When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing on your mind? I mean besides hearing the squelch and sizzle of steaming hot water through coffee. Before I opened my eyes today my mind was searching for that word I chose to build my life around for the next 364 days. Yes! I found it! My #oneword365 is DISCERNMENT. Reality check! To strengthen muscles and tendons, requires more than obsessive thought. It takes exercise, practice, and nutrition bundled with lots of planning and thought. To build strength and stamina in discernment requires more than obsessively cycling that one word through my mind day after day. I’ll need to exercise other words like hope, integrity, wisdom, peace, encouragement and faith for discernment to penetrate the fabric of 2014.
This is early in the game – it’s only day 3 of January. What happens if I have discouragements, irritations, and challenges that strip my word ‘discernment’ from memory? There will be times like that. We will all experience defeating circumstances, but in those times remember: Those thoughts are from the enemy of our souls and he is very adept at substituting productive thoughts with debilitating fears. In those times remember this tiny verse in Ephesians 4:27 ” do not give the devil a foothold.” This can only mean that once we realize that we are in a cycle of defeat, we have to be wise, quickly leaning in to the promises of God to reclaim hope, peace, and be encouraged through faith.
Many of us are going though a rough patch and facing difficult situations. Let’s encourage each other through these challenges; examine our attitude toward faith; be strengthened from the root through nourishment of scripture. When we get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. Right? F-A-I-T-H
F Forever – Wavering is part of our nature. Nothing is perfect, bad things happen and we get discouraged, but life is a huge mixing bowl with an overload of good mingled in there too. Through every situation and every decision, we have the ultimate guide. Psalm 48:14 God is our God forever and ever; He will guide us to the end.
A Adversity – Someone said “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.” When we go through adversity, we will become stronger if we learn from it. Athletes know the muscle pain of overexertion. Little tears in the muscle occur but healing makes it stronger. When we struggle through adversity, what can we learn that makes us stronger? It could be a learning a new skill, discovering a solution to a problem that’s laid dormant for a long time, or maybe it’s simply finding a new coping mechanism. I like the Message interpretation of Proverbs 18:14 & 15 A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.
I Impossible – I love the word ‘impossible’. There is nothing quite so motivating as proving wrong the impression that an act or a goal is impossible. I’m sure I developed that attitude at the age of 11 when I first watched the movie Cinderella. There was a song that proclaimed very emphatically that impossible things happened every day. And don’t they? If God is in it, the impossible becomes the Possible. Another verse from the Message Ezekiel 36:27 I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.
T Timing – How many times have I argued with God about his timing. “God, look at me here. Time is nothing to you, but it’s everything to me . . . ” Does that sound at all familiar? But God reminds me that it is he who is in control, he sees the tapestry in all its intricate detail where all I see is one tangled mess of threads. Psalm 18:20-24 GOD made my life complete … he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works … GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
H History – Reviewing my past proves over and over again that God is faithful. He has been my comforter, my cheerleader, my sustainer, my helper, and my guide. I make mistakes. Every day, I can count on me to blunder at something. There might be painful consequences from some of those mistakes, but somehow I move on; by some miracle I find my way back to the right track. All I am and all I hope to be are made possible by the creator and sustainer of all things. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 Everything in heaven, everything on earth is God’s! Riches and glory come from him and he is ruler over all; God holds strength and power in the palm of his hand to build up and strengthen all. And here we are, giving thanks to God because of how he always was and who he always will be. God never changes. He is God.
What have we learned about F-A-I-T-H today? This simple fact. We need faith in the God who never changes because the path of life is ever changing. We need to look toward the light of the world who shines his light on our path so we can first find it, then stay on it. John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.