Faith + Action= God at Work

If most of us are brutally honest we’ve likely ascribed to the following formula at some point: minimal effort + maximum reward= the good life! This is a big reason lotteries and slot machines are so popular. You put in a little (a few bucks), but have the opportunity to win millions. Little input, massive reward. I use a similar principle with shopping. I seldom buy something the first time I see it. Instead, I do my research to ensure that I spend the least amount of money to get the best possible product. Many people apply this same principle to school, jobs, and even relationships. They put in the least amount of effort necessary to still reap their desired reward. Unfortunately, we also do this when it comes to our faith. We want big and amazing things to happen in our lives, yet often we don’t want to put in a lot of effort in order to reap those rewards. When our wants and desires are not quickly met we can become frustrated, wondering why God has not blessed us yet.

There is an amazing story involving the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings. The army of the Israelites and their allies becomes lost in the desert for seven days. They are soon dying of thirst, and have no conceivable source of water.  

Thus says the Lord, ‘I will make this dry stream bed full of pools.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that stream bed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’ This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water and ruin every good piece of land with stones.” The next morning, about the time of offering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water. 2 Kings 3:16-20

God could have easily opened up the skies and sent a rain, but instead he asks the Israelites to participate in this miracle by digging ditches. Only God could send the water, but first the Israelites needed to have faith and do the work to be prepared for God to work. We too need to have faith in God, do the right things (righteousness), and to trust God with the results. We cannot expect if we live a life that lacks faith and righteousness that everything we want will simply fall from the sky. Like the Israelites we have to first have faith in God’s plan and do the work He asks of us. We do that work by having faith, actively following God’s ways, and trusting God with the ultimate results. Let’s stop looking for the easy solutions in life, but instead enlarge our faith and our works for our awesome God. 

Pick Your Poison Teaching Series

1 John 2:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

We are going to be doing a six week teaching on KBOE 104.9 F.M on Sunday mornings from 8:30-9:00 a.m. This teaching, Pick Your Poison, will be dealing with addictions. We will be talking drugs, alcohol, sex, obesity, smoking, work addiction, and internet addictions. This will not be one of those feel good teaching series, but it will be life changing. The Holy Spirit has placed this on my heart and has called me to do this series.

One that I struggle with is work addiction. Working is a good thing, and do not misunderstand me here. Work is important. As a matter of fact, the Bible is loaded with Scripture about working hard. For instance, Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human matters.”

I failed in the latter part of the verse. I struggle with working for human matter or more simply man’s approval. I am working through the empty space in my heart of only needing God’s approval and not man’s approval. So, I tend to lean toward man’s approval. Then is would work all the more. 

When you work for man’s approval and work more than is necessary and over work, there are unpleasant consequences. There are failed relationships that come from over working. Family suffers from the absence. Now, work is a good thing when it is directed toward the approval of the Lord. Practice allowing yourself to work for the Lord’s approval and to have healthy boundaries with work, if this is a problem area for you, as well. I continue to this day to practice more healthy boundaries when it comes to work, and I am a work in progress as I learn to work for the Lord and give myself rest.

Men, we take nothing with us to the grave. We came from the dirt, and we will return to the dirt. Those in Christ will rise from the grave and receive an eternal reward for his or her ‘Work’. 

Work to build the Kingdom of the Lord. Work for Jesus.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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Step Out of the Boat

Matthew 14:28-33 ‘Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” 

It would be hard enough to step out of the boat on perfectly calm water, let alone with the wind blowing and the waves swelling like they are in this moment.  But, Peter goes.  He steps out of the safety of the boat into the rough seas and begins to walk to Jesus.  I’ve had a great many people debate the merits of Peter’s actions here, because after all, he lost faith and sank.  “He failed”, as I’ve heard many people say.  I’ve never looked at this passage in that light.  I’ve always looked at it in the light of, Peter’s faith was strong enough that he took the step, when no one else dared to.  Yes, he got frightened, lost faith and sank, but he took the step first, without reservation.  I also see in this passage, Peter’s fear and lack of faith wasn’t in Jesus.  Rather, his lack of faith was in himself and what he could do when he trusted and walked with Him.  

Our life is an endless string of opportunities to step out of the boat, heeding the call of Jesus Christ and walking the rough seas to get to Him.  The difficulty is not finding faith enough in Jesus Christ, but faith enough in what we can accomplish when we walk in His power.  Have a blessed weekend.

Matthew 19:26 ‘And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Word Up!

Later this week, I get to start leading a bible study for a group of people I don’t really know.  Some may be Christians, and some may not, so deciding on a place to start was not too difficult (a gospel), but figuring out the format and how to go about it has been a little more challenging.  Honestly, walking with anyone through the Word is something that I look forward to, because it is not up to me to make sure they learn everything I want them to, as just being in the Word does that on its own.  Simply spending time reading through the Word has the power to instruct and transform, just as it has time and time again in my own life.  So, maybe it’s a little selfish, but I hope to grow through this process as much as I desire others to do so as well.  In what ways has the Word of God been most transformative in your life?

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:4

You have likely heard the phrase, ‘seven days without the Word makes one weak.’  It’s not much different than what happens with regular physical exercise.  If you have ever been confined to bed for several days, you realize that if you don’t keep active on a regular basis, you can lose strength and endurance fairly quickly.  I have noticed the difference in my own life when I am keeping in the Word daily, versus when I go for extended periods without feeding on it.  So, the key is to develop a discipline and good daily habits that keep you regularly in the Word.  If it is a struggle for you, as it has been for me at times, often accountability to another person or group that you meet with (e.g. a Bible study) to discuss is often helpful in refining this practice.  I recall, as a fairly new Christian how hungry I was to delve into the Word and talk about it with fellow believers.  What system have you used to keep in the word regularly? 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Another thing I appreciate about being in God’s Word is that it never really gets old.  I’ve read through the same book of the bible several times, and each time, God reveals new things to me that I have not noted as much before.  There are often new ways that you can relate and apply it to your life and more to be learned than in several lifetimes.  Whether just looking up a verse that you already know and dwelling on that, or reading new material and discovering the context in which it was written or new things about it can help you expand your understanding of God’s redemptive work in the world today and throughout history.  Using other commentaries or study guides to help you gain other perspectives is also a good way to grasp additional insights.  Maybe you have heard verses misused to suit a particular agenda that takes away from the original intent.  Having a solid foundation can also allow you to help others grow and develop a hunger for being in the Word as well.  The best way to teach is to lead by example, right? 

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

Whatever way you get in the Word, whether tried and true for you, or something new, each time is a new adventure.  If you haven’t done it, plan to read through the entire bible sometime.  Not to brag to your friends about it, but just to expose yourself to the entire expanse of what new things you can learn.  I’m nearing the end of going through Ecclesiastes with a Sunday School group, and it has been as exciting for me now as the first time I went through it, years ago when I was in College.  One thing you can ask of the Lord each day is to reveal the truths found in His Word to you.  I’m sure this is a prayer He never gets tired of answering.  May you be blessed and be a blessing to others as you continue to learn and grow in the Word each day of your life!

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.  Psalm 119:105

Yours in Christ,
Clark

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