Contagious Faith

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. – Colossians 3:23

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The stronger your faith, the better you can rise above the inevitable stresses of turbulent times. And the more enthused you are about your faith, the better you can share it.

Are you genuinely excited about your faith? And do you make your enthusiasm known to those around you? Or are you a “silent ambassador” for Christ? God’s preference is clear: He intends that you stand before others and proclaim your faith.

Genuine, heartfelt Christianity is contagious. If you enjoy a life-altering relationship with God, that relationship will have an impact on others—perhaps a profound impact.

Does Christ reign over your life? Then share your testimony and your excitement. The world needs both.

– Steve Arterburn

Don’t take hold of a thing unless you want that thing to take hold of you. – E. Stanley Jones

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about. – Charles Kingsley

When we wholeheartedly commit ourselves to God, there is nothing mediocre or run-of-the-mill about us. To live for Christ is to be passionate about our Lord and about our lives. – Jim Gallery

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, let me be an enthusiastic participant in life. And let my enthusiasm bring honor and glory to You. Amen

Are You Fitting In?

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you. – John 15:19

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“Don’t love the world’s ways.  Don’t love the world’s goods,” wrote the apostle John.  When he wrote of “the world,” he meant everything in life that ran counter to staying connected to Jesus; everything that contradicts what the Bible teaches and undermines a life of faith and discipleship.  Indeed, the world has a different take on how we should live.  Many today believe that all ideas are valid; that no one is wrong, because no absolute truth exists.

We are encouraged to believe whatever we want in the name of tolerance and diversity, no one’s viewpoint can be dismissed.  But Jesus presents Himself to us as the Truth, meaning all so-called truths must be measured against Him if they are to truly be considered truths.

Jesus Christ’s message to his disciples is His message to you: Fitting in with the world isn’t the mark of a follower of Christ.

– Steve Arterburn

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Faith

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17:20

Faith

Desperate to find a home, an orphan girl in India asked a missionary teacher from a nearby village for help. The missionary had no money or room for the girl but promised she’d pray and ask God for his help. She told the girl to do the same.

That evening, the teacher received a letter from an American friend, containing enough money to provide for the orphan girl. She summoned a messenger the following morning and asked him to go to the neighboring village, a day’s walk from her home to find the girl.

To the teacher’s surprise, the messenger returned with the girl in half the expected time. When asked how she traveled so quickly, the girl reminded the teacher, “We both prayed to God for help I thought I might as well start walking.”

Faith is active. Thinking and praying are necessary elements, but the true test of our faith is when like the little girl, we start walking.

– Steve Arterburn

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Staying The Course

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

Staying The Course

If you’re a Christian, God has already transformed your heart. But He also wants you to enter life in him like an athlete enters competition. That’s why the Bible, more than once, likens the Christian life to a race. Our faith in Christ motivates us to run it, and His power provides the strength to finish–despite the many times we all stumble along the way.

This illustration of a race refers to races where the runner would strip off his tunic and robe so he could run without any hindrance. If someone tried to compete in his robes, he would get tangled up and wouldn’t have a chance at winning.

God wants you to finish the race of life well. Set aside the distractions and the sins that entangle you. Pace yourself. Exert yourself. And remember, many have run and finished before you. They’re that “huge crowd of witnesses” Hebrews 12:1 speaks about, and they’re cheering you on!

– Steve Arterburn

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Our Shield of Togetherness

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Facing Up to Our Wrongs

Alone we’re vulnerable to temptation. Together, however, we form a shield of protection for one another. God wants you and I to grow spiritually in a network of mutual commitment and accountability, where we help each other to think and live in new ways.

The apostle Paul wrote, “In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan” (Ephesians 6:16). The shield of faith was likened to the shields carried by Roman soldiers, which were able to cover the entire body. To advance in battle, a group of soldiers would assemble together, making a wall of shields for protection as they moved forward.

Similarly, we’re told to stick together. The author of Hebrews wrote, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other” (Hebrews 10:25). Our encouragement of one another and our shared faith in God and his Word will serve as the shield we need to persevere in tough times.

Who is standing beside you in the everyday battles of your life? Are you alone on the field or do you have trusted friends on each side? If you’re alone, how is that working out for you? Who has God called you to stand beside?

– Steve Arterburn

If I have seen farther than other men, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. – Sir Isaac Newton

A Better Way

I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. – Malachi 3:6

A Better Way

Too many of us travel through life basing our decisions on how they make us feel and what you experience. We don’t study God’s Word enough and spend too little time in prayer.

Consequently, we have very little knowledge of the Good Shepherd who beckons us to follow Him, no matter how we feel and regardless of our circumstances.

How about considering a transformational alternative? If you place your focus squarely upon Christ, over time it will become second nature to look to Him and not to yourselves. You will not get lost when you enter the dark seasons of life. Jesus will be your unshakable horizon. Your focused gaze upon Him will keep you from altering your direction due to momentary discomfort or the temptation of temporary gratification. You won’t drift off into spiritual shipwreck!

Listen to the Word of God in Malachi 3:6: “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” In a world that is endlessly fickle and fleeting, God is an immovable Rock.

Our faith, when focused on the true God, will not be shaken by adversity or temptation. As long as we hold tightly to Him by faith trusting in His goodness and love we can come through pain and struggle with a deeper and richer relationship with Jesus, rather than a strained faith resulting from a prolonged failure to seek and see our true God.

Start today. Step out in faith. Walk on the water. It’s scary at first, but actually pretty cool once you get out there.

– Steve Arterburn

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.  – J.R.R. Tolkien

Thin Ice

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it’s roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it’s leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8

Thin Ice

When I was a boy, I fell into freezing water while trying to cross some thin ice. A while later, my brothers took me to a frozen pond–where I wasn’t in jeopardy of falling through. It was frozen thick and solid.

Yet even when my brothers ran out onto the ice to demonstrate its sturdiness, they had a difficult time convincing me it would sup­port my weight. I’d been fooled by solid-looking ice before. Finally, they dragged me onto the ice. At first, I tested it nervously. Then slowly and hesitantly I began to trust the ice.

My experiences with ice remind me of the philosophies and teach­ings we put our faith into. We have to test them to make sure they’re trustworthy.

Are you trusting in thin ice? Or in something thick and solid? Put your faith in Christ!

– Steve Arterburn

Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence. – St. Augustine

Struggles

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. Romans 8:17

Struggles

Both outright or subtly many people who follow Jesus and walk with God think they shouldn’t struggle. We think God will give us lives of ease and comfort once we decide to follow Christ. The idea is: If we’re good Christians, we’ll have it all together. If we have enough faith, our conflicts and problems would resolve them­selves. When you come to Christ, your problems disappear. In fact, many churches will communicate that very message week in and week out. As a result, those who attend those churches hide their struggles, because they mistakenly equate struggles with a lack of faith.

But the Christian walk wasn’t meant to be a stroll through the park. Following Jesus won’t remove struggles from your life; in fact it often adds to the struggle. Some of the most committed Christians have lived some of the most difficult lives. The Bible goes so far as to tell us to expect trials and difficulties, and to be joyful when we face them. With Christ, you can do that. On your own, you’re destined to fail.

– Steve Arterburn

If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened.George Mueller

Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever. – Brennan Manning

Doubt

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” – Mark 9:24

Doubt

Distrust or wavering faith is a reality for most of us. But how would you like to be labeled a “doubting Thomas?” Do you ever wonder what it was like for Thomas, Jesus’ disciple who became known for his lack of faith? Thomas simply didn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. But that’s not the end of his story.

Thomas didn’t doubt Jesus’ resurrection out of fear. He continued to meet with the followers of Jesus in the upper room. He just happened to be absent when the risen Jesus first appeared to them.  He wanted some kind of proof that his companions had not just been seeing things. Thomas was given the undeniable evidence he asked for when Jesus appeared a second time, dispelling all his doubts.

Undeniable evidence, however, isn’t necessary to begin a life of faith. As a matter of fact, it makes faith unnecessary. Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” You too have evidence of the Resurrection. You too can experience God’s transforming power in your own life. You can overcome your troubling doubts as you continue to trust God to show you His power in your life.

When Thomas overcame his doubts, he set out on a ministry that showed extraordinary faith. As you experience God’s deliverance, it will motivate you to minister to others as well. Do you have doubts? If faced honestly, doubt can lead to deeper faith.

– Steve Arterburn

Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. – Paul Tillich

Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.Frederick Buechner

Faith and Understanding

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Faith and Understanding

Upon returning from space, the Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titoy said, “Some people say there is a God out there…but in my travels around the earth all day long, I looked around and didn’t see Him…I saw no God nor angels.  The rocket was made by our own people.  I don’t believe in God.  I believe in man, his strength, his possibilities, and his reason.”

Isn’t it amazing that at moments when we’re most vulnerable, and most clearly confronted with God’s majesty, we can be so unaware of His presence?

God is wiser than we can comprehend, more immense than we’re comfortable with, and merciful beyond the reaches of our imagina­tions.

Yet, He’s also the One through whom everything makes sense.  So don’t mistakenly think that faith is the result of understanding.  It’s the opposite.  Faith is the basis for understanding.

 – Steve Arterburn

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. – Helen Keller 

Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right. – Max Lucado

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. – Ralph Waldo Emerson