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: Finding our Purpose

God created every man and woman with a purpose.-ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Find-Purpose-Quote

This truth begs the question, “Why do so many people spend their lives looking for and never finding that purpose?”

The answer is simple: They do not go to their heavenly Father to find it.

All of our gifts, talents and abilities are given to us by God for the purpose of worshiping Him and serving others.

“Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor].” 1 Peter 4:10 (AMP)

Where can we most readily worship God and serve other people?

In the church.

God promised that His eyes and His heart would always be on His house.

“I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” 1 Kings 9:3 (NASB)

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Eyes-and-Heart-QuoteIf all of our natural skill is a gift of God’s grace, it makes sense that we would discover it and use it to its fullest extent in His house.  This isn’t to say that people don’t find and use their gifts and talents in other places.  It means that if we prioritize God’s church we are in the perfect position to discover our purpose.

God is a loving Father and does not desire that we, His children, go through life battling confusion and frustration.

He is ready to give us all the answers that we need.  We should stop searching for God where everyone else tells us that He is. We should look for Him where He promised us He’d always be: in His house.

Order or Chaos: How Do You Live?

Chaos has been around since the beginning of timeORDER-OR-CHAOS-God-intervened-quote

Chapter one of Genesis tells the story of God creating the heavens and the earth, and everything in them. The second verse says that the earth was “formless and void.” This means that the world was in a state of chaos and turmoil. So, God intervened.

The first thing God spoke into existence was light. This wasn’t the creation of the sun and the moon, though. Those would come later. “Light” in this verse means order. Before our heavenly Father could create the land, trees, fish, or Adam and Eve, He had to speak order into existence. It would be the canvas on which He painted the rest of creation. The foundation of His world had to be order, because it would be the standard for everything else He made.

All of creation works inside of an ordered system. The seasons change in time, the gravitational pull of the moon controls the tide and our hearts pump blood through our bodies. These systems work in the timing in which God made them to work. When the timing is off, creation is thrown back into chaos.

God made our lives to work in order.

When we try to live outside of it, we throw ourselves into chaos. Our lives will become formless and void. He is what gives us purpose and meaning. The only place to find it is in relationship with Him.

This is why the devil showed up in the Garden of Eden. He tempted Adam and Eve out of God’s beautiful order in an attempt to let chaos dominate the earth once again. However, God already planned for that. He knew Adam and Eve would sin and that He would have to expel them from the Garden. He already knew He was going to make a way for mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ. ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Story-quote

This is not just the story of the beginning of creation. It’s the story of all of our lives.

We live in a chaotic, purposeless world before we meet our heavenly Father. He saves us through His Son, Jesus and opens our eyes to who we really are. He brings us into His order and His system, giving us the opportunity to prosper inside of it.

If your life seems chaotic and without direction, stay with me for these next blog posts.  I’ll teach you how to live in God’s systems and experience His new life.

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)

The Abundant Life: The Starting Place of Abundance

There’s no question that all of us want to live an abundant life.Abundant-Life-The-Starting-Place-Plant-a-Seed-Quote-photo

Nobody would say no to having a better marriage, a more fulfilling job, the ability to be more generous and feel satisfied with their life. Every person on the planet wants a life like that – an abundant life.

The most difficult step in living the abundant life is the first one. Some people don’t take the first step out of fear, some out of ignorance, but either way the beginning of the journey is what eludes people and leaves them in their current state.

The first step is planting seed.

If we’re going to reap a harvest, or live an abundant life, we have to plant something. No seed means no harvest.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we need to plant a large amount of seed to reap any kind of harvest. However, our Father is more concerned with the state of our hearts when we give, than the amount that we give. A greedy heart giving a lot of time or money will still reap a small harvest. A generous heart giving a small amount can reap a large harvest.

Abundant-Life-The-Starting-Place-Luke-16-10Quote-photo“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on,” Mark 12:41 – 44 (NASB)

Even though the widow gave a smaller amount she actually gave more because of the state of her heart.

This is the attitude we have to have to start planting. We don’t need to look at the amount we’re giving, no matter how small it may be. We need to have faith that God will cause growth and bring us the harvest He’s promised us.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.” Luke 16:10a (NKJV)

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”.

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.

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.

Choose the God-Kind of Life

Abundant-Life-Choose-the-God-Kind-of-Life-Walk-out-of-grave-quoteThe death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ opened the door to a new life.

When Jesus walked out of the grave He gave us the opportunity to walk out with Him. He gave us the option to live an abundant life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” John 10:10 (NASB)

This abundant life is a decision, and it’s one that we have to make for ourselves.

We actively choose to live the God-kind of life. Jesus can’t make this decision for us, neither can our spouse, our friends or even our pastor. They can deeply desire it for us, but they can’t force it on us.

So, if we sense that we are not experiencing all that Christ has to give, we should stop and ask ourselves “Have I truly decided to live the abundant life? Or am I holding onto old mindsets, grudges and habits?”

Abundant-Life-Choose-the-God-Kind-of-Life-Abundant-Life-is-a-Decision-quoteIf we have already accepted Jesus as our savior and continue to hold onto the past, we have walked back into the grave.

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first,” 2 Peter 2:20 (NASB)

However, we don’t need to read that verse and feel guilty, condemned or ashamed. We should see it and realize that we have an amazing opportunity to move forward.

We can make the decision to do exactly what Jesus did and walk out of the grave permanently; never looking back at what we left behind.

We do this knowing that the life Jesus created for us is far greater than anything we’ve left behind.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them,” Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)

This is an invitation for us to continually live the resurrected life in and with Jesus Christ. If you haven’t been living the abundant life, make the decision today to live it. Let go of what is behind and move forward.

New Beginnings: Self-Control

We all love new beginnings, self-control, however is not always our favorite aspect of life.

Starting something new always excites and energizes us. The only thing more exciting than starting something new with a specific goal in mind is actually reaching that goal. One thing we will absolutely need to reach our finish line is self-control.

“You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! All who compete in the games use strict training (self-control). They do this so that they can win a prize—one that doesn’t last. But our prize is one that will last forever,” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 ERV).

Some people think that self-control is difficult to obtain.New-Beginnings-Self-Control-Photo-of-person-reading-Bible-with-Quote

However, if you’re a child of God you already have it. God gave it to you when He saved you. He deposited it in your born-again spirit. It’s just a matter of accessing it. It’s not that it’s locked away in our spirit and we need to learn a secret code in order to get to self-control. We are so accustomed to living without it that it’s not our normal way of living. So, we must learn to make it part of our everyday lives.

How?  The first step is renewing our minds to God’s Word. We live in a world whose way of doing things is completely opposite to God’s. We have to so immerse ourselves in God’s Word that we drown out all the voices and influences of the world.

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you,” (Romans 12:2 The Message).

New-Beginnings-Self-Control-Photo-of-butterfly-with-quoteIf self-control is already in our spirit, then one of the best ways to make it part of our lives is praying in the Spirit.

This will strengthen and build us up on our most holy faith (Jude 1:20). As we pray in the Spirit more and more we’ll find that the fruit of the Spirit will manifest in our lives.

Imagine what life will look like when self-control is our first nature. Instead of bursting out in anger at our spouses, children or coworkers we’ll have the power to hold our tongue and wait until we’ve calmed down to speak. We’ll be able to stick to a diet because junk food won’t have the hold on us that it once did. We’ll be able to save more money because self-control will help us rein in our impulse spending.

These are just a few examples of how self-control can change our lives. It’s a simple thing, but it is powerful. I encourage you to start spending more time in God’s Word, pray in the Spirit, and ask God to cause His self-control to become your first nature.