Category Archives: Faith

All You Have and All You Need

*Adapted from Advent Devotion written for First Family Church

 

“I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope” Psalm 130:5 (NASB)

Hope – a word that can spark emotion and elation in one’s heart. Hope – an expression of the expected fulfillment of one’s desire. Hope – a quality of existence with unique implications for the Christian. In the native Hebrew language of the Old Testament, the word for “hope” is “yachal”,  meaning to “wait with expectation.” Nearly half of these occurrences are in the book of Psalms.

The author of Psalm 130 spoke of a hope that transcends mind, body, and soul. This Psalm of lament has great implications for the present day Christian. In the character of God, we see One who hears the cry from the depths of our heart. Despite no underlying merit from the psalmist’s debased soul of misery, He entertains his plea for mercy. The faithful cry and plea is rewarded with forgiveness. What a God worthy of our worship and gratitude!

While the soul’s cry and plea are often immediate external expressions, waiting and hoping are enduring internal motivations. We live in one of the most affluent societies in the history of the world – where the ease of instantly gratifying our desires nearly invalidates the idea of waiting and hoping. Our consumer driven society allows us to bypass “hoping for” and “waiting for” in most instances. Is it really surprising that this all affects our spiritual lives as well? We can become so comfortable in this world, that it replaces the yearning and the hoping for the soon coming of our Lord and Savior, King Jesus.

“…my soul does wait, and in his word I do hope”

Do we have this confident hope and expectant waiting in God? In His word? In His judgment? In His mercy? In His redemption? Can we make this confident expression of expectation in the God who is always faithful to His promises (see Hebrews 10:23)? Does your soul wait and hope for a new heaven and new earth where God himself will dwell among us (see Revelation 21)?

If you can go back to the moment where your soul first cried out for Jesus, you will realize that hope was all that you had. My prayer is that we will find that this hope in Jesus is all that we ever need!

Father God, thank you for gifting us the blessed hope, Jesus. In the midst of our busy lives, teach us what it means to wait with hope for your coming kingdom. Let our souls find complete satisfaction in nothing but you! In the blessed name of Jesus, AMEN!

Faith that Goes Deeper

A good friend of mine, Travis Stevick (check out his blogs here and here) , posed this question on his facebook profile:

“If you were to ever speak of “going deeper” in your faith, what would you mean?”

I quickly clicked reply and was ready to spout out an answer, but found myself pondering the question and unwilling to just give a quick answer (hence the blog post).  My thoughts have swirled around this topic for the night as I began to write this post. I was reminded that Christians, as a whole, are often guilty of speaking “Christianese” or adopting coined phrases from popular sermons and preachers.  Sometimes I wonder if we hide behind phrases such as “get real with God” or “going deeper”.  We put up false fronts of what the Christian should say, instead of what we truly think or believe (I think we’ve all been there before).

So then, what is faith?  We know from Hebrews 11:1 that “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”.  Faith in what?  For a Christian faith is different, it is not a “power or belief” or “positive thinking”.  As a Christian there is an object to my faith, that object being the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Without defining faith, we are lost without an object.  There is no deep well from which to draw, simply the surface of emotions that we battle with on a daily basis.

So, what do I mean, when I say I want to go deeper in my faith?  Simply put, I want to seek God more authentically (Jeremiah 29:13).  I want to grow in that blessed hope and his soon second-coming and trust in the true promises and sovereignty of God (Matthew 24:29-21; Psalm 119:160; 2 Peter 3:9).  I want to know Jesus deeply, from the wellspring of my heart (Provers 4:23 NIV).  I want to go deeper than just the surface level!

So… what does “going deeper” in your faith mean to you?

Oh Blog…Oh Blog…how have I neglected you…

The blog has definitely taken a back seat to the many other “life events” that I have going on right now.  God has certainly been teaching me a lot through the many trials and this journey of faith.  I have been encouraged by the prayers and commitment of all of our friends and family.  It has truly been an encouragement to our faith and trust in God!  Please continue to pray specifically for my wife and unborn children during these next ten days.

I hope to get back to blogging and encouraging others (and myself) to have an eternal outlook on life in the near future.  But for now the wife and kids take the trump card on my time!

God Bless!

Travis

Why don’t I read about Jesus more?

Towards the end of last week I got to thinking…when was the last time I just read straight through one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John)?  Since I was having a hard time coming up with the last time I did this… needless to say… it had been too long.  It seems that my other study in the Old Testament (1st and 2nd Chronicles, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah) and our church’s recent sermon series (Joshua, Isaiah, 1 Corinthians, and 1st Timothy) have been lending themselves to “frequenting” the Gospels” from time to time but not necessarily just reading through it.  By “frequenting”, I mean reading passages and parables and doing cross references to other passages that I was currently studying, but not actually diving into.  So over the course of a couple days I journeyed through the Gospel of Mark (keep in mind that I have two kids – so uninterrupted quiet time to read comes sparingly and at the expense of sleep).

Throughout that period of study / reading, I was simply amazed once again by the life of Jesus Christ.  Such power and boldness were present in every aspect of His life.  Power to resist tempation and the boldness to call men to repent and believe in the Gospel.  Power to heal the sick and cast out demons and the boldness to preach the truth, even to the hypocrites who took offense.  It seems that it didn’t matter what kind of financial or physical condition any of the people who followed Jesus were in, all they needed was Jesus.

What awesome lessons we draw from the early followers of Christ!  One simple lesson speaks directly to my heart:  “Have faith in God” ~ Mark 11:22

You may be asking, “Well…what kind of faith?”  And I am glad that you asked, because I think that Jesus spoke very clearly about the type of faith that we should have all throughout the Gospel of Mark.  This faith is not for the half-hearted, for it is faith that requires utterly abandoned hearts that yearn and seek after God!  A heart that cries out that I will not be afaid of the “wind and the sea” around me.  I will repent and believe!  I will suffer for the sake of the Gospel.  I will not separate what God has joined together.  I will love the Lord my God will all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  I will love my neighbor as myself.  I will go forth, filled and living in step with the Holy Spirit.  I will not forfeit my soul for wordly gain.  I will have faith!

God Alone Sustains

It’s been a while since I have had some time to blog. The last few weeks have been pretty hectic in the Squires household. Not only did my wife and I experience the pain of a miscarriage, but we also took on a home improvement project that has consumed all of our time and sleep for the majority of the past week. Nevertheless, God is still teaching, molding, and purifying us.

James 1:12 has been an encouraging verse to me in this time – “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Though I don’t understand it, I am thankful for the trials of faith that my wife and I have been called to endure. I know that someway, somehow God will work through all of this for His glory. I believe that God, through this trial, is teaching me to have a more thankful heart. God is purifying my heart to give him thanksgiving in the midst of trial. I am so grateful and thankful for the family he has blessed me with, my wife and two children. Most of all I am thankful for the sacrifice of Christ that pays the penalty for my sins, once and for all.

God has truly sustained my wife and I in this trial through various “vessels of grace”. We thank everyone for their prayers and support!

Words are sometimes difficult to find

During the past week, my wife and I have lost a part of our family.  My wife should’ve been starting the second trimester of this pregnancy, instead we are faced with the loss of a child.  A child we will never hold or hear from.  A child who will never cry and wake us up at night.  Instead, at times, the crying keeps us up at night.

We have some incredible friends and family that have supported us through this trying time.  Even though we have been somewhat in waiting, for the past three plus weeks after our initial ultrasound, I think the thought of miscarriage remained kind of surreal until it actually happened last monday evening.  I’ve struggled to put thoughts together and have the necessary words to comfort my wife.  We have consistently turned to scripture for comfort and God has given us incredible hope and peace.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voices of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

We have great hope in God, because He is just.  We know that life began at conception and the soul of our little baby lives on, and we look forward to meeting him/her in the air with the Lord.

Answered Prayer!

Work has been very hectic this week, so I haven’t been able to blog as I would have liked to. There is so much to say…

I have experienced first hand the faithfulness of our God to answer our prayers and hear the cries of our hearts. My mom was diagnosed with ampullary cancer 14 1/2 months ago (and given 6-9 months to live originally). Since that day she has undergone three major surgeries, one in Cedar Rapids, and two at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She has also undergone various chemo and radiation treatments. She just had her first post-treatment check-up after three months of no surgeries, chemo, or radiation. Her tests came back clear, she just needs to make some minor diet adjustments to raise her potassium levels. We know that she is not completely out of the woods yet, but she does not have to go back up to the Mayo Clinic for check-ups for another three months! Praise God! He is such a good and faithful God. We have been praying since day 1, that God would heal my mother and that she would live and to God would be all the glory! I am thankful that the Lord blesses men, such as the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, to be instruments of his grace for his glory!

Never doubt that God does not hear your prayer or that he is not concerned about the affairs of men. We have a faithful and responsive God, who meets our needs when we cry out to him.