Tag Archives: faith

Watering Seeds

For the past few months we’ve been driving to Dallas. Along the way, there is a stretch of farmland where people are growing fields of corn. As the summer has progressed, some of these fields went from green to having some brown spots to turning yellow. The drought did a number on some fields. In a few instances, we’d see a dry field next to a green one. We would be sad about them losing an entire crop, but also see that the neighboring crop was full. They both went through the same drought, but one farmer watered their crops and the other didn’t.

Through the New Testament, Jesus often referred to us as farmers and seed spreaders. He talked about our return on those seeds as well when it came to harvest time. However, there may be some fields you’ve tilled and planted without seeing a harvest yet. I’d like to encourage you to take the step of watering them. 1 Corinthians 3:7 says, “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow” (NLT). Watering is part of the process many of us forget about. Seeds don’t grow to maturity and crops don’t produce unless they’re watered regularly.

Years ago, I heard Doug Stringer with SomebodyCares.org say, “Prayer is water for the seeds you plant.” In Jewish tradition, after Passover, they pray for dew to cover the ground where their crops are planted. Then as Sukkot passes, they pray for rain at harvest time. These festivals were created by God and remind us that we need to pray for God to water your seeds and to cause them to grow. He’s reminding us that our work isn’t done once we’ve planted seeds. If you’re waiting on a harvest from seeds you’ve planted and are wondering what’s taking so long, start watering them through prayer. Your seeds are not dead. They could be just waiting on some water.

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Insurmountable Odds

2 Kings 18 tells the story of King Hezekiah. He was a good king who was compared to David in his zeal for the Lord. Verse 5 says he trusted in the Lord like no other king in Judah. In his fourteenth year as king, the Assyrian army came to attack. They were the world’s most dominant army at the time. No one could stand against them. They were undefeated, and Jerusalem had a small army at the time. The king of Assyria took control of the city’s aqueduct and then sent people to try to get Israel to surrender. They started off in verse 19, “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?” (NLT) Hezekiah had confidence in God while he was facing insurmountable odds in the face of defeat.

In chapter 19, King Hezekiah did what we need to do when we’re facing insurmountable odds. He went to the Lord in desperate prayer. He then sought a word from the Lord from Isaiah. God said he would send him back to Assyria where he would be killed. However, the stand off continued. The king of Assyria taunted more. He said, “You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?” He reminded them of all the other people they destroyed, but Hezekiah still went to God for help even when it looked like God wasn’t answering like he said. Then God moved against Assyria killing 185,000 of them in one night. The king broke camp, went home and was killed.

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). You can have confidence in God even though you’re facing an insurmountable odd today. Whenever you’re feeling like the situation is taunting you and it looks like you can’t win, turn to God. When you look at what it has done to others and the thought comes that says, “Why should you get a different outcome,” turn to God in faith. There is nothing God cannot do. There are no insurmountable odds that He can’t overcome. Faith is to be sure of what He can do in the face of what you can’t overcome. Don’t listen to the voices of doubt or the words that tell you there’s no hope. Trust in God no matter what insurmountable odds you face.

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Driving God Crazy

I love how Luke 18 starts out. “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up” (NLT). Jesus knew that not only would they give up after praying for something for awhile, but so would we. He didn’t want us to stop asking just because it’s been a while. I wish I understood why some prayers are answered immediately, some take a while, and others are never answered. No matter what though, Jesus didn’t want us to give up.

He told the story of a widow who was suffering injustice from someone. She went to a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. When she didn’t get her justice, she went back to court begging him fir it over and over. Finally, in verse 5 the judge says, “This woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

When our answers come slowly, we can take courage from this story. We can bombard Heaven with our requests until we drive God crazy. I heard the story recently where Leonard Ravenhill told a friend of mine, “God doesn’t answer prayers. He answers desperate prayers!” When we seek God desperately for an answer, the way this widow did, we can expect answers. And just as the woman believed that the judge would respond, we need to believe that God I’ll respond.

Jesus finishes this parable out just as strongly as He opens it. In verse 8 of The Message, Jesus asked, “But how much of that persistent faith will the Son of Man find on earth when He returns?” That’s our challenge. We live in a world where we can get same day deliveries on things we buy online, but God is looking for a persistent faith. He’s looking for people who will call to Him in prayer the way they would to Amazon if they didn’t deliver their package. He wants us to drive Him crazy and never give up.

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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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God Of The Impossible

Have you been in an impossible situation where the only way through it was if God intervened? I have too. As I think about those times, I can recall those times when God miraculously showed up and made a way where there appeared to be no way. I can also think of the times where He didn’t show up and rescue the way I wanted Him too. In those times, my faith had to override my feelings. My trust in Him had to be greater than my pain or sorrow. Just because He didn’t intervene, it didn’t mean He was unable. I still choose to trust Him when I need the impossible to happen.

In 2 Kings 6-7, the city of Samaria was besieged by the Syrian army. The people in the city were running out of food, and some had turned to cannibalism. The King became angry at God and blamed Him for their situation. He went to kill Elisha, but Elisha said that on the next day there would be so much food that it would be cheap. The king’s servant said that was impossible and couldn’t happen even if God sent food from heaven. That night, the Syrian army heard the Egyptian army was coming and fled leaving all their food and supplies behind. There was more than enough food for the entire city as Elisha had predicted.

I don’t know what impossible situation you’re facing, but I do know that God is more than able to meet it. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Everything is possible! Even what you can’t imagine or see. God can make streams in the desert, He can part the Red Sea and He can meet your need. Instead of being angry at Him or declaring that not even He could make a way, put your situation and trust in Him. He is more than able to do the impossible if only we will believe. If for some reason, He doesn’t intervene the way you want, it doesn’t change who He is. Continue to put your faith in Him. He is the God of the impossible.

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Having Confidence In God

To be confident in something is to have full trust in it. Some people have confidence in themselves, their money, their friends and many other things. Misplaced confidence though can lead to pain and hurt. Instead of placing our confidence in temporary things, we need to place it in God. Do you fully trust God? It’s easy to answer yes when things are going well. Do you trust Him when when you can’t see a way forward or when your world is falling apart? True faith and confidence says, “God, I trust in you no matter what my circumstances are telling me.” That’s the level of faith, trust and confidence we are called to in our relationship with Him. You can have confidence today that whatever you’re facing will work out for your good.

Here are some Bible verses on having confidence in God.

1. For we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises].

2 Corinthians 5:7 AMP

2. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.

1 John 5:14 NLT

3. Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 GNT

4. But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance.

Romans 5:3 TPT

5. And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait? My hope [my confident expectation] is in You.

Psalms 39:7 AMP

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God Knows You

Since I was a kid, I have loved all things space. I remember watching the first space shuttle take off and the Hubble Telescope launch. I used to write to NASA and ask them to mail me pictures, and they sent them. So when NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope, i paid attention. I was excited to see the first images come out. The telescope is looking further into space than ever before. Images, like the one above are awe inspiring as I think about all those galaxies and how many stars are in each one. I can’t help but think of Psalm 147:4 that says, “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names” (AMP).

In 2 Kings 4, a widow came to the prophet Elisha with a problem. Her husband owed a lot of debts when he died and the creditors were calling on her to pay off the loans. Since she couldn’t pay, they were demanding her sons as payment. Elisha asked her what she had in her house, and all she had was a little oil. He told her to find every jar she could and fill them with the oil. After doing that, she returned for her next instructions. He told her to sell the oil, pay off the debts and live off the rest of it for the rest of her life. She must have because we don’t read about her again.

I love that God took care of the needs of a nameless widow in the Bible. The same God knows every star by name and took care of the needs of this widow, knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows you and your needs today. Like the widow, you need to call on Him for your answer. It may require something of you, like it did of her. Faith is stepping out in action when it doesn’t make sense and you don’t understand or see what God is up to. It was the Faith of the widow that collected as many jars as she could and kept her pouring until they were all full. It’s also your faith in action that brings about God’s answer. He knows your need as well as He knows each star. Trust Him to do His part when you do yours.

Photo credit NASA James Webb Space Telescope

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Digging Ditches

I grew up in a church where all forms of gambling (including Bingo) were considered taboo. When my next door neighbor, who was a little, old lady who had been in the church since the 1920’s, wanted to tell me a gambling joke, I was all ears. She said, “There was a man who wanted to win the lottery real bad so he prayed, ‘Lord, if you let me win the lottery, I’ll pay my tithe and give another 10% to missions.’ Do you know what the Lord said back to him?” I said, “Depart from me, I never knew you?” She shook her said and whispered, “Buy a ticket!” I laughed then because it was out of character for who I thought God was. I laugh now because we all do something similar to Him when we want something big.

In 2 Kings 3, the armies of Israel and Judah went to attack Moab because they quit paying tribute. They took the wilderness route so as not to be seen. When they got close, the men were tired and out of water. They called for Elisha to ask God for help. He told them to dig ditches and they would be filled with water even though it wouldn’t rain. It didn’t make sense, but the army complied. The next morning a pool of water ran through the valley filling all the holes giving the men and animals enough to drink. The opposing army showed up, saw the red morning sky reflecting in the pools and thought it was blood. They went down to plunder on,y to be surprised and were defeated.

One of my favorite quotes says, “Pray like it depends on God. Work like it depends on you.” We are good about asking God for things like it depends on Him, but we’re not always good about digging those ditches like the armies of Israel. Sometimes the ditches were asked to dig won’t make sense. Dig them anyway. God’s actions are motivated by our faith in action. That’s the pattern of the Bible. God doesn’t always answer big prayers, but He does honor big faith in action that accompanies those prayers. What ditches do you need to be digging right now to prepare for God’s answer? Pick up a shovel today and start digging ditches. Don’t wait. Put some action to your faith. Do your part and expect God to do His.

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Breath Of Life

I’ve been in the right place at the right time to save people’s lives. I’ve saved a friend who was drowning and couldn’t swim. I’ve done the Heimlich on someone who was chocking. I’ve even talked a couple of people off the ledge when they felt they had nothing to live for. However, I have never had to use CPR thankfully, even though I’ve been trained in it. CPR is unique in that you’re taking your breath and giving it to someone to bring life. It’s one of the greatest gifts you could ever give someone.

In Genesis, we read where God breathed into Adam and he became a living being. God’s breath brings greater life than our breath ever could. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read, “God has transmitted his very substance into every Scripture, for it is God-breathed. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness” (TPT). His Word is life to each of us who breath it in and apply it to our lives. Remember that Jesus came to give life, and that more abundantly.

Isaiah 42:5 says, “God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth” (NLT). God has given you His breath to give you life and to bring things back to life that you thought were dead. If God promised something to you that has yet to be accomplished, it will surely come to pass. Speak His Word, that He breathed into, over those areas of your life. His Word will not fail (Luke 11:37), nor will it return accomplishing what He said (Isaiah 55:11). Ask God today to breath life into those areas and have faith that He will do it.

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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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