Thursday, December 23, 2010

Active Faith

What is it to be faithful? Per, it is "strict or thorough in the performance of a duty . . . true to one's word . . . steady . . . loyal. . . . reliable, trusted, believed . . . true to fact, a standard, or an original." By definition, sounds like faithfulness takes some active effort -- not a passive, ho-hum, nebulous, mystical term at all!

When the prophet Habakkuk uses the term in today's reading, he seems to draw a comparison between faithfulness and the lack of it:

. . . his soul is puffed up; it is not upright
within him, but the righteous shall live
by his faith (footnoted "faithfulness"). Habakkuk 2:4

The New Testament section was way over my head for the most part, but I did pick up on a reference to faith:

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints,
those who keep the commandments of God
and their faith in Jesus. " . . . Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord from now on . . . Blessed indeed,"
says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors,
for their deeds follow them!" - Revelation 14:12-13

The deeds of the faithful follow them. Habakkuk's comparison between one who is "puffed up" and a righteous person is very pertinent, since endurance and consistency can be a problem for me when it comes to faith. I am moody! Sometimes I feel like pursuing God, and sometimes I don't so much. Some days I'm willing to squeeze in time for prayer and focused Bible reading, and on other days things get in my way. This is a reminder to you and me both. It takes an active, steady effort to live by faith, but our deeds will follow us. It is well worth the time and trouble to keep up the discipline of an active faith!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ridiculous Expectations

"The thing that the king has asked is difficult . . . " Are there ridiculous expectations place upon your time, finances, emotions, or intellect? Today's reading was a great encouragement to me as I try to keep my head above water and juggle the numerous balls I have in the air.

There is an answer. Seek counsel from the God of mercy, draw together with others of in prayer, and rejoice that God gives knowledge to the wise, and reveals hidden understanding today, just as in Daniel's time:

. . . he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me
wisdom and might . . .
The light dwells with God, and is freely shared with us, available for the asking in the name of Jesus. Give thanks! No matter how frazzled and overwhelmed we may feel, God will make known to us everything we need to know concerning the matters befor us.

Furthermore, God will bless those around us as a result of our trust in Him. Daniel was able to save the necks of his peers as well as his own (see verse 24). Others will reap the benefits of God's presence in our lives, and through our testimony, God's character will be revealed.

I'm rejoicing in the middle of my busy, impossible day, and I pray wisdom and might for you today, too.
. . . there IS a God in heaven
who reveals mysteries . . . - from Daniel 2:28