Category Archives: 31 Days of Faith

31 Days of Living by Faith, Day 31 – Running The Race

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us; Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

You are not alone in this life of faith.  You have a whole cheering section rooting you on.

Have you ever run a race?

I have not.  Believe me, I need a cheering section just to run around the block, but in races, friends and family come out to cheer you on.  There are people waiting to hand you a drink of water, and others holding signs.  For some, it is the crowd who pushes them to the finish.

The race gets difficult at times.

Sometimes quitting seems like a good option, but then you look around and realize you are not alone.  People you love and others you do not even know are supporting you.  They want you to finish, because they know you can.

You can do it.

The Bible says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses in this race.  They are standing on the sidelines cheering us on.  They know we can finish the race if we will just keep running.

You have cheerleaders that look a lot like Moses, Noah, David, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. (I had to lump all four of those last guys together, because I can’t just say one name without the others.  That’s why I named my son John and not Matthew.  If I went with Matthew, he would have three middle names.)

They are yelling, “Keep running.  You can do it.  Not much farther now.  It’s all downhill from here.  The finish line is just ahead.  Run. Run. Run!”

Fix your eyes on Jesus and run.

Living this life of faith is not always easy, but no race is ever easy.  Easy is not the point.  Finishing is the goal, so just keep running.

Say it like Dori, the fish on Nemo, says “Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.”

Friends, the finish line is just ahead.  Those who have gone on before are cheering you on.  Jesus is waiting for you with open arms at the end of this race.

I want Him to say well done.

So just keep running.

31 Days of Living by Faith are over, but the race goes on.  Will you run with me?

Some days I need someone to come alongside me and remind me to just keep running.  I suspect you do too, so let’s cheer each other on.  It isn’t about who has the fastest time or who gets to the finish line first.  It’s all about running well.  Some days that looks likes a slow jog and other days, it’s a sprint.

Just fix your eyes on Jesus and listen for the cheerleaders.

31 Days of Living by Faith, Day 30 – Saving Faith

Today I have a very special guest, my husband.  I hope you will take a few minutes to watch this video.  It is his story of saving faith.

Here’s the good news.

Jesus died for you and me and everybody else in this world.  Salvation from sin, reconciliation with God, is for everyone.  You don’t have to be part of a certain church or have a certain past.

You don’t even have to be a really bad person.

Sometimes we think only drug addicts, criminals, and weak people need Jesus.

That is just not true, because we all have a sin problem that separates us from God.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the father, but by me.”  John 14:6.

The Bible also says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Jesus, the only begotten son of God, was the perfect sacrifice, the only sacrifice that has the power to redeem our sinful souls.

John 3:17 says that “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

God’s greatest desire is to redeem mankind, to restore the relationship, broken by sin, between God and man.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

If you have not placed your faith in Jesus, in the saving work He did on the cross, it is my prayer that you will today.

Before you can live a life of faith, you must have saving faith.

Faith is believing God.

Will you believe what He said about eternity?

31 Days of Living by Faith, Day29 – Free to Live by Faith

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  ~John 8:32

Friends, it is time for us to, as they say, face the music.  It is time to walk in truth, because that is the only way we will be free to live by faith.

mirror imagesOnce I had a skinny mirror.  That’s what I called it, because every day I would stand before this mirror and when it was hung at just the right angle, I would look ten pounds thinner.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t a whole ten pounds, but there are days when two pounds are just as good as ten pounds.  You ever have one of those days?

I loved this mirror.  If my house burned down in the middle of the night, I was grabbing my kid with one hand and the mirror with other.  It showed me what I wanted to see.  I didn’t care if it wasn’t reality.  I liked how I looked.  It made me feel better.

Everyone else saw the real me, the two to ten pounds heavier me.  I am the only one my fun house mirror fooled, but it made me comfortable, and gosh-darnit, I like to feel good about myself.

Sometimes that is how we live our lives.

We think we are showing God, our neighbors, friends, and family who we are, but all we are giving them is the fun-house mirror image.  We do not care about living in truth.  We have been living the lie for so long, we hardly know what truth is anymore.

Sometimes we pretend we are perfect.  We have a perfect little home, a perfect little marriage, two point five perfect little children, and one perfect little puppy.  Ok, maybe the puppy isn’t perfect, but everything else is just dandy!

On Sunday mornings we put on our best smile and spit-shine the kids.  Some Sundays we can even convince our husband to dress nice.  We file into our seats looking like a billboard for First Best Baptist Church (insert any denomination).  After the service is over, we file out the door, shake the minister’s hand, and thank him for a good sermon.

We aren’t touched by the sermon, and we sure as heck won’t allow God to speak to us and move us.  I mean, someone may discover we are not walking the talk.

Maybe we’re even hiding a double life – you know the Monday through Saturday life.

One of the scariest things about writing this series, 31 Days of Living by Faith, is that you’ll walk away thinking I am better than you, more spiritual than you, or that I am just “preaching” at you.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I can only write these things, because I know they are true.  I live them.

It is one thing for us to fool everyone around us into thinking we are all set, but we also attempt to fool God.

It is time for us to quit living a lie.  We can only be free to live a life of faith if we start looking in the mirror and seeing what is really there, not the polished up, slimmed down version.

Let’s quit living a pretend life and begin living a life of faith.

God already knows what we look like, inside and out.  And let me let you in on a little secret, almost everyone sitting in the pews around you knows too.  Or they will know.  Eventually.  Because we can only keep up a facade for so long before it begins to crack.

Take a step of faith (maybe it is a leap), and start being honest with God, yourself, and others.  The truth will set you free – free to live by faith.

31 Days of Living by Faith, Day 28 – Faith in Grief

Ferree Hardy has unique ministry.  She works with, loves on, encourages, helps, and prays for widows – some young, some middle aged, and some older.

She writes a blog called Widow’s Christian Place.  I encourage you to go visit her blog and then pass along the information to any widows you may know.  I have recommended Ferree’s blog to several women, because I believe in her ministry.  God does amazing thing through her.  She’s lived the grief.  She knows how to minister physically and spiritually to others.

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For some, it happens over time as disease gains and over-powers their man. Every form of cancer, diabetes, heart failures, crippling neurological disorders bring slow death— and deeply committed marriage vows.

Wendy’s husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and died only 22 days later—10 days after their second child was born by C-section. Sharon’s husband came down with a rare and debilitating disorder in which their relaxing retirement plans quickly changed to exhausting home-care and a valiant fight to survive. Death doesn’t care if you’re done living or not.

For others, their whole life changes forever in an instant.

For Sandy in Indiana it was when her husband’s car was hit head-on by a recently released mental patient who wanted to commit suicide. Sandy and Steve had been having their usual cell phone chat as he drove home from work that day. She heard the boom and crunch of metal before his phone went dead. Car accidents like this, plus heart attacks, aneurisms, suicides and a ton of other reasons leave widows and their children hanging on to thin threads of faith.

And that’s what they do—they hang on. Some receive warm outpourings of grace and help from their community. Some, like Elaine Cook—who’s husband dropped dead from a heart attack while he and their son were unloading the moving truck at their new home in their new city hundreds of miles from friends and family—have no support at all. Others, sad to say, are ostracized by friends and family who are too broken by grief or, perhaps never were capable of compassion.

As I write this newsreel of stories that I, myself, hear day after day, I realize some of you have quit reading already! Others are thinking, “OMG! This is a downer!” But stay with me! Stay with me! Listening to these stories has an exciting and incredible pay-off!

Elaine realized hundreds and hundreds of other widows experience the same loneliness and isolation she felt when she buried her husband and had to sell her new house. So she started Widow2Widow, “serving God by serving widows” and has brought great joy to both herself and widows in many states.

Sandy has continued serving in her church and community by continually trusting God and simply refusing to let despair get the upper hand.

Sharon writes encouraging words to other caregivers and new widows and says her walk with the Lord becomes more precious every day.

Wendy started a group for young widows in Chicago and continually offers support and empathy through her gifted writing.

And me?

I have the sacred privilege of joining these women, and many more like them, for a few steps of their journey. I witness their new life rising up after death. I see women of faith grow stronger right before my eyes. I see them struggle in the cocoon of grief and come forth as beautiful new creations on wings that can cross the oceans of sorrow. I never asked for this job, I never imagined it existed! I’m not exactly equipped for it, but I’m living by faith, it’s what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

31 Days of Living by Faith, Day 27 – Bringing God Glory

blog button 31 Days of Living by FaithI was hesitant to begin writing 31 Days of Living by Faith.

It wasn’t just writing for 31 days, although I’ve never posted to this blog for 31 straight days, it was a combination of fears.

 

  1. I would have to bare my soul before an entire world of blog readers.  My stories could be misinterpreted, the point could get twisted and lost in my sea of words, people would understand how absolutely crazy I am – all these things floated in my head, and more.
  2. I would have to walk the talk.  We can all talk up an idea, philosophy, or conviction, but when you have the audacity to write about your belief for 31 days, you better be living it.
  3. I knew it was going to be a challenging month.  I understood that there was no way in this world for me to write about living by faith, without having opportunities to make it a reality today.  Living by faith is not a one time deal.  It something that grows and matures as your faith is tried and proved.
  4. I would lose a large portion of my blog readers.  Maybe this seems like no big deal to you, but I have worked pretty hard to develop a decent size readership for this little blog.  It is a dream to one day make it my full time job, something that pays me to do what I love.

So I wrestled with the idea of writing about my faith, not just about what I believe, but the actually living out of that belief.  It’s easier to talk about a truth than it is to put that truth into practice.

Talk is cheap.

For the first two weeks, it seemed like all my fears were playing out.  I had fewer hits on my blog than I had in the first months of launching The Domestic Fringe.  The few who did read were absolutely silent.

I wanted to give up.  I mean, was God even going to use these 31 days?

I hate doing things simply for the sake of doing them.  It seems pointless and a waste of time.  If I was going to write about living by faith for 31 days, I wanted God to use it in someone’s life.  I wanted there to be a point, something greater than me telling my story.

fall foliage, pumpkin, corn stalks

Finally, I decided that bringing glory to God was the point all along.  Even if no one read, even if I did not see the fruit of my writing, God was being glorified.  I was giving Him credit for all the things He’s done for me.

Bringing glory to God is more than enough.  It is our purpose in life.

Then something happened.  My stats began to go wild.

A well loved blogger read a few of my older posts and shared them.  Suddenly words that I wrote were being tweeted all over the world.

I was happy, but it still was not what I wanted.  I wanted these 31 days to mean more than the funny things I’ve written in the past.

Last week one of my posts was Freshly Pressed.  My stats went from hundreds to thousands and it was because of this post, a story I was the most hesitant to share.  I knew some would scoff at it.  It was the most personal display of faith in these 31 days.

While I did get a few ugly comments, I received so many more positive comments, stories of people struggling to live out their faith during the worst of times.  I received emails from people I did not know thanking me for writing, for encouraging them.

It is not about me feeling good about myself, or writing a good story, or receiving recognition, it is about God using me to bring glory to Himself, and helping another person in the process.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

31 Days of Living by Faith, Day 26 – Truck Size Faith

blog button 31 Days of Living by FaithThank you for joining us on this journey to 31 Days of Living by Faith.  I hop it has blessed you in some small way.  If you’re new, you can begin reading 31 Days of faith here.  Each day is listed in the title, so scroll down until you reach Day 1.

Today I welcome Jill.  We collided in blogland a long time ago, and I am so glad we did. She’s a funny woman with a wonderful outlook on life.  Hope you enjoy her story of living by faith.

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I’ve heard it said before that faith can be demonstrated with a chair. You can insist all you want to that a chair will hold you, but it’s the moment when you actually sit in the chair that you’re truly putting your faith in the chair.

I trusted Christ for salvation at a very early age, so I’ve exercised that particular faith most of my life. I also believe that God can do anything, but saying I believe it and actually putting my faith in Him for it are often two different things.

Quite a few years ago we found ourselves in possession of a truck, but without the funds to make the payments. We had struggled for quite a while, but finally it got to the point where the truck had to be sold.

After we put it up for sale, I found myself worrying about what would happen if we didn’t sell it before the next payment was due. There was no money to make the payment, no more savings to draw from, and no hope of getting the payment amount any time in the near future. I finally decided I needed to trust God to take care of things for us, and I prayed daily that the truck would sell.

The payment due date came and went, without anyone even showing interest in our truck. That particular payment had a ten day grace period. Each day I prayed and each day I expected to see a buyer come look at the truck. Day after day nothing happened, and my prayers started getting a little frantic. I put “more effort” into believing God would take care of this, and I reminded Him of His promises.

At the end of the ten days, I was really struggling to believe. No one had even called about the truck in over two weeks, and I could not understand why God would let us down.

I came back from the grocery store that day to an empty spot on the curb where the truck usually sat. Hardly daring to believe God had answered my prayers, I asked Terry if someone had bought the truck. He shrugged. “They’re taking it for a test drive, but they said it’s not really what they’re looking for, and I don’t think they’re interested.”

The brief shot of adrenalin to my faith disappeared, and I took the groceries inside. “You could have handled this,” I prayed angrily. “You said You wouldn’t let us down. I’ve been believing, but nothing’s been happening!”

In my heart I realized that I’d been more surprised when I thought the truck was gone then I was that it hadn’t sold. Clearly my faith wasn’t as strong as I thought, but God should still have taken care of us, I reasoned.

My prayers turned to apologies about an hour later. Not only did the people buy our truck for our asking price, but the guy made a living as a piano tuner. My piano had needed tuning for well over a year, but we’d never had the money to take care of it. This guy did it for free.

Truly humbled, I thanked God for His goodness. It was as if He was helping me strengthen my weak faith by waiting until the last minute, and then throwing in extra blessings besides.

Although strengthening our faith is not always the most pleasant thing, it is wonderful the way God helps us to grow spiritually. Terry and I have faced many more difficult moments in the years since then. We’ve put our faith in God once again, but at times I find myself wondering if even God can do what needs to be done.

And then I remember the truck.

 

Jill Boyd is a pastor’s wife, mother of six, homeschooling mom, secretary and aspiring writer. She hopes to write a book someday on raising children because, after raising one girl and five boys, she feels that someone ought to benefit from all the mistakes she’s made.

Domestically challenged, Jill refuses to attempt a craft unless duct tape is involved. She’s also less than a success in the kitchen, and it’s rumored that she’s not allowed to bring anything more than ice to the monthly church potlucks.

Visit Jill on her blog, www.jillboydsplace.blogspot.com to read about her attempts to kill off her inner Martha Stewart, and to find out what it’s like living in a household full of males without giving in to the urge to scratch and spit occasionally.

31 Days of Living by Faith, Day 25 – Faith for a Country Music Song

It was the kind of week country music songs are made of.

Our refrigerator quit working.

Our one week old puppy died.

Our truck was sold.

And, our car got wrecked.

If that does not make you pick up a guitar and wipe a tear from your eye, you have no heart.

Sure our refrigerator with a chrome pull handle door was fashionable in 1950, and the real miracle is that it ran for fifty-something years, but who cares?  It chilled the cream for our coffee.

We only had a week with our little puppy, but my ten month son sure did like him, and the little fureball warmed my feet every time I sat down.  I cried real tears in the veterinarian’s office the day they put her to sleep.

The truck had to go.  We could no longer afford the payments.  Saying goodbye was more difficult for my husband than it was for me.

The car was a big surprise.

My husband left for work one icy Maine morning.  He took my car, the only vehicle left, and I waved goodbye through the window on our front door.  Fifteen minutes later a police car pulled into my driveway and my husband got out.

I thought he must have done something real bad to be riding in the back of a cop car, but it couldn’t be that bad.  He was only gone for fifteen minutes, and he was being dropped off at home, not the county jail.

A woman ran a stop sign at an unusual intersection.  She never saw my husband coming beyond the snow banks.  They hit head on.  The airbag saved my husband’s life.  He forgot to wear his seatbelt that morning.

This woman who ran the stop sign had no insurance.

Because our car had high mileage, our insurance company did not completely pay off our loan.  We were left careless and in debt.

Not the greatest place to be unless you live in Nashville and can carry a tune.

Clearly, it was not our week.

Friends of ours let us borrow one of their vehicles for the weekend.  On the way to church Sunday morning, we talked about what we were going to do.  We tried to hatch a plan that would solve all of our problems and bring world peace, but we were weary and emotionally spent.  We had no plan.

When we got to church, I walked my son into the nursery, unraveling his scarf and plucking off mittens as we went.  My husband slid into a pew and saved me a spot.  A woman was already sitting in the pew.  She turned toward my husband and asked, “You wouldn’t know a family in need of a car, would you?”

She hurried on to explain, “I just got a new minivan and I have this old Volkswagen Jetta that I would like to give to a family who needed a car.”

My husband shook the shock off his face.

“Are you serious?”

“Ya, I don’t need two cars.  What would I do with the other one?”

“Did you know our car just got wrecked?”  My husband asked.

“No.”

She had no idea, but God had a plan all worked out for us.

You can’t play a country music song backwards and get the dog, the girl, and the truck, but we got back the car.

Living by Faith is understanding God already hatched a plan.  Sit back and enjoy the ride, because it may be a wild one.