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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Practical Faith

My wife and I drove to downtown Durham yesterday for her six month follow-up appointment with her Neurologist.  The weather forecast called for cloudy skies with a 30 – 40% chance of thunderstorms beginning around 5:00 pm, so I figured that we had a pretty good chance of making it home from the 3:20 appointment before the rain hit.  You understand of course, that my concern wasn’t for our safety but that I might get the Mustang wet!  Well… we didn’t make it!  About half way home we got hit with such a deluge of rain that I hadn’t driven through since I drove into Oakland California back in the late seventies for an American Baptist Camping Committee meeting!

It’s kind of interesting that back then I was driving our brand-new Datsun 280Z and yesterday I was at the wheel of our never-been-in-the-rain Mustang GT.  But, we came through the torrent snug and dry and except for one wrong turn, made it home without a mishap.

Before we left for the appointment I reminded Piper that even though I wasn’t expecting any bad news, that no matter what report we received, our faith was firm in our trust in the good report of God’s Word concerning her health, healing and long and fruitful life.  And like I figured, we received an OK report from the doctor with not much changing except for our spreading the dosage schedule of one of her meds from twice a day to three times a day so as to try and lessen the lows she encounters in the mornings and evenings.

I read from Colossians 1:10 this morning where Paul prays “that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (MKJV)  My commentary pointed out here that the Apostle is praying that the church would walk in “practical obedience” to the Word of God in their relationship to Him.  The words “Practical Faith” immediately came to mind as I read that.  I think that term best describes the type of faith that my wife and I have tried to live all our lives.  From the very beginning of our relationship back in High School, I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever known that better exemplifies that goal than my wife!

She has always had the knack of putting the Word to practical use in her life.  It was like the Bible was more than just a book of wisdom, but was a part of her.  I’ve mentioned before of when she gave me my own personal Bible not too long after we became an “item.”  I clearly remember walking down the hall in my parent’s house on the way to my room after school and looking at that paperback version of the Good New Bible and thinking that I wanted to have the same excitement over this strange book as did Piper!

Well, it took a while (about 10+ years to be exact…) but I think I finally caught on and got myself up to more of a level playing ground with her!  It is the way we raised our kids and the way to ministered to the children, youth and adults through our some 35 years of ministry.  For some reason this line of study this morning got me to thinking about the friends we had while ministering at the Baptist church in the first years of our marriage.

As it turns out at that time, there were not many (if any?) young marrieds (early twenties) our age in the church.  There was an active group of slightly older couples with young children that we tried to hook up with, but always tended to feel a bit out of place.  So we gravitated toward the friendship with the parents of our youth group kids as we had started a “Parents of Youth” group that met on a monthly basis.  Before you knew it, the meetings turned into dinner events at various restaurants around the county and even trips to San Francisco.

I can recall a couple of times in particular sitting around the table with a group of parents at Benihana’s in San Francisco and The Cattleman’s Steak House in our home town and discussing life when Piper would nonchalantly bring up a scripture as an antidote for a situation that someone brought up.  Both times, those at the table did a double take when she completed her statement.  They would pause with a startled look on the faces and say “What?”  So she would repeat her thought, let it sink in and then we’d go off into a discussion that usually ended with the statement: “I never thought about it that way!”

I was reading this morning in conjunction with Colossians 1:10 that in the spiritual life there should be no separation between studying the Word and living it.  In other words, true spiritual wisdom must affect our daily lives.  The author of the commentary summed it up best by declaring that “All Bible truths are practical, not theoretical.” (“Be Complete” by Dr. Warren Wiersbe – chapter 3)

For me and my wife it has always come down to putting our money (or our daily faith in action) where our heart is!  And you know… It seems to work for us… although I can't say that it was always easy!.  At times it has separated us from extended family and friends, but in the end, our obedience tended to serve as an example of Papa God’s faithfulness to those who put feet to their faith.

What are your thoughts on living a life of “Practical Faith?”  Just how united is your faith walk and your knowledge of the Bible related to your daily life?  For my wife and I, those two lines usually blur into one!  Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to live a life of ‘Practical Faith’ today?

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