Not Disappoint

5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5 CSB)

Much in life can dissappoint us. Family, friends, jobs, really just about anything we are involved with can cause disappointment.

However, there is one thing that will not disappoint us; God’s love.

Even when we go through periods when we feel that God is far away, his Spirit is within us. He helps guide us when the way forward is unclear. He is our shepperd and our salvation. His love is constant and never ending.

Even when times seem bleak, we can rely upon our God.

He will not dissappoint.

Credited

5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness. (Romans 4:5 CSB)

I have written many times about our need to live our faith through our actions.

However, salvation is given freely. Thus, even to the one who does not work, but believes in Christ (who is our justification), faith is credited for righteousness.

This should not be a release from the work we are given when we come to faith. There should be a burning desire to understand our spiritual gifts and strike out to fulfill our God given work in this life.

Utilizing our spiritual gifts should not only be our deepest desire but our greatest accomplishment. Do not fear that accepting your calling means that you have to become a missionary somewhere across the world. It may be that what you have been called to do is right in your own home.

Even so, righteousness has been credited to us once we believe.

Besides God

2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have nothing good besides you.” (Psalm 16:2 CSB)

We want to possess. The world is one of materlistic striving for more and more. No matter what we have, we want more.

Furthermore, we begin to believe that we are owed all the things we want.

But our scripture today tells the true tale; We have nothing good besides God.

Everything we have is Gods. Yet we want to think all the things are ours. We brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing from it. This should be a sobering thought that really shows the worth of all we have. I the end someone else will own what we have or it will be recycled in some way.

Yet, there is one thing we leave behind of more value than the rest; our legacy. Will that legacy say, “He had a lot of stuff” or “He did a lot of stuff” or “He loved others and showed God’s love to others.”

We have nothing good besides God.

A Hardened Heart

18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because[a] of the hardness of their hearts. (Ephesians 4:18 CSB)

A lack of awareness can lead to a hardened heart. Once one begins to slip into this area they become very hard to reach.

But how do they get here?

When a lack of awareness becomes exclusion of God from ones life the heart can only harden to any message. As much as I dislike the word ignorant, this is what they ultimately become. Ignorant to anything that could lead them the saving grace of Christ.

And once we have given over to this world, the world takes hold.

The world does not let go easily…

Unaware

11 so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant (or unaware from other translations) of his schemes.

I really do not like the word ignorant. It just has such harsh connotation. However, other translations use the word “unaware” which I think fits the concept of our scripture today very well.

I encounter many who seem blithely unaware of Satan’s schemes. They are professing Christians but seem unaware of HOW they live their lives says they are anything but. They seem unaware that the dichotomy of what they say and how they live reflects on how others perceive Christians

Being unaware, in my mind, is one of the deadliest things we can be. Not only do we hurt our testimony but we are also being used by Satan as a pawn.

Lord may I never find myself as Satan’s pawn. May I ever be mindful and aware of what I do and how I am perceived.

Commit – Trust – Act

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act,

I love scripture like this that in such a small number of words encapsulates really big ideas.

Commit – we must go first to God and seek his will, then commit to a course of action. By praying and committing to God’s will for our lives we show where we set our priorities.

Trust – once committed we must then trust that God will follow through and see us through till the end. However, this trust is something that we can look into how God has held us in the past and know that His good will will prevail.

Act – rubber meets the road. We must not sit idly by and wait for things to happen. God made us to be people of action and we must strike out with our commitment and our trust and actively follow the path God has set before us.

If we can but put our faith daily in these three actions life can be much easier even if times are tough. Too often we get mired in inaction and in the lack of motion we stagnate.

Old & Gray

17 God, you have taught me from my youth,
and I still proclaim your wondrous works.
18 Even while I am old and gray,
God, do not abandon me,
while I proclaim your power
to another generation,
your strength to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:17-18 CSB)

I think I can safely say that this scripture applies to me. While I still do not feel old I am close enough to the idea of retirement to say I am.

I do see that God has taught me throughout my life. And that, through this blog, and other means I see He has given me a way to proclaim His power to another generation.

It is interesting how our view of life changes as we get older. I now see so many things, in hindsight, so clearly. My vision, tempered with maturity and the 20/20 clarity of looking back allows me to write and help others with God given wisdom. Even though my life is now peppered with the phrase “had I known” far too often

But God does not mean for us to live in the past of our good and bad decisions. He has been with us through them all. No, He wants us to use what we have learned to provide insight to others and teach a new generation.

In this we are greatly blessed.

Nothing Can Stand

18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18 CSB)

Some days it may feel like we are being overpowered. Our will and our spirit are diminished and weary from the work we are doing.

But today’s scripture tells us that not even Hell can stand against us.

Those are strong words with great meaning.

No matter how tired and down beaten you may feel, know that the power of Christ give you great strength in the Spiritual realms. That, as scripture says, we were not given a Spirit of timidity, but one of power and strength.

And nothing can stand against it.

Hospitality

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:1-2 CSB)

There are many ways we can show hospitality. Yes, inviting someone into our homes is one way, and used to be a custom but no longer is practiced except in some cultures. However, as I was growing up I remember my family showing hospitality by embracing those in the community who were new or had no one.

I especially remember a Christmas when a family moved into our small town. This was a family moving from a third world country to a small Texas town. The father was a doctor who had come to find work. I remember walking into a house brimming with children and seeing pallets laid out on the floor. They had come with what they could carry.

We helped that family until they got settled and on their feet. We saw to it that their kids had Christmas. This is a memory I will forever treasure. It made me see my dad in a whole new light and that family never forgot us. My father received a Christmas card from them ever year until he died.

There is so much we can do if we will just reach out a loving hand.

A Time of Favor

13 But as for me, Lord,
my prayer to you is for a time of favor.
In your abundant, faithful love, God,
answer me with your sure salvation.
14 Rescue me from the miry mud; don’t let me sink.
Let me be rescued from those who hate me
and from the deep water.
15 Don’t let the floodwaters sweep over me
or the deep swallow me up;
don’t let the Pit close its mouth over me. (Psalm 69:13-15 CSB)

The Psalms are wonderful for praying. Using scripture for prayer and really contemplating the words as we pray can provide a deeply moving spiritual time.

As I prayed this scripture today I thought deeply about “a time of favor”. We have all been going through a deep valley both worldwide and nationally. We are dealing with darkness that is impacting pretty much everyone.

As I read and prayed I thought about myself, my friends, my family and many other I have come in contact with in the last few months. Praying scripture, I find, allows my eyes to focus on the words while my mind focuses upon the broader world around me.

Take a moment today and pray this scripture with all these things in mind. We could all use a time of favor.