Why Faith In God? Part 6

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:14,17,18, 26 NIV)

If we claim to have faith, but never do anything with it. what is the point of the proclamation?

I have presented my perspective on this subject previously, but it warrants a second look.

For the person who says, “I will lose 50 pounds this year” and never changes their dietary habits or physical exercise, how are they going to lose weight? They won’t and then they’ll complain about being overweight.

The same is true for the person who excitedly says they’re going to get a promotion on their job, but they never do anything beyond their current job requirements–they take no initiative to do anything, and sit twiddling their thumbs when they have finished doing their work.

How about the person who is confident of even getting a job because of their faith and prayer life, but they never apply for a job?

We can proclaim a lot of things, but until we actually “do” something, we bind God’s hands to move us forward. Not too long ago, a person on Twitter (Bart) became upset with me and my faith in thanking God for the 1 + million plus readers that I asked for over a year ago. Those who follow me on Twitter know that I promote my books daily, I am constantly writing and uploading books as I am inspired. I have written various genres ranging from Christian Living, Christian Romance, Fantasy for kids, Contemporary Fiction, Informational texts, poetry, and a murder/mystery. Why? I have faith in God–writing is one of the gifts He has given me (teaching is the other) and I am wearing it out–to His glory, to inspire, inform, and entertain in a Godly manner.

And it is because I believe that He will do what He said He would do–I keep writing and keep thanking Him for the 1 + million plus readers. He is speaking to the hearts of people and they are reading my books. Now, when I’ll actually see the 1 + million readers is on Him, not me. But I know, I it will happen–on His timeline, not mine. Thank You, Lord for hearing and answering prayer and making a way for all Your promises to be fulfilled. Hallelujah!

So, if it takes writing another fifty books before the 1 + million plus readers are reading my books, then I guess I’m going to be pretty busy for the next five years or more to accomplish the goal that is set before me. I am doing, what I have faith to believe is going to happen. That’s the only way, things happen. Our actions must match our faith and when it does, God honors our faith–for we know, without faith, we cannot please Him.

Part 7 tomorrow!

Why Faith in God? Part 5

“One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” (Romans 14:2 NIV) “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (I Corinthians 5:7 NIV) 

Notice what Paul has observed and discusses about an individual’s faith. One person has enough faith to eat anything–probably because they ask God’s blessing upon the food before they eat it, but another–who does not have faith to eat those foods which have supposedly been forbidden (various types of meat), they will only eat vegetables.

We are no longer under The Law with its restrictions and limitations and we know this because of what we’re told in Acts regarding Peter–who staunchly attempted to hold the gentiles to Jewish Law. Remember the dream? (Acts 10) At any rate, what we learn from this is that nothing God has blessed is forbidden to us. We can eat anything–pork, beef, lamb, fish and seafood of all kinds–for nutrition, as long as we ask God to bless everything we eat. A number of people have long, drawn out blessings for food, but mine is simply, “Lord bless the food and my tummy, too.” And then, I eat–my candy bar, pie, vegetables, seafood, whatever is sitting before me and know that nothing in the food will harm me and my stomach will not be upset by it. That’s exercising faith. Note, I am not advocating people eat things they know that causes them an allergic reaction. Please don’t mix faith with foolishness. I know I cannot eat watermelon because of my body’s reaction to it, so I don’t eat it. Exercise wisdom in all things.

However, for those who have not arrived as yet to exercise that kind of faith--they eat what they have faith to eat–and their  faith, works for them (“According to your faith, be it unto you.”). And since so many people have delicate digestive systems, they need to eat accordingly in order not to get sick or stay sick. This is wisdom, not a lack of faith.

Now, we live by faith–not needing to see things before we believe it. We do it all the time. We have faith that our cars will start when we turn the key in the ignition, without seeing how the ignition system works. We have faith that the chair we sit on will hold us without inspecting it every time we get ready to sit. We have faith in getting paid for the work we do (if we’re working) without seeing what is in the company’s bank account. We have faith in the air we breathe even though we cannot see the oxygen we need to survive. We live faith all the time, not by sight, so why is it so difficult for some to have faith in God?

Some have argued that we are foolish to believe in an “invisible being” we have never seen. I disagree with this supposition. I have already mentioned the oxygen in the air we cannot see, but believe it is there. We cannot see a person’s brains, but their brains are probably there. We cannot see the wind–we only see the results of the movement of the air.

Therefore, I see the results of God moving upon the hearts of people all the time and know He exists for all who believe!

Part 6 tomorrow!

Why Faith in God? Part 4

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV) “…so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (I Corinthians 2:5 NIV) 

We have all been given a “measure” of faith by God with the admonition that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Romans 12:3 paraphrased). And because we have been given a measure of faith, we develop means and ways to exercise what we have faith in. Some only have faith in themselves and what they are capable of doing. Some put their faith in other people when they are too insecure to have faith in themselves. There are more who put their faith in things–astrology charts, Tarot cards, beads, crystals, statues, etc.–all man-made. Still more, believe and have faith in luck–which is happenstance and has nothing to do with God and they with this luck, they have faith in their ability to gamble.

Faith in God, as Paul tells us, comes from hearing the message–the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the redemptive work on the cross, and the love of God towards us all. This is the message that increases our faith in God when we are continually hearing The Word as an exercise of practicing what we believe. The more we “hear” The Word (aloud), the more our faith should increase because we are increasing knowledge and learning to operate more in faith in Him than us.

To make sure we don’t understand why we should hear The Word, Paul tells us through his letter to the church at Corinth that we should not have faith in the limited wisdom of man, but in the power of God. Human wisdom, whether we want to admit it or not, is limited by our experiences and exposures. Since most of us will not experience exposure to all there is to know in the universe, we can never claim (truthfully) to know more than God. It is because of God’s love for us that He inspires men to discover things through their efforts to understand the whys and hows things, He created, work.

This is not a put-down of science–I’m totally grateful to science, but what some people don’t recognize is that scientists have not “created” anything from “absolutely nothing” but have discovered how to use elements in the earth already created to arrange and rearrange their usefulness. Scientists are not God and those who truly understand their limited ability, acknowledge their success in discoveries is because of God. Thank God those scientists are listening and if they continue to listen and seek His wisdom, life should be better for us all.

The measure of faith we have been given is the foundation of faith on which we build by hearing the word. We take the little and increase it to much, giving God the glory for all we have and know, not attempting to take credit for doing anything ourselves, apart from Him.

Part 5 tomorrow

Why Faith In God? Part 3

“Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21 NIV) “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:10 NIV)

Notice how important it is to use “our mouths” to proclaim our faith. Jesus said, “You can say…” and Paul tells us, “With your mouth you profess your faith…” So, conversely, if we don’t “say” we won’t see our faith exercised or receive what we won’t say. This is why it is important for us to watch those things we say. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We can use our tongues which are in our mouths–to speak life to our lives with our faith in God or we can speak death to our lives with negative confessions, expressing doubt. It’s up to us–remember–according to our faith–it will be what we say it will be.

Understanding the power we have with our tongues and expression of our faith, why would we contribute to having no ability to do anything worthwhile for others?

We can exercise our faith in God, by saying–“No weapon formed against us shall prosper” when we get that negative report from doctors. “By His stripes, I am healed.”  “There is no name above the name of Jesus,” and sickness and disease have names that are covered under the blood. And then we do everything we can to live a healthy life. There is no point in saying something, just to say it, now we have something we need to do.

We don’t have to be afraid of anything, so when the enemy attempts to ignite fear in us, we say “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” and then move out in the power of His might!

We never have to accept defeat in any endeavor when we say, “I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me,” and then keep trying to accomplish whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish, until we do it right.

We can have what we say, when we refuse to allow negativity to enter into our minds and we keep professing we have what it is we need, no matter what things look like. Don’t allow what you see to determine what you speak! God created the world in seven days and there is nothing too hard for Him to do for those He loves and for those who complete faith is in Him!

Hallelujah, Jesus! Thanking Him for our needs being met, over and above anything we need so we will have surplus to assist others. Thanking Him for healing bodies with the same healing virtue used to heal the woman with the issue of blood. Thanking Him for protecting the vulnerable, and comforting hearts, and speaking to the hearts of those who commit evil. We may not see it the evidence, but we can rest assured that God hears us and knows everything about everything.

The one thing He will not do–is force anyone to do anything they do not want to do. So, while our faith in God is assured, we must also know that He gives free-will choice to the saved and unsaved, leaving all to the consequences of their choices.

Part 4 tomorrow!

Why Faith in God? Part 2

“Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you. And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matthew 9:29; 13: 58 NIV)

If we are like the two blind men who Jesus was speaking to, we must be believe that He is able to do what we expect Him to do.

The two blind men followed Him, begging for mercy (so they could see) and He stopped them and asked them, “Do you believe I able to do this?”

Their response was, “Yes Lord, we believe.”

His response was, “According to your faith (not another person’s faith, not even His), let it be done to you.”

God’s response to our petitions is based upon our faith, not our emotions. He knows every issue we have and He knows whether or not we have enough courage to ask for His help and enough faith to believe He will do it. When we speak, what we believe He will do, it is a demonstration of our faith.

Some of us need our spiritual eyes opened so we can see–all the good things He has in store for us, for the natural eye (the mind using man’s logic), cannot see into the spirit realm to understand just how much God loves us. Now, we can speak what we need–by faith–into existence, we can also speak–a lack of faith–and never see what we ask for.

When Jesus went to His home town, the people there had heard about the miracles He performed, but when they saw Him, they were full of disbelief, saying out loud, “Isn’t this carpenter’s son? Who does He think He is going around trying to make people believe He’s anything special.” I’ve paraphrased their response, but it’s accurate in intent.

Because of their dismay in who He was and their unbelief, not many people were healed and certainly not many miracles witnessed. Why? They spoke their lack of faith in Him! It was not His faith that needed to operate, but theirs if they wanted to see miracles.

Some people are doing the same thing today with their tongues–speaking their lack of faith–and then proclaiming that God doesn’t hear or respond to prayers. It is because of their lack of faith and actually their double-mindedness that keeps change from occurring. If we say–there is no God–why do we expect Him to do anything (He doesn’t exist for the naysayers, so why complain about Him). And then those same people who proclaim God doesn’t exist–dare to question the faith of those who know–He exists and He is faithful to those who call upon Him, by faith and obedience and He responds to ” our faith  in Him” not a lack of faith.

If we have no faith in Him and what He is able to do–don’t be surprised when He does not respond to our requests.

Remember this–He responds to our faith–spoken–in support of our belief--and He will do all He said He would do in His Word. “Yes, Lord, we believe You are able to do all things well for our benefit.”

Part 3 tomorrow!

Why Faith in God? Part 1

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1,6 NIV)

Many people have hope in many things–people, things, animals, but for those of us who have hope in God, total confidence and assurance that He is and will do, our hope is not in vain. We know that without faith–the total assurance and confidence that He is and will do, we cannot possibly please Him.  If we don’t please Him, why would we expect Him to do anything for us?

If a parent consistently tells a child they will do something for the child and never does it—sooner or later that child will stop believing the parent and nothing they say will matter. This is a loss of hope and confidence. But for the parent who consistently does what they say they will do–reward or punish–that child develops complete confidence in the parent–knowing they will either be rewarded or punished. If we can believe this analogy about our natural parents, why can’t we believe it about God?

I have come to the conclusion that many people distrust God because they believe He has failed them in some way or another. The evidence for this conclusion is clear–when God is blamed for all the things in the world that go wrong or people feel He has not answered their prayers, they can angry with God, doubt His existence and then try to convince others that God does not care.

The answer to prayers are sometimes not evident because people “pray amiss,” praying for things instead of direction and wisdom, praying for God to hurt others. When we pray, we must pray–according to The Word–believe we receive, and we shall have what we pray for. However, since God knows so much than we do, when prayers have been answered, some may not recognize it. For instance–prayers for healing can manifest in a number of ways. A person’s body can be totally healed if that is God’s plan for them (because He knows the future), or healing can come in the form of death–the person suffering no longer suffers.

Sometimes, people don’t recognize that if a person is destined to prolonged suffering, death really is the answer to prayer for those who understand how God works. When my mother was dying of cancer, she had lost all muscle control, could not eat or swallow. I prayed for God to take His child home and He did the very next morning. I was holding her hand when she made the transition. As much I loved my mother, I didn’t want her to suffer.

When I pray, since my abilities are limited, I pray for Holy Spirit to interact with people and for hearts to be willing to hear. I pray for wisdom and guidance and when a situation is really serious, I connect with prayer warriors to be in agreement with solution. No matter how God responds, I believe He will answer every prayer.

Part 2 tomorrow

Don’t Blame God! Bart!

Earlier today, I had an interesting interaction with Bart@sluckyducky on Twitter. He was apparently upset with me because I posted a tweet thanking God for the 1+ million readers I’d asked Him for and standing in faith to receive.

Okay, there were a number of questions he asked that I’ll try to answer. Why not pray that no more children die of starvation? He accused me of caring more about getting readers than ending rape, cancer, murder, etc. While I understand that his primary purpose was to goad a debate or argument, I refused to engage. My faith–in whatever I’ve asked for–is based on my relationship with Him and faith in God is accessible to any who choose to believe. Now for people who choose not to believe, that’s on them. Don’t blame God for all the ills of the world when those ills were caused by greedy people, selfish and self-centeredness, and lack of moral compasses.

Hungry children–when people cannot afford to feed their children they should consider that fact before having them. When governments care more about keeping the rich, rich and care nothing about the poor, that’s on the governments. When droughts occur that keep crops from growing and deplete appropriate animal feed and care–let the scientists explain it for you since you do not believe in God.

And that’s the other thing–why are you blaming God when you don’t believe He exists? How does that work? Are you choosing to blame Him for things that people do because it is so much easier to blame “a non-existent God” than to hold people accountable for their actions?

Bart said,”I have a Master’s Degree in Theology and ‘was’ as Christian for 30 years.” Apparently, something happened in Bart’s life that he never forgave God for. Perhaps, it was guilt over his own inadequacies, or hurt because of a loved one being lost or a host of other things. Bart–God did not do anything to you or anyone you loved. God is a spirit and He is love. Whatever happened in your life to make you hate God and deny His existence is between you and Him and I pray you get it straightened with Him before the end comes.

But let me get back to The Word and my prayer life, which is no secret. As I said to Bart earlier, my prayer tweets are a matter of public record and I have prayed for peace, calm, wisdom and the end of abuse and neglect of children, the end of senseless violence and hatred, as well as for “readers” of my books. God doesn’t have a problem with what I ask Him, so I don’t understand why you do?

When I ask God for anything, I ask–once, in faith–believing I shall receive that for which I asked (which is why I thank Him in advance of receiving it) and He always delivers. I don’t doubt Him for a moment for if I doubted He would do as I ask, I would receive nothing. But do know this–God does not force anyone to do anything. Obeying Him is always a choice. When our relationship with Him is right, we hear Him when He speaks and when we obey Him, we can have what we want from Him.

When people feel powerless in events over which they have no control, instead of seeking God for wisdom in how to respond to the situation, they simply blame God and then deny His existence. That’s not going to solve anything. The root of the problem is the individual’s unbelief and lack of faith. If they were to exercise their faith in God, without doubting, they would see the same results I get.

People play the lottery because they have faith in a lottery. They go to casinos because of their faith to win. They go to race tracks because of their faith in a horse. That is where their faith is. My faith is in God and since I don’t have a problem with people who have faith in other things, why on earth do you have a problem with my faith in God? Is it envy, jealousy, guilt, remorse, what?

Whatever it is or was–Bart–you need to get over it and stop trying to project your guilt over a situation onto others who choose not to share your lack of faith. And if it’s that deep–seek Him and get it right. The fact that you “say” you don’t believe He exists doesn’t change His existence for all who believe. You believe what you want, and so will the rest of the world, and that certainly includes me.

God loves you so very much that He willingly came down and hung on a cross for your sins (and everyone else’s). Was His love in vain? Are you so callous that you cannot see the sacrifice He made for you and me? Are you so overwhelmed with guilt that your heart has hardened and you have no room for love? If you cannot receive God’s love, you certainly are incapable of loving anyone else and that includes yourself. Let Him into your heart and stop hating Him for those things that happened that you could not control. Don’t blame God! He’s innocent! It is people–whoever created the problem for you–that you should be angry with, but you should also forgive–so you can go and have the best life God intended for you to have.

God loves you and so do I and your lack of faith in Him–will never change my complete faith in Him and all He does for those who believe that He is and will do for those who do not doubt Him.

I entreat every Born-Again Believer who reads this to pray for Bart–that he’ll seek God, forgive God, and receive God’s best in his life. God knows who he is and the real problem and He is able to do all things well.

Having Authority!

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19 NIV)

The missionary report from the seventy-two who went out and proclaimed the Good News and healed those who were sick was good, but the Jesus reminded them–they rejoiced over the wrong thing, the submission of the demons to them at the name of Jesus. This they did when Jesus was with them. Now, as a cautionary note, Jesus went on to tell them, rejoice in the fact that their names were written in the book of life–not just in having authority over demons, while He was with them.

They had authority to trample on snakes–unaware of their existence, not by tempting the devil with foolishness--and not be harmed. He gave them authority–to overcome anything the enemy attempted to do them and promised them, nothing would harm them–this He did while He was with them.

Before He left to return to His place in heaven, he told the twelve (notice the reduction in numbers who operated with power), that greater works we would do–after He left, than they did while He was with them.

One of the reasons the Church of Jesus Christ is weakened and often thwarted by the enemy is because we think–the power is in the numbers. The power is not in how many people attend the building, but the power and authority is in the faith of the Believer–individually. Now, where two or three–faith-filled people gather, there is nothing they cannot accomplish when they do all in His name.

The power and authority we have is activated by our agreement with another faith-filled believer and being on one accord with Holy Spirit for the results. When we practice what we say we believe, we see the results of having power through Holy Spirit and know we cannot go wrong when we allow Him to lead.

If we want change in our society, change in our schools, change in our homes and change in our governments, we must practice the authority we have in Jesus’ name by coming into agreement with other Believers, guided by Holy Spirit, and then sit back and watch Him work it out–for our good!

Before we can actively, consciously do anything in order to operate in His authority, we must Know The Word, Pray The Word, and Preach The Word, in season and out, whether people want to hear it or not (Paul’s instructions to Timothy work for us today) and do all we do to the glory of God! That’s Having authority!

The Foundation!

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:10,11 NIV)

Paul admonishes those who are attempting to “teach doctrine” other than what they learned. He reminds them (the Corinthians) that everything he taught was based upon his relationship with Jesus Christ and who He is. He goes on to tell them in (subsequent verses) that if they attempt teach any other doctrine, their works will be tried with fire.

Now, for clarity’s sake, I must explain that in the subsequent verses, he mentions the building materials that will be tried and possibly burned up with fire. Paul uses the building materials–gold, silver, etc. in a figurative analogy. He does not mean that churches cannot use gold or silver in the buildings, as some have taught.

What is more important–the church (Body of Christ) or the building? I think this is where some err. The body of believers is the “Church of Jesus Christ” and the buildings are simply places where people go to worship, ideally. So, Paul is really concerned about the condition of the believers and the foundational truths they are taught and believe. When we change the foundational truths of God’s Word, then we subject our works to being judged by the fire. EVERY TIME WE CHANGE GOD’S WORD TO PACIFY FLESH, WE ERR AND ARE CREATING AN UNSTABLE FOUNDATION.

When a firm, stable foundation has not been laid for a physical building, it will not withstand, the moves of the earth as it settles and sometimes, the foundations crack, lean, or fall apart, causing the entire building to crumble. When a firm foundation has not been been laid regarding the truth of God’s Word, people lean, fall apart and crumble every time a crisis comes their way–their foundational knowledge is flawed and will not withstand the wiles of the enemy when the attack comes.

We should all aspire to be like Paul–as a wise builder–teaching and proclaiming only the truth of God’s Word so when He comes, we will be found blameless and not guilty of promoting false doctrine trying to make ourselves to be something we are not. God knows the truth of all and He knows when the foundation is His or ours. If we think we can fool Him, we only delude ourselves. Make sure the foundation laid regarding God’s truth–is His Truth!

Wait For It!

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13,14 NIV)

How many times have we heard the phrase–wait for it? Usually, the phrase has more to do with some spectacular event about to unfold and because it was spectacular, we’re never disappointed. And we won’t be disappointed as we wait to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living–this side of heaven.

How will we see the goodness of The Lord? When every born-again believer truly walks in their calling–whatever that might be and do the greater works that Jesus said we would do–the entire world will see the goodness of The Lord in everything we do!

Are we not created in His image? Are we not His children? Are we not able to do all He has put on our hearts to do, to His glory? When we become living epistles, read of men, others will see The Lord in us because we won’t be able to hide the light of His love under a bush, but we shall shine brightly, as a beacon, drawing all the lost to The Lord by the love we show them.

Showing others love does not mean we compromise The Word of God by condoning sin in any matter. We must encourage people to live according to The Word, not in opposition to The Word.

Within the next few weeks, I am re-distributing a book on Amazon that will sound an alarm in the hearts of many and be a wake-up call to the Body of Christ. Some will hate the book (and probably me), some will love it, and some will be wary of the intent. The intent of the book, quite simply is to remind all of God’s Word, what He has said about sin, and our what our response should be to those who propose to promote sin rather than godliness. And we can do this–showing love–not displeasing God in order to win people to us.

Our ability to win souls should never be about winning someone to be in our cheering section, or church, but encouraging them to repent, be forgiven, and develop a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Are you ready? Okay, just wait for it and wait for The Lord to see His goodness–through us–to overwhelm the land!