Friday, April 28, 2017

Walk By Faith (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:7

Earlier this week, we talked about how faith is sometimes difficult. It really is hard to belief in something that we can’t touch or see. In fact, this inability to touch or see is what keeps many people from taking a step of faith.

But that step of faith is critical. It is, indeed, a non-negotiable.

God has given us so much that proves His existence. Creation. Miracles. Changed lives. But the moment comes when one must take what is evident and step—in faith—toward what cannot be touched or seen.

We truly do “walk by faith, not by sight.” We live each day, trusting the One who has proven Himself to be faithful. We take what we can see, what we can touch, and then we step out in faith, and we follow Him.

Do you know God, really know Him? Have you taken that step of faith, believing in what you cannot see or touch?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Continue in Faith (Acts 14:21-22)

Today’s scripture: Acts 14:21-22

This world is a very hard place … a very hard place.

We see so much pain and suffering, tragedy and catastrophe. Sometimes, it’s difficult just putting one foot in front of the other … It’s enough to shake the faith of even the strongest believer.

The early church certainly had its share of “tribulations.” The martyrdom of Stephen. The persecution initiated by Saul. Yet during the darkest moments, faith “continued.” It grew. And the church flourished.

Our faith can continue as well. It can grow. It can flourish.

Even through the pain, the suffering … the tribulations.

If your faith is shaken, lay it all at the feet of Jesus. Seek the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and “continue” your faith.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Faith in the Power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-6)

Today’s scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:4-6

Every time I peruse the Internet, I’m amazed at how many “experts” are out there … Just search on “how to lose weight.” Everyone and his brother—or sister—seems to know exactly what you need to do to get thin.

Eat more carbs … no, eat less carbs. Go vegan … no, add more meat. Eat this combination of foods … no, eat this combination.

Experts all.

And we buy into it all. We seek the wisdom of man. In fact, we put our faith in that wisdom.

That’s not very … well, wise.

People can let us down; indeed, they do time and time again. Relying on the wisdom of others, those we know and those we access via the Internet, can be a slippery slope.

So whom can we trust? Whose wisdom will never steer us wrong?

Faith in God and His power is always wise; trusting His goodness, His word, His grace will never let us down.

Have you put your faith in the world’s wisdom? Keep your faith in the One who loves you and whose power will carry you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Faith by Hearing (Romans 10:17)

Today’s scripture: Romans 10:17

Faith can be tough. Believing in something—or Someone—whom you cannot touch with your hands or see with your eyes is difficult and defies logic.

So, how can you find faith?

We are incredibly blessed that God gave us His very words so we can know Him. We learn of Him through the stories of the history of the nation of Israel, through the words of wisdom in Proverbs, through the songs of praise in Psalms … all the way through the gospels and the epistles.

The Bible illuminates the One who created the heavens and the earth. It points to His incredible love for His children. It describes His super-abundant grace.

It is, indeed, an incredible gift.

Our faith is not blind. It is not wishful thinking. It is not ignorant. No, our faith is built on truth that is made evident through God’s word to us.

In order to really know God, you must study and “hear” His word. As I’ve encouraged over and over, spend time with the Lord today.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Faithful in Obedience (Romans 1:5)

Today’s scripture: Romans 1:5

We serve the one and only God. He is the Creator of the universe, the Sovereign God. He is all-knowing, all-loving, every-present.

And He wants to be in relationship with each and every one of His created children. That includes you!

He sent part of His triune self, God the Son, to earth to pay the penalty for our sins in order to bridge the gap that sin created.

He did that for you … and me.

And He asks one thing in return: Obedience. He desires—and deserves—complete surrender to His will. He expects total obedience to the faith which He has given us.

It’s really not too much to ask when we consider how much He’s done for us.

How “obedient to the faith” are you? Do you struggle with following His commandments? Ask for His help today.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Faithful in Much (Luke 16:10-11)

Today’s scripture: Luke 16:10-11

Some of us have been incredibly blessed. We have plenty of food. We live in lovely homes. We drive nice cars.

We have been given much.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we faithful in our “much”?

Do we live only to enjoy our “much”? Or are we aware of the needs around us, sharing our “much” with those who struggle? Do we give to charities that support the homeless? Do we offer help to the “least of these”? (Matthew 25:31-46).

It’s so easy to become complacent, satisfied with our stuff, with our money … with our “much” and yet not be faithful with that “much.”

What can you do to be faithful with your “much.” Ask the Lord to reveal ways to serve and support others.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Faithful Servant (Matthew 25:21)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 25:21

I don’t know about you, but my greatest hope is to stand before the Lord one day and hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I want so much to know that I have served Him well here on earth.

You probably want the same.

How do we know if we’ve served Him well?

Honestly, we really won’t know this side of heaven how we’ve served Him. What we can do is be available for whatever He calls us to do.

I try, each and every day, to surrender myself to Him … if only for that day. Sometimes, though, I’m guilty of releasing my day to Him … and then snatching it back. Sound familiar?

Even though I know beyond doubt that He loves me and has a perfect plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11), I still want to have some control.

But the longer I walk with Him, the more I’m able to surrender to His will, His purpose, His plan. And the more I surrender, the more He uses me. And the more He uses me, the more I feel His pleasure.

If you want to hear “well done,” be willing to do as the Lord calls; surrender each day and serve Him … and Him alone.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Faithful Witness (Proverbs 14:5)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 14:5

A year or so ago, I had the privilege of playing Juror #4 in Twelve Angry Jurors. It’s a powerful drama about a group jurors deliberating in a murder case. (If you haven’t seen it, watch the 1975 film version Twelve Angry Men with Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobbs.)

One idea that permeates the play (and movie) is whether the witnesses have been faithful to their testimony. Did they really hear what they said they heard? Did they really see what they said they saw?

In a court of law, being a faithful witness can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration … sometimes, even life or death.

We too need to be faithful witnesses as we go about in the world. We need to speak truth to our friends and family. We need to be trustworthy.

We especially need to be faithful witnesses when we talk about the truth of our faith. We can’t allow the world’s lies to cloud our own convictions.

Have you been less than a faithful witness? Do those around you know you are a child of the One True God? How can you be Jesus to others today?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sanctified by Faith (Acts 26:17-18)

Today’s scripture: Acts 26:17-18

We talked about sanctification a couple of weeks ago. Today’s verses focus on turning others from “darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness …”

Sanctification is indeed a process that begins at salvation. We should so desire those around us to know our God and to live in light instead of darkness that we should do everything we can to help them find truth.

Our world is blind and is under the power of the enemy, but he is not the ultimate victor. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said it best, “I have already overcome the world” (John16:33, emphasis mine).

As we go out in to the world every day, we need to pray that Jesus will shine His light through us. That others will see Him and His truth. That they will come to salvation.

That they will be sanctified by faith.

Whom do you know who needs Jesus? Share His light and truth today.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mustard Seed Faith (Matthew 17:20)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 17:20

You’ve probably heard the term: mustard seed faith. You know, the kind of faith that moves mountains.

Yet, how many times have you felt your faith is strong, but the mountains remain unmoved? Is your faith just not strong enough?

I think there’s more than meets the eye. In the words of the great theologian Spurgeon:

The eye cannot see itself. Did you ever see your own eye? In a mirror you may have done so, but that was only a reflection of it. And you may, in like manner, see the evidence of your faith, but you cannot look at the faith itself. Faith looks away to itself to the object of faith, even to Christ.
The object of our faith.

These are key words. In whom do we place our faith? In ourselves? In others? In society? In science?

Everyone has faith in something … or someone.

When we have faith in the One True God, we can ask for anything within His will (1 John 5:14). And if it is within His will, mountains will move.

Take a measure of your faith. If it’s mustard-seed small, is it still planted in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Little Faith (Matthew 8:26)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 8:26

I read these words of Jesus, and I think, “How often do I have ‘little faith’?”

Too often, I’m afraid.

It’s easy to point fingers at the disciples and say, “How can they not have faith? They saw Jesus work miracles with their own eyes!”

But, haven’t we done the same? Haven’t we seen how He’s healed? Or provided? Or protected?

We’ve seen Him work in our lives and in the lives of others.

Yet, when the rubber meets the road, we doubt. We ask why? We take our eyes off of Jesus and look at the storm.

We too have “little faith.”

What a blessing to remember that, just as Jesus calmed the storm surrounding the disciples despite their “little faith,” He will do the same for us.

When your faith is “little,” take your eyes off the storm and focus instead on the One who calms it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Faithful Friend (Proverbs 11:13)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 11:13

Most of what we’ve seen about faith so far is our being faithful to God or His being faithful to us.

But faithfulness also speaks to our relationships with others. Those with our family or our friends.

Most of us have friends the Bible describes as being closer than brothers. And if we have one or two of those faithful friends, we are blessed … truly blessed.

... because many of us have experienced the pain that comes from friends who are not faithful.

Have you had such a so-called friend? One whom you trusted and who let you down?

Few things can devastate a heart than being betrayed by a friend.

What can you do when a friend lets you down?

First, forgive … if only to take the burden off your own shoulders.

Second, reconcile … If there is a chance to salvage the relationship, do so.

Finally, move on … If reconciliation isn’t possible, and it often isn’t, then recognize that friendship is over. And find a friend who will be faithful.

Do you have a faithful friend? Take a moment and give her a call. Send him a text. And thank God you have such a friend!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

God's Eyes Are on the Faithful (Psalm 101:6)

Today’s scripture: Today’s scripture: Psalm 101:6

I’ve always love Psalm 139 where the psalmist states that God is aware of everything about us … and has been since before our births.

I love the confidence that comes knowing God sees me … at all times. I’m never alone. Never forgotten. Never forsaken.

God sees me in my pain and in my rejoicing. He carries me through the hard times and dances with me through the times of celebration. He sometimes weeps with me … and often laughs with joy.

His eyes are always on me.

Now, some may find this disconcerting … or downright frightening.

But, if we are faithful to Him and seek His will, we need not fear His ever-presence. No, we can find true assurance and joy knowing we are in His sight at all times.

How does knowing God’s eyes are on you make you feel? If you are anything other than joyful at this thought, go to Him now and confess anything that keeps you from that joy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Faith and Peace (Romans 5:1-2)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:1-2

If you started reading this devotional in 2017, you know that we began the year talking about peace, one of my favorite topics.

In the Bible, peace and faith often go hand-in-hand.

When we have faith in God and trust Him to complete His will according to His love for us, we often find peace despite our circumstances.

It’s almost a mathematical hypothesis: If we have faith in God, then we are justified. If we are justified by faith, then we have peace.

I’ve said it before—and I’ll say it again—true peace is found only through faith in God. We stand firm on His grace and unmerited favor and experience His mercy.

We see His hand at work in all things, and we know He has a perfect plan, one of peace and not disaster as one version of Jeremiah 29:11 states.

Are you feeling peace-less? Then put your faith in God. Accept His peace promised through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Healing by Faith (Matthew 9:20-22)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 9:20-22

I love this story. It’s been a favorite example of faith of mine for a very long time.

I can picture this woman vividly. She has been suffering from a “flow of blood” for over a decade. This means that, not only has she been physically ill, but she has also been shunned by society according to Levitical law.

She is in pain … physically, emotionally, and, likely, spiritually.

One day, we’re not told how, she learns of Jesus and His healing hand. And she takes a risk—a huge risk. She ventures out into the very society that called for her separation, and she slinks up to Jesus.

“If I just touch the hem of His robe,” she thinks, “then I will be healed.”

And that’s exactly what happens. She touches Jesus’ robe, and she is immediately healed.

And even more, she hears the most precious words from Jesus Himself: “Be of good cheer, daughter.”


Can you imagine the joy she now feels? She is not only healed, but she is called the daughter of the Healer!

Sometimes, the Healer heals the body. Sometimes, He heals the heart.

If you are hurting today, go to the Healer. While He may not heal your body, He will heal your heart.

Friday, April 07, 2017

A Great Faith (Matthew 8:5-13)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 8:5-13

The story is fascinating …

A centurion, a non-Jew, comes to Jesus looking for healing for his servant.

He certainly isn’t the first to seek healing. Many have come to Jesus requesting healing for themselves or for friends.

Some want to see. Others want to hear. Still others want to walk.

Most of those who seek healing are Jesus’ own people, and one would expect Him to take care of them.

But today, here comes a centurion, a leader of the Romans, who wants his servant healed. Jesus offers to come to the centurion’s home.

This is where the story shifts.

“No,” the centurion says, “You don’t have to come. All you have to do is say the word. I know my servant will be healed” (my paraphrase).

Just say the word.

And Jesus is impressed. In fact, he “marvels.” He is amazed.

And then He says these incredible words: “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.”

Not such great faith.

Isn’t that what you want? Great faith? Faith that trusts in Jesus’ power and strength? It takes knowing Him. And trusting Him. And asking Him for what you need.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Preserved by Faith (Psalm 31:23)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 31:23

Do you ever have those days when you feel … just out of it? Just messy or lost or frustrated … or defeated?

Sometimes, I feel all of the above. I feel unworthy and flawed and … well, in keeping with today’s verse, unpreserved …

To preserve, according to one on-line dictionary, means “to keep safe from injury, harm, or destruction.”

And on those days, I need a reminder that God preserves me. He protects and guides me. He covers me and holds my hand.

He does, however, ask me for something. He asks me to be faithful and to love Him. He asks me to trust in His sovereign, loving control.

He asks me to humbly seek Him in all things.

Then He promises to preserve me, to keep me safe.

Are you feeling a bit unpreserved today? Go to the faithful One who promises to preserve you.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Sanctified by Faith (Acts 26:18)

Today’s scripture: Acts 26:18


It’s a big word. Perhaps even a confusing word. Simply put, sanctification means to be made holy.

Oh … okay. To be made holy.

But, as Shakespeare wrote, there’s the rub.

No one is holy. Not one single person. Each of us is sinful. Flawed. Unworthy.

In fact … we’re unholy.

So how are we sanctified by faith? How can we be made holy?

We are made holy by the One who is holy. The Lord God is holy, perfect, righteous. And when we come to Him in confession and accept the gift of grace through acceptance of and believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we become righteous in His eyes.

We are holy and pure and perfect.

But we are also human, and sometimes our humanity comes to the front … and we sin again.

Then we confess our sin, and we are again clean.

And holy.

Sanctification is an ongoing, until-we-get-to-heaven process. And our Lord is with us through that process.

Do you sometimes feel like you are an unholy mess? Confess your sin and let the God of grace sanctify you. Today and every day.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

One Faith (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 4:4-6

Faith. It can be quite a controversial topic.

Many say there are countless ways to faith or salvation or heaven or the god of their choosing.

It doesn’t matter what you believe. Not really. In fact, some say you can believe in a little of this, a little of that. A pinch of Christianity. A spoonful of Islam. Throw in a touch of Buddhism for good measure.

Do more good than bad, and you’re in. Follow the Golden Rule, and you’re good to go.

The Bible, God’s inspired word, doesn’t give us this “out.” It is very, very clear:

One Lord. One Faith. One God and Father.

Just one.

Either you believe in the One True God, or you don’t. It’s your choice.

And you must choose.

The God of the Bible or not. But you can’t choose a bit of this or a little of that.

Have you chosen the One True God? The One True Faith? Choose today.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Growing Faith (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

Today’s scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:3  

A believer’s faith should be a growing faith.

I give a talk every once in a while entitled “Fresh Faith.” In it, I talk about how followers of Christ can—and should—keep their faith fresh.

Just like any relationship, our walk with the Lord can become stale or stagnant. So, what can we do to have that growing faith? I encourage several things, but the most important—for me, at least—are:

Spending daily time in God’s word. He communicates to us through the Holy Scriptures, and we need to study and meditate on them in order to know Him and His purposes.

Spending time in prayer. This is more than just a “Good morning, Lord” or a “Thanks for being with me today, Father.” It’s coming to Him with praise and worship. Confessing sin. Interceding for others’ needs. Listening to His voice.

Spending time with other believers
. We are made for relationships, and we grow in faith as we grow with others. I’m a strong proponent of small group Bible studies. I often learn more from my sisters in my small group than I would ever learn on my own.

There are so many ways to grow in faith, but it takes commitment and focus.

What are you doing to grow your faith and keep it strong? Ask the Holy Spirit’s help to become stronger and stronger in faith.