I Believe

What just happened? I’m so confused. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to feel. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m numb.

No worries. These are not thoughts and feelings that I am experiencing now, but there was a time that I felt this way. After years of hoping and dreaming my dreams seemed to be finally coming true. Then things took a turn, a turn in the opposite direction. I was left devastated. 

I have always been a person with a strong belief system, especially concerning the Word of God. Yet, here I was confused, disappointed, and broken-hearted. Add to that some very strong medications that I was taking for medical treatment, I was not in a good place. I didn’t know what I believed any longer. The disappointment was too much. The pain was too much. I went numb.

I don’t know how to describe this other than to say it hurt to talk, so I didn’t. I was silent for days. Then slowly I began to climb out of the pit, but still I wasn’t talking much. I wasn’t saying anything about what I believed, and that was highly unusual for me.

A slight uneasiness started to creep into my heart. I felt like I wasn’t trusting God and that I was disappointing Him because I wasn’t sure what I believed any longer. I was going through a crisis of faith.

I finally ventured out of the house to attend a small ladies gathering at my church. Worship started. I went through the motions. I felt nothing.

The song we were singing was Nothing Is Impossible by Planetshakers. I was singing, but still numb. Then I heard the words coming from my mouth, “I believe, I believe/I believe, I believe in You.” Suddenly the words were not just coming from my mouth anymore. They were coming from my heart.

I was still hurting. I was still recovering. I still wasn’t sure what I believed. However, there was one thing I did know, no matter what I still believed in God. I realized that you can’t be afraid of disappointing someone you don’t believe in. I believed in Him and that would never, ever, ever change.

 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

 I believe in You!!!

By Faith, Grace, and Love

What’s on my heart today.

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:16, KJV)

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. (Galatians 5:6, Amplified)

IT IS BY FAITH

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]… (Colossians 1:4, Amplified)

Faith is leaning entirely on Him, trusting in His power, wisdom, goodness.

Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. (Hebrews 11:11, Amplified)

Faith is believing that God is reliable, trustworthy and true to His word. He will do what He said He would do.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:10, KJV)

How did you release faith to receive the grace for salvation? Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17, KJV)

THAT IT MIGHT BE BY GRACE

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). (James 4:6, Amplified)

Grace is the power of the Holy Spirit.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV)

Grace is the power of Christ (the Anointed One and His Anointing) resting upon us.

WORKING BY LOVE

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6; KJV)

…and if I have faith [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). (1 Corinthians 13:2, Amplified)

No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us! (1 John 4:12, Amplified)

…God is love… (1 John 4:16, Amplified)

It is by faith (trusting entirely, believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths) that we receive the promises by grace (His power, the power of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives). It works by love, by receiving His love and humbling ourselves to yield to His love in us (allowing God to run His full course in us) so that we may truly love with His love.

It’s by faith that it might be by grace and faith works by love. Selah.

Grace

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:16, KJV)

…He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit)… (James 4:6, Amplified)

…faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. (Galatians 5:6, Amplified)

How do we access grace which is the power of the Holy Spirit? By faith.

How does our faith work? By love.

We have a commandment, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and love one another as He has loved you. What happens when we do this? Our faith works and we access grace. We access His power.

This process begins with first having faith in His love for us.

We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, NIV)

We believe this. We receive this. We access grace from God. Then what?

…speaking the truth in love… (Ephesians 4:15, KJV)

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29, KJV)

When you love the ones your are speaking His truth to, your very words will actually minister grace to them. You will take the grace, the power of the Holy Spirit, that you received from God and make it available to others.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:17, Amplified)

As you speak His truth, don’t judge, reject, condemn, or pass sentence on the hearers. Love them. Grace them. Empower them to be saved, safe and sound through Him. Selah.

Because I Love You

Recently I have been taking a stand against a minor ailment in my body. While the ailment has been minor, one of the effects has been major. I haven’t been able to sing  for two months. This is a major thing in my life.

I’ve been whispering my worship to God for two months now. Not fun. I haven’t been able to sing around the house which brings me great joy. And during my times of ministering to the sick, singing is often a very important part of the ministry. I have only attempted singing in ministry once in two months, and it was not pretty. Worked out okay, but not pretty.

I don’t particularly like singing for others, but when it comes up in my heart to sing during ministry, the results are always so precious. When I sing the songs He asks me to sing it feels like a blanket of His Presence, His love, and His healing power just wraps around the person being ministered to bringing them to a place of faith, hope and love!

So yesterday I was thinking about how this ailment is affecting my ability to minister to others and I finally thought to ask the Lord for wisdom. I’ve been standing for my healing, but I’d forgotten to ask for wisdom. I thought to myself, “I really need to get wisdom on this, because I need to be able to sing in my ministry to others.”

In just a moment, God dropped a thought into my heart that so blessed me. He said, “Even if you never minister to another person, even if you never sing another song, I still want you healed, because I love you.”

I teach this very concept to others in regards to His love and His healing. I always say, “He healed you because He loves you.” And here I was thinking about how important it was for my ministry. He was thinking about how important it was simply because He loves me.

I think about parents and their children. What parent thinks, “I want my child healed for what they can do for me” ? No, parents want their children healed simply because they love them.

He loves me. He loves you. He heals because He loves.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised  for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, KJV)\

Healing was a work of the cross. And what was the motivation for the work of the cross?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…

The same way we received another work of the cross, forgiveness of sins; it’s by faith that it might be by grace; believe in your heart and confess with your mouth; this same way we receive healing. Have faith in His love. Have faith in His word that by His stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2:24). Declare His love and His healing and by faith receive the grace to be healed. Simply because He loves you.

Expressions of Love

Galatians 5:6 ~

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (KJV)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (NASB)

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. (Amplified)

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (NIV)

One day as I was teaching the word of God in a prison, I found myself unexpectedly leaving my notes and begin talking about “mean Christians”. Christians who become so legalistic they constantly use the Word of God to judge, reject or condemn others, instead of edifying, encouraging and empowering others.

At the end of the teaching, a woman came forward crying and admitted to being a “mean Christian”. As she wept and repented, the rest of the ladies present wept with her as they watched her change before their very eyes, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, by the power of His love.

We talk much about faith. We talk much about speaking to that mountain and casting it into the sea. We talk much about laying hold of a Word from God and not letting go until it manifests in our lives. And I thank God that more and more we are also talking about love. Faith works by love.

I came across the scripture Galatians 5:6 in the New Living Translation recently.

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus… what is important is faith expressing itself in love. (NLV)

When I read it, it rang so true. Our faith should be an expression of His love.

I spoke to a youth minister from another denomination one time. We discussed a topic that his denomination believes has passed away.

He was very tense at first. As I shared a story about an interaction I had with a woman from his denomination, I shared how she was expecting me to get on to her about not believing God in her situation. I am very thankful to say that is not at all what she got from me. By the grace of God and to the glory of God, what she got from me was the love of God in the midst of her very difficult and tragic situation.

The youth minister told me that he too would have expected to be corrected and judged in that situation. He said many times people who believe the things that we believe from God’s word, can be pushy and judgmental. That ought not be.

That day, we did not agree on everything we discussed, but I can honestly say he and I walked in love through our entire discussion.

The teachings on faith are so powerful and true. They can help to set the captives free. But not if  the message is shared in such a way that the captives run from us instead of to us. It should always be shared bathed in His love.

So let us walk in faith. Let us teach this faith. And let it all be said and done as an expression of His love.

Faith Works By Love

I have been ministering to people in need of healing for almost 12 years now. I’ve seen people at many different stages in their walk with God. Some who didn’t know Him yet, to those who had known Him all their lives. Some who simply knew His acts, and others that knew His ways.

The other day I made a statement that summed up the relationship of many of those who found it difficult to receive their healing. I said it concerning one person, and then realized how true it was for many. “She knew the law, but she didn’t know the love.”

Let’s take a look at two scriptures that will help us see the importance of this statement.

For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect; because the law worketh wrath; for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:14-16, KJV)

Therefore, [inheriting] the promise is the outcome of faith and depends [entirely] on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace… (Romans 4:16, Amplified)

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6, KJV)

In Romans 4 we are told that when we think we have to earn His promises by keeping the law, our “faith is made void”, the promise is “made of none effect”.

I have seen so many try to ‘earn’ their healing by being very legalistic. We could never earn our salvation. It was a free gift. We will never ‘earn’ healing. It too is a free gift.

In the Amplified Bible it said receiving God’s promise “depends entirely on faith… that it might be given as an act of grace.” In James 4:6 in the Amplified Bible we are told what grace is. It is the “power of the Holy Spirit”. Isn’t that how you were born again? With your heart you believed. With your mouth you confessed. And by the power of the Holy Spirit you became a new creation.

That’s how you receive healing. By faith so that it might be by grace.

Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love. If we go after the things of God by becoming harsh and legalistic, our faith won’t work. And we won’t access the grace to receive the promise. But if we realize Our Heavenly Father loves us, and that out of that love He sent His Son to take our sins and take our sicknesses (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 103:3) we will trust Him, believe Him, rely on Him to heal us. That’s called faith and it will access the grace to be healed.

My Hiding Place

I’ve been listening to and singing a song all day today. The song is You Are My Hiding Place. Fortunately, I have many different versions by several artists to listen to 🙂

I’ve been thinking about two lines from that song, You are my hiding place and I will trust in You. Of course I was thinking about this from the point of view that God is love. You are my hiding place. Love is my hiding place. I’m hidden under Your wings in a place of pure love. When I run to You, to Love I am hidden in a secret place.

Psalms 91 speaks of this hiding place, this secret place.

He Who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. (Psalm 91:1, Amplified)

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. (Psalm 91:7, Amplified)

Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High]… (Psalm 91:8, Amplified)

I recommend reading all of Psalm 91. It speaks of His protection, His delivering power, His hiding you. It speaks of being hidden from snares, from deadly pestilence, from terror, from evil plots, slanders, destruction and sudden death.

There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. (Psalm 91:10, Amplified)

Sounds like it covers all the things that might come against us in this world where bad things happen every day. He, God, Love wants to hide you. How do you find this secret place? How do you live in this hidden place?

I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! (Psalm 91:2, Amplified)

Yes, call Him Lord. Yes, call Him your Refuge, your Fortress, your God. Then follow through and trust Him. Trust Him to hide you, to keep you, to protect you. Trust Him to deliver you, save you, and to love you.

Trust His instructions, His Word, His guidance. Follow His Word, His leading. Follow Him and He will lead you out of that valley of the shadow of death.

When I traveled to Israel in November 2001 there was a confession I made in the weeks leading up to that trip. (The woman with the issue of blood made a confession, “For she kept saying to herself, If I only touch His garment I shall be restored to health” Matthew 9:21, Amplified. She said it in faith and it came to pass.)

I set my heart, my trust, my faith on Him and I said, “I am going to be exactly where I’m supposed to be November 3rd through November 12th.” I said it with my heart turned towards my King and I put my trust in Him to bring it to pass. I knew I would be where I needed to be, because I was placing myself in His hands.

During that trip, as we walked through the streets of Jerusalem, the police stopped us and instructed us to leave the area. They had found what they believed to be a bomb. For just a moment I felt a flutter of fear try to enter my heart. Then these words came up in my heart. “I am going to be exactly where I am supposed to be November 3rd through November 12th.” In that moment all fear was gone.

God was watching over me and He would see to it that I would be where I needed to be and that meant if there was a bomb on one street, He would see to it that I wouldn’t be on that street.

I enjoyed my entire trip with no fear. A trip that came just two months after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. Our entire group of 300 Christians went to show our support to the Israeli people. We went in love and we went with no fear. We had put our trust in Him.

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalm 17:8, KJV)

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5, KJV)

Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:20, KJV)

Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. (Psalm 143:9, KJV)

Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. (Psalm 32:7, KJV)

Thou [art] my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. (Psalm 119:114, KJV)

A Dream

Sometimes I just have to smile when I think about some of the things that inspire me to write. Today it is the song from Disney’s Cinderella.

A dream is a wish your heart makes,
When you’re fast asleep,
In Dreams you will lose your heartaches,
Whatever you wish for you keep.

Have Faith in your dreams and someday,
Your Rainbow will come smiling through.

No matter how your heart is grievin,
If you keep on believing,
The dream that you wish will come true.

Uhmm, has anyone else besides me found this to NOT be true. Sorry to burst some bubbles out there, but it just doesn’t happen this way. Today I want to take a look at three little words, they are wish, hope, and faith. I believe they will help you to figure out the fact from the fiction so that your dreams really can come true.

The American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, 1828 says the word wish can be defined as having a “strong desire, either for what is or is not supposed to be obtainable”. It goes on to say, “We often wish for what is not obtainable”.

Webster’s (1828) defines the word hope as “a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.”

Finally, the word faith is defined as “Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgement that what another states or testifies is the truth.” Once again in the Webster’s 1828.

Now, the word wish was only used in the King James Bible nine times. And even in those uses, it did not mean what that word means to us today. One well known verse is 3 John 2.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (KJV)

There is a footnote for this word and it says that this word can be translated as pray. It is translated this way in other translations.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers. (Amplified)

Now the word hope is found in the Bible 130 times, while the word faith is used 247 times. Let’s take a look at one well-known verse that contains both these words.

NOW FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)

Hoping for something, does not produce it. It is the blueprint but not the substance. But it is a necessary part of the process of bringing the unseen into the seen.

But when you set your faith on the things God has said in His word, now there is substance to those things you have hoped for.

Let’s take a look at Sarah. She had wished for; she had longed for; she had desired and hoped to have a child. Yet after years of wishing and hoping her arms were still empty. But then God gave her husband a promise. Now her hope and faith had something to work with.

And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac… (Genesis 17:19, KJV)

At first Sarah just laughed it off, but over time, something happened in her heart. That promise from God took root in her heart. She got to know the One Who promised. Suddenly this wasn’t something she just wished for. It was no longer something she just hoped for. She had a blueprint from God. That hope began to take on substance through faith in God.

Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11, KJV)

Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. (Hebrews 11:11, Amplified)

It was no longer just a dream, a wish and a hope, it was a promise from a faithful God. She believed God. In her heart and in her mind, in her spirit and in her soul she assented to the truth of what God declared, resting on His authority and His veracity, without other evidence. She didn’t need any other evidence, just God’s word. Now, that’s faith!

And that faith in His word became the substance of that which she had hoped for and her arms were no longer empty. Her dream had come true by her faith in God and His word.

…be it unto me according to thy word. (Luke 1:37, KJV)

The Greatest

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13, NKJV)

But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all – love]. (1 Corinthians 12:31, Amplified)

…and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). (1 Corinthians 13:2, Amplified)

I was thinking today about how many times while praying for people they have expressed to me that they don’t have enough faith. I run into people almost daily who express this idea of not having sufficient faith. Yet, I can’t recall one person telling me that they don’t have sufficient love even while telling me why they won’t forgive or why they hate their mother-in-law.

Faith is important. More than that it is vital. To operate in the things of God, in the Kingdom of God, you must operate in faith.

 …the just shall live by faith. (Habakkuk 2:4, KJV)

…but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith… (Hebrews 4:2, Amplified)

it is  of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:16, KJV)

To access the power of God it takes faith (see 2 Corinthians 12:9, the power of Christ; James 4:6 Amplified, power of the Holy Spirit; grace = the power of God). Faith is important. It is vital. We need it!

But God said in His word that greater than faith is love. Many have majored on faith but how many have majored on love. First Corinthians 13 tells us that someone can have sufficient faith, but without love they can be useless.

I am not suggesting we not major on faith, but it is not greater than love. It works by love. God has faith, but God is love. What is more important the tool being used, or the person using it?

Begin or continue to develop your faith through His Word. And begin or continue to develop in love through obedience to His Word. Your faith works by it (Galatians 5:6).

Teach Them His Ways

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all… (Romans 4:16, KJV)

…that he might be the father of all them that believe… (Romans 4:11, KJV)

A childless man believed God, it was counted unto him righteousness, and he became the father of us all, the father of faith.

The promise he received from God was that he would become the father of many nations. Why Abraham? I think a very important clue to this is found in Genesis chapter eighteen.

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD… (Genesis 18:19, KJV)

For I have known (chosen, acknowledged) him [as My own], so that he may teach and command his children and the sons of his house after him to keep the way of the Lord… (Genesis 18:19, Amp)

Abraham’s faith was important, but what was also very important was that he would teach his children to trust and believe in God. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he is called the “father” of us all. What is a father to do? Teach and command his children.

Proverbs 22:6 tells us that we are to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (KJV).  What was the way that God knew Abraham would train his children? “In the way of the LORD.” God’s way. And let’s not forget God is love (1 John 4:8). When he taught his children God’s ways, he was teaching his children love’s ways.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, KJV)

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up… That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children… as the days of heaven upon earth… diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to cleave unto him… (Deuteronomy 11:18-19, 21-22, KJV)

As parents there are many things we teach our children, but the most important thing we can teach them is about God, Who is love, and His ways.

Teach them to love the LORD their God with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul and with all their strength. Teach them to love their neighbor as they do themselves. Train them in the ways of God, in the ways of love and they will not depart from it.

When we read through the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11), we see men and women of faith doing mighty exploits. We see Abel, Enoch, and Noah. We see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (He did teach his children.) We see Sarah, Joseph, Moses and Joshua. Gideon, Samson, David and Samuel and many others. By faith they did mighty exploits, but let’s not forget that without love faith won’t work (Galatians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 13:2).

…if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). (1 Corinthians 13:2, Amplified)

Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV)

Teach them to love and you have taught them to walk in ways that never fail. For with God, with Love, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37, 1 John 4:8).