Faith Builders

Taking the First Step: You Have the Key

You look ahead with such despair
and feel all hope is gone,
for life has been so difficult
already you feel worn.

But living life in happiness
is not so hard to do,
first make somebody happy
and joy will come to you.

But if you fear rejection
of love you have to give
and fear to reach your hand out
you'll never learn to live.

The first step is the hardest,
just take it and you'll see
that life is worth the living
for now you hold the key.
~ Ruth March 1978

Jesus the Optimist?Premium Content

Is Jesus an optimist? How about His followers?

I’ve been writing this week about optimism. I created A Reluctant Optimist’s Code in an attempt to counteract my natural inclination to perceive that The Half Empty Glass Is Leaking.

Today I’m wondering what the Bible says about my half-baked ideas. Since I just posted my list of 100 Significant Scriptures that shape my personal theology, I started there.

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100 Significant ScripturesPremium Content

This is easily the longest article I’ve ever written. Check out the next few sentences and you’ll see why.

A while back someone asked me to define my “life verse.”

I suppose if I HAD to choose a single passage I’d pick Romans 8:28.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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The Half Empty Glass Is LeakingPremium Content

Do you consider yourself an optimist? Why (or why not)?

I'm doing a talk this week for an Optimist Club, so I'm thinking about optimism. I did a little research to find out what optimism is, where it originates, why some folks have it and some don't.

Frankly, for much of my life I was a confirmed pessimist. I not only saw the glass as half-empty, but I was certain it was leaking and eventually would be completely dry.

I was the second person in this exchange.

Optimist:"This is the best of all possible worlds."

Pessimist: "If that's the case, then things can never get any better."

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Why Read The Bible?Premium Content

Why do you read the Bible?

I suppose answers vary with individual needs and life’s seasons. At different moments we seek knowledge, inspiration, encouragement, comfort, and guidance.

When I thought through this idea (I actually do that occasionally) I wondered if there was a single, best, right answer. Since The Bible Is About God I was going to offer something profound like “…acquiring a better, more intimate knowledge of God” (thanks Clark).

It’s always comforting to have a nice, tidy answer to such a complex question, even if it’s far too simplistic.

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He is AllPremium Content

You're my music in the morning
You're the joy that brings the dawn
You're the sun that warms our faces
When the winter's bearing on
Warm me 'til my lonely shivering
Heart's inspired to kneel and pray
And I look to joyful dawning
On that final brightest day.

In tumultuous times of trouble
May we still Your songs employ
To dispel the growing darkness
That would all our faith destroy
When we feel our strength receding
May we still then seek Your face
In the midst of our heart's bleeding
Send us oceans of Your grace.

You pour out Your sweet libations
Lord how great Thou truly art
Onto thirsty errant nations
Your sweet fragrance You impart
Lead us to the Living Water

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Do You Question God's Strength and Ability to Help You?

I will strengthen thee. Isaiah 41:10

God has a strong reserve with which to discharge this power; for He is able to do all things. Until you can drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, until you can break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, you never need fear.

God with Me!

1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Almighty God has many titles and descriptions. He is Creator of the universe which means, that while He can exist within our universe, He also exists outside of it and apart from it. We cannot, at least in these present forms, separate ourselves from the universe and its laws. We cannot ignore gravity and fly through the air or ignore time and travel to distant pasts. We cannot stop breathing and continue to live nor separate our atoms and continue to exist. But God is separate from all these things. He is God and as Creator is apart from creation.

Tremors

somewhere between physical reality and spiritual mentality
a chord was struck
and I resonated

tremors led to trephining truths
timeless tipped
targeting the center of my existence

midst all the quaking
my excuses became quiet
reacquainted with the ground of my being

when shaking ceased
I found a crease
and a Rock
where I stand amazed.

Reasons for Not Worrying

George MacDonald tells of a castle in which lived an old man and his son. Though they owned the castle, they were yet very poor. They could scarcely get enough bread to keep them from starving. Yet all the time there was great wealth, which, if they had known about it, would have supplied all their wants. Through long generations there had been concealed within the castle—very valuable jewels, which had been placed there by some remote ancestor, so that if he or any of his descendants should be in need, there would be something in reserve.

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