Faith versus Faithfulness

Delicious on the beach breakfast at Woody’s, San Diego, California.

 

Accepting Jesus Christ as my savior was a huge step for me, my proverbial crossing of the line. This proclamation is very specific in describing my faith and what I believe. It is marked progress from saying “I believe in a higher power.”

Having faith is beautiful because there is an order to things that brings comfort even when there is loss and grief. I know that God is good, loving, and just. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Having faith that things have a way of working out for the best surrenders my need to account the ways in which the scales have tipped for every detail.

Fellowship and accountability is important in faith because we weren’t designed to do it on our own. We are not all knowing. We are incredibly fallible. Keeping company with those who have the same values helps reinforce our own. Our church is wonderful and its biggest strength lies in bringing people into the faith.

Living in faith is one thing. However, living faithfully is something else entirely. Many people will claim living faithfully by attending church, tithing, or maybe listening to Christian music. Yet I hear of people doing all of these things for many years but still feel lost in how to pray.

Living faithfully takes concerted effort. Attending church is just a beginning. It’s re-listening to the sermon, looking up the verses, and pondering its implications in your own life. Living faithfully is constantly strengthening the relationship between you and God. Prayer is one way we were given direct connection to God. Jesus provided this example in his life by seeking solitude to pray every morning. The bible provides instruction on the elements prayer should have in Matthew 6:9-13. I learned of a simple acronym in bible study that provides guidance in prayer as well. It is from the series “Lead Our Family Like Jesus”:

A.C.T.S.

Adoration – Praising God and all His greatness and glory shows adoration.

Confess – Confessing our sins is the humble act of acknowledging our sin to ourselves and to God and relying on God to help us overcome them.

Thanks – giving thanks even through the biggest of trials not for the troubles but for the strength it is building in us and what is it preparing us for.

Supplication – Be steadfast in asking and seeking God and we shall receive.

Living faithfully is the conscientious re-centering of your life. Discerning what really matters from what popular culture would have you believe is part of the spiritual housekeeping one must tend to first. If God is at the center, then it follows that your relationship with God would be of highest priority. A relationship that important requires more than the one hour sermon at church once a week. As with any relationship, its strength is commensurate with the time and energy we put into it.

Living faithfully means seeking God’s presence every single day, multiple times a day. We nourish our bodies with three scheduled meals a day. Is it really too much to ask to nourish our souls, our very being by seeking God’s presence just as many times in one day?  Accepting God’s salvation is the easy part. Discipleship is where the work is at.

I am not unlike others in having busy lives with many demands from family, work, school, friends, etc. but God is always first. The more I seek, the more I hunger for God’s presence and guidance. It was not always so, but I am so happy and better that it is now.

 

 

Receiving Graciously

 

Jason had his long awaited cervical fusion at C6-C7 on June 19, 2017. Nine months ago our health insurance denied his claim for this treatment two days before the surgery, so we held our breath through Father’s Day.

Through the days leading up to the surgery there were many friends and family who waited along side of us with abated breath to see if we would get the dreaded call for cancellation again. One friend from work offered to do a prayer chain on Jason’s behalf if I wished. As June 18, 2017 was coming to an end, the reality of the surgery happening became real and the risks of the surgery began to weigh heavy. This was my husband, my life companion, friend, father of my children and anything going awry could have devastating implications. I reached out to my friend from work to ask for the prayer chain. She replied stating that they would be praying “…not only for Jason, but also the doctors and all those attending him get a good night’s rest and be alert and attentive tomorrow.” There was comfort in having others pray for Jason.

Jason did remarkably well and felt almost immediate relief from the symptoms he suffered for months. I shared pictures of before and after the surgery on Facebook. Family and friends visited at the hospital and home in the days that ensued. Friends from church, work and neighbors offered to bring meals to support our family during Jason’s recovery.

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