The refining of fire

 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire… – 1 Peter 1:6–7

Tonight I will be sharing with a group of people about my cancer journey. As I think back on what I went through, I can see how the experience has sharpened my faith. My dependence and trust in God have increased, my priorities realigned, and thankfulness enlarged. Each day I am given the opportunity to share what God can do and has done in hopes that it may encourage another.

We dread going through hard times in our life, but if we can keep in mind that God has a purpose in all things. It isn’t that he causes challenges in life, but may allow them to help us grow more like Jesus. When his face shines through our tragedies, hope is given to a hurting world.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the challenges you have brought me through in life. I pray that others will see you in my faith walk and be given new hope. Amen

Faith Tip: Struggling today? Seek God for understand and how he is making you stronger and better.

Moving right along

GM43 diesel train - moving barley, Clare valle...

GM43 diesel train – moving barley, Clare valley, south australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost. – 2 Peter 3:9 CEV

As I watch the train slowly move on the track in front of me, I wonder if there is an end to it. Some people have shut their cars off and wait; I decide to follow suit thinking to myself that as soon as I shut it off, the end will come. I desire to have things perfectly timed for efficiency in use of time and resources. I have already planned out how this could work out the best where the train will get past and I will make it to my appointment. Then I see the train stop on the track and start to go backwards. So much for my plan.

God has a plan of salvation for the lost, and sometimes like watching the cars of a train slowly go by, we become impatient and want things to move quicker. We want to see some action. People for whom we have been praying for many years seem to still be in the same place regarding coming to Christ. Opportunities that seemed perfect for them to accept the gift of Jesus didn’t happen as we thought it would.

 

To hold on to our sanity and peace, we need to let go of trying to control God. He knows exactly what he is doing and has more patience than anyone to carefully work out his plan for those who are lost. He loves them so much, he is willing to wait. Do we love them that much?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your patience with me. Forgive me when I want my way and not yours. I pray to see with your eyes today and follow your voice of patience. Amen

Faith Tip: Today when you are faced with something that makes you impatient, stop and think about what God is doing in the situation. Pray for insight.

The Foot Message

English: A pedicure in progress.

Image via Wikipedia

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” – John 13:8

I remember getting my first pedicure and thinking, how could anyone like doing this job? The woman that took care of my feet did such a wonderful job in such a caring way. The experience of having a pedicure truly made an impact on me to wash others’ feet. But how would I have felt if the Queen of England came in to wash my feet? It would be hard not to jump out of the chair and offer it to her and begin washing hers. She is the Queen after all.

We have an idea of how Peter felt when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Jesus was his Master, Teacher and Savior. Peter’s first reaction was to jump out of the chair and offer it to Jesus, but Jesus had a deeper purpose than just the task itself. The loving service he was modeling for them gave a perfect image of how they were to give loving service to others. They were to take on the role of a servant just as Jesus did to show impacting love that will multiply from one life to another.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for giving me this example on how to serve others with your love and compassion. I pray that I can be part of the process of multiplying this servant attitude. Amen

Faith Tip: Today, make it a priority to serve someone taking on the role of a servant … just like Jesus.

 

Gifts that Last

Christmas gifts.

Image via Wikipedia

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5

Thinking back on Christmases I have experienced in the past and all the wonderful gifts I have been given, most of those gifts I no longer have because of time that has passed and how the item has faded, broken, or perished some other way. The gifts were great when I received them, but they aren’t made for forever.

Jesus is forever. The gift we receive in Jesus will never fade, break or perish. It is always like brand new. With Jesus, you are encouraged to regift his grace and mercy for it will never go stale.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful gift of Jesus. I pray that I can share my gift with others and share the inheritance and the hope. Amen

Faith Tip: Share the gift of Jesus today with those you meet today.

What Will Be Left?

 

Christmas gifts.

Image via Wikipedia

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives… – 2 Peter 3:10-11

The season of overabundant marketing has come. Television, email, newspaper, magazines, mailers and more all stating “Buy Our Stuff!” I realize this employs many copywriters and other marketing staff, so the more savvy they are the more successful in the business. As a consumer, I sometimes feel like a target especially at Christmas time with messages that I need a product to have a merry Christmas.

God says all the stuff is going up in smoke. After all the chaff is burned off, what will be left? We will. Who we become in Christ Jesus and what we have done will be the measure of success. The playing field will be leveled where there will be no poor or rich, no popular or unpopular people, just us and God. The relationship is more important than the stuff.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for the relationship we have together. I know you initiated it and I had the opportunity to respond. I pray I take advantage of the ways we can build on it. Amen

Faith Tip: Attempt to fast from all the media frenzy of the season and focus on the relationship opportunities you have with God.

 

 

Me … a Priest?

An old house.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9

Knocking on the door of the run down building, Kim took a step back when it was opened by a woman who looked as worn as the structure. A hard life was written all over her face.

“Yes?” she said.

Kim stammered for words. “Hi, my name is Kim and I come from the church down the street. We are having some great activities coming up that we thought the community would be interested in, so I’m here to give you some information.”

The woman took the paper and said thanks. She began to turn away from the door when she stopped and turned back to Kim.

“I see you have a quilting group. I remember my mother making beautiful quilts. I always wanted to learn, but never got around to it.”

“Well, I’m part of the quilting group and it really is a great group of ladies. I would love to have you come and join us. We will show you how to quilt.”

The woman smiled. “I may just do that. Thank you!”

********

Kim was Jesus with skin on. She showed care to the woman who obviously needed a kind word of encouragement. We sometimes think we have to have a special “ministry job” to do the work of Christ, but we already have the role as a priest. That may seem daunting, but God called us as his special possession to go out and shine his love to those we come in contact with on a daily basis. As we have been called out of darkness, we are to help others receive that same blessing.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, that you gave me hope in times of darkness. I pray that I shine your light on the darkness I see and help others find their way to you. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider your role as a priest and what that means in your daily walk.

 

Yea! It’s a New Day!

sunrise

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. – 1 Peter 1:3 MSG

Gathering together as God’s people to worship is an encouragement to all believers. We are not only encouraged to live in obedience to God, but also reminded of his victory over death.

Somehow after we walk out the door of the church, the excitement seems to wane. Let’s keep the excitement going by intentionally worshiping God each day. By the time we gather again to worship, we will be pumped up to give God our all. God loves a cheerful giver.

Prayer: Lord, you are amazing. Thank you for the great love you have poured on me. I pray that I can keep the excitement going this week for who you are in worshiping you each day. Amen

Faith Tip: Praise God today for all he is to you. Each morning, give God more glory.