Has life eclipsed your faith?

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I stared at the miniature roses in the bay window for a few moments this morning, captivated by the simple beauty of those deep red flowers.  While wordlessly thanking God for them, I sipped my coffee, and felt grateful for the abundance I enjoy. There is no war outside of my door that could destroy my home, no threat of famine or want. I woke up in a comfortable bed. There will be interactions with friends today when I go to an office where I am privileged to do work that I love.  But, these are not my greatest blessings!

Paul points to the Christian’s reason for joy and it is not in their pleasant circumstances. I returned to meditate on a text I had read on Monday, one rich in meaning –  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9, NIV)

Rejoice in the Lord! Joy is a possibility every day, for all Christians, regardless of the details of life. Some days we will be overwhelmingly aware of our abundance, as I am this morning, and grateful worship will flow easily. The reality of life reminds us that seasons will come when the sky darkens and joy will be a choice of faith.  Let me ask you – do you see life through the lens of faith or do you see faith through the lens of life?

I briefly conversed with an older man on Tuesday who saw the cross I always wear and the church logo stitched on my shirt. “You follow Jesus?” he asked.  “I am a Christian” I said expecting him to affirm that he was, too. But, a shadow crossed his face and he told me that he had given up his faith years before. He was raised in church and by his own profession once had loved God, but in a time of hardship, this man had turned his back on a relationship with God.  He was not being humorous as he told me “I believe in my beer and I drink too much of it, I guess.”  He asked me, wistfully, if I believed in that verse (Proverbs 22:6)  that says “raise a child in the right way and when he is old he won’t depart from it.”  I assured him that God was waiting for him to come home.

This man had chosen to look at life first and his troubles eclipsed faith. Will  you, will I, make a different choice when difficulties come?  Will we put faith first, and hold onto the declaration that God loves us, that eternal life is promised to us, and that He never forgets us – in spite of what our circumstances may seem to argue?  Will we ‘rejoice in the Lord!’?

Today we have a decision to make – to live in faith and to order our thoughts around the truth of God’s eternal faithful!  Paul says if we do this, “the God of peace will be with us.”

Here is a word from the Word. Learn it, live it.
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. …

It’s impossible to please God apart from faith.
And why?

Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both
that he exists and
that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6 The Message)

___________

Reckless Love

(worship with this song about His love)

Before I spoke a word
You were singing over me
You have been so so good to me
Before I took a breath
You breathed Your life in me
You have been so so kind to me

 O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God
O it chases me down fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it I don’t deserve
Still You give Yourself away

 O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God
When I was Your foe still Your love fought for me
You have been so so good to me
When I felt no worth You paid it all for me
You have been so so kind to me

 There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Caleb Culver | Cory Asbury | Ran Jackson © Watershed Publishing Group (Admin. by Watershed Music Group) Bethel Music Publishing Richmond Park Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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