Tag Archives: Trust

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!

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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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Self-Defense that Secures You for Anything!

Summer Self-Defense

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The end of May is approaching, and Monday marks the unofficial pre-celebration of summer. This prompts me to think about some issues in which self-defense is needed. There are many things in which we can use protection, but when thinking about summer three things come immediately to mind. For along with the fun of summer, come extremely hot weather, sunburn, and insect bites that we can all use some self-defense with.

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Protection Comes with a Price

How Mothers are Like Magnets

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It is important to hold a basic understanding of magnets or the concept of protection a magnetic field offers. For example, it could be said that the earth’s magnetic field that serves to deflect most of the solar wind protects life on earth. Therefore, it is understandable that teachers begin this study early with elementary students. Ms. Johnson, a second-grade teacher, recently decided that her class should be able to understand the basics of the science of magnets; how they work and to visually see their effect on objects. The day after the lesson she included this question in a written test; “My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things and can offer protection to life. What am I?” 50% of the students answered the question with the word, Mother!

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Follow Me – Staying the Course Despite It All

Follow the Leader

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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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Peaks and Valleys – Faith No Matter Your Altitude

Leaving the Peaks for the Valleys

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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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Delicate Balances of Life: Fully Commit

Struggling with the Balance

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Do you struggle with the delicate balances of life? I know that I do. Caught somewhere between trying to trust God fully and yet trying to take over at the same time. Patience may be a virtue but most days I don’t think it belongs to me. Often when things go wrong or not the way I think they should, I immediately go into action. That appears to sum up my week as I struggled to find a delicate balance of control and patience while time breathed down my neck. If you have ever set up new electronic equipment you fully understand the frustrations that can occur.

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Being Ready – Live a Full Life Today for a Fuller Future

Are You in the Ready Lane or Just the Fast Track?

Ready Life - A Studio 1-37 original imageDo you live life in the ready lane? Earlier this week, I was asked if I lived my life to the fullest. All I could think was that if it got any fuller I would explode. But this, of course, was not what the questioner was asking. I began to wonder, was I living my life the optimum it can be, not in general, but every day. Did I live a ready life in the ready lane?

This question bothered me most of the week as it made me stop and think carefully about how I live my life each day. Do I live my life to the fullest in every experience? What does this even mean? How, am I spending my time and does that answer have me in the ready lane? As I struggled with this question, I decided to do what I do best when I begin a quest for answers. No, I didn’t go straight to the Bible, though that is where the real answers lay, instead, I went to Google. Continue reading Being Ready – Live a Full Life Today for a Fuller Future

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?