Posts Tagged ‘Faithfulness


Patiently Waiting

No one enjoys suffering. The Christians of the first century suffered persecution at the hands of those who opposed the church. James told them:

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. – James 5:7-8 (NIV)

Just as a farmer must wait for the rain to water his crops, so too must Christians wait for Christ’s return. The farmer knows that the rains will come and we must know that Jesus will come back. It requires patient endurance. No matter what others may say about us or do to us, we have to remember that Christ will return and those who stand firm and remain faithful to the end will be rewarded. Jesus said that we should not be surprised if the world hates us. After all, they hated Him first. My encouragement to you today is to resolve yourself to remain faithful to Jesus no matter what. The world is getting scarier and scarier for followers of Jesus. Will you patiently stand firm until He returns?

Remaining Faithful To Jesus

John 6:60-66 (NIV)

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Jesus taught some hard and even offensive principles to those who were around Him. When He spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, no one understood what He was talking about. He was talking about giving His life for the salvation of the world. Yet people could not grasp it and they began to leave Him.
We sometimes are tempted to leave Jesus behind when life gets hard or circumstances change. When we face the threat of persecution or even in times of prosperity, we feel like the old hymn says, “prone to wander.” We feel the tug of the world on our coats. We hear the siren call of the world. We struggle with faithfulness versus turning our backs on Jesus.
We are not the first to be tempted in this way. Even those who were closest to Jesus were tempted to betray and deny Him. Those who knew Him best ran and fled when the going got tough. So how will we remain faithful to Jesus?  We have to remember His promises to never leave us nor forsake us. We need to remember that He gives strength for the journey. We need to remember that He is returning soon. Let’s remain faithful to Jesus one day at a time. Let tomorrow worry about itself.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to remain faithful to the Lord Jesus today. Whatever this day holds, You are at the end of it and waiting for me. Give me strength to overcome difficult circumstances and situations. Remind me of Your great love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Church Jealousy

John 3:22-26 (NIV)

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

Church jealousy is never a pretty thing. As a pastor, I can tell you that it is a very real thing. After Jesus’ late-night conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus and His disciples went out into the wilderness and were baptizing people. Jealousy arose among John’s followers because more people were going to Jesus than John.
Leaders and pastors are constantly obsessing over numbers. We are comparing and contrasting the size of our churches with others. We’re missing the point. Did it matter if people were going to John to be baptized or to Jesus to be baptized? Not in the least! The important thing is that people were repenting of their sins and turning to God! Does it matter if XYZ church has 100 members and ABC church has 1000? Not at all! God does not play favorites. The most important thing is that people for whom Christ died are coming to faith in Christ in order to be transformed by Him. What is the measure of success? Is it a larger building or a bigger budget or more bodies in the seats? Or is faithfulness more important than success. A church of 200 may be more faithful to Christ’s mission than a church of 20,000. Drawing a crowd doesn’t necessarily reflect lives being changed.
I want the church to be successful in reaching more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More than that, I want the church to be faithful in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a pastor, I believe that God’s view of success is based more on my faithfully answering my call on a daily basis than it is on someone’s definition of success.
PRAYER: Father, help Your church to be faithful to the mission for which Christ died. Fill Your people with the Holy Spirit and passion for sharing the Gospel. We ask that You would help us to overcome jealousy and envy. May we rejoice as the angels rejoice whenever someone comes to saving faith in Jesus. Amen.

Faithful In This Moment

John 2:23-25 (NIV)
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
If you saw the signs Jesus performed, would you believe in Him? Would you put your faith and trust in His name? It’s easy to say that we would. When Jesus performed a miracle, people believed in Him. They believed that He was the Christ, the Messiah. Yet, nearly everyone turned on Him. Even His own disciples turn and fled when things went sour. Though many were flocking to Him, Jesus knew better. He knew their hearts. That’s why He would not entrust Himself to anyone. He knew what was going on deep inside of each person.
He still knows. He knows each of us, whether we are His followers or not. He knows our weaknesses and our fears. He knows our failings and our struggles. Yet He sticks closer than a brother. He loves with an unfailing love. He is faithful even when we are not and more often than not, we are not faithful.
Make faithfulness your goal today. Make it your goal to be faithful as each minute passes. Don’t worry about the next hour or the next day. Focus on this moment. Will you be faithful to Him right now?
PRAYER: Help me, O God, to be completely faithful in this moment. I know that I will fail at faithfulness at some point today. You know my heart. You know my desire to live for Jesus. You know that I am weak and I struggle. Give me strength to live for You right now. In Jesus’ faithful name, amen.

Make A Choice. Take A Stand.

We all have to make a choice and we all have to take a stand.  At the end of the book of Joshua, we read the final part of his farewell address to the Israelites.  In verses 14-15, we read a well-known passage of Scripture:

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV)

Joshua gave the people a choice – serve the Lord or worship idols.  He did not wait for their answer as he told the people where his family stood: we will serve the Lord.  It didn’t matter what everyone else was going to do.  Joshua’s household would stand firm and serve the Lord.
We all have to make a choice and take a stand.  What will you do?  As the world around us seems to be moving further and further away from faithfulness, righteousness and holiness, what will you choose to do?  Will you choose to go with the crowd or will you choose to follow Jesus?
Jesus said that we have a choice to make:

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

Make up your mind today.  Make your choice.  Take your stand.  But be wise with regard to the road you choose.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
PRAYER: Lord, I ask today that You would grant me grace to lead my household well. I want me and my house to serve You. Help me when I fail. Pick me up when I fall. Father, keep me on the narrow path and protect my family. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Remembering What God Has Done

Micah 6:1-5 (NIV)

Listen to what the Lord says:

“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
    let the hills hear what you have to say.

“Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;
    listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
    he is lodging a charge against Israel.

“My people, what have I done to you?
    How have I burdened you? Answer me.
I brought you up out of Egypt
    and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
    also Aaron and Miriam.
My people, remember
    what Balak king of Moab plotted
    and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

​Why would we ever want to leave the safe presence of the Lord?  Too often we have the attitude, “What have You done for me lately, God?”  We forget everything He’s done for us in the past and it makes us wander in the present toward an uncertain future.  We have an incredibly bright future in Heaven with Jesus.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us and yet we leave Him all the time.  We chase after the idols of our day of materialism, consumerism and stuff.  We spend our time doing other things that take away from our time with Him.  We squander our talents and abilities to satisfy our own selfish desires.  We fail Him and yet He patiently waits for us to return from our wandering.  We are so short-sighted and forgetful.
God has been faithful to deliver us time and time again.  He has rescued us from our sins and the consequences of them.  He has poured out the punishment we deserve on His own Son and spared us from it.  Yet we turn away from Him to chase the fleeting things of Earth.  We doubt Him even though He has proved so true in the past.  We run away from Him even though He has never left us.  We are selfish and self-centered.  We are forgetful even though He has been faithful.  
How we need to remember all that He has done.  We need to remember how He has provided for us.  We need to remember how He has forgiven us.  We need to remember His blessings.  We need to remember His guidance.  We need to remember His protection.  We need to remember our God in all that we do.
PRAYER: Lord God, I am so forgetful.  I have seen how You have provided for me, protected me and guided me in the past and yet I forget You.  I have felt Your love in my life and yet I forget all about it as I chase the things of Earth.  I have seen Your faithfulness in many ways and yet I run away like a prodigal child.  Help me to keep You first in my life today that I may know the way that You are leading me.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

God Is Faithful

Micah 5:7-15 (NIV)

The remnant of Jacob will be
    in the midst of many peoples
like dew from the Lord,
    like showers on the grass,
which do not wait for anyone
    or depend on man.
The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations,
    in the midst of many peoples,
like a lion among the beasts of the forest,
    like a young lion among flocks of sheep,
which mauls and mangles as it goes,
    and no one can rescue.
Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies,
    and all your foes will be destroyed.

10 “In that day,” declares the Lord,

“I will destroy your horses from among you
    and demolish your chariots.
11 I will destroy the cities of your land
    and tear down all your strongholds.
12 I will destroy your witchcraft
    and you will no longer cast spells.
13 I will destroy your idols
    and your sacred stones from among you;
you will no longer bow down
    to the work of your hands.
14 I will uproot from among you your Asherah poles
    when I demolish your cities.
15 I will take vengeance in anger and wrath
    on the nations that have not obeyed me.”

​God promised to preserve a remnant of His people from among those who were taken into exile.  He never gave up on His people, though the same could not be said of them.  God promised that this remnant of Israel and Judah would be “in the midst of many peoples” (verse 7 and verse 8) meaning that they would be scattered throughout the earth.  They would not be confined to one area, but would be everywhere.  Then God would deal with their enemies as well as with the idolatry in Israel.  He would purge Israel of the idol worship that was so prevalent.
God has a plan and He will accomplish His plan.  He said He would send a Messiah and He did.  He said He would bring a remnant back from exile and He did.  He has promised to deal with the enemies of His people and He will.  He said Jesus would come back and take us to our Heavenly home and He will.  We can rest assured in the promises of God for they are true.  He will fulfill His promises He has made to His people.  We don’t have to hold Him to His promises for He is faithful to do all that He has promised.  Faithfulness is in the very character of God.  He promised to never abandon us, leave us nor forsake us and He won’t because He is faithful to all of His promises.  He won’t give up on us because He is faithful to His people, even when we are not faithful to Him.  What a good God we love and serve!
PRAYER: Help me to be faithful like You, O God.  You are the faithful One and You keep Your promises.  Thank You for Your faithfulness to me throughout my life.  Help me to keep my word as You have kept Yours.  Help me to trust You and Your promises today.  I ask these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

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