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Challenges, In His Image and Faith-Works

stairsApril 22, 2017 – Challenges

We all face challenges during our life time. Some are presented to us, some just seem to pop up and many we create or urge ourselves to do. Some challenges result in a happy ending, others may have health and well being results and others are just ones we would just assume get done and out of the way.

For those who don’t have to deal with a lot of medical challenges, it is hard to understand what people with different disabilities go through. It is hard to understand, that for some, just doing ordinary daily activities like cleaning the house, walking, doing dishes or taking out the garbage is a large, sometimes often painful challenge.

There are those who’s whole existence is filled with challenges. For some it is just a challenge to get out of a chair or into a bed, for others it is a challenge to talk, communicate or make their needs or wants know. This world is so full of diseases and illnesses that there are millions who have to face challenges associated with medical issues every day.

But there are emotional and spiritual challenges in our lives also. We are challenged to think right, to act right, to treat people right, to do the right things. We are challenged to keep our faith when things go wrong or not as we would prefer them to go. We are challenged to forgive when someone hurts us when we would just rather hold onto the hurt and pain and take revenge on them.

Challenges are a working force in our lives and how we go about accepting them and seeing them to the end will determine what the outcome will be. It is a challenge to think positive every day, but it is worth the very effort. It is a challenge to learn lessons from the past, but they ensure better results in the future. Today I am thankful to have passed all the challenges that have presented themselves in my life and I look forward to the better ones to come.

Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

April 23, 2017 – In His Image

I can well remember people in church trying to explain how we are made in God’s image. For many, they just assumed that we are physically like God, that he gave us two legs, two arms, two hands, two feet and one head because that was what he looked like. Not much was said about how we are like him in spirit or emotions.

There are many descriptions of God’s appearance in the bible. He appeared as a burning bush, as a columns of smoker or fire, in human form in the man called Jesus and in Revelation 1:12-15 he is described as follows:

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lamp-stands, and in the midst of the lamp-stands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.

But if you study your bible, you soon understand that “created in his image” is not talking about physical traits. John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. It is solely concerned with his spiritual and emotional attributes. God loves, we love, God gets angry, we get angry, God hurts, we hurt, God is sorrowful, we are sorrowful. He shows kindness, love mercy, grace and forgiveness, and many people have these same attributes and many struggle to have them. We are gloriously made in is spiritual image. Today I am thankful to be made in his image.

Jesus with children 2April 24, 2017 – Faith-Works

James 2:14-17“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? if a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”

But I’m a good person, I try to live like Jesus says, I don’t lie, I don’t cheat, I don’t do drugs or drink or curse or purposely hurt anyone”. This is what many professed Christians say. If you ask them what they do in God’s name, they may stutter and stammer and then finally say something like “I pay my tithes” or “I give to the church”, but that is not enough

Most other religions or belief systems have a ritualistic rules you have to follow in order to be in the grace of the idol or god they worship. In some you must make certain sacrifices or perform certain tasks and in others you have to pray in a certain position or a certain amount of times during the day. Our God doesn’t require this of us. He requires our faith and love and our willingness to do unto others as we would have them do to us.

This means that the works we do must come from the heart and not demands. Helping others, reaching out to the unsaved, taking care of the widows and orphans, lending a helping hand when you can and loving others are some works that almost anyone can do. Helping a disabled person or an elderly person put their groceries in the car, mowing a lawn for the grandma down the street, volunteering at a homeless shelter, a hospital, a nursing home or a soup kitchen are a few others.

Like me, there are those who are not able to go to other places to volunteer or help out, but when we are out, we stop and help anyone who looks like they might need a helping hand. We reach out to others in a loving fashion everywhere we go, being polite, listening to their problems and adding them to our prayer list. Today I am thankful for all the different ways God has allowed me to show my faith and his love through some form of “works”.

Faith with out works is another way of cheating God and cheating yourself.

Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

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