Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stay fit - Spiritually!

It is incumbent upon all of us, as Christians, to cultivate our spiritual life. In his second epistle the Apostle Peter writes, “Giving all diligence, add to your faith”, and then a bit further on in the passage he continues, “If these things be in you and abound then you will not be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus”. Peter is exhorting us to “exercise” the spiritual area of our lives, for it is through these disciplines, such as prayer and Bible study, by which we add to our faith and knowledge of our Lord, which in return will provide us the basic tools to be effective in living our daily Christian walk. It is a task which requires dedication, similar to the principle often found stated by exercise gurus and in fitness rooms: “No pain, no gain”.

To emphasize further the importance of this practice, Peter adds, “He that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” We need to develop a certain mentality concerning spiritual things, and it must be an “I need this!” mentality. Physical science has demonstrated that nature abhors a vacuum; what this essentially means is an empty space will not remain empty long; eventually it will be filled by something. The spiritual corollary I am attempting to draw here is simply this; if we don’t take the time to exercise the spiritual area of our minds, the time will be filled by something else, and not always for the better.

In the pamphlet “Our Daily Bread”, there was a daily devotional which quoted a study from Karen Bolla, a Johns Hopkins researcher. She was performing an investigation on human memory. She came up with these statistics regarding “Things people forget most”: names, 83%, where something is, 60%, telephone numbers 57%, words, 53%, faces, 42%. Also this little gem (one I hate to admit I seem to be more familiar with as I get older): if you can’t remember whether you have just done something, you join company with 38% of the population.

Followers of Jesus also have a problem with forgetfulness. We often forget the great importance of tending to our spiritual life. David said, “Some trust in Chariots, some in horses. We will remember the name of the Lord.” In other words, some place their trust in man made things; we as Christians trust in the Lord. But the only way to sustain this trust is to strengthen our spiritual muscle, and this requires spiritual exercise.

This year let’s heed the Apostle Peter’s admonition. Add to your faith. Through daily “spiritual exercise” you can “grow” in the fruit of the spirit: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, Godliness and brotherly kindness. It’s up to us to develop a mindset of adding these to our Christian walk.

God bless you as you do. I love and appreciate you.
See ya Sunday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Faith, not fear!

Two words that are jam packed with significance for Christians, and often are juxtaposed against each other, are faith and fear. We know as Christians we are to possess an unshakable faith; a faith that will bolster us through the storms of life, a faith which lights the way when darkness shrouds our path. So important is faith to the victorious Christian life that Jesus emphasized the point when healing the blind men in Matthew 9:29, saying “According to your faith be it unto you.” Obviously derived from this passage is the fact that success in the Christian life is not measured according to fame or fortune, but by faith.

The enemy of faith is fear. As we look around us, there are many reasons which may cause us to become fearful. We may encounter obstacles which will make the road ahead difficult to traverse. We may hear the thunder and see the lightening of impending storms approaching on the horizon. At these times our faith may be shaken. Why? Because of fear. However, many of these things we can do little or nothing about. And in our daily walk we are not to fear, but rather we are to trust God. And we are assured in 2nd Tim 1:7 that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.

The Bible also informs us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Faith therefore should be visibly evident in our lives, and clearly demonstrated through every area of life. Marriage, raising children, business ventures, relationships with family and friends. We need a strong, robust faith to navigate through all these successfully, the type of faith which will cast out all fear!

Let’s endeavor this year to feed our faith and starve our fears. A sure fire way to strengthen your faith is to have a quiet time with the Lord every day. Here is another idea – let’s be faithful to all of the services at church. Yes! Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night; being present whenever the doors are open and God’s word preached will feed your faith, as Rom 10:17 states: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God! And it wouldn’t hurt if you even threw in Sunday school once in awhile! ;)

Let’s make this year a life-changer – Faith, not fear!
See you Sunday!