Tag 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?

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

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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

My driving site

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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Your Going To Get It Back Again – T D Jakes

I believe this  video by T D Jakes today is prophetic for many of us. Well I enjoyed it away!

This article is very similar and encouraging:  Joseph Prince “Double for your trouble”

“Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.”    Zechariah 9:12

Further Reading:

I want to restore you – prophecy
God wants to restore you
God, how generous is He?
Living in God’s supply

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Living In God’s Supply (Part 2)

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do (exceeding abundantly above) all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

 What is God able to do? He is able to do ALL that we ask or think! If you think about that, it’s pretty awesome! It doesn’t say, some of what we ask or think, it says ALL. Nothing is impossible to God. That means, as his children, the full resources of heaven are at our disposal.

However, to activate God’s supply, our job is to ask and to imagine or think about what God might want to do for us. In other words, we have to use a bit of imagination and engage our brains! So right now, what can you believe for? What impossible situation can you imagine and believe that God will turn around when you pray?

Many a time, we don’t receive from God, because we haven’t actually asked him for anything specific. God wants us to engage with him, to communicate. He wants us to read his word, to find out what he has actually promised.

James 4:2 “yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

As a result, now we have made our request (and it’s in line with God’s word) then, how he is going to respond? Our verse gives us the answer: “EXCEEDINGLY, ABUNDANTLY and BEYOND!” (In the original Greek, these words are emphasised to underline just how excessive God’s supply is!)

However, there is a restraint on the release of those resources. If we simplify the verse even further, it reads: “God is able to DO according to the power that works IN us.

Therefore, his power (making, action and work) is in proportion to the power (dynamic strength) that works (energizes) IN us. It all starts on the inside with faith and the work of the Holy Spirit. For example, Jesus said to the blind men, according to your faith be healed.

Matthew 9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 

These blind men already had an expectation of being healed on the inside – they had faith.  In other words, they could already see themselves healed in their imagination and so therefore all it took was Jesus to connect and ignite the miracle with a touch and a word.

Consequently, lets think about how maybe many of us could be thinking, imagining and praying with too small an expectation. Is our vision limited? Maybe we are limiting the flow of God’s supply? Maybe the prayers we pray are hardly breaking the bank of heaven!

I believe God loves impossible requests. He wants to exceed our expectations. He wants us to download his good and perfect gifts:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

So if God has a job for you to do, he’s already provided the means to get it done. Your job , is to believe God and access the supply of his grace by faith and practically as we have learnt, we express this by prayer.

Further reading:

Part 3 Living in God’s Supply (God how Generous Is He?)

Part 1 Living in God’s Supply

Impossible situations

In Christ

What is grace?

God is at work

Proving God

3 Grace Fundamentals

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Training For Reigning

Some Christians think I’m sure, that if you preach grace, you are preaching some sort of benevolent, weak and irresponsible Father: a God who has forgiven us all our sins and so therefore no longer cares what we do. In other words, we can do what we like and continue to live a life of sin without consequences.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Grace is now our schoolmaster and teaches us to live holy lives.

“[Titus 2:11-12 KJV] 11 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;”

Therefore, if you are born again, you have no choice: you have graduated from law school and enrolled in the school of grace, faith and of the Holy Spirit. Is this some kindergarten or some playschool? No, it is more of a boot camp and it can get pretty tough at times!

You are now a soldier of Jesus Christ.

“[2Ti 2:3 KJV] 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

In a similar way, Paul compares the Christian life to that of the athlete preparing for a race and as every athlete knows – winning takes dedication, discipline and courage.

“[1Cr 9:24-27 KJV] 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. and every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (adokimos – not standing the test)”

This school of grace and of the spirit is therefore certainly not some pushover where results don’t matter. This is training for reigning –a school you don’t get to leave if you fail. No, you get to take the test again and again. Failure is not option!

So what is God’s purpose in all of this? Why does he need to discipline or train us? Is it because he angry with us, punishing us for our sins?  No, the training is an evidence of his  love and Fatherhood:

Hebrews 12:6  6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

This is training with a purpose. God knows that with Christ in us we have entered the arena of spiritual warfare and he wants us able to fight and defeat the enemy with spiritual weapons. That is, he wants to strengthen us to be tough enough to be able to withstand temptation and anything the enemy may throw at us.

He wants us to be holy and separated to him. In other words different!

“Hebrews 12: 10 For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Even Jesus, the Son of God, didn’t escape this training and we can see how he endured temptation in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. Therefore, this gives us a clue that the purpose of the training is not to do with punishment. In fact, its because we are part of his family and are his sons and daughters that we are chastened.

“ [Hbr 5:8-9 KJV] 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

I mean, how do we treat our own children? Would we be good parents if we never sent them to school or trained them at home? No, we send them to school because we want them equipped to face the challenges of life on their own one day. To be able to stand on their own two feet.

I remember when I was teaching a class once, there was a boy who physically couldn’t sit still on a chair. This was because his parents believed, that a child should never be disciplined or be restrained. They even told him that he didn’t have to go to school if he didn’t feel like it. I found this really sad, because even though he was intelligent and gifted, he could never get anything together because of his lack of self-control.

Therefore, Gods discipline and training is for our good not for the shear fun of it – that would be cruel! In fact to be accurate he doesn’t manufacture the trials either. No, even the unbelievers face the same trials of life that we do. The difference however, is how the believer responds to those trials.

Ultimately though, God is testing something that the unbeliever does not have: FAITH.

God is not interested in an intellectual acknowledgement of truth  he wants a practical and robust faith  tried and tested by the storms and trials of life. A faith in God that produces patience: a tenacity to hold on to God’s promises and an ability to receive what he’s promised.

So, if your sick learn to receive healing and then go and heal someone else. If your struggling with temptation learn how to flee and resist it. If your feeling discouraged and weary, learn how to draw upon the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the scriptures and then go and encourage someone else.

[Jam 1:2-4 KJV] 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;3 Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Teaching Driving And Life In The Spirit

Impossible Situations

The Law Our Schoolmaster

How Do You Run A Good Race?

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How do you run a good race?

race
As a believer, how do you run a good race? Hebrews 12 gives a good answer:

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us fixing our eyes on Jesus….

  1. Lay aside every weight –  Are you overloaded with unnecessary cares and problems?
    1 Peter 5:7 says cast your cares on him. So, do you really need that latest iPhone? Is it really wise to be mortgaged up to the hilt?
  2. Untangle yourself from sin – Sin is dangerous and deadly because it will derail you and trip you up. Romans 6:12 says don’t let sin reign in your mortal members – you’re the boss don’t let sin walk all over you, walk by the spirit.
  3. Run with endurance – Get going, don’t hang around playing scrabble or Xbox! God has laid out a race-course just for you and the heroes of faith surrounding you are watching you run. It’s not their turn it’s yours. Is God interested in your speed record? No it’s an endurance race, all you have to do is complete it!
  4. Fix your eyes on Jesus – Peter only managed to walk on water as he kept his eyes on Jesus. As soon as he looked at the waves he began to sink!
  5. Endure discipline: This is the context for the rest of the chapter: Discipline is not punishment for sin its training. You are now in your Father’s training program to be super hero of faith!  Go for it!
  6.  Don’t look behind you! Phil 3:13 says : “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thingI do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”. Are you hanging on to you past failures? God always require us to first let go of our past before we can step forward into our future. He closes doors first before opening new ones. Peter by faith stepped out of the security of the boat to walk on water. He had to leave the boat behind completely. A famous example of looking back of course, is Lots wife, who turned into a pillar of salt. Spiritually, that is what we may become if we look back over our shoulder!  Likewise, the children of Israel had a tendency, when things got tough in the desert, to fondly remembered Egypt – forgetting the bondage!
  7. Pass the baton on to others:  You are in a relay race; an endurance race not a sprint. Your destiny is always tied up in the destiny of others and those following. 2 Tim 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
  8. Don’t give up!  Sometimes entering our destiny is all about holding ground.Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”. There are days we have done everything possible, so this is no excuse for apathy or laziness, but all we can do is stand and trust in God’s to make a way where there is no way.Lets’ be like the might man Shammah. He was not going go let his inheritance and destiny be taken by a bunch of philistines! 2 Sammuel 23:10 “And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

Finding your destiny
God always finishes what he starts
God wants to restore you
God is at work

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