Silent Witness

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” (Philippians 1:27 NLT)

This challenge from the Apostle Paul is a great reminder of our role as followers of Jesus. We are to live our lives as if we are already citizens of heaven. Matter of fact, positionally speaking, in Christ we are already in heaven, “we are now seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 1:6)

When I read the Philippians passage I am reminded of my responsibility to conduct myself as a yielded servant of Christ in my outward behavior. That produces what I like to call the silent witness. One of the highest compliments that I was ever given was when someone said, “There is something different about you. There is a presence that draws people to you.” I knew what that presence was, and it wasn’t my personality or a religious spirit, it was the presence of Christ.

This is a potential presence that every true follower of Christ possesses. It’s that presence that draws men and women to Christ. It’s a presence that causes unbelievers to want the peace we possess. We can’t manufacture that presence. There isn’t “5 Spiritual Steps to obtaining God’s Presence”, nor is it something that we earn by good works. Christ’s presence is only manifested as we learn to let go of our life and surrender the control of our life to Him. It happens when we practice trusting and resting in Christ as enough.

I desire to have that glow of God’s presence every moment of every day. But in reality, I know that it diminishes when I worry instead of trusting, or become fearful and stop trusting that God is in control. When I lose my temper and feel the need to set somebody straight, surely the glow fades.

God’s intention for us is to be so dependent upon Him that we willingly lay down our need to control and be in charge. Our life motto becomes, “Apart from Him I can do nothing.”(John 15). Our confidence moves from “I can do it on my own” to “with prayer and the leadership of the Spirit, in Christ I can do anything”.

Bottom Line

The Scripture tells us that “we are made complete in Him” (Colossians 2). That means when we commit to resting and trusting in the living Christ within, then we will manifest His presence and others will notice our Heavenly glow.

“For in Him we live and move and exist… (Acts 17:28)

Trusting the Lord in all Situations

I think that “trusting the Lord in all situations” is the most difficult aspect of the Christian life. Actually, it is the one big thing that keeps us from living a victorious and fulfilled life.

When I was a kid our church had regular testimony meetings. I have to admit that I enjoyed the testimony meetings more than the preaching. It was a sampling of what it’s like to live as a follower of Jesus. I heard how Jesus intervened in all sorts of life experiences, such as providing money just in the nick of time, how He healed a sick body, or a broken relationship, and miraculously intervened in potential tragic accidents.

I miss those testimony meetings. I believe these meetings did more to confirm God’s Word in my heart than any other church activity. I learned more about God’s intervening power in those meetings than any other activity in the church. I heard credible evidence of God’s faithfulness and power from people I loved and respected. These were real life examples of God’s power lived out in daily experience.

If we will learn to trust Him, God will provide us with plenty of relevant and recent examples of His power and His care in our own lives. Of course the real question is, “Will we trust Him”? Most of the time we hinder God’s provision because He is waiting for us to take that step of faith and put all our trust in Him. The Scripture is clear on this point, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and (then) He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB)

Another passage of Scripture that is relevant to the subject of trust is Isaiah 40, “They that wait upon the Lord will gain their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not get tired, and they will walk and not get weary.” (Isaiah 40:31 NASB)

When I think of this passage of Scripture two thoughts come to my mind. One is the phrase, “Are you living with the turkeys or are you soaring with the eagles?” The other is “God’s perspective is always the best perspective.”

Eagles fly higher than any other creature. Have you ever observed how effortless they reach the high altitudes? They don’t frantically flap their massive wings; they flap only when necessary. They simply extend their wings and ride the God-provided currents to unbelievable heights. When they get to the highest points they have a perspective that us earth bound folks don’t have. The higher they go, the greater the perspective. The more you trust your current circumstances to the Lord, the higher He will carry you so that He can increase your perspective.

Or you can choose to live like a turkey and fly only as high as a tree limb. A turkey reaches its maximum elevation only by constantly flapping his wings – all self-effort. And his perspective is a mere medium size tree top.

With most believers, the trust issue will always be a challenge. That’s because when the Lord calls you to go higher and deeper with Him, you will encounter a new level of trust. Each step of growth requires greater faith and trust.

If you are in the most difficult situation of your life, you can be assured that God is about to increase and deepen your perspective. He is calling you to a new God-encounter and all you have to do is trust Him. Really, if you think about it, that’s all God asks of us, that’s to trust Him.

Never get so busy doing the work of the kingdom that you forget who the King is.

Believing God


“He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarded of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

The above verse pretty much sums up the Christian life.  All God asks of us is that we believe Him, trust Him in every situation, even when the outlook is grim.

We see this principle played out throughout the Scripture.  When Jesus was teaching the 5000 in the countryside the disciples wanted to send them home to eat. Jesus wanted them to look to him and trust him in the situation. Jesus then miraculously multiplied the fish and feed the whole crowd with leftovers.

When Lazarus died the disciples and Lazarus’s sisters wondered why He didn’t come sooner.  But Jesus wanted them to trust Him even though it meant the death of Lazarus.  Jesus then proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus wanted them to trust in Him, even in the face of death.

Enoch is probably one of the greatest examples of trusting God.   The Scripture says, “By faith Enoch was translated.”  Because of his faith and trust in God he didn’t even have to die, God just took him up to heaven.  Enoch trusted God and he had no Bible, no songbook, and no teacher, no indwelling Holy Spirit but yet he trusted and believed God.  We have all those things but find it difficult to trust Him when we are in difficult times.

There are benefits when we choose by an act of our will to trust God.  Listed below are three benefits for you to consider.

  1. God will control our lives.  For the believer who chooses to go it on his own will soon realize his life is spinning out of control. That’s when Satan steps in and attempts to manipulate and gain a foothold in our life.   Faith says I can’t do it on my own, apart from Him I can do nothing.  To allow God to control our lives we must surrender our rights and expectations and trust every area of our life to His control.
  2. We can live in the light.  The world is searching for meaning and significance. They are groping in the dark looking for something to make sense of their life.  When decide to trust God, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will provide light and understanding.
  3. The walk of faith and trust protects us from our enemies.  The Scripture says in Isaiah 54:17 the “No weapon formed against us shall prosper.”  The Hebrew in this verse indicates that “No plan, no instrument of destruction, no satanic artillery shall push you or run over you, but it will be done away with.”

Certainly there are many more benefits of trusting and walking with God.  I would like to encourage you to take a personal inventory to determine if you are trusting God in every area of your life.   If not, acknowledge your lack of trust and then determine with God’s help to trust Him in everything.

Faith ends where worry begins, and worry ends where faith begins.–George Mueller

Waiting on God

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He cut off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly soon emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man expected that the wings would enlarge and expand to support the body, which would contract in time, but neither happened. Instead the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never flew. In his kindness and haste the man didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon was God’s way of forcing fluid from the butterfly’s body into its wings, so that it could fly once free from the cocoon.

Sometimes our struggles are exactly what we need. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong and we could never fly! With our flesh we fight life’s struggles. We are impatient during the learning curves. We fail to understand that our obstacles are the very thing that allows us to soar. Jesus said, “If you reign with me you will suffer with me”. The context of this verse has to do with becoming a true disciple. That means suffering, by way of life’s struggles, is necessary to be called a legitimate disciple of Jesus Christ.

I like to refer to our daily struggles as God’s way of bringing a little brokenness. Sometimes that means a sense of “momentarily being out of control.” Being out of control gives us a feeling of having no place to turn but God. That’s exactly where God wants us to be – acting on our faith and trust in Him. Besides, even if the struggle and discomfort is a direct attack from the enemy, God always means it for good.

Joseph had the proper perspective when he explained to his brothers, “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.” So next time you get in a jam – don’t try to exit from the cocoon too soon, more struggle may be necessary. Wait on God’s natural timing so you can fly.

“Consider it all joy, my brother, when you encounter various trials, know that the testing’s of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Running The Race

Hebrews 12:1-2

In Hebrews 12 the writer gives a sports analogy to convey the importance of keeping our eyes on Jesus. Reading through this passage reminded me of how contemporary the Scriptures are on today’s issues and problems. Believers everywhere are filled with anxiety, fear, doubt, unforgiveness and a multitude of other spiritual and emotional maladies that keep us from “fixing our eyes on Jesus”. There are several key elements of this passage that we need to heed in order to keep our eyes fixed on the goal.

1. “A great cloud of witnesses” – We are not alone in the race. The Greek word “great” is nephele which indicates an earth encompassing cloud. The context suggests that these witnesses are the heroes of the faith mentioned in chapter 11. We are in this race not only with other believers here on earth, but also the saints of heaven are cheering us on. Even though we may feel alone, we are never alone in the race.

2. “Let us lay aside every weight” – A runner never allows things to weigh them down. Every piece of clothing down to the weight of the shoe plays a vital role in running the race. Sometimes the things that weigh us down are not sinful things but the things that are not best for us. Often good things must be laid down in order for the best to be used in the race.

3. “Let us run with patience the race…” – The word race is the Greek word agon in which we get our English word agony. The emphasis is a long distance race. I remember running my first timed mile in junior high school. Agony would perfectly describe the experience. In the spiritual race the pace is set by God and the goal is not heaven. Heaven is settled by faith in the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. The goal is pleasing God by obedience. Along the way agony appears in the form of trials, disappointments and temptations. This race is not a 100 yard dash but a marathon.

4. “Looking unto Jesus” – This is an intent gaze upon Jesus. It’s keeping our eyes fixed on Him during the race, irrespective of the position of the rest of the runners. The race is not about how fast we finish because the pace is set by our Heavenly Father. Rather the race is based on how faithful we are at keeping our focus on Jesus along the way. Each one of us has a race to run and our focus is not to be on how our brother or sister runs the race. That’s the reason the scripture admonishes us to not compare ourselves with others.

1. If you want to be disappointed look to others
2. If you want to be discouraged focus on yourself.
3. If you want to be delighted focus on Jesus.

Since God knows from the foundation of the world who will become his child, the events that determine our race and our pace may even begin before we become a believer. We see an example of this principle at work in Nee Wheng-hsiu:

Famous missionary Watchmen Nee’s mother, Nee Wheng-hsiu, had plans to go to medical school in the USA. But at the last minute her mother arranged a marriage contract for her. The marriage was everything she feared about an arranged marriage- abuse and marriage to someone she didn’t love. Her sorrow drove her to Christ. After her conversion she approached her 17 year old son Watchman and confessed her sin of being too harsh in her discipline of him. Watchman was taken by surprise. This behavior was not only unusual but it was also uncommon in the Chinese culture. Because of his mother’s transformation Watchman Nee also gave his life to Christ. His impact on China is felt even today throughout China.

Like Nee Wheng-hsiu, our race may contain tragedy, disappointment and even regret, but it is our race, and it is orchestrated by God. Only as we keep our eyes fixed on Christ will we realize the reward of the peace of God in the midst of the race, and the eventual fulfillment of His will and purpose for our life.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… Hebrews 12:1-2a (NASB)