Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Faith Hall of Fame | Manna for your Soul

I've borrowed many parts of this week's 'Manna for your Soul' from a 'Faith' series of sermons that my pastor Dr Benny Woods was teaching at church.

Back in the first place, I worked at, we had the Wall of Fame of the Top Performers (nicknamed 'Roaring Tigers') at the reception and at the cafeteria. As new employees, we would look at the 15ft of wall space with bright envious eyes, secretly wonder when we would see our names up there too. All them were exceptional performers with statistics that seemed beyond our reach. 

And then 4 months later, I saw I was on the Wall of Fame for being the 'Roaring Tiger' for that month. I remember thinking 'Wow, that wasn't too hard. All I had to do was be consistent.' 

That is how spirituality is as well. Strip away all the rituals and rigors of being a 'follower/disciple', you will begin to see that all Jesus really asks of you is - 'Be humble, love, and forgive as much as you can. And be consistent in all these things.'

If Hebrews 11 is the Wall of Fame of ordinary men and women who did what God expected them to do, then Hebrews 12 is the 'How to' guide to get there.

And here are some quick pointers from Hebrews 11.
  • Giving when we don't have - Having the right attitude and purpose when we give.
  • Obeying when we don't understand.
  • Believing when we don't see.
  • Persisting when we don't feel it.
  • Thanking God before we receive it  (also Mark 11:24).
  • Trusting even if we don't get it.
Faith is a gift from God and is not automatically activated but must be exercised to become active. Just as we have to exercise our muscles to develop it, the seeds of faith must be nourished and exercised to grow. 
And this is what separates the believers from the non-believers:  Non-believers think their good acts will be sufficient to take them to heaven while believers must transfer their faith from themselves to Jesus before they can begin living by faith.

Believers know God is omnipresent and although we cannot see the invisible tie we can experience His presence in everything we do. Because He has promised to never forsake nor forget about us. 
We know He is always accessible to us through humble prayer, overcoming obstacles and living a life worth His joy.

So what is 'faith' and what does the Bible tell us about it?
Quoting with Hebrews 11:1-2, for a believer, every facet of our spiritual life is affected by faith. 
We are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we live by faith (Galatians 2:20), we walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), we stand by faith (1 Corinthians 16:13), we pray by faith (Matt 21:21-22), we overcome by faith (Matt 17:20), we fight by faith (1 Timothy 6:12), we gain victory by faith (John 5:4), and we please God by faith (Hebrews 11:6).

So while faith is beyond mere book knowledge of the Bible, knowing God and being faithful to Him is the only key that will open the door to heaven.

Many people love to recite how 'faith that can move mountains' is essential in your life. What they don't tell you is what this really means. Jesus wasn't talking about moving physical mountains, but about the 'mountains of doubt/sin' in our lives. 

Do you have the faith to move 'mountains' in your life?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Second Chance Living [13/365]

On a recent bike ride to the mountains, I was descending down a steep 45% decline with tons of 'hair pin' curves.
If the narrow roads with jagged shoulders don't scare you, the sight of the drop would've made you want to walk rather than roll down the hill.
But I was tired and the lack of sleep was beginning to show on my body. I was barely able to keep my eyes open, much less be alert.
About a kilometer down the road, I careened down the road and barely made the curve. While it took me a few seconds to realize how close I came to plunging down a cliff-side, the incident shook me thoroughly. I've decided never to trust instincts or test the loose shoulders since.
I've also realized how God gave me a second chance that day. But He's given me plenty of second chances since.

Every day, as I go to bed, I reminisce about how the day began, progressed and ended. Of course, with the kind of work schedules I have, my day starts at 12 noon and does not end until four the next morning. So, I am not sure of what the next day will bring. I am not sure if I'll never wake up healthy or wake up at all. I am not sure if I will have as productive a day as I had, but again, like much else in our lives, we take our mornings for granted. While we make plans for an entire year ahead, we forget that our lives can change in just a heart-beat and quite literally too.

We all get our second chances and while God is doling out billions of second chances out every single moment of the day and night, we cant spare a moment to thank Him. There are so many instances in our daily lives where we get away with too many things, sometimes, barely by the skin of our teeth. He does not expect much, because being the gracious, ever loving God that He is, He won't insist that you sacrifice the fattened calf or donate a diamond. He expects us to love Him back. I think we can afford that.

Now, in the time that it took you to read this, you could've have died of a dozen diseases. Or worse yet, would have never made it to this post. But you've already got that second chance.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Ship well built [6/365]

The one word that most people hate.
The one word that can mean refusal, denial and nonacceptance. 

While being denied or refused something that you really want or cherish by someone you love is tough, there will have been plenty of times when God says 'No' to something you ask for.

What is the first thought that goes through your mind when you are pushed into the unknown?
What if God asked you to let go of your family, your parents, your career, everything for that one thing you have been asking for.

The 'What if's of this life haunts us. So does the 'dark unknown'.
Yet as if on cue, God gives us the tools and the knowledge that we need to be able to come out brighter and stronger than we were going in.  
A ship in a harbor is safe, but this is not what a ship is built for.

In the plenty of times when prayers have gone unanswered, I've recalled the story of how Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only begotten son. Try to imagine the grief he would have gone through. Ofcourse, he could've questioned God's request and logic but as a man of faith, he never gave this another thought. While we all know how this ended, we do see how he exhibits emotions that we can identify with.

Peppered throughout the Bible, we see instances of how people are pushed into the unknown.
10 days into the new year, I've heard friends complain how things have not gone their way and then a few others who celebrate the small victories in their every day lives.
But regardless of how anything will happen, we are in His safe arms. 
That is when we surrender ourselves to Him.

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