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)

Eternal Freedom or Temporary Relief?

The world has many different versions of “freedom” that only lead to slavery. 

Many versions of freedom are only temporary relief from pain.   Other versions of freedom are an escape from the prison of daily life.  People seek relief in vacations, drugs, shopping, alcohol, other people, etc.   We think if we can just get away for a moment, then everything will be fine once we return.   Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.   This kind of freedom gives less and less with each experience. In order to get what we want out of it, we have to give more and more of ourselves while receivETERNAL-FREEDOM-OR-TEMPORARY-RELIEF-Dont-need-relief-quote-photo-from-unsplashdawidzawilaing less in return.

The freedom that we can have in Jesus is exactly the opposite.

We believe in Him with mustard seed faith and we get everything we’ll ever need in Him.   In Christ we have the ability to have a life we don’t need relief or escape from.  Jesus saves us and truly sets us free.

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law,” Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

We only live this way when we know and believe the truth of God’s Word.

-ETERNAL-FREEDOM-OR-TEMPORARY-RELIEF-quote-photo-from-unsplashjamiestreetWe’re programmed to live like the world and the Word teaches us how to live freely. God sent Jesus not only to save us, but to be our perfect example of freedom.

Our Heavenly Father knows that if we follow Jesus’ example and allow our lives to be transformed by His Word, we’ll live as He intended. The truth of Jesus’ life and words are what set us free.  They are also what keep us free.

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” John 8:31-32 (NASB)

Patriotism and Hope for Our Nation

Patriotism seems to be on the decline in the United States today. 

PATRIOTISM-a-great-nation-quoteTearing down America has become something of a verbal sport, where the people who find clever and unique ways to insult our nation, its leaders and its people, are rewarded with attention and waves of agreement.  The 24 hour news cycle seems to be a highlight reel of tragedy and the impending doom of our country.  If we paid attention to these people, we would probably abandon all hope.

Even though we are still a great nation, we are not the shining light we once were. This isn’t because of the laws we’ve passed or the 20 trillion dollar debt we have. Things like this are just symptoms of the real problem. The root of the problem is the decreasing influence God has had in our nation over the years.

We were and are a great nation because God has greatly blessed us.

As members of the Body of Christ, we shouldn’t be influenced by the indifference and negativity we see around us.  In the face of apparent hopelessness, we should be beacons of hope, living our lives to glorify God.  We should be allowing His blessing to flow through us.

PATRIOTISM-beacons-of-hope-quote-photoThis truth should also apply to the way we live in our nation.  Many people have said that America will never be what it once was, and that God cannot save us.  Christians must passionately believe that God’s love and power can change the U.S.A.  We should return to the godly principles that helped to make this nation great.

Paul had this kind of passion for the people of his heritage:

“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,” Romans 9:1-3 (NASB)

His desire for his countrymen to know the love of his Heavenly Father was so great that Paul was willing to lose his own salvation.  This is how we should love our nation: by having a deep desire for its people to know the love of God.

We don’t need to lament at legislation and movements with which we do not agree.  Let’s recognize that evil and immoral things come from hearts that don’t know Jesus.

We live in a blessed nation.  We should make it one of our goals to continually show people that this blessing comes from a loving God.

Our nation can return to and surpass its former greatness as we put our faith and hope in our Heavenly Father.

The Abundant Life: Faith To Live It

We receive everything from God by faith through grace.

Abundant-Life-Faith-To-Live-It-Faith-Does-Not-Waver-quote-photoOur salvation, the Holy Spirit and all of His blessings come to us when we believe and speak. When we push past our doubts, preconceived ideas, fears, and trust our Heavenly Father, we will see His will happen in and through us.

“Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see,” Hebrews 11:1 (GW)

Faith is assured. It’s convinced. It does not second guess itself. It does not waver.

Too many times we make a decision to live by faith then allow circumstances to make us second guess ourselves.

Whether the doubt comes from within our own minds, or the enemy tries to bring it to us, we should understand that our faith is going to be attacked.

If we doubt ourselves, it’s because we need to renew our minds to God’s Word.

Our minds are steeped in doubt and skepticism because of the world we live in. As we allow the Word to gain prominence in our minds, it will push out worldly thinking and doubt.

The enemy will attack our faith because he doesn’t want us to gain ground. A victory for us is a loss for him, so he will fight us every step of the way. Please remember that Jesus has already defeated Satan at Calvary’s Cross (Colossians 2:15). Take your stand of faith and don’t waver when the enemy is trying to deter you.

“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore,” Ephesians 6:13-14a (NASB)

Seeing God’s will work in our lives is a matter of not turning back from our confession of faith.

When we decide that we’re going to trust God for a promotion, a healing, our bills to be paid, a better marriage or someone’s salvation we need to hold fast to that decision. We cannot allow anything to turn us away from what we know God has promised us. We have to trust that God is already working, even when things get worse before they get better.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful,” Hebrews 10:23 (NASB)

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”.

Live Abundantly By Grace Not Self-Effort

The abundant life is not something we’re going to live by our own effort.

Abundant-Life-Live-Abundantly-By-Grace-Not-Self-Effort-Grace-Empowers-QuoteWe can make an effort by doing certain things to put ourselves in a better position to live an abundant life: be born again, filled with and pray in the Holy Spirit, study God’s Word, be in church and develop friendships with believers. However, none of these enable us to live the abundant life.

If we depend on anything other than grace to lead us to abundance, we will live in continual frustration. Grace is the only thing that empowers us to live the God-kind of life.

“But God’s grace has made me what I am, and his grace to me was not wasted. I worked harder than all the other apostles. But it was not I really; it was God’s grace that was with me,” 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NCV)

Paul recognizes that his entire life is dependent on God’s grace. Abundant-Life-Live-Abundantly-By-Grace-Not-Self-Effort-Everything-Impossible-with-out-Grace-Quote

He even sees that all of his hard work would be impossible without God. This should be our goal in our relationship with God: to see that everything we are and everything we have would be impossible without grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them,” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB)

We begin to live the abundant life the moment we are born again.

Abundant-Life-Live-Abundantly-By-Grace-Not-Self-Effort-dependent-on-him-QuoteThese verses show us that our salvation is a result of the gift of God’s grace. It not only raises us to new life with Christ, it also give us everything we need to walk in the good works God has prepared for us.

Believing this will bring us peace in manifesting abundance, because we will take all the pressure off of ourselves. We’ll know that our blessing is not about our good works or our social standing or anything else. It’s all about God’ grace. This is exactly how God wants us to live, completely dependent on Him and His grace.

Speak Abundant Words

We’ve all had words or phrases “accidentally” slip out of our mouths at the wrong time in a conversation.

Abundant-Life-Speaking-Abundant-Words-words-planted-in-heart-quote-photo-from-unsplashnikmacmillanWe may have been thinking the words, but not had the intention of actually saying them out loud. They just seemed to come out of nowhere. The truth is that they didn’t come out of nowhere; they were planted in our heart at some point and were bound to come out.

What is in us will always find its way out.

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil,” Matthew 12:34b-35 (NASB)

What’s in our hearts is made up of what we continually see and hear.

It’s the music we listen to and the television shows we watch. However, the greatest impact of words in our lives are those spoken about us and to us and those that we speak about ourselves.  If we aren’t living the abundant life, there’s a high probability that evil words have entered our hearts.  It’s also likely that we’ve allowed them to affect us by agreeing with them. “Evil” may seem like a strong word, but anything that stops us from being who we are in Christ and living in God’s will should be considered evil.

However, if our hearts are filled with evil things and our words are out of line with God’s Word, our Father has given us a simple solution. We just need to change what we allow into our hearts.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God,” Colossians 3:16 (NASB) Abundant-Life-Speaking-Abundant-Words-Richly-in-us-quote-photo-from-unsplashtutrinh

Reading and studying the Bible will do more than help us memorize Bible verses and know Bible characters.

Allowing the word of Christ to richly live in our hearts leaves less and less space for evil. God’s Word will push out the painful, degrading words of others and replace them with words of His love and abundance.

As our hearts are filled with God’s abundance, words of abundance will come out of our mouths. Instead of something we don’t want “accidentally” slipping out during conversation, it will be God’s Word. Instead of speaking evil words of fear, doubt and limitation we will speak words of life.

What lives richly inside of us will richly come out of us.

Understanding The Abundant Life

Accepting Jesus as our savior is the first step to living the abundant life.

The-Abundant-Life-Gods-Grace-Flows-Quote-There’s no way to live the abundant God-kind of life if we don’t have God living in us. As soon as we ask Jesus to live in our heart, He gives us all of Himself. It’s not a process. He doesn’t move in piece by piece. He gives us everything all at once.

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 (NASB)

If we have all of God’s life in us and if we’re completely clean and new in Christ, then why don’t our lives change in an instant as well? Why don’t our lives become abundant immediately and overflow in every way?

It’s because we don’t have a full understanding of what happened when we invited to Jesus to be our Lord. His grace and life will flow in and through us more and more as we gain greater understanding and revelation.

However, we all have times when we’re reading our Bible, praying, or worshiping when we feel stuck, or that we don’t understand.

Our heavenly Father has given us a powerful tool to push past this lack of understanding. It’s the baptism with the Holy Spirit. God gives us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper in all things.

“But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you,” John 14:26 (Amp)

Being baptized with the Holy Spirit will give us boldness and an understanding that we’ve never had before.

Understanding-The-Abundant-Life-Holy-Spirit-QuoteThe “all things” that He will teach us are the “all things pertaining to life and godliness” that we read earlier. He will guide us into the full understanding of who we are in Christ. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to access and manifest the abundant life God has given us. He will keep us from getting stuck. He will cause us to continually move forward.

This baptism is free and open to all of God’s children. If you want to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit, all you need to do is pray this prayer in faith:

Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead.  I have received Him as my Lord and Savior.  I now ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit and to give me the ability to speak in other tongues as it is written in your Word.  Holy Spirit, I welcome you into my life and into my body.  I trust you to empower me to be a bold witness for Jesus Christ.  I receive you by faith, and by faith I will speak in other tongues.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What Is The Abundant Life?

What is the abundant life?

Abundant-Life-What-Is-The-Abundant-Life-superabundant-life-in-quality-quoteThe Bible defines “life” as life as God lives it; or even more literally, God Himself.  The word “ abundant ” means superior in quality and quantity, to be in excess or surplus. So, God wants us to have His life and not just a small piece or sampling of it. He wants us to have a superabundant supply of His life in quality and quantity. The God-kind of life should permeate every part of our lives. He gives us the ability to overflow in our relationships, finances, emotions, bodies and most importantly our spirits.

This abundant life will manifest differently in each of our lives.

For some, abundance may be having a big house, nice material things and a large family to share all this material wealth. For someone else it could be having fewer possessions in order to be more generous in giving to causes that they believe in and to worthy ministries. This list could go on and on. The point is, the abundant life is not about keeping up or comparing ourselves with someone else. It’s about trusting God and allowing His life to flow in and through us.

Comparison is only going to hold us back from enjoying the life God has planned.

Abundant-Life-What-Is-The-Abundant-Life-not-about-comparison-quoteIf He wanted us to live someone else’s life, He would have made us someone else.

However, we do need to know that we can have as much of His life as we want. If we want more, then more is available. This “more” doesn’t come through doing more religious activities like serving in church, giving to the poor or praying with the unsaved to receive Jesus. Although we should be doing all of those things, they don’t grant us access to more of God’s life. We already have all of God’s life in us. If we want more of it to manifest, we simply need a greater understanding, or revelation of that life.

“I pray that the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Christ better. Then you will have deeper insight. You will know the confidence that he calls you to have and the glorious wealth that God’s people will inherit,” Ephesians 1:17-18 (GW)

The key to living the God-kind of life is understand that all of it is already within you.  Pray and ask your heavenly Father for a greater understanding.  You’ll find that with greater understanding comes greater manifestation.