Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Living by Faith-Part 4

large-blank-tombstone-md

Acting on our faith is the true test.

That is the moment when we move from doubt to faith.

You can’t have faith without action.

The last three in this Faith series walked us through the steps of faith. First, we ask, then we believe, then doubt seems to always come next. But, we get to make a decision to continue in doubt or cross the bridge into action. Just as a runner must pick up one foot and take the first step so is the first step to action toward faith. You don’t know until you try.

Rom 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that  comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].

 

We have a choice to walk by the flesh (our own sense and reason that can be faulty and emotions that can be affected easily) or walk by the Spirit (God’s wisdom and statutes). That choice is what leads us from doubt to faith. God said “my ways are higher than your ways”. We cannot begin to understand life and all that is in it to the extent that God does. Our finite minds only  comprehend in part. The world’s wisdom is many times contrary to God’s knowledge and wisdom. God’s logic may not always make sense but he made everything and set the laws of the universe in motion. He can do whatever He wants. I would rather follow Him and His ways.

How to Act in Faith

1. What we say is important.

Faith can be shut down by what we say. Our speech has to line up with what we believe or what we really believe will come out.

2 Cor 4:13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,

What do you really believe? It is evidenced in your words. What do you speak?

“I can never get ahead, something always happens”

“Murphys law, story of my life”

” If I were better I could”

“I can’t do that”

Griping, complaining,and talking negative nullifies our faith. It squashes  it. Have you ever heard someone talk about a situation in their life and how they are believing for a miracle and then in the very next sentence complain, gripe and or even blame someone or themselves?

Disciplining your tongue is the first step in taking action and walking in faith.  What we say can cage us or set us free.

2. Speak what God says

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Power comes from God’s word because His word is spoken power and authority.

Find scriptures that speak to your circumstance and pray it and declare it.

3. What you say will determine what you do

Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

I have heard people refer to the power of confession. What you continually profess will affect your actions, your thoughts and eventually where you go.

4. The tongue directs where you go

This list is pretty simple. It’s all about the tongue. Discipline your mouth and speak what God says and you are already walking in faith and in power.

As humans we don’t understand faith. I believe God knows that and gave us a practical guide to follow called the Bible. It is very clear and the wisdom is meant for us to study and use as our weapon in life to overcome things that weight us down, bind us or weaken us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that is power and has all authority to break things that bind us, to loose power in our lives and to set us free. Thank you that you meet every need. Show us your wisdom. Lead us by your Spirit. Teach us your ways. Give us strength and wisdom to discipline our tongue. Amen.

 *adapted from Pastor Shane Warren from First Assembly of God, West Monroe, LA

You can get his entire series on faith from his website I highly recommend it.

http://firstassemblywm.org/author/pastorshane/

Fits of Rage

Feelings and thoughts of anger are intense. So uncontrollable. Blood pressure rises. Ears turn red. Eyes shoot fire. (at least we wish they could) Where does all that anger come from ? Why does it seem so friendly, so intriguing to be in the rage of anger? It’s not just a lure, it’s an enjoyment. All other possibilities of love or joy or peace are forgotten. All nice thoughts seem lost. Love seems too far away to be felt. Have you ever been there? I read  somewhere (sorry can ‘t remember where to give credit) that anger is kindled by hurt or fear. When you think about it there is really no other reason to be angry. We are either hurt (whether we admit or not) or fearful of someone or something. Marriages are torn apart by angry words used in the heat of arguments. When the dust settles the underlying cause can be determined – hurt or fear. Anger Management is a common term. There are tools and resources available to help in those uncontrollable angry times. For those that believe their anger is not that bad there are common tricks we pick up like counting to 10 or leaving the room. There are real answers to anger and how to overcome it before it overcomes you.

Ephesians 4:26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 

So, there is a possibility to be angry and yet not sin. If anger comes from fear or hurt then those emotions are not sinful in and of themselves. The emotion tied to it is not sin. The sin happens when we dwell on the anger or target of our anger. What you dwell on, think on, meditate on will come out in your actions.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.  http://thinkexist.com/quotations/action/

This quote may not be from the Bible but it is biblically based.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he:

After we dwell on the target of our anger for awhile we begin to list other things that make us angry. Soon, we are angry at other people or situations that were not even the original issue. In the south we call that “getting yourself worked up”. That is exactly what happens as we are consumed by angry thoughts. Then sin comes in. Our actions are affected. We begin to move from angry thoughts to angry words. Our actions change and become an extension of our anger. Hurting others is an effect of anger. Rage is only appeased by retaliation. At this point the anger feels too good to stop and ask why and where are these emotions from. Analyzing the root issues to solve the problem is not appealing in these moments. Although, it is not impossible, it requires a great deal of discipline and self control. If you are not disciplined in other areas of your life you will find this particular time very difficult to overcome.

The Unnamed Consequences

Before we discuss the solutions and root causes so we don’t find our-self that far gone let’s look at the consequences of anger when it becomes sin. Look back at at Ephesians 4:27   and do not give the devil an opportunity.  Some versions use the word “foothold”. It means a place or a seat. The consequences of sin is that you give the enemy a foothold in your life at that point. A place of control and power in your life. If we look at sin, the weight of sin is death, then maybe we will begin to understand just how important it is to recognize the sin while it is still a thought before any action takes place. Giving the devil power in our lives is not a welcomed outcome.

The devil is described as the “accuser of the brethren”. You will notice that during times of anger thoughts of accusation are instrumental. A small off handed comment can quickly become a raging argument when we entertain accusatory thoughts. Learning to listen to your thoughts (think about what you are thinking) will help in these times. Realizing that every accusatory thought is not complete truth. Some truth mixed with some lies are strong accusation”You always…” “You never” are strong statements are usually not completely true.

What is the solution to anger?

Hurt or fear, as we discussed earlier, is the predecessor to anger. Anger becomes sin when we don’t immediately obey God by forgiving the person that caused the hurt or fear. That unforgiveness becomes a tool for the enemy to accuse others to us. Then it is only a hop, skip and jump into easy anger, quickly kindled.

It takes practice to forgive that quickly and it takes a lot of prayer and trust in Jesus. He gives us the strength, through Him, to live a forgiving life. Forgiving people quickly before we have time to brew over it seems almost abnormal. Yes, it is from the worldly view. However, Jesus spent a great deal of time explaining how to forgive, the importance of forgiving, how to pray to forgive and then He died for it. So I would say forgiveness is a pretty big deal to the Lord. Maybe because He knew just how much power it gives the devil in our lives to act out his accusations, bitterness and resentment.

I personally am tired of anger, bitterness and resentment in my life. I am tired of uncontrollable outburts (even if only in my thoughts) of anger.

Jesus has the answer. I practiced it today. I forgave and it made all the difference.

Who do you need to forgive?

Heavenly Father, I forgive this person that continues to do hurtful things to me. I let it go. I will not hold this behavior against them anymore. Instead, heal my heart and cleanse me from all the anger, bitterness and resentment towards this person. Heal my heart. Renew my mind with your truth in Jesus Name. I command all the anger in this situation to leave. Jesus give me your peace and comfort. Tell me you truth about this. Amen.

 

The Answers to Our Own Darkness

Let there be light

Real answers for darkness. Thoughts that plague our mind. Relentless anger, resentment, shame or guilt. Everyone deals with it. How can it be overcome?

This is a break from the “Living By Faith” series. I believe the Bible is real, practical and helpful to teach, confront and encourage. The Bible says -My people perish for lack of knowledge. And we truly do suffer in aspects of our lives because of our lack of knowledge of the spiritual things.

I want to take this opportunity to give you practical application from the Bible for dealing with your own “demons”. Whatever you deal with, whether it is thoughts, accusations, addictions, etc. I wish I had the space to write in detail about each issue.  I will get to them eventually. Check back.

The Bible is our road map. God gives us all the answers to live a life of freedom. The secret is really not secret. Just apply the principles Jesus gives us.

I read a post from one of my favorite blogs, Peacefulwife.com, “What’s the story on ‘My Demon’ now?

As I was reading, my heart was stirred for the many people that deal with the same issues. We all deal with them in some form or fashion. Here’s the answers to overcoming them.

1. Your thoughts do not define you.

We beat ourselves up so much for thoughts that run through our mind. Maybe you’re like me and even thought “Am I really that bad of a person to have those kind of thoughts?!” I spent much of my time condemning myself for thoughts that were just temptations. Shame, guilt and self criticism would then consume me. Even if I didn’t act on those thoughts I believed it revealed something maybe I had hidden that made me a bad person.

You are not every thought that goes through your head.

We can discern our thoughts and take captive the thoughts that are negative, sinful or just plain depressing.

2. Thoughts reveal a hidden hurt or self identity that arose from a hurt or sin (either our own or what someone did against us)

Any memory that has pain in it is an opportunity for God to heal. If it causes pain, regret, shame or guilt, God wants to heal it.

3. Here’s the secret (not really a secret, God gives us step by step directions)

Ephesians 4:26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27Neither give place to the devil.

How do we “give place” to the devil? When we sin but do not repent (turn away) quickly or forgive quickly the other person.  That gives the devil a foothold in our lives. We give him permission to enter a portion of our lives. That results in temptation, bad thoughts, negativity, anger, resentment, shame, regret, guilt, etc.

Let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer…

Matthew 6:9-9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Verse 12&14 &15 in the Amplified: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 14 For if you forgive people their trespasses their (reckless and willful sins,leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive others their trespasses (reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses. 

When I read this for the first time in the Amplified version it changed the way I think about the word “forgiveness”. It includes the action of “letting go”. We will discuss how to do this in a minute.

First, let’s look at why forgive…

In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a story about a man who was forgiven a debt he could not pay but refused to forgive a fellow servant a small amount.

34“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.35“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

Jesus is describing the result of the Ephesians 4:26 we discussed earlier. Giving “place” to the devil is like being turned over to the “torturers”. The devil has a foothold in our lives and causes pain, hurt, grief, strife, etc. (I’m sure you can fill in the blanks)

If I understand the consequences of unrepented sin or unforgiveness in my life as the permission for the devil to steal, kill, and destroy in my life, it will change the way I live. The consequences are not just going to hell as so many people see it. Far off into the future some place that we don’t really understand the existence. But, it happens right now. My life is affected by my actions now.

Jesus gave us the answer in the Lord’s Prayer. He did not leave us defenseless or without knowledge.

He tells us to forgive or repent (whichever is called for).In verse 13, the NLT translation ends with…

Matthew 6:13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

The forgives releases rescue and deliverance from our life’s enemy. I want that freedom from the clutches of the devil. I don’t want him having any foothold in my life.

4. Let it go (this is when healing begins and the bad thoughts begin to leave)

How? it’s simpler than you think. Forgiveness is a choice. You make choices all day, everyday. Forgiveness is just like any other choice you make. And you don’t have to feel like you forgave. You will notice a change over time. Feelings can be deceiving.

Forgiving someone does not mean you condone their behavior or validate what they did to you. What do you gain by holding onto unforgiveness? It doesn’t hurt the other person. It only hurts you.
Jesus didn’t say “forgive if you feel like it” or “as long as the sin wasn’t really horrible”, no, he said do it all the time, all day long if necessary.

“My demons” as discussed in the blog post linked above is common among humans, period. Jesus gave us the answer. All we have to do is obey.

Are you tired of hearing those thoughts? Are you tired of feeling guilt, shame, regret? Are you tires of the anger?

Step 1

Pray a forgiveness prayer for any person who has hurt you. Spouses have a lot of pain that needs forgiveness. Forgive for each situation that causes painful memories.

“Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive __________(name) for doing______ or making me feel ________. I let it go. Cleanse me from all that hurt and shame. Heal my heart and mind.”

Easy huh? The hardest part is taking the first step. Our unforgiveness sometimes feels like a security blanket. It brings false comfort thinking we got something over on someone. It’s a lie.

Step 2

Forgive yourself. This is usually the hardest part. Forgive yourself for any mistake you hold against yourself. Forgive yourself for being duped by someone. You feel stupid? Forgive yourself.

“Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive myself for doing _____________. I let it go. Cleanse me from all that hurt and shame. Heal my heart and mind.”

Step 3

Discern your thoughts. Think about each thought. Is it good or bad? Decide where it comes from. If it’s bad throw it out. Don’t dwell on it.

This takes practice. The more you do it the easier it becomes.

I have a very active imagination. When I start thinking bad thoughts against my spouse I can get really carried away. I even start to feel angry for something done the day before or a year before. I now recognize that I am rehashing old situations and encouraging bad thoughts. I then forgive my spouse for what he did and I move on. Sometimes I have to think purposely about good things or declare good things over him. Almost immediately my attitude changes. The anger leaves.

Here is a link to a post that may help related to this. (here) How to Overcome the Past

Live a forgiving life you will find you joy and peace in your life.

Living by Faith Part 3-Doubt

covered bridgeNo one is above the effects of doubt. It happens to everyone.

It seems just as we are going strong in faith, boom, it happens-hit square in the eye with none other than doubt. You can beat yourself up for doubting or it can be a catapult to your faith to send you flying through to action. But that is just it, it’s a choice to get past doubt.

The same way you make a choice to get out of bed in the morning. The same way you choose to put on shoes. It’s a choice. You can let doubt sit there and weigh it out or you can move past doubt into action.

Legends of Faith Still Doubt

If you struggle with doubt you are in good company. Great faith and little faith can exist in the same person.

Elijah did. After he called down fire from heaven that completely lapped up the sacrifice and the water around the altar. He ran away from Jezebel afraid for his life.

1 Kings 19:3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” 

Peter did. After Jesus was taken, Peter denied knowing Jesus.

John 18:25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Just two examples of great men of faith who struggled with doubt. The key is to not let that be the end. Keep going. Keep praying. Keep moving past that bridge of doubt till you get to the other side.

Doubt wasn’t the end of the story

Acts 2:29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

Here Peter preached to thousands of people. In front of everyone including some of the people, I’m sure, heard him speaking about Jesus, even those that heard him deny knowing Jesus. His faith was strengthened and he made a decision to move on.

Don’t get down and out because you doubt. Consider doubt as a challenge to your faith that allows you to excerise your faith and make it stronger. Now you can make that choice to keep believing.

Why do we believe that God created the world with His Word but we struggle to believe His Word where it says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” or “I am the head and not the tail” or that “I am blessed”.

It’s all true.

There is nothing in God’s word that is not true…including the part about what God will do for you, His love for you, what He will do through you or the work He has equipped you to do.

The question is…IS your faith in the faithful One? God is faithful. He does not change. He does not waver. When your faith may seem week remember WHO your faith is in.

Heavenly Father, thank you that your Word is true forever. Thank you that you are increasing the faith of those as they read this post. Thank you that you are revealing truth to their hearts and speaking wisdom to them in their current situation. Father, bless everyone that reads this post. Give them revelation of your presence and your amazing love. Touch the hearts of the people. You said ask for faith, we are asking for greater faith. We are asking for more of you in our lives. More of your presence and more of your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Living By Faith-Part 2

Faith does not ignore facts. Faith is a choice to believe that what God says is more true than any doctor report, financial statement, or emotion.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.

Faith faces the facts head on but still knows that God is on the throne and able and willing to meet every need. Believing is the stage after asking that we verbally declare our faith.

Believing is a choice. The key is – who is the subject of your belief. You believe everyday. When you sit in a chair you had faith the chair would hold you. When you flipped the light switch you had faith the light would turn on. The subject of your belief- who or what- you believe in is the key. I choose to put my faith in the one that created the universe and everything in it. I don’t place my faith in the stars but the one who created the stars.

Stages of Faith:

1. Asking

2. Believing

3. Doubt

4. Acting

2. Believe-

Sometimes this is the hard part. The more you read the Bible and hang out with other believers and hear testimonies of the great things God has done, your faith will be strengthened. You will find it easier to “believe”. I found that reading books about the life of missionaries is very helpful. In Part 1 I shared such a book by Huldah Buntain.

It’s time we take God out of the box we place Him in – we believe he can ONLY do this or that…only the things we can imagine or have heard. Start believing for great things. God is bigger than our imaginations.

Mark 9:23 (GW)  Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”

Mark 11:23-24 (GW)  I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn’t doubt but believes what he says will happen: He can say to this mountain, ‘Be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it will be done for him. 24  That’s why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours.

Faith is a choice just like love is a choice. You choose to believe. If you wait on emotions and feelings to catapult you into great faith you may never see miracles. But if you choose to believe and then begin to walk it out, you just released faith in your life.

Practical Application

1. Find scriptures in the Bible that speak to your situation. If you need healing find scriptures on that. If you need peace find scriptures on peace.

2. Place your name in that scripture and pray it over you (or a person or situation).

Psalms 103:2 Praise the Lord, my soul,and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

Now make it personal….

Praise the Lord, my soul, I will not forget his benefits. Lord you forgive all my sin and heal my diseases.

I pray Psalms 91 over myself or my fiends or family all the time.

This is a powerful scripture (actually, all of them are)

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling,10 no harm will overtake (me) you,no disaster will come near (my) your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning (me) you to guard (me) you in all (my) your ways; 12 they will lift (me) you up in their hands, so that (I) you will not strike (my) your foot against a stone. 13 (I) You will  tread on the lion and the cobra; (I) you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

(Psalms 41:3 is a good  scripture on healing also)

3. Pray scriptures over your situation as often as you think about it. When you worry or feel anxious, pray those scriptures. This is how you stand in faith…believing. This is how you combat fear, worry or anxiety. Keep renewing your mind in the Word of God by praying the scriptures.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the measure of faith. Guide me to scriptures that I need. Make your Word come alive to me and show me how to apply to my life. Give me wisdom how to apply your Word and live by it. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Living by Faith

Living by Faith

This is the beginning of a series on Faith. I find it hard sometimes to have faith. I know many of the bible verses on faith as a mustard seed. I know the ones about asking your Father in Heaven and He will give you good things. I even have a healthier view of Almighty God than I used to. He is my Heavenly Father who loves me, cherishes me, has a purpose and a plan for my life.

Somehow, all this knowledge doesn’t seem to help my faith. Sometimes my faith just seems to be hanging on by a thread. I think that He may do it for someone else but not for me. I think if I was better than maybe God would answer my prayers. I’m here to tell you those thoughts are not truth, they are lies from the enemy.

This first post will be a summary and talk about the first stage of faith.

Come back and read the rest of them. It has helped me and I hope it will help you in your walk of faith.

bookI read “Pathway to the Impossible” by Huldah Buntain (a missionary to Calcutta, India).

She told of miracle after miracle that she actually experienced.

This is a perfect example of expanding our perception of God and just how magnificent he is.

Read her story. Your faith will increase by hearing what God does. And know that what he will do for one he will do for another.

Have you ever thought about the stages of faith we go through?

Stages of Faith:

1. Asking

2. Believing

3. Doubt

4. Acting

Asking - 

  1.  Our first step in faith is to ask God in prayer. Your prayer does not have to be eloquent, long or wordy. Just talk to Him, he is your Heavenly Father. When you ask, ask expecting. Expectation is that “faith” part. Wrap every petition in expectation that He will hear. And He will answer. He will heal. He will save. He will help. Just ask.

Matthew 21:22 (AMP)  And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.

You can ask for more wisdom. Who doesn’t need that…

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

When you ask–think about your motives…

James 4:2 (AMP)  You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.

James 4:3 (AMP)   [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.

Sometimes you need to be persistent. That shows a level of faith.

Matthew 7:7-8 (AMP)   Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
8  For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

And my favorite…

God is capable of more than we could ever think or imagine.( So expand your box that you put God in because he doesn’t fit there.)

Matthew 14:15When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”( http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/14.htm )

Did you see what Jesus said? “you give them something to eat”

What Jesus? We only have enough to feed us, definitely not enough to feed thousands of people.

Can you imagine yourself as a disciple at that moment? That is a faith stretcher. I would be saying “Are you crazy? I think you’ve been in the heat too long!”

He challenges their way of thinking. As humans they were limited to human expectations. But God is unlimited. Jesus is teaching them a valuable lesson here.

This is a lesson we all need to learn. It’s a major shift in our thinking and expectation. It’s a process called “Paradigm Shift”. As Christians we need to have a major Paradigm Shift. We need to learn to think like Jesus.

Isaiah 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Can you agree with me that our thinking is limited and because of that we limit an awesome God with unlimited power?

If we begin to pray in faith believing in the awesome God, creator of the universe instead of praying in our limited power and understanding our faith increases right there!

Ask God to show you where you are limiting His power in your life. Just ask Him. He will be faithful to show you.

Heavenly Father, Thank you that your ways are not my ways. Thank you, that you are the creator of the universe, creator of my life and everything in the Earth and on the Earth. There is nothing created without you. Father, I ask that you will show me a glimpse of how big you really are. Show me where I limit you and where I place you in a box of human understanding. Help me and give me wisdom to understand better. Thank you, in Jesus name I pray! AMEN!

For Wives Only

Promotional art for Superman vol. 2, #204 (April 2004) by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Wikipedia)

Promotional art for
Superman vol. 2, #204 (April 2004)
by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Wikipedia)

Kryptonite and Superman

(adapted from Peacefulwife.com and Daniel Robertson “God’s Help for Marriage”)

“You NEVER…!”

“You ALWAYS do that!”

“I can’t believe you…!”

“What were you thinking?”

“I don’t think you can do….Don’t we need to call…..?”

“Just ask for directions!”

Patronizing “Wow, you took out the trash. I’m so proud of you!”

Nagging (constant reminders because you think he isn’t doing something on your time frame.)

Insults (destroy trust and demoralize)

Cutting Sarcasm: How many kids do you have? “3 if you count my husband.”

Would you ever say these things to Superman? But Lois Lane did to Clark Kent. 

Do you treat your husband like Lois Lane treated Clark Kent? Or like  Lois Lane treated Superman? There was a big difference in how she perceived each one. Maybe you are like me..I just want to yell at the TV screen “They are the same person! Why can’t you see that!”

Sometimes that’s how I feel about my husband.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Words are Kryptonite

Prov 18:21 The tongue holds the power of life and death

Speaking life                                                   Speaking death

Praise                                                          Negativity             Criticism

Bless                                                           Complaining          Sarcasm

Judgmental

 

 

What can I say?

Stages of changing your words and thoughts.

  1. Surprised: Realization that most of what comes out of your mouth and thoughts in your head is disrespectful, negative and hurtful.
  2. Quite Mode: Can’t say anything at all. Every thought and every word seems disrespectful. Especially when you can’t think of anything good to say.
  3. Searching: Questioning God, reading the Bible, asking others, reading books trying to find out what respectful words sound like.
  4. Awkward: Saying all those good things when you don’t feel like it seems strange and abnormal.
  5. Filter: Begin to filter words before you say them. Begin to process what words are good and what is not.
  6. Comfortable: Saying positive things and not negative things becomes normal and the usual. Still mess up sometimes but able to recognize it quickly. Still make the decision to say it though.
  7. (Not there yet)

 “The more time you spend with God, the more you take on His character and His thoughts about what matters.  True selflessness is a reflection of God’s character and comes only as a result of time spent with Him.” From Nina Roesner in The Respect Dare:

Learn to filter with discretion and wisdom
Proverbs 18:2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
Proverbs 18:1  An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Proverbs 6:22 Anyone who has understanding is a fountain of life, but foolishness brings punishment to fools.
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:18  A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Proverbs 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife: but he that puts his trust in the LORD shall be prospered.

Proverbs 25:15  By patience a prince shall be appeased, and a soft tongue shall break hardness.

Luke 6:45 – NKJV)A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Emotionally Fueled Words

You CAN express your emotions – but keep in mind that when you are responding to a situation where it could be easy to jump to conclusions, or if you are communicating something important to your husband that you really want him to hear – he will be better able to hear you with fewer words and less emotion.

And when you do share your emotions, if you can share them in a non-blaming, fairly calm way – that allows your husband to hear your heart much more accurately.  That’s why I like Laura Doyle’s method (The Surrendered Wife) of speaking our desires and feelings very simply.  Less words and less emotions actually get our message across many times much more effectively with men:

  • “I want X”
  • “I don’t want Y.”
  • “I feel sad.”  ”I feel afraid.”  ”I feel nervous.”  ”I feel upset.”  ”I feel lonely.”

ie: “I feel lonely. Would you please hold me for a  few minutes?”  or “I feel lonely.  I’d love/I want to cuddle for a few minutes, please”  work MUCH better than, “You never spend any time with me!  You obviously don’t love me at all!”

And, remember to share your positive emotions, too! Your emotions are VERY POWERFUL to your husband.  Using them in a constructive way will help you bond and become even closer.   I like to share all of my emotions with my husband – that helps him know me better and understand my heart more.

  • “I’m so happy being here with you!”
  • “I feel very safe with you.”
  • “I’m so glad we got to do X!”
  • “I really appreciate all you have done for me.”
  • “Thank you!!!!!!!!!”    *“I’m so full of joy!”

 

Positive Words:

Humbleness is a virtue. Refusing to say these words just because you are right or feel validated only makes things worse.

 “I love you.” Should be said daily and sincerely.

“I’m sorry.” Sometimes even when you still feel mad or hurt. It soothes the wounds.

”I really appreciate…”Gratitude does a lot to put both in a good mood. Motivates more than nagging.

“Thank you” Almost as good as the previous one.

“What can I do to help?” It’s all about serving your partner. Serve him=serving God.

“How are we?” for a quick marriage checkup or not so quick if your spouse feels like venting. Don’t ask if you aren’t prepared to listen.

“Let’s pray{ about that}” Be careful if your husband is not a believer. Don’t say things like this if it makes you sound more spiritual or could sound like you’re putting him down.

“Do you want a back rub/foot massage/etc?” Who doesn’t like that!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for speaking words of death over my husband and our lives together. I choose now to speak words of blessing and life to my husband and about him and our marriage. Help me to speak truth with grace and mercy. Give me the wisdom to speak when necessary and a guard over my mouth when I should be quiet. Holy Spirit, I ask you to help me discipline my will over my tongue. Give me more understanding about respectful words that can be healing to my husband’s heart.

The Comparison Trap: Marriage

comparison 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Land of “Er”

“If I was pretty-er..”                   “If I was thin-er…”                         “If I was rich-er…”    

“If I had  more-er.”                   “If I was lucky-er..”                        “If I was smart-er..”

…I would be…Happy-er…Fun-er…Bett-er………..

I was recently listening to Andy Stanley. He preached a great lesson on the comparison trap and the Land of Er. While listening to this I realized there was a great connection for marriages. Read on as I share the connection and how your marriage can be healed.

Here’s a link to Andy Stanley’s messages: http://northpoint.org/messages/comparison-trap

Who do you compare yourself to?

Why do we compare ourselves to anyone?

Down deep inside is a part of us that needs to feel successful, accepted, and okay.

We just want to know we are OK. And how do we know we are OK? We compare ourselves to people around us that seem OK or not oK and we say “well I’m not as OK as that person, but I’m better than that person. So I am OK.” Because there is always someone better and always someone worse off.

And we compare everyone in our lives to other people too. We compare our children to everyone else’s children. “My children aren’t as smart as her kids.” “My children act better than her kids.” “My children can’t play sports like those kids.” “My son is…My daughter is…compared to….” “MY baby is prettier than all other babies!”

Who do the perfect parents compare their kids to?

Who does God compare you to? As his kid. He compares us to no one. He loves and accepts us just the way we are. You are not compared to sister so & so in the front pew. Your holiness or lack thereof or shortcomings are not compared to anyone.

When your child does something wrong you don’t love him less. When you correct him you do it for his own good. To help him live a better life as he grows up. You don’t expect him to know it all. You teach him and he develops good habits and such over time.

The Garden of Life

garden

I picture my life as a beautiful garden.

Each lesson that we learn is to pluck out the roots that cause the ugliness in our lives. Roots are being plucked out: Bitterness, unforgiveness, traumas, etc.

Think of your life as a garden. Do you want ugly weeds in your garden?

The light has to shine on it. Show that it’s there. Then we can deal with it with God’s help and healing.

We all want our Garden of Life to be beautiful-filled with joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, goodness, purity, beauty, etc.

So is there one more root that has to come out?

Comparison

 

Parable of the Talents (money bags)

Matthew 25:14

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,a each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  • 1.    Each servant was distributed his portion to care for. Entrusted “his wealth”

2.    Each servant had to answer for his actions.

3.    Only one servant placed blame.

           a.       He was called “wicked and lazy”.

           b.     Can we be that way sometimes in our marriage? It’s easier to complain and criticize and compare than to do something positive?

4. Suffer the Consequences

           a.  Not living the way God intended results in frustration, fear, and torment.

           b.  And results in no peace.

How does this apply to marriage?

1.    God entrusted one of his most precious treasures to us–our spouse. God’s creation. Beautifully and wonderfully made. To love, honor and cherish. God’s Treasure.

2.    In the most holy bond on earth-husband and wife united as one.

3.    How we respond to what was “entrusted” is up to us. The blame is not on God if we feel we got a bad lot. We can’t say…if only my spouse was like ….. or…if only my spouse was this or that…

               a.    The 3rd servant blames the master for his actions. “If you had given me more I could have done more with it. I didn’t have the 5 or even the two.

                You gave me just one, how am  I to make that into something great?” With God all things are possible and maybe what you look at as a “bad lot” and less than ideal                   may be the best you could ever imagine if you changed your perspective. Sometimes it is our perspective that is off not God handing you a bad situation. Sometimes                its our own sin and mess ups we pay for. But even our own mess-ups can be made into something great if we fully rely on God to so something with it. 

4.    We compare our “lot” or “spouse” to others just like we do our house, car, job, money and our children.

            a.    We say “if my husband acted better I would act better” “If my wife was..” “If he acted like so & so…” “if wasn’t as lazy as…” or “if he would just do this …”

5.    Sometimes we contributed to the way our spouses respond to us through our own disrespect, dishonor, superiority, criticism.

Living in the Land of Comparison “ER” is dangerous. The grass is NEVER greener on the other side. That is a lie. 

How do we move out of the land of “Er”?

  1. Be thankful. Recognize that God gave you that husband. (and everything else you have). His precious treasure that he shares with you.
  2. Ask God to show you what you can learn with your spouse. There is always a lesson. God is developing something in you. Look for it. Learn it. Live it.

Peace will be found when you move out of the land of “Er”. That is what we seek. PEACE

The Christian life was never meant to be just a get out of Hell free card. Jesus didn’t just give his life for that. He gave his life so we could live free and abundantly. With peace and joy. In whatever situation it is.

Don’t just say “Oh, I can be thankful because my spouse could be a lot worse.”

Instead “I am thankful because my spouse is…” Be specific. If you can’t think of anything then because “he/she is loved by God and God will save him, renew him, etc.”

Don’t let the bitterness cause you to resent your marriage. Or cause you to blame God for everything wrong in your life or marriage.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for not treasuring my spouse, for not honoring him/her in my thoughts and actions. I repent for every blame I have ever put on you Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to be thankful for my spouse. Help me to praise him for things he does. Help me to recognize the gift and talents you have put in him. I repent for any resentment I may have. I trust in you Sovereign God that you give good things to your children and you do good for us all our days. I trust that my spouse is your Best for me. I will start to look at him/her in that way. I am willing to learn from him/her the lessons you want to teach me. Holy Spirit, show me what you will have me to learn.

If he/she is not saved I ask you to open his eyes and show him/her your truth. Help him/her to walk in your ways. Turn his/her heart to you. You change the heart of a man from stone to flesh. Change it Lord. Send someone to him/her to minister. Help me be the light that will shine for you and point to your grace and mercy every day.

I pray blessings over my spouse. That he/she is strong in you, that he/she is highly favored. That he/she hears your voice and follows you. That you protect him/her everywhere he/she goes. 

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