Finishing what you started . . .

In the Church, we always hear about faith. The problem is when you hear a word enough, it becomes overused and familiar, then we become immune to what it means. So what does “faith” actually entail?

Everybody has faith. Think about it. When you punch the time-clock each day for work, it takes faith that, come payday, your employer will have the money to pay you for the work you have done. If you own your own business it takes faith that your clients will pay you for your services, and sometimes they disappoint us, don’t they? Shoot, it takes at least a measure of confidence to sit down in a chair without first testing whether it’s strong enough to hold you. Okay, I realize that believing that a chair can hold you is quite a bit different from trusting Yehoveh with our lives, but if we’re wrong about the chair, we get a bruise, but your faith in our Lord determines not only a victorious life here and now, but also our eternal existence.

So how does a Bible define faith? Hebrews 11:1 says that it is “. . . the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And if you have hung around church people long enough, you should know by now that it is impossible to please the Lord without faith (Hebrews 11:6). In fact, there is nothing we can do that will earn our salvation; the only way to heaven is by having confidence in Jesus’ death on the cross, which paid the debt we owed for our sin. Not only that, faith is nothing we can create within ourselves; it is a gift of God (Romans 12:3).

So let me ask you, have you accepted the Father’s gift of faith and started on the wonderful journey He invited you to share with Him? God answers every searching heart. If you’re not sure whether you have trusted your life to Him with all your confidence, well then, ask Him to guide you and reveal truth.

It will be the first step into a wonderful journey, but a serious step for you to take. Don’t agree to travel with him too quickly and without thought. Consider the cost. In Luke 14:28-33, Jesus told a story about that very thing. He said that if you are planning to build a new house, you have to first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it. If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: “He started something he couldn’t finish.”

Someone told me a story about how when they drove back-and-forth for work each day, they watched someone building an addition to an old house. It was interesting to see the addition take shape. But then one day the work stopped. Weeks passed, months passed, and the plywood that had been nailed to the outside began to curl out and the house turned into a huge disaster. Obviously someone failed to consider the cost. Maybe there was personal crisis like a divorce or a death in the family; maybe they didn’t have enough manpower or materials. The point is, what started out to be so grand and exciting turned into a major embarrassment to the owners.

Jesus doesn’t want his followers to begin something we won’t finish, especially when it comes to our walk with him. He tells us his “yoke is easy” (Matthew 11:30) but that is when we are walking in step with him. Are we willing to walk in step with him when the road gets rough? Or are we only fair-weather friends? As long as everything is comfortable and rosy for us we will follow, but whoa boy, when problems come our way do we hold God responsible for it and resist the yoke instead of trusting it?

As your friend I’m going to assure you that “stuff” happens. I can’t guarantee a quick-fix to whatever “ails” you. But I can assure you that if we are going to be true disciples of Jesus, if you want to rise above the circumstances of life, you must count the cost and stay in step with Him. That is the only way to succeed!

Father, lead me and help me be totally surrendered to you. I thank You that no matter how things look around me, you will crown me with Your goodness, and every step I take will drip with abundance (Psalm 65:11). I know Father, that when I call on you, you will show me great and mighty things that I can’t understand, and frankly, that’s okay. My confidence is in You and in You alone. So pour it on! Show me the path you want me on and point out the right road for me to walk. “Lead me; teach me; for you are the GOD who gives me salvation.” So today I ask that you would continue Your work in me.

I have counted the cost and I count it all Joy as I trust you to help me weather the storms that occasionally come. I rise to the challenge and share your word with others, regardless of the cost. Amen!!

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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