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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement for Today - Feb. 1, 2007

  • 2007 Feb 01
  • COMMENTS

 

February 1, 2007

 

Stained-Glass Saints

By Susanne Scheppmann

 

Luke 17:5, “The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Strolling through an old church cemetery while in England, I examined the weather-worn headstones.  The inscriptions read: “She Walked with God.” “He Lived Faithful.” “Rest as You Lived, in God’s Peace”

 

Gazing up at the stone church, the evening sun danced off the stained-glass windows. I studied the serene expressions on the saints’ faces silhouetted within the glass. “Did any of these people ever struggle to have faith?” I wondered.   My own inadequate faith seems to expand and deflate with various life experiences.

 

Perhaps you feel the same way. Does your faith ever waiver? Do you feel at times that your faith might be shrinking instead of growing? If your answer is yes, “Welcome to the crowd!” In the Bible verse above, we see that even Jesus’ disciples knew they needed more faith. They implored, “Increase our faith!”

 

What do you think triggered their realization that they needed more faith? When we read that chapter of the Bible we see that it was a matter of needing to forgive someone—over and over again. In the verses prior to their request Jesus said, “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent’,” forgive him.” Can you imagine the disciples’ bearded faces, wide-eyed with shock? Just forgiving once is hard enough!

 

Yes, that makes me cry out for more faith, too. I might be able to forgive someone once, but to keep forgiving for a repeated offense is difficult. The phrase, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” rings through my head. I struggle with   forgiveness at times. My faith falters on occasion. So what can I do?

 

I can ask Him to increase my faith and my ability to forgive. 1 John 5:14-15 states, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him (NIV)”. I know that it is His will for me to possess more faith. The Bible gives me another clue on how to enhance my faith. Romans 10:17 states, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (NASB).  As I read the Bible, listening to God, and apply it to my life, my faith will increase. And so will my ability to forgive others just as Jesus commands.  

 

Gratitude floods my soul that the people closest to Christ didn’t possess super faith or flawless behavior. They were not picture-perfect stained-glass saints. They recognized their need for help and didn’t hesitate to ask for it. I want to be like them, don’t you? Maybe someday, in some cemetery, our epitaph might read, “Her Faith Increased.”

 

Dear Lord, I ask you to increase my faith! Stretch my faith. Teach me to study Your Bible so that when asked to forgive, forgiveness flows freely from my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Additional Resources: 

 

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

 

He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer

 

Listen to Today's Radio Show

 

Application Steps:  

Read Psalm 119.  Underline the verses that state the benefits of reading God’s word.

 

Reflections:  

Do I have strong or weak faith?

 

How does possessing faith increase my ability to forgive?

 

What would I like my epitaph to read?

 

Power Verses:

2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight.” (NIV) 

 

2 Peter 1:5, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge.” (NIV) 

 

Romans 3:3, “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? ” (NIV) 

 

Jude 1:3, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (NIV) 

 

  Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org

 

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