“How’s your faith?” It was a question someone asked a friend of mine recently. I found myself with a cliche answer, but later I really did think about it. I do have an on-going relationship with Jesus, but the needs of those I’m caring for sometimes seem almost overwhelming. It did cause me to think about how to keep my faith fresh and alive.
We can get caught up in the activities of daily living and the urgent demands of those around us and can let our devotional life take a backseat. It takes time and effort to stay connected to our Lord and Friend.
A different approach to devotions can refresh our relationship with our Lord. Here are some ideas you might want to try.
- Read the Bible in chronological order to get the panoramic view of God’s dealing with man.
- Study one chapter thoroughly enough to memorize it.
- Read a portion of Scripture before or after each meal and remember what your REAL food is.
- Sing a new song to Jesus.
- Write a friendly letter to your Father thanking Him for all He has done for you.
- Dust off your journal and keep a record of your spiritual walk.
- Compose a psalm(poem) about the place you’re in right now.
- Use a devotional and follow the cross references.
Then some ideas for revitalizing prayer:
- Keep a prayer journal of needs and answers.
- Pray for a nation, other than the one you’re serving. Read news about that country and pray for current, as well as long-term needs.
- Pray for someone for a while and then take time to “listen” for a Scripture to stand on for them.
- After praying for someone, write them a short note to tell them they were in your prayers today.
- All day long turn to the Lord with a wordless prayer from your heart.
- Don’t forget the joy of sharing prayer with a prayer partner. You may have to do this by email, but distance is no problem to God.
- Posting pictures of those you’re praying for can keep them on your mind for prayer.
- The joy of seeing answered prayer can buoy us up in many personal storms.
When living in another culture, we are faced with beliefs that challenge our faith. It can be hard work re-evaluating our beliefs, but it will make us more effective in the long run. Those doing translation work know how important it is to find the underlying truth and a way to express it in a new language. Don’t let the differences shake your faith. Rather let them cause you to question and study to find a way to express your faith to those with different beliefs.
Different cultures look at behaviors in different ways. Some behaviors are based on beliefs and some on culture. Just because the behavior is different doesn’t mean it is based on wrong beliefs. It may just be a difference in culture. Coming from the West we can have very narrow views of what is right and wrong. Our cultural interpretation may be flavoring our beliefs. Changing our minds about some of these is not the same thing as forsaking our faith.
Allow yourself to stay flexible to keep your faith strong. If we become rigid, we can be brittle and easily broken. If we are flexible, we can bend in the storm and remain firmly rooted.
So, how’s your faith? I trust it is strong and healthy. If it is, encourage someone today. If you’re a little shaky right now, I hope you will be encouraged to take the time to strengthen your faith. Remember you are loved and He longs for fellowship with you.