By Faith

Exactly one year ago, on October 27th 2020, we spoke together about how faith is a risk. One year later in the year of 2021 a lot has occurred in just that short amount of time. I cannot
fathom enough how important faith truly is. Faith is SO important to God, and I feel the Spirit of
the Lord leading me today to express that.


As always, the Word of God is the best place to go to explain:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by
it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the
universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of
things that are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than
Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by
accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch
was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had
taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.”
(Hebrews 11:1-5, ESV)


Hebrews chapter 11 is an extraordinary example of how many have led their walk with
God in faith. It also shows how walking out in this faith is rewarding, especially with your
relationship with God the Father. I couldn’t recommend enough to thoroughly read
Hebrews 11 in it’s full context for yourself. Whether you haven’t read it yet, or need a
refresher. It will encourage you to keep contending!


And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to
God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
(Hebrews 11:6, ESV)


Are we not a people that want to be pleasing to God? Do you want to be a sweet aroma
(Song of Solomon 4:11) to God? When you approach God, how is it that you want to
present yourself? How will He see you? Did you know faith is a spiritual gift? (1
Corinthians 12:9)


Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.” (John
14:1, ESV). When Jesus left the earth and ascended to heaven He promised us
something. He exclaimed that the reason He left was to prepare a place for us. A home
with no more crying, no more pain, no more thirst. At this new home we will have
everything we need. We will no longer need to worry about tomorrow.


Sounds like a beautiful promise right? Yet to attain this promise Jesus made it very
clear. We must have faith. Jesus explained to Thomas, “I am the Way, and the Truth,
and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, ESV). You may not understand faith right away and faith may seem a bit risky, but it is your faith
that will save you (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is your faith that will heal you (Mark 5:34; Acts
3:16). Your faith will secure you (Proverbs 20:28), make you righteous (Romans 3:22), it
will strengthen you (Romans 4:20), and most importantly, give peace between you and
God (Romans 5:1)!


The most important thing you could ever have faith in is Jesus.
“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Phillip? Whoever has seen
me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9, ESV). Do you recognize who Jesus is? If so, He is asking you today to have faith in Him. Without Him, there is no salvation. You will not inherit the promises of the coming kingdom. I promise.

I believe, do you?

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
(Mark 11:24, ESV)

Previously we discussed the fact that faith is a risk. “

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

To have faith, is when one believes in something even when they cannot see it in the moment. It is a hope. To have faith can be defined as, complete trust or confidence in someone or something. And the last time we spoke on such a faith, we were touching on the entrusting of God Himself.

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
(James 5:15, ESV)

I know it has been a while, so allow me to remind you that this faith we initially spoke on was primarily about salvation and the importance of trusting God with your life, but today we are going to discuss faith in a different way.

Now that we have eternal salvation, which is kept in the safe hands of God (1 Peter 1:3-5), God has given a challenge. He has given us the challenge to believe in His mighty works like never before.

Laugh at me if you must, but I 100% trust God that He will answer my prayers. God has shown me in many ‘little’ ways that He will show me and my family a miracle. There are many things doubt will try to defeat. Although this time I am not allowing the storm to master over me. The only Master I have is my Lord and Savior! (Can I get an amen?)

“pray without ceasing”
(1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV)

If you read through the Word of God you will see many instances where Jesus healed. He healed various kinds of people: the lame, the blind, the possessed, and more! Jesus told His disciples that in His power, they could do the same. Let me be the one to tell you, if no one has already, that we as children of God can do the same! When we do anything in love and in His name, we glorify the Father.

You may be wondering what miracle I am seeking. My family and I are seeking the FULL healing of my father-in-law, Mark, who was diagnosed with ALS. Now, you may be shaking your head and thinking this is an impossible request, & the enemy might be highlighting his decline, but my God said, IF YOU ASK ANYTHING IN MY NAME I WILL DO IT! The key to an answered prayer is firm belief.

So in this belief, will you join me in prayer without wavering?…

“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.” (James 1:6, ESV).

I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God has given His people authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).

I believe, do you?

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Mark 16:15‭-‬18, ESV

Radical Love

“But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
(Matthew 5:39, ESV)
“And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”
(Matthew 5:40, ESV)
“And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”
(Matthew 5:41, ESV)
“Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”
(Matthew 5:42, ESV)
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”..
(Matthew 5:44, ESV)



“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:46-48, ESV

Jesus has called us to stand out from the world. This includes the way we react.

Before the Holy Spirit taught us new ways from our prior, we thought certain reactions were acceptable.

Yet as you see, we are to be the bigger person. Though hard, we are to reflect the same love that God provides. This reflection shows the world whom we belong. For He explains that when we go against the normal and decide to use our actions supernaturally, we then even sharpen our own iron. Like Father, like son. Like Father, like daughter.

This world will never see what God intends for it to if we as Christians sit on the back burner, be hypocrites, and not apply what we are told in the Word to everyone we encounter.

We won’t become better versions of ourselves either if we continue to give ourselves excuses as well.

Our neighbors, our enemies, may not have the push they need for a heart change, if we aren’t moving in the perfectiveness of our faith.

Radical love teaches us to get out of our natural habits. To love beyond our natural capabilities. They are unnatural responses to unjust circumstances. Every heartache, set back, and discouragement, is an opportunity. Let us be like our Father, and use what the enemy means for harm, for good.

Foundation

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“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25, ESV)

The foundation is the base starting point to anything you are desiring to build.

This beginning piece will be an essential factor before you go on to the next levels of your project.


How do we make sure the foundation is built the way we need it to be, to withstand every storm? 


It must be founded on the Rock. This Rock is Jesus.


Whatever your plan is, without including Jesus 1͎s͎t͎ , all else will ultimately fail. 

“Do not just live a godly life…build it.” – The Few

To not have Him in mind first is foolish (Matthew 7:26), because without Him, you cannot do anything!

As Christians, we should learn from our past. I don’t know about you all, but before I had Jesus by my side, my mistakes dug me into a deep hole. One that I wasn’t able to get out of my own, in my own strength. If it wasn’t for my Savior, I would have continued into the depths of chaos and fears. Who knows where I would have ended up!

Thankfully, God met me in my mess. He grabbed my hand and insisted this was no longer a battle I had to fight on my own. Where no one else was to be found in my times of need, He revealed to me that He was. I just had to be willing to finally surrender and lean into His hope.

“And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Colossians 1:17, ESV

He is the Vine, we are the branches (John 15:5).

To be successful in anything that we do, we must make sure God is first in our lives and we remain in Him.

We have been appointed by God, not to do the things of the kingdom on our own (John 15:16).

If we are not grounded and united with the Father we are more than likely going to fall at some point.

Save yourself the trouble and enter His rest.

Our talents, gifts, and light do not come from our own doing, but from the Maker Himself!

“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God.” (Psalm 92:13, NKJV)

Relationship

“Let the heartbeat of your Bible reading be this simple prayer: ‘LORD, move this from my head to my heart.”
– John Piper

Today let us examine our relationships. Which ones? All of them.

Your relationship with God should be first in your life. If this is not the case for you, then this is one area in your life you must cater to first and foremost. Next, if you have a spouse, you and them have become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Thus because of this your relationship should also be of importance to you. It should be second on your list. Your parents, your imitate family (if they are in your life) should also be an aspect within your life that you can lean in toward. After all the command, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12, ESV), still applies (Matthew 10:37, Matthew 15:4, & Matthew 19:19). Then everyone else accordingly. (Friends Proverbs 17:17, Bosses/Coworkers 1 Peter 2:18, Matthew 5:16, Colossians 3:22, the government(s) 1 Peter 2:18…..so on and so forth).

These are just some logistics before I begin, but this is not necessarily all we will cover.

Today, I would like to go over relationships as a whole. Meaning, this is something we should be doing in all of our relationships, no matter which one it is.

This ‘something’ is honesty.

“You have no idea the numbers of people that God may want to influence through you.” – Andy Stanley

Honesty is important in every single relationship. When you are not honest with someone, you are even lying to yourself. In reality, it is also relevant to note that when you are not being honest with yourself or the people around you, you are not walking in accordance to the spirit. Walking in step with the spirit means that our hearts and thoughts are aligned with the Father (Galatians 5:25). Honesty gives us a clear conscience.

“Whoever gives an honest answer
    kisses the lips.”

Proverbs 24:26, ESV


Being an honest person means you are being your truest self. Those who are free in Christ are free indeed (John 8:36). If you feel you cannot be honest with the people around you, then you really need to reevaluate who it is you are allowing yourself to be affected by. There are so many questions we could ask ourselves to get us back on track, but the key thing is that we must fix our faults as soon as we recognize them. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get to the solution. Please, allow me to explain.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, BSB)

As we spoke about in reading, “Sometimes“, we learned that the tough times we go through in this life are no exception to the Body of Christ. IF you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior your life has become new in Him, but that doesn’t mean that everything is picture perfect. Despite now being a child of God, we are still temporally living in the world, but just because we are in the world, doesn’t mean we should respond the way the ones of the world do.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:16-18, NIV

Whether we are being honest or facing honesty, sometimes this can be a hard thing to handle. Sometimes we don’t want to face what is in front of us, but I encourage you today to fight against that. Stop running away from your problems and instead try tackling them and work through them.

By doing this and applying it to your life, you will be walking according to the spirit and will of God.

It might not be easy but that is okay. It may be a fight but it is a fight worth fighting for.

Our spirit is consistently fighting against our flesh, but it is up to us to reason it out (see Isaiah 1:18).

“Learn to do right” (Isaiah 1:17, BSB).

One last thing before you go.

To be honest, is showing you love the one you are being honest with. Is it not?


Thank you for reading. To read more on friendships please click here to read.

If this helped you and blessed you, I pray you will also take the time to be in the Word of God. 1 Peter Chapter 2 maybe! 😊

Beware

“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8-9, KJV)

Have you ever took the time to think about deception?

Maybe most of us have but we never think that we ourselves could be the ones who fall into the trap(s).

We live in a world where a lot of information is shown to us in such a speedily, vast, and in an ever-increasing obstacle.

Real source or Fake source can be of a common issue.

It can form a huge amount of confusion and restlessness.

Know that this is not of God.

“Ah! How foolish we are! How we repeat the folly of our first parent every day when we seek to hide sin from conscious, and then think it is hidden from God.” – Charles Spurgeon

The reason I am here writing to you today is because deception has run rapid and not enough people are noticing.

We have grown comfortable to the evil around us and grown cold to our Living God.

As the Body of Christ, are we living out our lives for the One who died for us?

Are we becoming conformed to this world that is not our home?

Please hear me out.

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” (Genesis 3:1, KJV)

We do not fight against flesh and blood.

If you read the verse above from Genesis 3:1 carefully, you will learn something about our biggest foe. He is the most subtil compared to any other beast. This means he is cunning, crafty, and deceitful. Just as he had tricked our ancestors in believing the forbidden fruit was desirable and innocent, he too is seen as such.

Just as that evil serpent did in the days of old, he continues to work against our good. He continues to work in ways people today are completely oblivious to. Why? Well because of that very thing, we are too blind to notice or to care.

We fight against one another instead of taking the time to seek the real cause.

We do the work of the enemy for him.

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3, ESV)

Thus, because we have moved from the garden life style in the beginning, to the more modern approaches to living in the present, we have lost touch with the fact that maybe these things, these spiritual occurrences, could very well happen in todays world.

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3, ESV); You think to yourself, oh that will never happen to me! Do you remember the same thing happened to Peter? Peter denied Jesus 3 times! (See Luke 22:54-62). If you are not continually walking in the Spirit, if you are not continually abiding in the Lord, and sticking close to Him during these times, there could be a chance that it could happen to you too. Maybe not the same exact way it happened to Peter, but nonetheless we should be looking at our temporary world through our spiritual lenses.

I pray that this will give you a new spark. One that will maybe question your own doings and push you to seek the Lord for all things. The life of the Christian is never boring. Or at least it shouldn’t be. There is always something we could be working on in ourselves, or praying for even in others. If you haven’t in a while, take a look at the environment around you. We cannot avoid the evil around us even if we wanted to. God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). This post is not to ignite fear, but to hopefully empower you to realize the power within you to fight the good fight around us. (Please see Ephesians 1:13; John 16:13; & Romans 8:14)

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Revelation 12:9, KJV

Hey

Hey! How are you all?

I know it has been quite some time since I have reached out here on my blog. My sincere apologies to you all.

If you are still here checking in or stopping by for reference, thank you and you are always welcome here.

Today, I thought I would write a little something just to say hello. To inform you that I am still around and behind the scenes God is working! Some new things may be coming so be on the lookout for those. Although, why the absence? Well, usually when I write it is when I am led to do so. If I am not led I usually do not write it out! Also, I have been extremely busy with work, school, family, and making sure I include the Lord in everything I do.

Know you are not forgotten. You are loved. & greatly appreciated.

 “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


Before I go, remember what Jesus accomplished for all. He defeated death and sin. He won the victory. He gave us the ability to fix an estranged relationship with the Father. The gospels remind us that He came wrapped in flesh, born of a virgin, died, was buried, rose on the third day, and ascended. “When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)

Yet while Jesus ascended into Heaven. There is a promise that some forget that I want to make light of today.

One day, He will return.

 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven. (Acts 1:10-11)

Just let that sink in for a moment.

looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

I am going to leave it there for now. I pray the Holy Spirit will fill in the blanks for you.

Hope your Holy Weekend is filled with God’s blessings, peace, and joy.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
John 20:29

John 20:29

I am defeated

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3, ESV)

I feel defeated. What do I do?

As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.”
2 Timothy 4:5

Reading in 2 Timothy this morning I noticed something. Whether the timing for us is favorable OR unfavorable we should still be proclaiming God’s message.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

Every one, no matter the age, goes through rough waters. We all have seasons of weariness and doubts. Yet what is important during the fight is to keep striving, even if we feel like we can’t. Even if we lose the sense of purpose. We are urged to to endure this suffering. Urge sounds pretty urgent,  persistent,  important. Doesn’t it?

He doesn’t just urge us, but solemnly urges. This is with deep sincerity. God isn’t just trying to pump you up or motivate you, but instead genuinely strengthen you and show His consistent faithfulness.

Our Father has more faith in us than we do ourselves. Proclaim the message. Keep the faith.  People will always do their way, everyone has a choice, yet, You as a child of God have a mission. You have a direct order from the Commander in Chief Jesus Christ. Carry out your ministry…fully!

Finish the race.

“From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8, NRSV)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
(2 Timothy 4:18)

God Hears Our Cry

‘Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! ‘ (Psalms 4:1, ESV)

Pastor J.D. Farag really nailed it on the head this morning. Per usual, I always love to hear his sermons. This mornings topic was titled, “God Hears Your Cries”. It was a very fitting title for the current season my family and I are in.

We often pray to God and while we pray to God I would hope you are being expectant of an answer. No matter what the answer may be. Here in the above Psalm we see something we all can relate to, the psalmist is seeking for answers. Pleading with the Lord, “Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!”.

Our family is going through some uncertainty and bad news at the moment. Therefore I can most certainly relate to the heartache this psalmist may have been feeling.

One of the things we can recognize within these scriptures is the fact of who we are compared to God. We need God’s grace. We need His mercy. Without Him we don’t have hope.

‘But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.’

(Psalms 4:3, ESV)

Verse three is also encouraging. As children of God we are favored. We are set apart for Him and His glory. Here is reassurance that the Lord indeed hears our cries. As you continue to read the Psalms of this particular chapter, it gives instruction for us of what we should do. (I strongly encourage you to read it on your own time to get the fulfillment you need)

  • Do not be angry
  • Be still/silent with God
  • Ponder and do a heart check
  • Trust in your Father

Our feelings can often be more than we can bare. Yet, I was reminded of a couple of verses I wanted to share:

‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

    and the flame shall not consume you.’

(Isaiah 43:2, ESV)

and the other

‘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.’

(James 1:6, ESV)

The first example is one of my favorite pieces, because of my history with God. Once upon a time I was out at sea, and during my trials God revealed to me that I had a new Captain in charge of my life. Him.

Sometimes we have to retrace our thoughts. Sometimes we need to remember where God brought us out of since the beginning. When we pass through these deep waters, God WILL be with us. There is no doubt when God speaks to us, none. He WILL be with you.

Don’t we remember? Faith is a risk, and with taking on this risk, comes unwavering faith. When we read- God will be with us, do we believe it? When we read- God is for us, do we believe it? OR when we read- God will deliver us, DO WE BELIEVE IT? Do we? We must, or else we will find ourselves allowing the troubles over take us. Allowing our enemies think that they have a shot of destroying the very thing God intends of rescuing you out of.

“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak” (Psalms 6:2, ESV)

We may be weak, for God remembers that we are only dust (Psalms 103:14). Just as Pastor J.D. brights to the light, our brokenness is undervalued. What does this mean? It means that our weakness is actually very valued in the eyes of God. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalms 34:18, ESV). Though our hearts beg for reassurance and rescue, we have the promise the Lord is not only near, but will redeem. Now here is my favorite part of all:

‘Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.’

(Psalms 6:8-10, ESV)

It isn’t us who shall be afraid, no, but our enemies who should be very afraid. Our God HAS heard our requests. He HAS heard the cry of His children. Now expect God’s response.


You can see Pastor J.D’s teaching here: