God keeps faith forever

Thoughts on Psalm 146:5-10

The Lord, our God, keeps faith forever.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

God keeps faith in you. God is convinced that God’s good work in you will come to its perfection.

God believes in you, you cannot see the wholeness God is working in you, but God does. Your loving Lord keeps faith that all will be as God envisions it; God sees the you God intended you to be and has faith you will emerge.

God keeps faith, holds steady, remains fixed on the target: you, complete and whole.

God never tires of working to lift you from shame, of nourishing your soul and your body, of releasing you to walk about freely, of opening your eyes to beauty great and small.

God keeps faith for you, loving the ways you line up with God’s goodness;  the way you value what God values, how you care for the ‘least of these.’ God strengthens you to stand against what violates love.

God reigns forever and keeps faith forever. Praise our God.

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MM 2/16/15 don’t doubt yourself

Ask in faith without doubt. In this instance doubt means “to be at variance with one’s self, to hesitate.” So we are to ask for wisdom, and not argue with our self about God’s generosity in giving it, or our ability to act on it. The Holy Spirit makes it possible. Trust.

MM 2/16/15 Don't doubt yourself from Debby Bellingham on Vimeo.

Where is your faith?

Jesus can calm the storms in your life.

Jesus can calm the storms in your life.

Luke 8:22-25

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to believe good for another than it is for yourself? You can speak earnestly and sometimes eloquently about God’s great love for your friend; about how God’s plan for her life is good; about how God will provide for and protect her in every situation. But it’s a little bit harder to trust these precious truths when you’re the one who doubts your value; the one who fears the future; the one whose life is threatened.

Well, you are not alone. The disciples were (literally) in the same boat.

They had witnessed Jesus casting out demons from the man in the synagogue; they were present when Jesus forgave and healed the paralyzed man whose friends had lowered him through the roof; they were walking along with him when they entered Nain and Jesus brought back from the dead the widow’s son. They were not unacquainted with Jesus’ power over life and death. But they had never been the ones who were in need of one of his miraculous deeds. Up to their ears in water, fear pushed out faith and trust. “Master, we are perishing!” You can hear the panic in their voices.

Jesus responds with action, rebuking the wind and the waves and then an appropriate question, “Where is your faith?” Remember when I cured the leper, when just my word brought the centurion’s slave back from the edge of death, when the anonymous woman touched my robe and her bleeding stopped? You know I have power. Practice trusting what you know is true, this is the essence of faith.

“Faith is better understood as a verb than as a noun, as a process than as a possession. It is on-again-off-again rather than once-and-for-all. Faith is not being sure where you’re going, but going anyway. A journey without maps. Paul Tillich said that doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” – Frederick Buechner

When fear arises, remember God’s power to overcome the raging storm, even in your life.

when your faith waivers ( a lesson from John the Baptist)

Have you ever had this experience? The faith you confidently held and expressed throughout your life suddenly seems thin and wobbly. What you previously believed without a doubt you now find yourself questioning. If so, you are in good company.

So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another? Luke 7:18,19

John, the one who while still in his mother’s womb recognized Jesus as the Messiah; the one who didn’t want to baptize Jesus because he felt unworthy to even untie his sandals; the one who pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world;” this John, the one who was convinced Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, now has doubts. John, in prison and anticipating death because of his faith, now needs reassurance that Jesus is indeed the Christ.

What did John do when he was experiencing a crises of faith?

He asked his friends to go to Jesus on his behalf. He had a trusted community with whom he could share his doubts, ones who would approach Jesus when he could not. Do you have such relationships? Your doubts might cause you to withdraw or isolate yourself. Do the opposite. Confide in your friends, admit your doubts, ask them to pray, borrow their faith until yours returns.

. .demons love darkness and hiddenness. Inner fears and struggles which remain isolated develop great power over us. But when we talk about them in a spirit of trust, they they can be looked at and dealt with. Once brought into the light of mutual love, demons lose their power and quickly leave us.  – Henri Nouwen The Road to Daybreak

How did Jesus respond to John’s dilemma?

He says, “look at the fruit of my ministry.” It’s so like Jesus to not answer a direct question with a direct answer. He’s committed to building our faith, not coddling our doubts. His answers cause us to examine our lives, pointing us to the ways we are no longer blind, lame, sick, deaf, dead or poor. His answers to our questions drive us to trust his character. Our faith, even as we doubt, is solid and true. Doubts will pass, our faith abides; and remember, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

Is faith in Jesus necessary?

Jesus gives what is needed, part one

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take heart, Son. Your sins are forgiven.” Matt 9:2

Jesus observed some men carrying a paralytic and was impressed by their faith.

When I hear the word faith, I usually think “the faith”, a faith in God and God’s powerful love. But the faith these men exhibited was not in Jesus, they weren’t bringing their friend to him for healing. They were just on their way from one place to another, and if their friend was going to be part of the journey, he would have to be carried. They were willing to do so, they didn’t want to leave him behind.

Somehow, carrying him demonstrated faith. Faith is a complete trust and confidence in something or someone. Their faith rested on the relationship and love they shared with one another. They would be the legs of this friend, he could count on that.

This commitment to loving their friend is what impressed Jesus. This man didn’t need physical healing, he would always be carried in love. Jesus instead gave him an inner healing – hope, a sense of belonging to God’s family and a spiritual cleansing.

Whose legs are you?

Does your faith carry wounded people as you go, just so they won’t be left behind?

Who are your legs?

Will you trust God to give what is needed, not what you think is needed?

Jesus gives what is needed, part two

But Jesus, perceiving (the scribes) thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he then said to the paralytic—’stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. Matthew 9:4-7

The paralytic needed spiritual healing, Jesus gave it. He then offered the scribes what they needed, proof of his authority to forgive sins through his healing power.

Notice the efficiency of God, in offering the scribes what they needed, the paralyzed man received his legs! Everybody can win!