Category Archives: Testing

Now Faith Is . . .

A dear friend of mine shared that many of my blog articles discuss topics beyond her understanding in the Christian faith. She was looking for material that would provide an introduction to important subject matter. I am beginning a series called “In Beginnings” that I hope will fit this needed niche.

The first miracle detailed as part of the Christmas story describes the teen-aged Mary who after hearing the news from the angel Gabriel that she was chosen to bear a son who would be called “Son of the Most High”. He also said Christ would take on David’s throne, a most daunting statement.

Her reaction to hearing this audacious pronouncement was ” . . .be it unto me according to thy word” [Luke 1:38 KJV].  Her reaction was not contrary, but fully engaged with what she heard. Mary acknowledged this even though the Lord had not interacted in the earth for 400 years.  Mary hears this and responds that she is readily available to receive this great blessing with no equivocation. 

There are many accounts of people hearing a word from God and responding not only affirmatively but in a way that disregards common knowledge to comply and as a result were immeasurably blessed. 

What do you believe?

Another example and a favorite similar circumstance is recounted in Matthew 17 where Jesus directs Peter to go to the lake and throw in a hook. “cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax men. It will be enough for both of us.” [Matthew 17:27b MSG.]

Jesus had proven himself to Peter.  I wonder if I would faithfully follow His direction or if I would let doubt and unbelief rule the day: “So we could both get locked up if I don’t catch the ‘right’ fish? What if I don’t go to the spot you have in mind?  Do I have the right bait?”

Unlikely as it was, Peter caught the fish and the coin was in its mouth.

We often overthink our faith dilemmas.  We feel led to respond and as we do, second guesses and unbelief steal our victories.  It’s important to get counsel and encouragement from other believers.  It is likely that those who give you counsel and encouragement are in your life for that reason. In addition, the Bible, the Word of God is the final authority on how we proceed in this present world.  

Waiting with Stones

In the life of every Christian there will come tests and challenges of the faith that we have confessed. How convinced are we that there is an answer to our problem? Is God really going to provide? There are even answers in His word that confirm his will and desire to provide. But these answers don’t come overnight, the manifest answers to our prayers come often when we least expect or frequently much later than that; but they never come too late – Praise God!!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1] We believe that God is going to do something for us in the future. He wants to provide for us [Lk 12:32] but have to wait in confidence that he is going to perform what he has promised. In proof of our conviction, we are to rejoice as if we are in possession of the promise while we still wait.
At one point I was frustrated with waiting [I was waiting for my wife]. A fragment of a verse came to me from John the Baptist. He was admonishing the Pharisees and Sadducees and told them that God was able to make sons of Abraham from stones. [Mt. 3:9]. Intellectually, I knew that God could do ANYTHING but for this verse to walk into my consciousness and declare that even though I didn’t know where my wife was coming from, God is able and willing to create something very special [i.e. a son of Abraham, born to special rights and privilege] from a rock. This [revelation] blew me away!
So all I had to do was wait.
Somewhere I had grabbed Luke 21:19 in my spirit “In your patience, possess ye your souls” The soul is the seat of the mind, will, and emotions of each person. It is separate from the spirit and body. The soul is the place where worry, fear and anxiety can take root.
In a situation where there is loss, sickness or uncertainty, one always has the option of losing heart, or letting their doubt overshadow the word of God. This is the psalmist’s perceived dilemma in Psalm 42 when he asksWhy are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? [vs. 5]
This is the chief question to be asked in light of what we know to be true – the promises of God are Yea and amen [2 Cor 1:20 ] but how do we endure the wait until they come to fruition? This is the work of God as Jesus describes in John 6:28-29. Believing on Him in spite of what the physical world and everyone else says about the matter.
That much more, we hate the wait; we hate the feeling of powerlessness and vulnerability. It’s un-American! Even so is the word “qavah” translated wait as in the oft quoted Isaiah 40:31 “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . and clearly one simply needs to do a word study to find these valuable reminders: Psalms 25:3, 27:14, 37:9, 130:5 and Lamentations 3:25 to know that waiting [and seeking Him] are keen parts of our walk and that we will not be ashamed or disappointed who hope in Him.