Saturday, September 8, 2018

September 9, 2018

"Make every effort to add to your faith....." II Peter 1:5a

You probably remember your first real crush when you were young. It was intense! I think "crush" is the right word for it!

I love the story about the young fellow who found himself head over heels for a young lady. She was all he could think of and when he did think of her his heart rate went up exponentially! He couldn't wait to be with her and when he was with her and when he was with her hours became like seconds! And he was pretty sure she felt the same way about him! Life was wonderful!

He was thinking of her one afternoon at work when he really should have been working. As it usually happened, when he thought of her he became overwhelmed by her so he sent her this email:

I adore you, my Love! I would climb the highest mountain to be with you! I would swim the deepest sea if it separated us! I would wade through a swamp infested with snakes and alligators in order to be near to you! There is nothing that could separate me from your love! And, by the way, I will be over tonight if it doesn't rain.

Hmmm! That's sort of a mixed message wouldn't you say?

Do you suppose that response planted a little bit of doubt in her mind about his professed devotion to her?

I'm not seeing "gazelle intensity" there!

That makes me wonder, "Do I ever send a mixed message to God? Do I stand in worship service caught up in the atmosphere of the music and sing songs of commitment and devotion that essentially say you will do anything for Him?" Only to bail out on Him when it gets tough?

"Make every effort" means I must go out in the rain or whatever is required to be obedient to God. Faith means believing that He can strengthen me and sustain me in any circumstance to which He calls me into. Unless and until I am willing to crawl out of my comfort zone I my faith will never have a chance to grow. The fact is that faith is dynamic, it isn't static. If my faith doesn't stretch and grow, it shrinks and weakens.

God forgive me for my mixed messages. Give me faith to go out in the rain.

September 8, 2018

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith......." II Peter 1:5a

We know the reasons for giving every effort to building our faith, what we're not sure of is why we don't.

When we think of all that God has done for us, why would we not make every effort?

When we consider everything that Jesus suffered and sacrificed for us, why would we not make every effort?

Considering all that God has made available for us through our faith, why would we not make every effort?

Could it be a lack of desire that keeps us from making every effort toward faith? If so, what is that we desire more?

Could it be a lack of devotion that keeps us from making every effort toward faith? If that is true, then what is it we are more devoted to?

Perhaps it is a lack of discipline that keeps us from making every effort toward faith? Discipline means saying no to non-faith things in order to say yes to faith. And discipline means continuing to say no to the wrong things and yes to faith things.

Making every effort requires a desire for faith, a devotion to faith and a discipline toward faith.

What do you desire more than you desire faith?

What are you devoting yourself to more than faith?

Where do you need to be more disciplined?

September 7, 2018

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness"  II Peter 1:5a

Glenda and Robert Lennon were four miles off the coast of Florida fishing alone from their yacht. Glenda decided to take a swim and soon found the current had carried her too far out from the boat. Her husband, hearing her cries, without thinking dove in and swam to her, but then realized they were both being carried out. He was a champion swimmer, but not she. They made a plan. He would swim against the tide to keep the boat in view until the tide ceased and he could reach the boat. She should save her strength and just float with the tide and he would come and get her. He fought the tide for six hours and just as the boat was about to disappear on the horizon the tide turned and his strokes carried him to the boat exhausted. The sun had set. His searching was futile—he could not find his wife. The next day on one last effort of search, the search party found his wife—twenty miles out and still alive. It was an incredible story.

What it illustrates is this: Christians who just float never stay in the same place. Christians who disobey verses 5 - and beyond - do not apply themselves with diligence to grow and bear the fruit of faith drift into great peril. We must strive even to stand still, the tide of temptation is so strong.

Robert Lennon survived this ordeal because he made every effort to swim against the tide and stay within range of his boat. And when he had spent all of his strength to make progress against the tide - the tide shifted and carried him to his rescue!

As a result of his persistent effort to swim against the tide, not only was he rescued BUT his wife also was rescued!

When Peter urges these believers to "make every effort" to add to their faith he is encouraging them to swim against the tide - the tide of temptation, the tide of apathy, the tide of discouragement, the tide of doubt - any of which will cause them to drift from the safety and security of a relationship with Christ.

Should they be lost or set adrift they would not be able to rescue others.

How about you? Are you swimming or are you drifting? Are you making progress against the tides of opposition or are you being pulled under by them?

"Make every effort to add to your faith....."