Nothing wavering

Faith is such a simple thing, and yet oftentimes it seems to be so difficult. Faith is something that God demands of us as His followers. He says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

In order to come to God, we need to come in faith. We need to realize that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. And in that statement comes the idea that we will seek Him diligently. If the King of all the Universe says He will reward you if you seek Him diligently, and you believe Him, how could you decide not to seek Him?

Having true faith in the reward, brings us to work for it.

Have you been seeking God lately? Have you been seeking Him diligently?

If not, you may want to check your faith. Have you spent time in the Word? Are you truly believing in His vision for your life? Do you need to pursue Him more?

I know for me, I definitely need to.  It is far too easy for me to become lax in my eagerness to seek out God.

One more part of this faith is having it without wavering. James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Here James is talking about asking God for wisdom, but the faith aspect applies to any time we ask God for something.

God tells us to ask in faith, without wavering.

Think about a person who wavers, if they are unsure of everything, or if God will answer, why would it glorify God to give them anything? When they get it, they will not glorify God or praise Him for His goodness. They will not see that the answer is from God. They will not point others to Christ.

God is jealous for the glory He deserves, and what’s more, He wants His gifts to bring us closer to Him. He wants us to come to Him without wavering. He wants us to see Him as the source of all goodness and reward. That is why He asks for faith in Him.

So I invite you, search the scriptures, build your faith, refuse to waver, and see God’s reward for diligently seeking Him.

It doesn’t matter what you need from Christ, wisdom, grace, understanding, or simply help. If you’re tired, if you’re weary, if you’re lost- go to Him.

He is the source of everything we need. Won’t you seek Him without wavering today?

What does the Lord require?

I want you to imagine that you have a significant other that you’re telling how much you love them, and imagine you haven’t gone on a date with them for a few months, you barely call them- only when you need something, and you never do anything they ask you to do.

How long would that last?

How long would you stay if you were treated this way?

Probably not long for either question.

Love requires and demands evidence in every relationship. Words are not enough. Expensive gifts are not enough. Public declarations are not enough. It requires our heart.

It’s the same with God. He wants our hearts.

Psalm 51:16 says, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

Matthew 5:18 says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”

Psalm 51:17 tells us, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

God wants us to love Him with our hearts. He wants us to care. He wants us to keep His love and commandments on our mind. It’s not enough for us to say we love Him. It’s not enough for us to give to the church. We have to mean it. Nothing in this world can substitute our wholehearted commitment to Him.

Commitment means obedience, commitment means prayer, commitment means thought put into your relationship.

You may have that special someone. And you may not be able to spend time with them right now. You may not be able to give them expensive gifts. You may not be able to take them on dates. But if they know that they have your heart (your commitment)- your relationship will last.

With God, you may not have many talents to give Him, you may not have the years to give Him just as a younger person could, and you may not have any special skills to offer.

God only wants your heart. He wants your love, your commitment, and your full obedience and reverence.

It doesn’t matter who you are, that you can give. That, you can always give.

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deuteronomy 6:5

 

 

Thirty-eight years later

Everyone loves a good story! And everyone loves the action! The fights, arguments, climactic points. These form the key elements of the story. Settings, character building, and description are necessary, but they aren’t usually what we remember.

But our lives are not lived like stories. We don’t get to skip to the action, to the climax. Sometimes parts of out lives go on and on without resolution. Days, months, years, decades all pass, and we still wait for the solution.

So it was with the lame man in John 5. We are told that there was a pool in Bethesda where an angel would come down and “stir” the water. The first person in the water after the angel moved it, would be healed. We don’t know how often the angel came, but there were a great many people.

When Jesus passed by, he found a man who had been there a great while. By the end of the story, Jesus heals the man and he leaves joyfully.

Those are the main ideas. That’s the plot. That’s the climax and resolution.

If we skim the story, we miss out on little details. We lose sight of the reality that was that lame man’s. In verse 5, we learn, that the man had been lame for 38 years. It is half of a verse. Barely noticeable to us as readers. But I assure you that it meant a great deal to that man.

38 years of his life he had been lame.

38 years of struggle. 38 years of pain. Was he able to find work at all? Or did he just beg? Did he go hungry at times? How long had he waited at that pool? How many times had he tried to crawl using only his arms? How many people had he seen be healed at that pool while he was too slow to get in? How many nights had he cried himself to sleep wondering if his life had purpose? How many people mocked him for his infirmity? How many times did he wish he could walk?

38 years

years

38 years of his life

And we blow past it in half a sentence.

He spent all those years waiting for healing. Waiting for the power of God. At the end of those years he was still by the pool. He hadn’t given up.

Did you catch that?

After 38 years he hadn’t lost hope.

I challenge you, whatever you are going through in your life, whatever you need God’s power for, whatever you are praying for – Don’t. Give. Up.

Seek God, pray, ask for His intervention, and don’t give up. This man’s story was written down so that 2000 years later we could be encouraged. He waited patiently, and God used his life as a testimony.

Won’t you stand strong and wait for God’s power in your life today?

tomorrow?

Or for as long as it takes?

I promise you it will be worth it.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

God’s employee benefits [no begging required]

When you’re looking for a job, it’s almost paramount to have good pay, but you probably also want benefits. Sometimes employers will pay for holidays, contribute to a 401k retirement account, vacation pay, sick pay, stock options, company car, you name it! You work for them, they take good care of you.

What about God?

God promises to provide for us many times in the New Testament. In Matthew 6, He tells us to look at the flowers of the field and see how God takes care of them. Look at the birds, how they are supplied for. He tells us not to take a care, but to follow Him and seek His kingdom. He says, “All these things shall be added unto you.”

So think about that.

Food, drink, and clothing are all taken care of. “shall be added”

Does that sound like you have to work for them?

Do you have to work for things that will be added to you? No, of course not, they’re added.

So before you go quit your job, realize the first condition. You must seek the kingdom of God. That means following God’s direction in your occupation, your singleness or your married life, your leisure time, and your ministry. Seek to glorify God first, and God will add all the necessary earthly things to your life.

Isn’t that wonderful?

God tells us, you focus on my agenda, I’ll make sure you don’t have to think about where your next meal will come from. He’s got it covered!

Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

His seed [children] will not beg for food.

Not: they won’t starve. It says: They won’t beg.

If you follow God, you don’t have to beg for His provision. He takes care of it!

I challenge you, choose to follow God. Seek His will. Seek His kingdom. The benefits will always be there, and the compensation will be out of this world! 😉

God’s provision isn’t the number you file your taxes with

A pastor once told me of when he first began going to college. He didn’t have the money to pay for his education, but he knew God wanted him to go. He saved up faithfully, but last minute expenses destroyed his savings. He said he stood in line for registration, praying over and over again. “God, I need money!” Again and again. He pleaded. He had no money to pay his bill.

Much to his surprise, when he got to the end of the line, he found that someone had paid his bill in full. He told the story in humorous and grateful manner. Praising God for His provision.

But let us pause to examine this. He said, “I need money.” But what did he actually need? Entrance into the college.

I give you another example.

In John 6, Jesus and the disciples are ministering to a crowd of thousands. Eventually it was time for the people to eat, but they did not have food. Jesus asks the question: Where are we going to buy bread for all these people? Philip expounds on the hopelessness of their situation by pointing out how 200 pennies would not be enough. Jesus answers his own question by miraculously feeding thousands of people with a single person’s lunch.

God provides with or without money.

Isn’t it funny how we can usually think in terms of money? We say, “I need money to buy my kids some shoes.” But in reality, we need shoes. We say, “I need money to pay for my groceries.” But in reality, we need food.

In reality, we need God to provide.

I challenge you to realize, God’s provision is not always in the form of money. Sometimes it’s a clearance sale. Sometimes it’s your neighbor’s leftovers. Sometimes it’s the generosity of a stranger. Sometimes it’s finding stuff while cleaning your basement.

In the pastor that was mentioned, God provided someone to pay his bill. In John 6, God provided a miracle. In your own life, there is no limit to what He may provide.

I challenge you, next time you have a need, don’t say, “I need money for . . .” Instead say, “I need God.” “I need God to provide!”

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” – Matthew 6:30

Is God directing? Or are you just uncomfortable?

Throughout our lives we will feel uncomfortable with the way things are. Seeing how something needs doing and nobody’s doing it can really wreak havoc in our minds. Tension can grow and we can find ourselves with the urge to act in a way that God is not leading us.

Such was the situation with King Saul in 1 Samuel 13. At this time the Israelites were in the middle of a military conflict with the Philistines. The people were scared and the prophet Samuel had not come to make an offering to God yet. The people literally scattered and were hiding.

The Bible tells us that they were hiding “in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.” Literally anywhere they could hide, they were hiding.

Imagine King Saul. He’s King! He’s responsible for these people. He wants to lead them to victory to protect their homes, but Samuel needs to offer a sacrifice to God and ask God for direction.

Samuel isn’t there.

In verse 8 we find that Samuel said he would be there in 7 days, but he hadn’t come. In the end, Saul made the offering, and Samuel arrived as soon as he was done.

Saul didn’t wait for God’s timing or God’s direction. As a result he lost many opportunities to serve God and he found himself in disobedience.

Saul tried to do a good thing for a good reason, but he failed to trust God- the most important part. If Saul had walked in faith, he would have not been so anxious to make a sacrifice without the man of God.

I challenge you, if you find yourself uncomfortable because of a situation in your life, pray for God’s direction. God wants us to walk in faith. God wants us to trust Him! If we are reacting in fear, we are in sin. It doesn’t matter how “good” the thing is. It doesn’t matter how “good” our intentions are. What matters is our complete trust and total surrender to His will!

“Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

Nicodemus saw the witness

Have you ever seen the impossible? Maybe you were at a magic show, or a fair? Someone ate fire or they sawed a woman in half? A bunny disappeared and then reappeared? We know these acts to be fabricated and only slight of hand, but what if you saw such a thing that was undeniably genuine?

The wonder. The questioning. The demand for answers.

These are all feelings I believe you would feel. This is exactly how Christians should make the world feel. In John 3, a man named Nicodemus approached Jesus. The first thing he says to Christ is this, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

Nicodemus saw what Christ had done. He knew the miracles were real. He wanted to know. Wanted to understand. He was looking for answers.

As followers of Christ, we are to inspire the same feelings in people around us. We may or may not work miracles, but our testimony and character should inspire wonder and questioning in the heart of unbelievers.

“How are they so calm when they are in so much trouble financially? What do you mean God will take care of you?”

“How can you go on happy when you have such a terrible disease? What do you mean you’re not afraid of death?”

“How can you speak so kindly of such a horrible person? What do you mean God wants you to love your enemies?”

These are the types of questions that the world will ask when Christians live in accordance to God’s Word. This is the types of questions they will ask YOU when you live fully believing God and His Word!

I challenge you, develop a heavenly mindset. Live in faith and live knowing that God is real and His promises are sure. Your lifestyle and attitudes may do more to attract people to Christ than your actions will ever do.

When Nicodemus spoke to Jesus, he didn’t ask a question. But the Bible says that “Jesus answered and said . . .” And then Jesus told Nicodemus the gospel. When you live in a way that shows God’s power, people will have questions they may never ask. But you will be able to give them the answer- Jesus.

 

Government corruption- it’s here to stay

There is a valuable gem in Ecclesiastes 3, if you read too fast, you will miss it. It says, “And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.”

To make it short, in the government, and in the lives of believers- there was sin.

Solomon’s observation isn’t a yin yang idea, it’s about the prevalence of sin in earthly life. In this life, we will never escape sin. It’s not up for debate, no matter how righteous you are, no matter how hard you strive for right living, you will fail. This extends to all areas of your life, and it’s not just limited to you.

Others will fail as well.

This isn’t something we like to ponder, but it’s something we can learn from. If we know that people are flawed just like us, we can expect them to make mistakes. Instead of hating them, or getting angry, we can practice patience- knowing we have just as many flaws.

This applies to people in authority as well. Solomon spoke of sin in the lives of the righteous, but also in places of judgment. The police, the judges, the politicians- all of these will have flaws. They will have sin. They will have wickedness.

Does this mean that we give up on our government and our personal lives? No. But neither do we become endlessly frustrated at the sight of sin. God requires our our patience and perseverance in order to conquer sin in our lives. He also calls us to pray for everyone in authority.

Sin is not acceptable, but knowing that it’s unavoidable can be a comfort to us when we fail. God expects our very best, and that means we never stop the fight against sin in our lives. But God also understands that we are incapable of sinlessness. If we come to Him in humility and repentance, He will never turn us away.

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalms 103:14

 

If you’re asking “Who am I?” You’re looking the wrong way

Most people, (Even non-Christians) know who Moses is. God’s hand-picked leader to bring Israel out of Egyptian bondage. When God called Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3), Moses gave God so many excuses, and objections because of his own shortcomings, that God had to put Moses in his place.

You see, Moses was looking at himself. He was saying, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” But God was saying, “I will be with thee.” After a few more or Moses’ excuses, God said, “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?”

Just like Moses did, all those thousands of years ago, we can get too caught up in looking at ourselves. When God moves or directs us to do something, or take leadership, we might say, “Who am I?” Looking at ourselves and our experiences and abilities, we may shrink in the sight of the task that is before us.

But that is not how we should act. We are not to focus on our capabilities, but realize God’s. He is the one who called us, and He will do it. He will take the reigns and direct us, all we must do is obey.

I challenge you, no matter what task or responsibility you may see ahead of you, do not turn away in fear. Look to God and depend on Him. He will direct you. It’s not about you. It’s not about your abilities. It’s about His glory. And it’s about His power to use you to change the world and glorify Himself.

It’s dead

What if a man told you that is was going to rain very hard, but left his umbrella home. What if someone told you they knew of a stock that would quadruple in value in the next 4 months, but they weren’t investing any money. What if they told you that they really loved a sports team, but were never going to watch a game.

It would be kind hard to believe any one of these people right? There’s an old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” When a person truly believes or cares it shows in how they act. If they “believe” something, but never act on their belief they probably don’t believe it.

It’s the same in the Christian life, God spoke through James, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” God says that if you believe something, but never act on it, your belief is dead. I challenge you to examine yourself, what does your belief in God motivate you to? What is your action as a result of believing in God?

If your belief in God does not motivate you to any action other than a non-believer, then your faith is dead. If you worry and stress, just like a non-believer- then your faith is dead in that area. If you put entertainment and people before the Almighty God- then your faith is dead in that area. As Christians, we must strive to harbor a heavenly mindset. If we say we believe in God, yet don’t act on it, how can we expect anyone to believe us?

I’m sure that if we just took a glance around, we could find people who say they believe God, but never act like it. The important thing is whether or not we see that kind of person in the mirror. And if we do, what we will do about it.

Think about it. If someone told you they believed in God, but acted like He didn’t exist and His promises weren’t real- Would you believe them?