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September 26, 2016

Faith for Around the Bend

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

It was another beautiful morning as I drove to the airport in Denver last week to return home after a visit with my dear friends at the Rockies baseball club. Cool breezes, blue skies, low humidity and wonderful memory-making moments in the books once again.

The baseball games at beautiful Coors Field are always great to watch, but only when enjoyed with my dear friends. The game the night before was picture perfect for baseball, as I visited with my friends, made a new friend, George, and remembered a mutual friend, Keli, who was the catalyst introducing us many years ago.

Keli is no longer with us, face-to-face that is, but everything good about him remains, especially his unbridled hope and belief in all that God would do, could do, and wanted to do in the lives of His children. His faith and hope was contagious, encouraging and left everyone around him filled with a sense of belief in the possibility of what they hoped would occur.

It’s a lot like the Apostle Paul’s encouragement in his letter to the Ephesians, which always seems to be an appropriate follow-up to the verse from the writer of Hebrews above. From the man who endured much for the hope he held in his heart, Paul shares this for the start to all of our mornings—

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3: 13b-14 (NIV)

As our days begin, do we have that kind of faith even though we can’t see what is coming around the bend of our tomorrows? A faith that causes us to “press on” in the face of disappointments, setbacks and heartaches, by continuing to embrace what we hope for. The kind of faith which causes us to focus our hearts on the goal which God has called us to—while trying to find our purpose in life—with a certainty of heart that says “Thy will be done.”

A faith that causes us to endure with confidence, not bitterness, with joy and belief, not anxiety or doubt. I wonder if we have that kind of faith that causes us to press on in the face of doubt and doubters, waning resources, and tough times, believing that the vision God laid before us was really His and that He will continue to bring it all about.

And all that He asks us to do is to believe, needing simply only to have the faith to press on, and at times maybe to simply hang on to the hem of His robe for dear life as He leads us into the future He has set before us.

It’s a tenacious faith that causes us to press on in the face of all that is before us, and all that happens that tries to throw us off course, confronted with all the distractions of doubt and criticism, expectations, and all the heartaches, failures, and disappointments that will surely litter the path along our way, along with all the uncertainty which will come around the bend. We need that kind of faith to press on today and every day.

I don’t know what you’re facing as day opens before you and the week unfolds before you sometimes faster than your grip. Perhaps you’ve lost a job, or a family member has an illness that will affect their future, a relationship has taken a detour you never saw coming, or you just don’t seem to know what the rest of your days should look like. May I be so bold as to suggest that you embrace for your life the faith to which the writer of Hebrews calls us?

It’s faith that blows through our lives with the fresh winds of hope when we least expect it, reminding us again that the God of it all is still in charge, has never left us, and is tapping on our shoulder reminding us that He still has much for us to do—for Him and for others.

It’s a faith that will carry us through all of our days, into the Hope of all of our tomorrows, and always with the God of all eternity.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 19, 2016

To Be Light

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.

Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5: 14-16 (The Message)

As I sit here this morning, I know that the air outside is getting cooler and crisper but it doesn’t seem to be helping my perspective. As I sit here reading and re-reading those words above from Eugene Peterson’s The Message translation—I want to believe the message those words of Christ convey and I want to do it.

I mean being a light to the world.

Being a light to others. Helping others. Giving them a lift up.

But here’s the truth—it seems to be too much to do, and way too often if Christ means always. That’s a lot. Most days I am exhausted even before I get out of bed, and stay that way during the day and right up to the time when I pass out on my pillow whenever I do finally get to go to bed. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 12, 2016

God Always Loved Her

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 37-39 (NLT)

Despite the reality that God clearly gifted Whitney Houston with a voice as none other. Despite a voice that lifted and inspired most of us who were blessed to hear it, to dream, to reach, and to hope in our own lives.

Despite that, at some point in her earth-bound journey, which ended on February 11, 2012, you might wonder if Whitney Houston lost sight of those promises of God in Romans which were recorded by the Apostle Paul.

Maintaining status, celebrity, an image of any kind, is a path filled with peril. We can find that kind of pressure most anywhere we look—politics, entertainment, sports, business, and even within our families. Living up to the expectations of others. In the sports world it’s about victories, championships, money, stardom. And after those, in the world of expectations, it’s about “what’s next?” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 5, 2016

A Faith that Believes

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.”

Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)

The morning sunshine is still coming, yet as I sit here I can see only darkness outside. Experience tells me, though, that I can believe that the morning light is about to break over the horizon.

How about you, do you believe that?

I didn’t see a lot of that “belief” the other day, as I ran some errands in town which Lynda had asked me to do. As I drove around and wandered through stores and the mall, it became eerily apparent to me that I seemed to see fewer smiles and heard less laughter among those I walked by or met on that journey than I had remembered from times in the recent past.

It was a bit like sitting in the darkness this morning. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 29, 2016

On Course—His Course

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.

Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you….

Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you.

You take over. —God’s applause!”

Romans 12: 2-3 (The Message)

I wonder why we originally felt the need for a mirror. I suppose it’s because from the beginning of creation our focus was often on ourselves. Think back to Adam and Eve—doing what they thought best versus what God advised. Their focus was themselves, and probably looked for a reflection to see what they looked like in the nearest pond.

Of course a mirror is a handy tool, using it as it reflects back our image—at least on the outside—so we can arrange a shirt collar, get a tie on properly, put makeup on in the right places and amounts, brush our hair, and deal with many other personal matters.

But a mirror also allows us to take a moment to look at ourselves, and perhaps look within a bit, consider our uniqueness, and to meet ourselves fresh and new each day. To spend a moment to look at ourselves. Deeper. To look and think about what’s within us.

To take a moment to honestly evaluate where we are in our journey toward becoming all God created us to be. To be reminded of what we need to change and to begin to move in that direction, so the next time we take a look—that the needed change is no longer on the list of things to do.

There’s a great quote attributed by some to Socrates and others to Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says—

An unexamined life is not worth living.” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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