Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Line between Faith and Foolishness

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

From Glory to Glory by Margot Cioccio

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NIV1984) 

 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, 
the veil is taken away.  
Now the Lord is the Spirit,  
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is freedom. And we, who with 
unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory,  
are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,  
which comes from the Lord, 
who is the Spirit.
I get a few devotionals that come to my e-mail. I don't always read them all every day. Some days I don't read them at all. Today the title of one caught my attention. It was titled
I AM TAKING YOU TO A NEW PLACE by Gary Wilkerson   It caught my attention because I realize that a big change has happened in my life. Suddenly after 5 years of praying and putting out resumes, my husband finally has full time employment. This has happened right on the heels of my own job ending after 5 years after praying that the Lord would release me from it and allow me to do more ministry and creative things. I have to say that I have not just put aside ministry and creative things all these years and said someday I'll get to them. I have even in my hemmed in state made time for those things. I decided a long time ago that I was not going to wait till someday when I retired to do the things that I love and feel called or created to do. Art, music, writing, ministry have all been steady companions in my life journey. We used to say "If you won the lottery and money was no longer a factor what would you do?" We would ask that question because it is easy to loose sight of the things you love because you are forever chasing after money. I'm not saying money is bad but it can easily be out of balance in our lives weather you have too much or too little it can be the idol god that you serve. So when I ask myself that question - my first answer is that I will be found at the feet of Jesus. That I will take the position of faith over one of fear. That I will be available, that I will seek the Lord for wisdom, and his plans and purposes. That is where I have found myself today.

When my job ended I felt a peace that God would provide. I did not know if he would provide  through giving me more music students, or my art selling, or people wanting art commission work done or if he would provide in some other way. I realized early in this change that I could position myself in one of two ways. Fear - that there would not be enough, that we would need to tighten our belts tighter, spend time fretting over where and how we would now make our bills and provide for our family. This leads to hoarding, and becoming a consumer taker rather than a giver.  The other option is faith, trusting that God did not bring me this far to now abandon me. So I have cast my bread on many waters to see what of the many possibilities God might use. I have not sat idol, wringing my hands. I have looked to see what things needed done and what I could do today and have done those things. I have tried to be led by the Holy Sprit to work on the various projects that have been before me. When opportunities have come along to lend money, or give money or buy or do this or that I've gone ahead and trusted the Lord to provide. My answer has not been - oh I lost my job and we can't spend or lend or give we must save it all for the bills.

There is a fine line between faith and foolishness. For years I have been trying to put my finger on what that line is. Where is the line between moving ahead in faith even though you don't know how God will provide and being irresponsible, reckless and foolish. I think the line is determined more by where you walk in relationship with the Lord and where you have chosen to stand in the fear/faith equation. I am convinced that faith is something that must grow in your life. Little steps of faith today allow you to look back later on God's faithfulness and to take bigger steps in the future. The time to drum up and resort to faith is not when you find yourself in a desperate do or die situation. One must choose to live by faith rather than fear on a daily basis. When trouble comes it becomes yet another opportunity to see God move and for faith to grow. I think the line between faith and foolishness has more to do with if the choice to use faith is in your first or your last resorts. If it is your last resort you are probably operating from the fear side of the equation. Its not really faith at all its desperation. Its not that you really believe or trust you just have run out of things to try - might as well turn to God. Perhaps it is a watershed junction and God knows that a miracle in this moment will truly turn you to him. He also knows if you have no intentions of truly turning to him. Its not that he does not care but you have rejected him time and time again and even now its not him that you want its your own way. You can't from that postion try and claim verses like Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." First off those who love God, obey God and make a point to try to do things His way. Secondly you have no clue about God's purposes because you are still serving your own. This verse is not going to work for you. Conversely if you heart is for the Lord and you have set your heart to do His will you can be confident that the trouble you are facing will work out for good in your life. You can stand on that verse with confidence that God is working on your behalf.

I realize that there is a gift of faith but I'm talking more about ordinary faith. Matthew 17:19-21 (NIV1984) 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Do you realize that Jesus is telling them that they don't even possess in that moment a mustard seeds worth of faith. If they had even that much they could have moved mountains and been able to drive out the demons. They needed college level results with kindergarden skills and understanding. Thankfully Jesus does not give up on them, and he does not give up on you.

This is not meant to be a discouragement if your faith is small or non existant because God wants to meet you where you are. It might be a time to repent and turn around from going your own way to begin going God's way. We all have to start somewhere, so start today. Faith comes out of relationship with the Lord as we spend time with him and are learn to be led by the Holy Spirit in His word and as we decide to walk in his ways he meets us and faith grows. Even those same disciples in the near future will be proclaiming the gospel with signs and wonders accompanying them. 

I pray for your transforming power to begin a good work in each of those readers who have decided to set their hearts on knowing and following you. That as they take small steps of faith and trust today they will be able to take bigger steps and even leaps of faith in the future. In your name I bind condemnation from trying to tell them they don't measure up, help them to see that they are accepted but that your plan is that their lives will change as they yield and cooperate with you , to become more and more like you and to fully become the people you have called and created them to be. 

I am a day ahead in my posts which allows me to not feel like I need to hurry through my quiet time to get on to writing. So this morning I have spent a long time praying in the Spirit and listening to music from http://healingstreammedia.com/ I started out with the Healing Wind station and now that I am writing have moved to the Healing Refuge which has less words and more instrumental music.
So I have reached a new place in my journey. For a long time I have felt stuck by circumstances, or what I realize now that it has been more of being hemmed in by God. I have had to tackle, with the Lord's constant help, some very broken places in my life. It is easy in those times to try and blame everything around you as the problem when the problem or the pain or the lack is inside of you. I realize that I am in a new place, free of the yokes or casts that the Lord had me in so I could heal, the bandages that protected healing wounds are removed. I am beginning to be able to explore and discover and fully be who He made me to be. Its a new place with suddenly new possibilities. I realize that I have barely scratched the surface of understanding or seeing the unfolding of Gods plan.

I invite you to be a part of what God is doing with this devotional. I believe it is encouraging people in their walk with Jesus, and some are getting set free to live more fully alive to God's plans and purposes. You can help by purchasing the products featuring my art that I include along with these posts or by clicking the donate button at the top right of the ADM Devotional home page. If you are an e-mail reader click the post title to get back to the actual site.  I invite you to consider being part of this not because I am desperate to make a living off of you but because you have been encouraged and want to help others to also be encouraged.



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