Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Hard Life of Faith


Living a life of faith can be one of the most overly-spoken clich├ęs known to man: “easier said than done.” But what if I said that is precisely one of the major lessons we are here to learn? What if I said that no matter who you are, and no matter when or where you live, mankind is completely plagued with this one aspect of “human nature,” just like you and me?

I know from my own personal life how difficult it is to let someone else take control of things. It is one of my most stubborn qualities: Control Freak. I don’t like sitting in a car when I could be the one driving. I have a hard time allowing someone else to cook, because I “know” that I could do a better job. The list goes on and on. I have had to learn, through extremely difficult and the not-so-difficult situations, that I am ultimately, not in control.

So if I’m not in control, who is? Or rather, Who? That’s right. God is certainly the only One who is truly in control. What’s more, He has proved Himself time and time again. Throughout the history of the world, God’s unwavering perfection has ruled the land, the skies, the seas, and all that are within them. His perfect will has come; His perfect Son has walked among us. And now, His Holy Spirit reigns in the hearts of millions of born-again believers of Jesus Christ – including me.

There are times when we struggle against many different forces, and sometimes we find ourselves doing what comes most “naturally” to us, and that is grasping for anything at all to maintain control. This type of control, however, is false. The truth is, we can’t control anything except how we personally act and react in any given situation. As hard as this truth may hit, it is one that is paramount for every believer to learn.

Luke 11:9-11 says “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

These are words directly from the mouth of Jesus. His word – His command – to us is actually a bit more specific than the english translation allows. The words Jesus used here went something like this: 

“...ask, and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek, and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock, and keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you...” His command is persistence in our faith.

I recently was talking with a friend whose eldest son has estranged himself from her. It is a heartbreaking situation. The more he walks away, the harder she wants to squeeze him closer. It’s a completely human response for anyone with a situation like this. But Jesus Christ has commanded also that we “have no fear” in life. (He commanded this more than anything else during His time here on earth.)

So how do we get from fear to faith? I believe the answer is usually our last resort: prayer. When anything happens in our lives, the God of the whole universe wants to be a part of it. He wants relationship with His children; He desires our intimate petitions and praises no matter our situation.

When we are faced with a mountain – estranged children, medical ailments, financial strain, stubbed toes, it doesn’t matter how big or small – God’s greatest gift to us is prayer. Giving thanks to God for never failing us is paramount. Taking a minute out of the pity party to admit just how stellar of a Heavenly Father our God is, typically ends that party, only to give way to a new one: a praise party. When we take our eyes off of our situation, and place them back where they belong – on Him – we ultimately learn how to let God handle the aspects of our lives that are crumbling. This of course is also the perfect time to ask for help in these troubled times.

The old hymn says,
“Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!”

Oh, for the grace to be multiplied in my life, to where I will trust Him with more and more and more, until everything is abundance; until everything is grace – even the hardships.

“I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.”





Peace, love, and cider mugs...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, it's January.



Giving thanks is something that I have been learning to do, in ALL circumstances. Let me put it this way: every day should be "Thanksgiving." I have been reading through 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp (yes, still, again, again, and again) and with each page-turn I am wrecked. Tears still freely flow as I squint to read the wisdom and love through the hot stream of revelation spilling down my cheeks.

She emphasizes the Greek word for giving thanks, eucharisteo, all the time, and I love it. Over and over again, she tells us how "eucharisteo always proceeds the miracle," and I ponder.

Do you wish for a miracle in your life? I know I do. Many things in my life could use a miracle. It's these areas where we find ourselves usually moaning, groaning, and – quite frankly – complaining about. If only we would give thanks for what we have; situations, friendships, financial conditions, special relationships, faulty health, dented cars, empty spaces where loved ones once sat, etc., my heart ponders just how much change we would see in this life.

This is the most significant lesson I have lived, I believe, in my entire life. Giving thanks for all that is, leaves no room for fear and distrust. This is paramount! Jesus tells us not to worry, but to trust in Him. Giving thanks is an amazing way to exercise our faith muscle.


Eucharisteo. Giving thanks. In all things. Give it a try. See what miracle follows in your life. New year, new point of view, new levels of thankfulness, new miracles.

Peace, love, and cider mugs...