Facing our Future with Faith

What’s going to happen in 2018? It’s always something. It’s always something to worry about? In my lifetime we have moved from year to year collectively worried about one thing or the other. Perhaps the greatest example of this collective worry involving moving from one year to the next was 1999-2000 (Y2K as people began to call it). I never will forget the phone call that I got from a well-meaning member of my church. He advised me to take all of my money out of the bank and just operate on cash until everything settled down.

All of this worry reminds me of the story of a man named J. Arthur Rank—an early pioneer in the film industry in Great Britain and also a Christian. He spoke of a time that he was so worried about so many things. He decided it was occupying too much of his attention, so he promised himself that he would give himself to worry only one day a week—Wednesday. So, as the week progressed and he found himself worried about something, he would write it down and put it in a box he called his “Wednesday Worry Box.” He concluded after some time that only 1/3 of the things that he wrote down still needed to be worried about by the time Wednesday came.

There’s got to be a better way to all of our fears and worry. There’s got to be a better way than even worrying just on Wednesday. In one verse of Isaiah, I see a better way. It’s a good verse to hang our hearts and hopes on as we move from one year to the next.

Consider Isaiah 41:10– Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.

God gave Isaiah a word of certain truth that would carry him through the uncertain days. I pray that it is a verse that will guide us in any uncertain days that we might encounter. In this one verse of Scripture, we see 2 statements of “Do not fear,” 2 statements of “I am,” and 3 statements of “I will.” From this sequence we can identify 5 promises for our future.

1. God’s Presence with us!
“I am with you”

2. God’s Personal Position to us!
“I am your God”

3. God’s Power available to us!
“I will strengthen you”

4. God’s Provision available to us!
“I will help you”

5. God’s Ultimate Promise to us!
“I will hold on to you”

Will you trust your future, which you cannot know, to the God you can know?

(This post is based on the message “Facing Our Future” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

Will You Invest 24 Hours in Your Marriage?

According to one of my current favorite authors, Jim Denison, the New York Newsday carried the following report a few years ago: “Former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s son is to marry Bill’s ex-wife’s mother. Wyman’s son from a previous marriage, Stephen, age 30, announced his engagement to Patsy Smith, age 46, the mother of Wyman’s former wife, Mandy, age 22. The marriage would make the rock star his ex-wife’s step-grandfather.”

My head hurts just reading that description. In fact, I have read it numerous times and still remain somewhat uncertain about what is actually being reported. By humanity’s own failures, we have sometimes made marriage extremely complicated.

But even for those trying hard and following God’s design, marriage can sometimes be challenging. For that reason, we are calling the couples of Lafayette to make a 24 hour investment in their marriage on Friday, February 2, and Saturday, February 3. Well known Lafayette Christian Counselor Dudley Bienvenu is our presenter. Dudley will be presenting his seminar called Created to Connect: Helping Couples to Connect, Reconnect, and Stay Connected through the Challenges and Seasons of Life.

This conference is designed for married, dating, engaged, and separated couples, 18 and over, who have a sincere desire to improve and strengthen their relationship. Teaching methods include lecture, power point, videos, fill-in-the-blank workbooks, reflection exercises, handouts, question and answer periods, and homework. Both partners must pre-register and attend all four sessions. The event is free and open to the public and there is no charge for materials. No children are allowed, and childcare will not be provided.

Take part fully in The 24 Hour Challenge:

  • Invest 24 hours in strengthening and enriching your marriage
  • Create your private retreat at home or in a hotel, but ALONE!
  • No cell phone, TV, radio, social networking, work, or children
  • Stay “off-the-grid” from 6:00 PM Friday to 6:00 PM Saturday
  • Attend and fully participate in all four sessions with your mate

You can pre-register at fbclaf.org/connect.

Your Part in God’s Grand Story

In Exodus 1 the story that ended in the last pages of Genesis continues. The story of individual faith in Genesis through the Patriarchs now becomes the story of the faith of a whole nation. The book begins by Israel building storage places for Pharaoh, but the book ends with Israel building the Tent of Meeting—the Tabernacle of God and the “glory of the Lord filling that Tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:35)

The author reminds us in verses 1-6 of the people who are in Egypt. Verse 7 is pivotal. In this one verse we get a glimpse of two amazing discoveries carried over from Genesis. First, Israel has fulfilled the creation mandate to be fruitful and fill the earth. Second, God has fulfilled His covenantal message to grow the number of descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

The story takes a dramatic twist in verses 8-22 with Pharaoh’s attempt to thwart the plans of God. Fearing the growth of the Israelites, Pharaoh increased their work load. Instead, of stopping their growth, Israel continued to multiply. Pharaoh instructed the death of Hebrew boys, first by the actions of the midwives. When this also failed to stunt Israelite growth, Pharaoh instructed that all of Egypt be involved in killing Hebrew male babies. Pharaoh’s plan is a wicked example of what happens when a person has no fear of God and no value for life.

But the story of Exodus 1 is that God’s plan prevails. God’s plan always prevails.

Think about these four truths.

1. Our story is still being written. When Genesis ends and Exodus begins, God’s story is not over. Your story is not over either.

2. Even small parts of our story have potential to become critical parts of the story. Shiphrah and Puah might have small parts, but how critical was their part in the story of God and His people!

3. Our job is not to write the end of our story, just be faithful where we are in our story. Maybe you don’t like where your story is right now. Be patient. Have faith. God is still writing your story.

4. While impossible to write the end of our story, the end is dependent on our daily decisions. Decide today to do the right thing.

(If you would like to receive an email notification each time I post, use the ““Subscribe to this site” link at the top of the right column.)