Tag Archive | growing in the faith

Matthew 17: 18-20 ” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith.’ “

This story about the boy and the evil spirit was important enough to be in three of the four  New Testament accounts by the disciples.  Matthew, Mark and Luke all give slightly different takes on this event, but the main thought rang true throughout all three…the disciples couldn’t heal the boy on their own.  But instead of admitting defeat, giving up, or walking away, they came to Jesus searching for answers.  In Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied to their inquiry by telling them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…”   Doubt is being double-minded or having a divided mind.  So when we doubt, we sway back and forth between faith and fear…never  achieving full confidence and trust in what God can do.  But just like the disciples, if we will go to Jesus admitting our shortcomings, He will speak truth in order to dispel our doubt.  And if, like the boy’s father we ask Jesus to, ” Help me overcome my unbelief!”  He will show us the way.

Hebrews 11:5 ” By faith Enoch was taken from this life so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

It tells us in Genesis 5:22-24 that Enoch lived for 365 years…faithfully walking with God…and then he was no more, because God took him away.  The word used here is “translated”, or conveyed to heaven without tasting death.  The only other person to experience this was the Old Testament prophet Elijah.   But unlike Enoch,  Elijah’s departure was witnessed as he was carried off by a whirlwind. (II Kings 2:11)  What these two men did have in common though was their unshakable faith in desperate times, godliness in the face of persecution, and the boldness to speak the truth no matter what.

Romans 12:3 ” For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Our Heavenly Father is both benevolent and altruistic when it comes to blessing us.  But we usually take that graciousness and turn it into prideful thinking.  “Look what gifts the Lord has given me!”    I Peter 4: 10-11 reminds us that we are to use those gifts to serve others, not flaunt them in front of people as trophies.  The Apostle Paul warns us here that’s it’s all about our state of mind when regarding our giftings… it’s all about gratitude, not attitude and humility, not vanity.

Psalm 51:10 ” Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

I listened to a song the other day…its title a declaration that a lot of us might not say with any conviction…”I am ready for the Storm.”  Now I realize that it’s not if but when trials will come into my life…but to proclaim that I’m ready for them gives me pause.  So how can I prepare?  The Psalmist here shows us that it’s the daily renewing of our heart and mind that will enable us to do this.  Our faith is renewed and given new life daily…ever-deepening, ever-increasing,  as we put more and more of our trust in the Lord.  This divine restoration is spoken of in Isaiah 40:31, ” But those who put their hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”  So I may not like it, but I can now say with certainty… Yes Lord, with Your help, I’m ready for the storm.

James 2:5 ” Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the Kingdom He promised those who love Him? “

Everyday there are common, ordinary people -just like yourself – that do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus.  These people may be poor when it comes to material things, but they are rich in the things of God.   The Lord is depending on ordinary people – like yourself – to do His work here on earth.  These are people who, in the world’s eyes, may not have much to offer, but they are rich in faith, with confidence in their salvation and eternal life…and with that kind of trust, they can move mountains.  For Luke 6:20 says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.”   The Lord is looking for common, ordinary people to advance His Kingdom here on earth…are you in?

Lamentations 3:40-42 ” Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: ‘We have sinned and rebelled…’ “

Admitting we’re wrong and asking forgiveness is hard to do.  And when it comes to acknowledging our sin before God it gets even tougher.  It’s not that we’re deliberately rebelling against Him…of blatantly and conspicuously sinning for all to see.  No, it’s rather sins by omission that really mess us up.  These are secret sins that are easy to hide…things that only we may know about.  These sins of omission are things neglected and left undone in our lives…like regular time in the Word, or prayer.  Or they’re things we chose to turn a blind eye to…knowing the Lord wants us to act,  but choosing to be apathetic instead.  These sins of omission are disobedience at its best and need to be dealt with, for as time goes on, it becomes easier and easier to allow these sins to hide in our sub-conscience and justify them rather than admit they are wrong.

I Kings 17:14 ” For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’ “

There was a great famine in the land due to a drought. The prophet Elijah had been instructed by the Lord to find a certain widow in Zarephath who would supply him with food.  But when Elijah found her and asked for bread,  she told him she had only enough flour and oil to feed herself and her son for the very last time.  Elijah then said to her, “Don’t be afraid.  Go home and do as you have said.  But make a small cake of bread for me first.” In other words, “Before you feed your loved ones, I want you to trust God and feed me first.”  Elijah was asking the widow to stretch her faith farther than it had ever been stretched before.  He was challenging her to put her faith in God for the family’s provisions…no matter how long the famine lasted.  He reassured her that by trusting God the jar of flour and jug of oil wouldn’t run dry…and they miraculously didn’t.   Oh, to have the faith of that widow!  Her eyes only saw a handful of flour and a dribble of oil left…but yet she bravely stepped out in faith, trusting God to provide for her family.