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Friday, November 7, 2008

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Philippians 3:17—4:1
Psalm 122
Luke 16:1-8

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faith as a force field

"The worldly take more initiative than the other-worldly when it comes to dealing with their own kind." —Luke 16:8

Jesus taught His followers, "the other-worldly," to take initiative as do business people in the world. Although we don't take initiative with the same motives or for the same goals, we Christians are called by the Spirit to move powerfully, to be impelled by love (2 Cor 5:14). By taking strong initiative, we can force our way into God's kingdom (Lk 16:16). In other words, by taking spiritual initiatives we can receive things from God that we would otherwise never have received.

For example, the Syro-Phoenician woman forced her way into God's kingdom. Through her prayerful initiative, she hastened the time for Jesus' ministry to the Gentiles, and Jesus set her daughter free from the devil (Mt 15:27-28). Hezekiah by his prayerful initiative received an extra fifteen years of life (Is 38:2-5). Ahab by his initiative in fasting postponed God's judgment on himself and his family (1 Kgs 21:27-29). Mary through her prayerful initiative persuaded Jesus to turn water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana (Jn 2:3ff).

When we take initiative and take God's kingdom by force, we don't force God to change His mind, but we open ourselves up wide enough to receive the fullness of God's grace. The faith we express in taking spiritual initiative is a force field in which we can change our hearts. Then we take God's kingdom by force.

Prayer:  Father, may I express my faith in a forceful way.

Promise:  "He will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body, by His power to subject everything to Himself." —Phil 3:21

Praise:  Bill owns a company. He starts his business meetings with prayer.

Reference:  (Take initiative; teach the Bible. Order our tapes on the Bible Teachers Series. Our six-tape series starts with AV 117-1. Our three-part video series starts with V-117.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 1, 2008

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