Walk by faith

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by Tom Chase

A lot is happening in my life now and I’m trying to make some sense of it all. I am being challenged and stretched and hopefully being conformed more into the image of His Son. (Some days are better than others!)

For those who might not be aware, the beginning of March was a step of faith for my family and me. At the end of February, the company which I had been working as a structural engineer closed its doors and let go of all its employees. Starting March 1, one of the former principals (my former boss) and I started a new engineering corporation.

Wow! It was like God just opened the door and made this incredible straight path before for us. We prayed, many of you prayed and the peace of God rolled over us in amazing ways. It was a mountain top experience and we lived in His peace and His assurance, listening to His words to us, “Stay the course!” How precious His assurances are to us. In my reading, I was reminded of two stories:

Gideon, when asked of God to take the Israelites into battle, really just wanted to be sure God was in it. He asked not once but twice for God to confirm this is what He wanted (Joshua 6). Oftentimes, he gets a bum rap, like he doubted God or something; and maybe he did, but God answered his honest questions.

Moses: After the Israelites sinned, God asked him to lead them away so that He would not destroy them in His anger. Moses appealed to God, not wanting to go if God was not going to come with them (Exodus 33).

I have to admire both of these men and their desire to be sure God was in it. Whatever it is that I am to do, I want to be like Gideon and Moses, to be sure God is in it!

We started down the road of a new business venture. Exciting, scary, lots of potential and understanding God is in it! Along the way though, when it began to cost us real money, it became a lot harder. Questions come to mind, “Did I really hear right?” “Is this really where God wants me?” At the same time God is answering prayers for work and quick cash flow such that my partner stated, “Clients have never paid like that.” So this is where I am today, struggling a bit with my faith­, trusting God in His leading, and needing to be content in that, but not necessarily wanting to be. “Wouldn’t full time ministry be more of what God wants?”

It’s kind of funny – almost laugh out loud funny, how God helps you see what you need to see. He uses His people. I “happened” to cross paths with a godly couple (from the church where I was formally an associate pastor). When I told them about starting my new business, she said, “Anyone who has had a small business knows that it is a walk of faith!” I had to agree with her. I see it every day if I just open my eyes. When God asked him, Abraham left his homeland to go to a land that God would show him. Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteous (Genesis12:1; Hebrews 11:8-10; Romans 4:3; Galatians 4:6; James 2:23). So what was spiritual about Abraham leaving his country and going to a land that God would show him? The one thing I get is this, Abraham believed and followed God. I want to be like Abraham. I want to follow God where He leads even if it may not be what I think I really want.

So what am I to do, in this not so sacred, not so “spiritual” pursuit? First, understand that this is what is laid before me for now and is it subject to change. Then, simply do what He has said.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope that you have ….” (1 Peter 3:15a)

The startling part of this verse to me is that people are asking. I may not be able to talk about all the fine points of deep theology with people (nor will that always be appreciated). I can talk about what God is doing … not necessarily in the world at large, but what He is doing in me. I am being changed by the power of the gospel. God is answering prayers and doing amazing things all the time. I am rediscovering that there is an attraction in simply sharing these things. This, in part, is how people can see I have hope and become, as God’s Spirit works, compelled to ask. I want to be like what Peter writes – I want to be ready to share!

Lord, may it be so!

In His service,

Tom

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Things I think

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by Dan Amos

If you choose to read this, you will get a glimpse in to the odd ways my mind works. I doubt you’ll find anything profound, but when things happen in my life, I tend to relate them to something else. Often I find myself learning a lesson of application of the things I’ve learned over the years about what God has revealed to us. The little vignettes of my life become object lessons that I ought to apply.

I recently returned to getting up and getting ready to leave for the day before everyone else in the house gets up. After I get dressed, I stop all movement, control my breathing and whisper “bye.” This is so I can be sure I don’t drown out my whisper with rustling, but even more to hear the faint reply if there is one. I was told on Monday to not bother with the whisper, just kiss her and she’ll go back to sleep. But, doesn’t that sound like what we have to do to hear God talking to us? All the noise and busyness of life makes it difficult to distinguish His voice when he is trying to communicate His love for us.

My new job was advertised needing knowledge of a database that I was sure I was one of the best in the company with. When I started, I found out there were parts of it I didn’t know existed. I am learning to use that part of it, but I had no idea it was even there. It reminded me of Paul’s lament that the more mature he became in his faith, the more he considered himself the greatest of sinners. That thought has never made more sense to me than now.

Last Saturday, Mark McCullough and I were winning at Hand and Foot over Fran and Barb.  (There you go Mark, it’s on the Internet now, so it must be true!) I was laughing and joking and Barb commented that she could see the stress of the last year was not evident that night to which I quipped I didn’t realize I internalized so much! But, this was an eye-opening statement for me and it really hit home the next morning listening to Keith Ferrin speaking on Philippians. If I was filled with so much stress over our predicament, was I really conducting myself in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ?

Lastly, there were a number of young and young-ish (!) men walking around the icy parking lot Sunday morning. We were trying to meet people as they got out of their cars and show them the paths we knew from our experience would get them into the church safely. In some instances we would say, “Follow me, walk in my footsteps because it is safe.” Again, we heard the same message from Paul in Philippians who told them he knew the way to Christ and he was leading them surely to His safety. Just like in response to the Gospel, some in the parking lot listened, some did not, and some insisted on following their own path, dangerously skirting risky areas.

So those are a few snapshots in to my thought processes. Maybe God teaches you in similar ways. If you have kids and ever disciplined them and heard the words coming out of your mouth sounding exactly like what God would be telling you, then you know what I’m talking about.

Oh, and about the kiss … when you know the right thing to do because you’ve already been told, quit asking if you should do it. Just do it.

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