The Result of Faith

I wrapped it carefully, as though my entire world sat inside that little rectangular box. Curling the ribbon just so – I couldn’t wait for dinner. Couldn’t wait to give my mom her mother’s day present so our little secret could finally taste freedom.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 2:1-10
Key Verse: “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Hebrews 11:23

Married just three months, I knew the baby bib inside that box would shock everyone at the table. “You’re pregnant?” The scene looped through my head over and over. What would they say? How would they react?

I knew there’d be congratulations because we were a polite family and that’s what polite families do. But would they think us too young? Because wasn’t I too young? I stared at the box, willing the growing butterflies keeping my baby company to simmer down. Everything was going to be fine. A baby is a blessing. New life is a blessing, right?

It’s no secret a baby can bring with it all manner of emotion. Everything from elation to trepidation, depending on circumstances. Which has me wondering where Jochebed, mother of Moses, may have fell on the spectrum.

It wasn’t her first baby. She already had a daughter, Miriam, and a son, Aaron, who would have been two at the time (see Ex. 7:7). Though unable to give her children freedom (as a slave in the land of Egypt), she’d been able to give them life – a blessing she’d surely enjoyed. But this time, this time, might be different, finding herself pregnant under an edict to toss all newborn Hebrew boys in the Nile.

Had it been me, I would have been begging God for a girl. “It’d just be easier LORD. Please, please, let it be a girl.” But what if it was a boy? Certainly angst grew right along with her stomach as she waited for her day to come.

“It’s a boy!” Whispered the midwives.  Exodus 2:2 says when she saw “he was a fine child, she hid him three months.” Because what else are you going to do? But Hebrews 11:23 states it was more than elation that caused Jochebed and Amram to hide their son. It was faith.

Faith? But how could it have been faith, if “faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). My take on things – they had a word from the LORD. Because faith is not merely hope, it’s believing in the word of God and acting upon it.

While other mothers were weeping for their littles, Jochebed believed something different for hers. A belief that was by faith. Otherwise, I don’t think she would have sent Miriam along to watch. Nor do I think she would have placed him in the very river that had claimed the lives of so many, unless directed by God.

Left to my own reasoning, I would have gotten as far away from the Nile as possible. Run away if you have to, but don’t go near that river!

Yet there she was among the reeds sweetly surrendering her son in a basket made of papyrus, coated carefully in bitumen and pitch. How you let go, how you walk away, is beyond me.

But she did. And then she waited. For minutes? Hours? Did the river move unusually slow that day as it carried her son into a wake of unknown? Interestingly enough the Hebrew word used for basket in this passage is tebah. It can also be translated ark. It’s used in Scripture only here and in reference to Noah’s ark, which was also covered in bitumen and pitch – a tar like substance to keep things sealed.

A coincidence? No. Noah’s ark was a vessel of salvation for him and his crew, just as that little basket was a vessel of salvation for Moses. And a picture to us of Christ – the vessel of our salvation. It was faith that placed Moses in that ark and faith that places us in Christ.

Though crocodiles were probably a threat, though the basket could have tipped, though someone else could have grabbed him, carried along by God, Moses had never been safer than he was in that basket. (And in Christ, I’d say we could say the same.)

Did Jochebed have any idea how God would save him? Any idea it would be through the princess? I doubt it. But just hours after releasing him to the hand of God, there she sat nursing her sweet boy, and getting paid for it.

Not because she begged and pleaded and threw a fit. Not because she schemed a great plan. Not because she took matters into her own hands. But because she had faith. Faith in a God who is bigger. Faith in a God who is always faithful to his word.

My friend, it’s faith that opens the door to far more than we can imagine (Eph. 3:20). Faith that lends us the opportunity to experience the goodness of God. And faith that allows us to be part of what God is already doing.

God had a plan to save his people. A plan Pharaoh could not stop – or Satan for that matter. For it’s God who “frustrates the plans of the wicked” (Ps. 146:9, NLT). But it’s only by faith we can be part of it.

Because it’s not fits or fighting or a fabulous plan that’s gonna throw a wrench in evil’s way, it’s faith in a God who’s already got it worked out.

If we want to experience the goodness of God, landing a front row seat to his sovereignty in motion. If we want to be part of what God’s already doing. If we want to be front and center of a plan far beyond anything we could ask or imagine – it’s going to require faith.

It may be hard, but walking forward in faith is never a leap into the unknown, it’s a clear path into the sovereign hand of the living God. So what, I ask you, are we waiting for?

Contemplate and Evaluate:
When have you stepped out in faith and experienced the goodness of God in a way you never imagined?
What do you need to trust God with today? Your family? Your future? How can you best walk by faith?


What it Means to Have Real Faith

Faith. It’s something we talk about it. It’s something we encourage each other to have. It’s something we know we need. But is it really something we practice? Hebrews 11:6 tells us without faith, it’s impossible to please God. So obviously it’s pretty important. But what is it really? What does it mean to have faith and practice faith in the one true God?

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 50
Key Verse: “Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” Genesis 50:25

According to Hebrews 11, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph figured it out. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac…” “By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.” “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.” “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.”

By faith, by faith, by faith….why were these men credited with having faith? Because it was belief in the promise of God that prompted their actions.

You see faith isn’t hoping God will come through for me. It isn’t throwing a penny into the wishing well of dreams in anticipation of a desirable outcome. It isn’t crossing my fingers behind my back. Faith at its core is believing God will do what he’s said he will do. Period. End of story.

Not because I say the right words or ask enough times, but because He is faithful. On the flip side, if God hasn’t said he will do it, I can’t have faith that he will. I can ask. I can hope. But I can’t have faith.

And therein lies a major problem with today’s Christianity. We often pray and ask God to do something for us. We close our eyes and believe really really hard that he can and should do it, assuming that’s how you have faith. Then we wait patiently (for at least an hour) and end up discouraged when things don’t turn out the way we think they should.

But the question is – am I simply believing God for something I want or something he’s actually said? It’s only faith if I’m believing God for something he’s actually said. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph believed God for what he said. (Reason #1,245,377 for knowing my Bible. It makes “walking by faith” a whole lot easier.)

Thus with nothing back in Canaan but a small piece of land he took from the Amorites (Gen. 48:22) and a cave bought by Abraham, Jacob was adamant he not be buried in Egypt, but in Canaan. Because he wholeheartedly believed the promise of God that the land would one day be theirs.

In spite of the odds. In spite of the fact they were no longer living there. In spite of the fact it currently belonged to a myriad of other people groups and sounded ridiculous, Jacob insisted.

So Joseph made it happen. With the pomp and circumstance of royalty, Jacob’s body was embalmed and taken to Canaan. It was quite the caravan. Verse 7 says along with Joseph went, “All the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household.” Everyone except the kids. (Maybe they were in school. Just kidding. Kind of.)

Oh and also “chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company” (v. 9). Meaning Pharaoh’s army, probably for protection since they were entering a foreign land. What I want to know is who was back at the palace taking care of Pharaoh if all his servants were with Joseph? Very generous of the king.

When the Canaanites saw the entourage and heard “the very great and grievous lamentation” on the threshing floor of Atad, they renamed the place Abel-mizraim, which means “the mourning of Egypt”, figuring it must have been someone of great importance.

But Jacob wasn’t great because of who he was or what he’d done in life. He wasn’t mourned for seventy days by the people of Egypt because of his contributions to society. (Just two days short of the required time of mourning for a king by the way.) He was mourned and lamented and celebrated solely because of his relationship to Joseph.

My friend, it’s not about who you are or aren’t. It’s not about what you’ve done or will do or won’t do. It’s about your relationship to Jesus. It’s about faith. Do we believe God is who he says he is? Do we believe God will do what he’s said he will do?

If so, our actions will show it. Because faith without works is dead. It has no validity. “Show me your faith apart from works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). It’s how Abraham and Isaac lived. It’s how Jacob and Joseph lived. And it’s how you and I need to live.

Confident in the promise of God. Confident in his faithfulness. Confident in his sovereignty. So much so that even when it looks unlikely, even when the odds are against us, even when it seems ridiculous, we testify to the goodness of God by declaring no matter what – bury me in the land of Canaan.

Take my bones, as Joseph made them swear. Proclaiming to a lost world – “I don’t care how it looks right now. I don’t care how absurd you think I am. I believe in the promise of God.” Could there be anything more impactful to the next generation than a church who takes God at his word?

Not holding God accountable, but believing God powerful. And then acting accordingly.

Beloved of God, the patriarchs lived their faith with action based on the promise of God. They may have withered from time to time, but they didn’t give up. Faith in God required something of them, and this hasn’t changed. It requires something of us too.

So whether it means we give trusting God will provide. Whether it means we acknowledge him before men, knowing he’ll acknowledge us before the Father. Whether it means picking up your cross or laying your most prized possessions down. Go and do it. Live by faith. Believe God will do what he’s said he will do and act accordingly. Because he who promised is faithful.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Are you trusting in God for something he’s said or something you simply want?

Alas we have come to the end of Genesis. It’s been a wonderful ride (at least from my vantage point). God has proven himself faithful chapter by chapter. So today I ask you, what difference has it made in your life? How have you been encouraged through our study together? How have you been challenged? I’d love to hear from you.

When You’re Still Waiting

As a year slips past and another rapidly approaches I wonder…are you still waiting for something? direction perhaps? good news? joy? Does the change of the calendar find you still praying? Still spilling your guts before a seemingly silent God? Hoping beyond hope that this year…it will happen. Your deepest desire fulfilled. Your longing satisfied. Your dream finally realized.

If so you’re not alone. The truth is…we’re all waiting. Maybe not for the same thing. Maybe not with the same intensity or for the same reasons. But we’re all waiting…for something. And when the thing for which we seek most earnestly finally happens, it doesn’t take long before we’re waiting for something new. Why? Because the reality is… life’s about the waiting.

(The following excerpts are taken from a devotional I posted last May entitled Life’s About the Waiting. To read it click here)

Consider Abraham who waited 25 years for God to make good on his promise of a son. Consider Jacob who waited 7 long years to marry the love of his life. Or Rachel who watched Jacob father 10 sons before she nursed a sweet baby of her own.

Ask Joseph who waited 2 unending years for the cupbearer to remember him in prison. Moses who waited 40 years for God to finally use him to free his people from slavery. David who fought and hid and ultimately waited 15 years from the time of his anointing until he ruled as king. Ask Zechariah and Elizabeth who remained barren year after year though they fervently prayed. Yet God delayed for his purposes. for his timing. for the one who would pronounce the coming of the Kingdom – John the Baptist.

Consider the faithful listed in Hebrews 11 who are still waiting. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar” (Heb. 11:13a).

Consider the earth which “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). Consider believers who “wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). “Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

And then consider Noah who waited 57 days for God to open the door of the ark after the earth had dried. 57 days!! As if 10 months on a big boat with a bunch of stinky animals wasn’t long enough.

I can’t help but wonder what the atmosphere on the boat was like during those 8 weeks. “Dad we can see it’s dry outside…let’s just break the door down. Dad seriously…I can’t take this any longer! I need off this boat!” Or what about his wife? I could see myself begging to go outside.

Yet they waited for God to give the command to go. They waited for God to open the door. Certainly not something many of us are very good at…waiting for God to open the door.

But you know what? It’s not about getting through the doorway. It’s not about the achievement. It’s about the waiting. About finding joy in the waiting. About glorifying God in the meantime.

Because that’s where the blessing is. Not in the attainment. Not in the accomplishment. Not in the acquiring of a long awaited goal. The blessing is in the waiting. “Blessed are all those who wait for him” (Is. 30:18b).

It’s in the waiting we draw near to the God who saves us. Seeking diligently for His almighty presence. It’s in the waiting we come to know his strength and not our own. As we learn to trust. Learn to lean. And learn to pray. It’s in the waiting we get to watch Him work. In us. Through us. And around us. And it’s through the waiting we grow.

There is much blessing in store for a heart and mind that waits steadfast on God. So as tempting as it to wish away the waiting. To rush the waiting. To loathe the waiting. Let’s savor the waiting. Knowing there is purpose and blessing in the here and now. “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Ps. 27:14)

Because there’s blessing to be had in the waiting.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What are you waiting for? How can you bring glory to God by your actions and attitude while you wait?
How can you see God working in the waiting? What purpose might he have?


Why it Had to be Grace

I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about the mustard stain. As usual I’d thrown on yesterday’s jeans conveniently lying on the floor, black belt already threaded, in hopes of reaching Mr. Destructo before he emptied all three bathroom drawers.

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 21:8-34
Key Verse: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

Now we were at the first of two grocery stops and there was no goin’ home (not without food). All in all it was your typical Tuesday. One boy hung off the side of the cart while the other begged to get out. Until it happened. A hair pulling, high pitched screaming, we’re-the-loudest-people-in-the-store fight over a stupid styrofoam rocket I let Mr. Three-Year-Old bring inside. Oops.

I wanted to run or hide or at least make a disclaimer. And that’s when I saw them. A perfectly quiet, well behaved, Amish family pretending not to notice the spectacle unfolding in front of them. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the Amish! I may or may not even have a small fascination with them. But at the moment I didn’t feel so giddy. I felt guilty. As if somehow I didn’t measure up.

Fighting the urge to hide in the freezer section and eat ice cream we finished our shopping and headed to the checkout. Unable to resist his demands any longer I let Mr.-Almost-Two-Year-Old out of the cart. Big mistake! A small taste of freedom and the little guy booked it straight out the Aldi door – leaving me no choice but to scream and run. Snatching him just before the parking lot I scurried back inside. Only to see the watching eyes of my perfectly proper new friends right behind me in line. Mustard stain and all I felt covered in shame. Because next to what I saw as “perfection” it was crystal clear, I didn’t measure up.

And you know what…it’s ok. Because no one does. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” As hard as we might try – no one measures up. Not to God’s perfect standard. It’s impossible by any works of our own flesh – to be justified before a holy God. Justification is a gift. A work of grace. And has nothing to do with me or you.

We gain the blessings of God – an inheritance for beyond comprehension – merely because of grace. Not because of what we do or don’t do or can do or will do. But by beautiful, undeserved, uncommon grace.

Not by works of our flesh, but by a work of HIS flesh.

This is why Ishmael had to be cast out. He was a product of Abraham’s flesh. The result of human effort, not faith. He could have no part of the inheritance because the promised inheritance was to come by grace through faith alone.

Isaac, on the other hand, didn’t earn it. He merely received it. Through an act of God’s miraculous power. The fulfillment of a promise. Just as we don’t earn it, but merely receive it through an act of God’s miraculous power. The fulfillment of a promise when we’re born again through “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5,7).

Therefore, we “like Isaac, are children of promise” (Gal. 4:28). Can we just celebrate this for a minute or two or forever? “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

“By grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:5). Not by effort or hard work or because of ethnicity or lack thereof but because of God’s grace, we are heirs of the world, just like Isaac (Rom. 4:13). With no reason to be ashamed. No reason to hide in the freezer section and eat ice cream. Because in Christ we’re forgiven, declared righteous, and living under a massive umbrella of grace.

Yet how often do we still beat ourselves up? Because I’m not good enough. Because I yelled again when I said I wouldn’t. Lost my patience. Messed up. Ate chocolate. And didn’t get my workout in. How often do we feel defeated? Ashamed? Not enough?

We must learn to accept the grace handed to us! Otherwise we will lack the confidence to be effective ambassadors of the gospel of Christ. How could we expect anyone else to accept the grace of Jesus when we ourselves refuse to live under it?

Conviction is one thing but condemnation is another. For “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). None! Only grace. Yet condemned is how the enemy wants us to feel – unfit for any good use, a failure who can’t do anything right. Don’t let him win! Rise up and remind him you’re under grace.

I wasn’t the only one in Aldi with stains. We’re all stained – every one of us! Yet Christ covers my stains with his righteousness. No I’m not perfect, but He is. Therefore in Christ I do in fact…measure up. Grace, grace, God’s grace…amazing grace indeed.

Contemplate and Evaluate
Do you allow yourself to live under the grace God has gifted you? Or do you tend to live under the assumption you’re not good enough and never will be?
Do you view salvation as something you must earn or merely receive?



When God’s Not Doing Anything


Yes I’m wearing spandex. I was ready for some REFIT®. Let’s just all be happy I didn’t have to spend hours in my closet deciding what to wear.

Saturday morning I got to share with some lovely ladies that God is working…even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even when our prayers appear ineffective. Our efforts in vain. Our hardships unchanged. Because HE is faithful to all generations (Ps. 100:5).

I reminded them of Elizabeth – the mother of John the Baptist. How she longed for a child and prayed God would bless her with one (Luke 1:13). How she did all things right – living by the commandments to the best of her ability. Yet still no baby. No answer to prayer. Nothing.

Yet God was working, even when it didn’t seem like it. Little did Elizabeth know she would give birth to the greatest man who ever lived (Matt. 11:11). The last of the prophets; the one to prepare the way for the LORD. Little did she know it just wasn’t time yet. It. just. wasn’t. time.

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Ps 27:14 Because God is working – all things in his perfect timing. It’s not that he doesn’t care. It’s not that he doesn’t hear your prayers. It just may not be time.

I reminded them of Sarah – the wife of Abraham. How she willingly followed her husband to a foreign land on the promise God would make a nation of them. How month after month turned into year after year of Sarah waiting for God to fulfill his promise. How she lost hope, took matters into her own hands, and gave her servant Hagar to Abraham as a wife.

I asked them to consider how Sarah must have felt when Hagar returned awestruck and elated with God’s appearance to her and assurance. Yet God had never appeared to Sarah; never spoken to Sarah; never assured Sarah. O the heartbreak, the confusion, the rejection Sarah must have felt. “Why not me LORD? Why her and not me? Why do you do nothing for me.”

Have you been there. I have.

Yet God was working. Just not as Sarah expected. He was working…in her heart. Doing a work IN her before he could do a work THROUGH her. He had not forgotten Sarah. He was simply preparing Sarah. To be the mother Isaac needed. A mother able to speak of God’s faithfulness. Able to confidently say the words “Nothing is impossible for God” (Gen. 18:14). Able to give her son the godly foundation necessary to be a founding father of Israel.

So take heart weary soul. If it seems as though God is doing nothing around you, maybe it’s because he’s doing something within you. Preparing you. For the wonderful plans he has for you. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Phil 2:13, NLT).

Thirdly, I reminded them of Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob. Forced to share her husband with her sister. Forced to watch her sister give birth to one precious boy after another; while her arms remained empty.

To Rachel it likely seemed as though God had forgotten her or hated her or cared nothing for her. Leah’s servant bore children for Jacob; her own servant bore children for Jacob; yet she could not. Why God? Why. not. me?

Have you been there? Waiting in the shadows as others receive what you’ve been asking for?

Yet God was working; masterfully weaving his purpose and plan. Little did Rachel know the boys in that household would grow to be the twelve tribes of Israel.  Little did she know it was necessary for her son to be the youngest (except for Benjamin), so his brothers would sell him. Little did she know he’d rise above them all and be placed second in command of Egypt. We know the end of the story. But she did not. All she knew was it hurt. Every day it hurt. To wait. To watch. To wonder why God cared little for her. But rest assured…

Our present circumstances do not indicate God’s presence.

Though there may be times we distance ourselves from God because of sin. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He’s always working – all things in HIS perfect timing and according to HIS plans and purposes. Not to mention, molding and shaping our hearts along the way.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” James 4:8. And have faith because even when it doesn’t seem like it – God is working.   image

A Good Dose of Reality

Devo Scripture: Genesis 9:18-25
Key Verse: “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” (Ps. 103:10)

I like to give my kids a good dose of reality every once in a while. Problem is it’s usually not done with much grace. They have a clock in their room that turns green when it’s time to get up. Three of the four share a bedroom (works well for us). The instant that thing lights up Nascar takes off down the hallway. Then it’s a fight for the favorite kitchen chair. Ok guys it doesn’t matter who sat where yesterday just sit down. (I hand out spoons and bowls.) And then I hear it…Mom are you serious? Is this all the cereals we have? (Mind you there are four boxes on the table.) I encourage them to choose from the delightful sugary options in front of them but it’s to no avail. The pouting commences and I dish out servings of reality like a mack truck on a mission. Reminding them children are starving in Africa. Starving! Some may even die today. Yes I said die. So eat your bowl of reality (I mean cereal) and be happy.

And just like that I teach my children valuable life lessons on gratitude and contentment. Or so I’d like to think. (I wouldn’t advise my technique.) But seriously, sometimes a little dose of reality can be a good thing right? It can give us perspective. Remind us what’s important. Little did I realize it was my turn for a reality check as I poured over the last part of Genesis 9. But that’s exactly what I found. A much needed dose of reality.

It’s not an easy story to read (or teach). Noah, our hero the previous three chapters, drunk. Naked. Passed out in his tent. Years have passed since the flood. Enough to grow a vineyard and grandsons. And in the comfort of his own home Noah indulged. (Easy to do behind closed doors, isn’t it? When we think no one’s looking? When we think it won’t affect anyone else.) For some reason Ham went into Noah’s tent. Did he suspect something? The Hebrew word for see is ra’ah and can mean to leer at, enjoy, have experience, gaze, take heed. Seems to imply this was not an accidental look or maybe more than just a little look.

Verse 24 says “When Noah awake from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him.” Something had been done. But the truth of the matter is we don’t know what. Scholars differ in their opinions. What’s interesting is that Canaan is the one cursed, not Ham. Why him? Could Noah see he had a bent towards evil? Or did Canaan have something to do with his grandfather’s defilement that day? Leviticus 18 lends an interesting and sad interpretation. In that chapter to “uncover the nakedness” of a relative implies sexual sin. So some think Canaan committed a sexual sin on his grandfather. (I promised to never sugar coat the Scriptures for you.) This interpretation fits with the ways of the Canaanites (Lev. 18:3). They were to become a debase people steep in sexual sin, inparticular homosexuality (Sodom & Gomorrah). But the Scriptures are simply not clear regarding this incident.

Whatever happened we can be sure of one thing – it was sinful. Sin was still very real. Should we be surprised if sexual sin took place? Quite honestly, I don’t think so. (Reality check) Humanity at it’s core was and still is a heaping pile of filthy unrighteousness. The flood didn’t change that. A fresh start didn’t change that. I can’t change that. “We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Is. 64: 5-6, NLT). Apart from Christ, this is who we are. You and I…we’re right in the middle of the heaping pile of filthy unrighteousness.

But God! (My two favorite words in the Bible.) But God can justify the ungodly through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 4:5). “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). The reality is I am not righteous in and of myself. But in Christ righteousness has been gifted to me (Rom. 5:17). Not by works, but through faith. Works are simply the outpouring of faith; the evidence of faith.

And it was the same for Noah. He was a sinner amid the heaping pile of filthy unrighteousness but because of his faith God declared him righteous (Gen. 6). This is fantastic news for us. It’s not because Noah lived a perfect life that the Bible speaks of him as righteous. Clearly he messed up too! He was merely an “heir of righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb. 11:7). And so are you “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Rom. 10:9).

Then Jesus covers us with his righteousness. Covering our sin. “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps. 32:1). He covers our shame just as Shem and Japheth covered Noah. “For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield” (Ps. 5:12). O how my cup runneth over. Spill forth cup. Spill forth. This is my new reality. This is yours, in Christ. He forgives all your iniquity (Ps. 103:3). He redeems your life from the pit, and “crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Ps. 103:4). “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Ps. 103:10). Instead he gives to us according to his riches (Eph. 3:16). “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). The reality is there is no one like God. The reality is he is compassionate. The reality is he will “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

This is reality for every believer. For every person indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Oh I pray your cup runneth over. Let it spill forth in thanksgiving. The reality is only God can save us but he does. He does. Every day he does. Not because of who I am, but because of who he is. This my friend is reality. And today…today I needed a little dose of reality.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Is the gift of righteousness a reality for you? If so, is there evidence of this righteousness in your life?
Who might you lovingly share a dose of reality with today? I urge you to let your cup spill forth. Beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news…image

Maybe it’s not really about Us at all

Devo Scripture: Genesis 7:1-10
Key Verse: John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

I heard something this week that made me consider how nonchalant I view Bible stories. I was reminded that the well known characters of the Bible had no idea they would ever be characters in a story. They were simply people, just like us, trying to navigate life. They didn’t know the ending of their story. They didn’t know how God would use them. They too had to trust God. They too had to surrender. They too had to struggle. Sometimes they lost the battle and sometimes they won. We get to glean a small snippet of their life in the Bible but so much more took place than what’s been recorded. Makes me ponder so many questions…

Like what about the first 500 years of Noah’s life? He was childless. Did he marry young? Did they struggle with infertility? Did he build anything else in his lifetime? Was he a craftsman? How did God prepare him to build the ark? Because I have no doubt God prepared him. Did Noah cry out for God to use him and wonder why it was taking so long? When God spoke to him was he surprised or had it happened before?

And what of his time on the high seas? It must have been a time filled with all kinds of emotions. They probably all lost friends. I think of the three daughter-in-laws who lost their families…their own mothers, brothers, sisters. And though they had a promise of God’s protection did they daily cleave to it? Or did they, just like us, struggle with God’s faithfulness. I imagine there was much anxiety when God closed the door and the lions roared and the rain began to pour and they were alone. Just the eight of them. I cannot even fathom the attention of heaven (and hell) upon this little family.

What was it like when the first animals approached the ark? I’ll be honest. This part would have been a real struggle for me. Yes I’m married to a hog farmer but I’m not much of an animal person. (There I said it. You can unfriend me if you feel the need). But seriously…they were not just in the ark for 40 days and nights. They were closed in for a year and 10 days before they disembarked. That’s a long time to care for what easily could have been 16,000 or more animals! Were they all animal lovers? I’ll go on record here saying I think it was quite a challenging year for this little family! Can you imagine being 1 of 8 persons left out of millions or possibly even billions of people. All of them gone but you. That alone completely blows my mind. But then consider…your home…gone. Life as you knew it…over. Swept away along with you. No idea where you will end up. No idea what life will be like when the journey is done.

Perhaps some of you have been there…in some way. Maybe some of you are there now. Maybe you’re in the middle of a journey and you have no idea where it will take you. No idea what life is going to be like. It’s hard to picture it. Hard to fathom. My precious friend, you are not alone. Whether you volunteered for the journey or not it has a purpose. It all has a purpose. To make us more like Christ. To refine us. To draw us into his open arms.

I want to remind you today of some very great and precious promises. Jesus said he is always with us (Matthew 28:20). He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). He will supply all your needs (Phil 4:19). He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Day after day he carries us (Psalm 68:19). He satisfies the soul that longs for him and fills him with goodness (Psalm 107:9). He loves you (Romans 5:8).

It may be that the adversity you face is for your protection. It certainly was for Noah. It may be that your struggle is because of sin in the world. It certainly was for Noah. It may be that your journey seems bumpier than necessary. But it also may be that the struggle, the adversity, the journey isn’t really about you…at all. Maybe…just maybe you’ve been tossed about on the high seas of life so the world can see Him. Every trial, every struggle, every pain is an opportunity to showcase the marvelous wonders of our Savior.

Because really that long lonely year on the sea with so many doubts, so many fears, so much unknown wasn’t about Noah at all. It wasn’t about his sons or daughter-in-laws or the fear or the pain they must have experienced. (Though God no doubt wept with them.) It was about God. About a God who saves; loves; protects; shields; and yields power over the elements. But cannot and will not justify sin or the ungodly. But will indeed provide a way for any willing soul who humbly seeks salvation in Him. The ark was a picture of Jesus but Noah didn’t know that. He was simply trying to navigate…life.

So maybe…maybe you’re a character in a story…a much bigger story than any of us even realize. A story of a God; a Savior; who came to seek and save the lost. Maybe it’s really about Him and not about us at all. Sometimes we lose the battle and sometimes we win. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry. Sometimes we struggle and sometimes we thrive. But it’s all to show the world His love; His power; His faithfulness; His peace; His glory; His goodness. To showcase Jesus.

Perhaps it’s not about me at all (though sometimes I like to think it is). Perhaps it’s not even about you (though you are dear to me and to Him). But perhaps it’s really…all about Him. To God be the Glory forever and ever! Amen!

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What life situation can you use to bring glory to Jesus today?
What promise can you hold on to today to help you on the journey?image

Enoch walked with God

Devo Scripture: Genesis 5
Key Verse: “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3 NLT)

Good news. Sometimes we just need a bit of good news. Well today…today I bring you good news. And it’s hidden in a place you might least expect it; in the genealogy of Genesis 5. In fact Genesis 5 is filled with the good news of Jesus Christ from beginning to end, exposing the masterful work of an omnipotent God. Noah means “man.” Seth means “appointed.” Enosh means “subject to death” (or mortal). Kenan means “sorrow.” Mahalalel means “from the presence of God.” Jared means “one comes down.” Enoch means “dedicated.” Methuselah means “dying he will send.” Lamech means “to the poor and lowly.” And Noah means “rest.” All together the meaning behind each name reads: Man appointed subject to death. Sorrow. From the presence of God, One comes down, dedicated. Dying, He shall send to the poor and lowly, Rest.

The gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ embedded in the genealogy of Noah’s ancestors. I am in awe of God. He is sovereign! Why do I fret? Why do I worry? He’s got each and every detail taken care of. Nothing escapes him. Nothing surprises him. Why do I not trust him? He has not forgotten me. He is working. How dare I think he doesn’t care. How dare I think I could do better. He is the Sovereign King of Kings.

Enoch knew this. He not only knew it, he lived it and proclaimed it. Genesis 5:22 says “Enoch walked with God.” This too is good news radiating like a bright ray of sunshine on a gloomy day. Man’s ability to walk with God did not end when Adam and Eve got expelled from the garden. It remains a vibrant possibility. But…“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3 NLT) Oh to be able to walk daily with my Creator. To bask in the splendor of his majesty. To fellowship with the one who gives joy. To know the Savior with intimacy. It’s possible! Through the precious blood of Jesus Christ it’s possible. But to walk with the one who is pure and holy and righteous will mean walking away from everything that is not. I either walk in the spirit or in the flesh; with God or with the world. There is no gray area. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23).

I long to walk with my Savior daily. I long to know him and be near him. I long to please him. Hebrews 11:5 says Enoch pleased God. What did he do that was so pleasing? He had faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Enoch believed God and believed God would reward him for it. I have more good news for you my friend…God rewards those who seek him! The big relentless effort it sometimes takes to walk with God…well it’s worth it. It’s worth taking every thought captive for Christ. It’s worth fleeing sexual immorality. It’s worth taking a stand for that which is right and true. It’s worth making the right decision. “For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield” (Ps. 5:12).

It’s worth it…so let’s dig deeper and meddle in the secret places that keep us from enjoying intimacy with Jesus. What does it mean for you to walk with God today? Maybe it means…

  • saying I’m sorry to restore a relationship (He gives grace to the humble; James 4:6)
  • forgiving someone who hurt you deeply (experiencing freedom)
  • trusting him with your dreams (knowing contentment)
  • dying to self (yet truly living)
  • staying put/moving on (peace in the moment)
  • time in the desert (intimacy with the Savior)
  • remaining faithful (joy in the unthinkable)
  • speaking truth (honor; 1 Sam. 2:30)
  • staying the course (accomplishing the unattainable)

Whatever it takes for you to walk with God…go do it. It’s worth it! No one ever said walking with God would be easy. But that which is gained by keeping step with God is far greater than anything left behind. Undoubtedly Enoch was not a popular man. Jude 14-15 tells us Enoch preached to the people a message of coming judgment. He could not help but speak truth. His aim was to please God, not man. And God was so pleased with Enoch he took him up to Heaven one day so he did not see death (Heb. 11:5) and I smile at the thought that they are still walking together today.

Walk with Jesus! It’s worth it! But don’t do it alone. One of the most beautiful aspects of this genealogy is the length of years. It’s certainly possible the genealogy is selective, with gaps between ancestors; showcasing 10 generations. But for the sake of what God has revealed to us let’s just say there are no gaps. If so then Adam was still alive when Enoch was born. Enoch had 308 years to glean from his great, great, great, great grandfather. And Noah had some incredible mentors while building the Ark. Enoch’s son, Methuselah lived up until the year of the flood. His name literally means “when he dies it will come” or “dying he will send.” The fact that he lived 969 years is a testimony to God’s patience and his desire for man to repent (2 Peter 3:9). “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17, NIV). These men were not alone. Certainly they encouraged one another and so should we.

How do you know if you’re walking with God? Your life will emanate the fruit of the spirit. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). And you’ll shine forth brilliantly in a dark world because you’ve been with Jesus (Phil. 2:15). Walk with Jesus! It’s worth it! And shine forth my friends, shine forth.

Contemplate and Evaluate:

  1. What does it mean for you to walk with God today?
  2. Where do you see the fruit of the Spirit emanating in your life?image

The Old Testament in One Post

You’ve heard the story of Noah. You’ve watched the story of Moses on tv. You love the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. But how does it all fit together? How do you get from Noah to Moses to Daniel? Or maybe you’re unsure if it’s all true. Is it really history or just a bunch of made up stories? Please read my friend. I know it’s long but it’s important and somebody out there needs this today.

Ready? I hope so because I’m about to break the world record for most info ever to fill one blog post!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) A great summary to start the big picture but so packed with theology we’ll revisit this at a later date. A part of God’s “creating” (which by the way the Hebrew word means “created from nothing”) was to create man and woman – Adam and Eve. They lived with God in the Garden of Eden. But God did not create robots. He gave man a free will. They could choose to be obedient to Him or not. They chose not. And sin entered the world and death through sin. (Romans 5:12) God had mercy and clothed them but banned them from The Garden to work a ground that was now cursed and filled with weeds (my farmer can attest to this). God also cursed the serpent who tempted them (Satan; see Rev. 20:2) and gave us the first clue of the gospel in Genesis 3:15. Go read it. It’s the first messianic prophecy. From this point forth Satan knew there would be a man that would crush him i.e.“bruise your head” while all Satan could do was “bruise his heel.” What he did not know is that it would be God himself in the person of Jesus Christ that would crush him. So Satan sets forth to thwart the plan, having something to do (I have no doubt) with Cain’s killing of Abel (Adam and Eve’s first children).

When Adam was 130 years old, Eve gave birth to Seth from whom a godly line of men came. This is the genetic line that leads us to Noah. Noah was a faithful and righteous man among none. A true hero in my book. He did all God commanded of him saving the lives of his family and two of every kind of animal from drowning in the most violent and torrential flood this world has ever seen. From Noah’s three son’s (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) came the nations of the world. God told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. But they didn’t want to. (Genesis 11:4) So they purposed to come together as one people to build a city (these were no cave men) and a tower that reached the heavens, defying God and any need for Him! But God’s purposes always prevail. God decided to mix things up a bit and gave the different “family” groups (nations) different languages. “So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:8).

If you follow Shem’s family line you get to Abram whom God called out of the land of Haran (located in modern day Turkey) into the land of Canaan, to which God promised to give to Abram and his descentants. This land included modern day Israel, Lebanon, and parts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Though the Israelites do not currently occupy all that was promised, God does not go back on his promises. The land of Canaan is an “everlasting possession” given to Israel in a covenant promise (Gen. 17:8). God also promised Abram that he would make him into a great nation (the nation of Israel) and from his seed “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). How so? Christ came through the seed of Abram, no doubt a blessing to the entire world! When Abram was 99 years old God changed his name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude” and promised the miraculous conception of a son, Isaac, through his wife Sarah. And when Isaac grew up he married Rebekah. They had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. (Sidenote: Abraham also fathered Ishmael through his wife’s servant but this was not God’s way. Yet God blessed Ishmael and from him come many of the Arab nations.)

From Jacob came twelve sons which became the twelve tribes of Israel. Through a series of devastating events Jacob’s son Joseph became second in command in the land of Egypt (God’s purposes prevailed yet again.). Because of Joseph’s God given wisdom and high rank he was able to save his brothers and their families from starvation during seven years of famine, moving them all to the land of Egypt. The Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt multiplying like crazy becoming a people group numbering most likely in the millions. But the Egyptian leaders forgot about Joseph and the good he had done for Egypt and enslaved the Israelites. The Israelites cried out to God and God heard them and sent Moses to deliver them. Ten plagues later (see Exodus 7 – 12) Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the desert where God spoke directly to the people giving them the 10 commandments and the laws they were to live by. This was the point at which God made them into a nation. God intended to lead them directly into the promised land but the people turned their backs on God so God said no. One generation later Joshua lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan where they conquered the Canaanite people and established themselves in the place that was to be their everlasting possession. (God is faithful to his promises.) After Joshua’s death twelve different “judges” were used by God to try and enforce civil and military leadership over the Israelites. But it didn’t work and Israel wanted a King like all the other nations so God gave them King Saul, then King David (who wrote many of the Psalms), and then King Solomon (who wrote the book of Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs).

But Solomon had a weakness for the ladies, especially foreign ladies who brought their false gods and goddesses into the kingdom. Solomon did not wholly follow the LORD and therefore neither did his children. Division arose in the family and it split the kingdom in two. The northern territory became known as Israel and the southern territory became known as Judah (which included Jerusalem). This division allowed for two different lines of Kings (Christ’s genealogy is traced through the line of Judah). Both the northern and southern kingdoms turned away from God, serving and worshiping false gods and idols. Yet God continued to be patient with his people sending many prophets to warn them of coming judgment if the Israelites did not repent and turn back to Him (see Jeremiah 25:1-11). For example the prophet Isaiah prophesied God’s words (beginning in 740 BC) to the kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (in Judah). Elijah and Elisha prophesied to the kings of Israel. The prophet Jeremiah took his turn in Judah, then the prophet Ezekiel, and many others (see the last 12 books of the Old Testament).

But the Israelites would not listen to the prophets, killing many of them. They were unfaithful to God so the Lord sent judgment. The Assyrians overtook the northern kingdom in 722 BC and the Babylonians overtook the southern kingdom in 586 BC. Most of the Jews were exiled into these nations. Jeremiah sent a letter to encourage the exiles (see Jeremiah 29) reminding them that the judgment was only for a time, seventy years to be exact. Daniel was one of the exiles taken to Babylon in 605 BC (in modern day Iraq). He faithfully served God in Babylon during the Israelite’s 70 years of exile (even in the lions den) and God gave him many prophetic visions while there. He ranked high in the Babylonian kingdom and also in the Persian kingdom, which took over Babylon during the Jews 70 years of exile.

It was also during this time that Queen Esther (a Jewish woman chosen to marry a Persian king) saved the Jews from annihilation (read the book of Esther). And just as God had said, at the end of 70 years the Jews were allowed to go back to Jerusalem if they wanted (some didn’t want to) and led by Ezra and Nehemiah (see the books of Ezra and Nehemiah) they worked to rebuild the temple and the city. But they remained under heavy taxes by the Persian kings.

Then from about 331 – 63 BC they were under the Greeks (i.e. Alexander the great), and after that the Romans. When Christ was born it was Rome that ruled. And no prophet had been heard from for several hundred years. The Jews were hungry for the Word but didn’t recognize it when the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among them (John 1). The prophets had foretold of a Davidic King that would save them, cleanse them, and establish them. God had not forgotten them. But the Jews were looking for a King that would overthrow Rome, not a humble servant to die for them. Yet God is faithful to his promises as you see all throughout the Old Testament. And Christ will rule as King. He’s coming back (see Revelation 19:11-16). The question is will you rule with him or against? My friend, take note, this day and everyday, God is faithful to his promises.

If this touched you today, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment. It’s encouraging to not only me but others as well. Thanks friend!

So this life…Matters

Devotional:  2 Corinthians 5

We have a rule in our house that we don’t make a promise unless we know for sure we can keep it. A promise is a guarantee of action. It’s serious. So it’s not very often that I promise something for fear of not being able to keep it and by default then show my children inconsistency. But today I make you a promise. A promise to never sugar coat the Scriptures. A promise to write with honesty. What I have on my heart today has been stirring for quite sometime. But it’s not pretty. I won’t wrap Scripture up in pretty pink paper and put a bow on it just to make you come back and read again. My friend hear the Word of the LORD and take it to heart.

We’ve lost something today. It’s absent in just about every nook and cranny of Christianity. I don’t know when we threw it away but we need to find it again. What is it you ask? It is quite simply…..a fear. of. the. LORD. We no longer fear displeasing God. There is a disconnect between going to church on Sunday and our actions and goals the rest of the week. This is going to hurt a little but think about it. How often do you ask yourself in a week if what you are doing is “pleasing to God.” If what you are watching is “pleasing to God.” If what you are thinking is “pleasing to God.” Let’s be honest….it’s not a question we ask very often, if ever. Why? Because we have lost the fear of the LORD. (Fear being a reverent awe that pushes us to daily surrender our lives to him.) And without an appropriate fear of God the urgency to please him lacks greatly. But hear this…..The extent one pleases the LORD has a direct correlation to the measure of your eternal reward. What you do in this life….MATTERS. IT MATTERS.

In the last two devo’s we established that there is a glorious life yet to come! Paul looked forward to the day he would be “home” with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). He yearned for it. But knew until that day came he had a job to do. Paul made it his aim to please God (2 Cor. 5:9) Why? Two reasons. #1. Because “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor. 5:10). #2. “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others” (2 Cor. 5:11). Paul knew the day would come that he would “give an account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). He would stand (or more likely fall to his knees) before God and give an account of his good works (or lack there of). And my friend, SO. WILL. WE. And I gotta tell ya I find that fact quite motivating. If the Bible is true (which it is) then we best get busy doing what He wants (not what we want) because there will be a day we answer for it! God is love but he is also “Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds” (1 Peter 1:17a). Therefore Paul urged  “conduct yourself with fear through the time of your exile” (1 Peter 1:17b).

Everyone is going to be judged. “He will render to each one according to his works; to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rom. 2:6-8). The unbeliever’s judgment is for sin. But the believer’s judgment is for works of righteousness resulting in rewards not condemnation; for “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” In the very last chapter of the Bible Jesus leaves us with these words, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12; NIV).

Our works matter. The way we live matters. What we do in this life matters. But let me make it clear right now I am NOT AT ALL preaching salvation by works. We are saved by grace through faith alone. (Eph. 2:8-9). There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to be saved and gain eternal life. But our works prove our faith. James said “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe- and shudder!” (James 3:18-22). Even the demons believe in God. They know he is real. They know Jesus is LORD. But the difference is they do not humble themselves before him and out of a thankful and repentive heart give their lives to him.

My friend if you are a follower of Jesus Christ then you have been saved for a purpose. I will say it again…God saved you for a purpose. The goal for those who have believed in God is “to devote themselves to good works” (Titus 3:8). Christ redeemed man “to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

But take heart because God has not asked us to live righteously for nothing. He is a very generous God and longs to reward us for a life lived in devotion to Him. I am not ashamed to say this is what drives me. To receive rewards from the King….um yes please! Jesus himself encouraged us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20). Proverbs 11:18 says, “but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.” And one of my favorite verses, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). A part of faith is believing that God will reward his followers!

My friend this life is short but the life to come is long. This life bears great sorrow and hardship but the life to come bears great reward. This life has purpose that directly corresponds to the life to come.

So I encourage you “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:10). Make it your aim to please him (2 Cor. 5:9). For the extent one pleases God directly corresponds to the measure of one’s reward. Have a reverent fear of the one who judges the living and the dead. A fear that doesn’t paralyze you but characterizes your conduct.

Furthermore, if your conduct lines up very little with God’s standards I urge you out of love to examine yourself. I leave you today with the words of 1 John 2:3-6, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

Are you living a life that is pleasing to Him?

By faith do you truly believe God will reward those who earnestly seek him?