Foul Weather Faith

photo courtesy fishmonk,
Last week I wrote about Fair Weather Faith - people who follow after Christ as long as things are going well, but turn away when the storms of life hit.

There's a flip-side to that coin. I call it Foul Weather Faith. These are people wo live life on their own terms without God as long as things are going well, but when life gets hard, they run to God, desperate for His help. This is a good thing, except that as soon as the crisis has passed, they turn away from God again, reverting back to a self-directed life, which often includes on-going sinful habits. Their desperate need for Gos has waned and so has their commitment to live God's way at least until the next storm hits their lives.

Neither Fair Weather Faith nor Foul Weather Faith is pleasing to God.  What He is looking for is true faith, consistent faith - in good times and bad. Faith that is fully committed to a steady and faithful walk with Him everyday and in every situation of life.

Do you have that kind of All Weather Faith?

Are you a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ? 

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Fair Weather Faith

 photo courtesy micromoth,
You've heard of fair weather friends, right? Those people in your life who are right by your side when the winds are blowing in your favor. When you have plenty of money, when your marriage is happy and healthy, when your children are stellar students and spiritually grounded, but where are they when things are not so good?

Oh, they'll be there for a while, but if your problems linger too long - if you talk about them too often or if they begin to feel as if they should do something to help you out, then you'll quickly learn who's your true friend and who's your fair weather friend.

When you think about it, are fair weather friends really friends at all? Do they really love you? Are they really committed to the relationship

And that leads me to something else I was thinking about this week - Christians who have fair weather faith. You know them. They're committed to God as long as their life is comfy and rosy. As long as it appears that God is answering their prayers in the way they want and within the time frame that seems reasonable to them. But let trouble come their way, let God seem silent for a while and some "followers" become "flee-ers".

Please tell me you are not like that. Please tell me that you are faithful to God through every phase of life.

We know that Jesus said, "In this life you will have trouble," but he was quick to add, "But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

And in Matthew, we read that "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45) 

This doesn't sound like God has promised a rose garden life to Christians. In fact - brace yourselves...God will allow hardships in your life to strengthen you, to help you realize that when you are weak and helpless, He is strong and able. But remember, He has promised to walk through the rough places in life with us. He will strengthen us and give us peace through the storm.

So, let's make up our minds to be faithful followers, fully committed through anything life can throw at us, knowing that God is just as committed to us.

What do you say? Are you in it for the long haul? Committed until you see Jesus face-to-face? Until Heaven is your home? 

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What if You're the One?

I was listening to KFLR (Family Life Radio) this morning in my car when I heard...

"What if you are the person that God has appointed to stand in the gap for someone you will come in contact with today?"

Years ago I was waiting at a red light. A young man crossed the street in front of me. He was dressed entirely in black. Black shoes, black pants, black t-shirt and a black trench coat that flapped in the wind. He had jet black hair that stood straight up in a mohawk and multiple piercings. His face was pale, his eyes blackened with makeup and his countenance was menacing, yet sad.

The wind blew his trench coat open again and I saw these words written in white across the front of his t-shirt, "I am the Devil."

My heart broke. This young man was once an innocent baby boy with all the promise in the world ahead of him. He was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-16) in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) The Creator had a definite plan for his life (Jeremiah 29:11 and I'm pretty sure this wasn't it.

When God formed this boy inside his mother's womb (Jeremiah 1:5), his life was full of promise...what happened?

I snapped up the opportunity to pray for that young man as he crossed the street and to continue praying for him as I drove toward my destination. In fact, God has brought him back to mind many times over the years and I have prayed for him again.

Ezekiel 22:23-31 recounts the story of ancient Israel, who had strayed far from following God. The nation was overrun with sin. The prophet Ezekiel was sent to warn the nation of the impending judgement of God and the destruction of the nation. God looked for someone to "stand in the gap before me...that I should not destroy it", but He found no one.

There are several incidents in the Word where God was willing to spare people if only there was someone praying, someone willing to beseech God for mercy for others.

I wonder, how many lives are turned over to their own destruction because there is no one praying for them? No one to plead for mercy. No one who cared enough to ask God to move on their behalf to bring them back to Him, to spare their lives and turn them around.

Which leads me back to the question...

"What if you are the person that God has appointed to stand in the gap for someone you will come in contact with today?"

Keep your eyes open today. God may bring someone across your path that desperately needs prayer.

If you feel God prompting you to pray for someone today, I would love to hear your story . Share it with us in a comment.

God bless and guess what - God has prompted me to pray for anyone who may stumble across this blog post, so I AM PRAYING FOR YOU!

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Call Me a Rebel

“Do not conform any longer 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 (NIV)

I have a favorite t-shirt that shows a fish swimming upstream. The shirt says, “Go against the flow.”

I've never been one to conform. In junior high school English class we read The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. The last sentence of that poem struck a chord in my heart...

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

I knew then that I would always take the road less traveled. I wanted to be different, to think for myself, to do what I thought right no matter what everyone else thought or did.

That resolve has taken many forms. It led me to buck the system, rebel, be adventurous, be independent...some of these things were good, some landed me in hot water, but I was always my own person.

When I came to Christ, I committed myself to him wholeheartedly. I fell in love with God and with His word. I wanted to live the rest of my life the way He wanted me to live it.

Unfortunately, in those early days of faith, I had no idea how God wanted me to live my life, so I decided I should probably conform to the model of Christianity I saw at church; first to the dress code of the church, then to the behavior of those in the church and finally to all the rules and regulations of the denomination.

I played the game, not understanding all the rules, but fully recognizing when I fell short by the looks of disdain on my fellow Christian's faces. I didn't really fit the part, didn't look the part and often didn't behave the part.

Just about the time I was ready to give up, I read this...

“continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-18 (NIV)

The King James Version says “ out your own salvation...”

This passage set me on the path to an exciting and adventurous life with Christ. First I noticed the words “your own salvation” and realized that I was on a personal journey. It was my walk with God, not someone else's and that I was to work things out between me and God, not follow the rest of the crowd.

And second, it taught me that it's God who works in me to bring me to the point that I want to behave according to His will and to want to follow His path for my life. I didn't have to do the work myself, I just had to stay plugged into Christ and obedient to His word and cooperate with Him as he made the necessary changes in me.

This brought me full-circle. Once again I find myself on an adventurous path, not worried about where the rest of the world wanted me to go, but following the road less traveled.

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

I don't want the well-traveled road, the wide gate and broad path that most of this world follows. I want the narrow gate...the one that few find...the road less traveled, for it's on that road that I walk with Jesus and find peace and joy for the journey.

So call me a rebel – I'm proud to be one.
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