Dwelling in His Presence: Spiritual Disciplines to Deepen Your Walk with God by Rhonda Jones - HTML preview
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Ever Increasing Faith
Throughout the writing of this book God has so often-placed words, ideas, and concepts in my heart that were necessary for my growth and prosperity in him. One such area is faith. I tend to be a feeling person. If something doesn’t feel good to me, too often I’ve let it take precedence over what I know to be the truth. But basing reality on what you can see, feel, or hear is devastating to a life of faith. God needed me to stop making conclusions based on my five senses, and instead let his word and his promises become my guiding force. Therefore, the Lord spoke generous to my heart through the scriptures on exactly how important faith is to the life of a believer.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us in the Living Bible that faith “is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Before we can let faith operate in our lives, we must believe God for something we want or he has promised. It could be the fulfillment of a ministry you’ve been praying about, salvation of a prodigal son or daughter, financial woes, a mate, or a situation on your job. In any and all cases, a hope, desire, or promise is necessary before our faith can be fully functional.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) When it comes to believing God, some things are easier for me to stand in faith and agreement with God for desired result. On numerous occasions I have believed God for the positive outcome of various circumstances. In most of these cases when I’d done everything human possible to rectify the situation without any satisfaction, I’d give the matter over to God in prayer. Then I’d forget about it. Every now and then when a negative thought would arise I’d simple say, “Lord, it’s in your hands.” Sometimes it took months before I’d receive an answer. But without a doubt, in almost all situations, God was faithful.
I believe concerning some areas in my life, I have great faith that God and his word will prevail. Even when some situations looks dismal, I’ve learned to find peace in the storm. My children’s salvation is one area that I have completely trusted to the Lord. I have no doubt that though it could take years of suffering and pain, each of my children will know Christ as their savior. 2 Timothy 1:12 says, “God is able to keep that which is committed to him.” I committed my children to God’s care years ago. They may not be angelic little beings (then who is), but I am certain that God has a plan for their life and his plan will succeed. That doesn’t mean they won’t go through hardship, trials, and various difficulties before surrendering their life completely to the Father. I tell them they can learn the hard way, or the easy way, but whichever way they choose, they’re going to learn.
In reading this book, you can probably guess the areas where my faith seems to flounder. It’s not as easy for me to pray about certain areas, give these areas to God and just leave them there--and Forget About Them! You may have specific areas in your life that God is trying to develop your faith in as well. Most Christians usually have at least one area they struggle with totally surrendering to the Lord. The Bible let’s us know that faith is an essential ingredient in living a successful and supernatural life in his kingdom. In fact, faith is so important that without it we can never receive all that God has for us. And like walking through the desert with the Lord to develop our dependency and trust in him, God also wants to build our faith. And to do so he will provide dilemmas in our lives that can only be accomplished by his mighty power.
Faith is at the core of our walk with the Lord. Without it, we cannot stand or persevere in trials, conquer temptations, or endure the hardships of making it to the promise land. Faith entails waiting for God to get us ready for what he has in store. Faith is what keeps us from giving up. We must endure by faith. Many times the only evidence of a thing coming to pass is our faith combined with God’s word. This was the children of Israel’s downfall. Hebrews 4:2 reminds us, “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.”
We can be saturated with God’s word, his prophecies, and even have a clear vision of his direction but it’s our faith that will determine whether what we seek will become a reality or forever remain a dream. God showed the Israelites a land of blessing and promise just at their fingertips, but they lacked the faith to possess it.
Jesus often said to his followers, “Only believe!” or “Oh, you of little faith, why did you doubt?” He was always amazed when he saw an individual who possessed great faith. The kind of faith that made them steadfast and unwavering in their attempt to receive from him. Great faith was always rewarded and the request always granted. These faithful believers had faith enough to move mountains, see their circumstances changed, endure the doubt, snares and opinions of other, and eventually receive their breakthroughs. When everything and everyone appeared contrary to what was desired they stood relentless in the presence of God and dared to believe him. Jesus most often reply, “Your faith has made you whole.”
Our faith and hope must be in God to provide for all we need. Faith is a principle used frequently in the world. People conjure up a great deal of faith to succeed in their own endeavors. But faith in the process of faith or the principle of faith is not God’s objective for the believer. He wants our faith to be solely in him to do for us what it is we ask according to his will for us. Faith alone can get us many things, but not necessarily the things of God.
We must have faith not to manipulate our circumstances. We must have faith to wait when everything in our body, soul, and minds is urging us to move ahead of God’s plan. Through faith in Christ, we must learn to endure the dark and bleak times, when it appears Jesus is preoccupied and not coming to our aid, as it appeared when he delayed coming to Lazereth aid. Hebrews 10:23 states, “Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess, for he is faithful who promised.” And Hebrews 10:38, “But the righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
Faith is the fuel that moves our hopes and request from the spirit realm to the natural world. Faith empowers God and his kingdom to bring forth the miracles of our desires. Without faith we can never progress, receive, or be great in the kingdom of God. Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear is the enemy of God. Fear says it won’t happen. Fear is sense-based. It needs evidence it can experience through the senses. But we as Christians should never rely on our senses to determine what God is doing. They are unreliable. They oppose God’s supernatural power.
We must ask God to increase our faith so we can have an authentic walk in Christ. Romans 10:17, tells us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.” We must put no limitations on what our God is capable of doing. God knows every detail, every circumstance, and every possible side effect. And he takes all these things into consideration as he manifests his plan in our lives. His way will always be the best way.
“Fight the good fight of faith,” admonishes Paul. (1 Timothy 6:12) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day…” (2 Timothy 4:7) These were Paul’s words to Timothy towards the end of his life. Endure long enough for your faith to work. Oh, how sad we give up so easily.
God let me know that the greater the resistance, the greater opportunity for God to be glorified. He reminded me of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, which God used to demonstrate his miraculous power to the Israelites. “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them.” (Exodus 10:1) We can take comfort that sometimes the most horrendous obstacles are positionally placed pawns to display God’s awesome power and glory.
My favorite passage in the inspiring classic and devotional, God Calling is dated on October 23, and reads,
“Hill of Sacrifice—You must trust to the end. You must be ready to go on trusting to the last hour. You must know even when you cannot see…You must be ready, like My servant Abraham, to climb the very Hill of Sacrifice, to go to the very last moment, before you see My deliverance. This final test has to come to all who walk by Faith. You must rely on Me alone. Look to no other arm, look for no other help. Trust in the Spirit Forces of the Unseen, not in those you see. Trust and fear not.”
I retyped and taped this passage to my bathroom mirror. Every time I begin to get discouraged or lose heart I read it and God’s word until my faith and courage returns. “This is a test. It’s only a test. I will pass. I must pass. God will not let me down,” I say to myself.
Paul encourages the Thessalonians in chapter 3: 2 saying, “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials.” When difficulties come, we can thank God for another opportunity to increase our faith and demonstrate his power. We read in 2 Thessalonians 1:11, “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.”
You don’t realize how hard it is to walk in faith until you are called to do so. But a life of faith is every believer’s destiny. Don’t worry about whether your request is out of the will of God. If your desire is to do God’s will, he will reveal even that to you or change your desires to conform with the plan he has for your life. “All of us who are mature should take a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Philippians 3:15) Step out in faith; believe God for something miraculous in your life today.
Refuse to doubt God at all cost. Ask him to increase your faith. Ask him for mountain moving faith, ever increasing faith, wall-tumbling faith, unwavering faith, finish-line faith, conquering faith, quiet and confident faith, giant killing faith, unshakable faith, mustard-seed faith, miracle-working faith, and steadfast faith. Perceive and keep abreast of the opportunities God will send your way to build the very faith you seek. How many times did Jesus say in the Bible, “This sickness is not unto death but that the Son of Man might be glorified? Faith, like patience, is not a presence that overtakes you. It’s a virtue that is built, brick upon brick by its constant use and subsequent rewards. Use you faith today to receive all the blessings of God and enter our promise land.
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