Archive for March, 2016

Living by Faith

What does this mean? A few days ago I was about to go to the doctor and get the results of my annual physical. Included was a test result to determine if I needed major surgery. Living by faith, I rested on the facts that God controls the results and they will probably be reasonably good. And if disappointing, he will give me the strength to handle the results in a mature and godly way. Thus, I felt reasonable peace.

However, I was also tempted to live by sight. Living by sight had me thinking that I didn’t know if the results would be good and could very well not be. I also felt fearful that I wouldn’t have the inner strength to face them with courage and maturity.

As I lay on the gurney waiting for the doctor to come into the room with my test results, I desperately tried to live by faith repeating to myself David’s words, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6). I wouldn’t let my mind entertain the fearful “What if” scenarios. As a result, I felt some peace in the midst of my anxiety.

Then, the doctor came in the room. After some small talk that seemed to last several minutes, I asked him about the results. To my astonishment they were great! Nothing abnormal and no surgery needed even when preliminary tests indicated a good chance that it would be!

But I was drained after God led me through another trial of learning to live by faith. When I kept my eyes on his presence and help I was at peace. When I started to live by sight, I was terrified. I thanked him wholeheartedly for doing such a good job in taking care of my body for the past year.

summer field, sunrise and blue sky

What It Means to Live by Faith 

Living by faith is expecting God to do what he has promised. For example, he has promised to shower us with goodness and loving acts (Psalm 23:6). He has also promised to help us to go through whatever painful situation we will have to face (Philippians 4:13). I rested in both promises to live by faith as I faced test results.

Living by faith is growing in trusting God to do the miraculous, based partly on previous miracles that he has done for us. Learning to trust God is often a slow process. The disciples were slow to learn that Jesus could provide food miraculously by failing to learn from two previous miracles he did in providing food for thousands from a few loaves of bread (Matthew 16:8-11).

Living by faith is taking God at his word that our rewards in heaven far outweigh the benefits we can gain on our own in this life. Moses chose ill-treatment with the people of God rather than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin because he was living by faith in a heavenly reward (Hebrews 11:25-27).

Living by faith is being content with our life. We can only be content by faith in God (Philippians 4) because we are bent towards being frustrated with whatever we get in possessions, accomplishments and respect. When we choose to live by sight, we put confidence in ourselves or another idol to earn contentment that never comes (Proverbs 20:27).

How We Live by Faith

We are trained to live by sight. We have been trained to depend on ourselves. We have been trained that there is no God in the details of life. So, we have a lot of un-training we need to do to live by faith. That’s why Paul commands us to put off the old and put on the new. We have to put off tackling the world by sight so that we can embrace God’s help through faith.

God tells us that we can grow in living by faith as we hear and rely on the Word (Romans 10:17). It’s not just knowing the Word, but relying on it (James 1:22). And that’s where our battle rages as it did for me in the doctor’s office. Will we fight through and live by faith or shrink before the challenges and miss a supernatural life?

As a result of this doctor visit, my faith grew. May we all reflect on God’s faithfulness to us in the past, that we may live by faith today. May we choose to live by faith in his miraculous help for our future challenges, instead of just relying on the puny resources that we can see.




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One Day at a Time

I’ve considered taking it a day at a time a wise thing to do for a long time. Why try to solve tomorrow’s problems today? I may not have enough energy left to tackle today’s problems if I do. Yet, I often try to do just that.

In the last two weeks I have been undergoing a variety of scans, x-rays and blood tests as part of my annual check-up. I find myself tempted to worry about the results. What happens if they find this or that? Then, I begin to problem-solve if they find this or that. But they may not find this or that and then I’ve wasted all this energy problem-solving. I’m not taking it a day at a time.

I once had a job in the Air Force that was so challenging that I had to take it a day at a time. Each day had so much challenge in it, I didn’t have time to worry about tomorrow. This got to be a problem sometimes when I didn’t start a project soon enough to get it done in time. I remember once putting together a $25,000,000 annual budget in my room one night for presentation the next day.

Dove in the air with wings wide open

What Does It Mean to Take It a Day at a Time?

Mark Twain wrote, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” We tend to use our imaginations to “see” problems that will never exist. God tells us to take it a day at a time so that we only tackle real problems, not anticipated ones. He reminds us that we are very limited, and don’t know if the problems we “see” today will be challenges tomorrow (James 4:14). “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34).

This doesn’t mean that we’re not to start solving today a problem that needs a solution by next week. God praises us if we look ahead to see the deadline looming in front of us and take action (Proverbs 22:3). It just means that we need to wait until it’s the proper time to start problem-solving, when the facts are available and we still have the time and energy to focus.

One day at a time means waiting for God to provide. He promises that “as your days are, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25, NKJV). As God provided manna a day at a time to Israel in the desert, he gives us the strength for today’s problems. We often wear ourselves out trying to fix tomorrow’s imaginary problems in today’s strength. Instead, he wants us to lean on his help for tomorrow and not our ability to figure it out ahead of time.

How to Take It a Day at a Time

It’s tough to take it a day at a time. Trusting in God has always been a challenge for me and I tend to be a good problem solver. As a result, I tend to take on more than one day at a time and worry a lot. However, these are a few things that have helped me take it a day at a time:

  • Pray–This often works to cut down on my anxiety but more often it results in God intervening in miraculous ways.
  • Continue to grow in my faith by knowing and applying the Word of God in dependence on the Spirit.
  • Grow in living in the reality of who I am to God–his son! I am deeply loved, precious and totally acceptable to him, just like a child is to a loving father. I can trust a loving Father who happens to be God Almighty to take care of me a day at a time.

In closing, Pastor Rick Warren writes to us:

“God solved your biggest problem — getting into Heaven — when he sent Jesus to die for you. If God loved you enough to send Jesus to die for you, don’t you think he loves you enough to take care of all these other problems?” (Romans 8:32).








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