2015–Your Chosen Advantage–4

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love” (NIV).

“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly” (Message).

1 Corinthians 13:13

As I stood in the post office parking lot, looking across the valley to my favorite downtown building, my imagination produced an instant image. I could see the New Year’s resources.

  • Faith—connection with God and your God-given assignment—vertical
  • Hope—personal infrastructure—inward
  • Love—relationships—horizontal

As I “looked” out the widow’s watch window I saw the three streams. Carve away all the extraneous stuff and the message I got was—these resources demand our daily attention. The active flow must be reciprocal. I think it was Dwight Moody who committed to witnessing to at least one person each day. If he was in bed and realize he hadn’t told one person about Jesus, he would get dressed and find someone to tell and urge them to receive Christ. That is the required commitment to maintain these resources.

It may be simplistic, but I’m thinking these three elements are the primary filters and the primary resources.

FAITH

Trust steadily in God

I don’t know if this is a lake/reservoir that requires our attention to the daily inflow and outflow or if is a stream which flows through us. I know it requires our attention—keep the passage open and any blockage cleared. Do all that can be done to increase the flow and volume.

Faith in something or someone is to believe enough to act upon it. Faith is not something you hide away in a lock box. It is a verb and must be used. I am carrying several maxims out of 2014 that border on absolute. Dr. Brené Brown proclaims that the feeling “I am not enough…” (You fill in the blank) is the major block to joy and achievement. The antidote is feeling, believing and living out of a faith statement:

I am worthy

The contradictory statements “I am not enough,” and “I am worthy,” are a couple of the most important things I learned in 2014. My worthiness rests on who God says I am.

To say that we are worthy is not to claim entitlement. Quite the opposite. We are worthy in Christ’s worthiness. Every person who accepts their non-worthiness assumes they are flawed or some universal contract has been written that eliminates them as a player. That is not true in God’s economy!

Another faith-defeating phrase is, “I don’t deserve….” I don’t know where the records are kept, or how such measurements of deserving are made. Several famous people have said “Luck and probability of success increases with preparedness.”

There is a $3 million condo near Concordia, Kansas that can withstand a nuclear attack. It has an indoor swimming pool, a 17-seat movie theatre, a hydroponic vegetable garden. It is 1820 square feet and can house 75 persons. It is 174 feet underground. It is a decommissioned missile silo.

With the security threats, global pandemics, catastrophic weather and terror attacks, developers, real estate sales people are finding a growing market for such safety features. All that protection will not keep us from the self-destructive corrosion of “I’m not worthy,” and/or “I don’t deserve.”

A faith word is alignment. We put in the work to keep ourselves aligned with God’s commands, (See Jesus’ words about vine and branches in John 15), and aligned with God’s assignment—the place where our greatest joy intersects with the worlds need.

Faith needs an object. In this context—having faith in the dream or vision that you believe or once believe came from God. If from God, then faith dictates we pour thinking, studying, talking about, asking mentors, praying and formulating plans, time tables and strategies to get it to market. Staying in alignment is first, but the actions in this sentence are expressions of faith.

The faith flow works only if you sustain it with frequent deposits and outlets. Deposits and outlets. You might ask at the close of day what you did to increase the faith inflow actions of thinking, studying, talking about, asking, praying and strategy building. What faith-action related to faith did you deposit in someone?

Faith might have you make files:

  • Stuff I can’t change or fix—defeats, disappointments, failure, rejections.
  • Stuff I’m not ready to attempt—not ready for prime time, yet.
  • Stuff I can’t explain—“What the heck was that about?”

©2014 D. Dean Benton—http://www.bentonministries.com

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