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building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Faith building”

Two Feet of Jesus

In my small group, we’re going through the Book of Mark. An impression has settled over me concerning these Scriptures. Jesus wanted us to have faith. I know, duh. But really, faith is the key to everything concerning Jesus. David Jeremiah said in one of his teachings about being an Overcomer, “faith is about security in the object of our faith.” He gave the illustration of ice fishing. Is it better to have a little faith with two feet of ice or to have a whole lot of faith with two inches of ice? Of course, it would be a little faith on two feet.

Jesus said we should at least have faith as small as the mustard seed. Even with that smallest of faith, we could say to the mountain move and it would move. That’s a pretty tall order, don’t you think. But it’s the object of our faith that causes the mountain to move.

Jesus could do nothing in the place where there was no faith, especially in His hometown. People grew up with Him. They knew Him or at least, they thought they knew Him. They didn’t understand where He received His education. They couldn’t trust Him because they didn’t know His instruction came from above. They didn’t believe He was the Son of God because they thought He was Mary and Joseph’s son. They didn’t know the back story even when it was given to them in their Scriptures from long ago.

The learned scholars had the back story, they too didn’t believe. They were waiting for the Messiah; yet when He came, they didn’t recognize Him. They had everything before them and they couldn’t see Him. They had no faith in Him. They had more faith in their Scriptures, which were only given so that God’s people would recognize their need for the Savior and recognize Him when He arrived on the scene. But they chose to have more faith in two inches of parchment rather than the two feet of Jesus, the living Word.

Who am I to criticize them? I can be just as bad with my faith walk. Sometimes I put my faith in the wrong things. Money. People. Job. You name it. I have probably trusted it more than I have trusted Jesus. However, I believe my experiences over time have developed more trust in the two feet of Jesus. I still lose sight and have to be reminded. But Jesus continues to give me new insight when I read His Word. Faith – it’s a big deal. We can’t get to heaven without it.

James MacDonald spoke recently about miracles. Jesus performed many miracles (as long as there was faith present) throughout His ministry. Does it still happen? I wrote down from the teaching – “only God can move mountains.” But Jesus said we could do it with faith as small as a mustard seed. The faith is for God to move it on our behalf, not in us. We ask in faith and watch Him move it. He still has the same abilities as He did when Jesus walked the earth. But it still takes faith.

Pastor James said “Miracles are common where God’s glory is revealed. Miracles are uncommon where God’s glory is concealed.” Why do we want a miracle? Will God get the glory for the miracle? Pastor James’ last point was “miracles flow for a deeper faith.” God creates miracles for His glory and for our faith in Him. The more we trust Him the more He’ll do through us. We take greater risks when we truly believe God is who He says He is and He’ll do what He says He’ll do.

Faith. As small as a mustard seed. Two feet of Jesus is more than anything else this world has to offer. Money. People. Jobs. There’s no comparison. God said He would never leave us or forsake us. Do you believe it? We could all use more faith. But if we start with the smallest of faith, He will enlarge it as we lean upon Him as we take the next step and the next. Faith grows more confident the further we walk with Jesus – He might even take us all the way to the center of the ice – but He never leaves us there alone. His two feet are right beside us. Trust Him to get to the other side. Nothing is impossible for those who believe.

I brought him to your followers, but they weren’t able to heal him.”

Jesus replied, “Where is your faith? Can’t you see how wayward and wrong this generation is? How much longer do I stay with you and put up with your doubts? Bring your son to me.”

Then Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of him and the boy was instantly healed!

Later the disciples came to him privately and asked, “Why couldn’t we cast out the demon?”

He told them, “It was because of your lack of faith. I promise you, if you have faith inside of you no bigger than the size of a small mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move away from here and go over there,’ and you will see it move! There is nothing you couldn’t do!

Matthew 17:16-20 (TPT)

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The Next Level: Fearless

When I was growing up, my Mom used to give me a back rub to help me sleep at night. She would come in after I had gotten in bed, we would say a prayer and then she would give me a little relaxing back rub. Needless to say, I love back rubs! However, I have to pay for them these days. Yesterday, I had the opportunity for a massage. I haven’t had one in over a year, and it was a real treat for me.

The massage I had yesterday was a bit different. The therapist did some deep tissue work, but she also stretched me. The stretches were a bit difficult -at times I felt I was being stretched too far. It was actually a little painful. But after it was all said and done, I felt good. I was relaxed. Today, everything is loose and feels amazing. Even though it was painful in a spot or two, I must have needed the stretching the most.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked God to do whatever He needed to do in order to move me to the next level. I guess in theory I asked Him to stretch me. Stepping out in faith really tests those faith muscles. We really don’t know how much faith we have until it is stretched – until it’s tested. Then we can know whether what we say we have is really true.

The challenge came from the pulpit on Sunday. Generosity is the tool for stretching. I have been in this church body for a little over four years, and the pastor hardly ever speaks about money. He reminded us that the church didn’t need the money, but we, as the Body, needed to be stretched (my words, not his). God has all the resources available to Him so He doesn’t need our money. The pastor emphasized that generosity is a heart issue.

The challenge is to step up to the next level of giving. The last level is fearless giving – Andy Stanley calls it “crazy” giving. It’s “sell your assets to give away” kind of giving. It’s what the early church body did to make sure no one was in need. But I would say that each level can be a step into fearless giving. Each step takes us out of the comfort zone. The first step to give is instant giving; throwing money in the pot as it passes or emotional giving. It can be uncomfortable to someone who has very little to give when an opportunity arises. But fearlessly, they give.

The next level is giving intentionally; setting aside money to give regularly. Having a plan in place before the opportunity arises. Again, if someone has never done this before, it’s uncomfortable to plan ahead – who does that nowadays? The next level is proportionate giving. This is a percentage of what is made. If income goes up, so does the giving. Again it can become a fear factor when it looks like we’re not going to have enough to cover the bills.

Then the pastor called the last level fearless giving. Sell and give; in other words, sacrificial giving. To be stretched until it hurts. This is a faith building exercise. Do we really believe God has all the resources in His hands? If we do, then we will sacrifice all we have because we believe God will take care of all our needs. After all, it says so in the Bible. Do we believe it or not? Are we willing to step out in faith to do the thing He calls us to do? He may ask us to go into the deep end where we have to trust Him.

After fishing all night, Simon Peter was asked to push off a little from shore so that Jesus could speak to the crowd. After speaking to the crowd, Jesus turned to Simon Peter. Jesus asked Peter to go out into the deep and drop his nets. Peter had caught nothing the night before. He was disappointed and frustrated for sure. This was how he made a living – and he caught nothing. He had already cleaned his nets; Peter already knew it was useless because the fish weren’t there. However, he did it anyway because Jesus asked him to do it. The amazing catch changed Peter’s perception of Jesus. He was actually speechless! He couldn’t even call to his partners to come help – he signaled them instead.

When we are asked to do something with Jesus, it’s going to be crazy. It may even scare us unbelievable so. But after we have been stretched, we are going to feel amazing. We will have a “fish” story to tell. We may have to sacrifice something we dearly love in order to gain something better. We may even come away with a different perception of Jesus. Now wouldn’t that be amazing?! All we are asked to do is trust Him in the process – to become fearless in the next level; to be stretched so that we can grow to become more like Him. Fearless like Him.

Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him. Luke 5:10-11 MSG

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