Tag Archives: Faith

The Power of Moving in Faith

16 May

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The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (a book and movie) is a riveting true story of a devoted Christian family in Haarlem, Netherlands, that helped many Jews to survive the Holocaust. What’s most incredible about what happened to Corrie is the way God’s light shone through unimaginable darkness. Starting with the German occupation of the Netherlands, their lives went from disturbing to difficult to excruciatingly painful to impossible to survive.

Although other family members ended up dying in concentration camps, Corrie survived, as did most of the Jews she and her family helped to feed and hide. What she went through was a triumphant expression of not only the existence of a loving God but also the supernatural power that comes with moving forward in faith.

On my own Christian journey, I’ve experienced that God can and does do the impossible, but His amazing acts happen in response to faith and obedience.

A stark example is what Abraham, the father of our faith, did. He waited a very long time for his miracle child of promise, Isaac. Then one day God clearly told him to go and sacrifice Isaac on a mountain. This is in Genesis 22:1-18. Abraham did not delay in obeying what the Lord told him to do. He literally believed God wanted him to kill his son but at the same time he knew God would bring his son back to life because of the promise.

He didn’t understand but he obeyed; and God stopped him from sacrificing his son, just as the knife was raised in the air. He provided a ram as a substitute sacrifice. And God’s promises to Abraham were fulfilled and are still being fulfilled. (Later, Jesus, God’s own Son, actually was the sacrifice paid for all of our sins.)

Do you want your life to be filled with wondrous acts of God? It can be! To make it happen: Live a God-focused life–put God first! Then cooperate as God leads you on what may seem to be a completely indirect path to the desires of your heart. He’s always up to something good! If you’ve been blessed to see a vision of what God has for you, don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s now up to you to make it happen. Steps of faith and trust that God will bring miracles to pass are the only ones that keep you on the path.

Anytime you find yourself having to do a very hard thing in order to live a life of faith, be encouraged! By obeying at such times, you advance the kingdom of God. You are getting closer to a time when life will be lived in a continuous stream of God’s power and favor to accomplish His wonderful purpose for your life. Nothing the world has to offer could ever begin to compare with the wonders of a life of faith.

Avoiding Tell-Tale Christian Blowouts: You Can Do It!

19 Jul

Just like God says people have built-in recognition that the heavens are God’s handiwork, even unbelievers recognize when Christians aren’t acting like Jesus. One of the most frustrating things that happens in my life is that I have occasional blowouts. Whether it’s flair of temper, a fit of rage, or a hard-hitting emotional upset, it kind of feels like when a tire explodes and causes a car to run off the road or get into a collision. It is certainly no way to represent Jesus on the earth. Because we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, these episodes can be completely avoided. Just the fact that we have these outbursts is evidence that we surely have not recently been with Jesus or we are still growing toward Christian maturity.

When the Storm Hits, Are You Ready?

Staying close to God and remembering that there is no need to freak out about anything must be done daily. We lean on Him instead of falling on our faces—unless we are falling on our faces in prayer. Remembering Romans 8:28 is a great way to start any day, since it’s a reminder that everything is going to be okay.

Romans 8:28New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Even though I start each day with a devotional and Bible reading, upon opening my eyes, this doesn’t always keep the light of Jesus shining brightly in me. Honestly, I need to expand my prayer life. A day when something devastating happens isn’t a sign we’ve blown it. It’s our response to unexpected, unwelcome blows that reveals just how spiritual we are. (Not in judgment of each other but when evaluating our own behaviors.)

pexels-boat in storm

It’s like when Jesus was on the boat with the disciples and the boat was literally about to break apart from the violence of the storm they were in the midst of. Jesus was napping through it all. They finally woke him in a panic. He rebuked them for their lack of faith and then rebuked the waves and all was calm and still. We have been empowered to be like Jesus, standing peacefully in the middle of chaos!

Things go so much more smoothly when are connected with God in prayer all through the day. Just now I stepped away from the computer and couldn’t find a laundry list of different things I was looking for, all of which are usually right here within reach. Judging from my response, it quickly became evident that I have not spent enough time with Jesus! This doesn’t make me a hypocrite, that I don’t act so holy. It makes me a forgiven sinner who had a tough workday and little prayer. However, I am aiming higher and will do a better and better job of reflecting light instead of crashing and burning in a moment of darkness.

God Myth: God Listens to All Prayers

18 Jul

People sure do take God for granted. Millions of people have decided that when they get to a certain life milestone, they’ll finally turn to God and religion. There are no guarantees that we will ever make it to such a milestone. God loves us but He doesn’t fall for insincerity or out-and-out fakeness. He doesn’t listen to every prayer, either. Keep in mind that we are made in His image. Is there anyone in your life you wouldn’t give the time of day to because they lost your trust? Well, God doesn’t just honor every prayer uttered or answer every call. This may be a shock but it’s true.

Phone no answer

Psalm 66:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart,

The Lord will not hear.

 

Isaiah 59:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;

And your sins have hidden His face from you,

So that He will not hear.

God is light and there is no darkness in Him. He’s a glass half full kind of God. I feel compelled to defend him here, even as I reveal that prayers aren’t always getting to His ears, since He sometimes refuses to listen.

Just myth-busting, since sometimes people make assumptions based on things that aren’t actually in the Bible. My goal is to reveal what seems to be a hidden truth and to inspire others to open the Good Book.

If there is anyone you want to have an ear with, it’s God. Nobody loves you more. As we can see here, there are behaviors that shut off our prayers. This is not something any of us should be okay with, if we have an inkling what’s good for us.

 

Three Missing Links Between Us and God

17 Jul

The direct line to a truly victorious life filled to overflowing with the presence and blessings of God was broken when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. They disobeyed God. Ironically, it was the only rule that could even be broken. Nowadays, we are surrounded by things in the world that have eradicated Jesus as much as possible. Our options are numerous, quite unlike the first two human beings. Still, it’s not that complicated. All we need to do is what Adam and Eve chose not to: Love God, believe God, and obey Him. These words are all wrapped up in one another, ultimately. Our failure to love God results in a failure to believe or obey Him.

1-Love God

The way we are supposed to love God is clearly spelled out in the Bible. One way Jesus put it is probably something just about anyone can understand:

Luke 14:26 New Living Translation (NLT)

26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

The first and great commandment is to love God with all of our heart, all our soul, and all our mind (Matthew 22:37).

How many people do you know who are more excited to brag about God than about themselves, their spouses, their children, or their grandchildren? The love for God that the Christian people have for Him is collectively cold, which is tragic.

2-Believe God

If Adam and Eve had truly believed what God told them, they couldn’t have been fooled by the serpent. We are no different from those two. If we truly believed the Bible, we would put things of heaven above things of the earth. Our love for God would be evident. We’d all be Jesus Freaks! That’s not what’s happening. It’s probably because we are more convinced that the world will give us satisfaction. Too many Christians just don’t believe God and his promises in the Word. If we did, we’d live a whole lot differently.

3-Obey God

God isn’t interested in watching us take the driver’s seat of our life. He is our Lord as well as our Savior. He expects obedience. The Bible is full of promises and blessings that go along with obedience to God. There is also a lot about curses associated with disobeying God. Deuteronomy is full of info about the choice we make between life and death, such as Chapter 11 and many more verses. He’s our spiritual Father, and He knows what’s best for us. He has a purpose for us that will make us happier than if we go off on our own, which, sadly, most of us do.

These three missing links get in the way of living life in the empowered way God intends for us. We all have a fresh new chance to get it right — every morning. Because that’s the kind of God we serve. Not to say there aren’t consequences for disobedience because there are. But He still gives us the chance to repent. It’s our choice. No links need to be missing.

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Better Than a Luxury Spa Treatment

28 Mar
spa-town-teplice

Spa Town Teplice (Photo by Vera Kratochvil)

 

The best part of being a Christian is that we have the kingdom of heaven within us right now, and we can bask in the presence of God. There are countless people sitting in Christian church pews that don’t know what it is to: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

If more believers were to simply follow this scripture, the world would not be in the condition it’s in right now. (Things aren’t good.)  Something powerful happens when we stop striving, acknowledge God as the Almighty Father He is, and walk in obedience. The grace of God empowers us to go forward and fulfill our calling.

When we worry or follow our own paths, we are not in that luxury spa-like place of resting in God and His Word.

World-changing faith comes from a place of resting, not striving. As a result of being with Jesus, powerful things happen through us.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

Hebrews 4:1-11 speaks about the rest of God and that those who have believed enter that rest.

I believe a good demonstration of being in the presence of God is when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to Him while chained in a disgusting prison. In Acts 16:25-34, it tells of an earthquake that followed their act of faith. They were set free but did not run. Instead, the keeper of the prison and his family believed in Jesus and were saved.

It is better to be in the presence of God under any circumstances (in prison, in the hospital, etc.) than to be without Him, even if in paradise on earth.

Not-so-Easy Steps of Faith

27 Mar
stationary-bike

(Photo by Circe Denyer)

 

Abraham, the father of our faith, obeyed God, which took him out of his place of comfort and the place called home. Literally…

“He went out, not knowing where he was going.” -Hebrews 11:8

Walking consistently under God’s clear but not-so-exciting marching orders is the hardest part of faith for me. I have a lot of the Word of God under my belt, soaking it in over a period of 33 years. It makes me feel that my faith is utterly unshakable.

But the testing ground is in the mundane task of doing not what I find comfortable or what I want to do but what I know Jesus has called me to do every day.

Yes, for me, that is the simple matter of adding physical disciplines to my spiritual disciplines. God is supposed to be my Lord. My stupid flesh is not supposed to reign supreme. I actually feel better in my body and more alert in my brain by obeying God’s admonitions. Fortunately, once the flesh has been consistently trained in a healthy life habit, there is tremendous cooperation — unlike the kind of struggle I’m currently experiencing.

I’ve been going my own way of comfort and ease for too long. My daily pep talk to myself today is this scripture:

“I press on  toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 3:14

God has a plan and obedience is the way to walk on the path to fulfilling that plan.

Unfettered Asking

24 Mar

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(Photo by  Petr Kratochvil)

How great would it be to have a loving Dad who shared our life’s vision and came alongside as we journeyed to supply everything we needed so that it could be fulfilled? Well, news flash, if you are a Christian, we already have that! Christianity has become so watered down in the U.S., the church at large has been satisfied to substitute the glorious power of Almighty God for a worldly church infiltrated by churchgoers who don’t even want to get into the spiritual side of things.

What do you need? If you are walking on God’s path, all you need to do is ask. God can literally do more than we could ever dream or imagine, and He is our heavenly Father. Just as loving parents here on earth will do all they can and should for their children, God does for his own.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout the generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Nehemiah had been praying and fasting about Jerusalem, because the gates had been torn down. It’s no accident that he worked for the king. When the king asked what he could do to help, Nehemiah breathed a quick prayer and literally asked for everything needed to rebuild the wall and gates and even to travel through various provinces on the way there. The king granted his request in full! This king wasn’t even a believer in Jehovah God. (Nehemiah 1:1-8)

There are many more examples in the Bible of people of faith asking for big things and getting them.

If you’ve been boxed in with worry, I encourage you to build up your faith and believe God for all that concerns you. Go way outside the box and ask big. If all of us Christians individually would do this, the world would sit up and take notice of Jesus with a much greater level of interest. Many more souls would no doubt be saved.