Building Your Faith

Romans 12:3 (KJB), “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

We have all been given the measure of faith. I always felt like somehow I was lacking in faith, yet repeatedly guest speakers, prophets, and my own pastors would tell me that I was “full of faith” or “faithful.” Then I would feel kind of proud of myself, like I did something. Then the next trial would come, it would pull the rug out from under my feet and I would pray for more faith. I knew that “Faith came by hearing the word of God,” so I read my Bible sometimes even out loud, but I still had faith issues. Yes, I needed to hear God speaking to me through His word; I needed to find out what He had to say about me, life, and how to live it. However, I also needed to grow or build my faith by doing what that word said.

That is what God was trying to tell me through those pastors and prophets. Not that I had done something right, just that God had already given me the measure of faith. I owned it. I wasn’t lacking faith, I just wasn’t walking by faith. What had been given to me wasn’t being used right, or enough to make it grow.

While praying about faith, God showed me a can of hairspray. When we purchase it, the can is full of hairspray. We know it is there so we can push the nozzle and we know the sticky stuff will come out. We are that can. When we surrender to the Lord, He fills us up with everything we will need to walk with Him. We need to have to believe that when we push that nozzle of faith, that what is inside of us will come up. Think of the nozzle as God’s word. What does He say? Then walk out in faith in that word and the God that backs His word.

So we don’t need more faith, we just have to build up what we have already been given. If you need stronger arms, you don’t pray for another bicep, you work the one you have until it gets stronger. Our faith never gets stronger until we step out. For example, when we first hear a tithing message that explains why we tithe and what the blessings are, we step out and write that check, believing that what God said is true and that we will reap what we sow. Then, when He proves His word true and we have more money at the end of the month, our faith in His word grows. The same is when we receive a healing, no matter what the symptoms are, how we feel physically, we rise up and walk. We get out of bed and do what we don’t feel like doing. This is standing on His word, walking in faith, and how we strengthen our faith.

When God promises that we lack no good thing, this includes faith. We aren’t lacking! He gave faith to us as a gift. We just have to build up our faith muscles.

“Regardless of circumstances, regardless of influences about us, let us turn every problem into His care.Your worst enemy is yourself. It has come through Sense Knowledge that would limit you to your own ability.The language of the Senses is:”I can’t, I haven’t the ability, I haven’t the strength, I don’ have the opportunity, I have no education, I have been limited.”The language of faith says, “I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me.””~E.W. Kenyon

Book Review for “Healing the Sick” by T.L. Osborne

What it is about: Healing the Sick has been acclaimed around the world to be a modern-day classic on divine healing. Throughout his ministry, T.L. Osborn has personally witnessed the miraculous healings of multitudes of individuals who have heard and believed on the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.

This is a powerful book, so powerful that thousands of people have been healed just by reading and acting upon the truths in this book!

Now in an expanded and easier-to-read format, this Living Classic will continue to be a miracle blessing to all those who read it. Written in a clear, simple and straight-forward style, Healing the Sick has been and will continue to be one of the Body of Christ’s foremost authoritative teachings on divine healing.

My review: This is a must read for every Christian, especially if they are dealing with illness or sickness. I give it five stars and it has changed the way I look at healing. So thankful for this book. Written in a way that is easy to understand, backed up with scriptures. There is a section in the back with testimonies of healings all over the world and some pictures in the middle of T.L. and his wife. Great read. Don’t rush through it but take your time and let it sink in.

Get it here

I Get Him

Luke 7: 1-10 (Berean Study Bible), “When Jesus had concluded His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum. There a highly valued servant of a centurion was sick and about to die. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to ask Him to come and heal his servant. They came to Jesus and pleaded with Him earnestly, “This man is worthy to have You grant this, for he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them. But when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends with the message: “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. That is why I did not consider myself worthy to come to You. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell one to go, and he goes; and another to come, and he comes. I tell my servant to do something, and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at the centurion. Turning to the crowd following Him, He said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith!” And when the messengers returned to the house, they found the servant in good health.

Jesus found this non-Jewish man’s faith to be something to comment on. He wanted to make sure that we all remembered this centurion’s words. “Just say the word.” He believed in the authority of Jesus and His word. This was before Jesus’ death and resurrection, before the Holy Spirit, yet this man had the faith that his servant would be healed simple because Jesus said he would.

What about us? We who know the price Jesus paid for our sin and our sickness, we who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we have access to His word, bible teachers, preachers, and direct access to the throne room of God, shouldn’t we have such faith.

If God said it then it is so. If He promised, He will do it. It is already settled in Heaven. Jesus shed His blood to take away our sin. He allowed His body to be broken and bruised to take away our sickness. God hates both sin and sickness, they aren’t allowed in Heaven. We need the kind of faith that says “at your word, Lord, so be it!” If we have anything less, we aren’t pleasing Him.

Hebrews 11:6 (Berean Literal Bible), “And without faith, it is impossible to please Him. For it behooves the one drawing near to God to believe that He exists and that He becomes a rewarder to those earnestly seeking Him out.”

Paul knew about this kind of faith. That’s why he could say to those manning a floundering ship that had been driven by a storm for two weeks: “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” Acts 27:25 (NIV) That’s why he could shake off that poisonous serpent.

The very best thing about this kind of faith, in this time of grace, is that it gets us more of Him. It isn’t that my faith gets me money, or health, or a great husband, and the perfect job. It gets us Him! The more we learn about who He is, who we are to Him, His promises and plans for us, what He has already done, His finished work, the closer our relationship with Him. This builds our faith, and our trust, and our love for Him.

What more do we need? When we get Him, we get it all.

Book Review for “The Field”- Christian Fiction/Allegory

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What it’s about:

“Three women are lured into a forbidden field by a charming prospector and the promise of buried treasure. Hava, in doing the prospector’s bidding, inadvertantly unleashes a battle in the Kingdom, and the consequences of her actions leave her guilt-ridden and isolated. Delilah, daughter of an influential Kingdom ambassador, uses her philosophical wit to recruit treasure hunters to her own cause. Lilly, ever a loner, seizes the opportunity to do something meaningful and be recognized for it. Through their respective encounters with the Field, Hava, Delilah, and Lilly take up their roles in the age-old battle between the King and those who oppose him in ways none of them had planned.”

My Review:

I was given a copy of “The Field” in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, I loved this book! One of the best Christian allegories I have ever had the privilege of reading. It tells the story of the ultimate battle, the one for our souls. It clearly portrays our enemy, the Deceiver, and the love of the King. I give it five stars and will definitely be looking for more from this author. No swearing or sexual content, there is violence, but nothing explicit. Good for teens and up.

 

Heart Hooks

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Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJB), “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”

Have you ever been hooked by a fish hook? Maybe seen someone who has? I have several times, some of the stories are downright comical, others make you cringe just thinking about them. The thing about a fish hook is that you can’t just pull those things out. They have little barbs on them that are supposed to keep you from losing your fish.

I read a book recently where they used this analogy to explain the hurts in our heart. Those hurts are like fish hooks, full of barbs that are embedded in our hearts. You really can’t just pull them out. God knows this and cares about us so much that he takes them out the “easy way”. This involves pushing them through. It is still painful, believe me, it will hurt. However, it will not do more damage. Our Father knows the safest way to get them out. He can remove them without tearing our hearts to pieces. He is in the repair business not the demolition business after all.

We read in scripture about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness, resisting, and then coming out of that experience full of the power of the Holy Spirit. He immediately started teaching in the synagogues. We read in Luke that He returns to His hometown, where He was raised and as was His custom, went to the synagogue there. He stands up and reads those words out of Isaiah. I enjoy the King James Version of this one because it reads that He came to “bind up the brokenhearted”. When I read this version, I always picture a torn and ravaged heart that He tenderly wraps in the gauze of His love, stopping the hemorrhaging.

That’s why He came. To heal our hearts. To show us that the Father’s love is more than enough to bind up any brokenness, to stitch up every wound, to break up every stony place, and to fill our hearts with His love (His love is “shed abroad” in our hearts.)

I found myself recently having to allow one of those barbs to be removed. I thought that the broken place had already been healed. Sometimes we don’t even know about a wound until God starts that gently pushing. Did it hurt? You bet. It also brought up some ugly stuff that I didn’t want to deal with. Yet, I have gotten smarter with every hook removed, so I allowed Him to do His thing. I was left feeling emotional, drained, and free! One more hurt gone. One more kiss from Daddy on the boo-boo. I am glad that just because we think everything is fine, doesn’t mean that He stops working on us. He knew I still harbored that hook. He also knew it was not part of His plan for my life. So out came the spotlight and there it was.

When that happens, the best thing to do is immediately surrender that hurt to God. Forgive anyone you need to, and ask Him to take it out. I used to reason with myself, make excuses, say things like, “I already got over that years ago,” or get on the bandwagon of lamenting all the hurts in my life, or take on a victim mentality. I learned the hard way that doing those things only makes those barbs reproduce. It makes the hooks grow, and it makes the process of removing them take even longer, and hurt a lot worse. That’s why it is important ask God to search our hearts. Allow the Holy Spirit to show us what’s really in there.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB), “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me,  And lead me in the everlasting way.”

This isn’t about just looking for sin, or bad habits, it is also looking for wrong thought patterns, unforgiveness, and unhealed hurts, every “hurtful way” in us. He is faithful, He is gentle, and His love can heal every wound.

Will you let Him?

The Law Couldn’t Change Me

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Galatians 2:21 (NLT), “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

I knew at a very early age that I wasn’t what I wanted to be. Sure, maybe dreams of being an astronaut, a ballerina, and a rock star weren’t exactly part of the purpose God had for me, but at the time they felt like something attainable. I did know I was destined for greatness. I just didn’t know how to get there. My legs were too short for ballet, my stomach couldn’t handle the tilt-a-whirl, let alone outer space, and my voice was less than stellar. So where did that desire for greatness come from?

From God.

He has purposes and plans for each one of us that would either excite us to delirium, or scare us enough that we would hide in a closet the rest of our lives. We are destined for greatness.

I Corinthians 2:7 (Weymouth New Testament), “But in dealing with truths hitherto kept secret we speak of God’s wisdom–that hidden wisdom which, before the world began, God pre-destined, so that it should result in glory to us;” (emphasis mine)

We are pre-destined for glory. His glory will be revealed in us! When Jesus returns we will be just like Him.

I John 3:2-3 (NSASB), “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is and everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

That is the reason He came. The law couldn’t change us into the image of Jesus. In fact Paul calls the law, “The law of sin and death.” Jesus had neither in Him. Jesus is full of the Father’s love. When we accept that love, then we are changed. Not by outward conformance, but by inward repentance. The word repentance actually means “to change”. We change the way we think, how we see God, how we see ourselves, and what we think of others, by accepting the finished work of Jesus. We change from the path to hell to the path to life. We become more like Him. His blood justified us, that is something the law could never do. At best it covered our sin, it never wiped it all away.

Galatians 2:16 (KJB), “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

If then, we have been changed by the blood of Christ, and by His great love, why would we ever want to go back to the law again? Why would we expect others to live a performance based existence? That would make us just like the some of the early Jewish Christians who wanted the gentiles to adhere to the law. But, Paul’s answer still resonates today:

Acts 15:10 (NLT), “So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?”

The whole reason for the law was because of the hardness of men’s hearts, because of the fall of mankind. God did it to protect the whole race. That is the same reason we have some of the same laws today, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t rape, don’t mistreat children, etc. They are for protection. Now under grace, those who have accepted His atonement for our sin, those of us who know His love, don’t need a law to tell us not to kill, steal, and destroy. We know those are the actions of the enemy and we don’t want no part of that. We also don’t need laws to tell us how to dress, what to eat, or where to live. We allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in these areas. If we had such laws, most of us wouldn’t be able to live up to them!

So we certainly can’t expect others to conform to any weird laws we have made up in our own imagination to prove that they are truly saved.

When we surrender our hearts to the Father, then real change takes place. Changing a habit, changing what we say and do, by self-work, either won’t last, or it will cause pride. True, inside, heart change only happens through the love of God and the work of the Holy Spirit (and neither of those ever come by force!).

The law can’t change us, at least not for the better.

Praise God, His love can!

Less of Me

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John 3:30 (NIV), “He must become greater; I must become less.”

We pray, “I just want more of You,” and we sing songs that say, “More of you Jesus.” Why do we do that? It sounds so spiritual and maybe it makes us feel like we are really trying. Possibly we mean we want to experience more of Him in our lives, or most likely we just don’t understand that He already gave ALL of Himself to us. He has already given us everything. How much more could He give?

Romans 8:32 (NIV), “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Emphasis mine)

How much is all? Does all include all of Jesus? All of God? All of Heaven? You bet it does. Let’s look at this parable that Jesus told us.

Matthew 13:45-46 (DRB), “Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

Who is the merchant? God is. Who is the pearl (one pearl) of great value or great price? I am, ok, you are. We are, but still it says “one” so He did it for each one of us individually. This is important because the Liar will try to tell you that “lots of people would sacrifice their lives in exchange for dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of people. Nothing personal for you in Christ’s death.” But, get this, He died for you. Just you. Me, just me. If anyone of us would have been the only one, He still would have willingly given His life in exchange for us. He paid the ultimate price, Matthew says he “sold ALL He had” to purchase us. How much is all?

So we can’t get more of Him. There is nothing more to give, He already did. We can’t get more of His love, presence, grace, mercy, or any other gift you want to name here. He gave it all! On the cross, before time began, before Adam was created, before you were born, He gave it all. Out of time, outside of our Calendar, not just 2000 years ago. He paid it all.

So what do we really mean when we say “More of you?” We should be saying what John the Baptist said, and I am trying to practice what I preach, “Less of me.” We can’t get more of His presence, but we can spend more time in it. We can’t get more of His love, but we can accept more, allow more of it to rule and reign in our hearts. We can’t get more forgiveness, but we repent more often and ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts. We can experience more of Him by putting Him first in our lives and putting ourselves second. Less of our wants, less of our plans, less of our whining and complaining, less of our stubbornness, and less of our self-righteousness. We can experience the “Fullness of God.” It isn’t impossible. How does that happen?

Ephesians 3:19 (AMP), “and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].” 

When we practically, through personal experience, know, really know, His love. This knowing is not head knowledge. It is the difference between recognizing the love of your life as someone you read about or heard about, and becoming one flesh with them. Knowing. Intimate. When we know that, then, we get the richest experience of God’s presence in our lives. “Completely filled and flooded with God Himself”. I love that. I want that.

Don’t you?

What is your prayer?

“Less of me.” Amen.