Category Archives: Faith

Just do it!

just do itFaith – “Just do it?”

“Just do it” is a popular slogan you will see emblazoned across many a teenagers T-shirt. Is it really sensible advice however?

Driving analogy

As a professional driving instructor, I don’t think I’ll be advising pupils approaching a roundabout to ‘just do it’! Indeed, that would be incredibly stupid! No, I teach them to use their brains and think through what they are doing. A good decision, a safe decision, is one in which the pupil uses the well worn driving acronym: LOOK, ASSESS, DECIDE, ACT. A good decision therefore, is based on having all the information available and giving yourself time. A rushed decision is often a dangerous one!

Hesitation

Of course, a pupil can go to the opposite extreme: taking too long to make the decision whether to go or not – which becomes hesitation and this can cause problems also – not the least irritating other drivers! If though, we mean by: “just do it” not to procrastinate, then I whole-heartedly agree with that. Get a move on!

For example: as a teenager I remember spending all afternoon working up the courage to dive off the top diving board at the swimming pool. No amount of peering over the edge and worrying what it would feel like if i hit the water with a stupendous belly flop helped! All it did was increase the fear! In the end, I did just do it: I closed my eyes and dived –  successfully I might add! After that it was easy.

Faith = Risk

In the spiritual realm, many equate faith with acting without thought or without thinking things through. Indeed, I believe the term: “blind faith” is an oxymoron. Yes, faith does involve risk but it is not reckless or blind! In fact, I believe that faith is the clearest form of seeing there is. Faith sees into the unseen realm; as these two scriptures articulate:

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off

Walking on water.

In Matthew 14, the disciples of Jesus are having a bad day, or more accurately – a sleepless night in a storm tossed boat in the middle of the lake! To further compound their distress, they see a strange distant man walking on the water and logically come to the conclusion – it’s a ghost!

Often, in life we find ourselves in these ‘out of control’ situations’ where like the disciples we are crying out in fear because we don’t understand what’s going on. Often It seems, that Jesus isn’t in our boat ( circumstances) but is out there on the water (very remote); his presence doesn’t seem that real (like a ghost).

The fact is, life, like driving (or diving), cannot be lived without danger or risk. Jesus though, this ghostlike man on the water, basically says: be happy and don’t be afraid. Today that’s what he would say to you and I in any difficult situation that we face.

Is it a ghost?

What is interesting though, is that Peter goes one step further. He basically issues Jesus a test. If it’s really you Lord then ask me to do something impossible and walk on the water like you are doing. I’m not sure I understand the logic of this: if Jesus is a ghost then he’s going to drown! Maybe, he’s pretty certain it’s Jesus and as they are already half-drowned, why not push the boat out a little further – excuse the pun!

Look/assess

Was he one hundred percent sure it was Jesus out there skipping on the waves? No. But, that’s often how faith feels. It’s an inner knowing; a strong hunch. The first step of faith therefore, is to look before you leap! Ask yourself, can you imagine Jesus in these future different circumstances that you think God is calling you to walk into? If you can, in other words you can only succeed through faith and the supernatural ability of Jesus- then it’s probably God!

All through the bible you have these crisis of faith. The Israelites trapped by the Red Sea. A country threatened by a giant. A man thrown in a den of lions. And a messiah who was put to death on a cross to the bewilderment of his disciples.

Decide

At some point however, you have to make a decision. Faith is a decision. You have to make a decision to trust. Maybe your driving on the way to the airport and an hour into the journey you can’t remember whether you shut the front door properly. What do you do? Maybe you decide to trust God and carry on? Of course this doesn’t mean you ignore the natural. You might ring your neighbour to make sure for example. Unbelief however, is a decision not to trust God.

Act

Faith without works is dead. In other words, faith that doesn’t result in action is not faith. Peter didn’t talk about it he actually stepped out of the boat onto the water. He was the only man other than Jesus who accomplished this feat! The other disciples, looking on, may have envied Peter, maybe even believed that they could do it too. However, the difference was: they didn’t act. Therefore they didn’t have faith to walk on water.

Just to finish, I wonder if maybe a large proportion of Christians today are sitting in the boat rather than walking out to Jesus on the waves?

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Prophecy – hope in God

hope in God

Psalm 16:9 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.”

Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Hope in God

Son,

It’s good to learn patience. Those that wait with expectation, faith and hope – receive! Hope is keeping your eye on the ball, your heart steady. Faith is what causes you to move, to launch like a rocket. Hope on the other hand, is what moves you to stand still, to stay steady fixed on course, unwavering, fixed on the goal of the moon or any other target.

These two forces therefore, are not in opposition, they complement one another; they are like two sides for the same coin. Faith without hope ends in frustration as the rocket veers off course. Hope without faith ends up in presumption; the rocket stays on the launch pad.

Both faith and hope come from reading and absorbing my word. Faith in action is very powerful but faith without works is dead, lifeless, inert. Three things remain: faith, hope and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)  

Add love to the mixture of faith and hope, and you have an explosive formulae – dynamite, because faith works by love.

Father

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Further reading:

The art of celebration (prophecy)

More prophecy

Gardening and holiness

The Bible impossible tales

What’s all this fuss about hyper-grace?

Please help this ministry by downloading my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory

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Does grace work?

Grace workDoes grace really work? In this article, I want to address the issue and perception of some, that those of us who preach grace teach and encourage spiritual laziness, because we talk about effortless change and rest. In other words, we are portrayed as believing that there is nothing for the believer to do – it’s all up to God because we are under grace. It follows then, we are encouraging people to behave like spiritual bums who slob it out in the heavenly departure lounge until Jesus returns! I believe that if grace is truly been preached nothing could be further from the truth.

My experience

Actually, I know from my experiences this year, that a revelation of God’s abounding, super, amazing, hyper-grace will result in you working far harder and producing more fruit in a shorter time than you ever thought possible. I mean, allow me a little foolish boasting on my part – this year I managed to write two Kindle books (I don’t know if they are any good,  you’ll have to read them and tell me what you think) but if you had told me that I would accomplish that a couple of months ago – I would have not believed you! I’ve noticed also that instead of reading a portion of scripture a day I’m reading chapters. Is this because I’m disciplining myself? No its happening quite naturally because I’m hungry for the word – ok boasting over!

The fruit of grace

No, grace empowers; it transforms; it produces vision and action; it results in fruit for God; it produces holiness – GRACE WORKS.

1 Cor 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

In fact, if it doesn’t produce the above then was it really grace? No, I don’t believe so. Grace in the believers life will always have an effect. It is the antidote to sinful behaviour and addictions. It will teach you to deny ungodly lusts.

Titus 2:12 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Grace empowers

Therefore, what sinners (including sinning believers) need more than anything, is more grace not more law because that is the only thing that will empower them to change. Like the woman caught in adultery in John 8,  Jesus first took away the power of sin (the law) by removing any condemnation by saying: “neither do I condemn you”.

Then he follows with a command not to sin because grace has empowered her. Jesus therefore came to free us from the power of sin so that we would be his special people zealous for good works.

Titus 2:15 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Evidence of faith?

It follows then, that works follow grace; there should be evidence that someone is saved! True grace will transform and reform you from the inside out and if over time there isn’t evidence of any transformation, you should wonder whether you have received God’s grace in vain.

2 Cor 6:1 “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”

Ask yourself, is there enough evidence to convict you as christian? Are you truly holy or different from the man in the street or do you watch pornography and cheat on your taxes like everyone else? Even worse, does the fruit of your life actually contradict the message you preach?

Titus 1:16  “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

Faith works

James tackles this very issue of genuine faith in his Epistle, when he makes the assertion that faith or believing on its own is not enough to save. That seems a heretical statement to evangelicals but what he’s saying is that saving faith is more than an acknowledgement of the facts and a reciting of the creeds. As he points out later, even the devils believe – and they are not saved!

James 2:17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Faith therefore has to come alive and produce fruit or works to be seen as genuine faith, gold tested in the fire – FAITH WORKS!

1 Peter 5:17 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

For example, how do we know Abraham had faith, can we see right into his heart? No, his works recorded for us in scripture are the evidence of his genuine faith! He was tried and found faithful. This is the kind of faith that the Apostle Paul believed he had found in his protege Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:5  “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

Faith and grace therefore go together like salt and pepper. Grace is towards all but it is not received by all. Faith is the supernatural ability given by God to receive from the unseen realm all that God has provided through his grace.

False faith

Hence, not all what looks like faith is faith. In the Bible there are example of those who look like the genuine article but in fact are not. One such case is  of Simon the sorcerer:

Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”

Was Simon a genuine believer? On the surface yes, but as it turns out heart was not right before God and the is no record of genuine repentance. In fact, historical records shows us that he became an enemy of christianity and the source of gnosticism. So, what did Simon believe? I think he believed the evidence of the miracles but he didn’t experience new birth himself.

Maybe that is what in the writer of Hebrews 6 had in mind – in that interesting passage which some claim proves a believer can lose their salvation. In fact, it is nothing of the sort, the writer is concerned for his Jewish readers that they may turn out just like Simon the Sorcerer. The test is the fruit.

Hebrews 6:8 “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”

Therefore, just because a person says they are a christian doesn’t mean they are! In fact, Paul prophesied that there would be attacks against the church from within and without.

Acts 20:30 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Even today, there are still those who want to dilute the message of grace by mixing it with a little bit of law. Unfortunately, that nullifies grace working and that is exactly what the enemy doesn’t want – GRACE WORKING!

New Creation Church Gosport 

Further reading:

United as one (song)

What is the kingdom of God?

What is holiness

Work out your own salvation (prophecy)

Training for reigning

 

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

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Prophecy – a fresh adventure in 2015

can a believer lose their salvationIt’s time for new things a fresh adventure. In this season of change look for the opportunities and walk through the door of hope. Don’t look at the obstacles the past failures but look forwards not back. Leave past regrets where they belong – behind you. Do not be afraid. Trust. Behold I make ALL things New – even those things that seem to be beyond renovation or renewal.

I AM the resurrection and the life.  I AM the prince of peace so even where there has been war, conflict and anxiety I can bring a new era of tranquility.

It’s time to let go and enjoy a new sense of adventure in the spirit, to take risks, to step out of the boat again. I know it’s tempting as you get older to settle down and be comfortable but I want you to renew your mind and be young at heart. A Caleb willing to take on mountains and giants because I will be with you in every endeavour. I love faith and I love it when you put me to the test and trust me 100%. New ideas and thoughts are coming. Fresh vision. Fresh bread.

Planting a New Grace Church!  – our fresh adventure.

shadowcrossSince 2009 we have had a vision to plant a grace church in Gosport. Recently we have been feeling it’s time and to that end a few of us having been praying at our business address www.curvesgosport.com for a couple of months on a wednesday night at 8:00 PM.

The church is called New Creation Church Gosport

We aim to start meeting at Curves Gosport on a Sunday evening 6:30 PM from the 5th April Easter Weekend 2015.

Please feel welcome to come and support us!

Further reading:

Work out your own salvation (prophecy)

My love for you

Prophecy

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

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I live because of you – song

Music and  lyrics Paul Noble – Chorus lyrics by Carol Winkler (c) 2011

Chords and lyrics  <I LIVE>

I LIVE BECAUSE OF YOU

Paul Noble © July 2011

In Him, we move, have our very being

He’s the author of life, sustainer of worlds

And he came to give us life, life in all abundance

Resurrection power, life from the dead

CHORUS

It’s not my heart that’s beating,

It’s not my breath I breath

It’s not my voice that’s speaking,

Its not my life, but His

It’s not my heart that’s beating,

It’s not my breath I breath

It’s not my voice that’s speaking

I live , I live because of You, I live ,

I live because of You

Verse 2

In him, I’m created, born again, brand new

He’s the anchor of my soul,

He’s the way, he’s the truth

And the life I now live, I live by faith in him

Resurrection power, freedom from sin

BRIDGE

Now the Spirit of life has set me free,

From the law of sin and death

My spirit is alive,  My spirit is alive

Because of Righteous- ness

I’m alive in Christ, I’m alive in Christ,

The Living they praise You!

My spirit is alive my spirit it is alive,

I live, I live because of You

Songs:

Joy to the world

Under your wings 

Music

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I hate failure!

i hate failureI hate failure. As a professional driving instructor though, I have to help people deal with it because it is part of life – even the best and gifted fail! Therefore, failure is not always a bad thing as long as its not catastrophic and we learn from it.

As believers are we going to fail? Yes more than likely? Are we going to sin? Probably. Do born-again and spirit filled Christians get deceived, duped and even bewitched into believing all sorts of rubbish and even heresy? Yes, unfortunately!

It’s a fact, that even the early New Testament church was not perfect and immune to heresy and failure.

“Remember the height from which you’ve fallen! Repent, and do what you did at first. (Rev 2:5)”  – The letter to the church at Ephesus.

However, before this gets too depressing let me ask this question. Is the grace of God big enough to cover all these eventualities? Can all things (including failures) work for good for those who love God and are called according to purpose? Yes and Amen. As Paul said somewhere, your grace is much more than enough. The wonderful truth is, that even though the church fails, and we fail spectacularly, Jesus still loves his church and He still loves us. That is amazing grace!

In fact, the Bible is full of examples of failure. It doesn’t cover up the mistakes, sins and stupidity of the saints. Look at Jonah for example. What an idiot! Did God use him powerfully though? Yes, in fact he was one of the greatest evangelists ever – I mean the whole of Nineveh repented! What a revival!

Then there is: Gideon the fearful; Sampson the lustful; Jacob the schemer; Abraham the liar; Moses the murderer; David the adulterer;  Solomon the polygamist and shall we go on!

Is grace an excuse for failure?

It’s important though, not to make excuses for our failures. Oh well, it doesn’t matter because Jesus loves me and forgives me. Indeed, yes He does but He is also going to teach you and discipline you like any good parent would a child! God’s desire is that we are perfect as He is. He doesn’t want us to sin. He wants us to know the truth. He wants us to be more than a conqueror. He wants us to overcome, flee temptation and resist the devil.

Learning to succeed

The Father wants us to grow and mature. He doesn’t want us to stay baby and carnal christians drinking only milk. He wants us to succeed.

For example: as a driving-instructor I am not expecting perfection the moment my pupil gets in the car for his or her first lesson. I’m not expecting them to drive straight to the test centre! No, that would be crazy and extremely dangerous! In fact, in the first few lessons I expect the pupil to make mistakes! If they don’t, then they are probably not learning! However, if they have had 40 hours of lessons and they still don’t look in their mirrors – then there is going to be some strong words spoken by me!

The Holy Spirit – your personal trainer

The fact is, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to ensure that we get to the end of the journey and enter heaven safely. My objective as a driver trainer is to get my pupil from “learner-land” to the “heavenly gates” of the test-centre and a life-time of safe driving. That is my mission. Similarly, the Holy Spirit’s mission is to deliver you in one piece to heaven!

2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

What you need to know is that you can’t do it on your own. No, God has graciously given us the Holy Spirit as a coach to help us navigate through the minefield of our brand new spiritual life. I’m convinced, without His help to guide us, none of us would make it!

“the Lord knows how to rescue the ungodly from temptation”  2 Peter 2:9

This is because, there are many dangers and hazards on the way, as we navigate this uncharted territory. Similarly, as a learner driver we have to learn to read the warning signs, cope with other unpleasant drivers and navigate our first roundabout!

The Christian life though, is even more difficult than this – its like learning to drive in Iraq with IED all over the place! The reality is that,  we are opposed by a wily and dangerous terrorist and enemy in the devil, who is out to trip us up and kill us if he can! So yes, we may stumble and fail but the promise of scripture stands:

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).

Psalm 37:24  “Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

You’ll make it!

Therefore, the blessed Holy Spirit is the guarantee or earnest of our inheritance. He is a down payment guaranteeing final payment. In addition, the package is sealed by him personally so it’s not going to get tampered with or damaged on the way!

2 Cor 1:22 “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. “

Ephesians 1:14 “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

The good news is, that Jesus not only starts us off on this adventure of faith, He’s there at every step of the way and he ’s there at the finishing line cheering us on!

Hebrews 12:12 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; “

Phil 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

In addition, as we run this race of faith, a huge crowd of saints who finished their journey are cheering us on!

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”

As an instructor though, I love the end of the journey when the pupil passes the test. I rejoice with them! What an amazing day its going to be when we see Jesus face to face!

Expecting to fail

Its a fact though, that some people expect to fail – they have faith for it! They expect not to make it. Some even torpedoe their own success because they believe they are a failure.

When I’m teaching driving, a common issue is that of the pupil being frightened of stalling the car. Most of the time they are fine, but as soon as they are at a traffic lights with cars impatiently waiting behind, then they start to think thoughts of fear. They start to believe that they are going to stall when that traffic light changes. Guess what happens? They are so fixed on the fear of failure that they don’t concentrate, the light changes, in panic the clutch comes off too fast with not enough gas and guess what – they stall!

Fixated on sin

Some believers are like that. They are so fixated with sin and failure that they end up sinning all the time because that’s all they ever think about. How do you overcome sin? You look to Jesus and his perfection. In God’s eyes we are already perfect so performance comes out of who we already are. When teaching driving, if you remove the fear of failure and allow mistakes, then suddenly the pressure is off and the pupil moves off perfectly.

Likewise, thats what grace does for us: it allows failure but does that produce sin? No it produces holiness!

Similarly, if the pupil is conscious of the close scrutiny of the instructor, then they become self-conscious and guess what happens? Lots of mistakes! Fear is actually a carnal emotion. It is focusing on ourselves and how we feel. Pupils are nervous because they are self-conscious rather than road-conscious!

So we failed – again!

So, what happens when we fail, blow it? Does God shake his head and say to himself: “well I never expected that. I am totally at a loss to know what to do.” No of course not, his grace already has the supply ready. He’s going to make sure you get what you need to learn the lesson. Its up to you to listen and learn. If you don’t , then the Holy Spirit is the most patient instructor you’ll meet! He won’t shout at you but neither will he let you give up. He may use the dual-controls occasionally or reach over to steer and stop you clipping the kerb but generally you just get to try again until you get it!

If you want to know how the Father reacts when you sin and fail, then read the parable of the prodigal son. When the son returned what was the Father’s reaction? Was it anger? No it was open arms, gifts and a party! That is grace.

Jesus is our defence

Likewise, when we fail and sin, the Bible says we have an advocate (defence lawyer) with the Father.

1 john 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

Jesus is on your side. Many of us think that when we sin, the lights of heaven dim and alarms are flashing and ringing everywhere, angels are scurrying around in a panic. Well, Jesus is on your case but guess what’s coming your way – more grace! It’s only the devil that is the accuser of the brethren. He’s going to point out all your failures and his best weapon is a perfect weapon – the law! However, the Law won’t help you change at all.

I think that many of us are too hard on ourselves, we think we should be able to live holy and get very upset with ourselves when we fail again and again. I’ve got pupils like that who are perfectionists and it hurts their pride when they can’t do something!  Likewise, how are we going to learn to be holy and righteous unless we learn from the master – Jesus Christ the righteous!

Persistence

The Bible has a simple antidote to failure: repentance or a change of mind. As Graham Cooke says: if you don’t like that thought – have another thought!  So if we fail, we get to have another go!

Therefore, persistence, patience and endurance are great qualities. The pupils I have that succeed, are not necessarily the most gifted. No, its the ones that are determined, have counted the cost and don’t give up whatever happens. Likewise, in the spiritual life the Bible says:

Proverbs 24:16  “A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:”

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Where you look is where you’ll go

Teaching driving and life in the spirit

The driving test and the law

www.firstclassdrivertraining.biz

 
New Creation Church Gosport

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

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Where you look is where you go

 

where you look is where you'll goWhere you look is where you go

As a driving instructor, one of the first things I teach my pupils is: “where you look is where you go”. It’s amazing how true this is. For example, if my pupil looks  in the rear view mirror too long, maybe worried about the car following too closely behind,  guess where the car begins to head? Straight for the kerb!
Likewise, in the christian life this is so true. If you spend the majority of your time looking at your problems, guess what will happen!  You’ll start to worry, fret and struggle! No, look to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith. Fix your eyes on him. That’s how faith and grace work. It’s a fact, that in God’s Kingdom there is no lack. In fact, God has supplied everything you need ahead of time (even before you were born) – in Christ.

Phil 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

How do you receive from God?

So, how do you receive God’s abundant supply or grace in Christ? You access it through faith and that is the only way. Faith however, is not something we generate. In fact, faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8):

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

Faith comes as we fix our eyes on Jesus. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith:

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Faith also comes by hearing,  as we pay attention to God’s word (Romans 10:17) :

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Peter walking on water

It’s a bit like a wi-fi connection: when we are connected to him, looking to him, listening to him, then his life flows towards us, his faith empowers us. When the connection is broken however, faith stops flowing and the supply dries up! A good example of this is Peter walking on water. Peter wasn’t certain it was Jesus but he knew that only Jesus had the power to enable him to walk on water, so if it wasn’t Jesus, the moment he stepped out of the boat onto the surface of the water he would sink rapidly to the bottom of the lake!

Therefore, by faith Peter started well. Boldly, he steps out of the boat, becoming the second man only in history to achieve this never to be repeated and amazing feat: walking on water. However, when he started to look away from Jesus, distracted by the wind and waves, he then began to sink – where you look is where you go! (How do you begin to sink!)

Peter’s mistake, was to look away from Jesus and look at the size of the waves and the ferocity of the wind. He started to think about the impossibility of what he was doing. Consequently, he moved from faith into fear because he became self-conscious rather than Jesus conscious. The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. Therefore,  if you are looking at the perfect love of Jesus it is impossible for fear to grip your heart. You cannot sink looking at Jesus!

In fact, his fear was pretty irrational really: when he started walking he left a sinking boat in the middle of a storm! Was it really any more impossible for Peter to walk on the water in a storm than walking on water on a lake calm as a millpond? No, of course not. The only reason he could walk on water was because of Jesus.

How to receive by faith – the women with a flux of blood

Another example of how faith works, is the women with the flux of blood. (Luke 8) How does she receive her miracle? Basically, she is determined to get to Jesus, nothing is going to stop her. Literally,  she crawls on her hands and knees behind him, pressing through the milling crowd – ignoring the fact that she is unclean and breaking the law. Eventually she reaches Jesus and stretching out her hand grabs hold of the hem of his robe. Instantly, the flow of blood in her body dries up and the healing power of Jesus flows out and into her!

For a re-telling of this story see my article the woman with a flux of blood

This is the kind of faith that God loves:  a faith that reaches out to take what God’s grace has to freely offer.

Phil 3:14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”

Can we miss the promises of God?

Is it possible therefore to miss the promises of God? Yes, certainly, as the writer of Hebrews warns us. It is possible to miss God’s blessing and salvation through unbelief.

Hebrews 3:19 “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

In fact, God’s grace is towards every man, women and child on the planet. He wishes all to be saved. However, not all have faith. Not all receive.

The Bible warns us of this, through the example of the children of Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years and never entering the promised land. How did they miss it? Was it because of their lack of skill or knowledge? Their sin? Well sin was a factor because it did harden their hearts but no, they missed the promise because of their unbelief. Instead of trusting in God’s miraculous supply, they looked back over their shoulder complaining bitterly – nostalgic for Egypt. Of course, they had completely forgotten the slavery and whips and working a 60 hr week without pay!

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Another sad case, is the story of Lot’s wife. She disobeys God’s sensible command to not look back at the burning remains of Sodom and Gomorrah and instantly becomes a pillar of salt.

Heavenly minded

On the other hand, Abraham is an example of a man full of faith and like Peter he leaves everything that is certain and secure, to go into a far country obeying and trusting God to show him a new one.

Genesis 12:1 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:”

As believers and children of Abraham therefore, we are called to walk in his steps.

Romans 4:12 “And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.”

Like Abraham, we are not justified by our works or even how sorry we feel about our sins but by faith alone. Like the children of Israel in the desert bitten by fiery serpents, the solution is not to look at ourselves or even elsewhere but to the saviour on the cross. No good works or religious performance counts for anything. Jesus is the only way of salvation.

Numbers 21:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”

John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Fix your eyes on Jesus

Therefore, where we look is where we will go and as believer we are called to be heavenly minded.  As Stephen was stoned to death, he describes what he saw: Jesus standing at the right of the majesty on high. He definitely went where he was looking and the religious leaders of the day hated him for it!

Col 3:1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

The number one strategy of the devil then, is to get us to look at ourselves, our failure and sinful flesh. He knows of course, that a believer who instead is absorbed with Jesus has the power to change and will become like him.  A believer absorbed with the flesh and self will become self-reliant and self-righteous! The disciples spent so much time around Jesus that they became like him:

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

The Holy Spirit’s strategy therefore, is to get us to fall in love with Jesus to get our eyes off ourselves and abilities. That is how we change. Not by battling the flesh in our own strength but beholding Jesus:

2  Cor 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

So, lets get our spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus. Let’s stop looking back at the past and digging up the old man. The cross terminated your old self.  Move forward by faith and live the brand new life that Jesus has paid for.

Finding you destiny in God

The driving test and the law!

How do you run a great race?

Living in God’s supply

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