Where to Focus Your Faith

March 31, 2020

Faith can be a touchy subject sometimes. We’re supposed to have it (the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God), but it is often difficult because we are supposed to believe in what our senses are not yet telling us. It is also difficult because things don’t always work out the way we expect, and sometimes opposite of the way we want. Even though it is for our own good when God doesn’t answer a prayer the way we want, it hurts! We have prayed for the healing of loved ones who did not heal. We have prayed for “the one” to spend the rest of our life with, and they don’t show up. We have prayed for an increase in finances only to have more expenses instead.

I am not trying to paint a negative picture here. God always hears our prayers and answers in our best interest every time. The problem is that if someone has been hurt by difficult circumstances, regardless of the fact that God has them in our lives for good, it is very difficult to trust God and have faith in Him. I get it because I’ve been there.

My faith is generally good, though there are still plenty of times where doubt creeps in. The other night I watched a sermon from Andy Stanley on the topic of faith. I know I was led there by God because what I heard could have potentially increased my faith exponentially. I wanted to share this with you, especially if you happen to be struggling with your faith these days.

The main idea that struck me was this…. instead of focusing on what God will do for you, focus on what God CAN do for you. He references a Bible verse, Matthew 8:2 where Jesus heals a man of leprosy. The man kneels before Him and says, “if you are willing you can make me clean.” He knows Jesus can heal him. However, he leaves it in His will to do so.

Why is this focus much more effective? The explanation the pastor gave was this… when we focus on what God will do, we are asking on shaky ground. It is great to have faith that something you pray for will happen. However, as I said before, God doesn’t always answer the way we would expect. You are not 100% sure of what God will do, so that leaves doubt, and at least some wonder if God will come through, especially if you are remembering other times where your prayer wasn’t answered as desired. On the other hand, when you pray and focus on what God CAN do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. You know God can do ALL things. Nothing is impossible with Him. The leper acknowledged this in his prayer.

This is very powerful to me because it provided an incredible peace. In fact, I was immediately tested on this. In the middle of that same night, I woke up and heard water running in my basement. I realized that it was the sump pump that keeps the water out, and it wasn’t shutting off. It wasn’t flooding, but that potential was there. It was 1:30 am, so there was no one to call. All I felt like I could do was pray. And I prayed in the way I learned a few hours before. Sure, I wondered if I may still awake to a flood. However, I prayed knowing that God could easily fix this problem. I left it up to Him how and with what level of difficulty or damage. After I said the prayer that way, I felt a great peace. I certainly didn’t want a basement flood to happen, but I knew that even if it did, it was still for my good somehow. The next morning, within a few hours, I had someone here to fix and resolve the problem with just a small cost.

Once again, when you focus your faith on what God can do instead of what He will do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. There is no doubt He can do anything. Instead of trying to believe God will come through for me, my prayers are like, “I know you can do this. And I pray that you do.” Unlike praying for what He will do, which can lead to some wavering because of the uncertainty, this type of prayer allows me to focus more on His promises. That actually increases my faith even more!

For me, I feel like it has taken my faith to a much higher level. It has increased my confidence and trust in God, and I am more ready to accept whatever outcome He has for me. It has also brought me closer to Him. Also, I firmly believe you will receive many positive answers to your prayers the way Jesus answered the leper. “I am willing” is what He said in the next verse. And the leper was healed.

I will share a link to this sermon here. The ironic thing is that this is only a small piece of it and not even the main point. However, it has stuck with me, and as mentioned, it is a major faith booster.

I challenge you to focus your prayers this way. Focus mainly on what God CAN do, and leave what He will do to Him. I strongly believe your faith will grow too. Enjoy the blessings 🙂


How To Be Fruitful and Make a Difference

March 30, 2020

As we go through this difficult time with Coronavirus and so many other things on our minds, there are many people going out of their way to make a positive difference for the people around them. I am eternally thankfully for these individuals. Many others have the same desire to make a difference in their world too. However, some may be wondering how you can do so.

As I was doing my Bible devotion this morning, I came upon this verse which inspired me to share this with you. For those looking to make a positive difference, I think this will certainly help: “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” This is taken from 2 Peter 1:5-7. Please allow me to break it down quickly for you…

Faith – Start with an excellent foundation of faith in God and His promises in your life. Be confident that His power can make a difference in your life and those of the people around you.

Moral Excellence – when you demonstrate integrity, respectability, honesty, and strength in character, you stand out in your world. People will definitely notice.

Knowledge – Where can you gain great knowledge? The Bible is an excellent starting point for increasing knowledge of how you can make a difference, or for any life topic. The internet is loaded with valuable resources on how you can enable yourself and others to grow. Use whichever is best for you, and feed your mind with positive information.

Self-control – Mainly self-explanatory on what this means, but your ability to remain disciplined with your mind and emotions, especially in difficult situations, is another thing that stands out and allows your light to shine in the darkness.

Endurance – The ability to press on in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Godliness – Reflecting the same character traits of God. This can also mean remaining devoted to God and His cause.

Brotherly Affection – We’ve seen plenty of examples already of how people are going out their way to help their “brothers and sisters” in society. Your willingness to help in any way you can easily allow you to make a difference in your world.

I believe these verses make it very clear that, if you consistently demonstrate these attitudes character traits, you can make a difference in your world. This point is confirmed in the next verse…. “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As we Christians grow in Christ, we develop the above characteristics. And as those characteristics manifest in our personality and we make them a part of our very being, we become more fruitful and make a greater difference in our world.

Are you looking to make greater impacts around you? I believe God is showing us how with these words. The challenge now is to focus on demonstrating these attitudes consistently, then look for ways you can make a difference. If you pray for God’s help in all of this, He will certainly help you. You can and will make a difference, and I believe this can happen almost immediately. Enjoy the blessings 🙂

 


How to Have More Wealth Than You Can Imagine

January 24, 2017

It is amazing how every time I ask God for answers He provides them. In many cases, the answers arrive rather quickly. I was recently praying for some extra money to help with some situations that have come up recently. I also prayed for the strength and peace to deal with the situation in a productive way.

When I pray, I find it extremely helpful to ask for some Bible verses that help build my faith and lead me in the right direction. In this case, I was immediately led to the following verse from Job 22:21. The NIV says, “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Exactly what I was looking for! However, it didn’t stop there. The Message version of this same verse really caught my attention… “Give in to God, come to terms with him and everything will turn out just fine. Let him tell you what to do; take his words to heart. Come back to God Almighty and he’ll rebuild your life. Clean house of everything evil. Relax your grip on your money and abandon your gold-plated luxury. God Almighty will be your treasure, more wealth than you can imagine.”

As I read this, I was in awe. The keys to what I was looking for (and perhaps what you are too) are all in this passage. Do you want more wealth than you can imagine? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Submit to God – leave the details and hard work to Him. Just do what you feel like He is leading you to do.
  2. Listen to (or should I say read) His words. The more you read the Bible and seek your guidance and solutions there, the more clearly you will be led. I simply did a Google search for what I was looking for, and found several guiding words besides these.
  3. Clean house of everything evil. Ask for forgiveness of your sins. He will forgive all and everything. He is only waiting for you to ask. Also, I take this as a cue to remove the negative thinking that may have been been hampering me, and instead think according to His word and promises.
  4. Avoid focusing on money (or whatever your negative circumstance is)– This seems a bit ironic. For me, it was what I was searching for. However, I realize more every day that the more I focus on God and His love and guidance instead of the money or whatever the problem is, the more abundance and solutions show up.

This all reminds me of another popular verse that sums it all up… Seek first the kingdom of God, and all else will be given to you (Matt 6:33). It’s very simple really. The more of your focus and care you put on God, the more He works for you and the darkness turns to light.

I have known this for a long time. I just needed another reminder, and received it plus more. If you are struggling with money or any other negative situation in your life, follow the words of this verse. Seek God and let Him love and guide you. I know from experience that the peace and provision He provides is indeed more than you can imagine. Enjoy the blessings 🙂


How to Live in the Kingdom of God Now

December 1, 2016

Is it possible to enjoy the benefits of God’s kingdom right this second? Don’t we have to wait til we get to heaven to truly experience God’s kingdom?

I can only imagine what heaven will be like. I believe it will be far greater than anything I could possibly imagine. However, who says I have to wait until I die to experience God’s kingdom?

The truth is, the kingdom of God can be experienced by me and anyone else right here, right now. How do I know? For the Bible tells me so. Luke 17:21 says that the kingdom of God (some translations even call it the kingdom of heaven) is within you. Other translations say that the kingdom of God is in our midst. Either way, this tells me one thing…. The kingdom of heaven is part of me and I am part of it. It is all around me and it is all around you. Whenever you are consciously aware of it, you can experience the kingdom of heaven NOW!

Another popular Bible verse advises to seek first the kingdom of God and all else will be given to you. (Matt 6:33). Knowing that the kingdom of God is within you and in your midst, you are in essence seeking what you already have. A great thing is that all you can ever want to be or have is a part of this great kingdom of God. So when you seek the kingdom first, it’s no wonder that all else is added to you!

So how do you experience the kingdom of God on a regular basis? Simply be consciously aware of it. Remind yourself constantly that you and the kingdom are one. Remember, it is within you and all around you. Mentally “seek first the kingdom” as often as possible during the day. As you do so, your faith, love and joy automatically increase! This is because they and all other positive emotions are fruits of the wonderful kingdom of heaven that, as you are constantly aware of them, automatically manifest as you seek the kingdom first. Of course then, you begin to experience miracles on a regular basis.

Remember, the kingdom of God is something that can be experienced any time. Seek it first, and all will be added unto you. Enjoy the blessings 🙂


A Sure Way to Success and Prosperity

January 17, 2016

 

Success and prosperity is something we all crave in life. We all want to do well in life, achieve our goals, and experience financial freedom to enjoy life. If only there was a guaranteed formula to bring this about.

I am here to remind you that there is that formula you are looking for. If you know the Bible, you have probably read or heard this verse numerous times. I know I have. Yet if you are like me, you often feel good, but quickly move on not allowing yourself to fully realize the power in these words.

The key verse I am sharing is Joshua 1:8. I like the New Living Translation version best. It says… Study this Book of Instruction (The Bible) continually. “Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do”. God’s word is amazingly powerful. Every part of it is true. I know I have been guilty of reading the Word and knowing it, but not applying and doing it. Only recently have I realized the amazing blessings we receive when we completely live by God’s Word.

If you need further proof of this, just look in the next verse. It says… “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. It means you do not have to fear. Here’s the bottom line…when you consistently live out the words of the Bible with confidence, knowing that God is with you every step of the way, you can only succeed!

As mentioned, I am realizing this more than ever now. That is why I feel the desperate need to share this with as many people as possible. Take the Bible to heart. It is inspired by God, and every word of it is true. Know that God will not go against His own word. He will do what He says He will do!

I challenge you today to find time to learn God’s word. When something stands out, stop and spend some time meditating on it. Then ask God how you can apply it to your life and live it out. If you ask, He will tell you. Doing this consistently will lead to the success and prosperity you are seeking. Even when and after it arrives, continue to seek God and live by His words. Your life will be filled with joy and miracles. Enjoy the blessings 🙂


The Powerful Start to a Positive Attitude

November 22, 2015

 

This article is another in a series I am writing about the positive attitude attributes found on the self-reflection report card in Jeffrey Gitomer’s book “The Little Golden Book of Yes”.

In my opinion, this one is where it all starts. It is the concept of self-belief. The definition of self-belief I found through various sources is the confidence in one’s self and trust in their own abilities. Another one added “the belief you can do things well”.

It makes sense that a positive attitude and positive results start with the belief and trust in one’s abilities. The more you believe and trust and in yourself, the more likely your attitude and outlook on life will be good. When your attitude is positive, it leads you to take the necessary action towards your goals instead of finding reasons why you can’t.

One question often asked is by those who especially have lacked self-belief during their lives. It is often very difficult to just turn on the switch and start believing in one’s self when life has been filled with one doubt and failure after the other. There are many ways to change this attitude. For this article I will provide my thoughts and share a very helpful article from another author.

One giant step to developing self-belief is to know who you really are. I have been reminded of this constantly in the past year and a half. Yes, you are a body, frail that it might be, that is on this earth for approximately 80 years. However, according to the Bible, within that body is the kingdom of Heaven itself. The very power that runs the universe dwells within each one of us. This Godly power never fails. Even if you have failed countless times (I know I sure have), the God within you NEVER fails. When you rely on this all-knowing, all-powerful energy and guidance, your doubts and failures will quickly turn to faithful victories. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s impossible or you can’t do it. Know that the God power within you can guide you and make it happen. Isn’t it a great peace to know that it’s not all up to you? Knowing this in itself is a great step to self-belief. When you turn to your “God self”, you can’t go wrong.

In addition to realizing that the God of the universe dwells in you and has your life completely in control (if you let Him), I found another source of excellent information. This article, “7 Steps to Self-Belief” is a great guide to turning your attitude around and enhancing your self-belief. Even following some of them will help you.

I will say once again that I can’t think of any better first step in improving your attitude than self-belief. Even if you’ve never had it before, you can make positive changes today. Know that the kingdom of Heaven dwells in you, and spend time each day motivating yourself, changing the negative voice inside your head, and  visualizing the success you desire. You  can do whatever you set out to do. You just need to believe it. Enjoy the blessings 🙂

 


Being a Vessel of God’s Power

July 30, 2014

I have grown so much as a person in the past few years. However, as joyful as I am about that, I realize that I still have so far to go to fully realize and be the person I want to be, and the one that God wants me to be. I want to accomplish great things, but still sometimes think I don’t have the capability to make a difference.

You may be able to relate and may be thinking that, regardless of some of the excellent qualities you have, you have too many weaknesses to make a difference. If so, I will share a Bible verse that inspired me today from 2 Corinthians 4:7. The version I read (NLT) says…we now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

I was deeply inspired for a couple of reasons. One is that I am learning more and more that God is not just someone on the outside that we beckon when we need him, but instead God is part of us and we are part of Him. He is this great treasure and this light shining in our hearts.

Another reason this verse inspires is that it shows perfection is not required. We are compared to fragile clay jars that can break at any moment. Yet God still loves and trusts us enough to house His treasure in us. In the commentary I read along with this verse, it mentioned great Bible figures that God has used. For each it mentioned God’s greatness in them along with the many mistakes that they had made. It’s further proof that perfection is not required.

My hope is that this will inspire you today. You may be fragile and breakable (even perhaps on the verge of breaking). However, you have an unbelievable power that is part of your very being. When you focus on the fact that this power is perfect, and it is the very power of God working in you, the potential in your life is endless. You can accomplish anything. The key is to get yourself out of the way, and yield to this power, which is God in you. Let this light shine. Then simply follow it and do what you believe you are called to do.

Remember, He trusts you, his breakable and imperfect vessel, to carry this light and shine it for great things. If you do, you will certainly experience more of those great things that you can count. Enjoy the blessings 🙂