Obviously, it has been several months since I have posted a blog. As many of you know life has hit hard these past few months. While I was out biking today, I was thinking how the past year and a half has been a time of non-stop trials and tribulations. What I also realized today was that each one was an issue of the heart - some were physical like in my brother's case. He underwent mitral valve surgery last year only to have his heart stop beating on the way to recovery. Fortunately, they were able to get it pumping again after it stopped three times. The others were heart issues of the spiritual kind. You know the kind. The kind that causes us much hurt and pain. They leave us with a taste of bitterness that burrows down deep getting all nice and cozy, with the intention of never leaving. Yep, it's been a challenging time for me but I can assure you that many great lessons have been learned along the way stretching my faith and giving me the opportunity to see whether or not I would live what I say I believe.
While I was on vacation last November (which is when I first started this blog), Barry and I visited a church in Blue Ridge Ga. and behind the Praise Band hung a banner with the words "LIVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE!" I could not stop thinking about those words.
I realized that in order to live a life of faith you have to determine what you really believe in order to live it. It is then you can walk the walk and not just talk it. Living what you believe means to stand firm and true to God and all that you believe about Him and His character, regardless of what your circumstances are. Think of Job. Look at what he said when he lost his family and all his livestock. In Job 13:15 he says- "even though He slay me I will trust Him." We say we "trust" God but do we really? What happens when life tosses you a few fastballs and you swing until you are down and out - you are defeated? Do you still trust Him? We may say that we trust Him with our mouths but do we really? If we did we would not let those fastballs take us down and defeat us time after time.
Through this past year and a half, I had the opportunity to see where my faith and my so-called beliefs really were. When the fears came I had a decision to make, did I trust God with my future? Did I cry out to Him in prayer? Did I believe He would answer my prayer? When the hurts came, I had to trust God to be my comforter, to be the One who would hold me and wipe my tears away telling me it was all going to be okay. Did I believe that and would I live like I do? Do I believe in such a way that nothing will stop me from living my life displaying what I say I believe?
As we see the world spinning out of control, we need to live out what we say we believe more than ever. Why? The world is watching God's church, that's us. There is no better time than now to LIVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE! Lives are at stake and desperate for a light and a hope that will shine in a world that is full of darkness and evil. Are you willing to LIVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE even if it means standing alone for what you know is true and right, even if it means going through a time of hardship and testing for the sake of bringing hope to others?
The most important question and one that must be asked is "what do you believe...what do you REALLY believe?" I want to emphasize the word REALLY, not what do you say believe but deep down inside what do you believe? I want to encourage you to spend some time meditating on that question - "what do you REALLY believe? And how do you know for sure?" These two questions need to be answered if you want to live a life of victory in Jesus Christ and to be a light that offers hope to a dying world around you.
Let me share some other questions to ponder.
Who is God to you? Do you believe that the God of this universe, the Creator wants to have a personal relationship with you? How well do you know Him? Do you have just a "saving knowledge" of Him knowing that you are redeemed and will go to heaven or do you know Him in a deep and intimate way? In Zephaniah 3:17 it states - "He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Hmmm! Quiet me with His love - do you believe that? How have you experienced His quieting your spirit?
Do you believe in the power of prayer - why or why not? If so, is your life a life of prayer seeking God's wisdom, direction, guidance, His will for your life? On the other hand, is your prayer life more of handing God your laundry list each day?
Do you believe that you are more than a conqueror as the Bible states or are you continually living a life of defeat?
Do you live humbly before the foot of the cross remembering the One who died in your place?
These are just some questions for us to think about and I am sure we can each add a bunch more. I think it is important for us to examine ourselves in order to know where we stand in our beliefs.
Once we have done that let's LIVE WHAT BELIEVE in this world that is in desperate need of seeing the love and power of Jesus Christ in His church.