You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘faith’ tag.


While the Bible was written thousands of years ago, it continues to amaze me, especially in the stories it tells. The stories told are proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s humbling to realize that after all these years the human race is no closer to figuring out how to treat each other. The result is a sense of fear, frustration and hopelessness.

It’s easy to say ‘I believe in God. He is my hope’ but for many of us, at least for me, it’s much easier to put my hope in God when my checkbook is okay, my kids behave, and I haven’t done something stupid to cause friction in the family!

When prayers go unanswered; when there’s more month at the end of the money; when the doctors report is ominous; when the police are knocking on the door, it’s a little more difficult to follow the Apostle’s advice to ‘count it all joy when we encounter various trials.’

No where is this better illustrated than by Mark in the Gospel bearing his name. A discouraged father reaches the end of his rope. He most likely hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since his son began to have seizures that attempted to kill him with fire or drowning.

In an act of desperation he seeks out Jesus (Even back then it was incredibly hard for a guy to ask for help). The story gets worse. When he arrives at the place where Jesus was reported to be, he finds out Jesus was on a retreat with a couple of disciples. The other disciples failed miserably to be of any help whatsoever. An argument ensued. “You mean to tell me I came all this way and you can’t help?”

When Jesus finally arrived, dad told his story. He asks IF Jesus can help. Jesus says, if you believe, all things are possible. Dad blurted out “I DO believe…” but no sooner were the words out of his mouth than he realized that deep down, he struggled with doubt. He finished his sentence with the words many of us say during the honest moments of our lives, “help me in my unbelief!

It’s easy to believe when life is good. Not always so when life goes south. So, like the dad, I often catch myself admitting my desire to believe is greater than my ability to believe.

Have you been there? When we use human logic; when we put our trust in our own resources, Hope is hard to come by. When we put our hope completely in God we find comfort. But here’s the best part. He knows going into all this that you will struggle with belief. He knows that no matter how many times he shows himself capable, you’ll be attacked with the demon named worry. But that’s okay. His power is as result of who he is, not the level of you’re ability to believe.

Rest in his comfort.


To those of us who are Christ-followers, we must realize that we speak a language few understand, and the problem is becoming increasingly evident.

Several years ago our family traveled to the SW United States. Since we were only a few miles from the Mexican Border, we decided to cross over and see this foreign land that is our neighbor. None of us spoke Spanish. None of us had ever experienced a situation in which we were obviously the minority. It was an interesting lesson to learn!

Don’t get me wrong. The people were very friendly and tried to be accommodating. There were a few smiles which I assume could have been translated as “silly Americans!”

The problem wasn’t intelligence. The problem wasn’t arrogance or racism. The problem was we didn’t speak the language. We tried. The people tried. But while there was some similarity, there was an obvious communication gap.

I see similar situations in the church today. We need to come to the point where we realize we live in a post Christian Era and a post Christian America. Regardless of who’s to blame, we simply don’t speak a language others understand.

Don’t ridicule the natives. They simply don’t understand. Our visit to Mexico and a small cafe was ‘rescued’ when a server knew English. He could translate to our server what we wanted to eat.

In the spiritual realm we also have a translator, the Holy Spirit. I’ve tried to remember to pray that the Spirit would speak to those in my circles that need Jesus. I can say my words. I can tell my story. But HE is the one who will give understanding. Don’t just pray for those you know who need Jesus. Ask His Spirit to ‘interpret’ the message for you.


I love the infomercials that try to lure you with the ‘hidden deal’. “You think this is good? Wait until you see what is behind door number 2!”

I’m guessing this must work often enough to make it worth their while because they (whoever ‘they’ are) have been luring us for years.

Our human mind is unbelievably conscious of the sensual. We are sensual beings. Our lives are built on what we can see, what we can touch, what we can smell or hear or feel. Anything that goes beyond this is considered out of the ordinary.

This is yet another amazing dichotomy of Christianity. Our faith isn’t built on the sensory. We believe in a God we can not see, yet who reveals himself in a multitude of very real ways. We put our hope in a world we can not see and never ends. The concept of eternity boggles my mind!

When we focus on our senses, we are limited. When we put all our hope in the here and now, it gets discouraging. Paul writes in Colossians to never forget we are merely temporary sojourners in a foreign land. Homeless immigrants longing for the homeland, and what a homeland that must be.

Take a few moments and invite your mind to imagine what the world would be like if you could speak anything into existence. You got rid of prejudice. You destroyed every disease known to man. You made all food health food. You destroyed greed of every kind. Keep going. Let your mind go wild! Then realize that your wildest imagination doesn’t come close to what God has in store for you in eternity.

I can’t wait. While here, I’ll tell his story, but my heart is home with him. Thank you Jesus.


One of the greatest dichotomies of the Christian Life is the treatment of our enemies. To give without expectation of return? Ludicrous! If people were truly honest, even those who donate to charities of various kinds want something in return. That something may be the gift of self-satisfaction, “look what I did!”

To go further, the church has often been guilty of lashing out at those who are ‘wicked’ in the Lord’s sight. To be sure, Godly standards must be taught and held to by his followers, but Jesus was a friend to many we would shy away from.

Take a stand for what is right. Stay true to your calling. But never forget that we are called to love those who contradict the very standards we hold to. People will know us by our fruit. The fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

Live the life the Spirit empowers you to live.


“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

light in darknessHave you ever had one of those nights when you lay awake waiting for morning because daylight may be the only relief you get from the worry in your heart and soul? You breathed a sigh of relief of seeing the first glimmer of dawn because it signaled the dawn of a new day and hopefully respite from your pain?

Have you ever been under attack for your faith? Even though you had complete faith in what God’s word said, you watched as people you loved and respected seemed to turn away. The loneliness was harsh and your emotions ranged from pain (for what was being done to Jesus) to anger (because when attacked, anger is the easiest emotion).

Have you suffered through the loss of a loved one? Even though you knew they were in the arms of Jesus. Even though you knew they were without pain. Even though you knew that someday you would be reunited again and rejoice for eternity. Even though you knew all those things, the pain was still unbearable?

Have you ever watched the news with horror as sin was celebrated as normal and everything you knew pleased your Lord and Savior was being mocked, ridiculed and scorned? In the midst of it all, you felt completely helpless. Like Noah, you watched society fail and the raindrops begin to fall?

Here’s some good news. You were never called to conquer the world. Jesus will take care of that. You were never commissioned to be the one to turn the tide of events. That has already been planned out.

All we were called to do is shine. That’s it. Just shine. John writes in his first epistle that God is light. No darkness, just light (1 John 1:5). Jesus tells us that we are lights on a hill, like a city on a hill that is impossible to hide.

Remember this the next time the darkness seems to creep in around you. The deeper the darkness, the brighter even the smallest light will shine. No amount of darkness will ever be able to subdue, conquer or change the effectiveness of light.

I have a favorite campground in far northern Minnesota. A few years ago I was sitting on the shore late at night. The stars were amazing. In the distance I saw the small flicker of a campfire on an island on the other side of the lake. Just a small fire, yet it was clearly visible in the darkness.

Be a light for Jesus. Let God’s Spirit determine your effectiveness. Just shine. Shine because of the God within you, not because of the gods surrounding you. Your God is greater!

PRAYER: Father God. I confess that I worry rather than trust; that I doubt when I should have faith; that I am afraid when I should be confident and that I get discouraged when I could be encouraged by the fact you are in control. For today, let my light shine for you regardless of the darkness around me. Amen.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,699 other followers

RSS Podcasts from Zion

  • Dangerous Prayer: Break Me
    From our series, "Dangerous Prayer" God uses those most powerfully who have been broken most severely.
  • Dangerous Prayer: Search Me
    From our series "Dangerous Prayer: Search Me Powerful, effective prayer is risky because it causes us to open up completely to God.
  • Stand Strong!!
    From our series, "Unexplainable Joy: Studies in Philippians" Joy doesn’t come without conflict. Standing strong may not always bring happiness, but it does bring joy.
  • God With Us In the Storm
    From our series, "God With Us" Storms are Gods way of reminding us of his existence and empowering us to help others.
  • God With Us In the Wilderness
    From our series, "God With Us" During those times of wilderness wandering God reveals himself if we listen. ‬‬

LinkedIn

Candle Lighter Award

Built With Grace

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Archives

April 2019
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  
Follow Built with Grace on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: