Dead Faith

Dead Faith
(Read James 2)
Are you all talk and no action? Are you filled with ideas, but none of them ever come to fruition? If you answered yes to one or both of the above questions then you probably have dead faith.
James 2 is how I want to live my life.  He tells us that in order for our faith to be alive it must be active. I’ve said it before, and I feel it worth saying again; faith is not faith unless it is tested. To say that you have faith is just words; to show your faith in action is truly faith. To give when you have little or none to spare, to show compassion to someone when they have hurt you; that is true faith.
James tells us in v. 14-17 that if we claim faith, but do not use that faith to bless others than our faith is dead. He goes on to tell us that even the demons have faith, so us having faith is not special. What does make us having faith special is our actions based on that faith.
Don’t be confused with works having anything to do with salvation, or buying your way into Heaven. The only way to Heaven is to be born again and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. You are called to be Christ-like, that means that your faith, like His, must be action based.
If you see a need fill it to the best of your ability; THEN share your faith. If I am cold and hungry I am too distracted by my suffering to hear your words about God’s love. If I was an unbeliever I would think “yeah right, God loves me? Why then am I suffering?” Times are tough, money is tight, most of us have enough to get through today. For many of us there is no “security” financially for the future anymore. But I am here to tell you that we can still meet the needs of a hurt and dying world. Most of us have clothes in the back of our closet that we haven’t worn in years. Most of us have blankets that have been sitting in the linen closet “just in case”. Pasta is cheap, so is rice and beans; we can offer a meal to those that may not have enough to eat tonight.  My point is, don’t say that you want to make a difference for Jesus but never put those words into action. DO SOMETHING!!!!!! ANYTHING!!!!!!

 

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith (Photo credit: hannahclark)

 
No soldier when they are enlisted, when called to battle says “I’ll be right there.” or when he is asked to serve says “I will do that later.” He gets up and serves; he has action behind his title of soldier. We march in the army of God. Our mission is to win souls for the kingdom of Heaven. So what are you doing in your mission?
I want people to see Jesus at work in me and through me; the only way to make that happen is to show my faith by my actions; actions that are God based and Christ-like. Too often today I see people wearing the “title” Christian, but that’s all it is, a title. They walk around sour and negative, the weight of the world on their shoulders. They sputter and complain, they take and never give. Well I’m here to challenge all of us (myself included) that call ourselves Christians to rise above the mediocrity that we place ourselves in. Rise above our circumstances, rise above our fears and limitations that we set on ourselves. Rise up and put our faith into action! It’s time to show the world that our faith is a living breathing force in our lives. It’s time to revive that “dead faith”.

 

 

 

How Do You Triumph When You Are Persecuted Because of Your Faith?

How Do You Triumph
When You Are Persecuted
Because of Your Faith?

1.    Thank God that you are seen by the enemy as someone who is a threat to him. Would he bother with you if you were living for him? NO! You are only a threat if you are living for God according to His will! So keep on keeping on!
2.    Make sure that what you are being accused of is not true!
We can make ourselves victims so easily. Sometimes we abuse our “title” of being a Christian. If you are not walking according to the word than guess what; you are not being persecuted for you faith! You are being persecuted for being a hypocrite of your faith! Make sure you get this part right before moving on! Because this is a whole other topic…
3.    Seek like-minded believers. You will need their comfort and strength to get you through. You must come together for prayer and petition the Father for wisdom.
4.    Spend time alone and seek God’s will. Where do you find God in the good times? That’s right where you will find Him in the bad! When we suffer we are idle. I say to you this, find God in your happy place, and praise Him in the storm. Worship Him with your brokenness as well as your wholeness 2 Cor. 12:8-10 tells us that when we are weak, then Christ in us is strong. Why? Because when we rely on our own strength we are using the strength of a mere human, with all our frailties and imperfections. But within us is the power of God almighty! We need to see ourselves for what we are, weak broken vessels that are held together by the grace of God. He is our strength, let’s rely on that strength.
5.    Enter His courts with praise and thanksgiving. Scriptures tell us to enter His courts with praise (Ps. 100), this means all the time, every time. Whether we are whole or broken, we enter into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.
6.    Pray with a true heart, not a conditioned one. If the only time we delve deeply into prayer is in the really bad times than by human nature prayer is conditioned within us as a bad thing. The human mind is a complex machine, a computer if you will. We can program this computer by repeating an action over and over. So if I never talk to God through prayer in the good times; but rather I only go to Him in prayer when things are bad than my mind is being programmed to think that prayer is bad by association. Same rule is applied to using prayer as a personal genie lamp. By this of course I mean that if the only time we go to prayer is when we need something, or want something, than we are conditioning our minds to thinking that God is our personal genie in a bottle. We condition our minds to thinking that prayer is a means to get something instead of it being our way to communicate with God.
    Let’s talk more tomorrow on this subject of conditioning and the human mind.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…
   

God Never Promised That He Wouldn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle!

Sarah Trimmer

Sarah Trimmer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

God Never Promised
That He Wouldn’t Give Us
More Than We Can Handle!

 

1 Cor. 10:13 “ No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (NAS)
This scripture has been misquoted for so long as, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” that we believe it. So what is wrong with that you ask? It’s dangerous; if we believe this than we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. And this type of disappointment could separate us from God!
First off God does not “give” us anything bad. To imply such is a lie. He may allow bad things to happen in our lives for many reasons. This is a very devious plan by the enemy to make God accountable for his schemes! And we fall for it! It is up to us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we can discern why things happen the way they do. But rest assured, it is not God that is doing it to you. We misquote this verse to comfort one another. Let’s look deeper into this verse so we can understand why we need to be careful.
What is this scripture saying? God says that He will provide a way of escape for us when we are tempted so we can “endure” it. Now if we are to believe the misquoted version of this verse, we are told that He will not give us more than we can handle. This implies that things will only get so bad and then poof; we will be delivered from the current situation! Not correct, we are given an escape so that we can endure. That means so that we can stand strongly and firmly rooted in our faith and hope. He provides the way for us to stand firm, but we still have to endure it! When our faith is tested in such a way it strengthens us, it grows us.
So what is this “escape route” that God gives us? Let’s cross reference this verse with 2 Peter 2:9 “…then the Lord knows how to rescue the “godly” from trials…” (NAS)
If we are “godly” we can escape temptations, in other words, we do not have to give in to them. They won’t go away, but we will be able to endure them. The word godly means to be devoted to God’s ways. The word rescue means to set free. So if we will be devoted to God’s ways He will set us free from temptations. Not take them away, but rather give us the ability, the tools to endure them. If we are never tempted or tested how can we know that we have faith? If I say I have the stamina to run a marathon, but never do then it is just words. Being a Christian is more than just saying it, being a Christian is an action. It is a way of life. Jesus (the one for Whom the title Christian is derived from) did not sit back, He did things, He was active in His time here. He set the example that we are to live by. So rejoice in the temptations and trials 1 Peter 4:13 “Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world….”(NLT).
God will free us from giving in to temptations and trials, but only when we choose to be godly. This is His free gift to us! Our escape route! But you may say I am not being tempted, I am being persecuted. So what are the choices you have in that situation? To stand firm or give in right? But I say this to you, isn’t the TEMPTATION to give in great? Of course it is! It’s easier to swim with the current than against it. It is human nature to want to be accepted not rejected. All of these things are temptations. We just don’t see them in that way. I implore you all; we need to start seeing things that way. In every trial there is a temptation; God has given us an escape route, to be godly. He has not promised that the problem will go away; He just gives us a way to be victorious. And that should be more than enough for us…
The next time you or someone you know is suffering, do not misquote this passage. But rather be reminded, and remind others, that if you are willing to be godly, than God has given you an escape route to be able to stand against temptation and trials.
Remember faith is only faith when it is put to the test! Otherwise it is just words that we speak. 1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;…” (NLT); James 2:14 “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (NLT); James 2:18 “Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (NLT)

 

As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

Being a Blessing To Others, In Spite Of Your Conditions…

Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane),...

Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane), oil painting by Heinrich Ferdinand Hofmann (Heinrich Hofmann). The original is at the Riverside Church (Riverside Church, New York City). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philippians 2:17-18
“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”
    What do you think Paul is saying to us here? What does it mean to be “poured out as a drink offering…”? It means to be sacrificed for the cause. What cause? Spreading the good news of Jesus Christ! Paul in this case was being persecuted because he was trying to witness for Jesus. He was being “sacrificed” for the service of your faith! Are we willing to be sacrificed for the sake of another’s faith? What does that even mean? It means that every person has the right to know that Jesus died for them so that they may have eternal salvation. It means that we may be called into uncomfortable situations; it means that we may be unfairly persecuted; it means that we will suffer; it means that we will have to sacrifice. But for what? For the sake that perhaps through your sufferings maybe just one person will see the joy of the Lord upon you in your time of despair and come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It means that in spite of what our conditions are we NEED to be a blessing to the world around us. We need to show them that Jesus is enough. We need to show them that He comforts us. We need to show them that He speaks to the brokenhearted and wounded.
It is not easy to be a Christian, especially in these dark times. It is a sacrifice to be a Christian in today’s society. Television programs are geared for the worldly, radio is geared for the worldly, and movies are geared for the worldly. Christians have a very small niche in these markets. It is hard to resist all of the temptations. We cry and moan about the conditions of the world. We complain and grumble, but what are we doing to make it better? Are we being a blessing despite the conditions around us? Are we being a blessing despite OUR conditions? How do we stand out in a world gone mad? Stand out for Jesus that is. Paul tells us in V18 “And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”
    What is Paul saying? He is telling us that no matter what the circumstances, we must remain joyful. Imagine what it would be like if instead of walking around like the world and grumbling about everything that is wrong with it, we try to be joyful that God is still on the throne? Can you imagine what it would be like if instead of when we are tried and suffer we would show the world that Jesus is still in control of our lives? How can the world tell if we are different being a Christian if we look like them? When we suffer we should still be able to share the joy that is the salvation of Jesus. We live in a world that wants instant gratification; they want to see the results now! They want to know that there are benefits to being a believer. Jesus saves us the instant we ask for forgiveness and ask Him to enter into our hearts. How is that for instant results! But what does the world see? They see a sour faced bunch; they see a group of people who say, “God bless you…”, “I’ll be praying for you…” But where is the fruit of that faith? Works will not get us into heaven that is not why we do them. We do them because it is the example that Jesus left us. Because in spite of what is going on in our lives we must still be a blessing to the world around us. Showing this broken and hurting world that there is hope; and that hope is found in Jesus Christ alone. This cannot be done with mere words; we must show with our actions. James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Our works are for the blessing of others. It is to be a testimony of the love of Jesus. It is to show the world that in spite of what may be going on in your life that the love of God is the most important part of your life. It should be a testimony that God is bigger than any problem.
    Philippians 2:14
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”
    What happens to us when we are treated unfairly? Do we not grumble? Do we not dispute what is happening to us? This is not the example that Paul gives us. Nor is this the example of Jesus.  We get caught up in the woes of this life and in turn we give up the joy of the Lord. Romans 8:17 “…and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him…” It’s human nature to want to defend ourselves when we are treated unfairly. But Paul tries to convey to us, remind us, that this is not the way of the Lord. We must keep our joy in the Lord always under every circumstance in our lives. And most importantly, we need to share that joy with others.
    Nothing quite compares to meeting a person who is in the middle of suffering a trial and they have the joy of the Lord upon them. But more remarkable is this, THAT THEY SHARE THAT JOY WITH OTHERS! We tend to hold people like this in high regards; as we should, after all they are witnessing to us the perfect love of Jesus. Despite hanging on the cross. Despite the torment and disrespect. Despite all of it, Jesus still asked His heavenly Father to forgive those that were treating Him unfairly.
    When we suffer wrongs and count it as blessings and share those blessings with others; we are sharing the perfect love of Jesus. Then will we be, “poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,” This is what it means to be a blessing to others in spite of your conditions.

As I sat here this morning typing this out a red cardinal came an perched itself upon a branch outside my window and stared in at me (or so it seemed, maybe it was only looking at its own reflection) I am reminded that God takes care of all that bird’s needs. I am also reminded that there is no clothing that could compare to the splendor of that birds feathering; the “clothing” that God gave it. Why do we worry so much when God clearly has it all figured out. We just keep getting in the way with our rationalizing everything. The beauty of this bird gave me joy and I wanted to share it with you. Wish I had my camera handy so I could have taken a picture of it. Have a blessed day. (This piece was written about 7 years ago and I edited it this morning.)