Faith Challenges — July 2008
• Monday, July 7 — "Throw a Party!"
James encourages us to face every trial that comes our way with joy because in each one there is an opportunity for us to increase our faith. As our faith is tested through these trials, it produces endurance in us so that in the end we will be "perfect and complete, not lacking anything." I invite you to a joy-full, faith-full party!
• Tuesday, July 8 — "Succeeding God's Way"
We all dream of success rather than failure but know that our reality often comes short of our dreams. God does not call us to success but rather, to faithfulness, and promises that when we are faithful to him and do things his way, he will actually succeed for us. We need to faith-fully do what God is asking and leave the results to him.
• Wednesday, July 9 — "The Adventure of a Lifetime"
We try to keep control of our lives to guarantee that all goes as planned. However, when we do that, we miss out on the amazing plans that God has for us and the adventure that he has in store for us. As we trust him with our lives we find them changed for the better and best of all, we find a relationship with a loving God who has been waiting for us all along.
• Thursday, July 10 — "Watch Your Mouth!"
Jesus said that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. So, a surefire way to check the condition of our faith is to examine our speech. Your mouth reveals your heart. Then, as we allow God to truly change our hearts, our speaking will begin to overflow with grace and bless others with life.
• Friday, July 11 — "One Hour that Fills Your Day"
At a most crucial time in his life and theirs, Jesus asked his disciples to keep watch with him. He returned several times to find them asleep and asks the question, could you not watch with me one hour? According to Jesus this one hour is vitally important if we are to be able to resist temptation. One hour a day may take some discipline but the rewards far outweigh the cost.
• Saturday, July 12 — "Help for Troubled Faith"
We do not need to pray for more faith or somehow have our faith increased and it is okay to admit our struggles, however, we need to take what faith we have been given and put it to use. Faith grows as we use it and the promise of God is that even a little is enough to move a mountain if it is applied to the situation. All things are possible to him who believes!
• Monday, July 14 — "What are You Worth?
At times we try to "prove" to God that we are worthy of what he gives to us. We need to realize that it is not about what we can do or what we can afford or what we are worth on our own. He bought and paid for us because he sees us as valuable beyond our wildest imaginings. We are extravagantly loved!
• Tuesday, July 15 — "Walking in Darkness"
Part of the challenge of walking by faith means that there will be times in that walk when the way seems dark and we do not know where we are going. Don't worry because God is in that dark place. Keep walking, keep holding his hand, and he will walk us out into the light of another new day that he creates.
• Wednesday, July 16 — "Waiting on God"
The prophet Habakkuk has some great faith lessons to teach us as far as knowing what to do with our struggles to understand the ways of God in the world and in our lives. There is great power in learning to lament — to take our frustrations to the One who can change things — and then in waiting in faith for him to come through with the solution.
• Thursday, July 17 — "Great and Unsearchable Things"
Instead of trying to do everything on our own and then having to call on God to come and rescue us and clean up the mess that we have made, God invites us to call on him from the very beginning so that he can show us all the wonderful things that he has in mind for us. He has everything we could ever need or want and he is just waiting for our call!
• Friday, July 18 — "Jesus School"
Jesus himself was the ultimate example of living a life of faith. There are at least three things that we can learn by looking at his life: 1) to pray to our heavenly Father; 2) to submit ourselves to God; and 3) to obey that which we hear God tell us to do. When we follow Jesus, the end result is nothing short of amazing, and graduation from Jesus school is out of this world!
• Saturday, July 19 — "Isn't it Strange?"
We need to see that we are all every day building something that has an eternal existence. God has given us gifts and abilities, one life to live, and his instructions for living it. We now build on the foundation of Jesus Christ, and the only question is, what will we build? Will it be something that helps ourselves and others or hinders?
• Monday, July 21 — "A Time for Weakness"
We sometimes think that we can serve God best by being strong, however, he is attracted to weakness because then he can show himself strong and demonstrate his power and his glory in our lives. We can do all things through him who gives us strength but if we are strong, he has no opportunity to come through for us.
• Tuesday, July 22 — "The Power of Encouragement"
God tells us to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid and he has given us brothers and sisters in the faith to help put that courage into — to en-courage — us. We also have the opportunity not only to be encouraged but to be an encourager. Scripture says that we are to encourage one another daily.
• Wednesday, July 23 — "A Safe Place in this World"
We recognize that this world is not a safe place in the physical realm and even more so in the spiritual. That is why even though we remain fully in the world we need to be set apart from it. It is the word of God and living in the reality of that word that sets us apart and creates in and around us the only truly safe place in this world.
• Thursday, July 24 — "Learning to be Still"
With so much noise around us and even inside of us at times, it is difficult to find that place of quiet and stillness. However, it is vitally important to discover that place and not just to go there often but in a way to always be there so that we can hear God and come to know him.
• Friday, July 25 — "Abundant Provision"
When Jesus fed the 5000 people, he taught his disciples and us a very valuable faith lesson. What God can do is not dependant on our resources or what we can do but on his. We are to take what we have, thank God for it, and then ask him to multiply it so that we can do more than we ever dreamed possible. Our little is much in the hand of God.
• Saturday, July 26 — "Prayerful Pressing"
We always say that there is power in prayer. That is true but what makes praying effective is when we persistently press in to know more of God. When we seek him and continue to seek him he says that he will be found by us and when we find him, we find everything else that we need as well.
• Monday, July 28 — "Sin and the Wrath of God"
Sin is something that God simply cannot abide. It cannot but make him angry. And we miss something vitally important in our faith walk if we fail to embrace this side of God's character. We need to take the same view of sin that God does and repent and walk in ways that are righteous.
• Tuesday, July 29 — "Standing on the Promises"
God has filled his word with thousands of promises that are there for our benefit. We need to take the time to search the scripture and then make those promises part of our lives. We need what God has provided and because of Jesus, we are told that every promise is "Yes" and "amen" to the glory of God.
• Wednesday, July 30 — "Faith Forward, don't Worry Back"
Many times in scripture we are told not to be anxious or worry. That is because worrying is actually faith applied in a negative direction accomplishing the very thing that we don't want to happen. Jesus calls us to faith forward and experience his perfect peace so that everything in our lives is as it should be.
• Thursday, July 31 — "When Life Gets Hard"
I sometimes think that my life is hard but then realize that it may not be hard at all compared to many others. At the same time, no matter who we are or where we find ourselves, trouble seems common to all. Jesus said that it would be so but said that he had overcome the world and that we could too by our faith which takes a different view.