts, make some calculations, and then commit to the jump.

And then the moment comes to choose to stop thinking and to take your gathered thoughts and with all your strength spring forward, outward, and off the edge of the ledge, leaving the familiar to enter what you only know from a distance, and to splash into the cool water, exhilarated that you made it.

The Bible says, Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12b).

The lifelong journey of faith for the believer in Christ is much like a strenuous hike and a climb of spiritual maturity. It’s not easy to follow Jesus. We must depend on His strength and wisdom. Even if we slip, we’re still His, for His grace is sufficient and His salvation is sure. One day we’ll stand on the ledge and we’ll make our last jump, leaving the familiar that was not so comforting after all, and enter into that which we’ve known from a distance and have longed for all our lives – our home in Heaven. What an exhilarating moment that will be!

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? … Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. … He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. … Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? … Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:12-31).