Category Archives: Christianity

Stepping into Faith

Cliff jumping isn’t for wimps. It takes a lot of guts to step off the edge of a cliff and plummet into the crystal blue water below. Regardless if it’s bravery or insanity, without a wholehearted commitment to jump, you’re history.

Whether you are like me and won’t ever yell “Geronimo” while plunging for of a cliff, because I don’t swim, or whether you might be crazy enough to do it, there’s a lesson to be learned here. As we walk with Christ, we all have a chance to do some “spiritual cliff jumping”. To get to that point of God I trust you no matter what.

Everyday we’re faced with opportunities to trust God completely. Sometimes it’s as extreme as losing a job or finding out some life changing news. Maybe it’s a chance to share Christ or getting involved in a new ministry. It could be just the frustration of waiting. Circumstances are out of our control and the unknown can be a very frightening place.

Have you be stepping to edge looking over reluctant to just jump? When you trust and obey you won’t be aimlessly falling into the blue water, instead you find yourself trusting completely in the hand of God. So go ahead and take that next step. The territory may be unknown to you, but the Father knows exactly where you are going to land.

“I cried out, “I’m slipping” and your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Ps. 94:18-19

When I think about the heroes of the faith, they all have at least one thing in common. They were all willing to trust God no matter what with their lives and step out. Their confidence in God far outweighs any risk.

Abraham

God called him to pack up and move and Abraham obeyed even though he didn’t know where he was going.   Gen. 12:1-4 & Hebrews 11:8-10

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Facing being burned to death for the sake of Go’s name.   Daniel 3

Joseph

Took Mary as his wife even though many people thought it was scandalous.   Matthew 1:20-21

You?

Your willingness to trust God no matter what the circumstance, will have a lasting impact on the lives around you. You could be another hero to add to the ever growing list of those who have trusted God for that next step.

Maybe I do need to follow through on getting those swimming lessons.

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Sound Bites for Love

All of the sound bites for Valentine’s Day talk about “Love,” sharing love through candy, cards, jewelry and so on. Since when are chocolate diamonds more expensive that clear ones? My how times have changed since I bought my wife her diamond almost 17 years ago. Anyway in the very marketplace where those sound bite originate, there is no concept of what love really is. God is the author of love. His love for us is unconditional and it covers any circumstances in life that we may face. The late Whitney Houston asked: “How will I know.” Once you know and experienced the love of God, no other love will do!

When does God love us?

When He knows what’s really in our heart. John 13:27-38

When He disciplines us. Hebrews 12:5-6

When we face problems. James 1:2-4

When we suffer. Romans 8:16-18

When we hurt. Psalm 147:3

When we are anxious. 1 Peter 5:7

When we sin. Romans 5:8

When we repent. 1 John 1:9

When we forgive. Ephesians 4:32

When we love others. John 15:12-13

When…Ever! Romans 8:35-39

 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3


Stressed Out?

Have you ever felt overworked and underpaid? Buried under a mountain of email and paperwork or a mound of dishes and laundry? Spinning your wheels but never making much progress? Tired of just another day of meetings, scheduling, budgeting and carpooling?

Why not take a few minutes to get out of the fast lane of life and ponder on what’s really important.

In moments of stress, we should take to heart Paul’s advise in Scripture from Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”

Peace is not the absence of conflict; it’s not positive thinking or even feeling good. It’s know and living out our lives with Christ leading the way. It’s confidence in our Creator, not our circumstances. God is in control. He has the power to deal with anything life may throw our way.

So maybe we just need to slow down, take a breath find a quiet place to pray, listen to God and give control back to the One who can handle it.

As you’re finding time to slow down and taking that break it’s a good time to have dessert!


Beyond Measure

In the summer of 2002 I had the privilege of hosting Truett Cathy founder of Chick-fil-a who had been invited to speak at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC where I was serving on staff. As I met Mr. Cathy for the first time I remember saying to myself just listen and you will learn something beyond what you are expecting. As our time that afternoon ticked away we talked about the history of Chick-fil-a and our families. He then asked if we could go to Barnes & Nobles for a while followed by dinner prior to his set time to speak. As we walked through Barnes & Nobles he said hello to everyone and no one recognized him. Mr. Cathy turned to me and said, “you never know when you can change someone’s life.” Later while at dinner, I listened as he shared with me ways in which unexpected opportunities came his way and will come our way if we remain open and watchful.

Truett Cathy and a young Davis family

I could not help but be reminded of this story as I was studying a familiar passage of Scripture Matthew 14:13-21 in which Jesus himself had a chance to share with his disciples about being open and watchful to unexpected opportunities. You remember the story in this passage; Jesus takes a great opportunity to teach his disciples as He feeds the five thousand plus people.

Here’s the setting for Jesus in a nutshell; He had just received news of John the Baptist’s beheading. They were close beyond being relatives, including John the Baptist having the amazing privilege of baptizing Jesus. Due to the news and His teaching Jesus and his disciples desperately needed rest so they withdrew into a boat. Yet the crowds continued to follow and it touched the heart of Jesus. As Jesus taught and healed the sick the day became evening here is where Jesus took time to meet the physical needs of the crowd (food) and teach the disciples to be open and watchful for opportunities to change someone’s life as He asked the disciples; “you give them something to eat.”

Certainly, the disciples knew that Jesus could meet the need of feeding the people. Yet they did not turn to Him for help or guidance. They came to him with excuses and earthly solutions: first being, just send the people into the city to buy food. (Mt. 13:15) Secondly in response to Jesus’ test (Jn. 6:5-7) Phillip suggests they use the 200 Denarii they had in order to buy bread, but quickly found that it would not provide enough for each person to have a sufficient amount. Lastly, Andrew comes up with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish from a young boy’s snack. Still not seeing the opportunity Jesus teaches the disciples how to meet needs beyond measure as He takes the 5 loaves and 2 fish, blessed it, broke it, handed it to the disciples and they gave to the crowd.

Seven quick points of application can be applied from Matthew 14:13-21 as Jesus teaches the disciples and us that often times unexpected opportunities are right in front of us.

We respond appropriately to circumstances. (v. 13)

  • Jesus could have changed the circumstances, but chose to teach the disciples and us.

Like Jesus, we are compassionate towards people. (v. 14)

  • Compassion is stronger than sympathy, it reflects “to have ones inner being stirred”

We understand that God’s ways are different than our ways. (v.16)

  • Notice Jesus replies as if the disciples had a large supply of food.
  • Jesus knew that the disciples could feed the crowd physically and change their lives spiritually.
  • Jesus asks us to give all we have and let him use it as He sees fit.

We listen to Jesus. (v. 18)

  • Jesus always understands the needs and situation trust Him.

We are available to Jesus. (v. 18)

  • Be available and he will take care of the ability

We pass on what we receive. (v. 19)

  • A simple mentoring principle: Give what you have to Jesus, He will bless it, break it, give it to us and we can give to the crowd.

We expect God to do more than we even imagine. (vs. 20-21)

  • As His servants, we need to understand, we are the distributors no the manufacturers of opportunities.

How we respond to unexpected opportunities could change our world and ourselves? What are you expecting God to do in your life?


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