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)

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)

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.

A New Kingdom: Foreign Currency

Any of us who have ever been to a foreign country know that the U.S. Dollar is not accepted everywhere.

A-New-Kingdom-Foreign-Currency-cant-expect-foreign-currency-to-work-quote-photoWe can’t just walk into any restaurant or clothing store overseas and hand the clerk a twenty dollar bill expecting them to receive it. We will most likely run into complications, or be blatantly turned away. This is because we are carrying foreign currency. It is worth something back where we are from, but carries no weight where we are now.

In a way this is how the kingdom of God operates. We can’t expect foreign currency to work in His kingdom. The things that work in the world will not work in the kingdom of God. The world is moved by need, hard work, emotion and a laundry list of other things. God’s Word teaches us that our Heavenly Father only responds to faith.

Faith is simply trusting God and if you don’t trust somebody, then you don’t truly love them.

We came into His kingdom by faith, not by need or works. He saved us by His grace because He loves us.

“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,” Ephesians 2:8 (NASB)

Everyone in the world desperately needs God, whether they realize it or not. So, if God were moved by our needs, then we would all be saved as soon as we were born. We would never have a sense of needing anything because God would have already met all of our needs. Faith would not be required, so there would be no possibility to have a real relationship with our Father.

A-New-Kingdom-Foreign-Currency-God-I-Trust-You-quote-photo “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6 (NASB)

It isn’t that our Father doesn’t know or doesn’t want us to approach Him with our needs.

It’s that He wants us to come to Him in faith. We can have a need and not trust God to meet that need. We can even be upset with Him for not meeting our needs. However, if we’re only trusting in ourselves, then we tie His hands. When we come to Him in faith we will always have our needs met.

Faith does not say, “God give me the ability to meet my own needs,” it says, “God I trust You and thank you that you have already met my needs through the finished work of Jesus Christ.”

We must stop trying to use foreign currency in God’s kingdom. It carries no weight with Him. Our faith is the only currency we need.

If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you,” Matthew 17:20 (NASB)

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).

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).

Adopted by God

adopted-by-god-photo-of-baby-shoe-and-handsIf God is our Father, then that makes us His sons and daughters.

However, we weren’t naturally born into His family. He adopted us. Our being adopted was made possible by the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. We are now able to find complete satisfaction and fulfillment in our Heavenly Father.

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15).

However, because we were adopted and not naturally born into our heavenly family, we begin with little to no knowledge of how to be a son or daughter of God.

We don’t know how to truly have a relationship with God, or even how to pray. We don’t understand what it means to be the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

However, we shouldn’t feel condemned for our ignorance. God does not see us as His hopeless little children who will never understand. No, our Father sees our potential in Christ and gives us everything we need to be “more than conquerors,” (Romans 8:37).

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 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 1:3-4).

adopted-by-god-photo-of-man-reading-bookIf everything pertaining to life and godliness has already been given to us, how do we begin to live as sons and daughters of God?

We need an example, a teacher, a guide. God provided this perfect example through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only our Savior. His life on earth served as the perfect example of how to be a Son of God.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren,” (Romans 8:29).

Jesus prayed perfect prayers. He perfectly understood His standing with His Father. Jesus perfectly operated in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus perfectly demonstrated the love of God to the world. His life is our guide to being strong, loving, confident children of God.

We do not have to live in confusion or dismay wondering how to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. adopted-by-god-photo-of-person-learning-from-bible

We simply need to look to the words and actions of Jesus Christ in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If we have difficulty understanding God’s Word, then being in a church and following a pastor will help immensely. There are men and women all over the world who have walked the path before us who are more than willing to show us the way. Paul instructed his churches to do the same:

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ,” (I Corinthians 11:1).

Whether you’re a brand new Christian, or you’ve been one for years , you can learn to be a son or daughter of God through following Christ. You’ll find purpose, relationships and satisfaction in Him.

Remove Bitterness Towards Father

We may struggle to see God as a Father because we’ve had a bad relationship with our earthly father creating a root of bitterness.

We can agree in our minds that God is a father, but bitterness causes our hearts to be hardened to accepting Him as our Father. This causes us to allow our experiences to drastically affect our relationship with God.  This limits our relationship with Him.

This is one of the devil’s most effective lies in holding us back from knowing the fullness of God’s love. He convinces us that God’s love is like man’s love: conditional, fleeting and driven by emotion. Satan attempts to take our bitterness toward our earthly father and turn it on our heavenly Father. He also tries to take the feelings of unworthiness we have experienced with our earthly father and convince us that God views us the same way.

bitterness-toward-father-photo-of-rootThe Bible teaches us that bitterness is the only emotion that has roots.

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many,” Hebrews 12:15 (NLT).

If we have bitterness toward our father, we need to ask God to uproot and remove it from our lives. Our part in removing bitterness is bitterness-toward-father-photo-of-manforgiving our father.  The pain we’ve experienced may be great and the wounds may be deep; but the hurt we’re carrying pales in comparison to the joy we’ll experience in knowing the depth of God’s love. If unforgiveness is the only thing holding us back, wouldn’t it be better to forgive and let go?  Wouldn’t it be better to move into the fullness of God’s love, rather than remain stuck in hurt and pride?

Our feelings of unworthiness did not originate with our earthly fathers. They were only perpetuated by them. Feeling unworthy or inadequate comes from being born into sin and nurturing a sin consciousness. The devil wants us to associate our assumed inadequacy with our earthly father with our relationship with God. He wants us to think that we are unlovable, so when we hear that God wants to be our Father we deem ourselves unworthy of that kind of love.

We should never look at ourselves that way, because God does not see us as unworthy and unlovable.

bitterness-toward-father-photo-of-boy-laughing“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved,” Ephesians 1:5-6 (NKJV).

It gives God pleasure to adopt us into His family and call us His sons and daughters.  He loves to make us acceptable through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

No matter what any of us have experienced with our earthly fathers, the love of our Heavenly Father is able to heal our wounds and restore our souls. We have to let go of our bitterness and choose to live in the acceptance and love of our true Father.