Friday, July 27, 2012

Just a few Words

The other day the Lord spoke these four words to my heart ... "Just a few words" ... which sounded to me like a title for another weekly posting.

So, believing that He wants me to present you with not just any few words, but the greatest words there are; I'm going to share some of the words that came from the heart of Jesus.  Why His words?  Because the words of Jesus are life in a world that has nothing to offer except darkness, fear, pain, sickness, disease, hate, war ... and if there is any pleasure, peace or happiness, it's only temporary. 

The words of Jesus can bring peace to your soul, they can be words of healing.  I believe the words of Jesus are still alive and working today.  The words of Jesus ... there, I've said that phrase again, why?  Because as "the Word of God" made flesh, every recorded word from His lips have purpose and meaning for us yet today.

Yes, while it is true that I have questioned in the past if some of the promises He spoke to the disciples weren't meant just for them ... the words I am bringing to you today were spoken to all of God's children, the common man wherever they are ... if ... you want to accept and believe that they are spoken from the heart of God.

I really want to present to you only the words of Jesus.  I'm going to try and hold my comments to a minimum ... and saying that, I already know I'm going to fail.  I love to write about my Lord ... He is amazingly awesome.  My words sometimes are many, whereas the words of Jesus take but a few to change a heart.

The words of Jesus are kind, loving, truthful and faithful words full of mercy and grace that show us what God is like.  So where do I start?  Which of His words should we consider today?  There was one disciple in my opinion, that seemed to understand Jesus a little bit better than the others.  I want to look at just a few words that John penned that he heard Jesus speak.

John 3:7 ... "Ye must be born again."  ...... These are His words, not mine.  They are also true.

John 3:17-18 ... "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  ...... Do you know that you will not go to Hell for what you do?  You will be judged for your sinful deeds for only one reason ... not believing in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

John 4:13-14 ... "Whosoever drinketh of this water (Jacob's well) shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."  ...... Jesus' words are living water to those who are dry and empty inside.

People have asked, "How do you know you are saved?"  When Jesus comes into your life He leaves something within; you just know.  It must be that life giving water He was talking about.  I believe this is what David alluded to when he wrote in the 23rd Psalm ... "My cup runneth over" ... meaning, continually.

John 6:35 ... "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."  ...... Your human spirit needs to be fed just as your body does.  Only the words of Jesus will satisfy that spiritual hunger.

John 8:11 ... "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."  ...... Are these words spoken by Jesus the words you need to hear?  They may be the greatest words Jesus ever spoke.  They certainly are if there is sin in your life. 

Just think ... like the woman who was taken in the very act of adultery, her sin being no worse than ours; hearing those words from the lips of Jesus ... "Neither do I condemn thee" ... must have brought such a peace knowing they were about to stone her to death for her sin.

Take a moment to reflect on those words ... "Neither do I condemn thee."  Can you hear those words in your heart?  If you listen real close, who knows, you might even hear Him add ... "I also love you."

I feel impressed to give you the words of the Lord as spoken through another man.  You will not find these words printed in the Bible, although they are the message of the Bible.  They are spoken through Graham Cook.

"You need to understand there is nothing you can do to make God love you more.  There is also nothing you can do to make God love you less.  He loves you because that is what He is like.  It is His nature to love.  His love is unchanging.  You will always be loved.

He won't love you any better when you become better.  And even if you have no plans to become better, He will still love you as you are.  Even if you don't change, He will still love you with His whole heart because that's His nature.  His love is unchanging.  He loves you right now, this very moment ... as you are.  He can't help Himself, that's who He is ... God is love."

Wow ... what an awesome God.

John 12:46 ... "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."  ...... If you don't like the darkness around you, then turn on the light.  Jesus is the light in a darkened world.

John 14:27 ... "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  ...... Even in times of trouble, the words of Jesus bring peace instead of fear.

John 19:30 ... "It is finished."  ...... No more can be added to what Jesus did, nor should it.

And now, I am finished ...

Comments welcome.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Re-forming the Image of God

I was sharing with some people the other day and made the statement that God controls all things both good and bad as He chooses.  I just flat came out and said ... "God is in charge of everything that happens."  Not everyone was in agreement with that statement.

I believe that God is ... ultimately responsible ... for everything.  This can all be filed under the sovereignty of God which He brings about through His providence.  These two terms are not spoken of today as much as they were years ago.

Many of today's Christian's have re-formed the image they have of God into something they imagine He is like, desiring to make Him into what they want Him to be ... and that's not a good thing to do.  We must see Him as he is in the Bible, not how we want Him to be.  We are made in His image ... but some in their own mind have re-formed Him into their personal image.

I suppose if one does not have the true scriptural picture and understanding of who God is; if life's experiences have formed the image you have of god ... then it's time to re-form the image you have of Him through the truth about Him that's in the Word of God.

Because I always try to have Scripture for everything I believe, I bring the following scriptures for you to consider.  These are just the ones that come quickly to mind ... there are many more.

God said in Isaiah 45:7 ... "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

In Amos 3:6, this statement is made ... "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?"

This is basically what Amos is saying ... "If it happens, God has done it."

God is the author of all things but sin; of the works of creation and providence, of grace and salvation; and He works all these things according to His will ... as He pleases.

According to the Word, these things or events are all by His appointment; He determines what kind and what nature they will be; how far they will go; and their duration ... how long they shall last.

And so all things come from God, even all temporal things.  Everything in God's providence have their purpose and being ... even nature's evil ... meant to be for our good.  These are all according to the appointment of God, through the determination of His will.

John Wesley says ... "God by his wise and holy providence governs all the actions of men and devils, and the affairs of earth are much the subject of the counsels of the unseen world. That world is dark to us, but we lie open to it."

Augustine, the 6th century Benedictine monk who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury and founder of the English Church has said ... "Evil, which is sin, the Lord hath not done; evil, which is punishment for sin, the Lord bringeth."

Natural evil is the punishment of moral evil.  God sends the former when the latter is persisted in.  (I'm speaking of mankind as a whole.)

Lamentations 3:32-33 ... "Though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."

This is where the old saying comes from that states ... "God afflicts not willingly, but if it must be done, let Satan do it."

 An example of this is in 1st Corinthians 5:1-5, where Paul instructed that, a certain man in the church be turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, because he was having sex with his father's wife.  So in this case, Satan was used as an agent of God.  And Satan delights in doing so at every opportunity.

Consider this question in Lamentations 3:38 ... "Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?"

The Amplified Bible says it this way ... "Is it not out of the mouth of the Most High that evil and good both proceed [adversity and prosperity, physical evil or misfortune and physical good or happiness]?"

The question then is this ... "Does not evil or trouble come out of God's mouth, from His direction, as well as good?"  Certainly they do; they both come to pass as God's will has determined it ... either from His own hand, or by the hands of those He employs.  Whom ever or what ever are the instruments used, God is the principal agent and cause behind them.  Out of His mouth both good and evil proceed.

Whatever a man's lot in life is, it is God that orders it ... He still forms the light and creates the darkness, as He did at first.  And no ... not all men are born with the same chance in life ... simply because life as we know it is not fair.

There are times when God is the cause of how things work in our lives.  At other times the decisions and choices we make, may be the direct result of His influence at work in our lives to bring about His Sovereign Will.

I believe that God is sovereign over everything that happens in the world by direct cause from His hand or the secondary causes He has already placed in nature because of Adam's sin ... including the curse of sickness, disease and death.

I've said it before and I will say it again ... part of being Sovereign is that God must be in total control of everything created ... everything.

If there is even one molecule that is not under His control, one tiny little speck running around anywhere in God's created universe that He is not in control of ... just one ... then that means that God is not in total control of what He created.

If anything is outside of His authority, outside of His control ... including Satan and sickness; then He is no longer God over all things ... and that cannot be.  Because of this, God is therefore ... ultimately responsible ... for everything.

1st Peter 4:19 ... "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."

"Suffering according to the will of God?"
  Yep ... that's what it said.

Ephesians 1:11 ... "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."

The affirmation here is not merely that God accomplishes the designs of salvation according to the counsel of His own will, but that ... He does everything.  God governs all things.  His work is not confined to one thing, or to one class of objects.  Every object and event ... is under His control ... and is in accordance with His eternal plan.

God doesn't judge us and bring bad things each time we sin, but because sin is already in the world ... well here's R.C. Sproul, he says it much better than I can ...

"If there were no sin in the world, there would be no suffering.  Because sin is present in the world, suffering is present in the world; but it doesn't always work out that if you have five pounds of guilt, you're going to get five pounds of suffering."

I think he is simply saying that life isn't fair as far as we are concerned, at least it doesn't look like it to us anyway.  But to God ... His view may be different than ours.

Many times God allows in His wisdom what His power could prevent.  Some days the grace of God allows you to enjoy what is happening.  And some days the grace of God allows you to endure what is happening.

My youngest daughter was asking God one day how she was supposed to pray about a certain problem and the Lord spoke these words to her ... "Do not concern yourself with how to pray over this thing.  It is not for you to tell Me what needs to be done.  I already know.  Just come to Me with a pleading spirit and need of my hand, and I will move.  Do not burden yourself with the how."

God knows the problem and He already knows how to fix it.  You can trust Him to do the right thing ... even if the answer isn't always what we have asked for.

We need to understand there is nothing we can do that will make Him do what we want Him to do.  He is not obligated to us for anything.  We receive everything through His grace, including His mercy.  It's not even about our faithfulness to him; we don't earn His faithfulness by our faithfulness.  He can't help being anything other than what He is ... lovingly faithful.

And now, having said basically that God can do whatever He wants, whenever he wants, to whomever he wants, which may not be the image you had pictured of God ... but even so, if you still want to re-form your image of God correctly ... then take my advise and look at Jesus who is the visible face of God; the very image and nature of God, the express image of His person, and is such a likeness, that it can be said that ... "He who has seen the one has seen the other."

Colossians 1:15 ... "He (Jesus) is the exact likeness of the unseen God, the visible representation of the invisible ..."

The image that is seen is of the Son of God ... Jesus.  He is the perfect and complete image of His Father; more than just a visible likeness; this image includes the same nature as His Father but with His own personality and distinction as the Son.

Hebrews 1:3 ... "He is the sole expression of the glory of God, and He is the perfect imprint and the very image of God's nature ..."

What is God's nature? ... Love.

He is our light and life, our peace and hope.  He is also our maker and keeper.

Once again it comes down to ... "GOD'S ANSWER is always Jesus."

Comments welcome.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Believing Scripture

Have you ever taken a verse of Scripture and by faith claimed it as your own?  By that I mean, you start a conversation with God, because He’s the one who authored the verse in the first place, and you tell Him you are believing Him to honor and fulfill the promise that you believe is connected to that scripture.  Whatever your need is ... a job, your child to be healed, a marriage to be repaired, it doesn’t matter what ... you are claiming and standing on that certain scripture, believing God for the answer.

May I start out by saying ... make sure the scripture is a promise ... because not all of the verses in the Word of God are promises.  Some of the promises in the Old Testament are not really promises, but rather they are what I call, contractual legal language.

By that I mean they had strings attached to them.  If man did this ... then God would do that.  It’s like being on probation; to keep out of trouble man had to do certain things and not do other things.  That’s why the old contract, the old covenant wouldn’t work.  God kept His part, it’s just that man couldn’t keep his part of the deal.

The writer of Hebrews 8:7 made it very clear when he wrote these words ... "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."

"If the first covenant had been faultless"
... meaning it had a fault.  What was it?  Works.  It's just that simple.  Man couldn't live up to the letter of the Law.

Because the old covenant was problematic, mainly with sin and salvation as well as with faith and works; and for finding fault with it, according to Hebrews 8:8, God said ... "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ..."  (Jeremiah 31:31).

This new covenant was designed to work by faith through God's grace instead of works ... appointing Jesus to be the covenant mediator, which according to Hebrews 8:6 is now "established upon better promises."

Believing Scripture ... that's what this short dissertation is about.  And is there anything that is considered to be more Scriptural than the words of Jesus?  That's why many Bibles have His words in red.

Let's consider some of the new, better promises in Scripture that Jesus gave to His followers while He was on earth in the form of a man.  To be totally honest with you ... the following promises are the ones I have the most trouble believing completely in, as they are presented.

So I ask, as you read these statements from Jesus, can you honestly say ... without any doubt or reservation ... that you believe every word in them is a promise that will bring you the answer to the requests you have presented to God?

Matthew 21:22 ... "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."  The requirement: ask, believing.  The promise: ye shall receive.  I really like this one and have used it many times.  But if I'm still waiting on some answers, does that mean I didn't believe?

Mark 9:23 ... "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."  This is quite a statement ... "if you can believe" ... meaning perhaps, then and only then will all things be possible?  What Jesus failed to express was, how much faith it takes to really believe.

Mark 11:22 ... "Have faith in God."  Literally it means, "have the faith of God."  This is how it reads in the Latin Vulgate, early Syriac and Ethiopic versions as well; meaning ... exercise and make use of that faith which has God for its author.  Simply put, it means ... believe like God.  Okay, but ... how?

Mark 11:24 ... "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."  This may be my all time favorite promise from Jesus because He said, "What things soever."  Anything, it's unlimited ... or is it?  The word "desire" ... (the Greek, "aiteo") ... means require.  To me, require is something you need, not just something you want.  That may change things, could it not?

John 14:13-14 ... "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."  This promise is from the discourse He gave to His disciples at the last supper.

I'm just asking ... could it be that these words were spoken just for only the disciples as they began preaching the message of Jesus to the world.  Is it not true that He gave only the disciples special power on occasion to heal sickness and power to cast out demons when He sent them out in ministry during the three and a half years He was with them.  Could He have been doing the same here?

John 15:7 ... "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."  Is this more personal instruction from Jesus to only His disciples in what may be called His private goodbye speech to them before He went to the cross?

It seems to me, the disciples of Jesus, the ones who walked closest to Him during the three and a half years of His public ministry ... displayed a greater or higher power and spiritual authority than the average believer had ... through which miracles of healing were seen as almost common place to them as they proclaimed their faith and authority given them through the name of Jesus.  Can we do the same?

Did walking with Jesus during this time have a special effect on them that we today can't receive since we were not in physical contact with Him as they were?  Did something rub off on them?  Could it be that hearing His words, feeling His touch, eating the bread He handed them, as well as His breathing on them to receive the Holy Spirit ... did any or all of these things contribute to their boldness and authority in proclaiming the name of Jesus which resulted in the great fear and wonder that followed them because of their miracles?

We know that the disciples of Jesus had many miracles in their ministries within the 1st century; John being the last of the twelve to die sometime around A.D.96.  History also records that men like Polycarp (A.D.65-155) who was a friend, student, and disciple of the Apostle John, also had many miracles in his ministry as did his contemporaries like Clement and Ignatius.  The label, "Apostolic Fathers" has been applied to them to indicate they were the generation that had personal contact with the Twelve Apostles.  They provide a link between the Apostles ... who had personal contact with Jesus ... and the later generations of Christians after the 2nd century.

So what am I getting at?  From what I have read about miracles in church history, it reads something like this.  Jesus had hundreds, even thousands of miracles.  The disciples, those who had personal contact with Jesus, had perhaps hundreds of miracles themselves.  No one kept count.  The Apostolic Fathers, those who had personal contact with the disciples, (who had personal contact with Jesus) also had many miracles ... but fewer than the disciples had.

It looks to me, that very slowly with each generation further away from Jesus ... not only in time, but perhaps also in faith ... there seems to be fewer and fewer observed miracles.

This is the reason I ask ... did Jesus impart a special anointing to His disciples, that over time seemed to dissipate and disappear from believers?  Many so called spiritual giants of the church over the past 800 years or so have suggested the same thing.  I certainly don't know.

Late in his life, the Apostle John in one of his last letters reminded the 1st century church, to which he belonged, two reasons why they still received answers to prayer.

1st John 3:22 ... "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

John also added a little later in this same letter the phrase, "according to his will" ... still speaking of prayer.

1st John 5:14-15 ... "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have desired of him."

James, as does John, seems to place some credence in the belief that the Lord's will plays an important role in the answer to prayer.

James 4:15 ... "For that ye ought to say, If it be the Lord's will ..."  Some say by doing so, that you are not really asking in faith: instead you are giving your lack of faith an excuse, a way out.  But I wonder if we shouldn't add what James said, because ... if it's not God's will for you ... it ain't gonna happen.

Perhaps God's will is really the main reason our faith fails in obtaining "whatsoever we ask" in prayer today.  I hope this is the only reason I still struggle with ... "Believing Scripture."  I would rather the reason be God's will when nothing happens and not my lack of faith.

Comments welcome.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Faith Is Fragile

I’d like to think that I have at least a little faith, but I’m not sure how much faith I need.  I would like to have enough faith to believe in God and His Word ... as if they are one.  I don’t have any problem believing in God ... the existence of God.  Just look around.  The evidence of intelligent design is everywhere.

It’s applying His word to various situations like healing that I struggle with.  1st Peter 2:24, speaking of Jesus states ... “by whose stripes ye were healed.”  Peter is quoting Isaiah 53:5 which looking ahead to Jesus says ... “and with his stripes we are healed.”  But yet, knowing Jesus was scourged and beaten bloody for our healing, when I apply what I believe is faith to these scriptures, asking God for what they say ... the healing already bought and paid for by Jesus ... well, the answer sometimes just doesn’t come.

Believing God takes faith.  Faith!  Dear God ... why didn’t you give us something easier to use and deal with?  Every time I take hold of faith and tell myself, “This time I’m going to believe it, trust God, and he is going to answer my prayer” ... doubt seems to appear and question what I just told myself.  Doubt!

Where did that come from?  Do we catch it like a cold or something?  Is it in the air or did I get too close to a non-believer?  Surely doubt isn’t a part of me like the red blood cells circulating in my veins throughout my body.  If I get therapy ... which I most likely need anyway ... can I learn to suppress doubt and unbelief?

I don’t want to admit it, but doubt and unbelief seems to be at home in me.  It’s like what the Apostle Paul said about sin ... it’s a law ... sin was still within his flesh.  He states in Chapter 7 of Romans ... (edited from the K.J.V.) ...

“But I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I hate, (sin) is what I do. Now it is no more I that do it, but it’s the sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing. Now if I do evil, it is no longer I that do it, but the sin nature that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that when I want to do good, evil is present with me.”

Let me repeat Paul’s words as if they are from me speaking about doubt as he did with sin ... “I find then a law, that when I want to believe God’s word, doubt and unbelief is present with me.”  It just seems to be there every time I make an effort to believe God; though not on all issues such as salvation or the sovereignty of God ... mainly it is reserved to the area of divine healing.

Do you remember the father in Scripture that asked Jesus for help because the disciples could not cast out an evil spirit from his son?  This story is found in Chapter 9 of Mark ... (again edited).

The father said to Jesus, “I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a mute spirit; and this spirit seizes and tears at him on the ground, convulsing with spasms; and he froths at the mouth like an epileptic, and he grates his teeth and he rolls about. I spoke to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.”

Jesus then says ... “Bring him unto me.”  And He asked the father, “How long has it been since this came unto him? And he said, from infancy.”

Because the disciples could not help his son, the father says ... “But if you can do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”  If you can?  That doesn’t sound like faith to me.

Jesus responds back ... “If you can just believe, all things are possible to him that believes.”

Immediately the father of the child cried out, and said with tears ... “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

“Jesus rebuked the foul spirit, and it came out of him: and Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.”

This man had both ... faith to believe, (that's why he asked Jesus) and at the same time doubt and unbelief were present as he cried out ... if you can ... help.

Honestly ... isn’t that all of us?  Come on now.  That father sounds a lot like me.  I believe the Lord, but at the same time, I seem to have unbelief.  It comes automatically as part of the fallen nature of man.  But ... if you are born again, aren’t you supposed to be a new creature, and all things are now new because Jesus is living inside you?

 Again ... really?  Is that your confession?  Is that what happened to you?  The day after you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you got out of bed and ... Wow!  Everything was new and exciting.  Temptations, tests, problems all seemed to go away ... no, I don’t think so.

But is it not true that you should now have a new strength inside of you so the old desires may not tug as strong at you as they did; but most people find that it takes time before there is a real noticeable change in who you are.

There’s a scripture that James starts his letter to believers with, that I want to consider.  He states in chapter 1, verses 2-3 ... (edited for subject clarity) ...

“My brethren ... when ye fall into various temptations (a proving experience) ... know this ... the trying (testing) of your faith works (accomplishes) patience (endurance).”

Now why do we need this patient endurance?  Could it be because God doesn’t get in any hurry sending the answers to our prayers?  Just asking ...

The second point James makes that grabs my attention is verses 6-7.  It’s an instructional warning about asking in faith and the result if you don’t do as he says.  (again edited) ...

“Let him ask in faith, nothing (not even once) wavering (to withdraw or hesitate) ... for if he wavers ... that man shall not receive anything from the Lord.”

James has just been talking about going through something that tries or tests your faith.  In verse 5, he assumes you may need wisdom in dealing with the matter, (my words not his) so he says in verses 6-7, when you ask for this wisdom ... “ask in faith without wavering” ... which is what doubt causes you to do.  To waver is to question or doubt.

Therefore, would I be right in saying, “if you waver ... you might as well forget it ... your faith won’t work.  Your doubt has nullified your faith.”

Man that’s hard.  But God doesn’t grade on a curve.  To God, faith must be just like salvation.  God’s list has only two columns ... you are either saved or lost.  Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant ... either you are or you’re not.  Faith is the same way; it’s either faith or doubt.

Faith with a little bit of doubt or unbelief mixed in is like making an apple pie with a little bit of dog poop mixed in.  I don’t want anything to do with that one.  No thanks, I’ll pass.  Same with God ... or so it seems.

Do you know why God, not only allows, but sometimes even sends the testing?  I believe it’s so you can prove your faith ... not to Him, He already knows ... but to yourself.  Things do go wrong ... don’t they?  That’s why auto makers crash test their cars.  They need to know how well they will hold up under the stress of being hit hard.  It tests the car’s integrity; how strong it is, how well it holds together, and if it will save your life when it gets crushed.  God also tests the integrity of your faith.  But there’s hope ...

Psalms 34:19 ... “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

The Apostle Paul, in Timothy 3:11, puts the above Psalm into his own words and tells Timothy ... “Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me ... I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”  And what Paul said is true ... except for the last imprisonment in Rome when he was beheaded.

The truth is, our faith is fragile ... like glass.  The lyrics of a new country song seems to fit what I am trying to communicate ...

“We may shine, we may shatter, we may be picking up the pieces here on after, we are fragile, we are human, we are shaped by the light we let through us, but we break fast ... ‘cause we are glass.”

It seems to me that many of us, broken by life, have spent much of our time waiting on the Lord to pick up the shattered pieces of what is left of our faith.  And in time He will.

So this is where I’m at.  When needs arise, when trouble comes again, whether mine or someone else’s ... I’m going to ask God for His help and make a real effort to trust Him and then leave it in His hands.  I want to do more ... but I don’t know what else to do.

Someday I hope to be able to say what David said in Psalms 34:6 ... “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”

I said someday ... I’m not there yet.

Comments welcome.