Tag Archives: Faith

Measuring Faith – Is it Possible to Store it Up?

Stocking Up

Measuing Faith - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

What kind of things do you stock up and store for when you need it? Do you have a way of measuring or counting up your stockpile? Yesterday, I ran by a friend’s house to pick up some things she was donating to a man in need. It has long been a running joke between us about the number of paper towels she keeps in stock. I have never seen anything like it as it looks like a shelf in the store. But yesterday, I learned that paper products weren’t the only thing she stocks and stores up.

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Turn to the Light in the Darkness

Jesus, Take the Wheel, Please!

Turn on the Light - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Yesterday, while I was volunteering at the local clothing center for those in need, one of our “neighbors,” said in a rather loud but teasing voice, “Take the wheel, Jesus, because I’m about to have a wreck.” I looked at her and questioned what she said and so she repeated the phrase. I laughed and said I had never heard that before, but I liked that her first choice was to turn to Christ. She went on to say that she had learned it from a pastor some years ago and it is a phrase that she often turns to when it looks like she is going to need some extra help. I have to agree that there is no better place to turn than to Jesus, whether life is out of control or not.

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Follow Me – Staying the Course Despite It All

Follow the Leader

Follow Me - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Did you play the children’s game, Follow the Leader, as a child? The game where one child is placed in charge, as the “leader” of a line of children. It is a silly and fun game for children as each “leader” moves their body in some wild manner to get all of the other children to be just as silly. Yes, it is a fun game because eventually, everyone is able to play the part of the “leader.” I imagine that if the “leader” position did not change out periodically, most children would tire of the game quickly and perhaps revolt to go off and do their own thing.

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Probability – Changing Your Life for the Future

It is What It is or Is It?

Probability - A Studio 1-37 Orignal Image

 “It is what it is!” Maybe you have heard or even used this phrase yourself for a situation in which you feel a sense of hopelessness, even though a changing action is always possible and with the right knowledge of probability preferably more positive. Life is full of uncertainty and randomness but with the proper employment of probability, we can face the challenges and move forward through making an informed judgment.

The Old Testament contains 60 major prophecies and 270 ramifications about the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled every one of these predictions. The study of probability tells us that Jesus fulfilling only 8 of the 60 major prophecies is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. Josh McDowell, in his book, More Than a Carpenter, puts these odds in perspective.

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Intentional Acts – Superpowered Gratitude

Intentional Acts or Obligated Ones

Have you initiated any intentional acts of gratitude to others this week? It seems it is sometimes easier to offer a greater amount of gratitude to strangers that owe us nothing than to people who we may feel are simply due reciprocal gratitude acts. This is especially true in families. It is odd that the people we most likely love the most are those that we are least likely to show deep gratitude for. We tend to just take them for granted. Perhaps we feel so secure in their love that we think our gratitude is clear through our obvious obligated acts. However, intentional acts of gratitude grossly differ from obligated ones.

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Peaks and Valleys – Faith No Matter Your Altitude

Leaving the Peaks for the Valleys

Peaks & Valleys - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Has your week been one of peaks or valleys? I love going to the mountains and I find it exhilarating to hike to their peaks. Standing on top and gazing at the views below is both peaceful and fulfilling. Looking out at the vast space before me I can quickly leave my problems behind separating myself from them. But there comes a time that I must hike back down to where I started.

Real life is very much like that too, filled with peaks and valleys. There are days that are full of the highs on the peaks and equally, there are days filled with the shadows of the valleys. Since life is filled with both peaks and valleys it is only through our faith in God that we come to embrace both, knowing that Christ is with us through them all.

From the mountaintop peaks, we can stand and view the distance and as powerful and peaceful as it may seem, it is possible for there to be peace and power found in the valley too with Christ at our side. John Calvin said that “Faith is not a distant view but a warm embrace of Christ.” When we are on the mountain peak, we can feel both close to God and His majesty and yet separate from the world as we view it from the distant. But through the power of our faith, we know that God is with us whether on the peak or more importantly even in and when the valley gets dark. For no matter where we are in life at some point, we leave the peaks and come down from the mountain to experience real life in the real world because after Sunday comes Monday.

Enthusiasm on the Peaks

This week’s focus verse may seem an oddly picked verse, but it is this verse that shows us that life goes on. Life is not all experienced from the mountain peaks but no matter where we are Christ remains with us. And like the disciples, we too can use our mountaintop experiences to help us in our real and everyday life.

Our verse this week comes just after Peter, John, and James descend from the mountain after witnessing the transfiguration of Christ. On that mountaintop peak, they saw not only the glory of Christ but met Moses and Elijah. However, even greater is that God spoke to them acknowledging fully His Son. Mountaintop experiences on earth don’t get much greater than this and Peter in his enthusiasm didn’t want it to end either, but God had work for them to do.

The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus.

Luke 9:37 (NLT)

Beautiful mountaintop peaks and the sometimes-surreal experiences from them often cause us to forget our troubles and the reality of a problem-filled world. Life in the valleys is often difficult or hard and as much as we might like to remain on the peaks, it is through the valleys that we can often find ourselves clinging closer to God. Our knowledge and experiences from the peaks allow us to use them in our everyday life helping others as well as ourselves. For our faith can remain strong in both places.

Taking it Back to the Valleys

If we remained on the peaks all the time, then we would be unable to offer to others our knowledge of Christ and the power of God to others. We would set ourselves apart from the valleys instead of living life in them. By taking our experiences from the peaks we not only can use it to sustain ourselves but to demonstrate it through our lives while in the valleys.

Mountaintop experiences on the peaks are important for it is often on the peaks that we can clearly see and recognize God for who He is. These times of rest and reflection are important and help us prepare to go back to the valley to do the work that God asks us to do through the faith and lessons learned while on the peaks. But we should remember, like the disciples, we don’t work in the valley alone because Christ is always with us.

We aren’t promised that life with Christ is easy, but we are promised that we are never alone. It is with that faith that we see that our life in the valleys is just as abundant as it is on the mountain peaks. By taking that faith and sharing it with others, they too, experience the peaks even in the valleys of life. For as someone once said, “Little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” When heaven comes to your soul it no longer matters whether you are on the mountain peaks or the valleys below for your soul sings in both places.

All the Altitudes of Life

Won’t you be challenged today to take your faith from the mountaintop peaks to the valleys of real-life living a life of full abundance in the shadows as well as the sun? Root your convictions in the promises of God while allowing your motivation to gain momentum with the blessings and experiences of the peaks. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that your God loves you so deeply, provides for you abundantly and is with you always no matter what altitude you may find yourself in.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

God does not make the mountains in order to be inhabited. God does not make the mountaintops for us to live on the mountaintops. It is not God’s desire that we live on the mountaintops. We only ascend to the heights to catch a broader vision of the earthly surroundings below. But we don’t live there. We don’t tarry there. The streams begin in the uplands, but these streams descend quickly to gladden the valleys below.

Henry Drummond

Extra Study

Matthew 17:14 -21, Mark 9:14 -29, 2 Peter 1:15-21

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you relish the experiences found on the mountaintop peaks of your life? Have you found yourself not wanting to come down from the mountain and get real with life in the valley? Share your thoughts on the importance of knowing that your faith must make sense both on the peaks and in the valleys.

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Deceptive Value – What’s It Really Worth?

Deceptive Fall and Birds

Valuable deceptions - A Studio 1-37 Original ImageIt seems that fall has finally arrived, at least on a temporary basis. Since it has been so elusive this year the cooler weather is holding a deceptive priceless value because of its rarity. Isn’t it funny how we often chose to love the rare and put to the side, if not, disdain the common? I’m sure that if faced with a long and brutal winter we will be longing for the hot days we have experienced this rather unusual warm fall. It is difficult to see the value sometimes in the things that are always surrounding us, but this is a deceptive way of ranking importance. Continue reading Deceptive Value – What’s It Really Worth?

A Tangled Messy Life: Where Do I Go from Here?

Oh, the Plans

When Your Thread becomes Tangled Call the Foreman! A Studio 1-37 original imageLife is often a tangled mess don’t you think? Often, we over plan and stretch ourselves too thin and the results amount to a stressed-out life filled with the anxiety of how to get it all accomplished. Sometimes our tangled mess isn’t even that of our own choosing but other’s choices that are pressed into our life. It doesn’t really matter what the underlying origins are as the effect remains the same. So, we need a plan to get through it all. Continue reading A Tangled Messy Life: Where Do I Go from Here?

Rewards: Are Truly Free Rewards a Misnomer?

Fall Rewards

Rewards - A Studio 1-37 orginal imageFall has officially arrived with hopefully all the wonderful rewards of the season following close behind. Cool and crisp weather is currently my top sought-after reward, followed closely by fuzzy clothing, fun bonfires, and just about anything with pumpkin. Of course, if you are a Starbucks fan your rewards came earlier this week as they celebrated Fall on Monday with their Fall-i-day. I’m not a Starbucks junkie but must admit that their fall menu of Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Salted Caramel Mocha, and Teavana Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte sure do sound like nice rewards for a job well done.

Perusing the new Fall menu items for Starbucks led me to further research where I learned that there are more than 80,000 ways they serve their beverages. That is a lot of caffeine! They even have a rewards system, as many places do. I have noticed though that these reward systems always seem to have a catch. They appear to be free but when you get right down to it the only way you earn your rewards is by spending more of your hard-earned dollars. Continue reading Rewards: Are Truly Free Rewards a Misnomer?

Hardships and Happiness: Are you Praying?

The Last Resort?

Prayer Always in Hardship and Praise - A Studio 1-37 Original ImageHas your week been filled with hardships or happiness? Are you praying or praising? Do you see prayer as a constant line of communication with God or is it your last resort? Perhaps you can identify with the elderly lady who constantly expressed all her many troubles, both the real and the imaginary. Finally, her family tactfully told her, ”Grandmother, we’ve done all we can for you. You’ll just have to trust God for the rest.” With a look of absolute despair spread over her face, she replied, ”Oh dear, has it come to that?” If you think about it carefully, it should always come to that. In fact, that is where we shouldn’t just begin, but where we should always be. Continue reading Hardships and Happiness: Are you Praying?