Personal (1 Samuel 3:10)
Few of us are as open to God’s call as Samuel was. When we hear God call us, we tend to let his words blow right on past our ears. We listen to a voice inside that says, “God can’t possibly use someone like me.” Our doubts and fears overcome us. God knows your weaknesses. He meets you where you are. But he also knows your heart and your potential. He has a much better perspective than you on what you can become if you answer his call. Just listen for God’s voice in your life and respond, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Reflect & Pray:
- When have you sensed that God was calling you to serve him?
- What fears and doubts prompt you to ignore God’s call?
- When was the last time God strengthened you to do something you could not have done on your own?
Taken from NIV Busy Dad’s Bible
We Live by Faith
The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Faith is a perfect fit with God’s future grace. It corresponds to the freedom and all-sufficiency of grace. And it calls attention to the glorious trustworthiness of God.
One of the important implications of this conclusion is that the faith that justifies and the faith that sanctifies are not two different kinds of faith. “Sanctify” simply means to make holy or to transform into Christlikeness. It is all by grace.
Therefore, it must also be through faith. For faith is the act of the soul that connects with grace, and receives it, and channels it as the power of obedience, and guards it from being nullified through human boasting.
Paul makes this connection between faith and sanctification explicit in Galatians 2:20 (“I live by faith”). Sanctification is by the Spirit and by faith. Which is another way of saying that it is by grace and by faith. The Spirit is “the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). God’s making us holy is the work of his Spirit; but the Spirit works through faith in the gospel.
The simple reason why the faith that justifies is also the faith that sanctifies is that both justification and sanctification are the work of sovereign grace. They are not the same kind of work, but they are both works of grace. Sanctification and justification are “grace upon grace.”
The corollary of free grace is faith. If both justification and sanctification are works of grace, it is natural that they would both be by faith.
After listening from the sidelines, a young man named Elihu eventually steps into the discussion. He rebukes both Job and his friends for their distorted views of God, sin, and suffering.
Not Knowing Why
“So why are you bringing a charge against him? Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints?”
Being informed brings a sense of security. It’s natural to want to know what’s happening in our lives. Job wanted to know what was going on and why he was suffering. In previous chapters, we sense his frustration.
Elihu claimed to have the answer for Job’s biggest question, “Why doesn’t God tell me what is happening?” Elihu told Job that God was trying to answer him, but Job was not listening. Elihu misjudged God on this point. If God were to answer all our questions, we would not be adequately tested. What if God had said, “Job, Satan’s going to test you and afflict you, but in the end you’ll be healed and get everything back”? Job’s greatest test was not the pain; it was not knowing why he was suffering.
Our greatest test may be that we must trust God’s goodness even though we don’t understand why our lives are going a certain way. We must learn to trust in God, who is good, and not in the goodness of life.
What questions are you facing today? Have you considered that perhaps those questions are part of what God is doing? What would it take for you to trust God without knowing the answers to your questions? Are you willing to get to that place?
Streams in the Desert – June 8
…because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:4)
At every turn in the road one can find something that will rob him of his victory and peace of mind, if he permits it. Satan is a long way from having retired from the business of deluding and ruining God’s children if he can. At every milestone it is well to look carefully to the thermometer of one’s experience, to see whether the temperature is well up.
Sometimes a person can, if he will, actually snatch victory from the very jaws of defeat, if he will resolutely put his faith up at just the right moment.
Faith can change any situation. No matter how dark it is, no matter what the trouble may be, a quick lifting of the heart to God in a moment of real, actual faith in Him, will alter the situation in a moment.
God is still on His throne, and He can turn defeat into victory in a second of time, if we really trust Him.
“God is mighty! He is able to deliver;
Faith can victor be in every trying hour;
Fear and care and sin and sorrow be defeated
By our faith in God’s almighty, conquering power.
“Have faith in God, the sun will shine,
Though dark the clouds may be today;
His heart has planned your path and mine,
Have faith in God, have faith alway.”
“When one has faith, one does not retire; one stops the enemy where he finds him.”