It’s A Journey Of Faith

You have the power to say this is not how the story will end

Mark 4:35-40 NKJV On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Jesus’ disciples had no idea that a great windstorm was going to arise as they were “crossing over” to the other side of the lake. All they knew was that Jesus said “let us cross over”. They were seasoned fisherman, accustomed to all sorts of weather while out at sea. What was different about this occasion?

Mark’s version of this story says that while they were crossing over to the other side “a great windstorm arose”. Now Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible gives this definition of “windstorm”: “a great storm of wind” – “loelaps” which signifies a particular kind of wind, which is suddenly whirled about upwards and downwards; or rather, a conflict of many winds: it seems to be a whirlwind, or hurricane.” With no warning, all of a sudden, this “great storm of wind”, a “whirlwind or hurricane” was upon them. They hadn’t expected it; they didn’t see it coming and had no indication that a storm of this magnitude would come upon them. And they were very fearful that they would perish in the storm.

As panic set in the disciples knew they had to get Jesus awakened so their first course of action was to run to Him. Prayer should be the first thing that we do when confronted with a storm in life. Jesus was quick to respond to their request and Mark’s version of this story says He arose and rebuked the wind and said “Peace, be still!”to the sea and it ceased and there was a “great calm”. Jesus spoke and the wind and waves obeyed! But notice what He says to His disciples after that.

Mark 4:40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Why would He ask them those questions? I think He was trying to get them to locate where they were in their faith walk and to get them to see that they could take action and see their storms cease just as He did. When the storms of life are raging it’s easy to panic and forget that the greater One lives on the inside of us. In their case He was in the boat with them! But today we live in the reality of the victory that Jesus secured for us on the cross. He lives inside every born again believer by the power of His Spirit. We must stop and take stock of where we are and who we belong to. The fear that is on the outside will try to over-ride the faith that we have on the inside. It’s at that point that we have to re-focus and anchor ourselves in God’s word to overcome the fear and stabilize our faith to keep from sinking under the cares and fears of this world. But Jesus Himself said in John 16:33 that we don’t have to succumb to the pressure that’s in the world because He has already overcome it for us. He said that because of the work that He did on our behalf that we could have PEACE even in tribulation.

Where are you in your faith walk today? Are you struggling to overcome the fear and emotions of life’s problems? Are you afraid of what will happen next? Watchman Nee says that the Christian experience from start to finish is a journey of faith. 1 John 5:4 says that it is our faith that overcomes the world! Our faith! Not the faith of the person next to you or me, but your faith and my faith! Our faith works as we place our trust in God and speak to the storms in our lives to be still! It’s not a formula for success, but a heart-felt journey from the time we place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord to the everyday lives that we live, walking by faith, to the point of our crossing over into eternity.

Romans 1:16, 17 NKJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Today I have a stronger level of faith than I did yesterday because I am trusting in God and building my faith through His word! The gospel of Christ, the Good News of what He purchased for us on Calvary, is powerful and when I believe it and act on it in faith it works in my life to give me the ability that I need to overcome all the evil that’s in the world and the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy my life. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 that it is the “sword of the Spirit”. That means that when I speak the word of God that the Holy Spirit reveals to me that will work in my situation that it becomes like a sword to defeat the enemy that is hindering me from walking by faith and living according to the plan that God has for me. But I have to be the one to focus my attention on Jesus, His word and resist the fear that comes with tribulation in order to live by faith. No one can do that for me and no one can do it for you either. It is a growing process that I work on daily. How about you? Are you growing in your faith every day?

You can change your life, the course of it, and the outcome by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and acting according to His word. It’s what we believe in our hearts and living out of that belief that changes our lives. God is always at work within us to mold us and make us into the image of His dear Son. (Rom. 8:29) But we have to cooperate with Him in order to change. Living and walking by faith, speaking positive, faith-filled words and obeying what He asks us to do is our part of this equation. If we do our part, we can be sure He will do His.

Father, I thank You for creating me to walk in faith with You. I thank You for giving me a measure of faith and that I can build and strengthen it through your Word and exercise it through my actions. Father, I pray for those today who are weak and struggling to overcome the obstacles that are in their way in their faith walk. I pray that You will reveal to them the great power that You have placed within them to help them; the power of Your Spirit. I pray that they may be encouraged today in knowing that You are with them and will guide them in how to overcome the trials and tribulations of life. May they experience a new reality of Your power to overcome the storms of life today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Nike–Just Do It!

Nike swoosh

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Nike coined the phrase “just do it” and emphasized it with the swoosh that is displayed on their athletic shoes. But did you know that the word NIKE is actually a Biblical word? Nike is the Greek word used in 1 John 5:4 for victory. It is pronounced nee’-kay and is used only one time in the Bible and that is in this verse where it means conquest; the means of success; –victory. From the root word of Nike comes the word nikao which means to subdue; conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory. It is through our faith that we learn to press through to the victory; to overcome and experience the conquest of success; to prevail until the battle is won and the victory is ours! Faith overcomes!

But it’s one thing for us to say that faith is the victory that overcomes the world and another to actually experience the testing of our faith that proves our strength and ability to stand firm until we win the victory. The pedal meets the metal during the test and trial of our faith. James said that the testing of our faith produces patience. And that when that patience or endurance is completed that we will be perfect, or mature, lacking nothing. We are strengthened as we endure the test of trials and our faith is pressed and stretched to the point of breaking.

Bench pressing weights

According to Livestrong.com it is said that when your muscles burn it is typically the sign of an effective workout. “Burning and soreness indicate the building and recovery of muscle mass.” Of course, if you press your muscles to the point of injury then you have exceeded what is necessary for an effective workout and defeated your purpose in exercising. But a good workout works to build and strengthen the muscles and in a similar way the exercising of our faith muscle also strengthens it and brings us into the new level of victory that God would have us achieve through our faith. It is through the endurance that we experience through trials that breaks down our faith muscle and rebuilds it to strengthen it and make it effective.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

So, what do you do when your faith is being tested? What brings the NIKE into your life? How do you overcome when it seems that all hell is arrayed against you?

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.

Focus is a very important aspect of exercise whether it is for bodily benefit or in a spiritual battle. What you keep your eyes set on determines the direction you will take in any endeavor. Where there is no direction, no vision, no prophetic revelation the people cast off restraint; they run in all different directions with no purpose or meaning to direct them to their goal. For faith to be effective we must focus on the author and finisher of our faith; we must look unto the One who establishes our faith.

Hebrews 12:1, 2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Lay aside the things that are hindering you from achieving the victory and look unto Jesus! Look into the face of the One who authored your faith and Who finishes it or matures it in you. Keep your focus on what God has instructed you to do. Don’t look to the left or the right but keep your focus on Jesus for He has already walked the way to victory through overcoming death, hell and the grave through His crucifixion. A person cannot take another person where they have not been themselves. Jesus has already been where you are going; He won the victory! He experienced NIKE in His own life. He will show you the way to take to NIKE!

Watever you can do begin it

Zechariah 4:5-10 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel; ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

You may be thinking that there is no way you can achieve the victory in a certain area of your life. Sometimes the obstacles before us seem to be insurmountable, and we cower down in fear that we will not be able to withstand, much less achieve the victory. But just as Zerubbabel was told by the angel so I believe that God would say to us today that it is not in our own strength that we are able to attain the victory, but that our faith is empowered by the Spirit of God within us. He is the One who does the actual work to strengthen us and enable us to win. Anything that is done through human effort is no match for the enemy of our souls that is a spiritual entity. It is by God’s grace and through our faith that the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in and through us to achieve the victory!

The angel told Zerubbabel that through the Spirit’s power in him the mountain would become a plain; it would completely disappear and be as flat ground before him. But it would begin as a small thing. His ability to complete the temple would grow as he depended on the Spirit within him to help him. God gets the glory when we yield to His power within us to complete what we are called to do. Our faith grows as we see Him work in our lives. We are strengthened and encouraged to complete the work before us when we understand that if God is for us there is no foe that can stand in our way. Your mountain will become as a plain before you as you yield to and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit within and walk in His power and ability.

God told Joshua that there would be no one who could stand before him all the days of his life because God was with him.

Joshua 1:5 “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

But there was one requirement for Joshua to be successful and that was that He was to be strong and courageous and keep his focus on the word of God to observe it and do it.

Joshua 1:7-9 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Folks, be strong and courageous! Stay in the word and do what it says! And the NIKE, the victory, will be yours! God has promised that He is with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. The victory is in sight even when it looks like it’s not going to happen! Do not be dismayed for your God goes before you into the battle. He will enable you to win! Just DO IT!

Father, I thank You for going before us into every battle that we face. I thank You for the victory for You are with us to strengthen us and enable us to win! Father, I pray for those today who are afraid. I pray that by Your Spirit that they will see that You are with them and there is no enemy that can stand against them when they place their hope and trust in You. Father, I ask that You would help them to stay in focus; that they would “just do it” knowing that You are backing them. When they feel led to speak to someone about You but are afraid of rejection, may they depend on Your strength within them and just do it! May they focus their eyes on Jesus and look to Him for their faith for He is the One who is the author and finisher of their faith. Thank You, Father, for the victory that we have in Christ Jesus! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Believe!

 

 

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