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Childlike Faith

Do your kids take what you say literally? Ours have and we’ve had some great laughs over the years because of Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.34.03 PMit. Sometimes it was their limited understanding of who God was that brought us the best moments of laughter and some very important lessons. Our children are adults now and those lessons and the laughter they brought us will stay with us forever.

While flying with our very young children, we had one of the best laughs about God. My husband and son were sitting one row up and across the aisle from my daughter and me. To their right and directly in front of me was a priest. When our son was little, we tried to explain to him who God was, to the best of our ability. This was a few years before we really came to know God.

As the plane was taking off, my son very loudly said, “Dad, you told me that God was above the clouds so how come I can’t see Him?” I watched the priest in front of me shake with laughter. I was laughing along with him. My son had heard us say that God was in heaven. He asked where heaven was and we said, “up in the sky.” My little boy had held that piece of knowledge in his head and he was sure he was going to see God because the plane was now in the sky.

Let’s back up. I said that sometimes our kids’ limited understanding of who God is can bring us the best laughs. That is true but maybe their understanding of God is not really limited. Maybe it is our understanding that is limited.

My son believed there was a God. He believed God was in the sky because that is where we told him heaven was. He took what he knew to be true and believed it with his whole heart. He had faith and he expected to see God.

Shouldn’t we all have that kind of faith to expect to see the hand of God or at least feel God in every situation? Shouldn’t we have the kind of faith to believe that God is there even if we can’t see Him? Our son had never seen God but he knew He was there and he expected to see Him. He had childlike or uninhibited faith that had not been clouded by the world.

We had to explain to our little guy that even though we can’t see heaven with our eyes that it is still real. And even though he could not see God out the window of the plane, God was always with us.

As the years passed, our son still believed that to be true. One day he found himself in a spot where he had to overcome a fear. He pressed into God with that childlike, uninhibited faith. My husband cried as he told me the story of watching our son overcoming his fear on the ropes course by saying and believing, “All things are possible with Him.” He could not see God but he EXPECTED that God would hear him and he EXPECTED that God would be with him as he did the course. That day our son finished that ropes course knowing that God was helping him.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.30.25 PMI think as adults it is so easy to forget what childlike faith is and our prayers become limited to what we know to be true in the here and now. We forget to really “expect God to be God.” I think that children have a much clearer view of who God really is and I want to encourage you to take a look at God through the eyes of a child.   We should all want to have childlike, uninhibited faith that has not been clouded by this world.

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Christ-Our Life!

10514645_10153047532657119_6672864205718947858_nBy Ken McNaughton, Fire Chaplain

Colossians 3:3-4 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

These two scriptures are crucial to understanding the state of the Church today.  The gospel being widely preached today proclaims, ‘Come to Jesus and He will give you a better, more abundant life’.  Many of you right now are agreeing with that statement seeing nothing wrong in its content.  Jesus did NOT come to give us a better life!  Jesus came to BE OUR LIFE!  This may seem like semantics to some of you, but it is in fact a deadly shift that has taken place in the Church.

Being a Christian today is more about embracing a certain kind of lifestyle rather than Christ being our LIFE.  Consider a newborn baby.  It is full of life, hungry, needy and ready to start learning and growing.  However, it has no thoughts of lifestyle patterns to ‘live’ by and keep up appearances.  All it is concerned with is crying out for the nurturing that only the One Who gave it LIFE can offer.  Its dependency upon the parent is ALL it knows and understands.  Listen carefully to these plain and direct words spoken by Jesus:

Matthew 18:2-4  “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Do you see and hear what He is really saying?  He says we have to be just like that little child, completely dependent upon Him for everything!  Today people have made Jesus part of their lifestyles fitting Him in where they have time for Him.  As long as they give Him a portion of their time, talents and treasure they are perceived as godly.  Jesus didn’t die so that we might ‘fit Him into our schedule’ for one or two days a week.  He didn’t shed His precious blood for a few of our dollars to help the Church make it through this difficult time!  He didn’t endure the ridicule of becoming flesh and blood so that we might one day make Him part of our weekly routine and lifestyles!  He came to be our LIFE!  The real gospel calls every man and woman to lay down their lives, crucify their fleshly desires and lifestyles, die to self and through the power of the Holy Spirit be raised to newness of LIFE IN CHRIST!  Anything less than this kind of commitment will fall short of the glory of God.

Are you committed to seeing our nation return to the proclamation of the real gospel one heart at a time, one church at a time, one home at a time, one preacher at a time?  This is not supposed to be a lifestyle change for us, but rather a commitment for LIFE.  Lifestyle changes can change as easily as one changes their diet year after year.  We are called and created to be different!  When a baby is born it is given a name that stays with it their entire life.  We, too, are given a NAME that is written in the Lamb’s book of LIFE when we choose to receive Christ as our LIFE.  As Christians, Christ is not part of our lives, He IS OUR LIFE!

If you find that you have somehow walked away from Christ being your LIFE and have made Him just part of your lifestyle, then call out to Him right now asking Him for mercy and forgiveness.  He is ever ready to live and move and have His being in you, but you must completely surrender ALL, not AL – most.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Remember, God never intended for us to make Christ “part” of our life. He wants us to surrender our life – to Him.

Serving the REAL Chief,

Ken McNaughton, Fire Chaplain, Spokane County Chaplaincy

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Let No Ivy Take Root

One night at Bible study we were talking about spiritual battles and a young mom in our group gave a great analogy of what can happen when we let our guard down. Being a picture person, it came through loud and clear to me. I became fixated on the picture painted in my mind by her words. In my heart I knew there was a lesson in it. She said something like, “When we let our guard down, the enemy and sin have a way of creeping in like ivy on a house.”

Ivy is beautiful to the onlooker but what is it doing to the structure underneath? Ivy starts from one little root and grows slowly. It is a creeping plant that wraps itself around trees, fences, and buildings. Sound familiar?

The enemy sits waiting for his chance to plant that one little root that in time will grow and slowly begin to take over. Many things that the world sees as perfectly acceptable are sin in God’s eyes and can take over a person.

As I researched ivy, I learned that it wraps its way around a tree and sucks the life out of the tree. What looks beautiful from the outside is actually killing the tree. Even a tree with deep roots will be harmed when the root of an ivy plant takes hold. On buildings that have any cracks/damage, ivy literally grows into the crack and causes very harmful structural damage. Moisture also gets into those damaged areas that the ivy has made bigger and becomes the perfect breeding ground for mold and fungus.

We can so easily become like those homes covered in ivy, beautiful on the outside and falling apart because of the damage the roots of sin, shame, and lies from the enemy have caused. Just like the tree that is slowly dying, the life is being sucked out of us. Something foul like mold or fungus on a house can be growing in us where the root of evil has broken into old wounds.

God’s word tells us to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) We need to be on guard as believers. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) Daily, we need to be putting on the armor of God and digging in deep to tear out any roots the enemy is trying to plant in our heads and our hearts.

As you read this, I hope you will really look hard at yourself. Is there ivy in your life that needs to be torn out before it slowly sucks the life out of you? Ask God to search your heart and bring to your attention any strongholds that have taken root and then ask God to use His mighty hand to tear out the ivy in your life.

Know this, as ivy is pulled off a building parts of the building come with it. Ask God to be the life-giving “spackle” that fills in those holes where your ivy has been pulled out. God can rebuild what was meant for harm. Ivy can be turned from harmful to …

“I” live

“V”ictoriously in

“Y”ou!

The enemy can have no root of harm in me and he can have no root of harm in you!

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