A Pocketful of Promises

pocketMy Reader, is there anything in your pocket? I encourage you to fill the pocket of your heart with the promises of God. These promises are good stuff to find in your pocket because Joshua 21:45 says, “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” If His promises did not fail the Israelites, neither will His promises fail us. II Corinthians 1:20 also assures us that, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

God wants you to accept His promises as personal words that He whispers to you when you need encouragement or direction or forgiveness or strength. These are reminders of His love for you and His interest in your life. II Peter 1:4 NLT says, “He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” The Lord wants you to have His promises close in your heart pocket so you can pull them out at specific times. If His promises are hidden in the pocket of your heart, you will not have to get out a Bible or concordance to hear His words of wisdom.

Be ready to pull out a promise from your pocket and apply it to your present circumstances. The Lord gives you His promises to transform you as well as to inform you. It is valuable for you to know His specific promises, but it is of even more important to put the power of His promises to use in your life. At the time of creation, God spoke “Let there be…” and it happened. When God speaks His promises to you, He is saying “Let there be” whatever the promise provides for you personally.

Let me help you fill up your heart’s pocket by sharing a few promises spoken personally by Jesus.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives;
and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”

Luke 11:9-10

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may be with you forever;

John 14:16

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20

Today, I challenge you to fill the pocket of your heart with an abundance of God’s promises. Do not let doubt create a hole in your heart that could cause you to lose the power of the personal promises spoken into your life by the Lord. Allow these promises to overflow from your pocket but never lose them.

I want to close on a lighter note by sharing my adaptation of the Mother Goose rhyme about Peter Piper.

Personally pick a pocketful of precious promises;
A pocketful of precious promises please pick;
If you pick a pocketful of precious promises,
What will the pocketful of precious promises provide?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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IF…

bible-studyAnd a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees
before Him, and saying, “
If You are willing
, You can make me clean.”
Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him,
and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
Immediately the leprosy
left him and he was cleansed.
Mark 1:40-42

Today, I want to consider two different interpretations of the phrase “If You are willing” found in the verses of scripture I have quoted from the gospel of Mark.

I usually have interpreted this phrase to reveal a lack of faith by the leper. He does believe because he seeks Jesus for healing and he shows a reverence for Jesus by coming humbly to Him. I have perceived the leper as possibly being a relatively new believer who was not extremely confident in his faith. Jesus is touched by the honesty of the leper and reaches out to touch him. While the leper was healed by the touch of Jesus, I also believe he developed a deeper relationship with Jesus because of this personal encounter. Jesus assured the leper that He was willing and able to do what the leper asked. Previously, I have pictured the leper as one who was wanting to know more about who Jesus was and what He could do. This man had faith, yet he lacked faith.

Recently while reading these verses, I thought about the possibility of the leper expressing this phrase for a different reason. I wondered if the words, “If You are willing,” revealed a more profound faith and understanding of who Jesus was. In John 5:19, Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” Then in John 8:28 Jesus said, “I do nothing on my own.” I have to wonder if this leper had a greater understanding of who Jesus was than I had originally accredited to him. He may have been respecting the fact that Jesus was only able to do what was in agreement with His Heavenly Father.

Regarding both interpretations, there are three points I want to highlight.

First of all, I want to note that although leprosy is a physical disease, it is also spiritually symbolic of sin. I may not have the disease of leprosy in my body but I do admit that sinfulness can be found within me. So, I ask the question, Do I sincerely believe that Jesus can forgive my sins? I John 1:9 assures me, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

My next focal point is related to the fact that the leper came to Jesus in person and asked to be healed. To put it into other terms, I can say that he prayed. Do I take time to pray and specifically ask the Lord for what I desire? Jesus says in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” However, in addition, I need to remember to surrender to God’s will when interceding in prayer. I must follow the example Jesus gave to His disciples as to how to pray. In Matthew 6:10 Jesus told His disciples to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Pastor Bob Reeves of Calvary Assembly of God has said that we need to recognize both the power of God to do something and His right to do something. We do not dictate our terms when praying. We follow Jesus, not ask Him to follow us.

Finally, I must examine my level of faith. Does the phrase “If You are willing” reflect a lack of in my faith that would benefit from being deepened? I may need to cry out to Jesus the words of Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Or, am I exhibiting a faith in God that surrenders to the will of God when I verbalize the words, “If You are willing”? Maybe I should heed the words of Hebrews 10:36, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” The truth I must remember from our scripture for today is found in Mark 1:41 when Jesus says, “I am willing.” Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Jesus will meet me and touch me no matter what level of faith I am experiencing as long as I call out to Him.

My Reader, how deep is your faith today? How do you interpret the leper’s words? You can receive a touch from Jesus no matter which interpretation is currently most appropriate for you as long as you cry out to Him.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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The Resurrected King

resurrectionSince we just celebrated Jesus’ resurrection this past Sunday, it is not surprising that I am still singing the Elevation Worship lyrics of the current Christian song Resurrecting The specific phrase that I am pondering declares, “The resurrected king is resurrecting me.” Please join me in pondering this phrase and searching the scriptures for a more complete comprehension.

The rresurrected King…”

He is not here, but He has risen.
Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,
saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men,
and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
Luke 24:6-7

You killed the author of life,
but God raised him from the dead.
Acts 3:15

Resurrection comes from the Greek word anastasis that is a compound word composed of ana meaning again and histemi meaning to stand. Jesus was standing – He was not on the cross – He was not in the grave. Jesus was resurrected on the third day. He was brought back to life.

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father
Revelation 1:5-6

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
Revelation 19:16

Resurrected King” is an appropriate description of Jesus! He is King over all kings, and we are to be part of His kingdom. In the final book of the Bible, He is declared King of kings and Lord of lords.

“… is resurrecting me”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God
unless they are born again.”
John 3:3

To intimately know Jesus, the Resurrected King, we must be born again. Being born again is a form of resurrection for us because this means that our spirit is born again, brought back to life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!
II Corinthians 5:17

The new life we are given in Christ is a resurrected life. To be resurrected is to be used again, but in a new way.

I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection
and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

To fully comprehend the necessary power for Jesus to resurrect us, we may have to share in some form of suffering. It is often through suffering that we come to more intimately know Christ.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me.
Matthew 16:24

Jesus died on the cross before being resurrected. We are each required to take up our cross which means for us to die to our selfish ways before resurrection life is possible for us.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is
–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

The renewing of our minds is part of the resurrection life the Resurrected King is offering to us. We have a new mind. We have the mind of Christ

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Because of the resurrection power of Christ that now lives in us, we can fulfill God’s purposes for our lives.

The Resurrected King is resurrecting me.”

For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Romans 6:5
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

Although I have only quoted two verses from Romans 6, the first 11 verses of this chapter proclaims the resurrection life that our Resurrected King is offering to us. When we confess our sins of selfishness, anger, pride etc., we die to them and then we are resurrected to selflessness, love, humility etc. We can now live the resurrection life that Jesus is offering to us.

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant,
even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will,
working in us that which is pleasing in His sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.
Hebrews 13:20-21

I cannot think of a better verse to fulfill this complete phrase from the song Resurrecting! Just a few days ago we proclaimed, “He is risen!” and “He is risen indeed!” Now I am also praising the Lord and saying, “He is resurrecting me!” and “He is resurrecting me indeed!” My Reader, are you ready to make these proclamations?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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PS: I am also including the Elevation Worship lyrics of Resurrection as there is a wonderful message in the complete song.

The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now
The Savior knelt to wash our feet
Now at his feet we bow

The one who wore our sin and shame
Now robed in majesty
The radiance of perfect love
Now shines for all to see

Your name
Your name
Is victory
All praise
Will rise
To Christ our king
[x2]

The fear that held us now gives way
To him who is our peace
His final breath upon the cross
Is now alive in me

Your name
Your name
Is victory
All praise
Will rise
To Christ our king
[x2]

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
[x3]

The tomb where soldiers watched in vain
Was borrowed for three days
His body there would not remain
Our God has robbed the grave
Our God has robbed the grave

Your name
Your name
Is victory
All praise
Will rise
To Christ our king
[x2]

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me

Your Thanksgiving Feast

thanksgiving-dinner-2thanksgiving-dinner-1pumpkin-pie-2While planning and preparing the Thanksgiving meal for our family, I realize not everyone will eat everything that is served. That is OK because everyone is allowed to have their likes and dislikes regarding food. I also know that everyone will still have thankful hearts whether or not they help themselves to every dish. I wonder if this is not true for us spiritually as well. God prepares many types of food and experiences that are placed before us on our table of life. We may not like the taste of every situation we encounter but these are still things for which we are to be thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Let’s develop a thankfulness in our hearts as we look at this verse from two different perspectives.

First, Paul tells us in this verse to give thanks IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. Even though we walk through difficult situations in our lives, we are to keep a perspective of thankfulness. It helps us get though tough times when we remember who God is and that He is with us. We can be thankful for this fact. The assurance of the Lord’s presence is recorded in early times of the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Another way to look at the concept of thankfulness in all circumstances is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” This is harder to understand but I think it has some validity. Our testimony of how the Lord helps us through difficult times can be an encouragement to others who are struggling. God does not CAUSE these difficulties but He can USE them if we allow Him to do so. We never know how or when He will be able to use our not so pleasant crises for the benefit of others as well as for ourselves.

My Readers, take time to give thanks, especially on Thanksgiving Day. I encourage you to not forget the difficult times you have experienced. It is OK that you may not have liked everything that has happened but you can be thankful for the Lord’s presence with you through the good and the bad and the miraculous. The turkey on your banquet table may look as delicious to you as the joy you feel for your job that provides financial security for your family or you may feel stuffed with unpaid bills. You can still be thankful for God being Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider, because He will provide in some way that may yet be unknown. We all know that we should eat our vegetables. Some of us may eat the green bean casserole with thankfulness for health while another person is served a helping of a different vegetable. The person sitting next to you may feel squashed by upcoming surgery or cancer treatments. When it comes to the type of potatoes, one person at your table may feel sweet by the presence of a newborn baby while another person may feel their thankfulness mashed by the empty chair at the table since a family member has passed on to be with the Lord. As a relish plate is passed, some may identify with the sour dill pickles while others may like the crispness of a carrot stick. Likes and dislikes will abound around the table. However, I presume everyone will like dessert. The final course of the meal ends with a tantalizing tastiness. The final bit of physical hunger can be filled with a sugary treat while the spiritual hunger can be satisfied with thankfulness. I want to offer each of My Readers an ample piece of Thanksgiving pie in the form of scripture cut from the Biblical pie. It is my prayer that you will thankfully chew and meditate upon who God is within your life on Thanksgiving Day.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
I Chronicles 16:34

I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
Psalm 7:17

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 106:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks
to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Go FIGure!

fig treeOn the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!”
Mark 11:11-14

Poor little fig tree! What did it do to deserve to be condemned to die? It wasn’t even the season for it to have any figs. So what if Jesus was hungry?” This is how I used to feel when I read about Jesus cursing the fig tree in the gospel of Mark. However, I have come to gain a deeper understanding of these and the following verses of Mark 11.

Jesus says in John 15:1-2,5-6, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit….I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” There may be some branches of my life that need pruning, but I do not want to be cast out. So, I look to find out what kind of fruit I should bear. My answer is in Galatians 5:22-23, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” I would rather yield to my Heavenly Father’s pruning of the unfruitful branches of my life and allow for the growth of new fruit than to risk the curse of Jesus at the final judgment.  I don’t want to be like the fig tree Jesus cursed.

In Rev. Cheryl Schang’s book entitled Heal Them All, she makes an application of the withering of the fig tree to physical healing. She points out that since the fig tree was not useful to Jesus, He cursed it to die. Her analogy is that we can curse a tumor or unnatural growth in our bodies to die because it is not useful to our bodies. Like cleansing the temple, we have authority in the name of Jesus to cleanse our bodies of sickness and spirits that do not allow us to function as temples of the Holy Spirit. (“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”I Corinthians 6:19) This is definitely something for me to think about!

Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robber’s den.”
Mark 11:15-17

According to notes I have read in the Life Application Bible, the withering of the fig tree is an acted-out parable of Jesus cleansing the temple which is recorded in further verses of Mark 11. The temple was supposed to be a place of worship but true worship was no longer taking place within the temple walls.

Jesus wanted spiritual fruit produced in the temple just as He wanted physical fruit produced by the fig tree. The leaves on the fig tree made it appear that fruit could be produced and the actions of these men in the temple looked good on the outside. However, Jesus saw more deeply into both the fig tree and the men’s actions inside the temple. Jesus wanted faith and fruit. If I relate this to my life, I need to look carefully at my life and evaluate if I am producing fruitful fruit for the Lord. If I appear to have faith without putting it to work in my life, I am like the fig tree that withered and died because of no fruit. Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s kingdom. James 2:17 says, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” As Jesus cleansed the temple, I want Him to cleanse my life of anything that hinders either my faith or my doing good works that would bless the Lord and further His Kingdom.

In the outer courts of the temple, doves were sold for sacrifices and money changers  cheated people who needed currency exchanged so they could buy the sacrificial animals. An angry Jesus threw them out because this was not the purpose of the temple. Jesus came to offer salvation to both the Jews and the Gentiles and the outer court of the temple was where the Gentiles could come to worship. The actions of the dishonest men offended Jesus. This causes me look closely within myself to see what I may be allowing in my life that is crowding out my time of worship. Am I causing Jesus to become angry? Jesus wanted “His house” to return to being a house of prayer. Making a personal application, I search my heart to discover what might need overturning in my life to allow me to be a person of prayer.

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered…. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:20-22, 24

Reading further in the 11th chapter of Mark, I find out that the poor little fig tree did indeed die. It died because it did not produce edible fruit. The temple was cleansed because it did not produce spiritual fruit. However, Mark 11:22 reveals to me the solution for my being able to bear fruit for Him. I need to have faith in God. I need to believe in Him. If I have faith, then I will be fruitful in my prayer life according to verse 24. I will be a fruitful temple of the Holy Spirit.

Joyfully,
Cheryl

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A Fragile Word

All was quiet around me. I was in bed but not asleep. My mind was still drifting over thoughts of the evening’s experiences of the retreat I was attending. Then my spiritual ears heard the following words from the Lord. “I have entrusted My child, Adam, to you. He is fragile. Just love him. I am working. Walk with Me.” I felt like I was the boy Samuel fulfilling Eli’s instructions of I Samuel 3:9,”Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” I was listening! In what I share in the following paragraphs, I have changed the name of this individual to Adam representing the first human being God created. Adam can be any one of us. I am not referring to a male or female person, but I have chosen to use the masculine pronoun. Although this was a very personal word, I think many of my readers will be able to insert the name of their own Adam into these brief statements. My Reader, search your life and see if you are called to apply these statements to a special someone in your life as I expand upon the insights I discovered.

fragile-birdsI have entrusted My child, Adam, to you.

The first word that caught my attention was entrusted. It was humbling to think that God was investing me with responsibility for someone’s life. Then I remembered Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” I praised the Lord that He desired me to partner with Him for the fulfillment of His plans and purposes for this individual.

fragile-roseHe is fragile.

Since the Lord chose “fragile” to describe this particular child that belonged to Him, I pondered the meaning of the word. Two characteristics came to mind: vulnerability and the ability to be broken.

If a person is vulnerable, he is susceptible to being wounded physically, emotionally and spiritually. There is most likely a weakness within the character and personality of this person. I want Adam to know that according to II Corinthians 12:9 the Lord says to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” My husband and I often watch Antique Roadshow on TV. There is a commercial of an active boy running back and forth in front of a table where an expensive vase is placed. Hands come and grasp the vase to keep it from falling and being broken. To me, this depicts the vulnerability of the object to be broken. I apply this to Adam. Paul says in II Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” As I think about a person being breakable, I sense both the negative and the positive possibilities. When something is broken, its original condition is lost. The specific vase in the TV commercial could never have been replaced if it had broken. However, when thinking about a person being broken, it can be a good thing. The Lord is able to take the vulnerability and weakness of a person and repair him to be better than he was previously. David says in Psalm 34:18 NLT, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Also Psalm 51:17 NLT says, “You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

loveJust love him.

When I first heard the Lord’s words regarding Adam’s life, I was overwhelmed. However, then the Lord gave me guidance as to what He wanted me to do. Love is a simple four letter word but it not necessarily an easy task to fulfill. I turn to the love chapter of the Bible for guidance. I highlight words from I Corinthians 13:4, 7,8, and 13, “Love is patient, love is kind….It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I am particularly assured and strengthened by the fact that love never fails. I have heard it said that love is wanting what is best for the other person. Yes Lord, help me love my Adam!

handI am working.

The Lord has entrusted me with a responsibility for this Adam but I am not alone. God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” For me, I AM is one of the greatest names of God. In my particular present situation, I AM is working with me. I rely upon Psalm 147:3 that says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God is doing the work – not me. All God asks of me is to love my Adam. I can say to Adam the same words Moses spoke to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.”

footprints-in-sandWalk with Me.

The the last words the Lord spoke to me that evening were words for my personal guidance. I was assured of His presence and help as I accepted the call He spoke to me. With the writer of Psalm 86:11 NKJV I say, “Teach me your ways, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to Your name.” May I fulfill the directive of Galatians 5:16, “Walk by the Spirit.”

I have embraced the words God spoke into my spirit that evening. I am now in the process of partnering with the Lord for His work in Adam’s fragile life. As God entrusts me to walk along side Adam, I strive to “Trust in the LORD with all my heart And do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, And He will make my paths straight.” according to Proverbs 3:5-6. (italics are pronouns personalized by author)

My Reader, do you sense the Lord calling you to love someone who is fragile? Remember, the Lord will walk with you wherever He leads you.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Riding the Bicycle of Faith

bicycle

While watching a young boy attempting to ride a bike with the help of his father, I realized how learning to ride a bicycle and learning to walk by faith have similarities. Hebrews 11:1 NLT says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” As I continued to watch the young boy, he did not give up his hopes of successfully riding his bike alone. I am challenged to have a similar confidence in trusting the Lord with my life if I am to attain a walk of faith. In the beginning, the new biker may not reach his goal, but with practice he will triumph. Regarding the walk of faith, I may not initially be aware of all that the faith lifestyle entails, but as I grow in my faith, the Lord’s plans and purposes will become a reality.

When thinking back to when I first learned to ride a bicycle, I remember that I did not have the luxury of training wheels. However, I did have the steadying hand of my father. With my hands on the handlebars, I would frantically jerk the front wheel to the right and to the left trying to gain my balance while Dad’s hand stabilized the bicycle. I compare this to the scripture of Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” While walking by faith, I need to listen for the Lord’s voice rather than rely upon my own strength. Just as my dad held on to the seat of my bike so I would not fall, my Heavenly Father holds my hand so I will not stumble as I walk by faith. Isaiah 41:10 assures me, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Just as a bicycle has two wheels to create movement, so I imagine a bicycle of faith having two wheels to live by. I define these two wheels as trust and obedience. If I trust and obey the Lord, I will be able to confidently move forward. I will ride upon a bike of faith.

I examine these two wheels more closely by looking at a couple of scriptures. I named the front wheel trust. Trust is defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth or strength of someone or something. In this case, I am referring to trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”  Trust involves a commitment of the heart. When I trust the Lord, He will give me a straight path to ride my bike of faith upon! I named the back wheel obedience which is defined as submission or compliance to one in authority or to instructions. Making a specific spiritual application, I refer to obeying God and His written Word. II John 1:6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” By trusting and obeying God, I keep moving by faith and drawing closer to the Lord.

When learning to ride my two-wheeled bicycle, I fell numerous times but my dad was always there to pick me up and encourage me to try again. The same thing occurs as I ride upon the bicycle of faith. My Heavenly Father is always there to pick me and set me back upon the wheels of trust and obedience. He is there encouraging me to keep going. The Psalmist says in Psalm 84:11b “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I move forward when I stay upright whether it be riding a bike or walking by faith. It takes time to learn to ride a bike proficiently and it takes time to learn to live a life of faith without stumbling. In fact, a person is never assured that one will not fall off a bike if a wheel unexpectedly hits a large stone in the wrong way. One just needs to get up, get back on the bike and continue down the path. Neither should I be discouraged if I stumble upon a stone of sin and need the help of the Lord to get back up and continue my journey with Him.

I like the verse of Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” As I unpack this verse phrase by phrase, I make an application to my bicycle of faith with the wheels of trust and obedience. “Let us not grow weary while doing good” is obedience in action. The concluding phrase of “if we do not lose heart” is an example of trust. The result of obedience and trust is to “reap in due season” a harvest of deeper faith as referred to in the middle phrase. My goal in life is to trust and believe what God says in His Word and then obey and do what I have learned.

My Reader, in conclusion will you join me in singing the refrain of the old familiar hymn Trust and Obey by Samuel Stammis? The words are, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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