FAITH AND FOCUS: Believe and Speak

God is a faith God.

He spoke and things that never existed before were made real. We’ve seen that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith. So, why do we not always see the same results? It’s possible that we do not believe His words the same way He does. God has total confidence in the power of His words.

“The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do.” Isaiah 55:11 (NCV)

God knows that His Word will not fail. Chances are that when we speak God’s Word over a situation we allow doubt to creep in and knock us off our stance of faith. The smallest thought of doubt can unsettle our faith to the point that it will not work. Doubt can only move in our lives if we’ve left room for it.

This could be discouraging because we know that everyone battles doubt.

Every human being has to deal with weakness in some way. We might think that this means that we can never see our faith work the way God’s works. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and Jesus is our proof.

Jesus was all man and all God. This means He faced all the same weaknesses as we do, having victory over all of them, while operating in the fullness of God’s power.

“For we do not have a High Priest (Jesus Christ) who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

When we read a verse like this, we should see possibility.

Jesus is our example, our forerunner. He came so that we could have the same kind of life He had, by the same kind of faith He has. It’s the faith He used to create the universe and everything in it. Every time He speaks, it’s released. Every time it’s released, it succeeds. This is how our Father wants our faith to operate. He showed us this desire in the words of His Son, Jesus.

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God’.” Mark 11:22 (NKJV)

Jesus isn’t just telling us to have faith IN God, but to have the God-kind of faith.

Jesus would not say something like this if He knew it could never happen. He wouldn’t lead us on with puffed up words that had no backing. His words were and always will be the Word of God, so He knew they would succeed.

We should notice that Jesus did not speak these words as a suggestion or a good piece of advice. He gave them as an order, showing us that the God-kind of faith was essential to live a victorious life.

For our faith to work the way our Father’s works, we must believe His Word as He does. God knows that His Word will not fail. When we believe in the absolute authority of His Word, we will see it succeed when we speak it out loud.

FAITH AND FOCUS: Totally Dependent On God

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Totally-Dependent-Upon-God-Dependent-QuoteFaith is being totally dependent on God.

We often hear statements like that and mentally or verbally agree without letting it truly sink into our hearts. Being totally dependent on our heavenly Father would require laying aside all of our preconceived notions about life.  It requires us to put all our confidence in Him based on what He’s said in His Word.  We would have to lose all confidence in our own ability. This kind of living is obviously foreign to our human mind, but it’s the deepest desire of our born again spirit.

When we accept the love and forgiveness that Jesus bought on the Cross, our once dead spirit is made alive in Him.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” Ephesians 2:4-5 (NASB)

Our spirits are brought to life by Christ’s spirit.  He places all of His power, wisdom and desires into our spirits. The desire of our spirit is to be absolutely reliant on God. However, our flesh and mind initially fight against our spirit in this, because they are accustomed to relying on themselves.

“Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 (NASB)

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Totally-Dependent-Upon-God-Walk-by-Faith-QuoteBefore we allow Christ into our lives we are forced to depend on our own strength and our own intelligence.

So, learning to depend on Him is a process. He doesn’t get frustrated with us in this process, but He also doesn’t want us to stand still. Our Father doesn’t demand perfection, but He greatly desires progress. He wants us to take steps of trust toward Him every day.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB)

FAITH AND FOCUS: The Potential of Faith

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-HEBREWS-QuoteBy faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)

Our heavenly Father is a faith God.

What He sees does not affect Him.  Instead, God speaks into being what He desires.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said…” Genesis 1:1-3 (NKJV)

As soon as God started speaking the darkness dissipated and the world, and everything in it, came into being. He had no doubt that He would see what He spoke. We should notice that there’s no verse in the creation story that speaks of how surprised God was when His words actually worked. This is the kind of faith God has given us. FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-Our-Faith-Potential-Quote

“…as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith,” Romans 12:3b (NKJV)

The faith we’ve been given isn’t  lesser, weaker or even faith of a different kind.  Our Father wants us to operate in the same power and assurance as He does. He never desires to see us strain and struggle in confusion just wishing our it would work.

However, it can seem this way when we don’t have a good understanding of what faith is, how to use it and how we can strengthen our faith.  It’s not God, or other people, or circumstances that frustrate us; we haven’t learned that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith.

When this revelation roots itself in our hearts, it will bear the fruit of victory.

Order or Chaos: Rescued From Darkness

Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden plunged all of creation into chaos and darkness. 

All of the systems were disrupted and mankind lost his authority over the earth. This darkness is easy to point out in certain places: the media, poverty and hunger, disease and war. However, all of these things are outward. The real darkness is the one inside.

The biggest separation is the one between man and God. The darkness we see in the world is merely a reflection of the darkness in the souls of mankind.  This was not God’s original design for us.  So, He made a way for us to get back and go beyond what He originally intended.

Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and people’s hearts.

We are born with disorder in our souls and have no way to get out of it on our own. We try to cover it or cope with it, and some people just embrace it. What we’ll find is that Jesus is the only real cure for the disconnection in our hearts. Sin broke the connection between God and man, so He sent Jesus to bring restoration.

“In other words, God was using Christ to restore His relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them,” 2 Corinthians 5:19 (GW)

God’s desire for us is to live a blessed and orderly life, and He knows that we won’t get there by ourselves.

The first step we take is asking Jesus to save us from the darkness we are born into. Before we can begin to live as God intends for us to live, we have to get out of the fallen world’s system and get into God’s kingdom.

“God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves. His Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven,” Colossians 1:13-14

This is the biggest step we can take to get out of chaos and darkness. We must invite the God of order to change our lives from the inside out, by asking His Son, Jesus, to come live inside us.  

Abundant Life: An Abundance of Grace

Have you ever wondered if you have enough of God’s grace in your life?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us,” Ephesians 1:7-8a (NASB)

The word “lavished” in this verse means “in abundance, to exist at hand in abundance, to make abundant or excellent”. God has given us the riches of His grace in abundance. It wasn’t just a limited amount; He gave us more than we could ever imagine.

Stop and think about that for a moment: God gave us more grace than we could ever imagine.

It’s by His grace that we are saved, blessed and favored. So, we aren’t just slightly saved or favored. God has lavished salvation and favor on us, His children.

This means we have the ability to be everything God wants us to be. We have everything we need to accomplish what God has planned for us.

If we desire to be a better husband, grace is available. It is available to us when we want a promotion. If we want to increase or improve in any area of our lives, grace is available. It’s in us in a super-abundant amount to make us excellent.

This should lead us to ask the questions: How much do I want?  How excellent do I want to be? How great do I want my life to be?

If God has made all of His grace available to us, then the answers to these questions are entirely up to us.

God will meet us exactly where we are and take us as high as we want to go. He’s not going to kick down the door and force us to live by grace. He has given us the resources we need to excel and grow in every way and He’s waiting for us to use them.

His grace invites us to new levels of life we could never experience on our own. We just have to say “yes”.

Unconditional Love

Our Father’s love is unconditional.

Unconditional-Love-Who-God-IsUnconditional love in no way depends on us. A.W. Tozer, a great preacher and writer, once said, “God absolutely is everything that He is.”.  That means since God is love, He is absolutely love.  His unconditional love is steadfast, sure and unchanging.

His love cannot be earned; in fact He refuses to let us earn it because God’s love is not something He pays us with, it’s who He is.

“Thus he shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus. It was nothing you could or did achieve—it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do,” (Ephesians 2:7-10 J.B. Phillips Translation).

To say that we’ve been given the love of God is to say that He has given us all of Himself.

He does not hold back in His love. He doesn’t require us to move up in the ranks in order to gain more and more of His love.

“Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us,” (Ephesians 5:1-2 Message Bible). Unconditional-Love-Gods-Love-Changed-Us-Quote

We could even say that God’s love isn’t just unconditional, but that it is contrary to our conditions. When we were in our most unlovable state, when we weren’t worthy of it, His absolute, unchanging love sought us out and made us worthy of His love. Our sinful condition didn’t change His love; His love changed our sinful condition.

This truth is by far the most essential for our walk with God.

We have to trust in His unconditional love in order to live the abundant life He’s made available to us. We can believe that God loves us, but also believe that His love is dependent on our good works, and this will cause us to continually fall short of His promises.

I encourage you to begin each day by thanking God for His perfect, unconditional love. Continually remind yourself that your Father loves you no matter your situation or your mindset. As you do this, you’ll find that it becomes more than a confession.  It will affect the way you live your entire life.

You Are Loved

You-Are-Loved-People-Deserve-To-Know-QuoteI’ve always believed that people deserve to know two things: They deserve to know the truth and they deserve to know that they are loved.

We will spend our lives looking for truth and to be loved, but until we come to our Heavenly Father we will only find a mere shadow of our heart’s desire.

God designed us to find both in Him. He is perfect truth.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,’” (John 14:6 NASB).

God is also perfect love. 

In fact that is how He describes Himself in His Word.

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him,” (1 John 4:16 NASB).

He doesn’t say that love is just another one of His attributes, or something that He possesses. Love is who God is. It is the center of His nature. It is the motivation behind everything God does – in the past, present and future.

You-Are-Loved-God-Created-QuoteGod created out of love.

He sent Jesus because of love. God, our Father gave us His Word because of love. He leads us by His Spirit because of love.

Being a son or daughter of God means that our search for love is over. When we come to our Heavenly Father we find the source of love and truth, and we will spend all of eternity experiencing more of His love. We simply need to know and believe in His love for us. We must realize that His love doesn’t depend on us in any way. How good or how bad we are, or ever could be, won’t change God’s love one iota.

Love is who God is and who He always will be.

New Beginnings – Radical Faith

Hebrews chapter eleven describes people from the Old Testament who radically trusted God – they had radical faith.

New-Beginnings-Radical-Faith-Decide-that-Gods-Plan-is-is-Better-QuoteThe chapter says again and again it was by faith they saw God do amazing things. All of their stories have a similarity though; God wanted to do a new thing for and through all of them. If they were going to take part in God’s new beginning, then they had to live by faith. The walls of Jericho fell down, the dead were raised, barren women had children and their enemies were defeated; all by faith.

However, they all had to decide that the plan God had for their future was better than what they were leaving behind. The only way they could commit to this decision was by faith. 

“For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them,” (Hebrews 11:14-16).

New-Beginnings-Radical-Faith-By-Faith-Look-Ahead-QuoteBy faith these people looked ahead, knowing that God was going to do what He said He would do.

They had faith that God’s plan was far beyond anything they could imagine on their own.  They willingly left their own plans behind.

These people serve as our example of how to persevere in faith. Even though their outward circumstances were uncomfortable and the situations in front of them seemed impossible they trusted that God would bring them through. We have to do the same if we’re going to see the promises of God come to pass in our lives.

 

For we walk by faith, not by sight,” (2 Corinthians 5:7). New-Beginnings-Radical-Faith-Feelings-are-Temporary-Quote

Keeping our focus on our heavenly Father and His plan for our lives will carry us through on the days we think we can’t make it. Our faith will take hold of His strength and we’ll be able to stay faithful and controlled when the temptation to quit is strong. We’ll know that what we’re feeling is temporary while God’s plan is eternal.

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal,” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Understanding Grace

If we’re going to understand our Father and have a meaningful relationship with Him we need to understand grace.

Understanding Grace - Photo of Man standing on a rock overlooking oceanGrace is one of the cornerstones of God’s character. It’s His grace that saves us, that makes us new creations. It’s by His grace that we are adopted into His family.  His grace is what makes us righteous.

Grace is defined as, “That which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor or acceptance. A favor done without expectation of repayment. The free expression of the love of God to men finding its only motive in the benevolence of God.” To put it more simply, it is the unearned, unmerited favor of God.

When we don’t understand grace we will struggle to see God as our Father.

This is why many Christians stay far from God. They believe that God doesn’t love them or favor them. They don’t know that they live in the favor of God. So, they work to try to earn His love and favor, and exhaust themselves in the process.

It is God’s will that we be saved by grace through faith, but He does not want us to stop there. Understanding Grace - Photo or Rock and trees

Salvation by grace is not just a one-time experience that guarantees we will go to heaven when we leave this earth. We are to live our whole lives in and by His grace.

This shows us God’s fatherly nature. A good father doesn’t just want his child to be born and then leave him or her to face life alone. He protects, provides and leads his child in the best way possible. This is what God does for us by His grace. He does not raise us to new life and leave us helpless.

“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence,” (2 Peter 1:3).

Our Father has given us everything we need to succeed in life and our relationship with Him.

He shows us His love through providing for us by His grace.

I encourage you to go through the New Testament and read about God’s grace. Read the verses out loud. Speak them over yourself. I promise that you’ll move into a deeper relationship with God. You’ll no longer try to earn His love and acceptance because you’ll see that He’s already given them to you by grace. 

The Father Hears Your Prayer

Jesus had a full revelation of the power of prayer and knew without any doubt that His Father heard Him when He prayed. The-Father-Hears-Your-Prayer-Photo-of-Man-leaning-on-wall

“Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me,’” (John 11:41-42).

We can have this same confidence when we pray. We don’t need to pray simply wishing that God will somehow hear us and answer us. Praying to God is not like talking to people in today’s world. God is not pondering what emails He needs to answer, He is not constantly checking His cell phone for new text messages. Our Father is not distracted, He is listening intently to us.

God is our loving Heavenly Father and we are His beloved, righteous children.

We have His undivided attention when we pray.

“The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous,” (Proverbs 15:29).

God hears our prayers the same way He heard Jesus’ prayers.

The-Father-Hears-Your-Prayer-Photo-of-Man-on-MountainHe will answer our prayers the same way, too. We just need to come to Him the way Jesus did; in faith.

Jesus knew that everything He needed was waiting for Him in God’s presence. Our Father is everything we truly need. He readily offers the relationship and acceptance we so deeply desire. He has the wisdom to guide us through any situation. Healing for any sickness or disease is in His presence. We just have to learn to receive from Him.

We need to know that God has made Himself accessible to us. He is not a cold and distant God. James chapter four tells us that He draws near to us when we draw near to Him. We should be confident that God hears us and meets our needs when we pray to Him.

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).