Today I have another wonderful devotional by Patricia Knight to share with you. This one is from her book, Pure Joy.
In my garden are many flowers. Oh, it is a beautiful sight, encompassing the whole back yard in the summertime. But, right now, in the deepest of winter cold, there is no evidence of any life under the deep snow and layers of protective mulch. But, I know the flowers, in their dormant stage, are there. I have faith that when warm weather arrives, the snow melts, and the mulch is removed, all of the glorious blooms of last year will return. I don’t understand the cycle. God certainly breathes life back into the seasonally dead flowers.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Though we have never seen God, we believe in Him because He has given us evidence of His presence. All around us we are surrounded with His creation. Modern science has yet to duplicate many of His sophisticated creations.
As Christians, we don’t assign amazing happenings in our lives to luck. There is no luck, but only God talking with us and walking with us.
Faith is blind. God has a perfect plan for our lives, but He only reveals the details a little at a time. I wonder how many of us could be trusted with the weight of knowing what will happen in our lives in the future? I am predicting, not many of us. That is why faith is so important. God knows what routes and curves our lives will take in the future, but saves us from the burden of knowing. What a marvelous God is He! Each day, He gives us a bit more knowledge, and builds upon it with every succeeding day.
In the Old Testament, there are many “if/then” agreements between God and His people. There was an action, which produced a reaction. “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commandments, I will send you rain in its season”— (Leviticus 26:3). There were conditions to most of God’s promises so that He could build a personal, responsive relationship with His people.
Since Jesus died on the cross to absolve our sins, God commands that we live by faith. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2).
By exercising our faith in God, we become faithful, or we make faith a reality in our lives.
We become dependent, obedient, and joyful in our daily walk with God. It is not easy to be faithful. Without God’s help, it is impossible. But, we are told, with God’s help, “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). God is the standard against whom we measure all our thoughts, words and actions. We learn faithfulness from God because God is first faithful to us. When God does what He promised, He is demonstrating His faithfulness to us. When we do what God requires of us, we are showing faithfulness in return. Our relationship is on a personal basis because the sacrifice of Jesus bridged the gap between sinful man and His Creator. If we accept Jesus into our lives to be our Savior and Lord, He only asks for our faithfulness. No other conditions are attached.
As if God weren’t faithful enough Himself, He gives us human examples to demonstrate how faithfulness works among our peers. Think about the faithfulness of Abraham. I still don’t understand how Abraham could even come close to offering Isaac upon the altar. But, he was faithful. He trusted God that He would show a love and mercy greater than Abraham’s would right at that moment. And, God didn’t disappoint him. You know the story (Genesis 22). It rings in our ears of a living example of what a man can do when energized with the power of God.
Or, how about the odds that Daniel faced? In spite of the new law restricting prayer, one really designed to trip up Daniel, he remained faithful to his God, and prayed as he always had. As a result, Daniel was thrown to the lions for his faithfulness. The hungry lions were powerless against his God. Still, he trusted. He remained faithful to God and witnessed to His glory among a savage people. And, God made him a great man.
To be abandoned by his brothers, sold as a slave, graduated to serve the king, and entrusted with a kingdom, only to be falsely maligned and thrown into prison, Joseph remained faithful. God, who had a plan for Joseph’s life, never forsook him. In the end, God rewarded Joseph’s faithfulness.
Do we have any more temptation today than those men of old did? I think not. The temptations were different, but there are no fewer of them. Everyday, we are bombarded with alluring come-ons. We are told to be faithful to our God, and He has promised to give us the power to resist temptation so that “we can flee the devil” (James 4:7).
One of my favorite Bible characters is Job. If anyone endured horrific losses, it was he. I am wondering if I could ever summon Job’s amount of strength? He gives me a challenging example. God gives me the strength. Pain, death, sorrows all plagued Job for no apparent reason. Reading of his triumph over all of it is an inspiration to me. Job remained faithful. I am commanded to do the same. Job was rewarded for his steadfastness when God returned all his losses, plus more worldly riches than he had before.
I know someday I will live in a heavenly home with streets of gold and fertile fields and prolific fragrant flowers. I will be in the very presence of God Himself, if I remain faithful. A pastor friend of mine frequently uses a haunting phrase: “Few Christians finish well.” I don’t want to be one of the casualties. I want to be faithful to the end. “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). May God give you the strength to remain faithful, no matter what the temptation.
“O Lord God Almighty, who is like you. You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you” (Psalm 89:8). No longer does law bind us, but we live by faith. Oh, that someday God will say to me as He did to the servants in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:23), “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!”
Wow! To hear those words at the end of my days is a wish and a dream. May those words of Jesus also spur you on to a greater faith, with a closer daily walk with Him.