Putting Feet to Your Faith

  
I can remember growing up, one of my favorite songs was, Screen Door by Rich Mullins. It seemed that it was always playing on our drives from the rent house to the new house my parents were building at the time (ah, the ’80s – a moment of silence please for this great decade). As a kid, I used to laugh at the lyrics because they were so preposterous. Why would someone ever put a screen door on a submarine?! But as I got older, I realized how poignant the words really were.

Faith without works is like a song you can’t sing. It’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine. 

I wish I remembered who first said to me “it’s time to put feet to your faith”. It has been a statement to live by in this Christian’s life – although I haven’t always done so, I resolve to live this way from here out.

Thinking back to writing about Cannonball Faith, having faith is one thing. But are you actually using what God gave you?

I’ve had my ups and downs at my job over the past 10 years, and there’s been more than one occasion where I would come home set on the idea that I was going to quit the next day. But I never did. Which is a discussion for later on being in the right place, at the right time, in God’s will. But every time I’d come home and begin to gripe about the current situation, I’d be asked “What are you doing about it?” Which of course my response was always “I’m praying about it. I’m praying the right job in.” <— pretty sure that’s the adult equivalent of your child coming out of Sunday school and asking them what they learned, only to receive the ‘one-size-fits-all’ quizzical response of “Jesus?”.

But you know, praying about it, and believing by faith are both great things to do…but God didn’t give us faith and the Holy Spirit to just sit around on our keisters being armchair believers – believing by faith, but not LIVING by faith – not putting works (action) to our faith.

The Bible is full of examples of men and women who not only believed by faith, but put that faith to action until they saw results. Two specific examples come to mind of literally putting feet to your faith: Peter walking on water and the battle of Jericho.

Peter had faith. He had great, walking-on-water faith. But remember too, he had the same measure of faith we’ve all been given. He could have stayed sitting in that boat, watching Jesus on the water. He could have answered like most Christians do when it comes to believing for something by faith – if it’s God will, then He’ll bring it to me. But he didn’t. He put feet to his faith and stepped out of that boat on to the unknown, on to the water. (Matthew 14)

It’s the same for the Israelites and the battle of Jericho. They could have easily camped outside of the city walls and used their faith, praying every day, for those walls to be removed. But no, they used their faith and obeyed God and what he asked of them and put their feet to work. They marched, and blew the ram’s horns, and gave a shout just as God had directed them to do so, and as the song goes, the walls came tumbling down. (Joshua 6)

Matthew 17:20 speaks of mountain moving faith – speak to the mountain to move and it will move. I really wish there was an asterisk after this verse though. So many get stuck on believing and confessing that they forget to put action to it. If I could put an asterisk next to this verse it would say “Speak to the mountain to move and it will move, however, if God puts a shovel in front of you, put it to work until that whole mountain is moved.” and then refer everyone to James 2:17 that “faith without works, is dead”.

This is where I think a lot of Christians get hung up with the believing and confessing part without the action part of faith.

When one of my aunts received a diagnosis of cancer years ago, it was a big blow. I love her dearly and for very selfish reasons did not want to see her die – she’s my spiritual rock, my go-to, my intercessor. So I began praying about it and received my own new revelation of God’s word and the wisdom He gives us. Believing for healing is great…but you better know you’ve heard from God and have had a come to Jesus meeting before you make the decision to believe by faith ONLY. God gave us doctors, He gave those doctors great wisdom and medicine – it takes just as much faith to believe for that medication to do what it is supposed to do and for those doctors’ hands to be guided by wisdom as it does to sit back and just believe for a supernatural healing. And just because your healing came through the actions you took guided by the Holy Spirit, doesn’t make it any less of a miracle and it doesn’t make you any less of a good Christian believer for doing so!

With this rhema, I drove myself up to her and sat down to ask her “Are you choosing to believe only for a miraculous healing because that’s what God has told you to do, or are you making that decision out of fear of the unknown with treatments and surgery?” When I went to see her a few weeks ago, she talked about that weekend when I came to see her several years back and as she said “preach to her and bring her back”. Which is definitely what I did. I had a boldness that weekend when I went to her and got in her face about it – I had my faith to believe for the miraculous, but I also had the guiding of the Holy Spirit in what action to take with that faith.

By the way, my aunt, she’s still here….and she’s cancer free, praise God! She put feet to her faith.

So whatever you are believing for in your life and using your faith for, are you putting feet to that faith? Are you putting action to your beliefs and confession? Or are you just going to be the armchair believer?

God gave us all the same measure of faith to use in our lives. The outcome of that faith, (the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1) however, will be dependent on you seeking wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit on what action to put with your faith. If your New Years resolution was to get healthier and lose weight, you can believe, and wish, and pray for it all you want…but until you put action to it and change your lifestyle and change the way you eat and change whatever else God directs you to change, you won’t see the same results. Are you believing for a new job? Don’t just use your faith and pray about it, but seek God on the steps He wants you to take – where to begin looking, where to put resumes in, who to speak with, etc.

Faith is a precious gift from God to us. Don’t let yours become stagnant and dead, having no action behind it, or pretty soon it’ll be as useless as a screen door on a submarine!

Toss the List

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I began writing this blog several days ago, but then the lists of the holiday season took over. Ironic, I know. There were lists of what needed to bought. Lists of what needed to be wrapped. Lists of what needed to be made. Lists and lists of this and that.

I’d consider myself to be an avid list maker. Making lists is my own personal happy place – it can even give me a semblance of control over something or a situation by making lists. I can even think of countless nights over the years where I couldn’t go to sleep because my mind was in “list mode”. Maybe it’s just a woman thing, but I think in general women come by it naturally. Whether it’s a grocery list or a list of attributes and qualities of a future spouse, women start making lists in grade school. And we don’t just see Point A to Point Z, we see every other step in the alphabet in between, along with the bullet points and foot notes.

Now don’t get me wrong, lists can be a good thing. They can keep you on budget at the grocery store, they can help you remember things to do, but lists can go to the extreme too. So when does the list making go too far?

Like I said, girls start young with the lists. The grade school game of M.A.S.H. is all about lists. But as those young girls get older, and their hearts a little more broken, those lists start getting longer.

I had a pretty long list many years ago. And I justified those lists because of a word that had been spoken over me by a prophet to not settle for anything less than God’s best. I knew what I wanted and I wanted what I knew. But as my lists grew longer, my age older, and my self-esteem lower, God began dealing with me and my incessant list making.

It all started pretty simple, like most of my conversations with God do. “So tell me what is on your list?”, I heard Him say as I began rambling off everything from height and eye color to being a man like my father. I even spent time justifying each of those bullet points in great length with God. But then God really got my attention when I heard Him say, “Do you not trust Me?”.

Never, before that moment, had I looked at MY lists as being a way of not trusting God with my life and not living by faith.

That’s when He reminded me of what His word says: “I knew YOU before I formed YOU” (Jeremiah 1:5), “I know the END from the BEGINNING” (Isaiah 46:10), “My plans for you are good, not bad” (Jeremiah 29:11), so “Seek Me and I will gladly give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4), “If you know these things, and believe by faith that they are true, then why are you limiting what I have planned for your life with your lists?”. So I tossed MY list and began seeking God on what HIS list was for me.

Tossing my “husband list” all happened several years ago. And I thought I was done with the lists after receiving that correction from the Lord, until that is, I saw I had started using them in other areas of my life again.

Over a year ago I had heard from God to go and visit another church. But I didn’t want to – I was at my lowest (self-esteem) and heaviest (weight) point in my life. I didn’t even want to go to church and see people I’ve known for years, much less go somewhere different and meet new people.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my pastors and my personal relationship with them, but I wasn’t in love with my church. I had my list though! Foolishly, I shared it with God again (apparently I didn’t learn my lesson the first time). “God, if I can just have XYZ and ABC, even 123 if I really want to be real about what I want, I would have the perfect church!”. Let me add a little bit of advice here: there is no such thing as a perfect church. There is, however, such a thing as the right church for you – it might be for life, or it might just be for a season, but that is why it’s important to be led by God.

Not surprisingly, God didn’t answer me this time. I can see Him now smirking and shaking His head saying “Didn’t we have this SAME EXACT conversation a few years ago?”

So I went on. Running from what God had told me to do and holding tight to my list every Sunday morning. Pretty soon, I began to see things change at church and I began to see those things on my list get checked off. I actually got really excited….there was MY list, coming to life before my eyes! We were having these amazing moves of the Holy Spirit in our services, with praise and worship leaving behind the “production” aspect of it all and going back to the roots of my youth with tried and true (and anointed) hymns, but it still didn’t feel right.

How could it not feel right though if I was getting everything I had wanted?

That’s when I felt that urgency rise up again at what God had told me to do before. I guess that’s why it didn’t feel right because I was still looking for what I wanted for myself, not for what God wanted for me.

Even after my first Sunday visiting a new church, I still was holding things up to MY list of expectations. Which is exactly what most lists boil down to – expectations. So I sought God and heard Him say, “Do you not think I can be the same God there as I am at any other church, any other service?” And I heard again what His word says: “I knew YOU before I formed YOU” (Jeremiah 1:5), “I know the END from the BEGINNING” (Isaiah 46:10), “My plans for you are good, not bad” (Jeremiah 29:11), so “Seek Me and I will gladly give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4), “If you know these things, and believe by faith that they are true, then why are you limiting what I have planned for your life with your lists?”

I know God wants the best for me and that He knows better than I ever could of what I need. So I made the decision to allow peace to be my umpire (Colossians 3:15) and I tossed my lists along with all of my expectations. I don’t want to limit what God can do and what He wants for my life.

His word says says in Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Don’t put God in a box limited by your lists and don’t narrow Him to your own expectations and ideas for anything in your life: be it a spouse, a church, even a job. You might not know what the future holds, but that’s where you have to let faith take over. As I have started being led by peace and allowing faith to take over my expectations and lists, I’ve seen God show up big time in my life with a new excitement about church. When we toss our lists and stop limiting God in our lives, and we start walking by faith, we’ll see Him show up bigger than ever before!

When God Says “Wait”

  
I’m going to go in a bit of a different direction with this blog. I promise not to disappoint, but I want to share a bit of my heart. And if you don’t like religion, well tough, because God is the center of my being, so deal with it. But I do hope you read on.

Being single and in your 30’s is no easy thing to walk out. It means you’ve now spent more than a decade of not only watching your friends get married, but also start their own families. You watch as everyone else lives out the desires you hold deep in your heart.

Watching everyone else live out the very thing you want most in life is difficult; like pouring salt in an open wound. But then you hear that still, small voice inside say “wait”.

You attend another shower, wedding, birth, party and think “when will it be my turn?” But then you hear that still, small voice inside say “wait”.

You see friends, some happy, some unhappy, and think “any relationship would be better than none”. But then you hear that still, small voice inside say “wait” and you remember the words spoken over you years ago – you ARE more precious than gold, settle for no less.

When you hear the Lord speak to you, telling you to “wait”, you take notice.

But “waiting” is so easy, in theory. In action, you want to do anything but wait and one can liken it to wading through a pool of honey – as if the harder you try to move, the more stuck in one place you become.  And from there, it’s a quick spiral into doubting your own self-worth.

But again you hear “wait”. So you…wait.

At this point all you can do is seek God and find the calmness in His promises.

So two years ago I began studying the Psalms that the Lord laid on my heart. For months I meditated on them. I underlined every time the word “unfailing love” appeared. It was through this time, months spent reading and re-reading the Psalms, that I began having a new rhema of God’s unfailing love for me.

Psalm 21: 2-7 (NLT)
For you have given him his heart’s desire; you have withheld nothing he requested. You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head. He asked you to preserve his life, and you granted his request. The days of his life stretch on forever. Your victory brings him great honor, and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty. You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord. The unfailing love of the most high will keep him from stumbling.

While the first part of this passage stands out (the desires of your heart!), the last promise of His unfailing love spoke volumes to me. Not only will His love never fail me, His love will sustain me and keep me from stumbling.

For two years, this is the truth I have held on to. And as I began having a revelation of God’s love for me, I began hearing bits of God’s heart and His desires for me, placed into my own. I no longer just heard “wait”. I heard the reason behind that “wait”. I began to see God weaving His story for my life, His promises, and for the first time I truly understood that His “wait” meant He was orchestrating the greatest love story of all and it will be worth all the “wait” in the world.

Does this mean I don’t have difficult days feeling down? No. But it means I wait, sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently. Does this mean God has revealed it all to me these past two years? Not at all. But it does mean that I’ve hidden away in my heart those things He has revealed. I can’t share it all with you 😉 Just know the last two years haven’t only been a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs with online dating. The last two years have taught me, to wait on God and His best. They’ve taught me to sit in the stillness of the night and listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to my soul.  But most importantly, they’ve taught me that when God says “Wait”, He’ll follow it up with “now take a leap of faith”.