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.

Live a Life of Freedom

Freedom was God’s original intent for mankind.

LIVE-A-LIFE-OF-FREEDOM-CREATED-TO-LIVE-IN-FREEDOMWe were created to live in freedom, experiencing His love and exercising our authority over the earth. God didn’t fashion us to live under the power of sin and condemnation. However, Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden put all of mankind under that power.

God sent Jesus to save us from the authority of sin and an eternity separated from our Father.

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” Romans 6:5-7 (NASB)

Once we are united with Christ we are free from sin and now are carriers of Jesus’ power and dominion.

We can’t lose our salvation or our power, but we can choose to live as slaves of sin. All power, wisdom and love reside in our spirits but can go untouched through our decision to live as slaves.

How do we avoid living as slaves after we’ve been born again? -LIVE-A-LIFE-OF-FREEDOM-WORD-OF-GOD-QUOTE

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NASB)

One of the reasons people choose to live as slaves is they don’t know what to do with their freedom. The Word of God will teach us how to live a free life.

Our lives before salvation are conformed to the world we live in and we bring those mindsets to our new life.  It’s our spirits that are saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), but our minds are still conformed to the world. The Word of God will reform our minds to think like Jesus, so we can live like Him.

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.

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)

God’s Kingdom: A New Citizenship

Gods-Kingdom-A-New-Citizenship-no-longer-slaves-quote-photo-from-unsplashmenariaWhen we are born again, we we have a new citizenship.

There was a body of sin that was left behind after we were born again, but it is a dead body.  It was the part of us that was connected to the world. That body was a citizen of the world. It followed the will of the Enemy and conformed itself to the world. Now it is no longer master over us. It is not the lord of our lives. It does not have the authority to control what we do.

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin,” Romans 6:6 (NASB)

Being part of God’s kingdom means that we are new creations.

We have no choice about living in the world, but we should not conform to its ways. We should not resemble its people. Our true citizenship is now in heaven and our lives should be a reflection of that citizenship. Gods-Kingdom-A-New-Citizenship-Citizenship-quote-photo-from-unsplashsethwillingham

“For our citizenship is in heaven,” Philippians 3:20 (NASB)

This doesn’t happen by accident, though.  We aren’t going to stumble into a life that is a reflection of heaven. It takes a conscious effort of leaving behind our old ways and living from our new nature.

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy,” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)

It’s a choice we make every day.

We wake up in the morning and choose to be like Jesus until that choice becomes our first nature. It might be difficult at first. It will tempting to forego reading our Bible or praying so we can watch one more episode of our show or spend a few more minutes on social media. However, as we progress and mature we’ll start to desire the things of God more and more and lose our appetite for anything the world has to offer. This is what it means to work out our own salvation.

Gods-Kingdom-A-New-Citizenship-work-out-salvation-quote-photo-from-unsplashimpriscilla“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” Philippians 2:12(b)-13(NASB).

This doesn’t mean that we should be afraid that God will bring the hammer down on us if we step out of line. It means that we should work out our salvation with a deep desire to get it right. We should also be encouraged because it is not by our own power that this will be done. God says that He will work in us to bring about His good pleasure, and His pleasure is always for our greatest good.

For Love or Hate?

When advocating change, taking a stand for a cause, is it done out of love or hate?

“It (Love) is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking,” (1 Corinthians 13:5 Amplified).

20170307-For-Love-Or-Hate-Movements-Based-In-Hate-Fizzle-Quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-Pawel-Janiak.Right now the people of the world love to make a show of themselves. It seems like there is a new movement or “social justice” group rising up and protesting. Nothing ever comes of these protests other than news segments and viral videos being shared on social media. In fact, it seems like more often than not these protests are more effective at creating counter-protests rather than the change they advocate.

These movements don’t achieve much because they are focused on themselves more than anything or anyone else. They promote themselves over their values. They are angry, hateful and selfish. This comes out in their rhetoric and the fact that they are better at communicating what they are against rather than what they are for.

These are movements based in hate, so they fizzle out.

For-Love-Or-Hate-Everything-Jesus-Did-Quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-Kayle-KaupangerOver 2,000 years ago Jesus started the greatest movement in the history of mankind. Its influence has only increased since it began and it has impacted the world more than any other political or social movement. He didn’t do it by promoting Himself, talking about what He hated or spewing anger and fear from a stage. He did it by living a life of serving others and then giving His life through death on a cross.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8 NASB).

Everything Jesus did was motivated by love.

He lived His life to glorify God and show God’s love to everyone around Him. He always turned the spotlight away from Himself and placed it on His Father. That is why His movement, Christianity, continues to grow and change the world.

There is a simple and powerful truth hidden in this contrast: What is done in selfishness and hate will die, but what is done in love will last.  For-Love-Or-Hate-Hate-dies-Love-lasts-Quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-Cristina-Gottardi

God Is A Father

God is a Father.

The fact that God is a Father is proven by His loving actions toward His children throughout history; first the Israelites, then the Israelites and the Church. We also see proof of His fatherhood in the way His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, referred to Him. Jesus almost exclusively called God “Father”. One of the only times Jesus called God “God” is when He was near death on the Cross and God was forced to forsake Him because Jesus had taken all of mankind’s sin into Himself (Mark 15:34).

It is God’s Fatherhood that answers the question, “Why did God create the earth and man?”

god-is-father-crowd-of-peopleHe created mankind so He could have a family.  There are people who take offense at this answer.  They say, “Is God so vain that He needed to create people so He could have something to praise Him?” Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not need our praise, but He takes great delight and we find our purpose in it.

God wanted a family so He could pour His love and blessing out on them. All throughout scripture we see God making promises to bless His children and faithfully fulfilling those promises.

He gave Adam and Eve dominion over the Earth to subdue and cause it to flourish (Genesis 1:26-28). This promise continues even today.

He brought Abraham out of his home country, greatly blessed him with livestock and servants, and told him that his children would be as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore.

God promised King David that his throne would continue on forever.  It does even now through the Lord Jesus Christ.

He promised to save all of mankind from their sins and sent Jesus to die on the Cross and rise again in order to fulfill that promise.

All of God’s works since before the beginning of time have been motivated by His loving Fatherly heart.

fear-of-god-photo-of-father-handHe created us to be His sons and daughters. He gave us His Holy Spirit in order to confirm this.

“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!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:15-17).

When we open our eyes to see this beautiful truth, confusion about who we are and why we’re here will fall away.  We will realize that God’s greatest desire is fulfilled by having a relationship with His sons and daughters and our greatest desire is fulfilled by having relationship with our Heavenly Father.

What is the Purpose of Life?

what-is-the-purpose-of-life-photo-of-man-watching-the-skyMany people throughout history have asked the questions, “Why are we here?”“Why did God create the earth?” “What is the purpose of life?” “Why did God create man?”

People have tried to answer these questions using scientific knowledge or philosophical theories, but they have fallen short.  Finding purpose is a lifelong journey for many.

We can only find the real answers to these questions by understanding the true nature of God. what-is-the-purpose-of-life-photo-of-man-holding-bible

That is first and foremost God is a Father. In the Bible we can find over 150 times where Jesus referred to God as “Father,” but we’ll look at that in more depth later.

God did not create the universe, stars, planets and the earth we live on because He was bored in heaven. He did not need something to do. He was not lonely. God created the earth and everything in it as a home for mankind.

If we read Genesis 1 and 2 we’ll see that God created everything else before He created man and woman. He made the sky, the earth, the plants that cover the earth, the sun, moon and stars, the sea and everything in it, the animals, and then He made man. He didn’t just create Man and place Him randomly on the earth to fend for himself. No, God created a special place just for Adam and Eve: The Garden of Eden.

what-is-the-purpose-of-life-photo-of-earthGod prepared the earth before He made man.

He also gave man power and authority over the earth and everything in it in order for man to prosper and multiply.

This does not sound like the actions of a distant or unconcerned god. All of the preparations, empowering of mankind and the freedom are evidence that God is truly a loving, heavenly Father.

However, people have created false doctrines based on their personal experiences or the misinterpretation of God’s Word to say that God is angry, condemning and unfeeling toward His creation. If you struggle with seeing God as your Father I encourage you to consistently read the posts in the coming weeks. I’m going to show you how that revelation can change your life.

Perfect Love Causes Fear To Lose Power

We know that the perfect love of God causes fear to lose all its power.

When we know that we are loved and cared for by the Creator of the Universe it puts our lives and our problems in the right perspective. However, fear will try to skew our vision. Fear knows that if it can draw our eyes away from the love of Jesus, it has greatly increased its chances of destroying us.

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered,’” (Romans 8:35-36)

The things listed in these verses are all tools.  Fear uses these tools to convince us that we are separated from the perfect love of God and His provision. It uses these things as distractions from the truth. Fear tries to build them up in our minds, so we’ll view them as greater than what we have in Christ. We will see our trial as our final destination and accept it as our lot in life.

Perfect Love - Photo of man readingGod’s Word teaches us to do exactly the opposite.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4).

While fear wants to use tests and trials to shipwreck our lives, God will use them to strengthen us. We need to know that God does not send the trials, but He is more than capable of using them for His glory and our good.

So, it wouldn’t make sense to think that our faith would be strengthened and God would be glorified by a trial that destroys us. He would not tell us to consider it all joy when we endure trials if He did not already have a way out for us.

The only way we grow and succeed in trials is when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Perfect Love - Photo of the Cross by Aaron Burden. unsplash.com/photos/df47UDrfi8IThe only way we fail is when we take our eyes off of Him. If we allow fear to convince us that our trials is evidence of God’s absence, then they will defeat us.

God reassures us in His word that it is impossible to for these things to separate us from Him.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:37-39).

Instead of thinking that our hardships separate us from Christ, we should have faith that victory is ours.  Whatever we go through, trials or distresses, isn’t greater than our heavenly Father or His perfect love for us. So, let’s keep our eyes on Him.  Let’s keep ourselves in the love of Christ and we will always have victory.