“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 NKJV)
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. Faith is a conviction with a commitment that produces real evidence. That evidence is called a testimony. The purpose of faith is to please God. Our faith is not just for our goals. It’s actually and primarily for God’s purpose in bringing heaven to earth in and through Jesus by the Holy Spirit as we walk in the obedience of faith. Faith believes that God is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Many people think of God as a punisher, but faith believes that God is a rewarder. When you are convinced that God is good and his intentions for you are good you will be committed to diligently seeking him. Remember to seek God not a reward, his reward is with him. He is our exceedingly great reward. The Father knows what you need and what you want. He also knows what you can handle and when. Trust that he will reward your diligence in dew time. The good news is that we are not the author and finisher of our faith; Jesus is. He will finish what he started in you, but you must be patient and persevere. Your patience is further evidence that you really do trust God. Remember that from the time that you pray to the time that God answers he is producing patience in you. And it’s through faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God. If you are wanting to grow in faith click here to register to a free School of Faith this Saturday at Rescue Church in West New York, NJ.
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV)
The truth is everyone has anxious thoughts and feelings. It’s what you do with those thoughts and feelings that matter. However most people are not equipped to deal with those thoughts and feelings correctly. If we don’t reject anxiety we actually accept depression. Anxiety must be acknowledged and rejected or there will be a very real downward spiral from anxiety to depression. Whatever we fail to deal with will eventually deal with us. Anxiety becomes depression, anger becomes bitterness and worry becomes fear. If we renew our mind and guard our heart the anxious thoughts or feelings will not have the power to control us and become depression. The Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing, which means we have power / authority over anxiety in Christ. If you are a believer and you believe and obey you can be free from anxiety and or depression. Some people are healed instantly many go through a process of recovery and the restoration of soul. Either way you can be well in Jesus. When you identify an anxious though acknowledge it, reject it and think faith not fear. Think trust not worry, think forgiveness not anger. Use your mouth to agree with God’s mind and speak and pray out what God has said in his word. If you are unaware of what God has said in his word, start reading your bible and renewing your mind. That will give you the ability to discern between good and evil. When you humble yourself you will find God’s grace will b e there to help you change. Humility leads to victory. You will get stronger in the struggle and you will build history with God. There is nothing more important than having a real relationship with God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit according to the scriptures.
Would you rather be slapped or kissed? That is not a trick question. It is a question about what type of relationships do you want? Do you want people who actually care about you? Or do you want people in your life who are seemingly nice but really do not care about you and are only in it for what they can get? We need to ask ourselves, what kind of person are we? Do we genuinely care for others? Or are we just nice to people for the purpose of what we can get from them? Are our compliments genuine and sincere or are they filled with flattery for the purpose of manipulation? Sometimes the people who feel and sound safe are actually not. Sometimes the people who rub us the wrong way are actually better for us than the feel good flatterer who is really lying to us to try to manipulate us. Remember iron sharpens iron but never without friction. We need more friction and less flattery if we want to be sharp and on point.
“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.” (Psalms 141:5 NKJV)
David is welcoming the correction of the righteous. I would rather be slapped by the righteous than stroked by the self seeking. What about you? Do you want real relationships where people love you enough to be honest with you? Learning to respond to correction is essential for our personal growth. People who can’t hear correction position themselves for deception. Someone who is humble has the ability to hear hard things that others would want to avoid, deny or make excuses about.
“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV)
Open rebuke is more beneficial than a deceitful kiss. It’s better to be slapped or wounded by a friend than kissed by an enemy. We need to have courage to develop relationships where there is enough trust for us to be honest. It’s possible to be honest and honorable. The goal is to be able to slap someone with truth and it feel like kindness to them.
Transparent people are confident in grace. They are confident in what Jesus has done for them that they could not do for themselves. So to be totally honest I have made a lot of bad decisions. Some of those decisions have caused my loved ones and myself a lot of pain. Some decisions have cost me a lot of money; some have resulted in me wasting my time. I have also made some good decisions and then rewarded myself in a counterproductive way. For example, I lost two or three pounds in a week and then the next day rewarded myself with an ice cream sundae and gained a pound back with one snack. Many of us are counterproductive as it relates to how we reward ourselves for making a good decision.
Let me be clear, a good decision doesn’t always get you the results you may have desired. Here is a brief example: Joseph the dreamer chose not to sleep with his boss’s wife; he wasn’t promoted, he was imprisoned. He was falsely accused and unjustly sentenced as a direct result of making the right choice. The good news is that decision positioned him for the process that God would use to promote him from the prison to the palace. Sometimes, a good decision takes longer to materialize but in the long run it is always worth it. A good decision has no regret attached to it; a bad decision almost always involves regret. Regret is something that we will either live with or learn from. The choice is ours.
Bad decisions happen when we isolate ourselves from the counsel (or the advice) of the wise. If you don’t take counsel you will need counseling. Bad decisions happen when we have wrong desires and wrong priorities. Bad decisions happen when we are motivated by fear. Here are a few ways this plays out. For example, we are going through something that is painful and a shortcut is offered. We choose what seems to be the easier and faster way because of the pain. The end result is more pain and a longer unnecessary detour because we made a decision from our place of pain and impatience. It is important to know and remember that there are no shortcuts in the kingdom of God. Bad decisions are often made from a place of insecurity. We do things to try to prove ourselves instead of being ourselves. Or we don’t say or do things for fear of what people will think about us. We do need to be conscious of others, but we do not need to be controlled by the opinions of others. Other bad decisions are motivated by lust. Although lust is sexual, it is not only sexual. Lust says, “I can not wait, I will not wait, I have to do it now, I have to say it now, I have to have it now.” It is important to remember that patient and prudent people don’t make rushed and impetuous decisions. If you are someone who makes decisions based on emotions instead of wisdom and understanding read this blog. It will encourage you toward better decisions where you count the cost before you make the choice.