Faith Challenges — August 2008
August 1 "No Way, Lord!"
To put the words, "No way, Lord" together is a contradiction, for either he is Lord of all or he is not Lord at all. We need to give him his rightful place in our lives, seek his direction and guidance and always and only respond to him with the words, "Yes, Lord, whatever you want." Anything less is to proclaim ourselves as lord and that is always a recipe for trouble.
August 2 "Shining Like Stars"
When God covenanted his blessing to Abram, he told him to look up to the heavens and count the stars if possible. That would be the number of his descendants. Faith people are the descendants of Abraham and one of those stars that he saw had our name on it. Our star has shone since the beginning of time and like that star, we have an eternal calling to shine forth in the universe.
August 4 "How Will You be Formed?"
We need to realize that we are always being formed in one way or another. We are always either being con-formed to the world, or we are being con-formed to the image of God's son, Jesus Christ. When we choose to be trans-formed by having our minds renewed by the Holy Spirit, we will no longer think as the world does but think as God does.
August 5 "Under Construction"
In our prayers for others and even as we think about ourselves, we need to have the confidence that comes from the conviction that God has begun a good work and will bring it to completion. If he were not working, our prayers and our own working would be in vain. Working with him, we have the opportunity to "work out" what he has "worked in." We are all a work in progress.
August 6 "Listen to the Song"
In one small verse in Zephaniah 3:17, God promises to be with us and to deliver us by his mighty power. He says that he takes great delight in us and wants to quiet us with his love. And apparently, he rejoices over us with singing — he has written a love song specific to each one of us that he is singing. Can you hear the song?
August 7 "What's it All About?"
In a poem entitled "The Dash," Linda Ellis says that it is not the date of our birth or the time of our death, but "what matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash." That little dash between the dates represents all our time on earth. We all have only one life to live. Have we made the most of every opportunity and done all to the glory of God?
August 8 "Running the Faith Race"
Paul uses the analogy of an Olympic runner who goes into strict training in preparation for the race to encourage us to the same kind of diligence in the arena of faith. We need to exercise and nourish and train our faith in the unnoticed time of preparation so that when we are called upon to be people of faith, we will be ready to run in such a way as to win the prize.
August 9 "The Key to Life"
We all need something that will help us not only understand but live life to the full. Jesus says that only one thing is necessary. That one thing is to focus in on him for our direction and guidance. He came to teach us how to really live and as we listen to him in the context of a real and personal relationship, we find a life that is better than we could ever imagine.
August 11 "Learning to be Content"
Living in a dissatisfied society, we find it increasingly difficult to live a life that could be described as contented. We always want more or better than we have at present. "Godliness with contentment is great gain," says 1 Timothy 6:6. To be content in any and every situation is difficult, but with God's help and strength, we can do all things.
August 12 "Taking our Thoughts Captive"
Everything that we do starts as a thought. Sometimes we have trouble because we have thought to little and sometimes too long. Satan wants us to have incorrect thinking for then we defeat ourselves. God wants us to break the enemy's power in our thought lives and take every thought captive and force it to be obedient to Christ.
August 13 "Extreme Makeover: Life Edition"
Like renovating a house, all of us are in need of a life renovation and that is exactly what Jesus came to do. There will be some things that need to be destroyed or hauled away to the dump and the ground of our lives be cleared, so that God can come along and do his work of re-creation in us. The new thing will be far better than what we had and more than we ever imagined.
August 14 "Praising Your Way to Victory"
When faced with difficult, even insurmountable circumstances, like king Jehoshaphat, we need to pray and even fast, and then learn to praise God. We may not know what to do and we may know that we are powerless to change the situation. God can always change things and he will. When we praise our way to victory!
August 15 "The Faith Hall of Fame"
Hebrews 11 contains a long list of people in the Bible who lived out their faith. It says, however, that all of them died not having received what was promised. That they did receive here on earth was obvious, and many of them received much, but there is a larger element to faith that cannot be satisfied here even with a hundredfold return. That reward of faith is saved for us in heaven when we will all be together to celebrate what God has done!
August 16 "Turning Our Theology into Biography"
When Jesus came to earth we are told, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We are to follow his example and not merely speak the gospel but act it out in our daily lives. We are called to turn our theology into biography. As we do, the good news will once again have the power to accomplish what God intends and the world will see the glory, grace and truth, that God wants to share through us.
August 18 "Being More Blessed"
Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. When we receive from God we say that we are blessed and that is true, however, we are blessed so that we might pass on a blessing to others. When we give to others out of that which we possess and have received, we move from merely being blessed, to being a blessing, and in the words of Jesus, to a place of more blessedness!
August 19 "Knock, Knock, Who's There?"
In a verse that is actually addressed to the church, Jesus says that he is standing outside and knocking. Where is Jesus with respect to your church and your life? Is the relationship real and alive and he is inside where he belongs? Have things grown cold and you know that it needs to be made right again? Or do you think that everything warm and cozy and fine? He is at the door, knocking.
August 20 "The Daily Choice"
When we make a choice to follow Jesus, that choice has eternal consequences. However, there is also a choice that each of us need to make to follow him each day. Satan is out to get us to make choices that will take us away from God and make us ineffective in our faith walk. God invites us to choose him and embrace life each and every day anew.
August 21 "Faith that Makes a Difference"
We have a very simple confession of faith: that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead. When we live in the reality of this confession, we have a faith that can really make a difference. For, if Jesus is Lord over everything and the power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us, can anything be too difficult?
August 22 "Pray, Pay, Go"
We sometimes think that unless we are cross-cultural missionaries in a foreign land, we must be disobedient to the great commission of Jesus. There are many ways that we can "go into all the world." We can pray that God would send forth workers and pray for the workers he has already sent. We can fund those who are going and send them out on our behalf. And we can be missionaries where God has placed us and go part-time and do things in mission at home and abroad even if only for a day, a week, or a little longer.
August 23 "A Step of Faith"
Sometimes God simply asks us to believe in faith what he has said. At most times, however, he requires us to not only believe what he has said but to take a step of faith in the direction of that belief. These steps will sometimes be small and rather simple and sometimes large and difficult and at other times, they will be leaps of faith. God is trustworthy, so step out and follow him in faith.
August 25 "Going Deep with God"
Most of us would say that we want to have a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with God. Are we willing to do what it takes to see that be a reality? The key to digging down deep so that you and I have a rock solid relationship with him that can withstand anything, is to hear what he is saying and then do it. Obedience is the key to going deep with God.
August 26 "The Goal of Life"
The goal of life is to be continually being filled up to the full measure that God has for us, not just so that we can enjoy his fullness, but so that we can like Jesus, give it all away. We can give of ourselves with this kind of abandon, knowing that God will always give us back more in return than we could ever give away. The world desperately needs what we have in abundance.
August 27 "Living the Good Life"
It almost goes without saying that we all want to live the good life. How do we do that according to the Bible? We open ourselves to receive all the good that God has to give to us and we use what he has given us to do good to others. At the same time, the good life is about the avoidance of anything evil. God wants to bring us into the victory of this good life and see our enemy defeated.
August 28 "Struggling with Sin"
We sometimes say that we are struggling with a particular sin and we all have sins which seem to cause us no end of trouble. Many people even in scripture have had a similar battle. God wants us to stop struggling against flesh and blood with the weapons that we have and fight against it with the help that he has provided so that we stop struggling with sin and overcome it.
August 29 "Whose House are You Building?"
We are called to live thoughtful rather than thoughtless lives. The people in Haggai's day were struggling to make ends meet because they were focused on themselves and their own lives. God says that that is a recipe for disaster and that we should focus on building his spiritual house with living stones. When we do that, we will be blessed with an eternal blessing that no one can take away.
August 30 "Make a Joyful Noise"
God wants us to praise him and he is worthy of our praise. When we look at the Psalms, however, the Bible's book of praise, we find repeated calls not to make beautiful music but to make a joyful noise. We are to shout and sing and bang and trump and whatever else we can find to draw attention to the wonderful things that God has done. He loves this kind of raw and real heart and soul worship.