Tag Archives: evidence of faith

Do you have evidence?

Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11).  Did you see that?! Faith is EVIDENCE!  That is an incredibly powerful truth.  Faith is not a wishy, washy hope; it is evidence. Faith is a foundation to build your life on. Faith is also a powerful motivator and fuel. Acting on what we believe is the substance of our lives. It is why James said, “I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:18)

We must learn to examine the fruit of our lives for evidence of our faith!Sometimes we say we believe things that never show up in our lives. If there is no evidence that we believe something, the fact is this: we really don’t believe it.  We may know it, but we don’t believe it. When we claim faith in Christ but have anxiety or shame or anger or depression — the evidence of our lives indicates our claim of faith is faulty.

That is not a statement of judgment, it is a statement of hope!  Until we know we have a need, we can’t receive the answer to that need.  Don’t despair when fault lines are revealed. Simply find the truth in the Word of God that provides evidence you need — and step out in faith!

So, what does all this have to do with “Advent” and the anticipation of Christmas? Perhaps more than we would like to admit.

Odds are that you are making tangible preparations for ‘Christmas.’ You have your calendar jam-packed, a to-do list that steals sleep, gifts bought, and decorations in place. You feel the ‘spirit’ of the season, smiling at strangers and giving cards and gifts to those in your life.  You have much evidence to show you know December 25 is approaching fast. But does that evidence point to faith in Jesus?

Christmas is a season of miracles, and as Christians, it offers great missional opportunity.  But our faith must be evidenced in this season if there is to be any fruit.  Christmas is the one time of the year that the majority of people celebrate — whether they acknowledge it or not — God’s glorious plan of redemption! If we say we believe that Jesus is the greatest gift of all time — but none of our Christmas activities reflect that belief, the evidence of our faith is negligible.

When God created this world…when He first proclaimed, ‘let there be Light,’ He followed His words with action. If we proclaim we have faith in Christ but proceed to live as if we have faith in ourselves…or faith in kind actions…or faith in the government…or faith in whatever idol we serve…our lives will proclaim where our faith actually lies. Words alone do not produce substance; they must be followed up with action.

Let’s use this Season of Advent as a time to focus our eyes on all God has done on our behalf.  That focus will nourish our faith and result in overflowing joy and action! It will produce a light from our lives that guides others to the Source of our joy.

Let’s be sure we make preparations for the Christ of Christmas in the coming days. Schedule time for Jesus on your calendar. Consider what gift He would love to receive from you. What gift would He like to have you give in His name. Ask yourself this question, “Does my life show His presence to a watching world?”

The promises of God include peace, patience, joy and self-control (Galatians 5). As believers those fruits are evidence of our faith…if they are missing, a fault-line is exposed. Find the Truth you need to repair those exposed fault lines and receive the Truth because that’s the real gift of Christmas…that’s the reality of receiving Jesus. When Jesus is received, the Light of the world bursts forth from us. We must not miss receiving and giving the greatest gift of all!

The birth of Christ brought us a priceless treasure; the very glory of God will radiate from our lives as we quiet our hearts and meditate on the Gift we have received. Spend time this week contemplating the Light of the World and let His radiance pour forth from your life!

Living Legacies!

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
Proverbs 25:2

Typically, the beautiful treasures of this life are found only through deep searching. Sometimes, though, the amazing grace of God reveals Truth in moments of mercy. Such glorious truths are never meant for one heart alone. In fact, the light God gives that we do not share becomes darkness. But that’s another topic. Today, I want to share a glimpse of God’s purposeful work across generations. It encouraged me, and I offer it with a prayer that it will energize you as well.

Our family moved hundreds of miles from our ‘roots’ in rural New York State a few years ago. Each year we go ‘home’ to visit those who share history with us. In every life, legacies are worked out…good inheritances and bad. Within all of it, God works! When we receive that work, His good purposes come to fruition.

This year we were invited to attend church with a loved one. The invitation itself was evidence of the work of God in her life. Delighted to celebrate this new connection to the Body, we went with little expectation of anything more than ‘church’ and the joy of being with our loved one. The church was one I had intermittent connection with over the years. And it was a great church service—good fellowship with old friends who were there, an excellent Biblical message, a church that was thriving. It was much more than that, though.

That particular church was part of my uncle’s life legacy. He had been one of the founding members and part of the building team. As I sat in that building, I suddenly realized it was more a part of my legacy than I knew—and more than the church—or its members–could have known. Interactions with that church—and people in it—dotted my memory. In the times those connections happened, they did not feel impactful—and sometimes not even positive. But God was at working His plan in and through those who were faithfully—but imperfectly following Him.
Along with that awareness, there was much more of the weaving God there. The music came from a church one of my South Carolina friends attends…a friend who attends Bible Study in our home. Other worshippers at the service were from a church that had greatly influenced our marriage and family decades before. Every connection I recognized throbbed with the purpose of God and the imperfection of the earthly—and God was in it all.

He was there in my own rebellion and insecurity, in my grief and in my lostness. He was there in the church split that brought new folks to this church. He was there in the message. He is present in the controversies that surround the church that produced the music. God knows and uses it all because His purposes will not be thwarted. God weaves our strengths and weaknesses for our good and His glory. He is never put off by our inadequacy because His strength is perfect in our weakness.

Feeling the presence of God link my past to my present

fills me with enthusiasm for the future!

As I began processing all that I realized that is how God works. We don’t always see what He is doing, but the Great I AM is always present; His plans always underway. And as I thought about that, the complexity of legacies gave me fresh awe for God. My Grandma’s passion for Bible Reading sowed seeds that produced a harvest in my uncle’s life. He, too, fed on the Word daily. Perhaps other legacies being eradicated kept those seeds from rooting in my dad’s life…but they flourish in mine. In the fullness of time the beautiful work of God will overcome the destructive legacies as Light is spread by faithful servants.

That transforming light is SO needed. Because in every life, there are ugly realities inherited as well. Suicides, alcoholism, divorce, broken relationships, and strong-willed independence are part of my inheritance too. The work of the enemy is what Jesus came to destroy. As we seek Him, we produce a legacy of seeds that can do just that. We can’t do it for another…but passionately seeking Jesus individually produces a “Taste and See” life that God will use. He is faithful to His promises. Even when we cannot see it, He is at work.

I’d love to hear how you see God at work in your heart and life.  I pray those of you connected to this piece because of our shared lives will see God at work in your lives in fresh new ways.  He is good and worthy of praise.  Rejoice in Him. Live in Him.

 

Life shows what we believe

Just sharing the morning challenge God gave me:

“What do you really believe?”

Jesus told Nicodemeus that we have to be born of earth and heaven to see the Kingdom of God.  This earthly life has great purpose and value.  Jesus came that we would have abundant life.  I cannot live abundantly by hiding from the tough stuff.  I cannot live abundantly if I isolate my faith from my footsteps.

So, I jotted down some of the things my head knows–and believes–about my faith to see if my feet (and even my heart agrees).

I say I believe…. God is enough.    

…but sometimes I resent what I don’t have.  I doubt that He is better than my longing.

I say I believe….God is at work doing greater things than I can think of.

but sometimes despair settles in and frustration erupts.

I say I believe….I am loved and protected by the King of Kings.

…but sometimes I don’t even feel noticed and I fight for myself.

I say I believe….my righteousness is nothing more than filthy rags and we all have sin muddying our souls and our steps.

…but sometimes I think I know best and anyone not doing things my way is wrong.

I say I believe….God owns it all and will provide for me.

…but sometimes I plan and strive for how I can have what I want, forgetting my life is for Him and He has my needs in view.

I say I believe….the very power of God lives in me.

…but sometimes I feel weak and hopeless and curl into a self-protective ball.

I say I believe…. God’s ways are superior to mine.

…but sometimes I stomp off in my own direction.

Those ‘sometimes’ are doorways for mercy.  May we each take time today to consider what our steps reveal about our beliefs.  God is worth the time…enjoying heaven requires humble awareness.

Understanding is the foundation of heaven–we have to seek His view or we will never understand the beauty of His presence.  Seeing and hearing comes through walking out our lives on this earth with a desire for wisdom and understanding.

What do you believe that stops at your head?  

Where do you listen to your heart instead of the King?  

Where are you feet not walking out faith?  

Receive His mercy and watch His glory fill your world!

Growing Spiritual Fruit

 

Character is described aptly as ‘who you are when no one is looking.’  Christianity is no a self-improvement project but we represent Christ.  In fact, we are being transformed into His image.  Knowing what HE looks like, helps us as we take responsibility for the things that are ours to do.

Let’s take a look at some important Christian Character attributes.  Using a scale of 0-10, consider whether you never (0) exhibit the trait or you consistently (10) demonstrate that trait.

Loving (accepting & available)

Forgiving (not holding grudges)

Respectful (honors others and self)

Trustworthy (count on their promises)

Humble (puts others first)

Honest (transparent, truthful)

Patient (willing to wait w/o complaint)

Peaceful (quiet confidence in good)

Joyful/Hopeful (expects good to come)

Self-controlled (vs. addiction-controlled)

Do any of those traits cause you dismay?  There is good news:  these are by-products of a Spirit-filled life.  We do not transform ourselves; the Holy Spirit is our power source.

Developing these flavors in our lives is the goal of Discipleship Coaching.  Take time now, to list—in order of priority, the three things from above that you most desire to develop.

1.

2.

3.

Our history is part of us; it need not define us or limit us.  However, when we stuff it away without understanding, negative stuff can simmer deep within.  Living fully in the freedom of Christ requires bringing even the past into the Light of His love. As you consider the character traits that trouble you, you may find lingering resentment about negative deposits in your character bank.  Forgiveness sets you free…ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything limiting your fruit.  If you feel resentment in your heart, please visit Discipleship Coaching – Forgiveness.