We have been spending this week with Marsha’s family and having a great time playing basketball, playing volleyball, walking, swimming, and just hanging out. We thank God for the blessing of family!
Five Questions for Growing Faith
During my niece Sahari’s birthday party last week, we had a blast playing laser tag. The above picture was taken right after the competition. When we first entered the course for the game, we were a bit unsure how everything worked, where we could go, where we could hide, etc. As the game progressed, though, we found ourselves moving about more confidently, shooting with more certainty, and knowing which ways to turn and how to find each other. Naturally, as our knowledge of the game and of the course grew, so did our ability to play.
That is how life works, right? As understanding and awareness increase, so do confidence and sufficiency.
So it is with our faith in the Lord. As we grow in our understanding of who He is and as we look to Him more, we learn why and how to better trust and depend on Him.
Is your faith in Him growing? What are you doing to facilitate such growth?
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching from Ezra 8 on “Reclaimed Faith,” hoping to clearly communicate how we can grow in our faith in the Lord. Ezra set a great example for us, and we too can grow in our knowledge of the Lord and thus grow in our faith in Him.
Again, though, is your faith in Him growing? What are you doing to facilitate such growth? Here are some important questions that can help…
- BIBLE – Are you seeking Him through His Word each day?
- PRAYER – Are you consistently depending on Him in prayer and setting aside times for prayerful fasting?
- CHURCH – Are you serving His church with sacrificial commitment?
- DISCIPLESHIP – Are you sharing your faith and helping others to learn how to trust Him more?
- ACCOUNTABILITY – Are you allowing others to speak into your life so that you can be challenged when your faith is not growing?
There are so many important questions for us to consider because growing faith in the Lord is so incredibly important. Would you start with the five questions above, though? Would you examine your heart and consider your life? Would you ask someone these questions and ask him or her to ask them to you?
Let us plead with the Lord to grow our faith in Him! He is worthy!
My Word Isn’t Enough
Each month, I take Zoe on a daddy-daughter date. Usually, our dates involve eating out and doing something fun, like playing basketball, going to a ballgame, playing at a park, or even the annual daddy-daughter dance.
Recently, though, our date did not go as planned. What I had promised Zoe was supper at a local high school softball game (yes, she loves to eat concession stand food, and I kind of do, too). As we were getting ready to go to that game, though, I learned that COVID-19 restrictions would not allow us to attend. Then, my back-up plan fell through. Thus, I ended up taking her to her team’s basketball practice early to shoot around, and that was it. Yes, our “date” involved shooting hoops and nothing else. Chalk that up as yet another father failure for me. Thankfully, though, Zoe was very gracious and still acted like it was fun (or maybe she even thought it was fun). Still, not the kind of daddy-daughter date about which one brags to their friends.
WE ALL FAIL
Do you ever say something like, “You have my word,” when making a promise to do something? Most of us have likely said that or something similar, and if we are trustworthy people, our word can go a long way.
Still, we are sinners who cannot always keep our word. We fail. We make mistakes. We misread situations. We make plans that fall through. We make promises that, even with the best intentions, we fail to keep. Even when our failures are not the result of sinful dishonesty (I did not lie to Zoe about our date, but rather I failed to plan properly and was caught by surprise.), our failures are still failures. We are not big enough or strong enough or smart enough or powerful enough to make continuous guarantees.
We all fail.
ONLY ONE WORD IS PERFECT
God alone always keeps His word and never fails. He is the only One who is perfect, and thus only His word is perfect. Why, then, would we ever consider looking to anyone or anything else for our hope, peace, and salvation? Why would we dare think we can come up with a better plan than the plan of the One who created us? Why do we worry about tomorrow, as if something is going to catch God by surprise?
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching through Hebrews 6:13-20 on how “Jesus Is the Better Way.” I hope to share two reasons we need to trust God’s plan (in and through Jesus) for salvation and for sanctification. God is the One who saves us from our sins, and God is the one who grows us to be the people He has called us to be. His word is perfect, and His Word (the Bible) is perfect. Let us look to Him for purpose and fulfillment.
While our word can fail us and fail others, God never fails. His promises always come true. His goodness is unending.
Yes, I failed Zoe on our last daddy-daughter date, and I had to apologize. What an opportunity, though, to teach about the One who is never surprised, who is always in control, and who never fails to keep His word!
Are you looking to God and trusting His plan for your life? Before you can do that, you need to know Him and walk with Him. Praise the Lord – when we surrender our lives to Him, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:19-20).
While we sinners are unworthy to enter there – to enter God’s presence – we can be counted as worthy when we turn to Jesus and follow Him. Thanks be to God!
Summer Time before Summer
Kids Ice Sledding and Sliding
The fun begins!
Silas got the first push.
Then, it was Levi’s turn.
Noah was ready for me to push him.
Finally, Zoe was ready for ice flying.
Silas & Zoe swinging the day away
Summer Fun & Pictures-a-Plenty
Wow! This summer is flying by with plenty of travel, plenty of fun, plenty of exhaustion and plenty of pictures. If you want to see a bunch of pics, particularly of our kids, please click HERE.
The most recent highlight of our summer has been Levi learning how to ride a bike. I gave him one push on it yesterday, and he told me he could do it on his own. A few minutes later, he was riding all over the place. That is basically all he and Noah have wanted to do the last two days.
Being outside has been the desire of all four kids, and we are beyond thankful for all the land on which they have to play, all the time they’ve had to play and the awesome weather we’ve had. We are enjoying God’s beautiful creation, loving our time with family and trying not to let our abundant travel wear us out.
Even though the travel has been tiring, though, it has been an incredible blessing. This past weekend we had an amazing time with our Missouri Valley Baptist Church and Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church families. They are such amazing people and a tremendous encouragement to our family and many others. Before that we spent a week up north with my family, both in Iowa and in Minnesota. Fun was had by all!
Please continue to pray for us as we seek the Lord’s wisdom and direction for our lives. We want to follow His leading and obey His Word, but I’ll admit that our future is still uncertain at this point. Of course, it’s not uncertain for the Lord, as He knows all things and has His perfect plan in place. The foolish people we are, though – we don’t always follow Him as we should and don’t always discern His direction for our lives. This might simply be a time He is teaching us patience and dependence on Him (something we always need to grow in), or He might be in the process of leading us exactly where He wants us. We’re not sure.
Our hearts long to be back in Istanbul, but they also long to be with family here in the U.S. God’s plan is best, and we trust His wisdom. Thank you for praying and for being such an encouragement!
Classic Bro & Sis Hang-Out
Living Room or Jungle Gym?
This is what happens when the Drake boys
are left unsupervised in the living room…