Faith Challenges — November 2008
• Saturday, November 1 — "A Vision of God"
Have you ever wished that you could see God, sit down and talk with him, find out what he thinks or ask him things about your life? We can pray to him and we can read his word. But, wouldn't something real and tangible be better? Scripture says that "no one may see me and live," and all who have "seen" God have had their lives changed in radical ways. God wants to reveal himself to us but it will cost. Is that what we want?
• Monday, November 3 — "A Postcard or a Storm"
Our experience at this present moment may resemble a idyllic postcard or it may be more like a storm. It may make sense or not. We may feel like Jesus is right there with us or we may be wondering where he disappeared to and why we feel so alone. Little matter. He is never far away. He knows what it is that he is doing and hopes to accomplish in my life and yours. The only question is, does he have permission at all times to enter the picture?
• Tuesday, November 4 — "Crucified, Now What?"
Once we identify ourselves with Christ, scripture says we have been crucified and died. Crucifixion leads to death. But it doesn't stop there and in reality, we cannot return there either. We must go forward. Crucifixion. Death. A grave. Then what? The Father speaks resurrection, and a life force takes up residence in you and me that has conquered death and the grave and anything else that can be thrown against it — the life of Christ that cannot but live!
• Wednesday, November 5 — "Beautiful Boasting"
Boasting is to praise oneself or mention or assert something with excessive pride. That is no better than its opposite, the false humility which says that I am nothing. There is, however, a kind of boasting that is beautiful. It is when we boast in the Lord. For then, we celebrate who he is and what he has done and is doing, even when it is in and through us. This boasting is the language of praise and adoration and worship that is addressed rightly to the Lord.
• Thursday, November 6 — "God's Will for Our Lives"
We often ask what God's will is for our lives? What is it that he wants me to do? We wish that God would just lay it out plain in black and white. Do this. Don't do that. We think specific guidance would be nice. But then, where would be the place or what would be the need for faith? God has shown us many things in scripture that are his will for everyone. Maybe if we paid more attention to those things the specific guidance would come as well.
• Friday, November 7 — "Can I Help You?"
If you have ever been shopping for anything, you have probably had someone ask you, "Can I help you?" and you most likely responded, "No, just looking." Do we treat God the same way sometimes? He comes to us and asks if he can help us. He knows that he can really help us and he knows that he has what we need, but he will not force us to choose his best. When he asks, "Can I help you?" it is a sincere offer. And he waits for us to respond.
• Saturday, November 8 — "How Full is Your Glass?"
There are apparently two kinds of people in this world. There are those whose glass is half-empty and there are those whose glass is half-full. And although they actually have the same amount of liquid in their glasses, these two kinds of people end up living life very differently. How full is your glass? It may have been half-full or half-empty, but as we look up to God in faith and bless the Lord, not only will my perspective change, my cup can overflow!
• Monday, November 10 — "Treasures Old and New"
Jesus encourages us to live in the kingdom of God, to live in the overwhelming reality of God's reign in our lives right now! Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven is our daily bread! It is kingdom now! When that happens, we become like the owners of a house, a mansion, who bring out not only old treasures, things that God showed us or others or did in the past, but my things, new things, fresh things for right now!
• Tuesday, November 11 — "A Battle to Fight"
It is easy for life to happen and for us to forget. That is why we have calls to remembrance. Today we remember the sacrifice of those fallen in battle with gratitude. But we should also remember to pray today for those around us who are under attack on various fronts. There is most certainly a battle to fight raging around us. It is not primarily a physical battle, but a battle for the souls of men and women and children. And it has eternal consequences.
• Wednesday, November 12 — "Crucified, Resurrected, and Much More"
We will likely never fully explore or understand the mystery of our identification with Christ in his death and resurrection on earth. It is immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or imagine. Is it enough to say that I will give my all for the One who has given all for me? In his hands this identification becomes the gateway to supernatural living. When he lives his resurrection life out through you and me, abundant life is the only life that can result!
• Thursday, November 13 — "The Power of the Name"
There is tremendous power in the name of Jesus. It is the name that saves and delivers us! It is the name that we are to name when we pray and ask for the things that God in his great love is desirous to give us. Name the name of Jesus, the name above every other name, over your circumstances and see what will happen. All authority in heaven and on earth is his. Everything must bow and come into agreement with what he, the Lord of all, desires.
• Friday, November 14 — "One Hundred Per Cent Commitment"
It should come as no surprise that the walk of faith is about making a choice. We have been taught that and probably heard it said many times. Choose for Jesus! However, this is and is not just a once-and-for-all choice. It is an every day thing. How will I live today? Will I pick up my cross today? Will I die today, that I may live for Christ? Ask these questions each day. That is the only way that we can remain committed, one hundred per cent.
• Saturday, November 15 — "What is Your Woe?"
Each one of us has something that God has gifted and called us to that everyone else needs. We must offer that very thing or the body of Christ will be lacking. Something will be missing if our part is not there. God expects us to obey. Paul said, "Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel." We have all been called by God to do something. There is some part in the body of Christ that we, uniquely and individually are supposed to fulfill. What is your woe?
• Monday, November 17 — "Prayer for Missions"
Jesus told his twelve disciples to pray for workers to be sent out to the mission field. They did and seventy-two went out. And the church has prayed people out onto the field throughout its history. There is still a harvest of souls to bring in! This is an exciting time! The church is growing! But, we still need to pray for workers to be sent out and to go out in kingdom authority. The whole world must know this wonderful good news that we have received!
• Tuesday, November 18 — "From Faith to Faith"
Mary and Martha had had faith for healing. But then Lazarus had died. Was Jesus too late? Or, could they stretch their faith to believe for more, for an even bigger impossible? Jesus performed a miracle that day, bringing glory to God and Mary and Martha had their faith expanded. What could you believe for yesterday? Jesus says that whatever you have is good, but knowing him, can you believe for even more? He calls our faith to go from faith to more faith.
• Wednesday, November 19 — "Sowing and Reaping"
We will reap what we sow. This is a pretty simple and straightforward statement that is almost impossible to misunderstand. Don't be deceived into imagining that it can be any other way. God has set the world up this way and it is the way that it is. It is God's law and grows out of his sense of justice. And, if you seem to get away with something bad or don't see the reward of something good right away, what is coming to you will still come. How shall we sow?
• Thursday, November 20 — "Like a Little Child"
Sometimes, in our very adult quest to distinguish ourselves in the faith and the kingdom of heaven, we like some in Jesus' day, overcomplicate things and make it difficult not only for ourselves but for everyone to enter in. The kingdom of God is not like that. It is more simple than we think. It is so simple a child understands it. And, that is the way that he welcomes us into his kingdom and his reign and control. Simply. As a child. That way or no way.
• Friday, November 21 — "Dare We Compare?"
We may often engage in self evaluation or compare ourselves to other people. Scripture suggests that the only one we should compare ourselves to is Jesus. Dare we do that? Can we possibly measure up? Jesus' prayer for all his disciples is, "that the love God has for him may be in us and that he may be in us as well." Given that, when God looks in our direction, what does he see except, "This is my beloved son/daughter in whom I am well pleased."
• Saturday, November 22 — "Call to Faith = Grow Up"
A call to faith is always a call to grow up and growing up in our walk with God is always a call to faith. In this, we all need to walk in our gifts and calling for all of the others who are dependent on that for their own growth. And, we need to accept and receive the gifts and callings of others for us to be able to grow up into our full potential and place. We have been given to each other in the church to grow each other up and to encourage each other in the faith.
• Monday, November 24 — "Living in His Presence"
Wouldn't it be great to be one of "those people" you read about in the Bible? I've wished that. To have that kind of closeness and immediacy in my relationship to God they had. To have the presence of God, God is in our here and now, so we can succeed in all that we attempt to do or be. We need to realize and tap into the increase of his presence is available to us now over what they had, because of Jesus' victory and the release of the Holy Spirit.
• Tuesday, November 25 — "If, . . . Then"
It is often the small things in life that make the biggest difference. So it it with the word "if" in the Bible. Everything hangs on that one little word. If the if is an "if not," there can be no "then." The "then," and indeed every single thing that God desires to do, will all just blow away in the wind, unless we do the "if." God is wondering, waiting, longing, hoping, to see "if" we will obey. God wants to bless us, but it depends on what we do with the "ifs."
• Wednesday, November 26 — "Embracing Your Mission"
Jesus came to earth to fulfill a mission and he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, what it was. You too have a mission. The only way to know what it is is to ask. Then, to embrace it. And finally, do it, knowing that what we discover and accept and accomplish today will prepare us for what God has for us tomorrow and the next day and the day after that until the day when we stand in his presence and he declares, "well done, good and faithful friend."
• Thursday, November 27 — "Taking up the Towel"
Foot-washing was something that was common in Jesus' day. People wore sandals after all, and walked on dusty dirty roads traveled upon by people and animals, and then sat cross-legged at a low table for the meal. It was nice to have clean feet when you sat down to eat. This task that was normally the work of household slaves was the very thing Jesus willingly embraced and the example of servant-hood he suggested all of his disciples now follow.
• Friday, November 28 — "Enemy at the Gates"
There is an enemy at our gates who wants only to come into our lives and do as much damage as he possibly can. He is out to steal and kill and destroy and has no good planned for us. Many of us often do the unthinkable and give him the key to the gate. Or we do not pay careful attention to the state of our lives allowing him to sneak in some other way. Jesus came not only to bring us into the abundant life but to protect and keep us safe from the evil one.
• Saturday, November 29 — "A Message of Comfort"
In our quest to go beyond where we have been in our walk with God, our desire to faith forward each day, and our continual pressing in to take hold of more of what God has for us, there is a danger. We may focus too much on what is yet to do and end up defeating ourselves. Do we all have more that we can do, deeper that we can dig in, and further that we can go? Absolutely. But, we always need to take comfort in how far we have come.