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Friday, July 16, 2010

What tools are in your box?

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.  Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer.  I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.  I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.  There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.  (Philippians 1:3-6)

It is an exciting thing to know that God has placed leaders, mentors, and caring relationships in our lives that are moved to prayerful consideration of us as we cross their minds.  God can do much with a soul that is yielded to his purposes – especially in the support of his children.  The “trigger” to pray is born out of the newness of heart that God places within us at the time of our salvation.  A trigger is something that initiates a process or response.  God places a desire for his people deep into our hearts as we begin to grow in his graces – this desire moves upon us to uphold those that he has surrounded us with. 

Paul’s joyous prayer for the Philippians was based on both their continued steadfastness in the faith, and the fact that they stood alongside Paul in his support.  Such is the support of the believer – God placing individuals in our lives that will boldly take us before the throne of God.  Our daily walk is affected by the many prayers of those who stand as a supporting structure in our lives – oftentimes unnoticed, perhaps even unknown to us. 

God wants to complete the work that he began in each of us at the time we welcomed Christ into our hearts.  This work is a two-fold work, with the first being fully accomplished by the work of the cross, and the second being a process of life-altering, character-transforming work that is walked out in our lives daily.  No other thing is more important to God than our growth and maturity.  His focus is one of producing the fruit of our new relationship with him – fruit that evidences his grace, love, and compassion for a lost generation.  Sometimes, fruit seems to evade us – change is not as quickly evident in our lives as we would desire. 

It is important to keep perspective as we walk daily in our newness of life.  We are changed incrementally – changed by the blood of Christ, God’s grace, and his daily mercies in our lives.  The believers God surrounds us with in our local church family, those we encounter in mentoring relationships, as well as those who speak into our lives at those critical moments are strategically placed in our lives to assist in the process of completing the work within us that God began at our point of welcoming him into our lives.  There should be no doubt in our minds that the very thing God begins, he also provides a means for the successful and undeniable completion of that work.  

Whenever we are tempted to get down on ourselves because our progress is slow, or the "same old" sins just seem to be coming around again and again - it is time to reach out to our "family" in Christ.  Their support is often the deciding factor in the success of our ability to overcome those all too familiar sinful patterns.  The family of God is like a tool in a well-equipped tool box.  If we never pull the tool out to use it, it nothing more to us than a something we look fondly at and are proud to have in our box.  If we lay hold of it and use it as it is fashioned to be used, the results can be astronomical!