One of my goals for 2022 is to be an extravagant believer.
Do you know someone who is an extravagant believer? I mean someone who holds back nothing as they expect God’s hand in their lives. I don’t mean someone who is foolish, but someone who knows that God can accomplish what we can never do on our own. Are you such a person?
The Bible has lots of stories about people who believed extraordinarily. There were those around them who believed … sort of, but these people believed in ways that seemed extreme.
One such story is in Luke 8:43-48.
I want you to put yourself into the story – into the crowd.
There was a huge throng of people following Jesus as He walked through the street. He had no body guards as He walked with His disciples. The crowd was pushing and shoving, trying to get closer. They wanted to get a good look at this unusual man, who was becoming famous.
Suddenly, Jesus turned and said, “Who touched Me?”
His disciples were confused. “What do you mean? The whole crowd is pushing up against you.”
Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I felt the power going out of Me.”
And He turned and looked at the woman who was touching the hem of His garment.
In the crowd, there was a woman who had been sick for a very long time. She had a hemorrhage of blood which had lasted for 12 years. She had spent all of her money going to doctors, and no one had been able to cure her. In fact, the Bible says that she had just grown worse.
Yet that day, when she saw Jesus, she was inspired. She had heard about Him and she thought, If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I shall be made well.
And that’s exactly what happened. When she touched Him, the flow of blood stopped, and just like that, she was well.
Jesus then said something very different from our mindset. He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
Let this picture sink in. Jesus didn’t even know that the woman was there until He felt the power go out of Him. Her faith had put a demand on the power within Him, and she received her healing.
Let’s fast forward to today.
Our Savior is alive today.
There is a crowd of people all around us, some believing in Him and some not – just like when He walked the earth.
Within the crowd of “believers,” there are a few – maybe just one or two, who really believe. They are the ones who see His hand in their lives more than the norm.
They are the extraordinary believers, and they see things happen that the others don’t.
So how do you fit in? Are you willing to believe for miracles in your life?
In your health?
In your family?
In your finances?
Don’t look around at the crowd. They probably aren’t believing that much.
If you would like to be extraordinary, but think that you just honestly can’t muster the faith, don’t be discouraged.
Start reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and let the reality of Jesus be burned in your heart.
He is looking for super believers to show Himself strong.
In 2022, I want to be an extravagant believer, don’t you?
Forever Upward! Always in pursuit of God’s best!
Faith can seem like a strange thing. One day you are on top of the world. You are facing huge obstacles, yet you are trusting God and you know way down deep in that place that’s hard to describe, that you are going to come through this OK.
In fact, you are quite sure that the obstacles are crumbling before you.
Then there are other days. (You know, one of “those” days).
Just getting out of bed in the morning seems like a huge feat – and one that you might not be able to pull off!
So what happened? How can that be?
One day you’re up; one day you’re down. One day you see yourself right up there with David …and Paul! The next day, you’re more like Demas, the loser.
Will you ever be consistent and not wavering? You begin to doubt your ability to walk with God in a reputable way. Can you truly be His person?
Yes, you can. You just have to understand the nature of faith and why it may seem elusive.
One way to grasp the right perspective would be to compare your spiritual strength to your natural strength.
Life is fluid. Health is fluid. Strength is fluid. Strength of any kind is not like an object which you acquire and proudly display. It is part of your living being, and as in any part of life, there are efforts which are essential to maintain it.
Consider an athlete – such as an NFL player. Can you imagine what would happen if he took his strength for granted? He wouldn’t be around very long.
Even when he looks and acts like he has arrived at the zenith of physical perfection, he continues to work out and to practice. And, if he suffers an injury and has to sit out for awhile, his training increases to a new level upon his return. The athlete knows that his strength, endurance, and physical expertise are totally dependent on practice and training. He would never expect to maintain his desired level of achievement while in a total rest mode.
We need to take a lesson from the athletes. We need to honor the precious thing we call faith – our belief in God – our trust in His Word – and our zealous appropriation of all that He has for us. We must realize that our fath is a living thing. It grows or it diminishes. And a lot of the current status of this precious faith is dependent upon our current mindset.
The Bible says that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The nutrition which feeds our faith is God’s Word, and if we aren’t nourishing our spirits with his rich food, our faith will be diminishing. Even if yesterday we considered ourselves spiritual giants, yesterday’s food will not keep us full of faith. It’s like the manna in the wilderness which became rancid on the next day. We need fresh food everyday.
Let’s go a little deeper.
“Word” in Romans 10:17 is the Greek word “rhema.” It means the spoken word. The revealed word.
As you read the Bible, verses will seem to leap off the page and “speak” to you. You will sense that God is speaking those verses to you personally, and your faith will be built up by them.
As you meditate on those words, they will become planted in your heart and your mind. They will become yours to believe and to act upon.
Then in Jude 20, we see that faith is built up by praying in the spirit. So how is your daily prayer life? Do you check in with your spiritual headquarters every day, listening for direction, heeding His nudge, and listening for His voice of encouragement and affirmation?
Do you speak His Word into the atmosphere around you, changing the fog of delusion into the clarity of His vision?
Remember, yesterday’s manna is rancid. (Exodus 16: 15-20). Every day we start with a new need for our Father and His Word. Every day we have an opportunity to build on our strength of the past, or to allow that strength to recede.
Staying the same is never an option.
As a pastor, my husband led those in our church to say often, “I believe God.”
That seems so simple, you might think, well of course we do. But as you say those simple words, you will find your spirit leaping within you. A resounding, “yes!” You do indeed believe God and not man.
All of society around us needs us to be true believers, strong in our understanding and faith.
So let me encourage you. Believe God and strengthen your faith continually.
Read His Word. Pray. Do those things which build up your faith, and those things which cause it to continue.
When you find discouragement creeping into your thoughts, run to Gods Word. Ask Him for guidance in what to read. Then read and meditate. Allow that Word to become part of you.
If you do these things, you will keep the faith!
God is calling many people today… Do you hear His call?
You might have to listen closely because there is so much other noise – loud noise.
God’s call is more subtle, but if you hear it, it will be the most powerful sound you’ll ever hear.
Some call it a “still, small voice.”
Others identify it as a dream or vision.
Many more may even think of it as an inner “knowing.”
However it comes, it heralds the same message.
God is calling many to wake up to Him, to their place in the earth, and to a life of tremendous purpose. (more…)
There is power in hope. Regardless of the way things may look, when you have hope, you can count on a brighter future.
For 25 years we lived in a house which had been built in 1877. While there, one of my delights was being surprised by many outbursts of color as shrubs bloomed or bulbs suddenly created a splash on the scene.
And there were trees galore – of all sizes and shapes.
One of my favorites was an oddity. There was a tree which had been cut down, but which had refused to quit! It had a stump dwindling away, but right in the middle of the stump, was a tree. Standing tall and proud, this tree had grown right up out of the center of that stump.
I loved that tree. It wasn’t really the prettiest one around, but it spoke volumes to me.
Then I ran across these verses.
For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again. And its shoots will not fail.
Though its roots grow old in the ground, and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant. (Job 14:7-9)
That tree became a picture of hope for me.
Is there something in your life which seems dead? Your career? Your marriage? Your relationship with a child?
If so, pray and ask God to show you how to proceed. He is a God of Hope, and He will begin to impress upon you pictures which are different from what you see with your eyes.
Ask Him to guide you to verses in the Bible which uphold your vision of hope, and start speaking those verses to yourself and to the world around you.
As you do this, you will be developing your very own arsenal of weapons against fear, doubt, and depression. You will find yourself seeing with spiritual eyes more than the natural.
Then do what He says.
That’s how you fight the good fight of faith. And it’s how you turn things around.
Now be persistent and be patient.
Be like that Tree of Hope in my yard.
When that tree first got cut down, I’m certain that it looked completely dead. There was no evidence that any life remained.
But at the scent of water (in your case the scent of the Holy Spirit speaking life to you), the green in the tree began to grow. It had to fight its way to become a tree again. It had to be persistent and patient.
Eventually the shoot overcame the obstacles and won its right to be a tree again.
That’s like you and like me. We are determined not to be cut down and destroyed.
We are coming back. We will make the changes we need to make, and we will come back. Stronger. Taller.
That’s the way it is when we follow our God’s direction. We always have hope for a better day.
Our God is faithful to guide us to that victory.
May your Christmas season be filled with God’s hope!
My grandson, Charlie, is in Middle School now, and a very bright guy.
Recently I thought of an episode which happened several years ago. He was about three, sitting on my lap, when with wide eyes, he began to tell me his story.
Spider Man, Batman, Pink Venom, Black Venom, and Green Goblin were having a “spend-the-night party.” He animatedly continued to create this adventure, which eventually led to a gi-normous (that’s bigger than gigantic or enormous alone) box falling on their heads and they had to fight it off.
All of us listening to Charlie’s imagination on steroids, couldn’t help but chuckle. What a creative mind! You could see the wheels turning as he churned out his tale.
Later, in a quieter moment, I began to think how we adults lose that creativity. What happens to us? Why are we always so methodical and logical about any visions or goals we might have?
Why do we always settle for the “norm?”
If everyone “settled for the norm,” we would have none of the cutting edge technology, space travel, or medical wonders of our generation. So some are not settling, but how about you? How about me?
The Bible says that faith is the substance of things “hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1)
The hoped for is the thing I want to talk about today. The hope is like a blueprint in your mind of what you are believing for. If you don’t have a picture in your mind of what you are believing for, then how can you have faith for it? You can’t!
In another blog, I talked about the woman who came to Jesus, pushing through the crowd to receive healing from a hemorrhage. She had been living with the condition for 12 years, and had spent all of her money on doctors, but had not received her healing. Yet she clearly had a vision of herself being healed by Jesus, because she said that she knew if she touched Him she would be made well.
That was creative hope, which didn’t settle for what all of the natural evidence suggested.
Can you imagine what her family might have said to her that day? They probably would have told her that she had been to the best doctors, now just accept this condition and do the best you can with it. They might even have told her that God wanted her to be sick. But she knew better than all of them. She knew that Jesus could accomplish what natural man never could. And she was right!
That creative hope is from God.
He created us in His image, and He always has a special plan in mind about the progression of things. He has special plans for you, but if you are always too busy to spend time with Him, you will never know these plans. You will never develop the Godly hope He wants for us.
Let me encourage you today to spend time with God and His Word. Pray and expect Him to answer.
Ask Him to show you some plans He wants for you. As you continue in this direction, you will begin to see desires drop into your heart…Godly desires. Desires that your faith can then catapult into reality.
In the meantime, enjoy the journey. It’s truly an adventure when we are walking with God!