Faith Challenges — September 2008
September 1 "A Christian View of Labour"
There are many people who would like to draw a distinction between the work of the Lord and every other kind of work. Scripture knows no such breakdown and suggests that we should do whatever we do as unto the Lord. We have an opportunity not only to be a witness wherever we are but to honor the Lord with the way in which we work at that which he has given us to do.
September 2 "What Moves You?"
In the course of any given day, most of us will encounter any number of people of varying descriptions. What kind of impact, if any, do they make in our lives. When Jesus saw the multitudes around him, scripture tells us that he was "moved with compassion." And, not only did he feel something for the people around him but he reached out to them and ministered to their needs.
September 3 "Living in the Light of Revelation"
God has revealed himself to his world in several ways and calls us to be aware of what he is saying. Creation that surrounds us is a missionary that speaks to all men everywhere of something beyond what we see. And, into that creation God sent his word, in flesh and in spoken/written form for our benefit — to reveal to us the truth of who he is and what he expects us to be.
September 4 "A Little Bit of God"
Many people not only are willing but actually choose to settle for just a little bit of God. He wants to give us immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine and yet we limit his offer. If we are ever going to get the job done that he has left us to do, we will need more than a little bit to pull it off. He has promised that what is available is all of him and all of him is what we need.
September 5 "The Thing That Counts"
Scripture goes so far as to say that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Without the real presence of love in the midst of everything that we do and say, it all counts for nothing. We want to encourage you in your faith and everything else that goes along with that, however, the most important thing in which we all need to be encouraged is in our love.
September 6 "Faith That Falls"
Sometimes we step out in faith and sometimes we take giant leaps of faith. But what about when we faith forward and it appears that nothing solid materializes underneath our feet? God has promised like an eagle with its young to bear us up on his wings when we are learning to fly in faith. He wants us to learn the lessons of faith but he watches over each and every faith adventure.
September 8 "How Far Will You Go?"
There are many who profess to follow Jesus and say that they will follow him anywhere. The sad reality, however, is that when the going gets tough, there are many who leave off following him at that point. We each need to ask ourselves, as his first disciples did, how far we are willing to go with him. His way may even lead to suffering and death. Will I go that far?
September 9 "Faith in a Faithful God"
It is not enough just to have faith. Our faith must be in someone or something that can be trusted. God is most definitely that Someone who can always be trusted to come true as far as what he has promised even if a thousand generations were to come and go. Our little faith in that kind of faithful God will always accomplish what it is that we are believing for because of Him.
September 10 "Live This Day"
Someone has said that "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift — that is why we call it the present." We need to see that each and every day is a day that God has not only created, but given to us as a gift, and live it to the fullest of its potential embracing it with all of the joy and gladness that we possibly can. There is no better way to honor the Giver of this precious gift.
September 11 "Pray Until Something Happens"
Jesus told a story about a persistant widow for the express purpose of teaching us to pray and not to give up. This kind of praying is not easy but is important for us. Making us wait for the answer to our prayers does absolutely nothing for God — he would love to answer us right away — but he has a greater purpose for each of us and to build us up in our faith sometimes requires that we wait.
September 12 "Biblical Mathematics"
We all need to get more of the word of God, however, the way to do that is not by adding to it, and we dare not subtract anything from it either. On the other hand, we are to rightly divide it, breaking it down into small useable pieces, and we are to multiply it through sowing it as seed in our lives so that it can bring about the harvest that the Giver of the seed of the Word intends.
September 13 "Time Changes Everything"
We will never go forward in our walk of faith unless we put in the necessary time with Jesus. When Jesus chose his first disciples, one of his express purposes was simply that they might be with him. And later, when they were brought up before the religious rulers of the day, what was obvious to all was that these men were changed and amazing people as a result of time spent with Jesus!
September 15 "Whatever"
Whatever is not just whatever and we all have one: the anything and everything that makes up our lives. The important question is, what does your and my whatever consist of? Is my life built out of negative things or things that are positive and helpful. It is crucial to our life with God that our whatever lines up with his whatever and so we are encouraged to focus on the things that are like Him.
September 16 "Zealous for the Father's House"
When Jesus went into the temple and found it crowded with animals and people and noise, he fashioned a whip and cleared the temple and overturned the money-changers tables. He desired a house of prayer but found anything but and zeal for his Father's house consumed him. We are now the temple of God. Jesus is still zealous for the same thing. What does he find in my house and yours?
September 17 "Turning our Anything into Something"
What we do is far less important than how we do it. We can do all kinds of wonderful things, we are told, but if we don't do them in an attitude of love, they really amount to nothing. What that means is that when we are motivated by love and everything that we do is simply the overflow of our love for God and others, then anything that we do becomes something amazing and awesome!
September 18 "A Giant Killer"
David was a giant killer because he simply took what he had and believed that God would do the rest. It doesn't matter how little we might think that we have, or how we may feel with respect to a particular giant we may be facing. Its not about us. The important thing to remember is that God is there for us, he wants us to win, and that God is bigger than any giant we could ever confront.
September 19 "Fifty-Seven Minutes or So"
Scripture says that one day is as a thousand years to the Lord. If we do the math, that means that with respect to God's time, we each have only about fifty-seven minutes or so on earth in which to earn the victories that we will have all eternity to enjoy. We need to make the most of every opportunity and at the same time realize that God is not in a hurry — he has all the time in the world!
September 20 "The Fruit of the Spirit"
The fruit of the Spirit is something that should naturally occur in our lives seeing as the Spirit of God has been planted in us. We are the branches in the vine that is Jesus, and so, all of this god-like fruit is actually the purpose of our lives. God desires that we bear much fruit though not for our own benefit alone, but so that others can come and see and taste that the Lord is good.
September 22 "Faith From First to Last"
Most of us are fully aware of the fact that we begin the Christian life by grace through faith. However, over time we want to believe that we can somehow do all of things that are necessary to go on in the walk of faith on our own. We need to recognize that we have to continue in exactly the way that we began and that a life that honors God is by faith from first to last.
September 23 "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"
There are many things, big and small that each of us have to face every day. Pop psychology tells us to not sweat the small stuff and see everything as small stuff, but gives us no real reason to do so. Christianity on the other hand presents us with an Almighty God for whom everything really is small stuff. He has overcome anything and everything we could ever encounter so that we truly can not sweat the small stuff . . . and it is all small stuff!
September 24 "Keep the Fire"
God desires that we live fiery and passionate lives filled with the real stuff of living. He has provided everything that we need in order for that to be reality but there are some things that we need to do to maintain his fire in our lives. A big part of that is to clear away the ashes of yesterday and to ensure that there is fresh fire on the altar that is our lives each and every day.
September 25 "Remember to Rest"
We live in a society that is increasingly becoming a 24/7 non-stop entity and there is pressure on each of us to maximize our time. As important as it is even to God that we do the best we can, he also created us with a need for rest and in fact, modeled it for us. We need to be able to take a day each week when we choose not to do any work but come to him to be refreshed and renewed.
September 26 "Becoming Wise and Strong"
If you have ever felt foolish or weak or small or powerless, like you were nothing, you are in a perfect place for God to do something with you. For God takes exactly those kind of people, like you and me, and places us in Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and in whose strength we can do all things. Becoming wise and strong in this world is about finding our place in Christ.
September 27 "More on Becoming Wise and Strong"
Once we have found our place in Christ and recognize all that he came to bring us, we can lay our everything down and embrace him even more. Part of his embrace of us is that he sends his Spirit to take up residence in us and lead us to all truth and teach us everything that we need to know in order to live out our faith walk in a way that makes a divine difference in the world.
September 29 "Defending and Contending"
Since the very inception of Christianity, all those who take the name of Christ have had to defend what we believe against those who would pervert or lessen its truths in some way. Jesus said that this would be the way it is. We need always to be willing and able to give an answer to those who challenge us to defend what we believe both with our words and with our actions.
September 30 "Finding Encouragement"
It is always wonderful when God sends a brother or sister to stand alongside us and encourage us. However, he doesn't always do that and there are times when that is not possible. It is at those times especially, and actually at all times, that we need to be able to encourage ourselves in the Lord and his presence or go to his written word and find there the encouragement that we need.