Repair or Replace? – The Trial of Faith

Repair or Replace?
old window

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

It was time to fix the trim on the windows of our house. So I scraped, sanded, and applied wood filler to get the aging trim ready for paint. After all of my efforts—including a coat of primer and some too-expensive paint—the trim looks, well, pretty good. But it doesn’t look new. The only way to make the trim look new would be to replace the old wood.

It’s okay to have weather-damaged window trim that looks “pretty good” to our eye. But when it comes to our sin-damaged hearts, it’s not enough to try to fix things up. From God’s point of view, we need all things to become new (2 Cor. 5:17).

#Salvation is a beautiful gift that comes with #faith in Jesus.

That is the beauty of salvation through faith in Jesus. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sin and rose from the dead to display His power over sin and death. The result is that in God’s eyes, faith in Christ’s work makes us a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17) and replaces the old with a “new life” (Acts 5:20). Looking through Jesus and His work on the cross for us, our heavenly Father sees everyone who has put his or her faith in Him as new and unblemished.

Sin has caused great damage. We can’t fix it ourselves. We must trust Jesus as Savior and let Him give us a brand-new life.

Heavenly Father, I understand that sin has damaged my heart. I put my trust in the Savior’s sacrifice and ask You to wash away my sins and make me a new person. Thank You for what Jesus did for me.

Only Jesus can give you a new life.

By Dave Branon

The Trial of Faith
seeds

If you have faith as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you. —Matthew 17:20

We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. But we do not earn anything through faith— faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings. The beginning of your life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. Then God withdrew His conscious blessings to teach you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And you are worth much more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight with your thrilling testimony.

Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

Jesus Christ can afford to be misunderstood; we cannot. Our weakness lies in always wanting to vindicate ourselves. The Place of Help

OSWALD CHAMBERS

God Works Within Us

Ephesians 3:20-21

Let the words from today’s reading slowly sink into your understanding: “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). What an amazing description of the Lord’s ability to work within us. Yet so often our focus is mainly on what we want Him to do around us: If He would change this situation or fix that problem, then my life would be better. But He invites us to think and ask bigger—He wants to change us!

The Holy Spirit has more than enough power to transform lives from the inside out, but working change within is usually a slow process. Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and mature. That’s why we need patience and faith to believe He is working even when we don’t see the results right away. God is never in a hurry and will never give up on us.

The Lord has a purpose for your life, and He is constantly working to achieve it. Although He has an individualized plan for each one of His children, He also has an overarching goal—to conform every believer to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this, He may have to bring us through some struggles and heartaches. It might not make sense to us, but God knows exactly what He’s doing.

What would you like to see the Lord do within you? As you read the Scriptures, look for qualities that God considers precious, and ask Him to work them out in your life. Then rely on His wonderful promise to do even more than you have asked or imagined.

Some Seducing Spirits

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)

This very cogent warning by the Holy Spirit, spoken “expressly” (or “with special clarity”) for those living in the latter days, predicts an unusual outbreak of seductive demonism—not just in pagan, idol-worshipping, or animistic cultures, but in “Christian” nations, where they can lead many to “depart from the faith” which their forefathers once professed. Christians, therefore, should not be taken by surprise at the vast eruption of witchcraft, New Age mysticism, Eastern occultism, rock-music demonism, drug-induced fantasies, altered states of consciousness, and even overt Satan-worshipping cults that have suddenly proliferated in our supposedly scientific and naturalistic society. Behind it all are the “seducing spirits” and “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12).

It should be obvious that Christians must completely avoid all such beliefs and practices. “I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils” (1 Corinthians 10:20). “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Even “innocent” fun (Halloween parties, ouija boards, dungeons-and-dragons games, etc.) and well-intentioned (but many times superficial) exorcism of apparent demon possession by Christian workers have often led to dangerous demonic influences in the lives of Christian people, as well as in Christians who have sought supernatural experiences or revelations. In anything that even touches on occultism or demonic influence, the advice of Peter is relevant. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). HMM

I Refuse to Compete

So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. —1 Corinthians 3:7-8

Dear Lord, I refuse henceforth to compete with any of Thy servants. They have congregations larger than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. Very well. That is not in their power nor in mine. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones. I only pray that I may use to Thy glory such modest gifts as I possess. I will not compare myself with any, nor try to build up my self-esteem by noting where I may excel one or another in Thy holy work. I herewith make a blanket disavowal of all intrinsic worth. I am but an unprofitable servant. I gladly go to the foot of the class and own myself the least of Thy people. If I err in my self judgment and actually underestimate myself I do not want to know it. I purpose to pray for others and to rejoice in their prosperity as if it were my own. And indeed it is my own if it is Thine own, for what is Thine is mine, and while one plants and another waters it is Thou alone that giveth the increase.”

Amen.

We Are Declared Not Guilty by the Highest Court

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11

The Christian believer cannot be happy and victorious in the true liberty of the children of God if he is still quaking about his past sins.

God knows that sin is a terrible thing—yes, and the devil knows it, too! So the devil follows us around and as long as we will permit it, he will taunt us about our past sins. As for myself, I have learned to talk back to him on this score.

I say, “Yes, Devil, sin is terrible—but I remind you that I got it from you! And I remind you, Devil, that everything good—forgiveness and cleansing and blessing—everything that is good I have freely received from Jesus Christ!”

Everything that is bad and that is against me I got from the devil—so why should he have the effrontery and the brass to argue with me about it? Yet he will do it because he is the devil, and he is committed to keeping God’s children shut up in a little cage, their spiritual wings clipped.

Brethren, we have been declared “Not guilty!” by the highest court in all the universe. It is good to know that on the basis of grace as taught in the Word of God, when God forgives a man, He trusts him as though he had never sinned.

The Bible does not teach that if a man falls down, he can never rise again. The fact that he falls is not the most important thing—but rather that he is forgiven and allows God to lift him up! That is the basis of our Christian assurance and God wants us to be happy in it.

When You Come to the Lord’s Table

Ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 1 CORINTHIANS 11:26

God still seeks humble, cleansed and trusting hearts through which to reveal His divine power and grace and life. A professional botanist from the university can describe the acacia bush of the desert better than Moses could ever do—but God is still looking for the humble souls who are not satisfied until God speaks with the divine fire in the bush.

A research scientist could be employed to stand and tell us more about the elements and properties found in bread and wine than the apostles ever knew. But this is our danger: We may have lost the light and warmth of the presence of God, and we may have only bread and wine. The fire will have gone from the bush, and the glory will not be in our act of Communion and fellowship.

Heavenly Father, I pray that my heart will be prepared by Your Holy Spirit each time I come to the Communion table—lest the table of our Lord should become a common and careless thing.