Believe!

Believe! @ saintintraining.net

“They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?]

Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].” John 6:28 – 29 AMP

Car dealers and department stores offer deals, discounts and sales in an attempt to entice us to buy – Right Now!! No sale lasts indefinitely, all deals and discounts end. We’re programmed to believe that nothing good lasts forever. But there is One I know who never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forevermore!

There is not a word that God utters that does not carry out the thing it is set to accomplish. His word once given cannot fall to the ground unless it’s been fulfilled. God told Jeremiah, “I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” Jeremiah 1:12 NIV
People with the mentality of ‘get it while the getting is good’ and ‘seeing, is believing’ cannot easily receive the things of God.

The people asked, “What are we to do?” As if human ability is enough to carry out the works of God. Christ responded in a way that, if viewed through human faculties, seemed to make no sense. He told them to simply believe in the Messenger God had sent.

The people rejected such a simplified, unadorned answer. Surely He could perform some great feat? Perhaps cause bread to from Heaven as in the days of Moses? They asked for something that, if compared to the miracle they were experiencing, was trivial.

You see, they stood in the very presence of God himself. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. The God of all creation had draped himself in human flesh to walk among the people He intended for salvation but they were too blind, too carnal to see or to believe.

“It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.

But [still] some of you fail to believe and trust and have faith.” John 6:63 – 64a AMP

And today we are not very different. God is no longer manifested before us in a physical shell, no, He’s much closer. God lives inside each Believer.

“Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time).” John 6:35 AMP

Christ is to the soul what bread is to the body. He nourishes and sustains us; providing us all the essentials of what is needed for us to live naturally, spiritually, right on into Eternity. To believe in God, to believe God (what he says/promises) is to receive the life-sustaining bread. Jesus told the woman at the well that if she were to believe on him she would have water that would never run dry.

Beloved, there is no expiration date in Jesus Christ. His power doesn’t spoil nor does His love go rancid. He was, and is and is to come. He never changes. Even canned food will eventually sour. Salt will eventually lose its flavor but God will go on being God forever and His word will never fail!

“…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
“So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b – 6 AMP

The promises of God are “Yes and Amen” (so be it) in Christ Jesus. Jesus is God’s Yes Man. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Believe God my brothers and sisters. If you struggle with doubt and unbelief don’t talk down to yourself, rather be transparent with the Father. We are to go boldly before the Seat of Mercy and make our petitions known. Be like the father of the demoniac son, be truthful and just like Jesus had mercy on him and healed his son, He will have mercy on you. Remember, He’s our strength when we’re weak, even when we’re faithless, He is still faithful.

Believe in the Messenger God has sent and watch your life be renewed!

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Resting in the Lord

Image by: Adam Selwood

What is it to rest in God?

It is to trust Him. This comes easier for some than others, me included. I’ve never found it easy to trust others in their words or intentions towards me; this inclination to distrust, to expect the worst before the better, translated itself into my relationship with God. It has been a hindrance and a weight I’ve found to be difficult to let go. But, the good news is this: the Holy Ghost is not only a comforter but he’s also an enabler. What is impossible for me to accomplish on my own becomes a possibility, nay, a reality with God. “With God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

So how does one learn to rest in the Lord? It takes time, it takes effort, in short, it is the act of walking on the waters of faith*.

Rest. Trust. Faith. These three are contingent upon the other.

One cannot rest in God without trusting him and one cannot trust him without first having exercised faith. God has been dealing with me about this for a while now. He wants me to trust Him, in His ability to keep me, to grow and complete me. (1 Thessalonians 5:27) He wants me to lean on Him and learn how to trust Him regardless of the problem or difficulty I may face. I trust too much in my eyes (leaning towards my own understanding) because I learned at a young age never to put store in the words of men. Unfortunately it’s a lesson I learned from my natural father. He would often promise us (my sibling and I) something but more often than not he would never follow through. Overtime I began to tune him out; his words would not penetrate my heart because I had hardened my heart and my ears to his promises.

When the Lord filled me with his Spirit and birthed me into this life of salvation I was freed from sin. I was free from sin but I was not strong enough or mature enough to keep my thoughts. So I not only distrusted my natural father but I also distrusted the Lord. I read his words and wanted to believe them, very much. But I didn’t.

This inability to trust became a stumbling block to my growth and eventually that stumbling block became a strong hold. So, what happens to a saint who can’t believe the God they serve?

Doubt begins to fray at the edges of all the petitions one sends up and where there’s doubt, there is also fear. Pair these two with frustration and worry and you have a recipe for disaster. You can’t rest at night nor can you have peace in the midst of life’s storms if you don’t trust God.

Trusting God is especially difficult if a person suffers from low self-esteem or if they’ve had a history with oath-breakers in their life. It’s difficult, but not impossible. Building trust in God comes with time and it comes through relationship. To know God is to love Him, to love Him is to trust Him, to trust Him and in Him is to have rest. Our rest, our peace and our hope lies in God.

So if relationship is the key to establishing trust it is imperative for us to actively seek a relationship with God. It’s what He wants most from us. God doesn’t want to see us or hear from us every now and again. He doesn’t want to be that friend we wave at from a distance. He wants to be the center of our world, for we are definitely the center of His. (Zechariah 2:8).

I have been saved for twenty-four years of my thirty-seven and I’ve only recently come to know that Jesus loves me. It’s sad but true. What’s sadder is that I know that I’m not the only one who’s lived the majority of their saved life not really believing that the Savior of their life loves them. This is why there are so many dissatisfied and unhappy Christians in the world. This is why there are so many who cannot love one another as Christ commands; it’s hard to love your neighbor as you love yourself when you don’t love yourself! It’s hard to sing ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ when in fact, you don’t know. It’s hard to rest in the safety of his arms when you fight just to believe he wants you there to begin with!

I know the pain. I know the fear and the feeling of hopelessness. But beloved, praise God in heaven, I now know the truth! God does love me and he loves you too. He loves us and is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him. (2 Timothy 2:16-17)  The story of the prophet, Hosea, speaks eloquently of this fact.God is the most faithful, most trustworthy ‘person’ we could ever know.

Hosea 2: 19 – 20

I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you inrighteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.

He is not afar off. He is not some distant figure that sits in Heaven in all his glory and splendor contemplating his creation as if we’re some kind of day-time drama. He is not content to be that God of man’s creation with flowing white beard and booming voice that sits in austere judgment of the little men on earth. He feels, he has desires and he yearns for an intimate relationship with us. This is why God refers to his church as his bride. (Ephesians 5:25-32)

It was never his intent to have any kind of relationship with us other than an intimate one. When he made mankind he walked in the gardens with Adam and later Eve. He spoke with them as a friend. He knew them and they knew him.

God is the most trustworthy 'person' we know.

Image by: Fruity Monkey

His desires haven’t changed because he doesn’t change. God wants to work in us and through us. He wants to show the world his glory through us. He wants to perform miracles and solve our problems. He wants to laugh with us (yes, laugh – God laughs) and dance with us. This is why he wanted to abide in us. This is why he baptizes and fills his people with his spirit, because he isn’t content to be separated from us. He longs for us so much that he wants to live inside of us! Imagine that!

Beloved I implore you, if you have not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, seek God until you do. There is no denominational boundary the Holy Ghost will not cross. He never intended for his spirit to be poured out on a select few. The Holy Ghost is the access code that will unlock what you’ve been looking for in Christ.

Rest in the Lord and in his promises. Give up your desires, your ‘intellectual’ understanding and let him have his way in your life. Once you do you’ll find that falling in love with Jesus is the best thing you’ve ever done. It’s an experience and a gift – it’s what makes us a peculiar people. Stop fighting the pull of the spirit, stop fighting to retain control of your life, do what Paul did and ask him, “Who are you, Lord?” I promise, he will answer in ways beyond your imaginings.

Related Articles:

Jehovah Shammah, – The Lord is Present!

Our High Priest and Compassionate King

The Book of Consolation

The Ants that had to Flee!

 

Original Photo by: SnapA

What do a mustard seed and an ant have in common besides their insignificant size? This question would never have occurred to me before this past week. I learned something about myself and something about God as a result of those two things.

Early last week I began to feel a pressing to fast. Unfortunately, I didn’t heed the pressing and as a result I was left found wanting in a situation that arose later on in the week.

I have been experiencing some physical changes recently that have left me emotionally sensitive. Like, needing to cry when I don’t have anything to cry about! If I had been obedient and obeyed the prompting of the Spirit to fast, I wouldn’t have been so affected by what happened. Obedience is better than sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22 KJV)

So what was the situation? We experienced what I call “the attack of the ants”. Ants, those creatures that scripture uses as an example to the sluggard (Proverbs 6:6-11), are a nuisance. They’re a plague! At least that’s how Mom and I viewed them in the past few weeks. They first appeared in the kitchen and like a mighty army, they marched along the kitchen wall, along the counter and fanned out in pursuit of something sweet. Well Mom spotted them (thank God) before they could get too far and killed them on the spot! Go Mom! But, the question was, where did they come from and how were we going to keep them from continuing their midnight raids on our kitchen?

We cleared out the cupboards, searched behind the fridge, all in search of their point of entry. Apparently there is a crack between the counter and the wall – they were in the wall. That night Mom and I discussed having someone to come in and spray as well as repair the crack but Mom made a good point, if they’re in the wall and we spray, they’ll just go elsewhere and come out from another crack. So, we prayed. Right there in the kitchen, we prayed and asked God to send the ants out of our house! God has authority over every living thing in the world. (Psalm 24:1) Every force of nature, every spirit, everything in creation has to obey His command. It was the Lord who said, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 NLT)

What are ants in comparison to a mountain?

The following day Mom called to have the kitchen sprayed and the man confirmed her thoughts, the ants were indeed in the wall. He said that they would find another point of entry once the spray began to take effect. As a backup measure, he also sprayed the upstairs bathroom (as that’s the only other place we’d seen any signs of the miniature beasties).

Fast forward to Friday. I’d been feeling a little under the weather Thursday and Friday so I’d stayed home from work. My hormones were out of control, I hadn’t been sleeping well and I was tired (and had been fighting the impulse to cry for two days) so as you may imagine, I was not in the best frame of mind. Remember, I neglected to fast when the Spirit prompted me (oh the stubborn hearts our Lord has to deal with!). I was sitting at my desk when out of the corner of my eye I detected movement. I looked down and two little soldier ants were parading their way across MY desk! Then I felt something on my leg – another ant! I shot up out of my chair, it flew back to hit my bed and that’s when I saw them…a line of ants ascending my bedroom wall like a group of day-time commandos! They were so bold they had the gall to attack in broad day light! If that wasn’t bad enough I saw two more on my night stand and one on MY pillow. Well that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I wept. I cried and cried and bemoaned my fate.

Really. I bemoaned my fate.

I paced back and forth, wrung my hands and wailed to the God of my salvation, “Why me!? Wh-hyyy?!” All I can say for that is, “Thank God for Jesus.”

Of course Satan, that old demon thought it the opportune time to remind me, “See, you prayed and look at the good it did you.” That slew-footed Father of lies knows just when you’re at your weakest. Again, I should have fasted. But I hadn’t and so, I cried even more.

Finally I got a hold of myself enough to spray the buggers – hah! It gave me little relief though. I called Mom and like the loving and compassionate woman she is, she came home (she was only a few units over) and helped me to move my furniture away from the walls (better to find their point of entry).

Mom shooed me out of the room (I can only imagine the struggle she must have had in keeping her composure – I was quite pitiful) and told me she would vacuum the area, just in case any of the miniature militia were secreting themselves away. They’re sneaky like that.

After a while, I calmed down and began to think. In the stillness of our down-stairs living room, I was convicted and humbled. God knew what I’d been dealing with physically. He knew that, although it may seem small in comparison to other things I’ve faced, this incident would leave me weak. He also knew the remorse I would feel after the fact. I had doubted my prayer. I had believed my eyes and rather than trusting Him, I doubted. He’d made a way of escape for me (by fasting) and I ignored it. Talk about guilt.

It’s often in the littlest trials of life that God can reveal the greatest of lessons to us. The night we’d prayed in the kitchen I had believed. We have grains of mustard seed sealed in a plastic baggy on the front of our fridge. They work as a reminder for us so that we will remember God’s words concerning the mustard seed of faith.

If all you have is one – that’s enough!

All of this came back to me in a flash! The Lord is an awesome God. And He is infinitely kind and merciful. He is my father so completely and I am His child (even when I act like a silly child) and He loves me. I repented and then I humbly, prayerfully headed upstairs. As I went I talked to the Lord. I said, “Lord, you said in your word, that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains. Well Jesus, that’s about as much faith as I have right now, surely it’s enough to remove stubborn ants from our home.” And you know what beloved, it was.

I entered my bedroom and the sight I saw humbled me further. My mother, my loving and beautiful mother, was standing in the corner of the room with her hands raised, her face upturned towards heaven, singing praises to God.

I stood there dumbfounded. I was amazed. I was contrite….I was chastened.

She opened her eyes and reached out her hands to place them on the walls and began to praise God for sending the ants away. Slowly, with my hands outstretched, I joined her and I began to praise God too.

The night passed into day and I found that my equilibrium had returned. I went into the bathroom and on the white landscape that was the counter-top, I saw one ant.

It was in the final stages of its death throes. I stood reverently, quietly and watched as it lay there struggling to breathe. My lips began to form into a slow grin and soon I found myself nodding, “So you’re the last one eh…”

Then I laughed out loud and squashed it flat.

We haven’t seen an ant since.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) Believe with your heart beloved, not with your eyes. If all the faith you have is the size of a mustard seed, just remember, that’s enough.