faith

Let Us

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Jesus went into the ship with His disciples and said, Let us go over to the other side of the lake. Had Jesus told them that in the midst of the sea they were going to face a storm, some of them would have probably gotten off the ship. 

Shortly thereafter, a strong wind came, the waters began to fill their ship and the disciples began to panic and worry. But Jesus was sleeping during the storm. So, they woke Him up and said, Master, master, we perish.

Wow. Did you hear what they said?

They told Jesus that they were going to die, but Jesus had already told them before they got into the water that they were going to make it to the other side.

Has God ever sent you a word and at first you believed Him?

Maybe He told you that he was going to restore your relationship with your child.

Maybe He told you that one day you would own a business.

Maybe He told you that nothing was going to separate you and your spouse.

Maybe He told you that after many miscarriages that you were going to conceive and give birth to a healthy child.

And then something happened. A storm came and now you question what God said. So, instead of saying what God said, you say what you’re feeling at that moment.

It will never happen.

I’m not smart enough.

I don’t think my husband/wife and I are going to make it much longer.

I’ll never carry a child to full term.

When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and the raging water. He then turned to the disciples and asked, Where is your faith? God has dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3) and to receive what God has said or promised, it will require YOUR faith as well as your patience and obedience.

On the other side is what God prepared for you. On the other side is what you have been called to. The moment Jesus and His disciples got to the other side, they met a man who had lived in tombs, wore no clothes and had been possessed by demons for a long time (Luke 8:27). On the other side are people waiting on you to become who God created to be. On the other side are people waiting for you do what God told you to do. They have heard and now they are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. 

One of the reasons why some of us haven’t gotten to the other side yet is because we allowed the storm to stop us rather than to make us. You gave up too quickly. You chose to go back to what feels safe and comfortable rather than to go forward. You’re trying to avoid the storm because you want everything to come easy, but God wants to use the storm to build your faith and to make you for where He is taking you.

Another reason why we haven’t gotten to the other side is because we stopped believing what God said. When Jesus spoke to the disciples, we know that they believed him because they stayed in the ship when He got in it, but the moment they saw the wind and the raging waters, they didn’t think or believe that they were going to make it to the other side.

But if Jesus says, Let us, then that is a sure indication that whatever you’re about to go through, you’re not going to go through it alone. Jesus was only with them, but the good news is He is in us. 

And if He says, We are going over, then we are going over AND to the other side – but it will only happen according to your faith.

Be encouraged.

 

[Scripture reference: Luke 8:22-27]

How Far Are You Willing to Go?

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Now the Lord had said to Abram, Get out of your country from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing (Genesis 12:1-2).

God is telling some of you what He told Abram because He wants you to go where you’ve never gone before and He wants you to do what you’ve never done before.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).

Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen (Contemporary English Version).

Faith motivated Abraham to obey God’s call and leave the familiar to discover the territory he was destined to inherit from God. So he left with only a promise and without even knowing ahead of time where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith (The Passion Translation).

To go to a place that you don’t know sometimes will require you to leave a place that you do know. For Abram to become what God promised in Genesis 12:2, he had to first obey Genesis 12:1. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to leave certain people. Abram couldn’t leave Lot. That was his nephew. But the thing Abram found hard to do finally had to be done. There had to be a separation.

Sometimes the person you refuse to let go of is the person who is keeping you from seeing what God promised. The moment Lot left Abraham to enter the land he had chosen, then Abraham could see what God had promised.

And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward and westward. For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever (Genesis 13:14).

You are different, but you keep fighting to remain the same. You are not like the others, but you try to be like them. Like Israel, you want what the other nations have when they be should desiring what you have. You should be like Peter, who chose to walk on water while others chose to stay in the ship.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13).

God is making you, but you’re fighting the way He is taking you because the way is not always easy. You fight it because you would rather walk with many than to walk with a few, but the way that many are taking leads to destruction.

When I talk about going to a place in God that you’ve never been before, I’m not talking about a physical location. I’m talking about a spiritual location. I’m talking about your relationship with Him. I’m talking about getting closer to Him than you’ve ever been before. I’m talking about you drawing so close to Him that He asks, Who touched me?

God wants us to come up higher and to come closer. Zaccheus climbed a tree to see Jesus. Moses climbed a mountain and God spoke to him face to face as a man speaks to his friend.

Terah took his grandson (Lot), his son (Abram) and his daughter-in-law (Sarai) and they left Ur to go to the land of Canaan, but when they reached Haran, they settled there. Abram’s father died never entering Canaan. Abram, on the other hand, refused to settle and he chose to go all the way.

Now…

Do you want to go to a place in God that you’ve never been before? And if so, how far are you willing to go?

From Begging to Believing

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Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

Who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked an alms.

And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have, give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk (Acts 3:1-6).

 The lame man asked with expectation for alms, but Peter and John wanted to give him something better – something that would last. Had Peter and John given the lame man gold and silver, how long do you think that would have lasted? At some point, he would have run out of money and the only choice he would have had was to go back into the lifestyle that he thought he left. He would return to begging.

This man had a problem, but what he was asking for was not the solution to his problem. Just like the lame man, I was sitting at the gate of Beautiful. As a result of when I went through, I was crippled with fear, unbelief and doubt. I was sitting in pity when I should have been walking in power. I was on the outside when I should have been in the inside.

Your problems and painful experiences may have brought you to the gate, but it can’t stop you from going through the gate.

I was praying for money, but money wasn’t my problem. My problem was that I didn’t trust God. When Peter told the man to look on him and John, the man immediately looked at them to be his source. And that was me. I was looking to my job to be my source when I should have been looking to God to be my Source. The man was looking at their hands, but Peter wanted him to know that what he needed wasn’t in his hand, but in his mouth. In his mouth was the power to command things, to prophesy, and to change his situation.

I thought it was money that I needed, but I needed wisdom. If I have wisdom, I have riches (Proverbs 8:18). I thought I needed money, but it is healing that I need. God never hurt me and He never disappointed me, but I know that I don’t have the trust in Him that I once had and I need God to build up what the enemy tried to tear down. I need Him to restore that childlike faith.

The lame man spent most of his life depending on people, but God wanted him to depend on Him. When Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up, it took trust and faith to believe not only that he could rise, but to do something he had not been able to do since birth – walk.

But one thing is needful (Luke 10:42).

What I need and what God wants is for me to seek a better relationship with Him. It’s time to go from begging to believing.

I’ve been giving Him my hands (seeking a handout), but what God really wants is my heart.

Make Time

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make time: to find time to do something or be with someone in spite of being busy (Macmillan Dictionary)

I remember one day I shared with an individual that I wanted to do some things, but I didn’t know how to get started.  At that very moment, the young man began to tell me all the things I could do, but every time he gave a suggestion, I gave an excuse.

After the last excuse, the young man said, ‘Then, you really don’t want it’. And he said no more.

My feelings were hurt. How could he say that I didn’t want it? But sometime later, I realized he was right. It’s not that I didn’t want what I was asking for. It’s just that I wanted it to come easy. I wanted it, but without the work.

For six days, God didn’t just speak creation into existence with His mouth, but He also worked with His hands.

God made the firmament and divided the waters (Genesis 1:7).

God made two great lights (sun and moon). He made the stars also (Genesis 1:16).

God created every living creature that moves (Genesis 1:21).

God made the beast, cattle and every creeping thing after its kind (Genesis 1:25).

God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him (Genesis 1:27).

I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens (Isaiah 45:12).  

My hand has made all those things (Isaiah 66:2).

We all are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

God not only said things, but He did things. I was saying things, but I was doing nothing – or I was just doing enough to say I was doing something.

The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made (Genesis 1:1-2).  

After God worked, He rested. Some of us want the rest, but without the work – and it doesn’t work that way.

You and I will never inherit the promises through laziness, but it will be through patience and faith, but you must show your faith by your works and by your actions.

This may consist of early mornings and late nights. And some of you may say, ‘I don’t have time’, but we can’t use that excuse anymore because we all make time for the things we want to do and for the people we want to spend time with.

The question isn’t, Do you have time?

The question is, Will you make time?

You Are Not Alone

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Some of us are like Martha. She received Jesus into her home. We received the gift of salvation. We asked him to come into our hearts. Our bodies became His home, but then we stopped right there.

We received him as our Savior, but we never received him as our Friend, Deliverer, Shepherd or Healer. We never learned how to trust or depend on him because for most of our lives we’ve been trying to ‘fix it’ in our own strength. What are some of the things we were trying to fix? The people that we hurt. The past that we couldn’t let go of. Or we tried to fix or fill the emptiness and loneliness we feel at times.

Martha was in the kitchen one day trying to fix some things and the more she tried, the more troubled and worried she became. She was trying to please Jesus with her works, but all he wanted to see was her faith.

Like Martha, we have either blamed God or blamed people when things didn’t go the way that we thought they should. She was upset because she thought Jesus didn’t care and she was upset that Mary left her to serve alone.

Martha was burdened, anxious and troubled because of Who she left, not because of who she thought left her. This is exactly what happens when we spend less and less time with God through prayer and reading of His word. She invited Jesus into her home, yet she never spent any time with him and when she finally spoke to him, it was only because she had had enough, she was frustrated, and she wanted help. Tell her to help me (Luke 10:40). But what Martha tried to get from Mary’s hand, Mary got at Jesus’ feet.

The areas where Martha felt ‘alone’ were the areas that she refused to give to God. Those are the areas that we refuse to trust God with. Those are the areas that we don’t allow God to fill with His Spirit.  She didn’t understand it then and sometimes we miss it too, but what we do FOR God, can only be done WITH God.

You are not alone.  

Make Me

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make: to prepare; to cause a person or thing to become something

Caleb was 40 years old when God made a promise that he and Joshua would possess the land. The ten spies, whose report caused all of the congregation to complain against God, died immediately, but He let Caleb and Joshua live (Numbers 14:36-38).

It had been forty five years since the promise was made, but Caleb held fast all those years. He didn’t let go and he didn’t give up until Joshua blessed him. At the age of 85, he reminded Joshua of what the Lord promised him through Moses. But my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully, him will I bring into the land where into he went and his seed shall possess it (Numbers 14:24). He reminded Joshua how he followed the Lord, how his faith pleased the Lord. Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it (Numbers 13:30).

And when he was finish presenting his case, he told Joshua, Give me this mountain that the Lord spoke of on that day. He didn’t beg Joshua for it because he knew that what he was asking for belonged to him. So, Joshua blessed him and gave him his inheritance.

When was the last time you put God in remembrance of His word? When was the last time you proved Him? When was the last time you presented your case to Him? When was the last time you pleased Him? But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

God didn’t keep and preserve Caleb all those years for nothing. He was still alive because the promise was still alive. But just like Caleb knew what God said, we must know what God said through His word.  He also knew that the word he heard was for him and his seed and he believed.

An heir is one who receives what is allotted to him through sonship. The word, child, comes from the greek word, nepios, which means an immature Christian, one who is untaught or haven’t grown in spiritual understanding and power. Caleb had the attitude and character of an heir, not a child.

Maybe the reason why some of us haven’t received what has been promised to us yet is because although we are heirs, we are still a child in certain areas (Galatians 4:1). As parents, there are certain things that we would never entrust to our children until they were mature enough for it. And as the children of God, many of us are asking for things, but we aren’t ready for the things we are asking for.

When the younger son asked his father for the portion of goods that belonged to him, the father gave it to him only for him to squander it foolishly. But he learned through what he went through that he should have said, Make me (Luke 15:19) before he said, Give me (Luke 15:12).

We’re asking God to give us things (and that’s fine), but let us ask God to make us for what He wants to give us.

Your Faith Won’t Fail

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You are they which have continued with me in my temptations  (Luke 22:28).

When Jesus made this statement, none of His disciples had deserted Him yet.  No one had denied Him yet.  They were the ones that had remained when everyone else had left (John 6:66).  The Lord tells them furthermore what has been appointed for them in the future, but before they could share in His glory, they had to first share in His suffering.  Then He said to Peter, Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith fail not; and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren  (vs 31-32).

If Satan is asking about you, it’s because you are a threat to his kingdom.  He knew Peter was a threat.  He knew that Peter (just like Jesus) was sent to destroy his works.  He wasn’t afraid of what Peter was doing now (works).  He was afraid of what Peter was going to do (greater works).  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father  (John 14:12).  One day, Peter would be filled with the Holy Ghost.  He would no longer deny Christ, but he would receive holy boldness.  The sick would even be brought into the streets so that when he passed by, his shadow (with healing power) would fall on some of them.

The word, sift, means to examine thoroughly so as to isolate that which is important or useful.  It means to separate and to scatter.  This is what the enemy wanted to do to Peter.  He wanted Peter to separate and isolate himself from God and the brethren (the people who could help and strengthen him).  He wanted to take away the very word that was sown in his heart.  The enemy knows that all things are possible to him that believes and this is what he wanted to attack – his belief and his faith.

I know that Peter heard what Jesus said, but I’m not sure that he understood what He was saying.  He then told Jesus, Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death  (vs 33).  After Peter spoke these words, the test came.

While Jesus was praying in Gethsemane, he told his disciples to pray that they don’t fall or enter into temptation (just for one hour), but instead they slept.  When Jesus was arrested, Peter became fearful and followed from afar.  He didn’t just deny Him one time, but He denied Him three times.  While Peter spoke the third time, the cock crew and the Lord turned and looked at Peter (vs 61).  He then went outside and cried.  I know if it was me, I would have been beating myself up, thinking that Jesus was mad or disappointed in me.

But one day, an angel told Mary Magdalene and Mary (the mother of James) to tell Jesus’ disciples AND Peter, Jesus is going to Galilee ahead of you and you will see him there as he told you  (Mark 16:7).  Can you imagine how Peter felt?  The angel called Peter by name. Jesus wanted to see him, too.

I have called you by your name and you are Mine  (Isaiah 43:1).

Before my son’s basketball games started, he would tell me about his practices.  One day, he told me he was sore.  Another day, he told me he sprained his ankle.  My thought was, If basketball brings that much pain or discomfort, why won’t he just stop playing?  So I asked, Why are you still playing basketball?  What makes you go back to practice?  He said, It makes me stronger.  (That was from the mouth of a 14-year-old).

In order for your faith to grow from little to great, it has to go through something.  It has to be tested.  Many in the Old Testament were made strong and became mighty through faith (Hebrews 11:34). The enemy is after your faith because it is your faith that wins the victory over Him and the world (1 John 5:4).

And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14-15).

Don’t throw away your confidence.  Have faith in God. He is not a man that He should lie.  Don’t beat yourself up about things you have done or said in the past. Remember the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet?  Luke described her as a sinner (7:37).  Her sins were many, but Jesus forgave them all (7:47).  Just like Peter, you are going to make it because Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the Father praying for you. The sifting and the testing didn’t destroy Peter.  It only made him better and stronger.  And because he was strong, he could now bear the infirmities of the weak and strengthen others.

You may have failed in some areas of your life, but your faith is not going to fail.