For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
We Walk By Faith
"Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him" (Hebrews 11:6 NCV).
Today's devotional was on faith. Some might say that the topic of faith is overused and of course they have faith in God...but do you really? The devotional was by Mary Southerland and it was called "Step Away From the Shore". She based it off of the story in Matthew 14 when the disciples are "lost at sea" in a huge storm. They probably were so scared and wondering where in the world Christ was! Why wasn't he there with them and helping them? Then Christ comes onto the scene and in verse 25 it says, "And in the fourth watch of the night (between 3-6am) He came to them, walking on the sea" (parenthesis mine). Christ did come to them but I think He wanted to test their faith in Him by waiting until they cried out to Him for help...they put their faith in Him alone to save them! Did they cry out in fear? Yes! Did He come? A huge resounding YES!
God is waiting for us to cry out to Him. He is willing and waiting to bless us. Southerland pointed out though that blessings from God aren't necessarily always easy, effortless, painless or expected. Sometimes blessings from God are wrapped in darkness. She says, "But I am learning this truth - anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. Why? Because when we are desperate and in pain, when we have no answers and the darkness is closing in, we cry out to God, just as the disciples did - and He comes! Not because we have earned His presence or His mercy, but because we cried out with a tiny seed of faith, as His children, knowing He is not only able, but willing to come." Now that can be hard to grasp...a "bad" blessing? But is it really bad if it gets us to cry out to our God and Savior? It may be hard but it's not bad!
Faith is definitely not an easy thing to practice in our lives! Especially when the hard times do come...we have the head knowledge that God is all-powerful and that God can get us through and work it out for good (Romans 8:28) but we don't have the "heart knowledge"...we don't believe it with all our heart, soul and mind! That is the point where we all need to get to. At the end of her devotional she had a little exercise to record in a journal. Read and copy down Psalm 86:15, "But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Then go through the verse and write down all the words that describe God. What do these words tell you about God's willingness to bless you? What is the first step of faith you need to make today? Are you willing to take it right now?
By Keith & Kristyn Getty/Stuart Townend
By faith we see the hand of God In the light of creation's grand design In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness Who walk by faith and not by sight
By faith our fathers roamed the earth With the power of His promise in their hearts Of a holy city built by God's own hand A place where peace and justice reign
We will stand as children of the promise We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward Till the race is finished and the work is done We'll walk by faith and not by sight
By faith the prophets saw a day When the longed-for Messiah would appear With the power to break the chains of sin and death And rise triumphant from the grave
By faith the church was called to go In the power of the Spirit to the lost To deliver captives and to preach good news In every corner of the earth
We will stand...
By faith this mountain shall be moved And the power of the gospel shall prevail For we know in Christ all things are possible For all who call upon His name