Tag Archives: faith

Using Your Faith

A couple of years ago, I decided I would start working out. After the first workout, I realized there were muscles in my body that hadn’t been used in a while, and there were muscles I didn’t know I had. I was very sore to say the least, but if I was going to get into shape, I needed to exercise and push those muscles. There are a lot of benefits to daily exercise including decreased fat, higher endorphin levels, stronger muscles and better overall health. When you don’t exercise often, you lose stamina, strength and will become weak.

To me, faith is like a muscle. You and I must exercise it often if we want to reap the benefits of it. To say you are a person of faith, but never stepping out in faith would be like owning a Bowflex, but never using it. Just having it doesn’t make you stronger or healthier. It takes daily use to reap the benefits of it. So many people buy a Bowflex with the intention of using it, but when they realize it requires constant effort, it often becomes an expensive clothes hanger. You and I can’t live with the intention of using our faith. It’s something we must exercise constantly.

Ephesians 3:17 says, “By constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life” (TPT). Just like there are benefits to exercising, there are greater benefits in exercising your faith. One of those is that the life of Christ will be released in you becoming your source for everything you need. You will begin trusting Him more than what you see, and the peace that passes all understanding will take over your life. Do something today that exercises your faith. It may hurt a little at first, but push through. You’ll be glad you did.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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An Act Of Faith

Growing up, I loved watching the Indiana Jones movies. They were action packed, funny and took place all over the world. One of my favorite scenes came from “The Last Crusade”. Indiana Jones was standing at the edge of a cliff and needed to cross it. The instructions he had told him to do an act of faith and step off the cliff. You could see him contemplating what would happen if he just stepped off the cliff. I held my breath as he lifted one leg, lifted it over the edge and took the step. To his surprise, and the audience too, there was a hidden bridge there he couldn’t see from his perspective. His act of faith paid off.

In Joshua 3, it was time for Israel to cross the Jordan. After purifying themselves, they set out for the river. The priests who were carrying the Ark we’re out front leading the way. Their instructions were to walk into the river and then it would dry up for everyone to cross. Verse 15 tells us that when they crossed, it was the time of harvest and that the river was in flood stage and had overrun its banks. I can see the priests standing near the edge of the water as it flowed rapidly by. There might have been a moment of fear, but they took their step of faith and waded into the water. When they did, verse 16 says the waters stopped upstream and the people were able to cross on dry ground.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see” (GNT). God is calling you and I to step into greater acts of faith. He’s calling us to take steps into places we can’t see with our physical eyes. We’re going to have to trust His instructions even when they don’t make sense. You might get a little wet from the waters that look a little too deep, but that’s the life we’re called to. We can be sure of what He tells us because it is more certain than what’s physical in this world. There will always be that voice that wants you to question what God said, but you need to take the step anyway as am act of faith. God will do the rest.

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Buy A Ticket

I used to live next door to one of the oldest members of our church. She was quite the character. One evening I was outside when she pulled into her driveway with a car full of groceries. After I helped her take them in, she told me a joke I’ll never forget. She said, “One day, the lottery was really large and a man wanted to win it. He prayed, ‘God, if you let me win the lottery, I’ll give 25% to the church.’ God replied back, ‘Buy a ticket!'” She then told me, “So many times we ask God for something, but don’t do anything about it.”

I think about that joke often in my prayer time. How many times have I asked God for something when I wasn’t willing to “buy a ticket”? God couldn’t help that man win the lottery if he wasn’t the owner of a ticket, and He can’t answer a lot of our prayers if we aren’t willing to put ourselves in position for Him to either. Remember, faith without works (action), is useless. He could have believed all he wanted that God would let him win the lottery, but without action on his part, it was useless.

In John 4:46-54, there is the story of a nobleman whose some was on his deathbed. He heard that Jesus was about 18 miles away, so he walked over a day to get to him. When he arrived, he begged Jesus to come to his home and heal his son. Jesus blew him off. He wouldn’t let up though. He pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my son dies” (NLT). Then in verse 50, it says, “Then Jesus told him, ‘Go back home. Your son will live!‘ And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.”

In order for his faith to activate his son’s healing, he had to start home. He had to act without seeing the result. It wasn’t until the next day, on his journey home, that his servants met him on the road, that he found out his son was healed. What if he had stayed and continued to beg Jesus? What if he had never started home? Often Jesus would say, “Go. Your faith has made you whole.” Their healing, their answer to prayer, was always activated by something they did. God has the power to answer your largest prayer, but it usually requires some kind of action on your part first.

What action do you need to take as an act of faith to activate God’s answer? Mark Batterson often writes, “Pray like it depends on God. Work like it depends on you.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Learning From Seasons

I remember seeing Time Life commercials when I was growing up. One of them was for music from the 60’s. They would list all the songs that this package came with. Every so often they would pause on a hit and let it play. One of those belonged to The Byrds. The song was “Turn! Turn! Turn!” The first time I heard it, I recognized immediately where it came from. Ecclesiastes. I can still hear that song playing in my mind. I didn’t understand then why it was such a big hit, but after studying history, it’s clear it resonated with people because it let them know that the war wasn’t going to last forever. The season would come to an end, and a new season would begin.

Job is someone who went through a difficult season. He went from a season of plenty to a season of loss and pain instantly. He responded by worshiping. He didn’t allow the changing seasons to affect how He viewed God. He understood that God allowed seasons to change and didn’t need his permission to do it. When his season lasted a long time, there was a temptation to curse God rather than to bless Him. It’s the same temptation we all face in difficult seasons. When we can’t see the bigger picture of what God is doing, and when we forget there is a season for everything, including loss, it’s easy to give in to that temptation. However, we must remain faithful, trusting in God’s plan even when we can’t see how He can turn it around for our good.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, “There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven” (AMP). Solomon had seen it all and understood it better than anyone when he wrote this. God has a purpose and a time for every season of your life. Just a quickly as you entered this season, you can enter another one. Whether your in a season of planting or reaping, bless God. If you’re in a season of tearing down or building up, worship. Seasons aren’t permanent, but your worship is. Faith is trusting God even when you don’t understand or like the season you’re in. Trust in His all sufficient grace that is our strength when we’re weak, and use the season you’re in to grow closer to Him.

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Faith’s Eyes

As Christians, one of the hardest things for any of us to do is to walk by faith and not by sight. I’ve read that 90% of all information we send to the brain is visual. So it’s only natural for our brain to trust what we see instead of what we don’t. I loved the scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where he has to take a leap of faith off the cliff. He looks down and sees a huge drop that will kill him, but he steps off anyway. He drops about a foot and a hidden ledge catches him. More often than not, that’s how God Call’s us to live.

Abraham in the Bible is a person who believed what God said. His eyes were sending information to his brain that was contrary to what God was telling him. No one could get pregnant at Sarah’s age. In fact, Sarah laughed when she heard that she was going to conceive. It was impossible from their perspective, but they didn’t let that keep them from acting in faith. Less than a year later, Isaac was born. He was a constant reminder to them that God is able to do what He promises no matter what our eyes tell us.

Romans 4:18 says, “Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it” (TPT). Abraham was human just like us, but he chose which information to believe. I don’t know what impossibility hopeless odds you’re looking at today, but if God promised something other than what you see, choose to believe His Word. You may have to be like the man who told Jesus in Mark 9, “Lord I believe, but help my unbelief.” Learning To look through faith’s eyes is never easy, but it is the only way for believers. Trust God more than what you see.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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We Need To Worship

In Job 1. we read one of the most devastating stories a person could ever go through. In one day, Job lost all his possessions, his servants, his shepherds, his livestock and his children. One bad report came right after the other. In under a minute, he had lost everything. His knees buckled and he fell under the weight of everything. Verse 20 says. “Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship” (NLT). I imagine him face down with his hands raised up in surrender. He didn’t understand why everything was happening, but he did understand that God would care for him. The final verse in the first chapter says he didn’t sin by blaming God.

Every one of us are going to experience hardship that we don’t understand. Every one of us are going to unexpectedly lose things and people that we love with no answer as to why. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45 that God causes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust just like He causes it to rain on both. We are not exempt from pain, disappointment or loss. Instead, we have an anchor to hold on to when all seems lost. We have hope that others do not have. We can still worship in the middle of a storm we don’t understand. We can still trust God’s plan when our plans are torn from us. We can still look ahead when we’re too weak to move.

Hebrews 12:12-13 says, “So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship. And strengthen your weak knees, for as you keep walking forward on God’s paths all your stumbling ways will be healed!” (TPT) When we are at our lowest, we need to worship. When we are out of options, we need to worship. When all seems lost, we need to worship. When we are too tired and feel like giving up, we need to worship. Worship regains our perspective. Worship renews our strength. Worship gives us hope. Worship keeps us moving forward when we can’t see the path. We don’t have to understand what God is doing, or even why. Like Job, we have to trust that He sees the bigger picture and knows what He’s doing. When nothing makes sense and you can’t do anything else, worship. He inhabits the praises of His people. He will not abandon you in your greatest time of need.

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Seeing Beyond The Horizon

I used to work for a company who wanted to always be forward thinking. They adapted the word horizon into their name as a constant reminder to always be looking ahead. They figured that if they were always looking to the horizon, they would see what’s coming and be able to adapt and change in order to embrace it. The horizon has always represented the edge of man’s vision. Most people on,y look at what’s just in front of them rather than off into the distance. If we could see beyond the horizon, we would know the future. As Christians, faith is trusting God for what’s out of our ability to see.

If you’ve ever read Hebrews 11, you know it’s a list of people in the Bible who had strong faith. I always heard it called “The Hall of Faith” as I was growing up. The people listed are ordinary men and women who simply trusted God for things they couldn’t yet see. They looked beyond their current situation and had faith that what was unseen was greater than what was seen. Verse 13 says, “These heroes all died still clinging to their faith, not even receiving all that had been promised them. But they saw beyond the horizon the fulfillment of their promises and gladly embraced it from afar. They all lived their lives on earth as those who belonged to another realm” (TPT).

How many times do you get frustrated with God because the things He promised have yet to come through? It’s tough to stand in today’s problems knowing that tomorrow’s promises could solve them. However, God knows the best time to make good on His promises. Will you still trust Him even if He doesn’t come through right now when you think it matters most? Faith is seeing beyond your current circumstances, even beyond the horizon, and knowing that God will do what He says. It’s embracing His promises even when it looks like they’re never going to come. God only knows what the future brings. As Corrie Ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

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Even If He Doesn’t

One of the toughest things we need to have with our faith is a “What if He doesn’t” attitude. What if He doesn’t heal your family member? Will you still trust Him? What if He doesn’t save your marriage? Will you still love Him? What if He doesn’t help me get this job? Will you still follow Him? What if He doesn’t answer your prayer? Will you still serve Him? These are tough questions, but necessary to ask yourself. God doesn’t always do the things we believe He should. Even when we believe with everything in us that He can and will answer our prayer, sometimes He doesn’t. Trusting Him after that is something we all must learn to do. We have to remember that He sees the bigger picture and that His ways are higher than ours.

In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego wouldn’t bow to their captor’s god. The king brought them in and commanded them to do it or die. He asked them if they thought there was any god who could save them from burning in a fiery furnace. They told him that God was able to do it. Then, in verse 18, they added, “But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god, and we will not bow down to the gold statue that you have set up” (GNT). They were willing to sacrifice their lives trusting God, even if He didn’t answer their prayer and save their lives. It’s the type of faith that we all need to have. It’s the type of faith we must determine to have before we get into a situation that will challenge us at our core.

Psalm 34:1 says, “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises” (NLT). We can’t just praise God when things are going great and when our prayers are being answered. We must learn to praise Him at ALL times. When He doesn’t answer our most desperate prayer, praise Him. When everything in life is going wrong, praise Him. Our praise, trust and love for God cannot be based on our feelings or circumstances. It must run deep within us to the point that it is who we are. Determine today that even if He doesn’t respond the way you deeply believe He should, you will bless and praise Him anyway.

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More Faith

There are times when I feel like I have the type of faith that can move mountains. There are also times when I feel like my faith is much smaller than a mustard seed. Sometimes I read verses like John 14:13 where Jesus tells us to ask for whatever we need in His name and He’ll give it to us, and I think, “What if I ask and you don’t answer?” Hen I think, “What if I don’t ask at all? What happens then?” Having the faith to believe sometimes feels like the gas gauge on my car. Sometimes it’s full, and other times it feel empty. Either way, I believe God honors the faith we do have, but He’s also encouraging us to have more.

In Mark 9, Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration to find his disciples arguing with some teachers of the Law. When he asked them what they were arguing about, a man pushed forward and said he had brought his son to be freed from demons, but the disciples couldn’t do it. Jesus asked for the boy, and Ashe approached, the demons threw him into a fit. The man begged Jesus to help them if He possibly could. Jesus responded, “Yes, if you yourself can! Everything is possible for the person who has faith” (GNT). To that, the father answered, “I do have faith, but not enough. Help me have more!” Jesus cast the spirit out and the boy was healed.

Faith is a partnership between us and God built on trust and communication. Jesus wanted to partner with this father’s faith for his boy, but the man felt he needed more. He is a lot like several of us doubting our faith isn’t enough. Jesus was able to use what faith he did have to free his son. Later, when the disciples asked why they couldn’t cast it out, Jesus told them, “Only prayer can drive this kind out. Nothing else can.” It’s a reminder to us to look at our prayer life when our faith feels small. How much quality time are we spending with our Heavenly Father? I’ve found that the more time I spend with Him in prayer, the greater my faith is. You and I can have more faith, but it comes through prayer and reading the Bible.

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The Lion Tamer

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