Tag Archives: belief

Trusting in God and Not His Blessing

It has been a while since wrote a blog post, and there have been a few reasons for that. None of which are really valid, so here I am back with another.

One of the reasons for not writing is that I have a newborn baby. If you have read the last few posts, you will know more about the blessing that he is. So why am I writing about trusting God and not His blessing? Even when we receive from God, there is always something else we are trusting Him for. In my case, one blessing has illustrated the need for another. Let me explain.

As many of you know, having a baby means a major life change. My wife and I were both working and I had started my own business, which was growing, but not as fast as I would have liked it to. Now all of a sudden, my wife is on maternity leave and we are about to be on one salary. That of a business which is up one month and down the next. So what would you do? I am a very logical person, which you would assume by the business that I have, but faith and logic often don’t mix very well. My logic said to close the business, and go and get a job. Then I could have a constant salary, and would be able to provide for my family. Sound good? God then told me to keep the business, and continue with what I was doing. Was I sure this was God? Can this be right? I then had a complete stranger come to me after church, and tell me that God gave them a prophetic word for me. She said, “The work that you are doing now, God wants you to continue with that, do not give it up.” OK, I guess it was God. So what now?

I was now in a time where I had to make a decision. Trust God, or listen to my flesh. Let’s take a look at a situation in the Bible which relates to this.

Matthew 8:23-26

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
There are a few interesting things here. Firstly, these were fishermen. They knew the sea. If they were scared, it was not because they were over-reacting. If they were scared, there was a good reason for it. We often have a good reason to be scared, but Jesus tells us not to be afraid, as we can trust in Him. The second thing is that they went to Jesus, and woke Him. Isn’t that what we are taught to do? When you have a problem, go to Jesus in prayer. Why did He then get upset with the disciples when they went to Him? In my opinion, it is because Jesus told them they were going to the other side (in other accounts of this story), but they didn’t believe Him that they would make it to the other side. This is unbelief. This is why Jesus was getting upset with them. Thirdly, Jesus rebukes them for being afraid, before He calms the storm. Now I know it says it the other way around in some accounts, but Jesus telling us to have faith before He does the miracle, is a common theme throughout scripture. Why does He do this? Simple. This is the title of this post. So that we won’t have faith in the miracle, but have faith in Him. If He had calmed the seas, the disciples would have had faith in the calm seas, Jesus wanted them to have faith in Him, despite the raging seas. Do you see the difference?

So how does this relate to me? My prayers have been along the lines of, “God please provide for us so that I don’t need to be afraid.” What does God’s Word say? It says that He will provide. In fact that He will provide abundantly. Also, I need the money, so that I can trust in the money, where Jesus wants me to trust in Him. This is harder to do when you don’t have the money, but no one said this would be easy. I ‘know’ our financial state, just like the disciples ‘knew’ the seas. I run to Jesus and ask Him to help me, even though His scripture says He will, just like His followers in the story. I want Jesus to fix the problem so that I will no longer have to be afraid, just like the disciples. Jesus wants me to trust in His Word, despite the situation. Just like He expected from the disciples.

God is faithful. He will come through. He always has, and He always will.

What are you afraid about? What are you waiting for God to provide? Do you have faith in God for the miracle, or do you have to see the miracle to not be afraid? I’ll leave that for you to think about. I hope that this has been as much of a blessing to you as it has to me.

Until next time.

Richard

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When in Rome (a Look at Romans) – Part 4

Today’s passage is quite a timely passage for me. I really needed to read this today. People have prophesied over me and called me a ‘man of faith’. Although this is interesting, and gives me focus, it is not always particularly evident in my life. Having faith is not easy, we see that in Abraham’s life. He was told that he would have children, yet he still grew impatient and slept with his servant, so did he really have faith? The main way to grow your faith, is to have faith and see what you are believing for. Yet the longer you wait, the more your faith is tested, and then strengthened. What about all of the time that you are waiting to see your prayers answered? Do you feel like a ‘man of faith’ then? This is the time when you ‘earn your stripes’, but this is also the time when the devil throws everything at you. Anyone can believe when everything is going as planned, but if you want to be a ‘man of faith’, you need to believe when everything appears to be going wrong. You need to believe that you can walk on the water when the waves are crashing around you. “Lord, I believe, help me with my unbelief.”

There are a few things in my life that I am believing for. Promises from God that I have not seen come to fruition… yet. I don’t feel like a ‘man of faith’, as I have not seen my prayers answered. I have not given up believing though, so maybe I am, but the unbelief lurks. This is the time when the devil tries to stop you. This time, the ‘attack’ was ‘friendly fire’. I have been told twice in the last week that having faith has no effect on what God does in our lives. I was told this by two Christians. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they are doing the work of the devil or anything, I am merely saying that their theological stance is different to mine. The problem is that the devil (or his little helpers) will use this to try and get into my head. I’m not having it.

Romans 4:20-25. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Without going into heavy theology here, this passage implies that having faith brings glory to God. It says that when we fully believe that God is able to do what He has promised, it is not just for our benefit, but to reassure others that God will do the same for them. Whether you believe in Calvinism, Armenianism or anything inbetween, without believing that Jesus died for our sins, we wouldn’t accept Him as Lord. Even our salvation comes down to faith. Faith + Action = Result. Do your actions show what you believe, or do they counteract your faith? For example, saying that you believe that God will supply your needs, and then not tithing because you ‘won’t have enough money if you give’. It is not only down to money though. I am working to get my actions in line with my faith, and my faith is based on what God says in His Word. The passage shown above is a huge encouragement for me, especially after being told that my faith doesn’t matter.

What do you believe? What promises are you believing and waiting for? Do your actions support what you say that you believe? Be encouraged. Abraham was chosen because of his faith, but he still had to wait to see his prayers answered. He still struggled with unbelief. Jesus told us to tell the mountain to move, and then believe and not doubt, then the mountain will move (Mark 11:23). He doesn’t say how long you have to believe for.

Be encouraged. Believe in the promises of God. That brings glory to God! Remember, you are not a person of faith because you see what you are believing for, you are a person of faith because you keep believing for that which you have not yet seen.

Richard

Why We Don’t Get Healed – Part 4

If you didn’t see the introduction to this post, you can view it here. Once you’ve seen it, let’s get started on listing some more ‘clouds’.

7. Unbelief

Please note that I am not talking about faith. When people hear my views on healing, they often attack with “so you think that I lack faith, that is why I am not healed?”. No, and even if I did, it would not be a condemnation. I only teach this because I want people healed, not because I want to condemn, because I don’t. Hebrews 3:19 – So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Well, that doesn’t talk about healing! I think the principals are the same, besides, what about Mark 9:24? Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Now I’m not going to teach on this again, but the disciples were casting out demons left right and centre, they had no shortage of faith whatsoever. They did have too much unbelief. What is the difference? Faith is when you go up to someone and tell the illness to leave their bodies, unbelief is what you brain starts telling you once you have done it. Are you sure this will work? Do you really have this authority? Last time the person wasn’t healed, why should this time be any different? Unbelief. This is the passage where Jesus says that the demon will only come out with prayer and fasting. I have heard people say that you have to pray and fast to get rid of demons. With all due respect, I don’t believe that. Jesus rebuked this demon and it left, no prayer, no fasting. So what did Jesus mean then? I believe that Jesus meant that we needed to pray and fast in order to get ourselves so familiar with the Word of God, that we realise the authority that we have, in order to eliminate the unbelief. Then we can remove these kinds of demons. I believe that this applies to some illnesses too. Let’s soak ourselves in the Word so that this unbelief fades in comparison! Unbelief could also be the fact that some people just don’t believe that we can be healed anymore. Either that or the fact that we don’t fully understand what the Bible teaches about healing. Before you get upset by this, go and read Acts 14:8-10. Paul was preaching and then realised that someone had the faith to be healed (I presume because of what he was teaching, maybe on healing), so he healed him. Faith, lack of unbelief and knowledge.

8. Strife and Envy

James 3-16 – For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. No good comes from selfishness, strife and envy. That also applies to healing, besides, does evil of every kind include illness? I think so. Again, without condemnation, I think that we hold onto lots of our issues. Maybe it is because we like to have something to moan about or because we like the sympathy, I don’t know. I just know that jealousy and selfishness need to go, and as always, I am talking to myself here too.

9. Condemnation of the ‘Clouds’

I keep saying that there is no condemnation, and I mean it. One of the reasons that I believe that we don’t receive healing is because we are condemned by these ‘clouds’. If we get condemned, we start to speak that over our lives, and give the devil all of the power that he needs to destroy us. The Bible says that the power of life and death is in our tongues. If we feel condemned, we will condemn ourselves, and this will not lead to a breakthrough in out walk with God, I can assure you. These ‘clouds’ are merely mentioned so that we can identify and eliminate them, not so that we can beat ourselves up and feel condemned. In the military, you gather intelligence so that you can defeat the enemy, not so that you can feel sorry for yourself and give up. We need to take this information and use it to bring glory to God and for our good, not to defeat us.

Keep an eye out for more in the next post!

Richard

Time to Acts – Part 11

This post is about Acts chapter 11. As you may know, I am doing a series on the book of Acts, so take a look back at the other posts relating to this. This chapter is one that I have read before, but it didn’t really speak to me then, today it did. Read Acts chapter 11 and then take a look at what I got out of it.

The first part is Peter explaining what happened when he was accused of eating with unclean people. Peter explains what had happened, and the people listened. They then accepted what Peter had said, and embraced it. This is the first lesson today, when you hear Biblical teaching, embrace it. Note what I said there, Biblical teaching, not necessarily just teaching that you agree with. This is so important, I had a religious upbringing, all about church and God, rules and regulations, how to live life. Very little about the Holy Spirit. Now I am not saying that everything that I learned was wrong, but I am saying that when I started to listen to other teaching and weigh it up against scripture, I changed my mind. I often get people telling me that what I post on this blog is wrong, so I ask them for Bible verses to back up their statement. I either get given a verse out of context, or I have actually had people say, “I don’t have scripture but I believe that you’re wrong”. How is that going to help you? I listen to many people, both people in my church, TV evangelists and I read other blogs. Once I have listened, I go to scripture. Does what they say line up with the Word? Does it fit with scripture? Have they misinterpreted anything? I allow what people say to influence what I believe IF it lines up with scripture (after I have prayed about it and asked God to guide me). You see there is a danger in believing everything that you’re told that has a Bible verse attached, but there is also a danger in not accepting anything that doesn’t fall within what you already believe. You need to find the middle ground, and allow God to teach you through others, without falling victim to heresy.

Take a look at Acts 11 v 22 – 24. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. What can we get from this? Firstly, have an attitude of being sent. I once saw a book entitled, ‘If God hasn’t called you to stay, then go”. Maybe a bit harsh, but we really need to have the attitude of being sent. You have been sent to your workplace, you have been sent to the grocery store or the coffee shop. To your church. You are not just a bystander, God has called you to these places specifically, do something about it. Be the kingdom of God wherever you go. You are not where to you are by accident, and even if you are, God still wants to use you while you’re there. Purpose of heart. That means to do things intelligently, sincerely, deliberately, and persistently. Is that how you continue with the Lord, or are you just drifting? Ask God what He wants you to do and then do it purposefully. Get excited for what God is doing and get active!

You also need to be full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. Trust me, I have tried to do this Christian life without the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t work. I think that the Holy Spirit and faith are two of the most important elements in the Christian faith, yet they are probably two of the most neglected in the ‘church’ today. If you have not been baptised in the Spirit, do it. If you lack faith, ask God for more (but then be aware that he will call you into a place to grow that faith). Remove unbelief from your life, this will increase the ‘effectiveness’ of the faith that you do have, after all, you only need as much as a mustard seed. Another thing that I like about this chapter is that just after it gets you thinking about all of these ‘spiritual’ issues, it says that the disciples (now referred to as Christians for the first time) gave money where it was needed. God is a practical God too, and we also need to be.

Learning how to be purposeful in your Holy Spirit filled journey with God in faith.
Richard

Our Authority in Christ

The last post was about the times when you’re spiritually in the desert. God will lead you out of that desert, and if we follow Jesus’ example, this should lead us into our ministry. This is when we need the authority that we have in Jesus. This is one of my favourite topics, although I don’t fully understand (or appreciate) the authority that I have, I think this is a common area of misunderstanding in the church today. I’m going to bring two passages of scripture to your attention today. I want to show you the authority that Jesus had, and then show you how we have it now.

The Faith of a Roman Officer
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralysed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour. – Matthew 8:5-13.

There is so much to take from this passage, but I just want to highlight a few things. Jesus was amazed at the man’s faith. Jesus had the authority, He didn’t even have to be in the same place. He just said the word and the person was healed. Jesus also commented that the man’s belief played a part in the healing. So what does this mean for us? Well, if we have the authority that Jesus had (which I am about to argue that we do), then we need to follow His example. What are the ‘ingredients’ in the story. Words and faith. Faith to believe that what scripture says is true and that we really do have the authority. Words to call it into being. Even God used words to create the earth, remember, let there be light. Words are important. If we could only get our words and faith to line up with scripture, we will have no limits! Jesus didn’t form a prayer committee, he didn’t wait for a Wednesday prayer meeting or a Sunday service. He said the words and the man believed. Job done. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking Sunday services or prayer meetings, I’m just making a statement as to what we should be doing.

Just in case any of you are saying that we don’t have this authority, this is for you. I know that Jesus was (and is) God, but it was the Holy Spirit that was leading Christ. The Holy Spirit is also God, and He dwells in us as He dwelled in Christ. If you’re still not convinced, and you think that maybe there is a difference between what the Son of God did, and what we as children of God can do, take a look at Matthew 28:18 which says, “Jesus came and told his disciples,“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” Then Luke 9:1-2 says, “One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”

We (as Christians) have the authority. We have been given the authority and responsibility. Keep believing, have faith in what God has promised, and speak it into being. Using this authority against the powers of darkness to help other people to see the glory of God, is what ministry is all about. Whether we use it to help our fellow Christians overcome strongholds in their life, or whether we use it to enable others to enter the Kingdom, it is all ministry. Don’t underestimate the Holy Spirit living inside of you. You are no longer yourself but a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and this new creation has the Holy Spirit. This new creation has the authority in Christ Jesus!

You have the authority. Use it!

Richard

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I have noticed something of late, which is not rocket science, but we need to be aware of it. We are influenced by the things we see, the people we spend time with and even the TV that we watch. Yes, everything we come into contact with has an impact on us, and influences our decisions in some way. This is why sports brands will pay millions of dollars to have an athlete wear their products. We see the athlete in a brand, we like the athlete, so we buy the brand. We don’t think about it or discuss it, it is all just in our minds, but we still take the action that the advertising company banked on. Have you ever been to watch a new James Bond movie, and then when you come out of the cinema, you’re watching everyone like you’re some kind of spy? You could also just listen in the car park after the Fast and the Furious viewers come out of the cinema, everyone revving their engines and racing off like crazed maniacs. What we watch has an influence on us, whether we think it does or not. That is why advertising is such a money-making deal, because it works.

Since I was made aware of this, I have noticed that so many adverts are anti-Christianity. Now I’m not saying that they come out and oppose us, I’m saying that if you watch them and listen to what they are saying, and then compare it with scripture, you’ll see what I mean. There is a beauty product that says, “I trust science, not miracles”. What they mean is that they trust scientific research over ‘miracle creams’, but what is that telling your sub-conscience, what is that putting into your mind? There is another one where the kid comes in and drops his bag on the floor and his mother says, “If you don’t pick that up you won’t come on holiday”. Then the kid says, “Holiday, really? Cool!” and runs off… without picking up the bag. Now I’m not a parent yet, but surely making an unrealistic threat like that is not good parenting, and surely if he didn’t pick it up he shouldn’t go on holiday? There is even an advert now for vodka, which shows serpents pouring vodka for an Adam and Eve type setting. They are actually using the symbol for the devil, depicting sin, to sell a product.

So, am I over-reacting or do I have a point? Some people may think that I am over-reacting, and that we shouldn’t, and can’t, keep ourselves wrapped in cotton wool. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t watch TV or wrap ourselves in cotton wool, I’m saying that we need to be aware of what is going on. We need to be spending time reading and meditating on the Word so that when we see these things, we recognise them for what they are, and we reject what they are saying to our minds. When I see the advert about trusting science and not miracles, I say, “Actually, I trust God, and He uses miracles!” I know it is cheesy, and I don’t want it to become a religious practice, I want us to actually take note what is going into our minds, sift it through the ‘Biblical-filter’ and reject what is not from God. 2 Corinthians 10 verse 5 says, “[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” This is telling us to do what I just said, to ‘think about what we are thinking about’!

I have written another post about this entitled ‘Think about it..‘ so I won’t go into it again, but I think that this is very important. Just about every Joyce Meyer sermon and book is about protecting your mind. Now you may not like her, but there is more than enough Biblical evidence to back up what she is saying and what I am saying here. So please, make sure that you take note of all of the things you see, hear and think, weigh them up against what the Bible says, and then reject what is not from God. We may not be led astray by one thought, but we are constantly being bombarded by ungodly things all day long, so we need to be aware. All of these thoughts add up and, next thing we know, we’re on the wrong path and we wonder where things went wrong.

Protect your mind.

Richard

PS. This is my 49th post, number 50 is next! I thought that for the 50th post, we’d just celebrate who Jesus is and what He did for us, so don’t miss it on Wednesday!