Get Up and Keep Walking

“By faith Enoch was carried up into heaven so that he did not see death; no one could find him because God had taken him. Before he was taken up, it was said of him that he had pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5

One of the most random characters in the Bible, Enoch, had a pretty huge impact only a few brief times in the Bible. He appears hidden in a genealogical list of names, where it simply says, “but Enoch had such a close and intimate relationship with God that one day he just vanished—God took him.” Amazing! Enoch is only one of two people (Elijah being the other) who didn’t experience death and were just taken off the earth. 


The only thing mentioned about him is that he walked with God, and he pleased the Lord. I can’t decide which I like better: to have a close relationship with The Lord and please Him or to simply vanish into Heaven. I guess I only have a say in accomplishing one – walking with God. 


My encouragement to you today is to throw off what entangles you and keep walking with the Lord. Developing a close relationship with the Lord takes time, but nothing is more worth the effort and persistence. Maybe you can be the third recorded Christian who vanished from the Earth. Get up and keep walking…

Leftovers

“Faith moved Abel to choose a more acceptable sacrifice to offer God than his brother Cain, and God declared him righteous because of his offering of faith. By his faith, Abel still speaks instruction to us today, even though he is long dead.” Hebrews 11:4 TPT

Both brothers gave a sacrifice to the Lord. Abel gave the best cut of meat from the best animal he had. Cain brought fruit out of the overflow of his crops to the Lord. One gave his firstfruits. One gave God his leftovers.

What are you bringing to the Lord? Do you sacrifically offer the “firstfruits” of your day (the best part) or do you just squeeze Him in when you can? Do you just give Him Sunday morning and then the rest of the week is yours?

Is your offering a sacrifice, like giving up a Friday night to console or help a friend in need, or is the Lord getting your sloppy seconds? One takes faith and one really doesn’t.

How much sacrifice did you offer the Lord? Take a minute to inventory your last week with the Lord. Confess where you gave him your leftovers, and ask him to show you what sacrifice He wants you to bring to Him.

Motive

“By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.” Hebrews 11:4 TM

Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s first two sons, both brought God sacrifices, which is what they did in those times. Notice that it was Abel’s faith that made his sacrifice good in God’s sight. It’s more than just going through the motions and paying homage to God; He looks at the heart. 

Your motives are everything. Are you a Christian, because that’s what your supposed to do? Or are you a Christian because you realized, on your own, you were helpless without Christ and were in desperate need to be saved from yourself? Are you just trying to be a better person and stop sinning, because that’s what you are supposed to do? Or are you truly surrendering to God and letting Him transform you from the inside out into the person He made you to be (and not just a better person)?

Take some time to sit with the Lord and work through these questions with Him.

Invisible

“Through faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God; everything we now see was fashioned from that which is invisible.” Hebrews 11:3

Creation is the most obvious and universal gauge of our faith. Everything we see had to be created by something – either by chance or by a creator.  To be honest, I think it takes a lot more faith to believe in the big bang theory than to believe in an intelligent creator. It seems far fetched to hint that every human with one of the most complex anatomies was created by two atoms randomly colliding together. The human brain alone with all it’s emotion and memory and the human body’s ability to heal itself seem to lend themselves to a Creator. Then you have to ask, “What created those two atoms?”  

However it still takes faith to believe God created the world. By thinkng of creation we begin to find things we can’t reason out. We can make a good educated guess by all the things around us that there is an intelligent creator, but we still have to put our faith in an unseen reality. We do this everyday on a non spiritual level: When we jump we have faith in gravity that it will bring us back down. To sail a sailboat or fly a kite you have to trust in the wind. These unseen realities have become second nature to u,s because we have a lifetime of experience trusting in them. Having faith in the Lord works the same way. The more you actually trust in Him, the more obvious it is that He exists, that we can count on Him for everything, and that He is who He says He is. Fortunately, we have more than creation to inform us of His ways and who He is. Maybe we should spend more than two minutes reading it. 

Something Greater

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” Hebrews 11:1-2

Deep inside everyone is this sense that there is something more. Most people push it down, avoid it, or disregard it, because it is beyond their control; however, we all have it within us. It usually shows up when someone close to us dies or when we look up at the stars and try to comprehend the complexity and unending nature of the universe. And yet despite these brief moments of clarity we are masters at avoiding things we don’t understand or can’t control ourselves, and so we lose faith. 

The truth is, you will always have faith in something. You will either have it in the Lord, in yourself, or in something or someone else. Usually we rely on ourselves to get by, trusting in what we can see and what we can control. The problem with that approach, however, is that we are very unreliable, and it never turns out well for us. The ironic thing is that typically we then blame God when things don’t go our way, even though the reality is that we blatantly disregarded God. 

The great men and women of faith, the legends who were written about in the Bible, all were defined by their faith in the Lord, and yet, all of these men and women were just mere humans who struggled at times with their faith; nonetheless, these men and women found out that having faith in something greater than yourself is also how you become something greater than yourself. Having faith in the One who is greater than we are, who created everything we see, gives us the ability to rise above our circumstances and gives us the ability to be something greater than we could ever conceive. 

What are you putting your faith in these days?

What We Don’t See

“Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.” Hebrews 11:1 TV

What is faith to you? Does it look anything like definition above? Do you move forward with assurance in your walk with Christ?

Faith is a verb. There is nothing dead, stagnant or stale about it; however, for a lot of people, faith is simply a noun by which they identify: “I became a Christian when I was 5.” Sure they might pay homage to God on special occasions like Easter or Christmas, but it certainly doesn’t even faintly resemble an action. Or for others it’s simply an adjective: “I’m a Christian man/woman” becomes more of a label or a title than something that’s living and breathing.

The fact is that if the definition is anything but an action then it’s probably not faith. You can have faith in a chair that each time you sit in it, it won’t fall or break, but it’s not really faith unless you actively sit in it and trust that it will hold you. You can have faith each time you get in your car that it will start and not blow up and not fall apart, but it’s not really faith if you just look at your car and admire it; you have to get in and trust that it will take you where you want to go. You can have faith in your home that it won’t burn up or come crashing down on you, but it’s not really faith unless you go inside and sleep peacefully knowing that it will protect you.

But unlike a chair, a car, or your home, faith in Christ is about putting our trust in something we can’t really see. Yet we believe that He will hold us even though we can’t see him, get us where we want to go, and protect us. Faith in Christ should change the way we live and not just be something that we did when we were 5.

How would you describe your faith? Is is living and active or is it more stagnant and stale? Does it persevere through tough times? How would others describe your faith?

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” TM

Let’s Set Things Straight

“GOD’s business is putting things right;
he loves getting the lines straight,
Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall,
we can look him straight in the eye.” Psalms 11:7
TM

The LORD is righteous, meaning His nature and His character will always move toward what is right. For some, His righteousness is perplexing thinking, “How can anyone be that good and right?!” For others, it is uncomfortable wondering how God could love someone who is so flawed. Yet for those who are in Christ, it should be a huge comfort. How amazing is it that we can fully trust in His righteousness? It was His righteousness, after all, that paved the way for our unlikely righteousness, that now allows us to look God “straight in the eye.”

We live in a crooked, tangled, and broken world that makes it difficult to know what right and true. As I look back on any point in my life I can see how crooked and winding my path has been; I mean, I have had some huge deviations that can be unsettling and downright embarassing, but as I pull back and look through it all, I can really see how the Lord has straightened it all out. I am blown away at how God has taken all my bad decisions and wanderings and turned them into something much better.

How do you see your journey in life? Were you bogged down at one point? Are there some things in your past you are not proud of? Ask the Lord to show you a larger view of your path to this point. If you are still struggling to see, maybe it’s time to simply make a decision to put your trust in the One who is in the business of “putting things right.” God is always working on you; be careful that you don’t get stuck at any one point. Maybe its time to exercise your faith and believe the Lord is setting you straight.

Back to Life

“Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life!” Romans 5:18 TM

This life we live now on Earth is not what God meant for us. When sin entered the world, death came with it, and disease, and even the Earth suffered and is still suffering. Death of innocent people, really death at all, was not what God intended for us. Disease, cancer, name your evil, all were the result of sin, but thanks be to God through Jesus’ sacrifice, He is bringing us back to the life He meant for us despite our sinful ways!

Quietly Wait

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.” Psalms 62:5-6
NLT

What is your hope in?

I think if someone asked me that question, I would have quickly said that God is my only hope, but if I’m honest, I don’t know that my emotions always reflect that belief. Recently there have been some changes in my job, and it has caused me great angst. The uncertainty exposed that a lot of my hope was in my job and in my ability to provide. I think for a lot of us, this pandemic has exposed that our hope may partly be in other things than God.

When things get out of control, can you quietly wait on the Lord, or do you find yourself shaken? If you’re like me and find yourself shaken, I would encourage you to revisit these truths:

God is your Rock. He cannot be moved. In a world that constantly changes, He never changes.

God is your Salvation. He has saved you from the punishment of your sins. He has saved you from your own self that constantly chooses the things that lead to your destruction.

God is your Fortress. When things get crazy or scary or just too much, He is not just a shelter from the storm; He is like a fortified city that protects you from anything outside, because nothing can penetrate His walls. 

God is your only Hope. Everything you truly hope for comes from the Lord, and it is well worth the wait. You don’t have to guess about God: He never changes. Everything He says, you can count on. 

Spend some time asking the Lord to show you where else you might have been placing your hope. Confess these things to Him and place all your hope back in the Lord.

The next time you feel troubled and your emotions seem to run rampant, grab onto the One who can’t be shaken. He will be your rock, salvation, fortress, and hope.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

“…If you are thirsty, come here; come, there’s water for all. Whoever is poor and penniless can still come and buy the food I sell. There’s no cost—here, have some food, hearty and delicious, and beverages, pure and good. I don’t understand why you spend your money for things that don’t nourish or work so hard for what leaves you empty. Attend to Me and eat what is good; enjoy the richest, most delectable of things.” Isaiah 55:1-2 Voice

What do you long for? What do you hunger and thirst for? Is it to be out of this pandemic? Is it to be married? Have kids? Be rich? Be popular? 

We can spend all of our efforts on things that don’t last and don’t satisfy. God is offering free food for your souls. He is offering what your soul has always been longing for. Some of you have tasted it and found that it is good and true. 

Maybe you don’t long for anything right now. Maybe sin has dulled your senses and clouded over your longings, so you can’t feel or see anything. 

The offer is still there. True satisfaction for what your heart truly longs for is yours for the taking; however, to get it you have to look past the things you can see, that seem like the best option but never deliver, and trust in the One who always delivers even beyond what you can even dream of. Then “your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”