Friday, November 28, 2008

Can faith save? Does your faith demand Action?

James 2: 14-26

14What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
15If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day,
16And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
17So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
18But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.
19You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as [
a]make a man's hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]!
20Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish (unproductive, spiritually deficient) fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?
21Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac?(
22You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.
23And [so] the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God's will in thought and deed), and he was called God's friend.(
24You see that a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith [through works of obedience as well as by what he believes].
25So also with Rahab the harlot--was she not shown to be justified (pronounced righteous before God) by [good] deeds when she took in the scouts (spies) and sent them away by a different route?(
26For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead.

Ok so this is a little weird to go about your daily devotional this way but...
I woke up this morning a 2:22 AM!
I came out and decided to wait on the Lord. Really I came out and cried out to the Lord. I have such a need to tuck in tight under his arm and feel that Love and protection.

I was led to this passage of scripture and was drawn to what happened when I read the first part (vs 14)...the question, with the Last (vs 26)...seemingly the answer.

14What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]? ...

26For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead.

THE THINGS WE DO ARE A TESTIMONY TO OUR FAITH. We need to let the things we do be governed and guided by the Holy Spirit. Not by the world and not by the flesh. We do a lot of things because it is expected or because we feel like it. Those are not works. The things we do because the Holy Spirit prompted us to and we are being obedient no matter what...those are works. Turning your car around and helping someone even if you are really wanting to get home. Giving someone the five bucks in your pocket even when you were thinking of Starbucks on the way home. Those are works. In order to do these things we need to be willing and able to hear and obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I'm not saying that everything that the Holy Spirit prompts you to do will be a sacrifice.(though it sure seems like it!) In our maturity and as our faith Grows it can become a joy!
You do hear from the Holy Spirit you just need to recognize that that is what it is and yield to it. The more you do it the more you start to recognize His voice. The more you recognize His voice and obey those promptings the more Growth and intimacy you will enjoy in you walk with the Father. This is not always easy but I believe it is the mark of a righteous man.

My question would be...Do I have a faithful testimony?
My answer came in... (ok silly, I know! 2:22 am!)
22You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.

What am I doing that is requiring me to cooperate in faith? The things that we do in faith may not look right to the rest of the world. I say that that doesn't matter but is it true? Am I able to stand apart and look like a fool because I am doing what I believe by faith? I have been very challenged in this area throughout my Christian walk and very much recently. Our current circumstances have us not necessarily following the logical path. We are by faith following what we believe the Lord is telling us to do. Try telling that to someone who cares about you but is not a believer. Try telling that to a believer who was not in on Gods plans! Do you think that God will tell you to do something and let all your brothers and sisters in Christ know that it is ok...It is His plan for your life? I'll tell you the answer is no! Wouldnt it be nice if the Lord would just forward that memo to everyone?
Think about that when you start to tell others what they could or should be doing, when you criticize their actions because they make no earthly sense. We arent here to make earthly sence.
Yes, we need to seek wise council, but ultamitly the Lord is your only true council. If the people you are seeking for guidance are not praying and seeking the Lord on your behalf and willing to hear the God thing and not the Good thing you may not be getting good council after all.

So...what I am walking away with is that...
Our faith must demand action and it is not just the "busying" ourselves around the church volunteering for everything under the sun. That is good but is it God?
The works that make us friends of God are those things that He directs us to do. I believe we will stand before Him one day and have to account for those things. I want to be sure to have a faithful walk no matter what. I want to be sure to help, not hinder others from doing the same. I am sure we will be given lots of opportunity to ponder these things.

Lord, I pray for a willing heart, a yielding spirit, for eyes to see and ears to hear. I want thy Kingdom to come and thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. I believe we have that opportunity if we are only willing and able to reach for it. Equip us, teach us, and guide our every step. Help me to not judge others by what they do or don't do. Let me see then as you do. Use me to guide others along on their journey of obedience and seeking your Kingdom on earth. I desire to be a friend of God. Your Word tells us that we were created in Christs image. Complete that work in us, transforming us into Christs image in all that we say and do. I thank you Abba Father for all your mercies in every form the come. I thank you for how you meet or needs and guide our steps. I long for you.
I pray that I will always say the things You want me to say and do the things You want me to do and go where You want me to go...and thats all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Consider the time

Time can get away from us cant it? I haven't been online to blog in a few weeks. Even as I ponder that thought I am reminded how precious every day is. We need to spend our time sewing into the Kingdom of God. I have such an urgency to complete the good work that the Father has begun in me. I am aware now more then ever that I have a calling to fulfill. I guess I am a late bloomer. I wish I could say that I was this sure and this focused and this passionate when I was younger. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, is a colossal waste of time. Now I intend to press forward like there is no tomorrow. How glorious to know that there is always a tomorrow. It is a matter of where and how we will be spending tomorrow. For the believer we will be in heaven, but, sadly for the ones who never knew Him, eternity will be in the Lake Of Fire. Sure makes you have an urgency to sew into the Kingdom doesn't it? If we could just look at every person and remember they too were made in the image of Christ. To offer them any less then we desire to receive would be offering Christ Himself less. What a challenge.
I am so thankful every day for the privilege of knowing Him. He truly is my Abba Father. All I want to do is to be pleasing to Him and fulfill the calling that He has on my life. As some were call to be prophets and some evangelists etc I want to seek out with all my heart the part that God has for me to play and to do it to His glory. When I stand in front of Him in the throne room I want to hear Well done...
Every day I desire to know...what do you have for me today Lord. Sewing in, sewing out whatever it is,I pray I can be faithful and obedient. I thank Him for His Grace and Mercies. I wish I could say I get it right most of the time but to say some of the time would be more accurate. I just keep aiming higher...keeping my eye on the prize. I pray that you are inspired to consider your calling and the time you spend investing into Kingdom things.
Here I am...send me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So, now what?

I have had a lot of time to ponder the results of the election. Some condescending people make the comment that God is not republican. I realize that just because I believe that I voted the fathers heart does not mean that it was ever His intentions to give us what He told us to vote for. In stead of worrying that I somehow did not hear properly or I made a mistake I feel very strongly that I did as He wanted me to do. There is a reason for all this. I rejoice and thank God for all that He is doing.
It is a remarkable time in our nation to elect a Black president. I pray that he makes good choices and I pray that there is a unity like we have never known in this nation. I cant know what God is doing but I can rest in knowing that He is doing something. This is a real opportunity for us to do as the bible tells us and to pray for our elected leader. I have a sense that once in the White House and the weight of the world rests on Barack Obama's shoulders he will Cry out to the God of Heaven. That is my prayer. That the white house will be the Prayer House and we will have one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all. It is a time for us to pray like never before for righteousness. To stand on our values in spite of what is going on around us.
It is a sad day when the majority of our country would vote against life. That is my hardest issue to come to terms with. Yes, there are other pressing issues but the sanctity of life is above all else, certainly above the all mighty dollar. People have made money their Idol... God will deal with that.
I long for the coming of the Lord. It is my desire to see a spotless bride waiting for the bride groom. I cant just keep my eyes on myself. Yes, I need to be a wise virgin and prepare the oil in my lamp. It would be wrong for me to neglect myself in the preparations. I just feel so strongly a call to encourage my sisters to prepare the oil in their lamp as well. This is a time to be looking outward.. in order to do that we need to take the time to look to God and allow The Holy Spirit to do His work in each of us. There is no question that the time is near. How do we want to be found on that day? It's a good thought to ponder.
I admitedly have a difficult time remembering that life goes on outside the four walls of my home. It is my prayer that that no longer be the case. So...I ask for eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that cries Abba father. Here I am...send me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

For better or for worse

Wow...what we take for granted...
My husband and I were asked to council a couple. We gladly sat down with them and listened as they shared their heart. We love them so much and want to see them come to a place of oneness in the Lord that I guess we take for granted.
My husband and I have always shared a mutual love for Christ and we have always eagerly prayed together. We have easily agreed that what we desired above all things is to seek Gods will for our lives. We have enjoyed the oneness and peace in knowing that where the Lord guides He provides and that He alone is the opener and the closer of doors in our life. Being mutually submitted to each other and to Christ we walk in complete confidence that we cant go wrong. We are surrendered to Gods will for our lives so when something does not go as we wanted we can stand together and praise God for closing a door, we never blame one another. When one of us wants something but the other does not, we yield till we are brought to a place of peace in the Lord. We have never found ourselves standing alone on any occasion. I have certainly given in to a decision he made without really wanting to but never when I felt a strong witness in my spirit that it wasn't the Lord. I guess being able to discern when it is the flesh not wanting to submit and when it is the spirit not giving you rest is a huge hurtle. It comes from Love, trust, open communication, praying together and being submitted to each other and to Christ. I know the each other part raises a few eyebrows. But when you study the scripture it really is a beautiful thing. A woman is to submit to her husband which is a joy when the husband is loving his wife as Christ loves the church. How much did Christ love the church? Enough to lay down His life for her. I reason to say that if you are treating your wife in such a way that you probably care enough to be concerned with her feelings and concerns and opinions. When that kind of mutual respect is in a relationship the "s" word is really a beautiful thing.
I have to say...we have gotten to such a place with our relationship that I actually respect when my husband looks at me and says "I hear what you are saying but I have to insist on this". I can throw my hands up and say "ok then...I thank God if you are right and if you are's your bad"
It is so easy and it actually happens so rarely. 99% of the time we can agree or let it go. Early in our marriage I remember begging him to just put his foot down. I would respect that so much more then pandering to me and letting me call the shots. That responsibility was never meant to be mine.
There truly is a safety in surrender to the one who God gave you. Just as we desire to surrender to God. As husband and wife we are supposed to be FOR each other as Christ is for us. If you feel like that is not the case I pray that you will start to pray about what steps you can take to come into that place of oneness.

Father, I thank You for my husband and the beautiful relationship we have. I thank You for the opportunity to minister to our friends and in turn be reminded how blessed we are. Lord, if it is your will that we should be an example to others in our marriage I am asking for an extra measure of protection around our relationship. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. In Jesus' name, Amen