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.

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)

Election Day

“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalms 34:3, KJV)

Today in the United States of America is November 3rd, the Official Presidential Election Day, and since this is the case, I decided that I should come on here and say what God has laid on my heart.

When people think of America, some may associate us as a country of freedom.

One with opportunity, perseverance, and hope.

Proud citizens who stand up for what they believe in.

Although, we have to be honest with ourselves. There have been quite a few things that doesn’t give us the greatest image. Imagine looking from the outside in, like many other countries do. It seems that all eyes are on us sometimes doesn’t it?

The technologies that have come about in our age has in a way put everything on blast. This year as a whole may feel like chaos. Although what some may want to use for evil, God can use for good.

Our technology has made it possible to spread the Good News of God, (Mark 13:10; Matthew 21:14). Both to those who have never heard of it and to those who might not have access to it in print.

When God said, ” I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalms 46:10, NKJV), He wasn’t lying!

“God is working out things you haven’t even prayed for yet. He’s the God who works ahead of time.”

& yet, the best is yet to come.

SO,

a few things I believe God wants us to know in this time:

  • HE is in control. (Proverbs 19:21; Jeremiah 10:23)
  • HE is our refuge. (Psalms 46:1)
  • No matter who wins the final vote, Jesus is King. (Revelation 1:5; Revelation 17:14)

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

Romans 13:1, NKJV

We travel to and fro in this world as if we are in control of our lives. We are sometimes completely oblivious to Who really is~ God! No matter what the out come may be, Donald, Joe, Jo, or whomever… In the end as we can see from Romans 13, it was Gods ultimatum.

Since this is true, we must also remember that who ever is the President it is for God’s divine plan.

Just as the Bible shows us, beginning to end, God’s plan is for His glory.

So even in these hard, anxious, fast-paced moments, know that God sees the finish line.

“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, take care of them, not by constraint, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly.  Do not lord over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.” (1Peter 5:2-4, MEV)

Since our Lord is our refuge this means that at all times we can run to Him for shelter. He is our safety net. Does this mean to be cowardly and hide away when ever we are afraid? No, we are to be bold in Christ (Hebrews 4:16) and to not be afraid (Joshua 1:9). Let us instead be confident because know who we are protected by.

With this confidence then, we can show others how to respond.


If we are to be a One Nation Under God kind of nation, then we need to be examples to our neighbors and to the entire world.

Rosa Parks once said, “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” What kind of example have you been in your community?

&

If you feel like you haven’t been much of an example, you can always start!

In God’s Word it is shown that there are many, many, many ways to show a godly example. You could start with, “Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same“(Romans 13:3, NKJV). God often also suggests that we submit. Fear the Lord first of course, then the rest will follow suit. Though of course always do a heart check.

I could possibly go on and on with this post but for now I will just leave you with what has been written and some suggestions.

If you would like please meditate on these books in the Bible:

  1. Psalms Chapter 34
  2. Psalms Chapter 46
  3. Romans Chapter 13
  4. 1 Peter Chapter 5

As always, please go to God first before believing any man/spirit (1 John 4). Including myself, God bless you all.

Psalms 34:4

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

King James Version (KJV)

Faith Is A Risk

A significant amount of risk is involved in trusting God in all things, relationships, choices, and decisions. Risk, after all, is part of the very nature of faith.”

It can be hard to fathom faith and what it entails.

To have faith can be defined as, complete trust or confidence in someone or something. & in our case, this some-One is God.

For some this is easy and for other this is daunting. Jesus did mention, “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14, NKJV) Meaning, there are many paths and options we are allowed to take. There are many roads that are available that seem pleasing to the eye, but they may lead to destruction.

 “Not every opportunity is a good one. And with even greater certainty I can tell you, not all of them are sent by God. 

Passion & Purpose – Charles F. Stanley

Which is why following Jesus despite what it may look like in the moment is so important. We must think to ourselves, ‘will this glorify the Lord?’, ‘will this lead others to Jesus?’, ‘will this veer me away?’, ‘is this a distraction?’, and foremost ‘did I pray about this situation and wait on a response?‘.

Many hear the saying, “Faith not sight”, and miscue this for it being “blind faith”. Except, this isn’t the case at all. True Christians are not blindly following their Shepherd. In fact, they are provided with all that they need.

‘Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? ‘ (Matthew 6:26, NKJV)

God’s plan for your life (yes you) is to provide you with peace, a future, and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Do you think a Father who wishes this for you would just throw you into a pack of wolves with no solution or way out? Absolutely not, that is not who God is.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”

Psalms 119:105, NKJV

If you have read my previous posts, you should know that we have two things that God has gifted us: His Word and Prayer. Briefly, His Word is one of the ways He speaks His truth to us. His lessons lie within the text. Everything we need to know is in the very pages of the Bible. Prayer, is a direct landline to the Father. You can call on Him when ever and where ever you need His assistance. Both are tools within this realm to help us and others for the benefit of His kingdom.

There is also something else or I should say some-One else we are gifted by believing. The Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit!

“the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17, NKJV)

1 John 5:6-12 (KJV)

This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
For there are three who testify{Only a few recent manuscripts add “in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth”}:
the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three agree as one.
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is God’s testimony which he has testified concerning his Son.

He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who doesn’t believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.

The testimony is this, that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn’t have God’s Son doesn’t have the life.


Once we believed we changed. God intervened on our behalf and did the impossible. Well, what would have been impossible for us, but for God nothing is impossible (Jeremiah 32:27). With His Holy Spirit as our helper, guide, encourager, interceder, and more (forever), we have more than we need.

Yet, it isn’t all about the gifts we have in this life, no. God even went above and beyond that.

As you just read from 1 John, we are citizens of God’s kingdom, with Him, for eternity.

Therefore, we are not blind even though we cannot see. Faith without seeing does not make us foolish for believing. It is actually the opposite. Did you know that non-belief is actually evil in the eyes of God? “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12, NKJV).

Faith in Jesus Christ may be a risk, but it is not a risk that will put us in danger or harm us. He is the way The Way, The Truth, The Life.

‘“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”’ (John 14:1-4, NKJV)

NO ONE can enter the kingdom of God without going through/believing in Jesus Christ.

Are we willing to take on the risk?

I pray that you already have, and if not, today is your day, because unfortunately, all the other paths are going to lead you where you never thought they would.

Choose life.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:35, NIV)

Prayer

“Prayer ushers you into a relationship with your Creator that impacts and reveals who you are as a person at the most profound levels.”- Charles F. Stanley

There is so much one could say about prayer. Prayer can do big things, or small. Prayer is also connection. Connection with the most important Being in the entire universe. How ever big that even is.

With prayer, comes humility. It allows us to lower ourselves and come to a God that is so much more than ourselves. It detaches us from the bustling world and brings us to a quiet space of intimacy.

You may know of the frequent times Jesus had often wandered away to do just that.

“And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

(Luke 5:16, KJV)

From The Gift of Prayer by Charles Stanley, he says it perfectly, “Your life was made to be an earthen vessel that shines forth His glory (2 Corinthians 4:7). And the more you know Christ and are unified with Him, the more He lives His life through you, giving you His power and revealing His plan for you.”

You see, prayer isn’t just a time for you to ask for all the things you desire. Prayer is a way for you to have the most important relationship of your life! Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God and His kingdom come first! Did you know as a child of God you are already a citizen of His kingdom? You no longer belong to the worries of this world.

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now My kingdom is not of this realm.

(John 18:36, BSB)

& although this kingdom Jesus speaks of is not of this realm, we have access to it everyday. Jesus tells us so, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there’! For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21,NKJV)

“What other creature exhibits such a capacity or has been given such an honor?”- Charles F. Stanley

Are you in awe yet?

You should be.

I am showing you this passage because it glorifies the LORD. It illustrates His essence. A snippet of who He is and what He has done/does. Isn’t it just beautiful how some One so extraordinary and unfathomable would genuinely want a loving relationship with you and I? What is man that You are mindful of him (Psalms 8:4)? For we are just dust (Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:19; Genesis 13:16; Genesis 18:27), yet you cover us in your blood (1 John 1:7), and cloak us with robes of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,  you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)

My message for you all today is, be an opportunist. An opportunist is simply someone who takes on an opportunity. You take the chance that is given to you and take it. Luckily for us, right now we have every single day to seize the opportunity at hand.

P R A Y

Get to know God. Even more deeply than you do now. God insists that you do. He says in Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight”, says the Lord.” <- That is who He is and this is what He wants!

As for myself, I have been exploring my personal relationship with our Father. More so lately. The things I wonder about Him, I seek. The questions I have for Him, I ask. The worries I have, I lay them all at His feet. For He truly cares.

“He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,

He shall see His face with joy.”

(Job 33:26, NKJV)

Taking on this challenge with God has done more than just be therapeutic for me. It is a continual learning process. I am learning how God speaks to me individually. I am learning how He speaks in general. Of what exactly He wants from me while we are here, and becoming more expectant to what He may reveal. It will not come all at once, as we may prefer (see Psalms 37:7), but I hope that this encourages you to maybe reach out to God on a new level. Fight against the distractions, the doubts, lies, or even laziness that is hindering your relationship. Trust your walk, trust where you are, and trust where you are going, because you are in safe Hands (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalms 46:10).

So as my journal says….

“Pray It Forward”