Thursday, March 31, 2011

What is Faith?

I believe the best definition of faith is found in the Bible, in Hebrews 11:1, which says: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith then, is being able to be confident in what you believe in, even if you can’t see it.

Now we can show faith in many things. We put our faith in a chair when we sit in it, believing that it will not crumble to the floor. We put our faith in our love when we reach out and care for another person. The biggest way we show our faith is when we believe that there is a God who created this world, who loves us, cares for us, and died on the cross for us.

There are many who want to dispute this, saying that can’t believe in all of this. They say that they can’t exercise faith in a God they cannot see. Yet, they still exercise faith all the time in aspects of life that are unseen. Even going so far as the make themselves their own god (which is what they do when they put their faith and trust in themselves, believing they can get the job done).

To me, showing faith in yourself is more foolish than believing in a God that you can’t see. I believe this to be true, because I know that I can see God at work in my life, and in the lives of others. I can give you countless ways that I have seen God at work: through the miracles I’ve experienced in my own life, and the lives of those I’ve prayed for, and in seeing how God changes lives.

We even have testimonies of people who have died, and said they experienced God and heaven. Again, this takes FAITH to believe in what they say. But those testimonies that do not contradict the Bible could very well be true.

The most challenging aspect of faith is that you can’t really begin to understand God and God’s ways, until in faith you’ve given yourself to God. When we give ourselves to God, then God fills us with His Spirit, who resides in us. Jesus Himself told us that this would happen after He left the earth. He told us that it would be to our benefit that He left. As He said in the gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 25: “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” God’s Spirit resides within us through faith, and helps us to see and understand that what we believe is true. God’s Spirit gives us the spiritual eyes to see what is true.

I encourage you, if you have not received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, that you do this, by asking God to forgive you of your sins (the wrong you’ve done), and receiving you as His child. Then, in faith, your eyes will begin to be opened. If you have done this, ask God to strengthen your faith, and help you to see Him at work in your life each day. Blessings.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How To Make A Difference with Your Life

I think if you ask most people, they would say that they want their life to count; they want their life to have purpose and meaning. When they get to the end of their lives, they want to be able to say that their life made a difference. Of course, the judgment of what makes a difference or not can vary, depending on what you value.

For some, their goal is to be able to say that they made a lot of money, and had fun, and were able to leave much for their kids. For others, they might want to leave a legacy behind: like a baseball diamond, or a concert hall. And still others might want to be able to say that they were able to make a difference not only in this life, but eternally. That is what I would say makes a difference, and I believe that is what God says makes a difference!

Vaclav Havel once said, “The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself, but when he plays the role destiny has for him. The apostle Paul, in the Bible, in Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has created us with gifts, and abilities, and the way we make a difference with our life is by living according to what we were created to do.

The challenge then is finding what we were created to do. The good news is that we don’t have to necessarily do this as a career, we just need to do it in our every day lives. For example, let’s say you are a gifted encourager, then by encouraging others you can make a difference in their life, and lead them into what they are destined to do. Or maybe you have a strong and undaunted faith, and you are able to lead others to faith. By giving them the faith that leads to salvation, you have touched their life for eternity!

The key is to keep ourselves focused on what we are called to do. As we are told in Hebrews 12:2, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus was focused on what He was called to do; die for us on the cross. We need to be focused like Jesus, and let Jesus lead us to fulfill our calling. If we do this, we will indeed make a difference with our lives. Blessings.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Love of My Life

When I was in my early 20’s many of my friends were getting married. This was difficult for me, because I very much wanted to be married; I wanted to find the love of my life. I was dating, but was not finding that person I felt God was leading me to marry. The good thing is that I was willing to wait for that right person; for that love of my life.

As time went on I continued to struggle with this concern of not being married. Even into my late 20’s I still was unmarried. I began to wonder if I would ever be married. The older I got the more difficult it was to meet people to date. I could tell that there was a temptation to lessen my standards, because my goal was to be married.

Then one day I felt that I was overly concerned with this desire to be married. I felt it was affecting my ability to enjoy my life. So, I decided to commit myself fully to God. I made a pledge saying that I would serve the Lord with all my heart, and mind, and soul, and strength. Even if I were to never be married, I would be happy serving the Lord. I truly gave it over to the Lord. Even more, the Lord became the ‘love of my life!’

About a year and a half after this I met my wife, Tami, and we were married 13 months after we met. She is the love of my life, along with my children, but the Lord still is my number one love. I learned a valuable lesson that day, as Psalm 37:4 tells us: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desire of your heart.” It all starts with making the Lord the love of our life. Is the Lord the love of your life? Blessings.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Calvary. It is a name that is known in Christian circles, but not so much outside of the Christian faith. Calvary is the place where Jesus Christ was crucified. Jesus was brought to Calvary, and nailed to a cross. This was the custom of the day for executing criminals. Jesus was not a criminal, but the Jewish leaders were tired of Jesus getting in their way, and tired of Him leading the people away from their teaching. Because of this they came up with a plan that led to Jesus’ arrest and trial.

At the trial Pilate ultimately finds no grounds for Jesus to be crucified, so he has Jesus flogged as punishment. But when Jesus is brought back to Pilate, the Jews persist in speaking out against Jesus, calling for Him to be crucified. Still, Pilate doesn’t want to crucify Jesus, so he makes two other attempts to bring the trial to an end without crucifixion.

First, Pilate questions Jesus, hoping that Jesus will give him the answers he needs to release Jesus. But Jesus, knowing that He needed to go to Calvary to be crucified so that He could pay the penalty for the sin of humanity, says nothing in His defense.

Second, Pilate tries to reason with the Jewish leaders. We read this in the gospel of Luke 23:14-16, “‘You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.’” But this won’t get rid of Jesus, and so they persist, shouting, ‘Crucify Him. Crucify Him.’ They even choose the release of a violent prisoner, Barabbas, over Jesus.

Finally, Pilate surrenders to their will, and orders Jesus to be crucified. So Jesus is taken to CALVARY to be crucified. I wrote a song many years ago called CALVARY. The chorus says this:

“On Calvary He gave His life for me. On Calvary He gave His life for me.Opened the door, to eternity. Out of love, He died for You and me. Yes, He opened the door, to eternity.”

You may not understand fully why Jesus allowed Himself to go to Calvary (and He did allow Himself), but what’s important is to know that because He did, You and I have the blessing of being saved from our sin. By this blessing we receive the gift of being able to spend eternity in heaven with God! If you don’t know this, or haven’t received it, I pray that you will. If you do, then thank God for Calvary, and for what it means to you and me. Blessings.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Drag Racing

In writing with a blogging group I am often challenged by the topics that are chosen by others in the group. This week’s topic is a prime example; ‘Drag Racing.’ Do I write a simple article on the sport of drag racing? Or, do I try and incorporate more of a life lesson with it. Well, if you know me at all, I have to try and include a life lesson.

Drag racing is a sport that I have not been a fan of, not because I don’t believe it is a viable sport, but because it just isn’t a sport that has connected with me. While there have been times when I have driven fast, and those of you who know me know that this can indeed happen (as one time I did drive a Camaro 100 miles an hour on the 405 freeway), I have not participated in any drag racing myself. I also rode Xcelerator at Knotts Berry Farm, which goes 0 to 80 in 3 seconds!

The other day my daughter asked me about football. She thought it was boring, since she didn’t understand it. I imagine this is true of most people in regards to sports they don’t like; they don’t like them because they don’t understand them. The other aspect of becoming a fan of a sport is to connect with individuals (or teams) with which you can support. I couldn’t name for you any of the drag racing stars, so that keeps me from being connected.

As I think about this in regards to life, I realize that much of what we like and don’t like in life is based on what we know or don’t know about it. This is even truer in regards to the Christian faith. One reason a person might not like Christianity, or doesn’t want to be a Christian, is because they don’t know much about it. I believe that if they experienced the truth and love and power of God, they would indeed like it!

Also, many people live their lives like it is a drag race. They race through the day, the week, the month, the year, without giving too much thought to what they are doing. We need to understand when our life calls for “drag racing” and when it calls for tempered living. If we are going too fast, we will actually lose the race, because we will miss out on all that God has for us.

While my watching drag racing or not will not change the world in any way, my helping others know about Christ will. So the next time drag racing is on I might choose to watch it for a while to try and connect with it a little. But even more, I hope my life is one that can help others know about and connect with Jesus Christ, and that I will know when to “race” and when to hold back. Blessings.