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Saturday, April 18, 2015

God will...

We all have a tendency to complicate the gospel message a little, making a few extra hoops to jump through, or explaining it in terms so hard to understand. We don't mean to, but we just do because we cannot fully comprehend the simplicity of faith.  I used to think of faith as some really big deal - something we had to attain, grow into, etc.  In actuality, when we truly grasp the idea of faith being something as close as the words of our mouth or the niggling in our heart, we begin to understand the meaning of faith.  Faith isn't a set of actions on our part, but a word spoken in earnest, or a turning of our heart toward the one who created the very rhythm of its beat.  The Old Testament is full of individuals who complicated faith into some system of works and rules to be followed.  Moses said to Israel, "If you want to live, you must do all the Law commands."  Now, I don't know about you, but I have never been all that good at keep all of the rules all of the time.  I find myself "trying" to live by the "rules" in life, never really purposefully "coloring outside the lines", but in reality I live outside the lines a lot!  One of the quickest ways to get a child to do something is to tell them you don't want them to do it!  It is called reverse psychology!  I know God never gave the Law to Israel as a way of using reverse psychology on them, but trust me on this one - give any of us a set of rules to follow and we will get "creative" about how well we follow them!  We just over-complicate life.  Faith isn't complicated - it is simple trust in the one who gives us the faith to believe he "is" and always will "be".

All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, “The message is as near as your mouth or your heart.” And this is the same message we preach about faith. So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others. The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. All who call out to the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:8-13 CEV)

If we live with disappointment in life it is probably because of something we have done, or another human being has done which affected our lives in some way or other.  Most of us fail to recognize our disappointments aren't God's fault!  We get all worked up about keeping the rules - never crossing the line - then when we clearly cross the line, we get all twitter-pated over our lack of integrity to actually stay within the lines!  Do you know what disappointment really is?  It is the state of being thwarted in our efforts - that point in time when we become frustrated because things aren't going as we thought they should be.  This is why we get so down on ourselves - we have a wrong perception of who does this work within us.  We think it is US, when in truth it is God.

He accepts us.  He saves us.  He is generous toward us.  He answers when we call upon his name.  He won't disappoint us.  I like to watch this game show where people are asked tough questions, given four answers, then have to select the right one.  Some of those questions are pretty simple - kind of like a riddle you must figure out.  Others are quite hard - calling upon one's experiences, knowledge, and sheer intelligence.  In the game, the individual may call upon the audience, or a friend, to assist them to answer two of the questions - they may "jump over" a really tough one if they like.  I have observed many a contestant call upon a friend, or ask the audience to assist them in answering the tough question, only to see them become very disappointed by the outcome.  My friends, no one is going to come through for us 100% of the time!  No one, that is, except God himself!

The tough questions in life are best answered by the one with the answers.  The hardest challenges are best faced with the one in charge who actually knows the end from the beginning.  When we try to do things in our own effort, we get "close", but we don't get "spot on" very many times.  Faith was never intended to be a set of works, or "stuff" we do, but where we put our trust, focus our attention, and submit our will.  Looking again at our passage, I want us to see two very important words, "God will".  God will provide ALL that we need for life and godliness.  God will be the one who is our guide in tough circumstances. God will provide a way of escape where we only see walls around us.  God will envelope us in his arms when fears close in tightly, cutting off every source of hope we can muster.  God will!  We need to latch onto those words tightly, for in those words there is truth beyond our measuring!  Just sayin!