Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. —Mark 11:22-23
The greatest thing that will ever happen to your faith is when the Word of God takes that eighteen-inch drop from mental assent in your head to believing faith in your heart.
When God engraves His Word in your heart, there isn’t enough doubt, discouragement, or disaster to ever remove it. The devil doesn’t have an eraser big enough to remove God’s Word from your spirit once He has placed it there.
In what will you place your trust today? Money, work, strength, education, status, or power? Only faith in God can move mountains and resist the devil. Only faith in God can do the impossible. Only faith in God can produce powerful prayers. In what or Whom do you trust today?
Jesus, I cannot leave this altar of prayer
without first confessing that I place
all my trust in You. Amen.
“…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesusour Lord.” -Romans 8:39
It is so comforting for me to know that God has allowed me to go through many experiences, to learn from them and to apply them to my life. Most of those experiences come as he reveals his intent through his word and my time in meditation. The height and depth of my experiences and what he reveals to me as I grow in his word are directly proportional to my calling.
I believe I am describing a process of preparation that God takes each of his people through when he plans to use them. Christian leader Os Hillman put it this way: “A ‘faith experience’ is an event or ‘spiritual marker’ in your life about which you can say, ‘That is where I saw God personally moving in my life.’ ”
As I reflect back, I can see many of these “faith experiences” in which God led me through a growth experience. Sometimes I needed to reflect to see what he was doing and other times it was so obvious that I thanked him then and there. They were my “burning bush” moments where he was so real I could feel his presence.
God has a plan for using you, a plan that will change the lives of many others but especially your own. You can expect it! He loves you and is going to use you and your “faith experiences” as you share with others how God is using you.
Prayer: Father, Creator of all, thank you for including me into your plan. Please provide me with the strength, wisdom, knowledge, and ability to be used to fulfill that portion of your plan that you have entrusted to me. Amen.
Devotion: Recall one significant “faith experience” and describe how it changed your life.
Faith is believing God. The heroes of Hebrews 11 are people who believed God. They are the writer‘s examples to show that faith itself is not a New Testament innovation. Faith goes way back in time, claims the writer of Hebrews. There is nothing new about it at all. God hides His face in order that we might believe. He withholds the evidence of things visible that we might be persuaded by His Word alone!
Faith, then, is the long parenthesis between the undeniable appearances of God’s glory. When God appears, faith is no longer necessary. There are actually times when faith is eclipsed by such a sense of the majesty and glory of God that one is temporarily without the need of faith. These are times of mountaintop experiences, such as when our Lord was transfigured before His disciples (Matt. 17:1-9).
But one is not permitted to live indefinitely on the mountaintops. Like the disciples who “came down from the mountain” (v. 9, KJV), so must we. It is in the valley that we live by the faithfulness of God, who periodically reveals Himself so we will not be swallowed up in despair.
These Hebrew Christians were witnessing a long interval. They were discouraged. They had known better days—perhaps some mountaintop experiences. They were perplexed and could not understand the utter absence of the sense of God’s presence. The writer comes along and shows them that this is nothing to despise. It is an opportunity to believe.
Although faith is not a New Testament innovation, it is a New Testament norm. The Christian life is a venture of believing God. Seeing is not believing. Believing is not seeing. Faith is an inner persuasion in those who live by the integrity and faithfulness of One whose manifested glory is worth waiting for.
In the meantime, faith accomplishes extraordinary things.
Excerpted from Believing God (MorningStar Publications & Ministries, 1997).
I recently had the incredible opportunity to go sailing with some dear friends in San Diego. We spent the afternoon on Terry and Connie’s 30-foot sailboat on an exquisite Southern California day. Beautiful sunshine, perfect temperatures, and ample wind moved us along at a spirited clip.
Sea lions, pelicans and blue skies greeted us as we cut a path effortlessly through the salty paradise. We ventured about five miles out into the ocean before the angle of the sun told us it was time to head back in (real sailors don’t wear a watch). Terry pointed to a red roof in the distance, which was the locator for our docking area.
As we entered the cove we seemed to be moving closer and closer to the right side levee (big rocks). When Connie would turn the wheel in an attempt to correct our course, the sails would begin to “luff”—flap uselessly in the wind. It was obvious we were not going to be able to sail all the way to the dock on our current path. Terry looked at Connie and told her it was time to “tack”—a term meaning to “come about” into the wind.
Although we had done this several times throughout the day, this time when Terry gave the command, Connie’s turn was not just to the left. It was such a drastic turn that we were actually going back diagonally the direction we had come from. With only a little bit of sarcasm, I mentioned to Terry that the “red roof” was now almost behind us. Terry then made a comment I will never forget.
He said, “You have to trust me. You can’t see it, but I can. There is wind on the other shoreline. Sometimes we have to make a deviation that you might think is wrong in order to eventually be able to turn and go the desired direction. We need that wind!”
Just before it seemed we would run into the bank on the opposite shore (where there were no docks), the two of them, working together, executed a hard right turn. As the boat began to run parallel with the shoreline, the sails snapped open and exploded full of wind. We literally flew through the water—safely arriving at our original “red roof” goal in just a few minutes.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Have you ever been at a place in your life where it seemed like you knew the plans and dreams that God had for you, and now they have seemingly been forgotten, ignored, shattered? The “red roof” that was once the goal line is now behind you and fading into the distance. It is in these times that you must trust your Captain—with all of your heart. Don’t depend on your own understanding about the right direction to go. Press into His presence. Listen to His voice. Trust that His hand is manning the wheel. Let go—relax—and let Him be God (since He is anyway). He just might see what you don’t see: new wind—wind that will accelerate your destiny; wind that will restore what the locust has eaten; wind that is on a totally different shoreline than you expected.
This week, if you feel that God has “tacked” your little boat in the wrong direction, hang on. On the other shore there is wind that He sees. And just before you think you will crash into the rocks, He will make a turn and your sails will explode with the new, fresh wind you need. You will fly along toward your “red roof” and realize your dream sooner than you ever imagined. I promise.
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 1/28/2013
This week thank the Lord that He is the captain of your ship, knows exactly where He’s leading you and how to get you there safely. Know that He is totally trustworthy and that you are safe in His hands. Search for and declare scriptures that confirm that over your life. Rely on His promises and spend time praising Him for His faithfulness. Continue to pray for Israel and the persecuted church. Lift up our nation and its leaders as they tackle our economic and security issues. Pray for a spirit of repentance and revival to penetrate our churches and have a national and global impact. Pray that God send more laborers into His harvest field. Prov. 3:5-6; 1 Tim 2:1-5; James 5:16-18
I love Jesus‘s model of balance. He arrived on the planet with a mission more important than any soul who has drawn a breath of earth air. Yet He didn’t really get started until He turned thirty. What about all those “wasted” years? He left them to God.
There’s a great scene in Luke when a bunch of His disciples returned from their practical work project. They were all excited about their success, especially that “even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
Ever so graciously Jesus offered this mild rebuke: “Do not rejoice . . . that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20). They felt good about themselves because they had done well. Whereas Jesus implied, “Leave all that to God . . . you have nothing to prove; you are approved. Your names are in the Book and that’s what really matters.”
I used to feel driven and drained by the never-ending demands of ministry. If folks weren’t changing, I felt responsible. If some drifted, I felt at fault. If there wasn’t continual growth, I ached as if I needed to make it happen. If a sermon failed to ring with clarity and power, I struggled all of Monday and half of Tuesday. Talk about wasted energy. I’ve learned to place those cares in the hands of One who can handle them.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. —1 John 4:16
Are you ready for God to love you? It’s easy to say, “I certainly am,” but are you really ready to accept and affirm His love?
You cannot rely very long on your love for God, but you can rely on His love for you. He wants you to. Just think how much it would thrill Him if you really believed He loves you. If you could only grasp this life-changing truth—that God really does love you—what a wonderful feeling it would be.
Why are you so reluctant to believe that God loves you? Here are five possibilities:
1. You may have an overly scrupulous conscience, to use the Puritan phrase, and worry about every little thing that may be wrong in your life.
2. You may still be living under the Old Covenant, under the Law.
3. You may have a faulty theology.
4. There could be a psychological problem. I know people who can’t call God “Father” because of the relationship they had with their own fathers.
5. When you are aware of how much you have failed God (and we have all sinned and let Him down), you can’t believe that He still loves you. He wants to love you as you are, and you should not respond to His love by “performing” for Him. (See Isaiah 29:13.)
If you can identify with one or all of these criteria, at the end of the day you can still claim the promise that God loves you. But I sympathize. I find it difficult to believe God loves me. Yet I have come to see that it really is true: God loves me. God loves you. God really does love us.
Excerpted from When God Shows Up (Renew Books, 1998).
In her infancy, Fanny Crosby became blind. As a young girl she was once asked by her mother if she resented her blindness, and she replied, “Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind… for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Savior.”1 Hers are powerfully convicting words to those who lack contentment in their predicaments. With more than 8,000 hymns to her credit, Fanny remained confident in her visually impaired state, “I don’t believe I would have ever written all of those hymns had I been able to see.”2
To see joy in our trials, good in our pain, purpose in our frustrations, is the secret to finding strength to live each day.
Instead of resentment, find renewed confidence in your trials.
Make Fanny’s song yours: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine… This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”
1 thewordteaches.com/QuotesRZ.htm#Trials (accessed 7/30/12)
2 Gene Fedele, Heroes of the Faith (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2003), 209.