Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Faith and Hope in Prayer

Friday, March 18th, 2016

faith-and-hope-in-prayerHow do faith and hope relate to prayer?

Are you in the middle of a trial, something that you’ve been praying for that relies on God working on another human being… and there is nothing you can do about it? You have to commit your way to the Lord. You have to continue seeking Him. When that trial drags on and on and on, how do you keep your faith in God? How do you keep from giving up hope?

We can put our hope in God. Scriptural hope is strong and secure. It’s not a wishful thinking. Hope is solid like cement. I’m talking about spiritual hope in God and in His promises that are ironclad. For example, if you are saved and your life has been transformed by God, you have the hope of heaven. This doesn’t mean you are wishing that you might go to heaven–no–you know for certain because Scripture promises eternal life when we make Jesus Lord of our lives. The hope of eternal life is a certainty. Heaven is something that is secure.

In the promises of God, if we align our will to God’s will, God promises to answer us:

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will he hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.  1 John 5:14-15 ESV

Our hope, then, is in God and His Word. If God is not a liar, He will accomplish what He has set out to do, and we know His will through the pages of Scripture. A command in Scripture is the will of God, so if you ask God to help you to obey Him, He will answer. If you ask God to repair your marriage, God’s will is that a husband and wife be one, so He will answer you. The timing is the only thing we have no control over. Otherwise we are to pray without ceasing until the will of God is done in our lives. We have faith that God will do so.

Faith and Hope in Prayer (Video # 11)

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Faith Grows Through Fire: The Gift of Faith

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

faith-grows-through-fire-gift-of-faith

People ask me all the time how I came to have the faith that I have. They see that I have a faith that can move mountains. I pray mightily in the Spirit because I’m certain of being heard. God has done so many miracles in my life that I’ve come to expect it. This is why people are befuddled and dumbfounded when they see my faith. It’s not actually my faith, by the way.

It’s God’s gift of faith, and He can take it away at the beginning of a tribulation in your life, only to give it back more strongly than ever.

Don’t be scared when you think your faith is gone. It’s at that moment that God is preparing you to receive more faith. Just wait calmly and put your trust in the Lord, even though you feel abandoned. Yield to God and continue to commit yourself to Him.

God stands outside space and time and knows all things. He is a good God. Even when it feels like He has withdrawn His tangible presence during the moment when you most need it, please wait…

You see, God won’t fill you if you’re not empty.

Over and over again in my life, the Lord has stripped me of every ounce of strength in my body, where if you were to look at me, you would think that my faith was gone. A raging fire was passing over me in my life, and suddenly somewhere in the midst of the fire, I was strengthened in the Lord and received a higher measure of faith.

How do you get faith? You have to be open to get it. You have to be yielded to God, to have an attitude of receiving. That’s how salvation is. You get it because it’s being given, and you’re willing to receive it. Having a greater faith in God is no different. Be open to receiving it. Ask for it.

As I was talking about faith with my husband one night, he said that he knew how to get faith. This is the progression:

  1. Believe God.
  2. Then you have to go through a trial that challenges that belief.
  3. In the end, you have to see that God delivers.

I am experiencing this in my life right now in several areas. I was working so hard to book a venue for the local homeschool conference that I’m in charge of, and nothing was working. I was under a lot of pressure, and it seemed like the harder I worked, the more nothing was happening. Vendors were asking me why the conference wasn’t booked yet. The keynote had agreed to work with us, but we left him dangling for weeks on end without giving him a reason why. The no-pay high-stress work that I was doing for the homeschool group drained me of every drop of strength I had until I literally collapsed.

At that moment, I went in to see the surgeon to discuss the procedure for removing the lump from my daughter’s spine. I saw that it was more serious that I had anticipated, that she would be unconscious for 48 hours and might slink into a coma, that bone from her spinal column would be removed in two places and never put back again, and that the lump couldn’t actually be removed completely because it was fused to the spinal cord itself. You know, the bundle of nerves that runs up your spine to your brain.

And then it hit me.

But my daughter was sitting there, and I wasn’t allowed to cry. I wasn’t allowed to scream in hysteria as a mother. No. I remained calm and wiped the sweat off my palms onto my jeans. I felt dizzy.

Later my husband took the kids to Costco for dinner, and I sat in the empty house. I sat in the dark, feeling abandoned by the Lord. Why did He not answer when I begged Him for a venue for the only Christian homeschool conference in this area? And now I could do nothing about it because I had no strength left, and why wasn’t I allowed to think about my daughter?

I screamed.

I wept.

I sat in silence before the Lord.

The next day I went to a prayer meeting with the Hispanic women I worked with at the women’s prayer retreat where I spoke in August. I plopped down on the couch and announced that the Lord had abandoned me.

After the initial shock of the statement wore off, the women’s eyes sparkled because God had given them Scripture for me. One woman told me that I was Peter, that I had jumped out of the boat and walked on water. And now I realize that it’s impossible to walk on water (what was I thinking?) and the waves are overwhelming me and I’m drowning. What happens next? she asked me.

God delivers.

Yes, but how would He deliver? How can He deliver without me doing anything? Because another woman quoted that God would fight my battles if I would only stand still. (Exodus 14:14)

The women laid hands on me and prayed for me. The fog lifted, and I had a supernatural peace and could it be… Joy! Yes, I felt incredible joy that was impossible because my daughter might be dead soon, and if the conference wasn’t booked, our group would never be able to have a conference again because of lack of funds. I felt responsible for the demise of the largest homeschool group in the area.

Nothing was resolved.

But I felt peace.

And I waited….

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.   Isaiah 40:31 KJV

The waiting was long.

I felt like a rubber band that had been stretched out of all proportion and would never be able to be snapped back to its original position.

And then it happened: a venue opened up, and would I come put down a deposit? As I walked around the venue, I had a lump in my throat because it was perfect. The price was also perfect. I wasn’t going to bankrupt our group and crash it to smithereens after all. The Lord delivered!

I cried tears of joy because this shows that God is still with me.

And now more waiting is required…

My daughter is going into spine surgery on January 8th, 2015. Will you pray for me, that God will continue to sustain me, no matter what the outcome?

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:6-7 ESV

Hebrews Hall of Faith

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

hebrews-hall-of-faithMy kids drew a Hebrews Hall of Faith to commemorate the men and women of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. I came up with the idea of a hallway full of portraits. When my children chose a character from Hebrews 11 to draw, they needed to have something in the picture to demonstrate that character. For example, Abraham had a walking staff and had a wilderness behind him to signify that God called him out of the land of Ur to the Promised Land, even though he didn’t know where he was going.

Sarah received the ability to conceive because she believed God. Of course, she laughed and was incredulous at first, but for some reason she is mentioned in the Great Hall of Faith. That is because she had a deep faith in God. We never see her stopping Abraham from obeying God.

hall-of-faith-from-hebrewsAbel offered a better sacrifice than Cain, knowing that the wages of sin was death. God told Cain to do what was right, and that sin was crouching at his door, but Cain killed his brother after being warned by God that his actions had been wrong. Abel had a stronger knowledge of God.

Enoch never had to die. At age 365, he was taken straight up into heaven in a similar way that Jesus will take us up into heaven during the rapture, if we are still here. Super cool not to have to die physically before being with Christ.

hall-of-faithNoah believed that God would send a flood even though there had never been rain before. He built an ark out of obedience to God because he had faith.

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were mentioned as having great faith, and they were the founders of the Jewish nation. Moses followed God rather than enjoy the riches of Egypt. Instead, he led the Israelites out of Egypt after witnessing the greatest display of plagues the world had ever seen.

hall-of-faith-drawingBy faith Rahab trusted in the Lord and ended up being saved because the spies protected her family after she hid them. She knew that the Lord was God, and she became a Jew and lived among the Jews for the rest of her life as a result.

Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets are also mentioned, along with many tortures that God’s people have had to endure throughout the ages. Faith enables you to see what matters and allows you to be controlled by the Holy Spirit so that impossible circumstances can be endured. Christians through the ages have known and understood what faith is, and if we belong to Christ, we will be pleasantly surprised in heaven when we see the things that we did by faith.

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If you enjoyed these drawings of the Hebrews Hall of Faith, you will love the entire series of 31 Days of Drawing through the Bible.

Faith and Prayer

Monday, June 9th, 2014

faith-and-prayer

Faith and prayer go hand-in-hand, since it’s impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). You wouldn’t be praying if you didn’t believe God was listening. So maybe we should start this discussion by asking, “What is faith?”

What is faith?

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Faith is when you know for sure that God’s Word is true, and you act on it. You have a conviction that God can never lie, and that if He says something, it is true. The King James Version says that faith is the “evidence” of things not seen. I have plenty of tangible evidence of God in my own life, but that evidence became a reality because I trusted God in the first place.

How does faith start?

Your first prayer (the one for salvation) is done in faith. This faith is given to you by God as a gift, so you did not drum up any faith on your own. It is a present.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 ESV

So the initial seed of faith is planted in your heart by God, and it grows from there.

Can you pray without faith?

Yes. Even though it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), if you recognize that you have no faith, you can ask God to give you faith.

“…If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:22b-24 ESV

This man wanted his son to stop being tormented, and even though he was asking Jesus to heal his son, his words showed a lack of belief. Jesus healed the boy anyway, showing that people don’t have to have faith to be healed. Jesus never failed in being able to heal someone, because He is God.

But if you doubt God, why should He answer you?

If you understand who God is, why on earth would you ever doubt Him? I’m talking about God’s Word. You insult God by doubting Him, because you make Him out to be a liar. It’s a slap in His face. This is why, for example, if you ask God for wisdom, He will for sure give it to you. But if you don’t believe He can give you wisdom, you will not get wisdom from God.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 ESV

You see, this verse says that wisdom WILL be given to you if you ask God. That’s what God’s Word says, and God is not a liar. So I ask God, and He gives me wisdom. (More about that here: How to Pray for Wisdom.)

Can faith move mountains? How?

Faith is compared to a mustard seed, which is quite small. My sister gave me a pin with a vial of mustard seeds. If you click on the picture, you will see the size of the individual mustard seeds as compared with my hand:

faith-as-a-mustard-seed

Jesus says that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains.

And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, 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)

I’ve pondered this passage for a long time, and I’m thrilled to tell you what I’ve learned. The reason faith only has to be a tiny seed is that God does the work. The Holy Spirit will bear witness that God’s Word is true, and you will be able to rely on God’s Word more and more as you purge sin from your life and yield to Him. The more you know God, the more faith you will have, because God is incredibly stable and reliable, and He reveals Himself to us as we spend time with Him.

God plants the seed of faith in us, and it grows as we learn to trust Him. Besides studying Scripture to get to know God and delight in Him, prayer has been the greatest vehicle through which I have grown in my faith. This is because the more I trust Him, the more He answers my prayers, and the more He answers my prayers, the more faith I have. The key is aligning my will to God’s heart, and then the impossible happens all the time because my will and God’s will are the same.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. I John 5:14-15

For more explanation about this passage, read Does Praying Boldly Imply Presumption?

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