Bold Faith Initiative

Living For Jesus BOLDLY

Archive for the category “Our TRUE LOVE for God”

Steadfast Under Trial

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.  (ESV)

 

Character was once defined by author Os Guinness as “What you do when no one is looking.”

Taking this idea further, one may consider that the test of godly character is evidenced by what you do “when no one but God is looking.”  The key to a knowledge of God is discovered when a person acknowledges the very revelation of the person of Jesus and then believes in His powerful  promise, “I will be with you always.”

With bold faith in Jesus, we all may come to know the watchfulness of God that inspires respect and faithfulness.

For those whose knowledge of God is remote or severed because of doubt or sin, it is far more difficult to remain steadfast and upright in character amidst temptations and trials.  The pressures of conformity will lead people to adopt the values and practices of those who they associate with.  The work of Satan is subtle to lead people away from God and toward self-satisfaction or rationalization of sin.

Many public figures who have been granted authority and responsibility have fallen from their position or rank because they did not remain steadfast under trial, or stand the test of moral integrity.  Jesus taught his disciples to be discerning regarding false prophets (Matt. 7:20-21): Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

The key to living steadfast and blessed is to have Jesus Christ as the foundation, the rock of salvation.

Daily decisions and choices need to be founded upon something more than our imperfect judgments, and the Word of life and Way of truth and grace are essential. Jesus told his disciples:  “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24 ESV).

S.T.A

Pray for these churches:

Burlington Church of God

Coldwater United Methodist Church

St. Paul Lutheran Church

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Synergistic Combination of Love and Faith

Ephesians 6:23-24

23 Peaceto the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

            A remarkable thing happens when you pair some things together; it’s called synergy. The term “synergy” is probably overused. It is applied to chemistry, business, advertising, relationships, etc. We hear it often but we might not really grasp its meaning. Synergy occurs when the attributes of one thing are combined with the attributes of another and the resulting effect has a greater impact than the sum of their parts. It’s not addition; it’s multiplication.

Researchers tell us that some healthy foods are even better for you when you eat them in combination with others. According to an article published online in 2010 by Menshealth.com, tomatoes and olive oil have a synergistic effect when combined together. Tomatoes contain lycopene. Olive oil supplies healthful monounsaturated fat. Eaten together the benefit is much greater than consuming each alone. Plus they taste amazing! Creation is full of such synergistic possibilities.

In the valedictory blessing in the book of Ephesians Paul prays that the church be recipients of both love and faith. Eugene Peterson’s The Message renders the blessing this way: “Love mixed with faith is yours from God the Father and from the Master, Jesus Christ.” Love and faith mixed together; think of the synergistic possibilities.

The bedrock foundation of our relationship with God is love. The propositional truth of the gospel is; “For God so loved the world,” that He took action to redeem us unto Himself. Faith is the ability to grasp and see heavenly things (Hebrews 11:1). Combine love and faith together and we have a basis for accomplishing the extraordinary.

The preaching theme in the churches of Branch County this month is Bold Faith: True Love. Bold Faith suggests an intrepid reaching into the unknown, the taking of risks to undertake feats for God’s Kingdom. All who have made obedient, bold moves of faith have had this thing in common: an unshakable confidence in God’s love and the understanding that should they fall He will pick them up. Every church planted; every missionary sent; every tithe check written out of a meager means is a result of love mixed with faith. The synergistic effect of that combination is exponential and eternal. May you experience love mixed with faith in your personal life this month.

JMB

Pray for these churches:

Batavia Community Church

Coldwater Free Methodist Church

Snow Prairie Bible Church

Move Forward

John 21: 15-18

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”   16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

Have you ever felt that the toll of the bell sounds ominous in Hebrews 9:27? “And inasmuch as it appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” If the Lord tarries; we have a certain appointment with death.

And here’s a follow-up question. Have you ever moved beyond that thought to personalize it and ponder your own passing from this life? How old will I be? What will the circumstances be of my own death? And maybe you’ve offered the possibility that “I want to die peacefully in my sleep when I am ___ (fill in the desired age).

I wonder if Peter had ANY IDEA what Jesus was referring to in today’s text when He said, “… but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you and bring where you do not wish to go.” Verse 19 tells us Jesus was referring to the death Peter would experience.

Foxes Book of Martyrs tells us that Peter was crucified upside down as he considered himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord.

But prior to His prophetic words to Peter, Jesus went to great lengths to assure the apostle of His enduring love for him. Peter had earlier denied His Savior three times and now Jesus asks him “Do you love me?” three times, giving Peter three opportunities to give heartfelt and affirmative responses. Jesus re-commissioned him to be faithful and engaged in ministry.

Much has been written about the forgiveness Jesus showed to Peter for his denials, and with each question from Jesus comes His encouragement to “feed my sheep.” Focus on the objective. Stick with the plan. Be faithful. Don’t be discouraged or distracted. You’re forgiven. Move forward.

In our desire to serve Jesus, let’s take hope from His encouragement to a failed servant to embrace God’s overwhelming love and trust Him for the opportunities and the days He gives us to glorify Him.

D.P.

 Pray for these churches:

Bethel Gilead Community Church

Coldwater Church of the Nazarene

Shepherd’s Heart Ministries

A Life With Trajectory

Mark 12:29-31

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Alex was so excited – it was finally Friday – the day Mr. Ford took his shop class students to the Legg Middle School gym to try out the CO2 propelled cars they had designed and built. The students gathered around, and their creations were ‘launched’ two at a time —WOOOOSHHH! The cars zipped all the way across the gym floor at breakneck speed. Only a thin piece of monofilament string kept the cars from becoming rockets.

One day Jesus was asked a question: “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered with two commandments for a very good reason. These two greatest commandments are so entangled that they cannot be separated. Humans need a healthy relationship with God and their fellow humans, just as a graph needs both an X axis and a Y axis. You must love the Lord first, and love your neighbor. If you do not love your neighbor, the problem may be weakness in your relationship with God.

Trajectory

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments he used them to set the boundaries for our “vertical” relationship with Him and to set the boundaries for our “horizontal” relationships. Jesus reaffirmed the vertical and horizontal commands in His answer contained in today’s text.

We have to love God first because He IS first—He is God. He alone can lift the quality of our human interaction above the sin and selfishness that do so much damage in our horizontal relationships.

WOOOSHHHH! We are already flying through this fast-paced life at breakneck speed. Why not trust God with the end of your string and let Him give your life the lift and trajectory He wishes? Love the Lord—REALLY love him—and help Him breathe His love and grace into every relationship you have.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… and love your neighbor as yourself.”

R.T.

Pray for these churches:

Assembly of God Union City

Church of Christ at Bronson

Oasis of Love Family Church

When Jesus Shows Up

John 14:21-24

21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  22 Then Judas(not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”  23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.  My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 

Jesus says that his Father will love anyone who loves him. That makes sense to me. When my youngest son was married, I had the privilege of officiating at his wedding. Among the things that stand out in my memory is the love the groomsmen had for my son.

And so I loved them. It’s that simple. I love people who love my son. I enjoy being with them. But people who don’t care for my son don’t make it on my “favorites list.” Jesus’ Father similarly loves the people who love his Son. He enjoys spending time with them.

And Jesus loves the people his Father loves. What could be more natural? This text tells us that when a person loves Jesus, his Father loves that person, and then Jesus shows up and loves everyone. He says of the person who loves him: “I will … show myself to him.”

Now Jesus doesn’t show himself to everyone. St. John has twice told us that Jesus hid himself from people. He ducks down the aisle when he sees some people coming! All they do is gripe, gossip, fuss and generally try to make everyone else miserable. But Jesus “shows” himself to the people his Father loves. He reveals his heart to them. He speaks his mind to them. And in his company they come alive. They think thoughts they never thought before. They dream dreams that are new.

The promises of God’s presence and of Jesus’ self-disclosure are conditioned upon the reality of a person’s love for Jesus – love that is expressed by keeping Jesus’ commands. The Master does not say, “Whoever has a smile on his face and a Bible verse on his lips is the one who loves me.” He says, “Whoever has my commands” – that is, whoever has made them his or her own – “and keeps them, he is the one who loves me.”

To “have” his commands is to possess them, to know them, to have made them one’s own. To keep them is to obey them in daily life. One “has” the commands of Jesus as a possession; one “keeps” them as a practice.

But the person who wants to “see” Jesus and be at home with him (and his Father!) does not begin by trying to obey commands – though that will certainly be part of his life. He begins by trusting God and telling him that he wants to love God’s Son more than anything else in the world. That is a prayer God is bound to respond to, and respond quickly.

S.L.

Pray for these churches:

Camp Selah Ministries

Northview Christian Church

World Harvest Assembly of God

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