Walking in Hope

Walking in light“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Cor. 15:19 (ESV)

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Audio              (6:48)

In his book, A Layman’s Guide to Applying the Bible, Walter Henrichsen describes 4 approaches people have regarding hope. First there are those who have no hope. Hope may be lost through personal tragedy, chronic illness, or a difficult life of suffering. A life without hope is a difficult life. If hope is not regained in some way, the result is often suicide or deep depression.

More common are those who have misplaced hope. As Paul mentions in today’s verse, they hope in something or someone in this world. It may be something that is good…like children or family. As physicians, we can easily place our hope in achieving success or popularity within our practice of medicine, or the security of our retirement plan.

If we place our hope in this life only…we are most to be pitied.

Children disappoint…success is fleeting…popularity capricious… and retirement plans volatile. We should suspect misplaced hope if we experience volatile mood swings or our attitude is too dependent on circumstances.

God never changes…hope placed on Him is solid and sure.

Hope placed on God brings joy.

Where does your hope lie? Is it on something or someone in this world?

Or is it on Someone who is not of this world?

Prayer: Lord show me where I’ve placed my hope and help me to place it firmly on You and Your promises.

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CMDA Weekly Devotional

CMDA Weekly DevotionalAs you take advantage of CMDA’s weekly devotional for today, remember that true faith is always revealed by works that bear fruit.

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Faith and works

Faith without works“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17 (ESV)

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Audio              (2:57)

It is one thing to believe in God…but real faith expresses itself in action. Because real faith recognizes that there is an eternity that follows death and what we do in this life matters throughout that eternity…real faith will be engaged in action.

That action will always include in some way drawing others to Christ and growing them in their faith.

Real faith will go to the lost.

Real faith will grow into maturity and help others grow as well.

James knew this…that’s why he wrote that faith that wasn’t active…wasn’t real.

If you are reading this and have verbally expressed faith for some time, but you’ve not yet gone to the lost…you’ve not progressed in putting off your sin…you’ve not been active in helping others grow…then I’m sorry…your faith isn’t real.

Jesus taught in John 15:2 that those who didn’t bear fruit would be taken away.

The Apostles knew this…lived it…and were willing to die for it.

If your faith isn’t real…just admit it…and make it real today.

Confess your sin and that you’ve been living a lie.

He’ll forgive you.

Place your trust in Jesus and commit to living your life for Him.

He’ll send you the Holy Spirit…and your life will never be the same…

Prayer: Lord show me the fruit You want me to bear and empower me to accomplish the works You have for me.

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Faith that trusts

jesus-centurian“But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed’… When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.’” Mt. 8:8,10 (ESV)

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Audio              (4:17)

There are 3 components to true Biblical faith…knowledge, trust and action. In today’s verses, Jesus makes an astounding statement that illuminates His definition of faith.

Jesus tells those who are with Him that this centurion…a gentile…has faith greater than anyone He has encountered in all of Israel. The greatest faith Jesus encounters is not in a religious leader…not in a devout Pharisee or scribe. The person Jesus finds with the greatest faith is a gentile…and not just a gentile…but an official representative of the nation that is currently oppressing Israel.

Amazing…

What was there about the faith of this centurion that so impressed Jesus?

It was his trust.

The centurion trusted that all Jesus had to do was speak one word from a distance, and his servant would be healed. There is a vast difference between faith as intellectual belief and faith as trusting as I’ve previously written.

Through our rigorous training as health care professionals, intellectual knowledge is emphasized so we are ingrained toward intellectual belief. We must be careful that we don’t approach the Gospel as a truth that only requires intellectual assent.

Rather, we must learn to trust in the Lord…not simply believe in Him.

Prayer: Lord, help me to place my full trust in You to live according to Your will.

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The light of the world

Light of the world“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”         John 8:12 (ESV)

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Audio              (7:20)

Today’s verse contains one of the seven “I am” statements made by Jesus that are found in the Gospel of John. The first statement Jesus makes is “I am the light of the world.”

Light reveals…it allows us to see.

Jesus as the light of the world illuminates how we should live in this world.

But the fact is…all of us see this world through a distorted lens. We have been lied to and we have accepted those lies. We began to believe things before we placed our faith in Christ. Therefore, our view of this world is imperfect.

We have a personal bias that arises from opinions and presuppositions that are built upon those lies. They are what distorts our lens to the world.

Jesus is the light of the world…and He has given us His truth in the Scripture.

As we spend time in the Scripture, we must allow it to perform its corrective action on our lens. We must be willing to admit we are wrong…willing to change. If we aren’t willing to change…our lens remains distorted and we will fail to see the world in the true light of Jesus.

What lies are you believing today?

Prayer: Lord, help me to see the lies I currently believe and replace them with Your light and truth!

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The process of self-denial

Take up cross-2“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.’” Mark 8:34,35 (ESV)

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Audio              (4:40)

As unpopular as the message of this passage is…the meaning is clear. If anyone wants to follow Jesus, they must learn the habit of self-denial. That applies even to us in medicine.

Self-denial is not an attitude we can suddenly decide to adopt and expect to be successful immediately. It takes practice because it’s a process. But the sooner we begin living the self-denying life…the sooner we gain our life.

But what does self-denial in medicine look like?

It is being more concerned about the care of patients than our own comfort. One of the common ways this issue pops up is when we are on call. The phone rings during dinner or just before we get into bed. A patient needs us, and we are faced with a choice. Do I go back into the hospital…or do I find a way to put that patient off until the next morning?

Jesus tells us to put aside our selfish desires…and serve.

Or take the example of giving up some of that comfortable salary in order to be able to take care of those who cannot pay as you share the Gospel with them.

Now that’s a life on it’s way to being saved…

Prayer: Lord, show me today how You want me to take up my cross!

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CMDA Weekly Devotional

CMDA Weekly DevotionalAs you take advantage of CMDA’s weekly devotional for today, continue to reflect on how often your desires rule your life instead of the leading of the Spirit.

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