By Faith 5

Psalm 119:9-12

Whenever I am supposed to travel someplace that I am not familiar with I turn to the Internet and look up directions on how to get there. Many times, as I read through the directions, I doubt them. I question their accuracy.

Yet time after time I have found that if I simply follow these instructions, even if they don’t seem right, I get where I am going. Amazing!

In Psalm 119 we have directions on how to get where we are going. How does a young man (or anyone) keep his ways pure? What does the psalmist desire? What does the psalmist do with God’s instructions? What is the final comment and request?

The question which guides me, the question almost always on my lips, is “Why?” Why am I in ministry? Why do we attend church? Why do we do what we do?


The answer, I believe, should be that we do all that we do to glorify God. We do all that we do to serve God. We do what we do to grow toward perfection.

John Wesley believed in three graces. The first is all about the love God has waiting for us. The second is God’s forgiveness. The third is God’s guidance for us, a perfecting grace, grace that helps us move from who we are to who we should be.

How do we get from here to there? How do we grow in perfection?

By living according to God’s word. We grow in perfection by hearing the teachings of God from the Bible. We grow in perfection by taking these lessons and making them who we are – what we do, how we act, how we feel. We hide God’s words in our hearts.

When we can learn the lessons of God, the lessons of Jesus Christ, and use them to guide our every thought and action, then we move toward perfection. We begin living out holy lives, sharing God’s love with a hurting world. We change ourselves and we change the world by bringing love and peace, comfort and hope.

This seems to be the perfect summation of faith. We should earnestly seek God’s decrees, His instructions. We should internalize them, hide them in our hearts. And when we do this, we live a life of holiness.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you hide God’s decrees in your heart?

NOTE: This is the final 10/2 Grow devotion this spring. We will resume on August 25. We truly pray that these devotions have been a blessing and benefit to each of you, and we pray that God will be with you to guide and protect you now and always. May He be praised. – Roger and Peggy

By Faith 4

1 Peter 2:9-12

The “kid’s table” holds such a negative stigma with young people. It was always so frustrating to be too young to eat at the same table with the adults during holiday meals. And it was a big deal to finally be promoted to the adult table once I was old enough.

The adult table was where all the interesting conversations were. The adult table didn’t have spills or an annoying cousin who ate like a pig. It was an honor to be moved up.

We can take a similar view of our spiritual lives. What does Peter say about the faithful believers? What should these faithful people do? What is the before and after contrast that is made? How does Peter describe the faithful in verse 11? What should the faithful do?

Those without faith can be viewed like children at the kids table, wallowing in the messes of life. But those with faith, those who are true believers and followers of Jesus Christ are promoted to a higher calling. The faithful are a holy nation, a chosen people, a royal priesthood. And as such we are called to proclaim the good news of Christ. We are called to demonstrate our faith and live as holy examples to others.

Those who accept the good news of Jesus are recipients of his grace and mercy, transformed from a group that is not a people into the people of God. Peter’s comment that the faithful believers are aliens to this world harkens back to the passage in Hebrews 11 (Hebrews 11:13). Those faithful and obedient to God are not of this world, the world of tangible, earthly desires. Instead they are members of the heavenly kingdom, and as citizens of the kingdom of God should resist the temptations that this life offers – temptations to sin, to please the self, to be self-centered.

Living a life devoted to the teachings of Christ will allow you to serve as an example and model to others. Though you may face criticism and mockery, in truth your good work and holy living will be a shining beacon that lights the way and gives glory to God.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What does it mean to you to be part of a chosen people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood?

By Faith 3

Hebrews 11:13-16

It is a painful and difficult thing to lose a loved one. It hurts to see a person we care about pass on. But as I grow older, and the longer I am in ministry, the easier it is for me to accept these times. As much as we will miss those we lose we can take comfort in knowing that they have moved on to their reward, a glorious welcome in heaven surrounded by the love and mercy of God.

The author of Hebrews is speaking of such things in these verses. What did these faithful people NOT receive? What did they do? How did they see themselves? What were they looking for? How does God feel about these faithful people?

There are so many people in our lives who have lived out their faith, and in so doing they have handed this example on to us. Through their witness and example we now know how to live a life of faith.

The faithful believers who have gone on before us were keeping their eyes fixed on heaven. Their thoughts were thoughts of Godly things and not earthly things. They did not see the second coming of Christ. They did not see the end of days as we know them, but they knew in their hearts that these things were coming, are still coming.

They were aware that we are on this earth for only a short time in comparison with eternity, and they were content in knowing that a better place awaited them.

We should follow their example and live a life of faith ourselves, knowing that the earthly things are temporary and fleeting. We should keep our vision fixed on the eternal God.

In living a life of faithfulness, of following God’s commands and living out the instructions of Christ, we are setting an example to those who will follow us. In living a life that longs for God’s kingdom we are pleasing God. He is not ashamed to call Himself our God. He has prepared a place for us as well, a heavenly city far better than the life we live.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What does living a life of faith require of you?

By Faith 2

Hebrews 11:1-6

Many years ago a pastor used a story of a riverboat in his sermon. The story talked of a little boy sitting at the end of a tiny, wooden pier on the banks of a wide river. A passer-by noticed the boy waving a handkerchief at an approaching riverboat.

“That boat won’t stop for you, son,” the man offered.

“Oh, yes it will,” the boy said.

And sure enough the boat swung toward the bank, struggled against the current, then gently pulled up to the tiny pier.

“The captain is my daddy,” the boy said as he boarded the boat.

To an onlooker the situation seemed hopeless, but the faithful boy had complete confidence in what would happen.

The Book of Hebrews seems to be a letter to Jewish believers who are new to Christian faith. Much of it appeals to Jewish tradition and logic. In this passage the author is talking about confident faith.

How is faith described? What concrete example of faith is given in verse 3? How is Abel an example of faith? How is an Enoch (see Genesis 5:24) an example? What is required to please God? What must we believe?

The examples of Abel and Enoch are there as lessons to emphasize that there were and are people who live lives of faith. Each of us could certainly replace these names with people we have known or heard about who have lived lives of faith.

The key phrases for me are verses 1 and 6. Faith is confidence in what is hoped for and what we do not have yet – what we cannot see. Faith is knowing that miracles can happen. Faith is knowing that things can and will be better for us if we simply stick with our convictions.

Faith is having a confidence that the world can be better, that our society can be better, that our own spiritual lives can be improved. Faith is knowing, deep in our hearts – knowing with confidence – that we are not alone. God is with us.

We can not please God, nor can we have a relationship with God, unless we believe that He is real. How can we trust in God, how can we turn to God, unless we first believe that He is there waiting for us to come to Him?

We must have faith in our invisible God. We must know He is real and be confident in His love and grace.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What do you hope for? Are you confident in the faith that it will come about?

By Faith 1

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Sometimes as I rest on our living room couch, preparing to take a nap, I notice the sounds of our children. It used to bother me, but now I find a comfort in the sounds. It is good to know that I am not alone. I think the same is true of most other people. It is comforting to hear the sounds of other family members in the house.

In this second letter to Timothy, why should he continue in what he has learned? How long has he known the Scriptures? What is true about Scripture? How does it help “the man of God?”

Faith is not always an easy thing to come by. As a pastor I imagine most people view me as a very faithful person. But honestly, there are times when having faith is a challenge.

It is in times like these that I listen to the sound of others. It is not a physical noise that I might hear, but I find an awareness of all the other people I know or have known in my life who have been faithful.

I think on all the people in my life, people from my infancy, who have taught me faith, who have instructed me on religious teaching, who have served as an example to me. And it is a comfort to know that I am not alone. I am not the only person who holds the beliefs that I do. I am not the only person who trusts in God and in salvation through Christ.

And that can be a comfort.

It is easier then to have faith knowing that there are millions of others who share in my faith. I am not alone in the house, but I am in the company of so many others and so many who have come before, who have laid a foundation of faith over the centuries.

It is up to us to continue living this faith. We must pass this faith on to other generations, to others who will follow, to those who will have doubts but who can look to us for strength.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Who has had the biggest influence on your faith?