Tag Archives: bible

Am I faithful…or fearful?

“He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Mark 4:40

 What does it mean to be faithful? I work in an organization where people have served 10…15…20…even 28 years! We have a reputation for becoming “lifers” here. This got me to thinking, will I be one? The answer is, IF God calls me to stay.  I pray I won’t stay simply out of convenience or in the name of faithfulness. It would be scary to leave, but I want to be faithful for the right reasons.

Senator Robert Byrd has been a Senator since January 3, 1959, serving the country for 40 years. Impressive.  Brett Favre quarterbacked from 1992 until 2008 when he retired, starting in 291 games. That’s faithfulness!  Still, when he returned to the field after his retirement, some of the zeal was gone, the spark and excitement that once was Brett Favre had dissipated. His faithfulness became painful to watch—I for one was ready for him to go quietly.  That’s the way it is!  Some people just don’t know when to quit. But sometimes they should! 

The ability to persevere is admirable; the inability to continue moving forward and embrace new seasons and new frontiers in life is not.  Sometimes we admire someone’s faithfulness, when in reality they are mostly fearful of letting go and taking a step toward something new. How can we tell if we are acting out of faithfulness or fear? This is really the question…

To begin with, true faithfulness should be grounded in faith. (Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?)  Faithfulness believes that God is going to do something as a result of our efforts. If we have lost this expectation, it could be we are holding on to what God did in the past, not looking forward to what He wants to do today and in the future. If somehow we believe the best is behind us, we may need to ask ourselves, am I remaining faithful for the right reasons?

Also, I believe faithfulness should produce fruit. If we are persevering in faith we should see new crops and fresh growth in everything we do. Psalms 1 says we: “will bring forth its fruit in its season, [our] leaf also shall not wither; And whatever [we do] shall prosper.” There must be fruit throughout our season of faithfulness.  If we can’t identify the fruit of our efforts, or see any recent growth, this could be a sign that our season to remain faithful is drawing to a close.  Perhaps God is trying to get your attention to ask you to pursue something entirely different with Him.

Another trait of true faithfulness is action. Faithfulness should not be just a passive, enduring existence. There may be times when you feel God has put you on the shelf for a season, and He holds you back from doing the one thing you feel called to do. He may even ask you to remain faithful when nothing is happening in your circumstances. However, this does not mean He requires nothing from you during the wait!  He asks us to give thanks at all times, to love our neighbors, to work heartily for Him, and to look for opportunities to bless those around us. We cannot use the idea of being faithful to excuse not doing all we can when we can.

I don’t want to confuse faithfulness with seniority. Does God really look at years of service the way we do, I wonder. Is pure faithfulness or “steadfastness” always the basis for spiritual promotion? I’m not sure.  At least not as we often define faithfulness. Perhaps he looks at our hearts to see why we have persevered, and if we are remaining faithful in what He called us to, not just what is comfortable and familiar to us.

These are tough questions I think. As a person who has worked in a ministry setting for just 13 years, I can tell you I recognize the difference in my own life. I have stuck with a ministry longer than I should have because I loved what I was doing. I loved reaching people, hearing how I was helping their lives. I saw fruit at every turn. BUT when God was done with it, I had to move on regardless of what strokes it gave me and how much I would miss it. Working in a ministry position is no different. Just because you can stay in a position, or have for many years, doesn’t mean that’s all God has for you.  When He starts tugging at your heart, don’t ignore Him in the name of faithfulness.  We can’t let our fear or comfort hinder the work God wants to do in our lives. Continue reading

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Jumpstart your New Year…

Donna's BookI am participating in this online group with Donna Partow (who is one of my favorite authors!) It’s called 90 Day Jumpstart and it follows her new book, Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be. I am very excited about the timing and the potential of this!  I hope you’ll check it out and join us on Facebook! 

I’ve included her overview video which explains what will be covered during the 90 Days…

Patient…or passive?

Patient…or passive??

“Therefore I [am ready to] persevere and stand my ground with patience…”
II Timothy 2:10

I wonder sometimes if we really get the difference between these two words? Of course, it’s no shocker that I think patience can be highly over-rated. I’m not by nature a patient person.  But the truth is, I’m not really against patience—when it’s true patience. I am, however, against being passive claiming we are being patient. There are times we must push, confront, enter into conflict, face our fears, and take charge of our lives. Yet, often in the name of “Just be patient” we do none of the things we should.  This applies to so many areas of life: our health or healing, our finances, our jobs/careers, our relationships, our spiritual lives…even our futures.

 

This verse is interesting to me in that Paul is standing his ground with patience. He’s not doing nothing with patience; he’s not twiddling his thumbs or complaining with patience. He’s standing his ground.  So, there are times when our patience requires action. Seems incongruent doesn’t it? That’s the point! We have accepted this idea that a passive existence is somehow spiritual…that waiting on God means we have nothing to do with the outcome. In my own life, this is a dangerous mindset. When I sit back and passively wait on circumstances to change…on people to read my mind…on life (or God) to give me what I feel I deserve, I’m not actually waiting—I’m wasting time!  I’m afraid we spend too much time waiting and wishing.  We all have the power to accomplish great things, but the truth is: God expects us to participate and to live with passion and purpose—not passively waiting for things to be easy.

 

Read about Caleb in Joshua 14.  In verse 12, he demanded of Joshua: …”Give me this mountain….” That is not a passive sort of faith that takes what comes—but one that rises to the occasion and to the promises God has given us. I bet we all have areas of life that we have become passive in…maybe without even realizing it.  Take this encouragement to stir up your faith into action and believe for something bigger and better!

 

Where do you go for answers?

“Christ’s anointing teaches you everything you need to know about yourself and Him. Live deeply in what you were taught. And now, children, stay with Christ.…”  I John 2:27-28

This verse is a great admonishment for us–as socially connected people who thrive on Facebook or Myspace and even as bloggers.  It reminds us to seek to hear, listen and obey God first in every situation. We can become so dependent on what others think or say that often we don’t stop and listen to what God is saying.  Sometimes, we substitute advice (“wisdom”… “counsel”) for seeking God on our own.  Certainly, there are times when seeking godly counsel is appropriate–BUT we must know how to hear from God on our own.  Thoughts on your Facebook wall…or a comment on a blog post do not constitute godly counsel–they may be well-intended, and God may use them to confirm or encourage us…but the point is, we must learn to wait on God for what we need.

This verse promises that the Holy Spirit–God’s anointing working in and through us–will teach us everything we need to know.  It’s our responsibility to seek God’s counsel first. He wants us to come to Him, to read His Word, to learn to hear His voice, above the din of Internet distractions and well-meaning friends. I’ve learned that people are all too happy and quick to give their opinion and “counsel” without even asking if you’ve prayed about something.  I think that should be the first question we ask when someone is looking for direction.  Then, we should find out what they feel God is telling them. IF they don’t have a clue…then we should gently encourage them to pray about it and meet up at a later time when both of us have had time to pray about it.  Wouldn’t that improve the counsel and conversation??

It can take time to seek God, and to really hear from Him. In this instant age of texting, IM, and online networks, we are used to immediate responses from people. I don’t think God has changed just to meet our preferences.  In our own impatience, we  run to others hoping for a quick answer; maybe we blog it hoping one of the comments will be OUR word from God.  Could this happen? Sure. God can and will use every available avenue to speak to us. But, I think His first choice is the old fashioned way…and His desire is for us to patiently seek Him and wait for Him to lead us. It does take discipline, and even practice, but He is faithful…when you seek Him you will find Him!

Great Bible Study from Sarah

This little book is RICH, RICH, RICH in loving Jesus, knowing Jesus & growing in Him.
Pastor Sarah on Philippians

Pastor Sarah’s post on the book of Philippians is great! She is using multi-media tools to help her team/staff go deeper in God’s Word. It’s great not to just be told that…but to be empowered to do that. Even if you aren’t part of the MHM/wc staff…you will enjoy this study. Watch for updates every Tuesday…

Power to recover

I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.”  John 15:1 MSG

As I was meditating on this chapter, and after reading Teresa’s post, I realized something.  The pain of pruning affects the plant as much as the branches that are cut away. In essence, we wound the original plant in order to encourage new growth, or in some cases to create new plants from the cuttings.  And while the new cutting is transplanted and regrown, the plant itself is left to heal. 

It’s remarkable really when you think about nature’s ability to heal itself; even our bodies have the incredible power to recover. We as the Body of Christ, have the same power and resiliency to allow God to heal us! Although in tough times that may be hard to believe.

We all know recovery can be a slow and painful process. But as we keep our eyes fixed on God and the future He’s promised each of us–and keep a positive attitude–I believe we can grow into a stronger and healthier plant than we were to begin with. At least that’s what I’m hoping for…