Finishing Faithfully

            2016 has been quite the year. For all of us there were up and downs as we moved along the days, weeks and months of this year. Maybe there were surprises in your life that discouraged you. It might have been finances, a broken relationship, or changes at your job. But no matter what we’ve gone through, the Lord wants us to keep our eyes on Him. Trusting God through the journey is the essence of faith.

            Many times, faith is misunderstood. Sometimes we are tempted to look at the cross and say, “I believe,” and think that we have faith. Believing an event happened is different than faith. Believing that Jesus died, was buried and rose again is a matter of agreeing with history. Apostle James says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” However, believing in the event at the cross is not enough. We must believe Jesus. The historical event of the cross is the foundation that substantiates faith.

            The cross is the support of our faith where the blind promises of Christ are verified. They bring light to and justify our trust in Him as the one who alone is able to save us from our sin. His sacrifice is sufficient to cover our greatest sins, and the new life we experience in Christ is enough to provide comfort for our deepest pains.

            When the Bible speaks of having faith in Jesus, it is teaching about a complete trust or confidence in Him. The righteous, those who are justified, live by faith (Gal. 3:11). The essence of faith is having immovable confidence in God despite how the world changes around you. When we lack this confidence, it is dangerous.

            Think of Israel. They were only months out of experiencing one of the greatest acts of deliverance in the history of humanity when God rescued them from the shackles of Pharaoh. Not far into the desert, Israel began to return back to her idolatry. But God was gracious. He graciously gave his chosen people the Law. People worked together to collect all the supplies for the Tabernacle. The Levites were commissioned for the Lord’s service. The first sacrifices were offered. God manifested his glory among his people and led them by cloud during the day and by flame at night. Yet, despite these incredible acts of grace and glory, the people grumbled and complained about their food situation. They feared and fretted about the giants who stood in their way in the Promised Land. There was no confidence in God despite all that he did, and as a result an entire generation wasted away and never received the promised rest. There are consequences to failed confidence.

            When we fail to have confidence in God in the midst of difficult or unclear circumstances, we can miss out on God’s blessings. God’s past faithfulness must be looked upon—not so that we glory in the good ‘ole days—but so we will move forward to the greatest days in our life. These days will be better because they will be built upon a thicker foundation of God’s faithfulness to get us through even the most difficult circumstances in our life.

            This year is quickly coming to an end. It is my prayer that all of us will finish faithfully— being “full” off faith. Let us continue to have confidence in God, even through the moment when the clock strikes midnight on December 31. And when this year is complete, may 2016 be strength for your journey of trust in Jesus. Let us trust him in our relationship with our spouse, family, children, friends, and work relationships. Let us continue to have confidence in his provision for us in the area of finances, as individuals and as a corporate body. Will you pray with me this month and ask the Lord to help our church meet our budget needs? We are so grateful for his work among us. Let us confidently and cheerfully give as the Lord works in our hearts. Thank you for your faithfulness, generosity, and the privilege to serve this body. I’m looking forward to all that the future holds for us.

Blessings to you and your family,

Pastor Jeremiah