Seeing is not Believing

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  I Corinthians 13:12

My days are surrounded by what I see.  That’s profound, huh?  My drive to work this morning was blessed by the view of God’s design in this morning’s sunrise.  Strokes of pink stretching in all directions across the eastern sky.  Fields of tall grass going to seed danced in unison to the morning breeze as the new sun accented their bronze tips.  The joy of time spent with my boys, talking about God’s attributes.  The mile-long river of red lights before me while I sit in traffic.  If I didn’t know any better – it all seems pretty real to me.  But what is real?  There’s no doubt those things are real, but God suggests that what I see in myself and others may not be as real as they appear.

If what He says is true (and I believe it to be so), then what we see cannot be what we always believe.  “We live by faith, not by sight.”  II Corinthians 5:7

Here’s what I do know . . . I know that God is Supreme, always and forever!  I know that I am not Him!  I also know that He created us to have fellowship with Him, regardless of our circumstances.  I know too, that our ability to understand Him completely is limited by the inability of our flesh (bodies).  Even so, I know that within me lives God Supreme through His Spirit and that because of Him abiding in me, Christ then lives through me!  Therefore, I am a NEW creation and that this is who I am — my life is Christ.

This means that my mind is of Christ, my heart belongs to Christ, my eyes see through Christ, my hands touch and feel through Christ’s hands, my feet walk in the footsteps of Christ.  It’s John 15:5!

But do I believe it?  I can’t see it, so is it real?  John 15:5 goes on to say that evidence of knowing and believing this truth will be evident in the fruit of my life.  “. . . and you will bear much fruit!”  This is because we behave through our belief!

God reveals the truth of who He is to us in three different ways . . . through His creation, through His written Word, and through His Son, Jesus Christ!

It’s like finding a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies on the table when you get home.  You can smell them and your mouth starts to water.  There’s no doubt they are real and your body is already enjoying them and your mind is trying to convince your will to tell your hand to grab one!  But you resist.  Why?  Because quite honestly, you have no idea where they came from.  But from the sweet aroma, you know for a fact they did a great job!  Wait, there’s a note next to the plate that says, “Dear son, I made you a plate of cookies today because I love you.  I hope you enjoy them . . . Love, Mom.”  Ahhhh, how sweet!  Mom made you cookies . . . but did she?  How do you know?  Well, they look like the cookies she makes, smells like the cookies she makes, she left me a note that says she made them — you conclude it must be true!  Then, the doorbell rings.  You rush to the door and see that it’s Mom coming by for a visit.  The first thing she asks is if you found the plate of cookies she left for you.   And you say, “It was you!  Thank you so much, I can’t wait to eat them.  Would you like to have one with me?”

You see, God created all things as proof of who He is!  He left us a “note” as further evidence of the truth through His Word.  And just to confirm the author and finisher of all things, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to fulfill His Truth.

Seeing is not believing, but knowing the Truth that sets you free is something you can believe in!  Then, through faith, because you believe, you behave Christ through you — The HOPE of GLORY!

by:  Mark Cruver

A Prayer for Wisdom and Strength When Facing Temptation

With the fact that I’m currently reading on the power of prayer, Scotty Smith summarizes the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere in the face of temptation. Call on the power of God, in the name of Jesus for strength. The reward in the power of trusting Him far outweighs the regret of believing the lies in temptation.

by:  Mark Cruver

The Meaning of Leaning

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

I recently went to one of my son’s cross country meets to watch him run.  To my amazement at the starting line, besides him were what I could only estimate close to 200 other guys in his category lined up.  There must have been a million dollars alone on the feet of all those runners!  The chatter among parents and coaches before the race revolved around the mere numbers and the difficulty the runners may find in spreading out early enough in the race before the path narrows.  Some 17 minutes later the first runner crossed the finish line — challenged, but not phased by the course.  He owned it.  What caught my attention were the runners crossing the finish line near the 33 minute marker.   The last 100 yards was clearly nothing they wanted any part of.  It brought new meaning to … “press on!”  I watched as these athletes crossed the line — the end — the final moment of the race for them and staggered to keep themselves upright.  Many of them would fall to the left, get up only to fall to the right.  Their bodies were refusing to listen to their mind and exhaustion had sapped every ounce of ability to stand on their own.  Without hesitation, helpers would get on both sides of them and lend their own bodies to work on their behalf.  The athlete had no choice but to lean on their person of rescue.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that with God?  Wouldn’t it be the best if we could actually “have no choice but to” lean.  Instead, we look at ourselves and say, “My legs are working — I’m gonna take it from here.”  And this is how we tend to go about our lives — training ourselves to lean unto our own reality, lean on our own perceptions, lean on our own knowledge and then we wonder why our “legs” don’t work, or our “minds” won’t stop and our behavior won’t change.  When our eyes are fixed only on ourselves, our hope in life becomes unstable.  It becomes a brick used in the construction of our life.  It appears pretty strong, feels pretty durable, but even the strongest brick placed on a foundation set on sand will crumble.

We train our soul to lean one of two directions.  Unlike natural reality where there is a North, South, East and West to determine direction, in our spiritual reality there is only two directions . . . He and Me!  The magnet of our soul turns the compass of our hearts to trust in one or the other.  Unfortunately, many of us choose throughout our every day to follow the arrow on our compass to follow Me!  When we move in this direction and place our trust in the ways of this world, absent Christ in our daily walk, our lives are filled with hopelessness.  But when we follow the compass of our hearts to follow Him — to trust completely upon Him in EVERYTHING, our soul begins to learn to habitually lean on Him.  He came so that we might have Hope! (Romans 15:4)

I don’t know about you, but this is where I want to be every minute of everyday.  Like the athlete who on his own barely crosses the finish line, I want Christ to become my “legs,” my “arms,” my ALL!  I want the magnet of my soul to, without question, habitually lean toward He every time!  When this happens, God says, “thank you!”  Because until we surrender ourselves to Him completely our needle will still be pointing to Me and not He.  I’ve got to let Him every minute!

Let He, not Me . . . that’s the meaning of leaning!

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”  Psalm 125:1

Hope In Crisis

In the midst of my crisis (or anyone’s crisis) hope is something we cling to tightly.  It, at best, appears to be the last string of relief to our grief.  Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. We all want a positive outcome — more than life itself!  But often, our limited minds, deceitful hearts and what the Scripture calls “flesh” somehow turns the tide on hope and ushers our minds, our hearts and eventually belief to despair; the opposite of hope.

My friend just texted me on how I was doing in the midst of my personal crisis.  Yesterday I found myself hopeless, full of despair — sinning!  I completely neglected the fact that Christ’s blood covered that for me already and brought us hope in Him!

My hope is flawed, it has holes and withers as the wind blows.  But the hope found in the life of Christ is never changing!  It’s firm as a rock — in fact, it IS the rock!

So, my answer to my friend was this.  As long as I continue to hope in the outcome of my future through me and my own abilities, I will continue to doubt because I can do nothing without Christ who strengthens me.  That being said, my hope is not my hope at all, it is the Hope of the One Eternal, the Hope of God Almighty, the Hope of Glory . . . that’s the Hope I can trust!  That’s my Hope in crisis!

by: Mark Cruver