"He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised." -Romans 4:19-21
Are you convinced yet? Are you convinced that God is who He says that He is? Are you convinced that God will fulfill every promise that he has made to you? Are you convinced that you are the focus of God's goodness? Are you convinced that your complete identity is in Jesus Christ?
If your answer to any of these questions is no then it's no wonder that you live life wavering between belief and unbelief on a daily basis. Abraham knew that if he were to live out the manifested promise of God's word then he had to be all in all of the time. So often we want to see God do great things through us, for us and with us, but we are not fully convinced that due to the circumstances around us. In Abraham's case, God told him that he was going to the father of many nations, but he didn't even have one child due to his wife's barren womb. So when the suggestion was made to help God make it happen and that blew up in his face he knew the second chance to live out God's promise had to be followed God's way not his.
Due to our impulses we often miss God the first time so he gives us another chance to get it right. This is a word of encouragement to someone today: "You may have missed God the first time and began to immediately to condemn and disqualify yourself, but God has not disqualified you. In His great love He is offering you another chance to live out His awesome plan for you, but this time you have to be convinced that His way is the only way."
Understand this, God did not make a promise solely based on your ability to bring it about, but on His ability to fulfill the words that come out of His own mouth. In Hebrews 6:13 declares this concerning Abraham, "For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself," The verse that follows says that God said that He would bless and multiply Abraham, all Abraham was responsible for doing was agreeing with God and following God's directions by faith effectively tapping into the resources that come with fulfillment.
I encourage you to study God's resume which is in the Bible because as you do this faith will come and fill your heart. Become convinced or as the KJV puts it "fully persuaded" and watch what God will do with the surrendered life that gives less attention to external circumstances and more attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit. God has already decreed your destiny and it is glorious. Walk into it today.
“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:37-41 ESV)
Have you ever been in a crisis situation and felt like God was finally going to add a loss to his flawless winning streak? Well today I would like to encourage you by letting you know that even when we go through storms God is still with us and if we will be willing to stand in faith we will ultimately see the victory in that situation. I know many people reading this may find themselves in such a place right now, but you should know that God’s faithfulness does not cease just because the severity of our situations increases without warning. Remember James’ encouragement to the believers within his fellowship, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4 ESV)." Always look at your trials as an opportunity to build your faith in God not an opportunity to experience defeat.
Storms aren’t desirable, but if you are prepared to go through them then you can minimize if not avoid the damage that often comes with them. Jesus taught us to prepare when he teaches, “Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock (Matthew 7:24-25 CEV)." On the contrary he tells us what happens to the one who doesn’t prepare, “Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash (Matthew 7:26-27 CEV)." Jesus was a very practical teacher of the Word who wanted people to have the ability to still be left standing after their storms were over. Preparation is so easy, too. All we have to do is to apply what God say to our lives instead of disregarding it as just religious jargon with no practical benefit.
Prior to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection he again states the importance of taking his teachings beyond just hearing, but to the next step of life application when he declares, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (John 16:33 AMP)." Storms will come, but if you prepare through practical application of the Word of God to your life then you’re guaranteed to make it in life. The psalmist declares, “The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him (Psalm 37:39-40 ESV)." Let's look at Nahum, I know many don’t ever preach from Nahum let alone know where to find it in the bible, but he affirmed the psalmist’s declaration of faith when he says, “The LORD is good. He protects those who trust him in times of trouble (Nahum 1:7 CEV)." So today no matter what it is that you are facing right now or in the future you can be confident that you’ll make it through alright. God comforts us with the same words spoken to Jacob when he said, “Wherever you go, I will watch over you, then later I will bring you back to this land. I won’t leave you–I will do all I have promised (Genesis 28:15 CEV)."
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” (Matthew 18:19 NLT)
Are you facing a personal situation in which you needed God to act like yesterday? If not you then maybe you know someone you is going through something like that, but regardless of the details I want to be your prayer partner today because as we agree on your situatuon God will go into action on your behalf. I’m not saying that you praying alone is not effective so don’t go off on a tangent, but we learn in Ecclesiastes that “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour(Ecclesiastes 4:9 KJV)." Evidently Jesus wanted us to be able to tap into the power of agreement, but some still neglect this powerful prayer strategy and insist on being a Lone Ranger. In the kingdom of God there is no such thing as the Lone Ranger anointing and we all need assistance from others of “like precious faith” at sometime in our walk with God.
Today let us agree in prayer that God will open doors of opportunity for you right when you need it. Let us agree that your family situations are now improving. Let us agree that you experience supernatural debt cancellation very soon. Let us agree that your mind is made whole and you no longer experience mental torment. Let us agree that you are walking in divine health and healing right now because by the stripes of Jesus you have been healed and redeemed from sickness. Let us agree that your ministry is flourishing and the necessary finances are at your disposal to accomplish your divine mandate. Let us agree that unsaved friends and family are accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior before the month is over. Let us agree that divine creativity is being stimulated in your mind now and those projects which have been conceived from the Spirit of God are being completed with ease and you will immediately begin working on the next one.
The Lord wants you to know that the delay in the answers to your prayers haven’t been his denials, but you just needed the extra faith push that comes from agreement to get it done. You can’t agree with everybody becasue their faith may not be on the same level as yours, but agree with faith that is at your level or greater. You will even see obstacles dissolve as you agree in prayer. There will be times when praying alone will yield the answer, but be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that you will know when you need to get another to agree in faith with you.
But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26 AMP)
Today I want to encourage you with this truth and it is simply that there are no impossibilities with God! If you will allow this truth to become deeply planted in your heart then it is guaranteed to liberate you from the bondage of limited thinking. A lot of people would experience God’s total deliverance if they could remind themselves that the God who did awesome miracles in the bible wants to do a miracle for them today. It doesn’t matter what it looks like God is the one ally whose effectiveness cannot be limited by circumstances. Paul stated in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly , far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] (Ephesians 3:20 AMP)."
Do you see that? Our God wants to not only fulfill your hopes and dreams, but he wants to exceed them. Right now just reflect on that scripture and watch how fear, doubt and unbelief vacate the premise of your heart while faith, hope and love fill it in an overwhelming measure. Your perspective on life will be brighter and you’ll be ushered into your promised land by the God of wonders. Even on the days when you are tempted to agree with your problems focus on God’s promises which never cease to come to pass. Joshua said, “The Lord promised to do many good things for Israel, and he kept his promise every time (Joshua 21:45 CEV)." See God keeping all his promises to you, too. So join in partnership with God from this day forward and make everyday your best day.
Confession for today: As a joint heir with Christ I receive all of the good things which God promised to do for me. I refuse to settle for any less than heaven’s best because it is my right as the beloved of God. I refuse to worry or be anxious about anything, but I choose to allow God’s peace to guard my heart. I know no impossiblities today and my faith in God’s ability is bringing me into continuous victory. All adverse circumstances, situations and people are subject to the authority of Jesus Christ and right now everything is working out for my good and benefit. (inspired by Romans 8:17; Joshua 21:45; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 John 5:4; Matthew 19:26; Philippians 2:10; Romans 8:28)
“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” (Psalm 23:3 NLT)
Today God wants to refresh and restore you, but you have to draw closer to him through fellowship. When we fellowship with the Lord on a daily basis then it is much like recharging a cellular phone battery that is drained from constant use. Our daily lives can be quite exhausting whether you are a factory worker, a homemaker or a well dressed executive. We all need that quality time with God that makes the difference. There was a saying some years back, “Seven days without prayer makes one weak.” I wouldn’t try going even one day without spending time with the Lord even if it’s only 5 free minutes, make those the most positively life changing 5 minutes of your day.
Another benefit that comes from spending time with God is divine guidance. There is someone reading this right now who needs direction for their lives because they know that their next step is a critical one and there is no room for an error. However, God wants to you to fellowship with him for a while so that he can speak to you directly and help you to see clearly. Resist the urge to worry and try your own way because you’ve already tried your way and the situation only got worse. Now it’s God’s turn to lead and guide you along “right paths.” Just trust him completely and watch how he works everything out for you. There is even favor awaiting you, but you have to follow God’s directions. Remember, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track (Proverbs 3:5-6, Message)."
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 4:6-7, ESV
What do you do when faced with situations that appear beyond your control? Do you cry? Scream? Pull your hair out by the roots? Pull someone else’s hair out by the roots? Do use that moment as an opportunity to talk to God?
In our day I believe that we have gone from not talking to others about our problems to talking to too many of the wrong people about our problems. Especially when they are powerless to fix the situation or even bring us any true comfort in the midst of the situation. However, God stands ready to handle the burdens that we carry and to bring us peace in the midst of the storms that we face in this life, but you have to be willing to take him into your confidence, first.
Prayer involves you recognizing that you need God. Then once that need is acknowledged you understand that in him every need has already been supplied. In Philippians 4:19 Paul tells us that,
“God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Right now declare to yourself: “As a child of God, I have every need met in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer is not you begging God for what you need, but faith filled prayer involves you declaring and receiving every promise of God that has been supplied with your name on it in Christ Jesus. It’s the confidence of knowing that your needs are already met in Christ Jesus that causes you to have peace in the midst of crisis. Today make God your first responder and let him handle your situation.
What situations are you facing that only God can handle?
Declaration: “I refuse to give stress any place in my life from this point forward. My peace is found in trusting God completely. Therefore, I will take my hands off of this situation and turn it over to God who has promised to meet my every need because I am in Christ Jesus.”
"I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
-Mark 10:15, Amplified
In order to receive the living reality of God's kingdom we have to become like children. What does that mean? It doesn't mean that we have to be bratty and immature Christians that throw temper tantrums whenever we don't get our way. It is an attitude of the heart that allows to us to have a sense of wonder and expectation when it comes to our Father God. Also like children we have to be willing to believe that our Father God only wants what's best for us.
I really feel like many people become stale and bored in their walk with God when they begin to feel like they know all there is to know about the Lord. The truth is you will never know all there is to know about God. Each day is a new adventure in our walk with God. Just when we think we've figured him out he surprises us with a new dimension of his goodness. Expectation is the key. If you will learn to expect to see the goodness of God in the land of the living (see Psalm 27:13) then God will far exceed those expectations (see Ephesians 3:20-21). Expectation is a partner to hope and hope is a partner to faith (see Hebrews 11:1).
God wants you to welcome his kingdom manifestation into your life daily. In the kingdom there is "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:17). Welcome these wonderful manifestations of the kingdom to transform and shift the atmospheres that may be negatively impacting your day. Watch as your Father God changes the outcome of circumstances that were designed to overwhelm and defeat you. In Romans 8:28 Paul declares,
"And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose."
"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:25 NKJV
As children of God we have to develop such a relationship with the Holy Spirit that we actually are led by Him. Too many believers are led more by their head(i.e. soul-mind, will and emotions) instead of the Spirit of God. Paul tells us in Romans 8:14, "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Notice that it does not say pulled, kicking and screaming, but it does say led indicating that your spirit is voluntarily in cooperation with the Holy Spirit as He guides you daily.
The problem with being led by your soul is that you become subject to the doubts, fears and negative impulses which have caused many a shipwreck in the lives of believers. Being led by your soul also causes you to "fleece" God instead of obediently acting on His word. Fleeces actually make your obedience conditional based on external circumstances. For example, You prayed that God would use you for His glory and immediately sense God leading you to pray for the person on crutches at the mall or pay for someone's groceries. Instead of immediately following God's leading you might say "I feel like you want me to do this, but if I'm really supposed to do this let them speak to me first because I don't want to look foolish by just going up to them and doing this." Some people have even gotten more extreme fleecing prayers and say something "If I'm to do this let it snow in August." Fleecing appeals to the soul and the five physical senses. Instead of walking by faith and not by sight(Read 2 Corinthians 5:7), seeing is believing.
In Matthew 14:22-33, we see Peter walking on water, but his five senses wouldn't let him enjoy the moment and eventually weighed him down. Starting at verse 27 it reads, "But straight away Jesus said to them, Take heart; it is I, have no fear. And Peter, answering, said to him, Lord, if it is you, give me the order to come to you on the water. And he said, Come. And Peter got out of the boat, and walking on the water, went to Jesus. But when he saw the wind he was in fear and, starting to go down, he gave a cry, saying, Help, Lord." Peter's soul couldn't handle what was happening. I could imagine him thinking, "I can't believe I'm out here. I sure hope I don't drown."
Fleecing only appeals to the soul and the five the physical senses. Living this way will not help you grow in your faith, but it will definitely hinder your faith and prevent you from experience. Faith is a spiritual reality that is capable of impacting the natural world. Don't allow a fear of failure or fear of missing God prevent you from embarking on the wonderful journey that God wants to take you on. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6, "Put all your hope in God, not looking to your reason for support. In all your ways give ear to him, and he will make straight your footsteps(BBE).
Confession for today: I commit to being led by Father God daily. I will not let my head deceive me, but I will rely on God's wisdom, knowledge and His understanding. I make the voluntary decision to walk and live in the spirit.
"Delayed hope makes the heart sick, but fulfilled desire is a tree of life."
-Proverbs 13:12 HCSB
Do you have dreams, goals or ambitions that you want to see realized? What is preventing you from seeing those things manifested in your now? Are you experiencing the frustration of delayed fulfillment?
If you're like me then you have a deep longing in your heart to impact your generation and leave mediocrity in the dust of yesterday. We have a lot of excuses that swirl around in our minds day in and day out as to why we haven't started doing what we are truly passionate about and why coping is the safest place for us. These excuses sound something like this,
"I don't have the money."
"If only I had the time."
"No one will support me."
"No one has ever done anything like this before."
"What if I don't make it."
"I'm too old to try now."
There are many others, but I don't want to list them and further feed your doubts because that's not my assignment. My point is that we spin our wheels in the road of life full of potential, but never actually accomplishing anything because we haven't moved our lives into drive yet. We watch others succeed and envy them. We watch others win and wonder what could have been if only we had tried to do what they did. Today, you must stop wondering and start doing.
Many of you reading this blog have notebooks, cocktail napkins and computers files filled with vision so planning isn't your problem. Your problem is moving out by faith on the plans that God has put within your heart. The Apostle James once wrote, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
Faith is the fuel for life and outstanding achievement. As you operate in faith you will continually develop more faith causing you to do extraordinary things. I don't know about you, but whenever I achieve something it gives me life!
Someone needs your song. Someone needs your book. Someone needs your business in operation. Someone needs your invention. There are cities that need you in political office. There are patients that need your medical expertise. There are school children that need you to teach them and inspire them. Who will stop delaying hope and dare to act today!
Steve Tolbert is an emerging revivalist who is passionate about drawing people closer to God.